So – I’ve been doing a lot of reading – and – I’m not going to lie – I’m disturbed.   First, let me just say – I’ve grown up on games.  I’ve played most recognizable forms of games and frankly – I completely love every last damned one of them.  I’m not just an enthusiast – I’m a fan, a passionate aficionado, a student of them, the beneficiary of many life lessons from them and I’ve spent much of my life imagining and trying to create them.  It doesn’t matter whether you look at role-playing games, puzzle games, games of chance, typical table top board games, strategy games, multi user dungeons (MUDs), so-called god games – I love ’em all.  So – imagine my surprise when I started to read some of the insane things going on with…

#GamerGate

I can hardly contain myself but to say – WHAT THE HELL!  Look – I get it – #YourGirlfriendDumpsYouAndYouWantToTakeRevenge – because you are afraid that she has found someone better than you to be with and you look like a complete schmuck cause even your gamer geek girlfriend isn’t up for your shit.  NO, WAIT, #Idon’tgetit.  What kind of attitude is that to take toward someone you professed your undying love for last week.  As far as I can tell, that’s where it all begins.  Your girlfriend is creating a game – it might even be successful – so you start to – what – accuse her of sleeping with someone for a review (#ProvenBeyondAShadowOfADoubtToHaveNeverHappened – aka no review ever appeared – so it’s nonsense).  And then – through the miracle of the internet – aka #YourPublicDemonstrationThatYouCan’tKeepYourPrivateLifeInOrder (and perhaps your demonstration of an inspired maturity level) – your story becomes a #TrendingTopic around the world – but it morphs.  Shouldn’t you be apologizing just about now…  But let’s not even go into that.

#ActOne – Girl Dumps Boy

A #GirlGameDesigner creates a game – it’s a bit different from the average game in that it’s – well – created by a girl and therefore somehow unacceptable.  The game designer goes through a break up with someone.  The break up is bad.  #TheSomeone makes some false accusations.  The many many many #BoyzNMenWhoPlayGamesAndHaveTroubleWithGirls go berserko because they feel for #TheSomeone who was “stiffed” by “TheMan” in this case in the form of “TheWoman” aka #GirlGameDesigner.  Suddenly the false accusation becomes an #InternetMeme and the morphing begins.  #Gamergate is about gamers somehow paying for or sleeping around for reviews.  Cue #RighteousRage!  Craziness ensues.

#ActTwo – Internet Dumps On Girl

#BoyzNMenWhoPlayGamesAndHaveTroubleWithGirls condem #GirlGameDesigner for making a mockery of the noble profession of game design by paying for that marketing of her game by way of review via providing sexual favors.  When #GirlGameDesigner and others prove that in fact none of this review stuff ever happened – and when #WomenWhoSpeakUpForWomen speak up for #GirlGameDesigner – #BoyzNMenWhoPlayGamesAndHaveTroubleWithGirls begin to smell conspiracy – #WomenSupportWomen – and they are clearly all against #BoyzNMenWhoPlayGamesAndHaveTroubleWithGirls.  Cue #RighteousRageTwoDotZero!  More craziness ensues.  Doxing of address and personal information leads to…

#ActThree – Internet Threatens Girl’s Life & Others

Now that #WomenWhoSpeakUpForWomen speak up for #GirlGameDesigner and others are going through doxing – that fantastic and wonderful posting of one’s confidential information publicly on the internet so that #InternetTrolls can do all sorts of exciting things with the information – things start to get really REAL really FAST!  #GirlGameDesigner is forced to flee her home.  Other supporters who are also female from that conspiracy known as #WomenSupportWomen are also threatened.  Again – I say – #WhatTheHell – when did I start living in Iraq and who said ISIS could move in and take over my country?

I’m going to pause for a moment and say quit seriously –

THREATENING SOMEONE’S LIFE FOR ANY REASON IS AN ACT OF TERROR

– and frankly if people get hauled off to jail for doxing and threatening men, women or puppies through the internet – I won’t be a bit sad about it.

#ActFour – Let’s Change The Narrative – It’s About Truth In Reviews

But wait some #RighteousRager says – it’s about cheating and undermining the system of game reviewing.  #GAMERGATE is about the #GAMEREVIEWS.  You’re kidding right?  When someone’s life is put at risk – it’s certainly not about some stupid game review.  Yes, that game review might cause an extra 100K game players to play the game – but since when has game playing been about threatening someone’s life.  So, clearly, and to throw a quote out there from “Cool Hand Luke“:

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate

As several very smart writers out there have pointed out – there is a big ole pile of people who are really good at games working very hard to game the system, the media and really anything that will get them to the goal – by changing the narrative – by eviscerating the truth – and really – by doing what ever is necessary in any way possible – to maintain the status quo.  What status quo you say?  The status quo that a) girls don’t make games & that b) bloggers and journalists who write about games are paragons of all that is noble and holy in the world.  Hmmm….  Well that’s interesting – did this status quo ever exist in the first place?  This leads me to another quote from another cool movie (yes, I am a movie fanboy) – this time from “A Few Good Men“:

You can’t handle the truth!

Listen – and I’ll lay a few truths on you…

1. The first published paper broadside had advertisements that helped pay for the printing cost

2. The news has been sponsored by advertisers for years

3. History is written by the winners to the best liking of the winners

And as for the #SacredCow that girls shouldn’t design games…

Carol Shaw worked for Atari in 1978 and designed 3-D Tic Tac Toe

All of this in turn leads to…

#ActFive – Girls Design Games, Boys Design Games,

Reviewers Review

Look – at the end of the day, when we look back on this from the vantage of the future – we are going to feel really stupid that we let #GamerGate go this far.  Gaming has been a part of humanity for as long as there has been history.  I suspect that gaming will continue to be a part of history long after what I write here is lost even to the Internet – where nothing ever goes away.  We play games to learn to get along in the world – we play them to be entertained – we play them to socialize with others – and we will continue to play more and more of them as new classes of games are introduce to do things and enable things we can’t even imagine right now.

It get’s interesting to me when the virtual games on the internet, on our mobile devices, on our game consoles and on anything else they may find themselves start to become a part of our real world again.  It used to be that all gaming was physical – meaning that it took place in the real world using physical objects.  We have had our imaginations set free by the introduction of the digital world.  We have been given the opportunity to explore games that would have been impossible for us to play in the physical world.  This is what I love about the advent of the digital era.  And this is why I say – let’s be done with the status quo that wasn’t ever #StatusQuo to begin with.

So, let’s change the narrative one last time for #GamerGate and make it about opening the gate to the imagination and setting it free.  Women are welcome!  Men are welcome!  Reviewers are welcome.  Listen – this is what’s going to happen anyway…  The non-existent status quo is going to continue to non-exist and digital gaming is going to continue coming out of the closet – in other words – 48% of video games being played by females as we know today – might even become 50% or in a shocking turn of events – females might become the majority!!!! 🙂

#ActSix – #GamerGate – A Gateway To Imagination

gatewaytoimaginationYes – this place really exists – and it’s in Ireland.  Don’t you wish you could go through it?  I sure as hell do!  This is what I like best about all of the amazing ideas that are exploding out there today – I can see a future where I walk through a gate that’s not radically different from this one – and I get to step into another world – as digital reality starts to step into and merge physical reality.

And if some reviewer pans the game that first let’s me do it, or if they rave about it – who cares.  I’m going to play it whether a female created it or whether a male created it.  I’m going to play it because I’ve waited all my life to do so.  Won’t you come join me…at the #GamerGate…

~John-Michael Scott