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  1. David White
    David White November 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm |

    “Can Video Games Survive” is about video games as they now stand as a medium and if they can expand and grow in light of the GamerGate controversy. GamerGate was started in response to game journalist Leigh Alexander’s post on Gamasutra which brought to light the sexist attitudes of Gamer culture. In response to this, IBM pulled funding from Gamasutra, sending many gamers to start the GamerGate campaign. GamerGate can also be seen as a negative reaction to several female critics like Alexander and Anita Sarkessian’s criticism of Gamer Culture. Sullenthrop takes all of this into account, concluding that the GamerGate campaign is harming the industry and stifling its chance to be taken seriously among other mediums.

    One of the ways Sullenthorp highlights hypocrisy in the industry is over two reviews of Grand Theft Auto V, one was his, another was from Gamespot reviewer Caroline Petit. Both had similar views, the game was fun but there were problems with portrayals of young female characters. Many of them were over-sexualized and one dimensional. Petit was harassed because she was a transgender woman but her opinion was the same. Sullenthorp supports this by not only acknowledging that his review was similar but by tying it back to the GamerGate campaign,. Sullenthorp states that campaigns such as GamerGate are harmful to writers, journalists and fans because “Some of the participants in the community of intelligent writers and designers who think and talk about video games in print and online, on websites and social media networks and podcasts, are being cowed into silence.” This is harmful because it shows that Sullenthorp and other critics are correct- there is evidence of racism and sexism in the gamer community, leaving many women and men to stay silent.

    Cliff Blizinsinski, designer of games such as Gears of War, called out the Gaming Community on its hypocrisy. http://dudehugespeaks.tumblr.com/post/45150472512/anonymous-internet-boy-taliban-tropes
    One of his examples is how Gaming Critic Anita Sarkeesian was heavily scrutinized and bullied for asking for $6,000 over her YouTube series while Cliff and others was able to raise 400, 000 with little opposition. I agree with Sullenthorp and Blizinsinski, things like GamerGate and Sarkessian’s harassment are toxic to the video game industry, these trends will keep the industry in a larger hole, discouraging many critics, male female, or other to express their views, be they controversial or not. Launching death threats and stalking people is not how we should act. It’s up to us as students and a society to see what video games mean to us., and what potential they have for the future.

  2. brown169
    brown169 December 1, 2014 at 3:17 pm |

    To start, I muse mention that this article says something about video games that I’ve been waiting a long time to see in an article, namely that video games are a means of creative expressionism, or more simply put, art. The article then goes on to say that video games are moving in a direction that allows them to be viewed as art. With games like BioShock Infinite, Gone Home and The Last of Us this trend can easily be seen. Most games are starting to focus on story and while some still involve violence, many indie games are excluding it and focus entirely on a story driven game. If video games are ever going to be seen as a fully accepted art medium like film or photography this is definitely the direction they need to continue to go in.

    Then we come to the problem of GamerGate. Basically what is happening, as the article states, is that kids are sending threatening messages to female game journalists or call for video game reform. The threats are not just stop it or I’ll hack you, they are quite severe and include rape threats, murder threats and even “the worst school shooting in American history.” All this seems like a little excessive of a reaction to female journalist wanting equality in video, especially since male journalists say the same thing and no one is threatening them. This kind of behavior could really damage the video game industry in the long run. While it may not seem to effect it too much now, eventually no one will want to create different games because of the fear of getting threatened. This will lead to all games becoming the same, thus making the market stagnant and ultimately causing it to crash. Not to mention that reactions like this make video games seem less like art but more like a five year old boy’s prized possession that no one else can touch.

    With all that in mind though, I feel that GamerGate will roll over and out of view in a year or so and leave little to no harm done. With all new mediums of art it must first go through some controversy. When photography came out people just used it to create portraits, critics said it will never be a true form of art on its own just a mimic of painting. The same was said when film came out and look at it now. So video games too must go through these trials and tribulations until it can finally prove itself to the world that it is art. Many will resist the change, namely the people of GamerGate but journalist have already found a way to fight back against them. One Australian game journalist, Alanah Pearce, reacts to the threats she gets by sending the messages to the kids mothers in hope that they will punish them (source below). This shows another aspect of what is wrong with GamerGate. Alanah Pearce stated that “It turns out that mostly they’re young boys and the problem is they don’t know any better” in respect to the people sending threats. These are most likely the same kids that said they slept with your mom when you beat them at Call of Duty. Regardless, we can’t let the voices of kids who don’t know any better become the spokes-voice for the entire gaming community. In fact, many people feel the opposite way of the boys and embrace change in gaming. So in conclusion, GamerGate will pass over soon because of the people who are involved and because of the intense opposition to it from the journalist who are threatened and others. Once it does, video games will be back on the right path to becoming fully accepted as art.

