GamerGate reinforces society’s perception of gamers as immature

3 min read


Perception is an important thing. It’s a human thing. Depending on how we perceive things, we may see the glass either as half-empty or as half-full. In the case of…ugh…Gamergate, it could be half-empty of people who genuinely want to see some sort of ethical reform in gaming journalism, while being half-full of dangerous, angry misogynists. Whether we like it or not, and whether or not we agree with the multi-headed hydra that makes up Gamergate’s scattered ideology, the loose hashtag “movement” such as it is, is changing the public perception of gamers in general. Negatively.

Rabble rouser, YouTube game critic and insistently “neutral” Gamergater John Bain – otherwise known as TotalBiscuit – wrote a lengthy tweet in which he asked where the science behind the supposed influence of the media was.

“See I’ve been asking for proof for a while. Does a game like Dead or Alive foster sexist attitudes within its players?” he asks. “Where is the proof of that and more to the point why are we listening to people that say that it does who don’t have a hint of a background that would make us believe them? Where are the scientists? Where are the psychologists who can tell us “yes, X media can cause Y behaviour.””

Somebody purporting to be an actual scientist in the right field has issued a response of sorts to Bain, which you can read over at Reddit. It’s in the addendum that things get really depressing though.

“Let me also say on other thing. There are a number of us in academia who love games, care about games, and believe games are important. We have been working for years to make games a legitimate tool for education and for study, and we were making progress. People were starting to take games seriously.

And then came GamerGate. I have seen the careful progress of a decade come crashing down, and now, when I go to talk about games to industry groups or fellow academics, GamerGate always comes up as an example of how terrible and immature people who play games are [Edit: I don’t think people who play games are immature, this is the perception we have all been fighting, which has been reinforced by the coverage of GG]. It will take years and years to repair the damage, and it is absolutely devastating to the serious study and application of the power of games to real problems. We are going to have trouble getting grants, getting foundations to fund games, and getting people to take us seriously. It is devastating and makes me very sad.”

And that is a sad thing. Perception is important and whether we like it or not, thanks to GameGate, the perception of gamers within not just academia – but society in general – has gone down the toilet. It’s something that genuinely upsets me; as somebody who’s been playing games his whole life, and has seen gaming slowly become a viable, socially-accepted thing, watching decades of progress slide in to the abyss because of some angry people on the internet is infuriating, and depressing.

It does, of course, get worse though – because of it, it seems that academia wants nothing to do with the preservation of games, and with servers going down, disc rot and source code disappearing, we could be on the cusp of losing games – works of art – forever.

Last Updated: March 10, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief

    Wel, flip. Dis nie aangename nuus hierdie nie

    • Ranting Raptor

      Inderdaad ou maat

  • Admiral Chief

    Once again, the majority is impacted by a minority of idiots

    • Hammersteyn

      Just like what happened with Nazis and even after they were exterminated the majority were left to suffer until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  • All dem womminz r stupidz!

    • Pariah

      Noez! It r abowt effics in gaemz jurnalizmz!

    • Hammersteyn

      Agreez, now makes me a manwich Jill!

  • Yeah the world laughs at us now. Not for when we were walking around dressed as our favourite characters, not when there are school shootings, not when developers produce the same shit over and over again. #GG remember

  • Loftus

    Self righteous “liberal minded” bastards, to say we are immature. 50 % of what happens here is actual game discussion (on an intellectual level). 40 % is heckling each other over whose toys is better ( PS4 vs X1) and 15% is the Admiral Chief being anal and correcting eveyone

    • Admiral Chief

      YOUR MATHS!!!!!

      • Loftus

        see he can’t help being anal.


        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          He’s so ANAL!!!

        • Admiral Chief

          Awesome, Naughty, Adamant, Logical

          • Loftus

            had to put the math one in there, scared you would miss the “eveyone”

            Roep ons ‘n skietstilstand ten opsigte van die gramitikale – en spelfoute?

          • Admiral Chief

            NOOOOOIT, hier is ‘n standaard natuurlik!

