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Misogyny in videogames

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
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Post 07 Oct 2014, 21:40
Obscure?!?! You clearly didn't own a Commodore 64 back then...


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Post 07 Oct 2014, 21:43
Che Burashka wrote:
Obscure?!?! You clearly didn't own a Commodore 64 back then...

I've never even seen one.
I was born in the last days of the SNES/Genesis era. I know some of those games. My cousin had The Lion King, Aladdin, Castle of Illusion, and Sonic 1-3 on Genesis. I loved those. But, I'm an N64/Playstation/Dreamcast baby, mostly.
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 07 Oct 2014, 22:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 05:23
Can we please get this topic split?

Conscript wrote:
Wow, I never realized how much your politics sucked. I guess it's because you never talked about it at all. I can see why you never venture outside Mir.
And I never quite realized what a nasty little judgemental piece of work you could be.

Conscript wrote:
I don't even see any SJWs around here. I see someone who mentioned gender, and an explosion of reaction ensues.
Clearly she expected a controversy:

MissStrangelove wrote:
I completely expected controversy, because as you can see here, this gets y'all's panties in a knot.
Feigning surprise too?

Conscript wrote:
Ultimately, SE is a USSR history discussion forum, not a communist forum proper. So we get social conservative cretins and Soviet patriots. Hooray.
So what are you even doing here again if we're all such reactionaries? You obviously don't care for the opinions expressed here and you're not converting anybody

Conscript wrote:
Ironically shig, you and others seem to have taken your own advice already. Why do they need to get lost when you already have?
So because I don't inflict my opinions on every single bloody topic that comes along you want to attack me for that? Do you even know why you're angry?

Conscript wrote:
All this reminds me why I started going to revleft in the first place. But they're on the other end of spectrum, bubble-wise.
Why don't you just post a blog where we can bask in your genius and then "like" and "reblog" your posts? That way you'll be able to ban anybody who looks at you sideways too.

Conscript wrote:
Also, I don't think we should. It'd showcase how some of our older members can be, and reinforce SE's, well, stigma.
My god! The smug self-righteousness. Do we embarrass you in front of your SJW friends.


Anyway that's all bullshit. I try not to respond to provocation, but you went a bit far for me to just ignore it.

Getting back to what I quoted earlier:
MissStrangelove wrote:
I completely expected controversy, because as you can see here, this gets y'all's panties in a knot.
Why didn't you just post this in a new topic if the reaction was anticipated?

Before I say anything else I want to make something very clear:

There are valid criticisms of games that can be made on the basis of gender. Framing any criticisms of Anita or that other girl as automatically misogynistic is a big strawman which I see time and time again. It gives me some serious doubts about the people who keep raising objections like that.


Having said that...

MissStrangelove wrote:
Dismissing that as just being "an SJW" and "a concern troll" is essentially shutting down talk of gender in the industry. Denying a problem exists, with an ad hominem, lumping everyone talking about it together under a slur.
This is pretty typical of SJW sophistry. I didn't go into any detail in my earlier comment because this wasn't the thread for it and I was hoping SE might be spared this stupid topic.

"Essentially"

I've notice this little rhetorical trick that's often used where they will say something like "so essentially you just hate women" or "basically you just want to eat live babies" or some other incredibly stupid reduction of an idea. Why use them? There are valid points and valid arguments - you don't need weak sophistries like these to make your case. If you weren't simplifying things to the point of ridiculousness much of your opposition would mostly vanish. Saying "Anita is wrong about X and Y" isn't "essentially saying Anita is wrong about everything".

I'm not defending sexism in gaming. It exists, but it's not a structural thing - it's a manifestation of the dominant culture which is a hell of a lot less hostile to women than it was a generation ago. It's not resolved by any means, but I think looking at video games as though they are causing it is incredibly simplistic. Are you sure you want a gaming medium where you are only allowed to do politically correct actions, because a critical system of gaming which is based in a very particular morality seems like a dreadful idea to me.

