The Gamer Identity Is Not Dead

Over the last few days, a number of websites including Kotaku, Polygon, Rock Paper Shotgun and others have published articles that suggest the "gamer" identity is dead; that the community is so toxic that to associate yourself as a member of the gaming community is a bad thing. And I have a response to that: We're alive and kicking, baby.

Now, I've talked about corruption in games media and this Zoe Quinn bullshit before, and I really don't need to repeat it here. If it piques your interest, I suggest watching a trilogy of videos by InternetAristocrat on YouTube that pretty succinctly sums up the whole chain of events. Or if you want a (much) less abrasive tone, here is a video where Rich of ReviewTechUSA interviews MundaneMatt who goes through the timeline pretty well:

Now, in response to this whole scandal, sites like Kotaku have tried three things: Complete radio silence and hoping it would go away, then censorship of people asking questions and really pondering the backroom antics and the sort of agenda being pushed by these sites, and finally, writing articles painting gamers as misogynists, bigots, terrorists, whatever word they thought could attract the most clicks.

You can ignore the controversies if you want. I get it - most of us just want to play games, and don't care about the journalism aspect of it all. But when websites label gamers, all of us, as horrible things, none of us should be happy with that.

I am a gamer. I am also a controls programmer, a democratic socialist, a scientific naturalist, a hiker, a fiance, an introvert and a strong advocate of egalitarianism.

Some of you may be writers, hockey players, car enthusiasts, social butterflies, maintenance workers, mothers, fathers, Jewish, farmers, Republicans, communists, LGBT, Spanish, South African, or anything else. And yes, some of you may be misogynists. Some of you may support Islamic fundamentalism (or Christian fundamentalism, for that matter). The point is, we are an extremely diverse group of people. No matter our interests, our backgrounds, what adjectives describe us, we all spend a lot of time playing and discussing video games.

When the gaming press comes out and labels us one way or another because of a few outliers, we should all find this notion completely unacceptable. Gamers are a huge set of people, and like any huge population, you should expect that a very small handful of people within that population would make death threats or support some pretty outrageous ideologies. But just because a few dozen people in, say, Cleveland, OH are violent, does that mean everyone in Cleveland is violent? Absolutely not.

We are all gamers. I can't speak for the rest of you, but I am proud to be one. I can describe myself very differently from most others in my community, but what makes you and I different should not serve to split us apart. The people in games media may be okay trying to shatter our community to push an agenda, but I am not. Regardless of what you are or are not, you are a gamer, and you are my peer.