I don’t play many video games, but I remain on the informed fringe of that world because many of my friends and peers DO play them, and because so many aspects of video game culture – and critique thereof – have direct bearing on the tabletop gaming culture of which I AM a part. The video game hobby gets most of the press because it has grown into a huge industry, but almost everything that is going on in that sphere is also going on in the much smaller sphere of tabletop gaming. In other words, both hobbies are engaged in a struggle over issues of representation, equality, and access. And as more women, people of color, and LGBT folk become involved in gaming and/or speak up about the issues, the more entrenched, belligerent, and asinine a certain subset of straight white males has become in their attempts to claim the hobby as their own.
As I continue my quest to write and share more here on The Monkey over the next year and beyond, if you follow along, you’re going to be reading a lot about this stuff. Because it matters to me, and like so many of my peers, I’m tired of having the most visible public face of the hobby I love be represented by a bunch of loud-mouth misogynistic racist dudebros, and even more importantly, I’m tired of watching them do the horrible things they’re doing to people who simply want nothing more than to have equal access and equal representation in the hobby and in the games themselves.
So, I’m going to start off by posting some links to several excellent articles that’ve been written over the past few days by people who are saying things I think are important and potent.
First, in this post from GamesOn.net, Tim Colwill invites any of his readers who are threatened by Equality to exit stage right and not let the door hit them in the ass on the way out:
“So, here’s another change for you: if you really think feminism, or women, are destroying games, or that LGBT people and LGBT relationships have no place in games, or that games in any way belong to you or are “under attack” from political correctness or “social justice warriors”: please leave this website. I don’t want your clicks, I don’t want your hits, I don’t want your traffic. Leave now and please don’t come back.” – Tim Colwill
Next, game designer Elizabeth Sampat shares some potent truths about the recent threats against fellow designer Zoe Quinn:
“I could tell you stories about the voices we’ve lost, the women we’ve scarred, the people we’ve left behind. I want to, but I’m not sure you’d get it. I tweeted earlier today, We should have a war memorial for all of the women we have lost to this. We should lay flowers and grieve and see our reflections in stone. And I meant it. I wish there were a way to honor the people our industry has wronged, and a way to visualize the enormity of what we have lost because of it— some representation of the gap between what games are and what they can be, and the pieces of the bridge between that have fallen away.” – Elizabeth Sampat
Edit: There is also this gem from Leigh Alexander on Gamasutra, where “Gamers” are declared over:
“‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’ about social justice or ‘game journalism ethics,’ straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of video games. ” – Leigh Alexander
There are more I could share. No doubt you can find several others being shared by other bloggers, Facebookers, and G-Plussers. Go be informed. And let’s fight this crap. They wanna take the term “Social Justice Warrior” and make it a derogatory label, I say we own it and claim it and wear it with pride.