My big objection to Anita is that I just don't think she's very good at what she's doing. Generating controversy and page-views for certain sites might be one metric of success, but if gender imbalance in games is the main concern I'm not so sure. Personally I don't think Ms. Anita gives a shit about gaming. She came in with her theory (and her predetermined conclusions) and has cherry picked heavily to make her points. Surely for a serious topic like this they could at least get somebody who knows something about games and doesn't shamelessly cherry-pick. The problem is that Ms. Sarkiesian was the first to get widespread attention on the topic and so people mistakenly assume that because there are gender issues in games that she must necessarily be in the right on all points and that people could only disagree for misogynistic reasons. Rather than analysing these issues in a serious manner, we got somebody who managed to get on the crest of a wave of a popular topic and is now riding it to the bank with some very low-effort content. The fact that her financiers aren't out for her too (for doing such an amateur job) is pretty sad. I know they're keen to get the topic moving forward, but with a better spokesperson I don't think the topic would have met a fraction of the resistance it has. There's no real insight in her work. She knows some jargon and is just applying it to some of the more obvious material (which she frequently resorts to misconstruing) to make her case. The whole gaming as a misogynist institution is a very forced idea in any case. It's a medium and a lot of the emphasis on modern gaming is in giving people options. The fact that the mechanics of a game mean that you can kill female NPCs doesn't mean it's being endorsed as real life activity.

The "damsels in distress" trope is just lazy writing. It's a timeless story device and it gives the gamer a reason to go and do X,Y and Z. As the medium develops more attention will be paid to the narrative, but it's well down on the list of things that are essential to a good game. It's a luxury item which some genres cater for, but that's the same in other entertainment medium. Making it into some great misogynistic pattern just seems to show a fundamental lack of understanding of how games work and how the medium developed - which is basically where much of Ms. Sarkiesian's criticisms are at. I don't know how many of you have studied literary theory, but it's all incredibly easy to grab some texts, apply your pet theory, throw around some jargon and hey presto you've got a conclusive thesis for why games are misogynistic or Hollywood movies are the tools of the US industrial military complex or why horror fiction is deeply rooted in Western Colonialism. ... and so on. The thing is ... it's partly true, but you still have to use some critical thinking. Of course it's even easier still to make your case if you only look at the parts which support it. Just because there are misogynistic elements to the dominant culture, it doesn't make it all misogyny. As far as these sandbox games examples go .. if I give you a brick (presumably to build a house with) and instead you use it to bash some woman's head in, it's probably not the brick (or the person that gave it to you) that's at fault. What she's doing is undergraduate level work and I'd barely pass her let alone pay her tens of thousands of dollars for that low quality content she produces.

This SJW phenomenon is a social trend which needs to be fought tooth and nail, because it's intellectual cancer. Don't let the fact that some of their base premises sound worthwhile fool you into thinking this is a progressive movement. Don't let people off with lazy arguments whether you agree with them or not. Criticizing Anita isn't misogynistic. Criticizing her because she is a woman is, but a lot of people aren't doing that. Anita's defenders don't seem to be listening and I just don't get it. If the issue is really more important than the fight it might be worth listening a little sometimes too. Occupy failed and I doubt we'll see another chance like it in the foreseeable future. Why you would let the same tactics that compromised Occupy sabotage the feminist movement is something I don't understand.

So now we've got this whole stupid fight because certain people on the internet need trivial things to be outraged over (as if the world hasn't got plenty of enough misunderstandings already). The internet isn't conducive to serious discussions when the amount of time one has on their hands carries more weight than actual thought or education. SE has been pretty lucky to avoid the worst of this toxic dumbing down culture that things like upvotes, reblogs, likes and thanks all perpetuate, because when you look at the places that use those kinds of measurements it's atrocious and getting rapidly worse.

Anyway I've said more than enough. I don't really come here to argue (but that's a problem now too apparently) and I've already lost my post more than once (hence the chaotic nature of this post) so I'll just leave it at that.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 06:38
No thanks for defending you old man? I am shocked. I repeat: shocked.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 08:22
Dagoth Ur wrote:
No thanks for defending you old man? I am shocked. I repeat: shocked.
Sorry Dags. It slipped my mind to say something in the midst of that monologue, but I did notice.


I know we don't agree on lots of stuff, but I think it's cool that we can be civil about it.

That's one of the reasons I didn't really want to have this topic in here: I didn't want to fight in the middle of a nice light topic where we usually just share info about the cool games we like playing.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 10:56
When all's said and done, no matter what the argument is or what the reason any one of us thinks is behind this or that in regards to the topic at hand, all MissStrangelove is saying is that she'd like more and better female roles in the media. I can't see why anyone would be against that, much less why heterosexual males would be against it. As far as I understand it, nobody is against it including the people who are debating her.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 14:13
Shig, imo you completely invalidate your argument throwing around SJW and 'concern trolls' (which by no means killed occupy, that's hilariously stupid and just evidences the massive amount of butthurt that discussions of sexism in gaming provoke in you). Neither anyone here, nor on revleft, nor any red that cares about sexism et al is a 'SJW'. You have no argument except some kind of guilt by association with perceived excesses (of non-Marxists no less), shaming if you will. As a red, I'd expect you to know how that feels.

