“Gamers Are Dead” Article Analysis
Analysis kindly done by @firehawk32, italics added my me. This will cover 17 articles in total, all written around the 28th August. Though I am aware there are lists including more floating around – such as this one – most of the comments refer to between 10 and 18 in total, and focus on those that went live on the same day.
So the magic number of “Gamers are Dead articles all at once seems to be 12. That’s the number I’ve seen most often thrown around. In your article on The Flounce [PixieJenni note: referencing this piece that I wrote] someone linked to 12 articles claiming those were the ones they were complaining about. I plan to go through those and see what they actually say.
I believe you’ve tackled this one already, so I won’t rehash anything you’ve already talked about. [PixieJenni note: this is a reference to my twitlonger, here]
Uses of the phrase “Gamers are Dead”: 0
“This is what the rest of the world knows about your industry — this, and headlines about billion-dollar war simulators or those junkies with the touchscreen candies. That’s it. You should absolutely be better than this.”
“Don’t blame an entire industry for a few bad apples.”
This is mostly a rundown of the awful things that had happened that week within the realm of video games. Notably Phil Fish being hacked, Anita’s death threat that forced her to leave her home, and Tim Schafer being harassed for supporting Anita.
Uses of the phrase “Gamers are Dead”: 0
Interesting quotes (Not many, again it’s mostly a collection of events):
“This week, it should be clear to this community that games are at a cultural turning point. No longer are games designed, marketed and sold to a niche group of young men. Games are now ubiquitous, their ability to provide a safe space for experimentation and empathic experiences serves a population that, in a time as economically and politically bleak as this one, need them desperately. More games are being created by more people for more people than ever before.”
This seems to be the kicker for GG: “Two groups are at opposite ends of this moment: One side has folded its arms, slumped its shoulders while pouting like an obstinate child that has learned they are getting a little brother or sister but wants to remain the singular focus of his parents’ affection. The other side has opened its arms, unable to contain its love and compassion, because they understand they are no longer alone. This week, the obstinate child threw a temper tantrum, and the industry was stuck in the metaphorical grocery store as everyone was forced to suffer through it together. But unlike a child, the people behind these temper tantrums are hurting others. It’s time to grow up. Let’s not wait until next week to start.”
Another rundown of events. This one focuses only on Zoe and Anita’s harassment.
Instances of “Gamers are Dead”: 1-ish (The headline)
“Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian prove points a certain gamer-type refuses to hear.”
“The attack on Sarkeesian was among a number of incidents in the last few weeks that exposed some of the ugly (yet familiar) attitudes and prejudices that remain deeply ingrained in the gaming culture. This time, those sentiments have gotten tied up in ethical arguments in an attempt to highlight the toxic behavior.”
“And every time it happens, it advances the goals of the most poisonous “gamers,” while regressing everything else.”
A blog post from the member of the Gamasutra community with the following disclaimer: The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community. The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. Although it was a featured post, though I’m not sure if that means it ended up on the main page or just in the blog section.
This post actually has some really good, thought out points about how we can make gaming better AS GAMERS. It does not denounce gamers as dead, instead it is a rejection of the stereotypical view of the gamer as the “basement dwelling neck beard” and putting forth ways in which gamers can be better. I can see why GG would HATE this post though, the author uses a LOT of “SJW” language to make their point.
Instances of “Gamers are Dead”: 1/2 if you kind of squint when you read the title?
“It’s not only the worst of us who need to change. None of us are outside of this system. None of us are completely above its effects. None of us are entirely innocent. We all need to work to make our role in games culture more positive (which absolutely does not mean “less critical”).”
“If our medium is designed for people to stay secluded for dozens of hours while having their egos stroked, then we reap what we sow in terms of the kinds of people who emerge from this pastime. We need to consider the very real possibility that the offensive behaviour displayed by gamers in recent weeks is not unrelated to the artifacts they rally around (which I doubt are especially obscure).”
Basically all the points raised are great I actually highly recommend reading this one.
This is a basic “bad things are happening and people are writing about it” post. Which points out two articles and quotes them a bit.
Instances of “Death of Gamers”: 6 (2 “death of an identity”s, One in the headline one a quote from Dan Golding’s blog which the title is referencing. And 4 “death of/End of gamers” all quotes or titles from Golding and Leigh Alexander’s posts.)
Interesting quotes: “Note they’re not talking about everyone who plays games, or who self-identifies as a “gamer”, as being the worst. It’s being used in these cases as short-hand, a catch-all term for the type of reactionary holdouts that feel so threatened by gaming’s widening horizons. If you call yourself a “gamer” and are a cool person, keep on being a cool person.”
