“Actually, it's about ethics in game journalism.”

Saad Hasan, you’re a symbol for everything. Or something.



Remember when we just played games and didn’t give two shits about anything anyone wrote about them?


You can have a perfectly adequate theoretical understanding of ethics even if you are a terrible person, it’s mostly a cognitive effort rather than something you need to live in order to know. You can even have a rigorously applied set of ethical habits and a high ethical tone in one area; but be a terrible excuse for a human being elsewhere. This does tend to give ammunition to your opponents; but there’s nothing intrinsically contradictory.

On the other hand, what is contradictory in itself, in addition to giving ammunition to your opponents, is selective application of whatever ethical critique you are allegedly concerned about. In the case of ‘gamergate’ they are allegedly oh-so-wounded by the low standards of journalistic integrity in the gaming press.

However, this has mysteriously resulted in a few bloggers, some indie devs, and a pretty alarming number of people who had the temerity to be female and have an opinion, being torn apart by the mob; despite the fact that the total market value of all the indie games involved and all the blogs involved might, what, pay for a single TV spot for Medal of Halo: Gears of Honor Assault 3?

The ad spend for a single AAA title dwarfs the worth of all these targets combined(and has…been known to influence…not always openly…upstanding game journalism institutions), and you are harassing some indie devs and a totally unrelated person who did a kickstarter to fund a feminist critique of gaming tropes?

That blatantly uneven application of the ostensible concern certainly does suggest that it is simply covering for a different matter entirely.


Honestly, no.

In the early console era, games cost a small fortune (often not much less than current console releases; but in 1985-90ish dollars, plus I was younger then). The PC side was a little better; but without ye ubiquitous internets you didn’t just go download the demo or hit youtube for a Lets Play.

Why, sonny, you subscribed to a paper magazine, the kind of blog that arrives in the mail once a month, and you read the reviews, and the columns, and played the heck out of the demos on the CD included in the package. And don’t forget the vicious battles for supremacy between owners of different consoles, each emotionally invested in the superiority of the games available on theirs. Serious business.

Now, I’m still baffled by the current occurrence, and don’t understand what the hell managed to keep a nucleus of trolls attached to one issue for so long; but reading about games used to be a much larger part of the process back when the MSRP was high, there weren’t enormous back-catalogs for immediate download and knockdown prices, and other sources of buying guidance were limited.


And the talent agent asks, “What do you call your act?”

And the family replied, “It’s about ethics in gaming journalism.”

Via @dylanw on Twitter


Ahh yes, those halcyon days when we all normalized death threats.

1 Like

I realize this is possible, there is even a special term for it, hypocrite. My point was mainly that it is a dubious pointless stance and proposition. You can’t have any meaningful ethics conversation “talking out of the side of your mouth” as the saying goes. They are actually undermining their own position, regardless of validity, by being worse then the thing they are condemning. At least that is my take and what i was alluding too.

1 Like

You seem like you have a really strong opinion of the subject and a strong grasp of English. Could you give a timeline, or fact based narrative and what #gamergate is? As far as I can tell, a guy broke up with his gf, this started gamergate, which was suppose to be about ethics in videogame journalism, and then some how it became feed the trolls like water boarding Mogwai, attack women to the point that they are afraid to say “I am a girl gamer”. …It seems like asking this honest question on a parody thread would less the chance of me being eaten alive.

Ant head closeup” by Steve Jurvetson - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/70704300. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


basically, this:



Games journalism is awful and has been for a decade.

If that’s the best cause you can find, try again. Hell, pick anything else.



The relatively short of it is:
Angry ex-BF posts screed against his ex, claiming among other things his ex slept with a games journalist for good reviews. Some of the places where he posted was 4chan and Reddit, where some boards have a strong misogynist contingent. Turned out to be false, but they didn’t turn on him for lying (we’re happy to be your personal army). There was a woman to harass so they went looking for other excuses to continue bashing Zoe Quinn. The journalist who was supposedly bribeable and thus in breach of “ethics in game journalism” got only a fraction of the poop flung at Zoe. In fact they named this Quinnspiracy after her instead of Journospiracy or something.

Soon enough there was a backlash, with people calling Zoe a victim of misogynists. This upset them so they hit back at critics with the same kind of poo they had thrown at Zoe. They also tried to whitewash their actions by organizing under the hashtag #GamerGate. GG is supposedly about fighting “corruption” but funnily enough they spend far more time fighting those who speak out against them. In fact, when you visit the places where the gamergaters hang out they always talk about it as a struggle against Social Justice Warriors (read: feminist voices in gaming and their defenders). Strange, they never mention that part to outsiders who ask what it’s all about.

Of course, when people call GG out for the movement it is, then the gaters call their opponents liars. Lying is of course unethical and presto, now they can twist “it is about ethics in gaming journalism” into “against anybody speaking out against us”. Say something negative about GG and you get branded a SJW and they’ll throw virtual poo at you and will boycott your site or business. For good measure they’ll also contact advertisers to try and get them to withdraw from sites hostile to GG. All in all very nice people.

So now you know why they tell outsiders that #GamerGate is actually a consumer movement against unethical media, using boycotts and debate as their tools to instigate reform.


I’m honestly too baffled to provide a terribly cogent analysis (I knew that the internet was full of terrible people; but their attention span has exceeded my estimates by a substantial margin); but my understanding is that it went something like this:

  1. A guy(Eron Gjoni) wrote an unpleasant post-breakup blog post about his ex, (Zoe Quinn, dev of Depression Quest and otherwise involved in indie game related stuff).

  2. Either in that post, or in the torrent of vitriol, account compromises, and doxing thereafter, the allegation crystallizes that Quinn had used her relationship with a writer for Kotaku (Nathan Grayson) to improperly secure positive coverage and a favorable review of her game. The degree to which this is described in ‘journalist probably shouldn’t be in charge of reviewing his girlfriend’s game’ and to which it more fits the ‘Quinn was whoring for access!’…depends on the speaker and the audience…

  3. Objective reality butts in, and Kotaku reports that Grayson had only written a single article involving Quinn, and done so some time before they were other than professionally acquainted; and that he had never written any reviews of her games. Despite this rude interruption, ‘ethics in game journalism’ is cemented as the alleged cause.

At this point, I can provide no further information because I have no idea how it maintained momentum; or how the anti-Sarkeesian campaign and shooting threats were somehow related, and so on. I’m not sure if there’s a cabal of highly skilled trolls playing it for the lulz, a bunch of neckbeards and halo bros who think that ‘feminists’ are about to seize power and ban video games, or what.



Oh come on. In the halcyon days when noone gave a crap about who wrote the games there were no death threats for game developers because noone gave a crap about who wrote the games (they were guys).


I just made this very joke on Facebook. No one’s gotten it yet.