With Donald Trump’s election to the White House, accusations are now being thrown around every which way by progressives seeking to blame anyone apart from themselves for America’s collective decision. Rather than looking inward, the media’s progressive left has turned once again towards the ever-reliable bogeyman of GamerGate.
Depending on who you ask, GamerGate could be described as completely ineffectual, responsible for Trump’s ascent, literally worse than ISIS, the greatest threat to women on the Internet, or deader and more irrelevant than it ever was since its stillbirth in late 2014. In short, it’s anything and everything you want it to be — a strawman for millennial social justice warriors.
Some of those slinging virtual Molotov cocktails at the wicker man argue that gamers aren’t responsible for themselves. No — they argue — it is the games that they play that cause them to support Donald Trump.
“For decades, developers have focused on making games fun. It’s about time we started working toward other kinds of emotional responses than instant gratification,” argues Tim Gruver for the Daily UW. “Games like ‘Gone Home’ and ‘Papers, Please’ have spoken up for LGBTQIA+ communities and immigration reform. Games can teach, debate, and argue points rather than just entertain. And that need can directly translate to gamer culture at large.”
“Games have the chance to create disarming experiences that disassemble our worlds and tell truths,” says Gruver.
But only if the truths are consistent with the approved SJW narrative, I suppose. When games allow players to make their own moral choices, someone is bound to have a hissy fit.
On GamesIndustry.biz, the site’s Editor-in-Chief James Brightman claims that a segment of the gaming population—one that he equates to GamerGate supporters—does not want to see any games being made that aren’t traditional Hollywood-budget shooters. Worse still, he claims that the games and the culture surrounding them are inextricably tied to the “exclusionary thinking” he says gamers exhibit towards certain kinds of games.
“That’s just faulty thinking – the Call of Dutys and Battlefields and so on will still be made,” argues Brightman against an imaginary foe. “And to demand that other types of games for people who aren’t ‘gamers’ not be made is flat out exclusionary and wrong.”
“And that’s just it, isn’t it? The same undercurrent in society that produced Gamergate, the alt-right movement, Brexit and now a Trump election (bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, religious persecution, fear mongering, etc.) are what led to exclusionary thinking in the game-playing populace,” adds Brightman. “’How dare you change my games?’ they’ll say. But they aren’t ‘your’ games; just because the industry has catered to the 18-34 white male audience over the last two decades doesn’t give you some special claim to the medium. Just like movies, books and TV, games are for everyone.”
Thank you for that wonderful bit of virtue signaling.
Most gamers have no problem seeing the market grow with the release of titles that aren’t military-themed shooters. Some of the most popular games out right now include Rocket League, RimWorld, Stardew Valley, Planet Coaster and Civilization VI, and a host of other titles that don’t fall easily within the small box Brightman describes. And titles like Pokémon Sun & Moon and a new Phoenix Wright are at the top of everyone’s Christmas wishlists.
Games are already for everyone, but judging from what Brightman wrote, he’d be happier if games were no longer made for those who play them the most.
The idea that everyone’s only interested in playing Call of Duty is a fantasy that exists only in the minds of game journalists unable to hide their disdain towards their audience. What’s certain is that the only people who have a real problem with certain types of games are not gamers, who are blessed to have such a wide variety of experiences to choose from.
You can’t help liking what you like. When the argument put forth by Brightman, Gruver and so many others are taken to its logical conclusion, it falls to game developers to create the kinds of titles that push their viewpoints because no one will willingly play them if there is any other choice. We can only speculate on what will happen to those who refuse to comply with the fun police.
Much as Wasteland 3 game developer Brian Fargo said in my interview with him, game developers are here to entertain people, not change the world. Creators are under no obligation to promote any social or political agendas, and they sure as hell shouldn’t be shamed into doing so.