[UPDATE] There are recent threats aimed at Felicia Day according to Kotaku (http://kotaku.com/felicia-day-and-gamergate-this-is-what-happens-now-1650544129). For those not familiar with Felicia, she voiced Veronica Santangelo in Fallout:New Vegas. Felicia did an amazing job in bringing Veronica character’s to life in the game. Back in my time, gaming girls were a rarity and I welcome that the gaming community opened up to them during the last decade. What happened to our good old males gentleman manner and chivalry? Girls earned their respect and can be fierce competitors. They can also bring a huge creativity breath into the industry. Because before it is a game, it is a story told and the most amazing games are those with a solid and engaging story line.
I have been watching from far away the “Gamersgate” scandal and some feminists as Anita Sarkeesian but the decent allegations of death threats let me sat down and think: whats wrong with today gamers?
I have been gaming since I was 3. Yep, i am an old man in this aspect, I got my stars on an Atari 2600. Back then, not much violence except blasting aliens, swallowing blue ghosts or blowing up tanks. I am still playing today and it is a nice way to share that passion with my son, now aged four. I grew up watching horror movies and animes that should have been for my age range. Anyone that grew in Latin Europe (France, Spain, Italy crescent) have been likely exposed to Space Adventure Cobra, Hokuto No Ken (Fist of The North Star) or Saint Seiya. Violence was in and yet had to reach video games. I did not mind and do mind violence in video games as long as it kept for people with a bit of common sense. Gaming was fun and exciting, and way to get with friends on rainy days.
Then the video games industry took a turn to high-profit system. The gaming experience has changed a lot and started to part ways. Now we have multi-millions games that are full of glitches, we have a pre-order system, we have to pay for all these little extras (as I refer to DLCs and custom packs) and also to get premium equipments. A small cut in your purse that let you bleed through. That I found really put a turn in the way I see gaming from a leisure to a business model. And that I believe helped to create a generation of “entitled” people that believe that the Internet “anonymity” is a great way to troll on things they consider going against their vision or opinions resulting in bashing.
And here comes some issues between a female-designed indie game, game sexism and death threat. One thing I can appreciate is the diversity and quality that some video games are capable to achieve. Look at “Fallout New Vegas” in which your actions decides on your karma and let you choose following the good or evil steps. It was also great in including LGBT characters in it (Veronica and Arcade Gannon) and really brought humanity in these characters that makes you see that LGBT people are like every other peoples. Or “Bioshock” series in which Brigid Tenenbaum, a female, plays the good character, as she asks you to save the little sisters.
Yes, hiding the fact that sexism in video games in a non-existent problem is wrong and I agree with some of comments pointed by Anita Sarkeesian. Yes, people that played on Atari 2600’s “Colonel Custer’s Revenge” will tell you that it was laughing at first then makes you think that raping the Native American was not a moral choice. But just restricting that sexism to video games is reductive and misguided. Videogames are a reflecting mirror of modern society. We incredibly live in a much more diverse society than 30 years ago and you can see it in any type of communication. We have reached one of the most evolved form of communication, in which an event happening somewhere is immediately tweeted and documented. Yet, we have some strong reactions from different sides. We see extremes gaining weights as people have fear. And some opt for violence to cope with their fear.
We have now a hyper masculine society in which sports like UFC and football in which we basically allow modern days gladiators to inflict themselves severe brain damage, resulting in severe cognitive and emotional dysfunction and have PR try to cover up in blame games. The recent events of some ex-MMA fighters beating their girlfriend up to death or with the use of pets is completely insane. Having some wannabe’s thugs getting into the Middle-East to let their folly running amok is insane too. Letting a whole population in Syria massacred because “it’s complicated” is insane as well. And threatening a person that has divergent point of view to death is no different from the psychopaths heralding a black flag as a cover for their madness.
Videogames learned us that fair-play is a mode of respect. And allowing people having divergent point of view is a form of respect too. Videogames can be a great way to learn and have novel teaching methods. If we can have kids have fun in learning by playing video games that would a great improvement.
Anita Sarkeesian has the right to condemn sexism. But if her argumentation is solely limited to decade-olds title and narrowed to this media, then she has to acknowledge her bias and have to englobe that the current culture of “twerking”, “fappening” and “boys be boys” is the major culprit and video games is just a reflection of that culture.
And for those trolls outside, that seems manned-up to send death threats to people by hiding behind the screen: Be a man, come out from your Man-cave and defend your argumentation publicly. Otherwise your death threat put you as low as the bearded roadside bandits that sacked my homeland.