I’m a 35 year old dude, growing up around games back when Mario was the hottest thing around. We wrote pretty crappy C-64 games, played DOOM over IPX, RoboSports over serial and Marathon over IP. This one guy knew how to configure the network; he’s now the CEO of a Silicon Valley tech startup. Go figure.
WarCraft 2 chewed up a good portion of my total hard drive space, Civilization looked a lot better on the 256 color palette on the Mac than the EGA PC version and I still seriously think Myth - the System 3 version, not the Bungie one - is a good contender for some video game music hall of fame or other.
So while we didn’t have gamertags back when, and I wouldn’t self identify as a hardcore gamer anymore, I’m pretty sure that that a Younger Me and the average #gamergater aren’t all that different.
Younger Me was looking for a purpose. Purpose wasn’t hard to find on the Internet back when, no matter if you were looking for the the black hat kind or the rather more constructive version. Me, I slipped into dealing with IRC server administration and later on a gaming related NGO, by pure chance, which is how these things usually happen. Other people slipped other ways. Trousers of time and all that.
You seem to have slipped into a cozy group of peers that are fighting over media turf in order to retain your expression of identity and to preserve the status quo of your subculture; keep games the way they are. Younger Me could just as well have slipped down that particular rabbit hole instead, so I can’t in good conscience see you as proper vitriol driven assholes, despite me disagreeing in principle with both your actions and your philosophy at pretty much every turn.
What I can say, though, is that you’re setting yourselves up for regret. While it’s a nice feeling of excitement and empowerment being a part of a fight against The Enemy, especially if you perceive it as winning, hold up for one moment and consider the future: are you certain that you want to look back on your younger self as being a part of a movement that basically amounts to anonymously trying to fuck people over, should they happen to disagree with you?
Which is what’s happening.
Unhappy with Gamasutra for hosting feminist expression in articles? To the point where the right thing do is try to defund them by means of attacking the advertisers? Anonymously?
If it’s the right thing to do, how come you’re not standing up for it under your own name? If your coordinating forces think it’s the right thing to do, how come they are not standing up for it under their own names?
From where I’m standing, The Enemy is actually standing up for what they believe. You’re not.
This is not a war. This is not the end of gaming as you know it. It is, however, your future being forged. Spend time doing something constructive, that you actually dare put your name behind, and chances are that you’ll get recognised for it.
Or spend cycles doing stuff you can’t ever put on a CV and that you’re very unlikely to take pride in ten years down the line.
The choice is yours.