You even go on to imply I should be on tumblr. You're obviously not here to debate, but to express your emotional position and defend your little identity, to 'represent' something you intrinsically know. You tell us how you have 'serious doubts' and point out something irrelevant like Anita's gaming credentials. There is no discussion here, just a little social conflict some male members eagerly took the gauntlet up for. Some more than others.

Which is why I am here. To call out simple reaction as I see it, as SE has plenty of it and I like to do so. I've been through this sort of thing plenty of times with 'ultra-leftism', now it's 'SJW'. SE has a tendency to label what it doesn't like as a means of enforcing some social homogeneity. This shit with SJW is a carbon copy of the discussions I had on here on the dissolution of borders, Stalin, the nature of the USSR (particularly during GPW), and immigration.

Accordingly, SE is basically allergic to anyone who isn't a typical stalinist of some sort. This is probably why people like Yami are the way they are, and we attract questionable individuals with questionable ideas.

In that respect, I've found SE disturbingly close to left nationalist forums, both in this and just your political similarities.

Your assertion is that missstrangelove is an SJW because she...expected controversy? With people like you who feign fence-sitting and label everyone else 'SJW', that's just given. I can easily imagine in some cultural revolution under a communist society, half the people here would be on the wrong side of history.

I recommend this 'debate' be ended, not even split because it is just manifesting as a pointless, egoist schism. I'm sure any actual SJW would know better than to waste their time here, I think everyone knows why. This is SE (which can be homogeneous), and it is hibernating, you guys just want to chill in Mir, right? I can sympathize a little, and obviously nothing is getting done here. So for the sake of peoples' time and blood pressure, can we just delete these posts and walk away?
Last edited by Conscript on 08 Oct 2014, 14:23, edited 4 times in total.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 14:19
Cultural revolution? Conscript, you're beginning to sound like Chairman Bob.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 15:16
For the record, I completely agree with Conscript's post. Maybe not the digs at social conservatives, I could be considered a "left-nationalist" too, but the description of the debate itself.

Shigalyov wrote:
Why didn't you just post this in a new topic if the reaction was anticipated?

I expected objections, it's a very controversial issue (for some reason). I didn't expect a humongous debate on it, because it's also not a pressing one. And it related to gaming. So, I posted it there.

Quote:
There are valid criticisms of games that can be made on the basis of gender. Framing any criticisms of Anita or that other girl as automatically misogynistic is a big strawman which I see time and time again.

Which also isn't a claim I've made, and I haven't seen it made by anyone else in this thread either.

Quote:
I've notice this little rhetorical trick that's often used where they will say something like "so essentially you just hate women" or "basically you just want to eat live babies" or some other incredibly stupid reduction of an idea.

Except I said neither. I said that by lumping everyone talking about the subject under the "SJW"/"concern troll" banner, that's effectively shutting down the discussion. Because anyone mentioning it is just an SJW, not worth listening to.

Quote:
Why use them? There are valid points and valid arguments - you don't need weak sophistries like these to make your case. If you weren't simplifying things to the point of ridiculousness much of your opposition would mostly vanish. Saying "Anita is wrong about X and Y" isn't "essentially saying Anita is wrong about everything".

Again, that's a strawman and some lame attempt to grab the high ground. What I'm seeing is not "Anita is wrong about X and Y specific things." That would be a reasonable criticism, and we could have a decent debate then. I'd probably agree that she overstates her case in some areas, I just think the overall thrust of her critique is valid. What I'm seeing is "SJWs! Concern trolls!" That's an emotional freak-out, and an entirely different reaction.

Your post is calmer in that area than most of the others in this debate, but that's where the bulk of these replies have come from.

And sorry for not being hyper-literal. When I say "essentially," it's a polite way of saying "yeah, that's what's happening."

Quote:
I'm not defending sexism in gaming. It exists, but it's not a structural thing - it's a manifestation of the dominant culture which is a hell of a lot less hostile to women than it was a generation ago. It's not resolved by any means, but I think looking at video games as though they are causing it is incredibly simplistic. Are you sure you want a gaming medium where you are only allowed to do politically correct actions, because a critical system of gaming which is based in a very particular morality seems like a dreadful idea to me.

Nope, and absolutely nobody's advocating for that either. What people want is a gaming medium that's equal, fullstop. For instance, on the topic of sexual violence, I'm fine it with it being portrayed. Brushing it under the rug really isn't the answer. I just don't want it to be a throwaway that just fuels a character's story with no real concern for the victim. If anything, all that does is flesh out the story more.

For the record, I actually agree with the first part of that. And I've always reiterated that sexism's manifestation in gaming is a symptom, not really the cause. Though it does reinforce it, like any form of media does, because we don't exist in some isolated bubble. Cultural depictions influence, are influenced by, and further solidify what a given society's norms are.

