It’s been a very interesting week, as far as the #GamerGate movement is concerned. A week of ups and downs. After experiencing what I perceive as its biggest high in WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange himself giving recognition to the movement and even issuing a challenge for bigger deeds, it also suffered the heaviest blow so far – the site considered by many to be the birthplace of the movement, 4chan, decided to censor any threads on the subject, following an intervention from its owner, Moot.
The struggle between gamers and SJWs has continued beyond the normal scope of such a conflict… Initially, I expected things to end within a couple of weeks to a month, and things to essentially go back more or less to the way they initially were, without a clear winner. I am still quite sure there will not be a clear winner, but one thing #GamerGate have achieved is to raise awareness on the issue. More and more people get involved, and the ones who will give it more than a minute to study the two sides of the conflict realise that things are far from black and white like the SJW side is trying to make them seem. And any person who even DOUBTS that SJWs are right by default I would classify as a small victory for our side. The recent revelation that certain game journalists from various sites participate in a closed Google group where they discuss how to coordinate their writing and, recently, their coverage of #GamerGate, has shown that gamers’ suspicions previously considered paranoid and even “tinfoil” have some merit.
We have some famous people like Adam Baldwin, Christina Sommers (a well-known feminist) and Milo Yiannopoulos (a right-wing British journalist) support us, but we’re falling relatively short on the game developer front, where most indies – be it through cronyism, fear of rejection by their peers, or through their own free judgement of the facts – have expressed support for our opponents (with some exceptions which have since been shunned from the indie scene), and even some bigger names like Tim Schaefer of Double Fine and Anthony Burch of Gearbox, and even Gearbox’s president, Randy Pitchford (although he deleted his controversial tweets later) have expressed disdain for gamers. David Jaffe is the most prominent #GamerGate supporter in the industry, having experienced pressure from SJWs first-hand. But most game companies ignore the scandal – in my view, simply refusing to take a side, lest it harm their business in some way.
The censorship of #GamerGate discussion has reached heights I never thought possible before… After the enormous achievement of getting The Escapist to update their journalistic policy to fall in line with our demands, and the fact that they allowed discussion to freely continue on their forums, there was the hit most of us never expected could happen – 4chan, the very place the movement started, banned all discussion on the issue, with the site’s owner, Moot, getting personally involved. Yesterday, on Saturday, September 20th 2014, The Escapist forums suffered DDoS attacks targeting specifically the #GamerGate thread. So much for SJWs being righteous… Clearly, they would resort to any means necessary to achieve their goal – stifling discussion over corruption in game journalism.
8chan already existed well before the 4chan crisis, but wasn’t particularly popular. I noticed the 4chan #GamerGate thread directing there for more in-depth discussion of the issue, as only a single thread was allowed on 4chan at the time. After Moot came down on #GamerGate, his mods purging the threads and banning the people involved, 8chan naturally became the place these people migrated to. With its promise of no censorship, of offering them what 4chan used to give them, but no longer does, the site attracted many. Furthermore, having read Moot’s ridiculous statement basically amounting to “I’ve decided to ban #GamerGate on 4chan, deal with it”, a lot of people who were never involved in #GamerGate felt something was badly broken high on the 4chan chain, and also left the site for 8chan.
8chan’s founder Hotwheels is a very interesting person, an extremely socially challenged individual due to his disability, and likely one you would expect to be the person SJWs would defend. Being a critically thinking individual, however, Hotwheels exposed SJWs fighting this war for what they really were, and sided with #GamerGate, offering the haven of his site to its supporters. His messages have been quite clear and unambiguous – he will run 8chan as a charity, much like Wikipedia, and will do all in his power to prevent censorship there. He has already refused buyout offers which quickly came once traffic from 4chan was redirected to his site. Here is a video about Hotwheels, which is unrelated to #GamerGate itself, but can give you an idea about the kind of man he is. Having faced problems similar to his first-hand in my family, I truly admire his courage and ability.
8chan is currently thriving, having grown tremendously in the last 2 days, and will only continue to grow. I don’t think Moot can reverse this process anymore even if he allowed #GamerGate discussion again. He has lost the trust of a very large number of 4chan’s critically thinking users beyond redemption.
