Breaking Arrows is a Soapbox series published by Highland Arrow relating the views and opinions of smaller developers, independent journalists, and gamers, related to the GamerGate movement.
This entry in the series is the response of Meeki, an artist and gamer.
Breaking Arrows is a Soapbox series published by Highland Arrow relating the views and opinions of smaller developers, independent journalists, and gamers, related to the GamerGate movement. To read more about it, read the lead article here.
This article has been edited since it was originally posted. A section of Meeki's contribution was not displaying properly because of a malformed HTML tag and that has since been corrected.
For those that don’t know you, can you introduce yourself?
I'm Meeki. To put it simply, I'm an adult woman that loves her video games.
How long have you been in the games industry?
I'm not in the games industry. I'm a gamer that cares about what's going on.
What brought you to be interested in games? And the game industry?
Oh, it didn't take much. My dad brought home an Atari one day and I was hooked. I played just about every system from that point on and in the late 90's I moved over to PC gaming where I've been ever since.
Gaming has always been a healing factor in my life. I grew up to a lot of abuse. Things that no person, especially a child should ever have to go through. As cliche as it may sound, I was always the victim when it came to my real life. However, when I picked up a controller, I got to become the hero. That meant everything to me back then. It still means a lot to me today.
Over the years there have been a series of scandals in the games industry. Does any particular one have meaning to you?
There's been a couple issues over the years that caught my attention. The sexual harassment case filed against Brad Wardell and the rape accusation and following articles in regard to Max Temkin.
Some topics are still hard for me to talk about. As a victim of sexual abuse, I became angry when I saw these articles. However, the more I read and paid attention, I realized that these men were being accused by gaming journalists without any evidence to support it. Innocent until proven guilty is something I've always believed in. Now the opposite seems to be the case which is absolutely wrong when accusations can ruin lives, careers and the reputation of innocent people.
Have you ever set up dominos in a line just to watch them fall? In this case, each piece would symbolize an instance where we felt betrayed by gaming journalists. One by one a domino would fall and we'd lose more faith in the industry. I honestly believe that #GamerGate is the result of that last piece falling.
Do you think the Industry needs to improve? If so, in what areas?
There's always room for improvement. I believe there should be more transparency within gaming journalism. If it's an opinion piece, make it well known at the start of an article. Disclose any personal relationships you may have with the subject, and please, do your research if what you're writing could damage someone's career.
Sometimes I wonder if they are afraid to speak up about a controversial issue if the subject is a woman. It seems like every time a female in the industry is questioned or criticized, claims of misogyny soon spring up. I know I've been told that I should defend women because I'm a woman myself. That by not doing so, I'm a disgrace to my gender. The only thing I really want is for people to be treated equally regardless of their gender.
We do need more diversity in games. I can really appreciate a game like Borderlands 2 which features characters with varying sexualities. I absolutely love that Ellie is proud and confident about her appearance. I think games have the ability to send a positive message to their audience and I support any developer or company that want to do that. However, I don't think I should be made to feel guilty because my favorite game is still Black Ops 2. It's important to remember to add, not subtract when it comes to this genre, especially if you want to see change. Gamers love to see a new game released. What they do not like is being seen as a bad person for enjoying the games they do.
What would you say the games industry does right? Wrong?
I genuinely believe games are moving in the right direction if diversity is the goal. I know there's a lot more of these games today than were around ten years ago. Maybe this progress isn't happening as quickly as desired, but it's happening all the same.
What I think is wrong is the bullying and pressure coming from people within the industry, even towards their own peers. I have seen male and female game developers alike being harassed because their games are being seen as sexist or oppressive towards women. There's nothing wrong with wanting change. There is something wrong with trying to force people to change because you personally disagree with what they are creating.
Where do you see the industry, moving forward?
I honestly don't know what the future holds. I would like to see gamers and game developers working together and supporting what they love again. I would also like to see the relationship between gamers and game journalists patched up. That is not going to happen as long as they see this as a hate group.
These are sad times for the world of gaming. People are getting doxxed, harassed and threatened on both sides of the movement. Yet, why does it seem like one side of that is ever represented in an article? Only one side is labeled a hate group? Doing so hurts the innocent people getting attacked in this that are not being represented. It sends the message that it's okay to do these horrible things as long as it's a #GamerGate supporter that's being attacked. This may not be the message they wish to convey but it's an unfortunate side effect when you ignore to represent both sides of an argument, or movement in this case, with equal honesty. The simple fact is that harassment is wrong, period. This is not happening to one side more than the other.
I want to believe in resolution. I think many of us do regardless of our stance when it comes to this issue. We're only going to achieve this goal by working together. We need to start doing that.