This one is not a great article (Buzzfeed) it spends most of its time in a labored metaphor comparing Gamers to a hypothetical Moviegoer. I imagine this is because Buzzfeed is outside the typical gaming sphere and it’s trying to explain it to the “normals.” It ends with a quote from Dan Golding’s post which is where the headline comes from.
Instances of “Death of Gamers”: 1 (if you count the title of Dan Golding’s post).
Interesting quotes: “What Golding is getting at, and what hope I made clear with my long-winded analogy, is that video games are in the process of shedding the assumptions larded on them by their history. They are becoming simply another medium—one with no inherent bias towards any group. In twenty years, it may sound as old-fashioned to call someone a “gamer” as it is to call someone a “moviegoer”. And we may well look back at these few weeks in 2014 as the moment when the medium finally separated from the limitations put on it from outside, and from within.”
This was kind of a great article and I think people on both sides should read it. It’s a rundown of the abuse Zoe and Anita have faced, talks about protoGamerGate (before they had a name) and highlights ways the industry is getting better.
Instances of “Gamers are Dead”: 0 (at worst he says the word “has taken on increasingly negative connotations.)
Interesting quotes: ” For a group who frequently wants the medium of video games to be taken seriously, it seems strange that many people who identify as gamers are so unaccepting of criticism, especially of the feminist variety.”
“As someone who sees video games as a large part of their life and values the medium as more than just simple, silly “games,” the toxic attitude of much of the core gaming audience is disgusting and at times even terrifying.”
“Although the way I view games has changed and evolved over the years, particularly after watching Sarkeesian’s series, it’s still possible to enjoy and revere these titles, while still being critical of some of their more problematic issues, particularly when it comes to their portrayal of women.”
Now this is the first one I’ve seen that people have actual cause to be upset about. He’s pretty condescending to the readers/people angry (even though I agree they have little cause to be angry) and he actively insults them. He makes some good points, but the overall tone is combative and not helpful.
Instances of “Gamers are Dead”: 0
“So no, I’m definitely not one of the fake gamer girls you fear and loathe so much, especially since I’m not a girl. So when I tell you you’re being misogynist losers who are making us all look bad, maybe you’ll listen.” (Not a great way to start things off)
“No, they say it’s about “corruption.” About “developers in bed with reviewers,” and the stain this leaves on the “integrity of games journalism.” At its most feverish, it becomes about the “conspiracy” of cliquish insiders that controls the industry, silences dissenting voices and ultimately harms all gamers by keeping their desires from being heard in favor of the “feminist agenda. To which I can only respond, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!” followed by “FOR FUCK’S SAKE, GET A LIFE!”
“The idea that your beliefs are objectively correct and, more importantly, that being correct entitles you to use every dirty trick in your arsenal to attack people who are incorrect is hardly thin on the ground on the Internet. But nowhere does it seem to be as over-applied as among defensive gamers.”
“I love games. I love gaming culture, despite everything wrong with it. My wife and I wouldn’t be together without games. The best times of my life have been spent playing games.”
He starts of recounting Zoe and Anita’s stories. It seems to me all the articles were not sparked by some “collusion” but rather the fact that Anita had to leave her home due to death threats [PixieJenni note: I would also add in the Quinnspiracy stuff as a root cause here]. Golding’s blog seems to be the first one to report on things as it’s linked or referenced in most of the “Death of Gamers” articles. He makes a point about how “Gamer” became a thing when playing games was unusual, and how when games moved more into the mainstream, the term became outdated. I can see why this is the crux of arguments. It’s exceptionally well written and GamerGate COMPLETELY misunderstands what he’s saying when he’s talking about “Gamers.”
Instances of “Gamers are Dead”: 4 (Including the title, though they are referred to as “end of gamers”)
Interesting quotes: Basically all of it, but I’ll find some highlights.
“For a while, perhaps, when such technology was found mostly in masculine cultures, videogames accordingly developed a limited, inwards-looking perception of the world that marked them as different from everyone else. This is the gamer, an identity based on difference and separateness.”
“When playing games was an unusual activity, this identity was constructed in order to define and unite the group (and to help demarcate it as a targetable demographic for business). It became deeply bound up in assumptions and performances of gender and sexuality. To be a gamer was to signal a great many things, not all of which are about the actual playing of videogames. “
“On the evidence of the last few weeks, what we are seeing is the end of gamers, and the viciousness that accompanies the death of an identity. Due to fundamental shifts in the videogame audience, and a move towards progressive attitudes within more traditional areas of videogame culture, the gamer identity has been broken.”