Quote:
The fact that the mechanics of a game mean that you can kill female NPCs doesn't mean it's being endorsed as real life activity.

That's kind of an oversimplification of her critique. She's not arguing gaming developers actually want you to kill prostitutes in real life, but that implicitly encouraging it in a game can have a negative impact on someone's view of women. She'd probably argue it's endorsed in being implicitly encouraged, by encouragement towards exploration of what the developers have programmed in.

Quote:
The "damsels in distress" trope is just lazy writing. It's a timeless story device and it gives the gamer a reason to go and do X,Y and Z.

Agreed. The issue comes when it's so common and, meanwhile, "guy in distress" is just a joke. Then the messages it reinforces just frankly aren't good. Because "women are helpless" has long been a sadly common social attitude, that this reinforces.

Quote:
Making it into some great misogynistic pattern just seems to show a fundamental lack of understanding of how games work and how the medium developed - which is basically where much of Ms. Sarkiesian's criticisms are at.

That's the intentionalist fallacy. It doesn't matter what game writers personally wanted in using the trope. And you'd be hard-pressed to convince me it's part of some sexist conspiracy; nobody's saying it is. What it does do is display and reinforce a prevailing cultural bias. We're all products of our time, game writers included, and letting cultural norms stagnate there keeps oppressive institutions intact.

Quote:
Hollywood movies are the tools of the US industrial military complex

For the record, the Pentagon's actually on record as providing funding for quite a few action movies, because they need their equipment. And many others reinforce chauvinistic tropes that benefit American militarism like "the evil Russian," "the evil Arab," etc. So I'd agree with that one too.

Quote:
Just because there are misogynistic elements to the dominant culture, it doesn't make it all misogyny.

Shifting goalposts. Nobody said it's "all misogyny." People are saying there are heavy misogynistic elements in the medium, because there are heavy misogynistic elements in the culture. That's it.

Quote:
As far as these sandbox games examples go .. if I give you a brick (presumably to build a house with) and instead you use it to bash some woman's head in, it's probably not the brick (or the person that gave it to you) that's at fault.

Except the game encourages you to explore, and that's built into the game. So, for instance, killing prostitutes in GTA can't be boiled down to "personal choice" when it outright gives you money you can use for body armor or better guns, when a huge chunk of the game is seeing everything the developers decided to put in, and when the potential punishment is a chase that just adds to the fun.

Hopefully that's the end of this debate though.
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 08 Oct 2014, 23:43, edited 10 times in total.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 15:49
Comrade Gulper wrote:
Cultural revolution? Conscript, you're beginning to sound like Chairman Bob.


Really?
If anything I was shooting for Mao...

So...no cultural revolution? No sweeping social change? No 'we won't recognize communist society'? D:
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 16:04
Conscript wrote:
In that respect, I've found SE disturbingly close to left nationalist forums, both in this and just your political similarities.

Is this supposed to be a bad thing?


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Post 08 Oct 2014, 16:33
Oh will you look at this! I'm the opening poster to this topic.
I just remembered that I've never opened up a new topic on Soviet Empire before.
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Post 08 Oct 2014, 16:42
The thread has been split. Now let's remember we're outside Mir. So please, keep a higher standard in discussion.


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Post 09 Oct 2014, 15:49
I'll get to MissS's posts later, but I wanted to respond to Conscript first:

Conscript wrote:
Wow, I never realized how much your politics sucked. I guess it's because you never talked about it at all. I can see why you never venture outside Mir.

Loz was right about SE. I find this place has become like a club of old regulars who discuss nothing and act as reactionaries to wider internet trends while hiding in a bubble (and a bubble within that one, Mir). It doesn't surprise me at all the 'stalinist hub of the net' has such an issue with 'SJWs'. It's a culture thing, and SJW's aren't 'eastern' and have no precedence in the USSR whatsoever. Which is why the farthest this forum gets to a left-right divide is on stalin and trotsky, it's already a precedent. The worst part about it, I don't even see any SJWs around here. I see someone who mentioned gender, and an explosion of reaction ensues.

Ultimately, SE is a USSR history discussion forum, not a communist forum proper. So we get social conservative cretins and Soviet patriots. Hooray.

Ironically shig, you and others seem to have taken your own advice already. Why do they need to get lost when you already have?

All this reminds me why I started going to revleft in the first place. But they're on the other end of spectrum, bubble-wise.