          • Loftus

            NOOIT* :p

          • Admiral Chief

            Daar is ‘n klem op die erns van die saak!

          • Loftus

            Nabewering maar dit wil egter blyk dat die oortollige hoeveelheid O’s eder daar is om die skrywer te voorkom of hy ‘n tiener meisie is wat uit gevind het Justin Bieber het nie werklik daai liedjie vir haar geskryf nie

          • Admiral Chief

            Jis maar jy het baie kennis oor daai knaap en tiener-gemoed

          • Loftus

            It’s seems we share the affection of the same tai hooker, apparently
            our pillow talk is about that “knaap en tiener-gemoed “

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Sigh, everyone is a scientist on Reddit!

    Just like everyone is some sort of expert on forums or on twitter. I don’t think this guy actually knows what he’s talking about, because currently the number of academic courses that deal with video games, video games history is insane. There’s even post-graduate degrees that deal with VIDEO GAME HISTORY!!! To say that there’s some sort of academic “push” against video game and video game culture is ridiculous. This sort of thing is EXACTLY what researchers would kill to study.

    Gamergate is a goldmine from a sociological or an anthropological perspective. The only folks who can’t see it are those who are too myopic in their world view.

    • Le Sigh?! Too soon?!

    • Matewis Jubilai

      Supposing there is in fact a push of some sort against video games in that sense, I wouldn’t expect the courses and degrees that have been established up to this point to disappear over night. Also, he might be talking about serious research beyond the first post grad degree, as well as obtaining funding for it. Don’t know though, I’m too lazy to go to reddit to find out 😛

      There are too many ‘experts’ though for sure, like my one cousin who’s prepared to say that the no matter if you’re a professor/doctor of mathematics, if you say that the probability is 2/3 in the Monty Hall problem, then you don’t know what you’re talking about 😛

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        That’s why I’m certain he’s talking out of his ass. The only reason you’d run into a brick wall for funding would be if what you’re producing is essentially garbage – what could be happening is that there’s a push against a specific line of inquiry* rather than research on “Vidya GAMEZ” as a whole.

        *For instance, a research group or individuals might be purposefully producing material that reeks of bias. If your research doesn’t meet a certain academic standard or fails to survive the peer review process, then fat chance of getting any funding in the future.

    • HvR

      “Gamergate is a goldmine from a sociological or an anthropological perspective”

      Here we see a GamerGater occupying itself with one its daily rituals while keeping an eye out anybody that might trespass unto its sacred ground. It is a solitary animal but not something to be trifled with.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Hey man it calms down even the savage beast. All hail masturbation?

  • Deceased

    I still don’t actually get what GamerGate tried to accomplish other than ruin a Game Devs’ credibility and life – Not naming her … Don’t care about her … Not trying to open that can of worms …

    From what I gathered, it’s kind of a “false-flag” movement, where they said “Yeah we want better ethics in videogame journalism”, but any intellectual person looking at the behaviour of these people would realise that the goal was aimed at a specific person originally … then that spiralled in other directions where it became a sort of toxic blanket… which gave rise to more cash-hungry whor… Not going there ( *cough* Anita Sa… *cough* )

    So I ponder by myself why it became so out of control?
    – Sure, it might be because of the organic structure of the movement ( as in no clear goal )
    – It could also be the ( I quote ) “controversy sells” aspect of it

    But why did it really hit mainstream news, where the whole world outside of the gaming world became aware of the debacle?
    I mean, there’s been an episode ( didn’t watch ) on a TV series about it?! Why the fuck would you think piling snow onto the rolling snowball would be in any way good? FOR ANYONE?!
    It’s as if people were feeding a black-hole, so it could grow larger, and the problem is, the REAL GAMERS who don’t really want anything to do with it suffer in the long run…

    In hind sight, I actually think NOBODY is innocent in this clusterfuck.
    – The GamerGaters were a bunch of trolls who could not see the damage they were doing because, you know, “ignorance is bliss”
    – The targets of GamerGate for milking that cashcow
    – Then media spreading the stank of the gaming-communities freshest shit
    – Us, the silent majority gamers, who didn’t stop this early on 🙁

    I’m sad now … and it feels as if my day is ruined 🙁

    • Personally I feel it got so big because certain people in the media jumped on it and rode it all the way to the bank. Taking normal online abuse as real death threats and then running to the mainstream to show how badly they are being treated.