“The gamer as an identity feels like it is under assault, and so it should. Though the ‘consumer king’ gamer will continue to be targeted and exploited while their profitability as a demographic outweighs their toxicity, the traditional gamer identity is now culturally irrelevant.”
“The last few weeks therefore represent the moment that gamers realised their own irrelevance. This is a cold wind that has been a long time coming, and which has framed these increasingly malicious incidents along the way. Videogames have now achieved a purchase on popular culture that is only possible without gamers.”
“I am convinced that this marks the end. We are finished here. From now on, there are no more gamers—only players.”
I would say that the whole anger over “Gamers are Dead” comes back to a fundamental misunderstanding of the point Golding was making.
This one is a summation of recent events, culminating in an interview with Eron Gjoni.
Instances of “Gamers are Over’: 2 (The title and a quote from Leigh Alexander)
“While interviewing [Gjoni], I liked him as a person. Still, the fallout from his mistake has been like the outbreak of a drama virus, and the symptoms are intense misogyny and general internet discontent.”
“You know the very end of The Lord of the Flies? When that British Navy guy is standing there, looking at the boys screaming and chasing each other, and he scolds them for their bad behavior, and they all look at each other like, Jesus, we killed someone, and the book is just over? That’s the world of video games right now.”
This is another they can point to about tone. The writer is clearly annoyed with GamerGate and is not afraid to let that show. He recaps what’s been happening and kind of tears apart GG’s basic arguments.
Instances of “Gamers are Dead”: 0 he’s pretty firm in his statement that gamers exist and he’s not particularly fond of them most days.
“As a gamer of twenty-five years, I can assure you that gamers are entitled whiny crybabies, especially when they’re being called mean names. So #GamerGate was born, about how the gaming press was incompetent and rife with ethical problems, and how it was blaming the poor innocent gamer and just making up all this awful stuff about them.”
“But even with that claim intact, it was still too inside-baseball. My story was “Some lady you don’t care about, who made some game you didn’t play, allegedly boned some dude you don’t know, for a good review you didn’t read.” Hell, I wouldn’t read that.”
“It’s just that gamers feel the gaming press should only tell them what they want to hear. Which, weirdly, is usually that a group of gamers have decided to band together and be a big ol’ bunch of jerks to each other. Gamers are strange creatures.”
He is incredibly dismissive of the complaints, “mean” about it, but he acknowledges the existence of gamers so it probably shouldn’t be linked with these articles.
A summation of what’s happened and an explanation of how gaming became more mainstream and how the “true gamer” has reacted.
Instances of “Gamers are Dead”: 1 reference to the fact that people have written articles saying such.
“The self-identifying gamers are largely wrong about the games press. Although ethical breaches no doubt happen, it isn’t a hive of corruption. Games writers aren’t getting rich on backhanders from games publishers; they’re poorly paid, work long hours and largely are in this for passion, not to make a quick buck through sinister channels.”
“In return, games journalists have grown distrustful of self-identifying gamers. The wretched miscreants that swamp Quinn, Sarkeesian and others with vile threats every time they post a video, a story or a tweet, have come to symbolise community. But this isn’t strictly fair. There are lots of gamers who are angered and bewildered by how some game sites cover the industry and its superstars; they feel they have legitimate questions about how games journalism functions. “
“For me, the problem with the gamer community that has aligned around the #gamergate hash tag is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants or what it fears – or at least, the problem is that what it fears isn’t going to happen. “
“I have found a lot of the actions of self-confessed hardcore gamers horrendous, upsetting and unjustifiable over the past two weeks. I have mocked and criticised the excesses – and I was happy to commission Jenn Frank’s piece on the disgusting excesses of anti-social behaviour in some quarters of the games community. But I have come to understand that the gamers suspicious of the games press cannot be classed together in one homogenous group – just as games journalists cannot. Objectification is never the answer. Which is why #gamergate has become so problematic.”
“Every writer and critic must have the freedom of press; everyone must have the freedom of expression – as long as no one is targeted and harassed in the process. It is possible to disagree without abuse. These are simple ground rules. They are achievable. I entered games writing at a time when journalists and readers were a club, with in-jokes and trust and kinship. Everybody still loves games, right? Let’s concentrate on that.”
There are some other articles that have been linked to this burst, and I have found these using this image.
Audience: Tech fans