On Monday, September 15th 2014, Julian Assange hosted an AMA (ask me anything) session on Reddit. A #GamerGate question about censorship somehow reached him, and he proceeded to blast Reddit for their censorship in a badass fashion quite fitting of his character. The essence of his words were the last two sentences: “We must fight to create new networks of freedom. The old and powerful always become corrupt.” How right that would be proven to be just a few days later, when Moot ordered #GamerGate threads purged from 4chan and users participating in them banned, destroying the one place gamers thought to be safest…
On the next day, September 16th 2014, the WikiLeaks account on Twitter posted the following:
This tweet, finished with the cheeky “Level up”, which translates to WikiLeaks essentially challenging us, gamers, to step beyond our comfort zones, beyond our video game bubble, and protest against corruption affecting much more than our favourite pastime, inspired me. Has not the fight truly grown to something beyond video games? As week after week passes, my concern that gamers and, more frighteningly, game developers are becoming the target of some kind of social engineering, the type of thing we see in modern society which is called “political correctness,” kept increasing.
By being labeled as “unacceptable,” as “not politically correct,” by creating an artificial pressure from “society” – although in reality it comes specifically from certain powerful groups, games would be forced to change. Game developers wouldn’t want to be associated with something negative, and thus they would have to change their creative process and consider these supposed issues as one of their TOP priorities when making a game. This would lead to a massive change in the medium – essentially, games would become drastically different from the way they have been since the 80s. I have explained at length before why such a change would affect games in a very negative way.
Games have become big… And the powers-that-be have become aware of that. This crusade to subdue the medium, to make it fall in line with the political agenda we’ve seen spread like a wildfire throughout the first world, is ultimately just one of many steps towards the destruction of critical thought and limiting the freedoms of the individual, so that individuals are easier to control. I am sure many of you have read 1984… Is the SJW belief system that they try to force on everyone not reminiscent of a ministry of truth, where any thoughts that don’t completely fall in line are persecuted? Their insistence on blanketing all #GamerGate supporters as “harassers” and “misogynists” clearly points in that direction. Some gamers are even suspecting involvement from as high up as DARPA in these events.
WHAT WE CAN DO
I already outlined this last time, but wars nowadays are mostly of financial nature, and fought on the market. The internet “warfare” between the two sides in this conflict will do nothing more than get more people involved (which is still a lot, don’t get me wrong). But the actual WEAPON we have at our disposal are our wallets! And that is the most important thing we can and must do – vote with our wallets. We must absolutely withdraw support from companies that have shown involvement with the SJWs’ side, such as Gearbox Software, Double Fine and Comcept (Mighty No.9 developer – if only Inafune knew what people he was getting involved with…). Of course, bigger players have been smart enough not to take a side, as they’d like to keep their business no matter which side “wins.” But we must hit hard against the ones who betrayed the ones who have supported them and their work with our money over the years – us. And we must continue to buy and support the games we like as usual. Our support means more such games will be made. SJWs’ failure to turn their ideas into actual market power will lead to their ultimate defeat despite their efforts to artificially change the products of the game industry.
It is clear that game and other sites which have attacked us must also face retribution – we should not visit them anymore, we should not give them our clicks. This will reduce their ad revenue and will ultimately put their future under a big question mark. Yes, we – the ones involved with #GamerGate and informed about the events in it – are far from the majority of internet users, and even gamer internet users. But we are MANY, we are LEGION. We WILL do SOME damage where it is deserved. On the other hand, we must support the outlets which have sided with us or at least allowed us to discuss the matter. Despite the SJW provocations, we must also continue to clearly condemn and prevent harassment to show the neutral observer our integrity. This is CRUCIAL because getting more people on our side – or at least getting them to understand the validity of our concerns – increases our ability.
We must realise what a big weight rests on our shoulders – whether we like it or not, due to the actions of our opponents, we are in the role of defending freedom of speech and fighting censorship. No matter how you slice it, #GamerGate supporters at large never wanted the opposition silenced, unlike SJWs. Will this translate into the real world at all? Can we live up to Assange’s challenge? Can the people fighting for transparency in video game journalism on the internet today actually challenge censorship and cronyism in the “real world”?
It is certainly much easier to post tweets and converse on boards on the internet than go out in the streets and protest against your government, but at least one battle on the grander scale has already been won – the one in our heads. Video games have taught us many things, they have helped hone our mental skills and shaped us as individuals, be it through stories focused on the universe and what it means to be human like Mass Effect and Xenogears, through the never-ending fight for virtue and justice, finished with no less than the utter defeat of the evil force tormenting the normal citizens, or simply through the fellowship and cooperation born from our joint efforts with other players in offline and online games alike. The #GamerGate conflict shows that we think critically, we challenge the information provided to us by others, we can identify problems not just in our video game bubble, but in society as a whole. Even if the “big and powerful become corrupt,” we are capable of quickly finding refuge elsewhere on this boundless internet – like the 8chan example has clearly demonstrated. And that is why, Mr. Assange, I can assure you – your words did not fall on deaf ears. We, the gamers, CAN change the world.