Gaming While Grown-Up

I know we’ve all been asking ourselves: Why do gamers suck so much? I’m mostly referring to the recent Anita Sarkeesian bastardry, but really I could be talking about how gamers started an attack campaign on BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler for saying that she’s not a fan of combat, and that she doesn’t have time to play (seeing as how she had a baby trying to kick its way out of her abdomen at the time), or the nasty response we had to the original Mass Effect 3 ending (even though that kind of worked out and we got that awesome extended cut DLC that we would never have gotten if it weren’t for the trolls.)

If a comet hit the earth tomorrow and killed us all, the aliens that excavate our data in 100,000
years will write papers on ‘the gamers.’ Rowdy gangs of unattended 15 year old virgin boys, hopped up on testosterone and caffeine, who roamed our information exchange centers menacing every female and every person over the age of 20 that dared to cross their path as they tore down entire companies and ruined lives and families in the wake of their impotent, virginal rage. A generation of progeny so completely coddled, living in a world marketed to, and created just for them, such that any upset in their regular pop cultural feeding time can cause mass hysteria and rioting. Hell, if you’re following the news about gaming lately this is already what gamers are in our own society. And as much as my Internet search history might tag me as a 15 year old boy, I’m a grown up lady, and I suspect that if you’re reading this, you might be too (non-ladies: this is not an exclusionary tactic, you are welcome to read this article as well.)

Obviously I’m addressing my article to the grown up lady (and non-lady) gamers because when the aliens exhume the server that has all the articles on it, I want them to know that we existed. If 99% of the writing about games on the internet is produced by entitled little brats screaming for products and services to appease them and only them, I want this small artifact to say: Hey aliens, we’re not all unwet adolescent jerk offs, some of us are grown up ladies and non-ladies and we’re just too busy with grown-up stuff (if you know what I mean) to make a stink about shit on the Internet right now.

In other words: GET OFF MY LAWN.

Aliens won’t get that joke, but rest assure it is hilarious and culturally relevant.

At this point, you may be asking yourself ‘is Marina OK, most of her articles aren’t this… weird/disjointed/terrible. Should I call someone?’ No, do not call anyone, unless it’s to tell them to read this amazing treatise on gaming while grown-up, as it is a miracle of modern gaming journalism/bloggerism. I am fine, although I have been reading a lot of Hunter S. Thompson and I think I have a second-hand literary induced psychosis because of it. Also, I’m sick of writing and reading and hearing about what shits the gaming community is made of. So I’m sitting here at my desk shouting expletives at the Internet in an effort to effect social change.

How am I doing? You gamers feeling less tolerant of being represented by tiny assholes whose parents always gave them exactly what they wanted, but never what they needed, and now they’re making games about punching Anita Sarkeesian in the face, and threatening to rape her (as if you would know where to put it, Jr. Nightstalker) because she has something to say about a medium they falsely believe is theirs and no one elses?

A screen-cap of Reddit’s most popular Sarkeesian related threads shows most Redditors are tired of the trolls

To be fair, while I completely respect Sarkeesian’s work on identifying and thinking about the way women are portrayed by pop culture, she is an instigator. No one deserves rape threats, least of all for trying to make the world a more informed place, even if you’re kind of condescending. I personally disagree with her feminist theory, which seems to be that women are fundamentally different (better?) than men, and that women like me who enjoy gratuitous sex and violence don’t exist. She doesn’t ever seem to address what women like me are doing instead of loving the sex and violence that we love. Maybe I’m just pretending to like all the shit I like so that I can reap the benefits of the patriarchy for myself. Yeah, that’s going real well so far (not.)

As for the ‘punch Antia in the face’ game, I’m actually kind of enamored with how completely ridiculous it is. In the game description the creator states that Sarkeesian “claims to want gender equality in video games, but in reality, she just wants to use the fact that she was born with a vagina to get free money and sympathy from everyone who crosses her path.” So, in order to deal with their feelings that Sarkeesian is a fraud they decided to make a flash game where you can completely wreck her pretty face with a barrage of ‘gender equality’ style right hooks. I tried to play the game in order to corroborate this claim, but it’s no longer available. I can only assume that there were multiple levels, with each one adding creative weaponry and in the boss battle you had to carve her up with a razor as punishment for being so entitled to her own equality. Because what do we do to people we believe are fraudulent? Threaten to rape them. And if that doesn’t work: the sky’s the limit. After all, this is the Internet.

A screen-cap from the game in question

On the more rational side, Redditor pikatu put it succunctly when they said “to be honest, Anita Sarkeesian comes across as a douche. However, that’s not something that she deserves abuse over. Even with everything, i’m sure she’s laughing all the way to the bank with her funding.” I think most gamers feel this way, I know I do. She’s kind of a troll (although I really do believe that her trolling is at least constructive), so when there’s a troll to troll flame war going on, my goal is just to stay out of the way. I can see this Sarkeesian thing being something I really super cared about in college. But right now, I have dishes to do. If I didn’t have a weekly obligation to Geared for Gamers, you probably wouldn’t be hearing about this from me. Even though I blog every weekday on my own site, I avoided this issue because I thought ‘trolls will be trolls’ and I wrote about the random celebrities I’ve seen living in Los Angeles instead of a myriad of other socially relevent things a person could blog about. Because I’m frivolous.

But as long as we’re here, is there a story, other than another set of gamers acting like jerks and another set of journalists and bloggers trying to get high minded about it? I know I’ve set up a dichotomy of young and entitled verses old and apathetic, but I think that gamers of all ages can be entitled, or apathetic, or both. People don’t usually get smarter as they get older. Sometimes they get better at hiding their stupidity, but usually that doesn’t even happen. We just mock them less for it since they’re grown-ups now and there’s some unspoken grown-up rule that we all pretend we know what we’re doing, even when we obviously do not.

I know this article has sort of been a collection of devilishly well constructed sentences on top of an otherwise tenuous thesis, which if you didn’t catch it, is that I’m tired of being afraid to tell my friends at work that I play video games unless they think that I’m incapable of doing my job. The gaming audience is getting more sophisticated all the time, but when is that going to show up in the ways we’re represented? Do we, as sensible gamers have a responsibility to ourselves and our community to change that public perception for the better, or are we just the victims of bad apple-ism? Furthermore, if we do have this obligation, how to we meet it? I’d love to see some answers in the comments, what do you think? I want to have a discussion about this.

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