so the first talkback challenge is how did gamergate affect you?
I’m going to assume that you at least have a basic knowledge of the whole debacle. Initially, I was shocked and angry. I wanted to write something on my blog about how ridiculous the whole thing was, about how diversity in games and in the games offered can only lead to a more interesting experience, that it doesn’t mean games will be ‘pinkified’, that there is room for many different types of games, that women have always been there in the virtual worlds (perhaps not in the numbers there are now), that people shouldn’t be threatened with rape and death threats merely for expressing an opinion, and so on. I didn’t though. I couldn’t quite form my thoughts – the thing as a whole is incredibly complex and provides plenty of research angles for social scientists…. I was glad though, I didn’t write a reactionary piece. Although it is highly unlikely anything I write on my blog would get widely circulated, I wouldn’t want even a fraction of the abuse that Anita Sarkeesian et al, have received.
It made me want to hide again. Since starting playing MMOs, I have never advertised that I’m female. My guildies know of course, but in pugs / zone chat etc I never correct the assumption that I’m male. I’ve been lucky and I haven’t had any really bad experiences (irritating ones yes) but the sad thing is, is that it can actually feel quite liberating being assumed male. But this, this, makes me question my stance on anonymity. Perhaps I should be challenging these assumptions, helping make the presence of females normal and unremarkable?
Well, obviously I didn’t hide in the end, I’m just carrying on as normal in my games. I do play games though that are more inclusive as a whole and therefore, seem a bit more mature in their attitudes and playerbase. For example, the Elder Scrolls series, particularly ESO, and Bioware (Dragon Age & Mass Effect) deserve a huge amount of kudos for not only including strong and capable female characters (and not necessarily of the warrior / mage variety) but also non-white and non-heterosexual characters. Even better, is that these characters are just *there* as a normal, unremarked upon part of their worlds.
This isn’t the type of article I normally write, hitting publish before I change my mind and delete it 😛