Video games are for everyone — except that’s not what everyone thinks. Gamergate is an example of this. Gamergate sprang from people who discriminated against who should play video games and how they should be played. Gamergate was a harassment campaign through which women gamers and social reforms of video games are targeted.
Here’s everything you need to know about Gamergate, discrimination in the video game industry and what it means for you as a parent.
The History of Gamergate
Gamergate began in 2014 when Zoe Quinn, an indie game designer, released a game called Depression Quest based on her experiences with depression. Soon after the game’s launch, her ex-boyfriend published several blog posts claiming Quinn had had sexual relationships with men in the gaming industry in order to get a leg up. Quinn denied these allegations, but it was too late.
Quinn began receiving rape and death threats. Her residential address was posted online, leading her to flee her home. Gamergate supporters didn’t stop with just Quinn — harassment extended to other women in the video game industry, including Anita Sarkeesian and Jenn Frank.
“Whatever Gamergate may have started as, it is now an Internet culture war,” reads an article from The Washington Post.
Indie video games have been on the rise over the last few years, during which, people began calling for more inclusion and diversity in the gaming industry. Others, though, have pushed back, whether due to anti-feminism or anti-progressivism.
Gamergate is bigger than one might think. Although it pertains directly to the video game industry, Gamergate is really a manifestation of pervasive social issues. In the words of The Washington Post, “space and visibility and inclusion, a battle over who belongs to the mainstream.”
Gamergate is about identity and who’s allowed to have a voice.
Feminism in the Video Game Industry
Feminism has been on the rise in the video game industry, with a growing number of female game developers making names for themselves and valuable contributions to the industry. Through their opposition, Gamergate supporters seek to exclude women’s involvement in video gaming, often resorting to harassment in their efforts.
It’s true that, for many years, “gamers” were primarily male. When the popularity of video games began gaining steam in the 1990s, they were initially marketed to males. Today, there are countless female gamers, with a 2014 study reporting almost half of all video-game players are female.
What Does This Mean for Parents?
If your daughter enjoys playing and/or developing video games, by all means, encourage her. However, stay informed on issues such as Gamergate to ensure your children’s online safety.
Talk with your kids about discrimination, helping them to recognize discrimination and call it out.
Be part of the solution. Raise your kids to be inclusive. Putting forth actions like these can help prevent Gamergate and similar divisive issues.