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Iâve been busy lately â working on two big work projects, one big indie project, a couple smaller indie projects,Â Diablo 3Â (again), and sometimes even sleepingâ so Iâve missed the wholeÂ #gamergate thingÂ until now. I donât even have much to say on the matter, but these are people I âknowâ through the Internet, so I feel obligated to post my thoughts.
Firstly, the harassment is beyondÂ abhorrent. Itâs something that should never happen in any office, industry, or any scope whatsoever. Itâs completely and wholly beyond reproach. Those involved should not only feel ashamed to call themselves âgamersâ, but ashamed to call themselves human beings.
I feel the need to figure outÂ whyÂ anythingÂ Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, or Jenn Frank have done would elicit such a response. My answer would be ânothingâ, but clearly thatâs not the case, because the harassment exists and continues. So, whatâs next? The analysis of games from a feminine perspective? Well, to put it pretty bluntly, games are by and large male-oriented. Thereâs no shortage of male power fantasies, objectified female characters, or generally male-dominated topics and attitudes. That is a true fact â plain and simple. Thereâs no arguing it and, if you try to argue it, youâre already wrong. Â Sure, you can find examples of gender neutral or female-oriented games and try to use that as a counterpoint, but youâll be trumped by twentyÂ male-focused gameÂ at the very least.Â So, gamers, donât worry about your favorite hobby getting, I donât even know what to call it, âdilutedâ?Â Call of DutyÂ will still sell millions of copies to the millions that love that game (myself amongst them), and there are no shortage of other games like it if thatâs your sort of thing.
If you donât want to play a game like QuinnâsÂ Depression QuestÂ then, believe me, youâve gotÂ plentyÂ of other options out there. I havenât personally played the game because, as a systems guy, it doesnât interest me on a mechanical level. On a thematic level, though? Absolutely. Iâm a bipolar, anxious, OCD-driven person, and games that analyze any kind of mental syndrome are totally up my alley. So, eventually, Iâll give the game a try for that reason alone. Realistically, when I play games these days, itâs almost an afterthought. And I go to âcomfort gamesâ. Right now, Iâm playingÂ Diablo 3Â on my PS4. Iâve also playedÂ Diablo 3Â on PC/Mac and Xbox 360. And Iâm doing it again. Itâs just what helps me unwind. That, and whatever Vita/3DS game I play on the bus, are the games that I play right now.
My point here is that, no matter who are you, thereâs a game for you â if youâre a man. Now, I donât know the words to say what Iâm trying to say here, so I apologize if theyâre wrong, but: if youâre a woman looking for a AAA game experience that willÂ deliver the same sense of empowerment that a game likeÂ Call of DutyÂ does for million ofÂ males (and females, itâs not a black-and-white situation here)âŠ Youâre out of luck. Your best bet is AAA game thatâs gender-neutral. And thatâs horrible.
As a game developer, I make games that are important to me. Iâve made games about emotions likeÂ BalanceÂ (work/life balance),Â DoubtÂ (âŠ doubt), andÂ BrokenÂ (bad relationships). These were great for me at the time. For the most part, though, I really enjoy just making a variety of systemically-interesting games.Â StarhawkÂ was super interesting to workÂ on,Â Dragon AcademyÂ was a lot of fun,Â Cat vs. AliensÂ was my first officially-published âbabyâ, andÂ SPACE COLORSÂ was my second âbabyâ. I just enjoy making games. I have a tremendous amount of emotion attached to all of these games, but for the latter bunch, theyâre not my attempt to express any emotion, theyâre my attempt to express fun gameplay through different mechanics. And thatâs going to continue to beÂ myÂ contribution to the industry. Iâm a systems guy, and thatâs what most interests me about games.
So, when you attack people like Zoe Quinn orÂ Anita Sarkeesian, what youâre doing is reducing the number of voices that games get made by. Jenn Frank and Anita Sarkeesian may not be a game developers, but that doesnât mean theirÂ voices doesnât impact games. They do and theyÂ shouldÂ impact games. Theyâre just impacting the individual game developers who make games.
And hereâs the thing: all of those game developers â male or female â are people. They are people with personal lives divorced from their profession. They are people with their own problems and joys. The thing we all share is a love for games as a medium. This is not a left-leaning or right-leaning (which,Â somehow, inexplicably entered into this whole mess) issue. This is a person issue. And attacking people for making games or discussing games or analyzing games isÂ despicable act. Not only because itâs crude, rude, or unprofessional â though it is all of those things and more â but itâs completelyÂ irrelevant.
Engage the ideas. Take a moment and reflect on the arguments being made. If you disagree with them, figure out why, and attack the hell out of that argument with witty rhetoric and a sense of mad style.Thatâs what will further the industry and the medium. Thatâs constructive. And thatâs what humans should do.