Conscript wrote:
Shig, imo you completely invalidate your argument throwing around SJW and 'concern trolls' (which by no means killed occupy, that's hilariously stupid and just evidences the massive amount of butthurt that discussions of sexism in gaming provoke in you). Neither anyone here, nor on revleft, nor any red that cares about sexism et al is a 'SJW'. You have no argument except some kind of guilt by association with perceived excesses (of non-Marxists no less), shaming if you will. As a red, I'd expect you to know how that feels.

You even go on to imply I should be on tumblr. You're obviously not here to debate, but to express your emotional position and defend your little identity, to 'represent' something you intrinsically know. You tell us how you have 'serious doubts' and point out something irrelevant like Anita's gaming credentials. There is no discussion here, just a little social conflict some male members eagerly took the gauntlet up for. Some more than others.

Which is why I am here. To call out simple reaction as I see it, as SE has plenty of it and I like to do so. I've been through this sort of thing plenty of times with 'ultra-leftism', now it's 'SJW'. SE has a tendency to label what it doesn't like as a means of enforcing some social homogeneity. This shit with SJW is a carbon copy of the discussions I had on here on the dissolution of borders, Stalin, the nature of the USSR (particularly during GPW), and immigration.

Accordingly, SE is basically allergic to anyone who isn't a typical stalinist of some sort. This is probably why people like Yami are the way they are, and we attract questionable individuals with questionable ideas.

In that respect, I've found SE disturbingly close to left nationalist forums, both in this and just your political similarities.

Your assertion is that missstrangelove is an SJW because she...expected controversy? With people like you who feign fence-sitting and label everyone else 'SJW', that's just given. I can easily imagine in some cultural revolution under a communist society, half the people here would be on the wrong side of history.

I recommend this 'debate' be ended, not even split because it is just manifesting as a pointless, egoist schism. I'm sure any actual SJW would know better than to waste their time here, I think everyone knows why. This is SE (which can be homogeneous), and it is hibernating, you guys just want to chill in Mir, right? I can sympathize a little, and obviously nothing is getting done here. So for the sake of peoples' time and blood pressure, can we just delete these posts and walk away?


As far as the quality of SE is concerned, all I can say is, be the change you want to see in the world. We are now posting in a 4-page "serious business" discussion (even if the subject, games, is trivial) that was split off from Mir, so I guess people don't "just want to chill in Mir". This is a forum without any "political" direction, so the subjects discussed are pretty much what people decide is important on any given day, and any individual or small group of members could influence this if they made some effort.

Admittedly, I don't start many threads in Current Events or some of the other top forums, because I already get to discuss the latest news with other people. I often post new stuff in the "Communist Parties" forum, which has my special interest because of my own party activities, but usually it's just crickets chirping there. I'm not seeing people adding much there beyond that the CPUSA sucks, and I sometimes wonder what other people are doing in real life.

I think it's a mischaracterisation to say that this is some kind of old left/new left, Stalinist/Anti-stalinist, conservative/progressive or east/west thing. I'm 25 and from a firmly western country, and I don't identify with all the social media activist stuff either. It's not only a non-entity in the former USSR, but also over here, even in my relatively liberal university. If I told people I know that I'm discussing this on a website called "Soviet Empire", they would probably wonder if everything is OK with me.

Shig can speak for himself, but I for one don't think you or MissS are "SJWs", if only because I think SJW is just a pointless internet insult that has apparently been reclaimed by some of the people it's aimed at. I can find SJWs on my computer, but as soon as I walk outside of my door, SJWs simply don't exist. It's just a convenient label for social media users "fighting" for justice for women, blacks, gays, transsexuals, etc. So I wouldn't use it as an insult against anyone here, but I would also advice people just ignore it when someone else does it, since it has no bearing on who they really are.
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Post 30 Oct 2014, 14:35
I am of the age where I remember the whole Gerstmann affair over at Gamespot. It's quite miraculous that there wasn't any call for some kind of campaign to push for journalistic integrity, transparency and honesty across the already entrenched "gamer community" over an actually gross buying and selling of opinions that were as endemic across the whole industry as they still are now.
This Gamergate thing is quite a strange thing that just seems to me to be a lad's club feeling threatened because allowing women in diminishes the uniqueness of their consumerist clique, as the rise of casual games on android and apple devices has overwhelmingly shifted the make-up of the "gamer" demographic to not being the all-boys club it was, and this new influx of women has found itself beset upon by women who are saying that ethics in gaming goes waaaay beyond the (eternally incestuous) relationship of publisher and journalists, and sadly has com to a head with people throwing their toys out of the pram and threatening women who they accuse of spoiling their party.

Pic related, Amiga Power in September 1995 has a lovely article on the lack of ethics in the industry:

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