So, this week has been really really weird. We entered it in the middle of a twitter shit storm over Zoe Quinn, and then Feminist Frequency released her newest video, women as background decoration, part 2.
(Warning for anyone who might watch that, it’s full of graphic depictions of violence against women.)
Anyways, that sparked off yet another tidal wave of internet bile, leading to her staying with friends after a particularly credible rape/death threat, and then something really interesting started to happen. Big names in video games started standing up against this trash. The counter push was on, but the overwhelming narrative I got was that “this is what gamers are.”
That made me sad. I’ve said a couple times on this blog in the past month that I identify as a gamer, to the point that I feel trapped by that identification. Heck, I just realized I put the stupid label in my brand. And I’ve been kicking around what that means for me and my identity.
Yesterday I went on Omegle to chat with strangers about video games. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, but I like the random chats that sometime sprout up in that environment. I would typically ask what games they played. I kept getting responses of Call of Duty: Ghosts, or GTA 5. I haven’t played a Call of Duty game since modern warfare 2, and I haven’t enjoyed a GTA game ever. It got me thinking, maybe I’m less of a gamer than I think.
This led me to look at other media. There may have been at one point a universal culture that existed around movie goers, but that is not the case now. All of my friends have at least some movie they like, and some of my friends like movies enough that they want to be more invested, but those movie buffs tend to have genres, or subcultures within movies they subscribe to.
Maybe that’s the way we’re going with video games. Gamer is too ubiquitous to be valuable now. Heck, just today Destiny announced a newsweek magazine for the game.
We’ve seen figures from the mainstream insert themselves into the gaming conversation. Games are growing and they are becoming accepted and that’s what we should be so happy for. But as I watch, I have to prepare my identity for the new shifts that this will bring.
Belghast talked about this in his blog today, but our identities are going to be diverging. I might wear the label of “Games Blogger”, or “MMO Gamer”, or more likely “Indie Gamer”. I’m probably going to find myself looking for the arthouse style games, trolling the humble bundle sites for those great little morsels. This thought gives me new life, as I watch the old label consumed in a fire of hate, knowing that there is at least a path forward.