Editor’s Note: We polled GamerGate supporters to get their perspectives on the issue and share their side. These quotes were compiled in mid-March via a series of email interviews. They’ve been edited for brevity as well as grammar and punctuation but are otherwise unaltered. The questions have been adjusted to best provide context to the quotes.
Twitter user @Kalyx_triaD
Why did you used to support GamerGate?
“Many game journalists, regardless of gender, no longer know a thing about game design, which is premise one as far as I’m concerned. It’s no wonder it’s become social-political and personality based; they’re not talking about design anymore. It’s become about increasingly vague descriptions, feelings and interpretations. More than a few times I’d leave a comment on an article not talking about the subject but correcting or educating the professional writer about an element of the game they didn’t seem to grasp. That a great majority of the chief offenders are concerned with feminism and/or social justice is merely a byproduct of allowing lightweights to hold a microphone for so long.
I don’t care if they’re ethical or not; I care that gamers are no longer stewards of games journalism.”
What do you think the resolution to this problem is?
“The two sides don’t need to come together. At the end of this, we’ll likely see new market demographics and games going after them, nothing more. And this is just a case of two demographics clashing as far as the games content debate goes. It’ll pass, and people will just buy what they buy.”
What do you want to come from GamerGate?
“I want a games industry that no longer tries to dictate what ten million people might want to play or read. I want this cultural shift to usher in an age where people of all types can find something to play or read. Basically what the food and porn industries are now. And I’m not writing that for levity, either. I’m dead serious. This industry can learn a lot from food and porn.”
Why do you think the women’s side of the gaming community feels particularly ostracized by this movement?
“There’s no such thing as the Women’s Gaming Community. To posit this is to posit there being a Men’s Gaming Community, which I certainly missed the invite to. Either you’re a gamer, or you’re too self obsessed to actually join a community. I’m a gamer. I’m not a ‘Black Gamer’, or a ‘Male Gamer’ — nor am I instantly sided with some nebulous ‘Black Gamer Community’, you see what I’m saying?”
Twitter user @liquidzer0
What do you want to come from GamerGate?
“At the end of this what I would like to see four things. One: The press reform. Two: Developers having the freedom of art to make their games how they envision, not how someone who is easy offended wants them (to be). Three: New legal definitions on harassment that make it very clear and concise as to what is and isn’t harassment that are not based on how one feels. One of the biggest issues is right now harassment by definition is how you feel, which can very easily be faked. Four: Use these new and clear legal definitions of harassment to put in laws that benefit everyone to make it easier to track down legitimate harassers and punish them while making it harder for those who want to fake that they have been harassed for personal gains.”
How do you separate out the harassment of women within the GamerGate community from the push for ethics in game journalism within that movement?
“The Internet is still very much a Wild West-type frontier, which it needs to grow out of. Having said that, from my personal experience and from personal accounts from friends around me. Female received harassment is very, very small issue in gaming. It happens as often as male-oriented harassment.”
Twitter user @memotaur
What’s the solution? How do the two sides come together?
“I’m not sure if that’s possible at this point. Anyone who tries to stay neutral and offer any sort of olive branch is immediately branded a ‘misogynist s***lord’ and can often end up on multiple blocklists. People supportive of #GamerGate have been ready to talk for 7 months now, it’s just that barely anybody has given us a voice. …
“Most of the games media are content to pour more fuel on the fire since it gives them something to write about. Keeping GamerGate going is in their best interest, really. Since GamerGate is such a hot topic, it’s sure to grab clicks for websites that have refused to keep up-to-date with online media trends such as increasing video content. Most people in GamerGate would, six or seven months ago, have been content with the firing of Nathan Grayson and an apology from the sites that wrote the ‘Gamers Are Dead’ articles of August 28th. Now, if you were to take a poll, I’d bet that many wouldn’t be content until these sites burn to the ground.”
Not everyone involved in GamerGate has shown aggression toward women who tweet about it. A small minority have, but their responses get a lot of attention. How do you feel about those voices, and how do they affect the perception of the pro-GamerGate movement?
“I feel like there isn’t a party around that assholes won’t show up to. GamerGate has been a prime target for trolls looking to cause chaos since they can say/do whatever they want and it’ll be associated to the pro-GamerGate side as a whole. … I think that anyone making threats or harassing people is abhorrent and is hurting everyone on both sides by doing so. I fully welcome an FBI investigation into all threats made on both sides. The sooner it’s confirmed that these threats are hoaxes, the sooner things can be resolved.”
Aaron Miller, a former game developer, also known as Twitter user @Wavinator
What type of voice do you believe women should have in the video game community?
“Women should have the same voice as men, obviously. I struggle to understand some of the assertions made against gaming and gamers because I’ve been a gamer all my life and worked in the industry. I have friends whose wives are gamers. My wife is a gamer. We’ve all raised gamer kids, some now teen girls or young women. In the industry I’ve worked with really smart artists, producers and engineers who happened to be women. This makes me highly skeptical of some of the claims I’ve heard.
“Some online games have a serious problem with incivility, regardless of gender, and those I think need better moderation and community management tools. When it comes to women making games I fully support those efforts and think there should be greater efforts in terms of game jams and teaching technology.”
Sam Altersitz, also known as Twitter user @UncleThursday
Why do you think this remains such a hot-button issue?
“When the ‘Gamers are Dead’ articles all appeared in a short time frame — I believe it was over 10 articles in 24 hours? — the writers for (several video game) sites made it abundantly clear that they did, in fact, hate their audience. That they hated the people who brought the ad revenue to their sites and paid their salaries. And when called on it, the writers took a very authoritative stance that they were right and the rest of the world could go f*** off.”
