#NBI2015: How Did GamerGate Affect Me?

It’s May and that means it’s time for another Newbie Blogger Initiative. I probably wouldn’t have participated since I’m far from new to games blogging but Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut convinced me on his latest AggroChat podcast. The call, as he put it, was also to blogger who may have stopped blogging, and considering the last post on this site was months ago, I think I qualify (even though I never really stopped — I think I have close to 100 columns at MMORPG.com now, but I digress). Anyhow, I’ve been looking for a reason to get back into writing casually, so I’m going to try this and see if it sticks. Good? Good. On to the question.

How did GamerGate affect me?

I think I’m in a unique position in that any time I wrote about it, I did so in front MMORPG’s audience instead of my own or on social media. I have to say, though… I was afraid to do it. I became a father this last year and the idea of poking a dragon that could reveal my address and harass my family was intimidating. Believe it or not, I’m somewhat of a private person, and the idea of inviting that kind of force scared me. GamerGate made me afraid to speak out.


But I did because I felt I had to. Also, I’m a man which instantly dropped the chances of any GamerGaters even caring what I had to say. Frankly, I think the last year has proven that a man could attack the GG cause and come out unscathed whereas a woman even using the hashtag was called foul names. The worst I got was called a Social Justice Warrior, which is an ironic insult because we all should be fighting for social justice.

When I did talk about it, it was lightly with a few snarky comments. Nothing outrageous. No preaching from the pulpit. People still got offended. They called me a journalist and tried to hold my feet to the fire of opinion-free journalistic standards, never minding that I was writing an opinion column. The usual stuff when you’re writing something remotely controversial in the gaming world.

What GamerGate accomplished more than anything, I think, was inspiring a whole lot of fear in a whole lot of people. It set gaming back years and years in the public consciousness. Rather than finally rise about the muck of politically fueled controversy that so defined video gaming, GamerGate ensured that our hobby would once again be dragged through the mud in news stories and congressional halls. It also showed how many young men are genuinely threatened by women invading their hobby and not immediately acquiescing to horny male sub-culture because they dared step where they didn’t belong.

I’d rather be a Social Justice Warrior than that kind of gamer.

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