What is Gamergate? And why has it spurred a death threat against female video gamer Anita Sarkeesian? Read all about the video game controversy here.
1. What is Gamergate?
Put simply, Gamergate is a contentious argument over journalistic integrity about video games and the individuals who play them.
Historically, gamers have been male. They make up one side of the Gamergate argument. These male gamers, sometimes considered “hardcore”, usually prefer violent shooter games like Call of Duty. However, women have recently entered the gaming world and usually prefer video games without violence. They have also been vocal critics of how women are portrayed in shooter-based, male-oriented video games.
Most notable of these critics is Feminist Frequency online blogger and female gamer Anita Sarkeesian, who released a vlog in August 2014 in her Tropes vs. Women series which attacked female representation in male-oriented video games.
There was immediate backlash from male gamers against her.
The cultural war that developed between the two genders of gamers spilled into the real world, inciting real life threats against female gamers.
2. Tropes vs. Women
Above is the August 2014 vlog that incited the most recent rancor against Sarkeesian.
In it, Sarkeesian states her case that women are prominently featured as victims, eye candy, and other negative archetypes in video games aimed at male demographics.
3. Zoe Quinn
Around the same time as Sarkeesian released her August 2014 vlog, female game developer Zoe Quinn was attacked in a vitrolic blog post by an ex-boyfriend that she cheated on him with a journalist at gaming magazine Kotaku to get ahead in her career.
Quinn denied the allegation, and Kotaku investigated and found no fault.
But media following the two stories surrounding Sarkeesian and Quinn incited the ire of the male gaming community, who alleged that stories were reported from a biased, pro-feminism position and casted all gamers in a bad light.
4. Why are People So Upset?
The gaming universe has expanded beyond consoles in recent years to include players — many of them women — of casual and social games such as “FarmVille” and “Candy Crush.” According to one survey, 48% of gamers are now female.
Women feel like they are misrepresented in video games and are frequently subjected to misogyny.
In lieu of the burgeoning gender battle, avid gamer and actor Adam Baldwin, known for his roles in Full Metal Jacket and the western space drama Firefly series, coined the name #Gamergate as a hashtag on Twitter as the Sarkeesian and Quinn fiasco came to a head.
5. Death Threat
The virtual violence became an ugly reality at Utah State University this week when Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel a speech after receiving a death threat.
It is legal to carry concealed weapons in Utah.