What do you think of the women’s gaming community’s reaction to all this?
“I think most of the women gamers who have been gamers for years, and play games traditionally associated as ‘male games’ — first person shooter games, etc. — are either indifferent or supportive of GamerGate, overall. They’ve been there, done that, fragged the opponent and went home. The ones that seem to have the issue are the ones who aren’t part of that scene and are mostly mobile phone game players who don’t do competition or the more hardcore games out there.
“Jennifer Dawes mentioned that there was a similar thing in game development. Women involved in game development for the better part of a decade or longer don’t find the issues of sexism, etc., that those who have been in the indie scene as first time developers for less than a handful of years are claiming runs rampant in game design. I think it’s the same for those women who have been gaming all their lives. They just don’t see the issues that all the ‘new gamer girls’ claim to have.”
What do you think of the attacks against women via GamerGate, and why do you think GamerGate can’t disassociate itself from those voices?
“Most of those showing aggression are, in my opinion, third party trolls. So, you might ask; Why do they mainly ‘attack’ women on the anti-GamerGate side? Easy. Those women give them the reactions they want. They scream and make a fuss and tweet out everything said to them in an attempt to garner sympathy from those who are on their side; all the while giving the trolls exactly the attention they want. It’s a side effect of how Third Wave Feminism teaches women that they are perpetual victims in waiting. That someday, someone is going to make them a victim. They can’t control it, they’re going to be a victim– and they better shout as loud as they can so the whole world knows they became a victim when it eventually happens. …
“Most GamerGate supporters don’t really care about the image, though. Many of them have been the unpopular, picked-on people for most of their lives. Do you, I, or anyone else honestly think those that have been in that position for so long really care if they have a good PR image? Nope. They’ve brought Chan culture to Twitter, with s***posting and memes of all flavors. If they cared about their perception, they’d have left the Chan culture on the Chans.”
Twitter user @ArcKazuki
Why are you pro-GamerGate?
“Gaming is a huge part of my life, and I am not afraid to admit it. To me, a ‘gamer’ has always meant ‘one who plays games,’ and nothing more. The extra ‘qualities’ of being a gamer — that is, the stereotypical personality traits associated with one who plays has been tacked onto the label by the mainstream media and others looking from the outside in, features such as being violent, hateful, angry, immature, childish etc. — all come from the general public’s perception of the gamer.
“I can admit these personality traits are seen among gamers, but I also see other personality traits: altruistic, thoughtful, team player, determined/resilient, and relaxed. Gamers can be a lot of things. But those extra things are brought in by the individual. You have helpful gamers, friendly gamers, angry gamers, verbally abusive gamers, socially isolated gamers. You name it, there’s a gamer with that trait. However, in my experience, I have found gamers to be overall inclusive people who don’t care about who you were. Whether you’re a man/woman, child/adult, straight/gay/bi/trans, it didn’t matter. All that mattered in the end was that you enjoyed the game you were playing.
“You have friendly gamers and unfriendly gamers. To be tarred and branded as a whole for the actions of a few is unfair. It would be like me saying, ‘all football fans are moronic meat heads’ because a group of football fans were acting like baboons on television.”
What’s the solution? How do these two sides come together?
“It is now the seventh month into GamerGate. I have given up. I don’t believe there will ever be a chance that we can get along together. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe we can co-exist. If there is another way, I’m all open to it.
“I am a firm believer of the philosophy ‘live and let live.’ The solution is this: Gamers continue on with the games, developers and journalists they love and respect. Those who chose to fight for the anti-GamerGate side go and create their own games, support their own developers and own journalists. I’m happy for everyone to have something that they themselves enjoy. I am also happy to respect the other side’s choice to engage in their own games.
I believe this to be the best and only option at this point. I want to be proven wrong so badly and hope that we can all come together as gamers once more.”
Oslo Redgrave, also known as Twitter user @ReaperX_
What must both sides acknowledge to one another?
“There has to be a willingness to accept that a loose movement with no leaders or major organization backing it is going to have a bunch of different ideas and opinions about things and that they are not indicative of the whole group.
“If feminists aren’t all man-hating supremacists, trans-exclusionary radical feminists and racists ( such as those behind #solidarityisforwhitewomen), then GamerGate isn’t all racists, sexists, homophobes and transphobes looking to snuff women’s voices out.
“On the Pro-GG side, there’s got to be a willingness to have these discussions about sex, gender, ethnicity and other social topics. That doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to tolerate the Tumblr-esque blatherings of someone that doesn’t get it, but because the can of worms has been opened, there’s not much to do outside of having the discussions and doing more than simply pointing fingers.”
Why do you think some women and other anti-GamerGate advocates feel mistreated?
“It’s not the whole of the community, but trolls exist. There are also people who are just plain misogynists for whatever reason. Some of it is also reaction from old scars in the nerd, geek and video game community. Let’s be absolutely real here: Women HAVE been playing games pretty much since the birth of the activity. However, games weren’t extremely popular with women for a long time, much like other facets of nerd culture. A lot of men and women, particularly those of varying degrees of popularity, thought games and gamers were absolute jokes that deserve to be picked on and treated like subhumans. That sort of thinking creates a culture of people that maintain a certain insular nature. They’re not going to just start trusting you when you (or people similar to you) suddenly show up like, ‘I LIKE THIS!’. Some will question their credibility, and some will just be straight up mean about it. There’s that suspicion that naturally occurs, as if to say: ‘Wait, a month ago you were throwing me into lockers, and your significant other was pretending to like me only to humiliate me later. Now you want to hang out with me? What do you want?’