      For all of the gamergate bile I’ve seen spewed I have to say that 90% has been from people ‘defending’ themselves against the Gamergaters..

      Both sides are full of putrid examples of humanity and any real mission has long been lost

      • Loftus

        Fully agree with you Gavin

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        A wild Gav just emerged and spoke the truth!

      • “Both sides are full of putrid examples of humanity and any real mission has long been lost”

        I agree with this. GG, anti GG – both Hydras; many headed creatures with no aim.

      • HvR
      • Darren Peach

        While your point is very true and relevant, If you consider that the age of the more extreme gamergate advocates, Is it not unfair not to allow for forgiveness. We all make mistakes in life and you could probably look back at your own youth and be embarrassed by certain behavior displayed when a teen. To condemn without recourse is a statement about the lack of tolerance in mainstream society. Obviously, In this context, It becomes a learning curve. Also, The root of the issue is coming from a country that has a history of condemnation and extreme justice. A society that will make a meal out of this…..

      • I.Hall

        We have people on both sides getting rich from this while claiming victimhood, while the media scrapes the scum from the bottom of the septic tank and repackages it as premium fertilizer.

        I find it funny that the author repeatedly blames gamergate alone, whilst ignoring the vast quantity of damage that has occurred due to the antics of gamergate’s opposition and the handling of the issue by the media.

        Additionally, ignoring the huge effect trolls have had is absurd. It’s plain to see for anyone who has given even the most cursory examination of the history and what documented proof exists of both sides’ behavior during this “event”, that the bad actors on both sides, the media, the wolf criers, and the trolls, are all equally guilty of “ruining gaming’s image”.

        Being stereotyped is nothing new for lifelong gamers, most of us got over it years or even decades ago. Only newcomers or those standing to make money or gain reputation are freaking out about the “damage”. Most real gamers are just sad that it has regressed after so much progress was made, much like the author, even if he seems a little confused about the distributton of blame.

        There are are people now afraid to play video games, and all sides are to blame.

        Speaking for myself, ethics and equality are both incredibly important. Our society is severely lacking in both… but outright dismissal, or extreme exaggeration seem to be the only accepted stances, so people such as myself are pretty much locked out of the discussion.

    • HvR

      The problem for the silent majority was as soon as you tried to weigh in the “debate” you got dirty either being pushed in one of the two camps.

      • I.Hall

        100% agree. The extremists on all sides of this issue are heavily to blame. Much like my position in politics, I don’t entirely agree with all of what one specific party is trying to sell to me. I do my own research and make my own decisions. Which side one is on could not possibly mean less to me.

        What I can say, is the blanket dehumanization and universal portrayal of both sides as monsters using some of the oldest, most rehashed sterotypes in the book, certainly doesn’t make me feel that any of the big players in this are even remotely credible.

        Gaming’s reputation has been in the crapper as long as I’ve been a gamer… what I’m sad about is that the important subjects of equality and ethics are probably poisoned for a solid decade from this.

        Genuine, reasonable, and sincere discussion of this seems all but impossible at this point.

  • Hammersteyn

    I’m more concerned with which studio EA is planning on purchasing next and then closing down. Probably the guys who made Dead Space. Now there’s a work of art that has rotted.

    • Rock789

      Visceral studios are already owned by EA… Actually post Dead Space 1 they were bought. So you may be looking at the reason the franchise rotted right there… Just saying. 😉

    • Matewis Jubilai

      Luckily they can never take the games from us – grab a 6-pack, install Dungeon Keeper and play to 03:30 saturday morning, then get up at 07:00 and continue 😀

  • Ranting Raptor


    I know you are but what am I?

    I am rubber you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.

    Liar liar pants on fire! Nose as long as a telephone wire!