  3. kestersp
    kestersp December 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm |

    Gamergate isn’t a new thing. These people didn’t just appear out of the woodwork and start threatening people. This is, however, the first time that they’ve had a rally cry, a flag to get behind. Gamergate is everything bad about the ‘old ways’, the years of games being fps ip’s like quake and doom, played by a predominately male population of teenage kids made anonymous by the internet. Not to say that this time was bad, far from it. Without this period we wouldn’t have a history of great games, plus a generation of developers, inspired by their fond memories of duking it out on Blood Gulch in Halo. No what I’m referring to is those who are stuck in those old ways, the ones who either refuse or ignore the change in the industry, the change that is actually good for it. Those that are so fueled by something that they may legitimately be passionate about and don’t want to see go away, but are so blind by nostalgia that they don’t see the bigger picture, that games are changing and for the better.

    Suellentrop makes a point with the thought that with games becoming more accepted into the culture at large, and more and more people taking up the medium, there are people who are incredibly upset by this. These people that for so long video games was their ‘domain’, now feel threatened to the point that they are lashing out at what they feel is the problem. Gamergate is bad, and makes the whole industry look bad, but it is not the end. Too many people are passionate and willful enough to keep it from dying, even saving it from this basically extremist portion of the culture.

  4. nizialea
    nizialea December 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm |

    I went into the article with no real knowledge of video games or Gamergate, as I am not a gamer myself. The initial observation of the article is that it is just a bunch of people hiding behind their keyboards on another issue. It’s just the internet. Some people are getting upset because they think that games are getting too artsy and want to just play to shoot things. Even as an outsider to video games, I have seen walkthroughs and can appreciate the art and the stories of the games. As any other kind of entertainment, it should be expected that once it gets rolling, it will keep changing to stay relevant, so I don’t think that games like Gone Home are irrelevant, but isn’t bringing light to a completely new issue.
    Gamergate does seem like quite an overreaction to the initial issue which was that a female developer slept with people to get good reviews. What is startling is that it has leaked into the real world, impacting her real life with threats and hate. The more people retweet #Gamergate is more fuel to the fire. No matter what side someone is on, it is prolonging the argument and spreading further.
    The issue with Intel removing ads on that particular website also seems like it is being used by both sides, saying that they are agreeing as well as they are avoiding the issue. Their statement is just covering themselves from both sides without saying much of an explanation.
    It is a mess of a debate with some people actually wanting to change game journalism, and others that are focused on the feminist topic in game development. It has become political, whether on purpose or by chance. So now are video games more than games now?

    secondary article: http://gawker.com/what-is-gamergate-and-why-an-explainer-for-non-geeks-1642909080

  5. paintyourwindows
    paintyourwindows December 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm |

    As i began to read this article having slight knowledge of what has been going on with GamerGate but not a full understanding. I had to go and do research about GamerGate on my own to truly understand what was going on. And to start things off i feel almost sick to my stomach thinking about how in an age of constant change when it comes to movements towards equality in race, sex, and religions that people can be so apposed to equality and can go to such drastic measures like sending death threats to people for just voicing their opinions and beliefs.
    The article begins the way i see videogames and the way i hope videogames continue to be, an art form. Videogames have the potential to become better than movies, and better than TV through interactivity and in regards to online multiplayer games through the collaboration of many minds to create a world different from this one. With that said, one has to realize that there still is very many bias’s when it comes to people portrayed in videogames especially how women are portrayed. But whats disgusting is that when a female reporter or famous woman comments on their opinion on how women are portrayed in videogames they get verbally attacked and harassed and sometimes in extreme cases, scared out of their homes. But when a male says the same thing little backlash hits him.
    Videogames are still a growing art form but they are still very vulnerable. In order for the field to grow and to become as big of an art form as movies and novels there are many walls that have to be broken down in equal representation of people in games.

    One recent game, Dragon Age Inquisition has made incredible leaps into breaking down some of those walls. From being able to have relationships that are heterosexual or homosexual to even having a transgender character who’s sexual orientation is actually a large part of the story of the game that involves them and makes them stronger of a person and a character. The game has also made great advancements of representing women as powerful people.

    http://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/18/dragon-age-inquisitions-women-and-the-remarkable-ordinary/

    this article explains how in the game you have a council to help you through the game and they are the strongest characters in the game and the most of them are women. They all play an important roll and in the game they even make comments how that they dress appropriately too. One character “Iron Bull” a giant fighter who is actually a Bisexual character, makes a comment to “Cassandra” a female warrior, how he respects her for wearing normal armor and not oversexualized armor, he says how most women “referring to other games” wear such small armor that one hit would kill them

    If more games can learn to take advancements like Dragon Age, I think that videogames will have even more potential then we realize now.

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