The media have tried to make GamerGate a cut and dried issue about women in gaming and it simply isn’t. Sure Zoe Quinn is seen as the catalyst but really she was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I’ve pretty much stayed out of the argument except for voicing my support. Really male or female it doesn’t matter, if you’re a gamer we can probably be pals just off of that one shared interest. Game developers have been buying off reviewers, including Kotaku which is the site that started the whole fluster cluck, for years. This is not really news, that’s why most gamers don’t go by official reviews. We talk to each other, there is a kind of unspoken rule among gamers: You don’t knowingly steer someone in the direction of a bad game. You just don’t do it. Sure there are always a few assholes, but for the most part if another gamer tells you that they liked a game, then they probably liked it, but still, your mileage may vary. There are games that most people hate that I love (side note: I will defend Alpha Protocol to the death) and games that most people enjoy immensely that I can’t stand (Gears of War) it’s all opinion.
We all know the major events: the Zoe Quinn issue, Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian inserting themselves to drum up their own publicity things like that. I’m just going to give you the perspective of an average gamer. In this case ME.
As I’ve said, I pretty much stayed out of it mostly because I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I don’t care about the sex of the people who make my games. Male, Female, I don’t give a damn. Is the game good? Am I getting my money’s worth? Those are all I worry about. In the case of Quinn and Wu the answer is a loud, resounding NO.
Even Law and Order have gotten in on the GamerGate issue, although to be honest, the developer in that episode would have probably been on the GamerGate side in real life because as she said, she was only interested in making a good game. Wu and Quinn do not make good games, their sex has nothing to do with it. I’ve played Depression Quest (after this whole thing started I decided to see what the big deal was) IT SUCKED. Wu’s game (I can’t remember the title) was completely forgettable and was just like every other turn based IOS game ever made.
The last five games I’ve actively played were Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Watch Dogs, Grand Theft Auto V, Sniper Elite III, and Forza Horizon. One of the criticisms leveled at GamerGate is that it’s just a bunch of escapists. NO JOKE! Gamers are by their very definition escapists. Real life bores us, so we found a hobby that allows us to spend a few hours as someone else. While holding that controller we can become an OSS operative during WWII, a street racer, a member of an ancient secret order of assassins, a master computer hacker, or a professional bank robber, or any number of other things. We don’t care about the message that the developer is trying to send about right and wrong and this and that, we just want to enjoy being someone else for a few hours before real life goes back to kicking our asses.
This sounds like I’m downplaying the developers, but I’m really not. I love that they put in the hard work that they do to make these amazing worlds. The people behind GTAV did an amazing job in building a vibrant and almost real city for us to play in, and I am grateful to them for it. And the same goes for all the games I just listed and every other game that I’ve play and enjoyed. You guys do some great things. But for every great game, you’re always going to have seven mediocre to just plain bad ones. Just take a look at the Steam Store, eighty five percent of it is crap. There are still a lot of very good games in it, in fact I got steam specifically for two games: Final Fantasy VII and VIII. And have bough those and many other along with them. But I’ve had to wade through an ocean of bad games to find the good ones. I don’t mind doing that, and a mediocre developer can hone their craft to become a great one, but don’t tell me the shit smells like roses.
As long as the games are good, and I have fun playing them, I will be a gamer. If they stop being fun I’ll simply have to find another hobby. It’s that simple. I don’t read professional reviews, I talk to the players both in real life and on line and they have very seldom steered me wrong. I’ve only bought three games based on professional reviews: LA Noire, Crackdown, and Devil May Cry 3. I hated them all. The games I’ve bought based on my idea or other gamer’s recommendation may have been good or bad but the good has clearly outweighed the bad. I can think of a dozen games right off hand that have been recommended by a couple of my friends who work at a nearby GameStop that have been great: Alan Wake, Sleeping Dogs, Sniper Elite V2, Batman: Arkham Asylum… etc. And while I’m aware that they had professional reviews written about them, and they may have even been good reviews, I don’t know, I never read them.
Game reviews are supposed to serve the gamers, they are supposed to tell us whether or not a particular game is worth our time and money, but for the past several years, at least since the PS1-early PS2 era, they haven’t been trustworthy. Too many of them have been bought off by the developers, either through expensive gifts, like those reviewers who were “given” PS3s back when they cost about five hundred dollars, or through just plain cash, or even sex. Granted the Zoe Quinn thing was never proven, and it may not have even been a “sex for positive review” issue, but the implication is there, and that make any review of any of her games suspect.
Gamers have simply decided that we’ve had enough of it, we’re tired of being lied to by corrupt “reviewers” and developers who can’t be bothered to make their games fun or interesting. Quinn was the final straw, but the pack was loaded pretty heavy to start with.