    • Rock789

      That’s nosist! **writes scathing review of gaming online community for tomorrow’s opinion column in local gazette**

      • Ranting Raptor

        Sticks and stones may break my bones but scathing reviews just excite me

      • Pariah

        Give it a score of 7. cc @Ranting Raptor:disqus

  • It’sMyCommentI’llCryIfIwant2

    Perception of gamers as immature.

    So I made a pro Wii U comment where I started off by saying that the west was filled with propaganda, new and better i went on to saying and how the Wii U won’t sell that well in the west. The comment then went on to pro Wii U stuff.

    Now there is a person who then went to all the recent comments i made at the time and responded to me by saying, “western propaganda”. Now when ever I make a comment that person will respond, “western propaganda.”


    DRM4Lyf, Support DRM, Bitch 3 is coming, Don’t support witcher 3, DRM is coming, ect. There has been loads of these comments. These comments are not their opinions but more like comments directed at me.

    Last year I said that Call of Duty will lag. I was told that I was the problem. My internet was the problem. Just people pointing fingers at me as a person. What happened, Call of Duty lagged in it’s poes.

    I look at the article and the headline and I will make an opinionated comment about the topic or a topic that I choose. What I get as a responses tends to be directed at me, instead of the topic.

    • Admiral Chief

      Right, so please flag those comments and the hammer of ban shall be swift to sort that out 🙂

    • Trust

      Ok let’s talk GamerGate.

      Female developer slept around with different guys, who were part of gaming media, and her game got promoted. I’m sure some people are made at that, especially women.

      Those media guys ended up promoting her game, taking her side, not fully reporting all sides, ect.

      The thought of gaming media behaving like that, with the gaming industry sponsorship, review scores, the idea that gaming media is not reporting on the truth and nothing but the truth but instead gaming media are getting paid to spread certain information, like a sales pitch for day 1 sales. for the most part just does their thing. But those pro Call of Duty articles every year leading up to day 1 sales, makes me wonder. Yeah they say it’s just them loving the game. Then after release it’s all the typical Call of Duty hate we expect.

      Anyway, gamergate was turned from the focus on the gaming industry + gaming media, to the focus on death threats and immature gamers.
      So just another example of how they spinned it.

      • Darren Peach

        That is probably a isolated case.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Call of Duty won the game of the year on Lagz once. Holy balls! You should have seen the comment section. We would have burnt the place down.

  • kingdo goodbomber

    #gamergate isn’t running for mayor, take your perceptions and stick them up your ass.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      This! Oh my lovable goddess Aphrodite THIS! COMMENT OF THE YEAR! I wish I could upvote this 10 000 000 times.

  • Darren Peach

    I think there has been traditional merit to the notion that gamers are immature. The thing is, The market has changed and is more inclusive. I firmly believe that the bar needs to be set from within the game industry as to what is acceptable. I tend to disagree with the idea of over analysing the design of game characters even if this seems to be contrary to my initial point. I see this medium as a blank canvas and when you start enforcing certain viewpoints into it, it fast becomes a tool for political expression as opposed to a hobby, Unless the point of the game is to do so. I want to spend my time escaping the day to day nonsense of the world by immersing myself in a game world, We all have enough reality when we drive to work and listen to the radio or watch CNN. What concerns me is that the first time I heard of Anita Sarkeesian, It was because of Gamergate and not for any independent achievements or games that she contributed to our world. Why choose this platform ? Because it is immature and there are many young players who have not developed enough to consider the consequences of their actions. The soft underbelly. When you are labeled as something by association, It is very upsetting. We can all post heartfelt opinions but crowd mentality seems to have taken over.

  • ImaGuest

    By the millionth time: It was the GAMES MEDIA that created that perception not gamergate. GamerGate CALLED THE MEDIA OUT ON ITS BULLSHIT. Just like i’m calling out your bullshit.

    Every single study in that post has been either debunked way before GG, or contains glaring statistical fallacies like minuscule sample sizes, biased questions, etc.
    Down to outright banning the use of them in courts of law:

    TotalBiscuit’s question stands unanswered! As a rabble rouser he has more integrity in his cancerous intestines than any of the journalists being called out by GG have in their whole being.

