Months after the critical moment of #GamerGate, described as either a movement about “ethics in game journalism” or misogyny against women in gaming depending on whose side you take, the controversy is back.
The comeback is because of a joke made by Tim Schafer, a critically acclaimed game designer, during a speech at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) last Thursday, when he seemed to mock the movement and its sister hashtag, #notyourshield.
Here is the joke that has brought the movement back again:
Google seemed to enter the debate when its Google Cloud Platform account posted the tweet “The future of gaming is in all of our hands. #GamerGate.”
Later after the post, the company deleted the message and posted a new one saying it did not support the community, which has been under strong controversy over the past months.
Our last tweet was a mistake. Google supports an open, diverse gaming community for all. We do not support #GamerGate.
— GoogleCloudPlatform (@googlecloud) March 6, 2015
Controversy, misogyny and cyberbullying
The popular hashtag #Gamergate, which says to stand against corruption in journalism, has also been accused of misogyny and cyberbullying.
It has started in August 2014 after a developer, Zoe Quinn, who received positive reviews for her new game Depression Quest, released in 2013, was accused by her ex-boyfriend of having had an affair with a journalist, Nathan Grayson, from Kotaku, an influential website in the gaming community.
Despite the fact he had not written about her new enterprise, an extensive discussion emerged under the movement GamerGate about corruption and nepotism in journalism. In the name of the movement, Quinn was doxxed, harassed and received death threats messages. She was a speaker at the GDC conference and talked against harassment and misogyny.
The new wave of tweets after Schafer’s joke indicates that the polemic aroung GamerGate is not gone. The posts on Twitter have also been a window into how the debates around minorities and gender equality bring controversial opinions.
I see all the #GamerGate Feminazi's are in a huff again. Get a life, Losers!
— … (@Art_VandelayRFC) March 5, 2015
— BigGamer4U (@BigGuy4You) March 7, 2015
It's very simple like, if you support #GamerGate you're a huge piece of shit, who cares about your gender or ethnicity
— Lilian Woods (@SJWreptilian) March 7, 2015
Remember when women in the games industry were judged by their merit and not their gender? Times are dark, indeed. #GamerGate
— disciple murphy78 (@fyoudbag) March 4, 2015
The word “feminazi” also appeared. There were tweets accusing feminists of being too radical:
— ZB (@Zombie_Bisque) February 23, 2015
And there were users who seemed fed up with the fact that the discussion around gender was overshadowing the actual activity of playing games:
I'm old enuff to remember the days when playing video games was abt fun. Now it's abt gender & social politics. Miss the old days #GamerGate
— Swashbuckler (@Swashbuck77) March 6, 2015
— Red Morgan (@DreadMorgan) March 5, 2015
The debate took over the Game Developers Conference. The Daily Dot said of the movement:
“It’s a very real threat to the mental and physical well being of game developers and the health of the entire industry.”
Quinn, who spoke at the conference, seemed reluctant to name the movement and referred to GamerGate as the villain in the Harry Potter series “Voldemort”, or “He-who-must-not-be-named”, according to the VentureBeat.
“We need some defense against the dark arts,” she said.