Just recently it became official that it´s been two years since Adam Baldwin coined* the #GamerGate hashtag. And that started a sort of movement that consisted of gamers who demanding more ethics in journalism, and less politicization of games and games coverage. And while Youtubers and small gaming websites like ours praised #GamerGate. The mainstream media has mainly labeled #GamerGate as a harassment campaign (and in some cases, even a terrorist organization) since day one, and that is as far from the truth as one can get. So after the 2nd anniversary of #GamerGate, we approached several games industry veterans to ask them what they think of the past two years in the industry.
And in our first interview we talked to Doug TenNapel (the creator of Earthworm Jim) about everything from #GamerGate, games journalism to political correctness.
What did you think about the GamerGate controversy when you found out about it?
I always had a low view of journalism because of how they claim to be truth tellers who perform a service to expose unchecked power, so when I saw the GGers expose gaming journalism as your average political correct advocacy group, I was sympathetic to them. I didn’t become an official GGer because I didn’t like most of their solutions, which became revenge tactics, angry speech and tantrums. In short, they were opposing leftism in journalism by acting like leftists. I was hoping the GGers would offer a measured response, not demonizing people but simply exposing the bad journalism. I’m still a big supporter of GamerGate because I know their foundational problem with gaming journalists is sound.
It has now been two-years since GamerGate kicked-off, so do you think that anything has changed in the games industry?
Any time leftism disguised as political correctness is exposed, it has a good effect. And people who didn’t realize journalism was slanted against certain game designers based on ideology and not quality of the game were given a great gift by GamerGate. They became informed consumers, and unbiased information is a threat to Leftism. That said, we’re in difficult times when it comes to communication, jolliness and tolerance on the Internet. Our rudeness and devaluing of the other have not changed in a good direction, and I believe that’s a foundational, cultural problem that ought to be addressed. Perhaps I’m expecting too much from people, but I think we’d all have a better time if we treated each other with more respect, which is not the same as agreement.
Has GamerGate changed your view of the game industry and journalism in some way?
GamerGate has changed my view regarding detractors to leftism. There are many more non-leftists or anti-leftists than I had originally thought in the gaming community. GG didn’t change my low view of journalism because they pretty much acted as expected; they demonize dissent, point out their favorite targets and call their followers to attack on all fronts.
Only developers who are independent have agreed to this interview, Why do you think that is?
I work for big companies, and I don’t want to be mistaken as representing the values of those companies. I would think most GamerGaters didn’t want to take on the additional burden of being singled out at work. The left always has the cultural advantage in the workspace. So it’s a position of power, so opposing cultural power is to ask for a fight. Some of us are more comfortable with both the fight and the career fall-out from engaging in those fights. Some just want to do their job, and I don’t blame them for being quiet. However, I know they’re out there because I hear from them. They don’t feel comfortable talking at work, even as they hear their superiors blather on and on about their politics. Just don’t mistake silence for a lack of support.
We thank Doug TenNapel for taking the time to respond to our questions. Don’t miss our part 2 of this GG special where we interview other developers.
The #GamerGate hashtag existed before Adam Baldwin coined it, in the majority of cases it was people misspelling GamersGate, an online video game retailer.
Robin Ek – Editor and Co-writer
The Gaming Ground
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