    Continue dismissing valid criticism and factual opinions as immature and you will end up in a society regressed back to the age of the Spanish inquisition where moral outrage trumped over reason and science.

  • Perico Palotes

    Don’t forget this little gem dude.
    And be careful, i have heard gamergate is making an alliance with ISIS and ANUBIS.

  • Stan Smith

    Geoffrey, you do know that Gamerghazi is nothing more than an anti-GG circlejerk. You can’t find a less reputable source to quote from even if you tried.

    And please, you also know full well why GamerGate is perceived the way it is. When the gaming media labels us terrorists, misogynists, extremists, while conveniently ignoring the amount of harassment coming from the SJWs, that’s what the general public is going to think we are.

    All Kotaku had to do was apologize for Grayson’s behavior and implement a strict disclosure policy, and others would follow suit. If they hadn’t made it us vs them, this whole ugly debacle would have been over right there and then.

    PS : One of your tags is misspelled.

  • Plebosaurus

    Chillax bro. Gaming is bigger than ever! Why do you even care what people think about your hobby? Haters gonna hate regardless.

    It’s all about the memes. Gamergate still wants better game reviews and less bribery prone games journos.

    Level up! Copy Pasta Digra! Be more Victimy than Professional Victims! Nachoshield Doritos! Appropriate JIDF! Dew the SJW fandango! Sex Sells! Big Bird as a trigger word can suck it, got nothing on Hotwheels or based Mom.

    That is how you Fight, Win, Prevail.

    Literally who was no more than the pin in the grenade.

    Games journalists who bash gamergate feed the meat. Everybody wanted a slice of the action.

    Take the person who wrote this article:

    “Academia wants nothing to do with preserving games”

    Reason for not creating archive: My department is rather forward-thinking but felt #videogames, despite their 50 year history, were simply too new to consider.

    You’d expect a journalist to actually READ a source. Blame it on Goobergate. Go Go Boogeyman! Oh noes. It took about a century for photography to be recognised as art. Same for cinema. Why the outrage that gaming ain’t getting speshul snowflake treatment? Especially in a time of austerity?

    There are POST GRADUATE DEGREES in which focus exclusively on gaming. Gamification is a big deal, even when it comes to creating designer enzymes.

    Gamification of the fight against piracy in east africa. Used legions of internet trolls to predict how pirates would respond to various interdiction strategies.

    Xbox with kinect is huge in terms of research advancement.

    Haptic telepresence interfaces being researched make South African universities look like crap. As usual.
    That ball thing on the table which used ascending rods to create a dynamic surface from a heightmap. I forget which university or project it was.

    PORN is getting into VR. You know what that means?! Yeah, video streaming really took of after porn started doing it. Same with printing.

    Such a completely mature place:

    Chris Kluwe turned into a bastion of maturity when he joined the Anti Gamergate movement.

    Lets not mention what happened to Tim Schafer when he “repented”. Wow. That’s just sad.

    Basic reality checks: Completely absent. Diagnosis: Author is completely Anti Gamergate.

    We get it though. You source a lot of stuff from polygon and Gamasutra. You are effectively neutered. You are effectively sockpuppets. Lazygamer absolutely must obey their masters or risk being ostracized. Tow the party line comrade. Do what you have to do. We love you anyhow.

  • Norm

    Also as a life long gamer this is highly depressing.

  • Chrism

    ‘Just to point this out games journalist are just as capable as “immature gamers” they way Journalists and (I use that term lightly) cover gamers gives a very slated view of gamers according to them all gamers are racists/homophobic/misogynists/virgins/live in their moms basements/ and are all white males.The general public forms their opinions based on what journalists tell them, and you guys have done a stellar job of smearing poo all over us.

  • SiliconNooB

    So SJWs trot out a bunch of histrionic nonsense to smear GamerGate, and now that it blows up in their faces they are having a big hissy fit about it all being the fault of GamerGate that the mainstream think that gamers are murderers and rapists.

    Sorry, but I’m all out of fucks.

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