Feature article in NRC on #gamergate


Last couple of weeks I worked a larger story on ‪#‎gamergate‬ for NRC Handelsblad. There is so much to say about it; the threats to (and the position of) women in the tech industry in general, the fact that even academic organizations are harassed (however mildly), the threats to people like Brianna Wu, those who support gamergate (in any way), and the state of the industry.

For me personally talking to #gamergate proponents can be rather frustrating. Since I’m very much not a woman, but a 30+ year old, white, Call of Duty-playing, male “gamer”, the way proponents approach me is less hostile (at least face-to-face). Yet, a decent amount of my research and my journalism has been about… “ethics in game journalism”. I know, right.

For example, see this DiGRA paper (.pdf), which is fairly critical of game journalism and its political economy. I got 0 (ZERO!) feedback from gamers on this article. Make of that what you will. Also, I published a story on ethics in game journalism in my newspaper NRC Handelsblad in 2011 “Geef een 8.5, krijg jij een reisje; Gamejournalisten worden aan alle kanten gepaaid door grote gamebedrijven” (.pdf). This article dives deep into the strong ties between game critics and game publishers. Again, zero (ZERO) feedback from gamers. Well, that’s not entirely true, I got some very hostile feedback from gamers at the time on the fact that my argument was stupid, biased, not relevant etc. I keep wondering if those same gamers now rile against game outlets for being “unethical”.

Whether or not #gamergate as a movement is truly interested in ethics in journalism is debatable. There are absolutely individuals who are truly interested in this aspect, yet, I wish they had a better sense of history and were less opportunistic in their critique. And they read my paper ;).

One thing is undeniable, there are some high-profile women whose lives are under constant attack for their strong views on diversity and, yes, feminism. My NRC article profiled one of those woman, Brianna Wu in an extensive interview and offers some context about #gamergate.

Gamemaker wordt bedreigd vanwege kritiek op de vrouwonvriendelijkheid van games

Download NRC article on gamergate (.pdf)

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