I saw an advertisement for Falling Skies new episode coming up, and it got me to thinking how the show about aliens conquering Earth is an apt, but accidental parallel to the consumer revolt that has been going on for almost a year now. A major event, caused people who would otherwise not be allies, to band together as unlikely allies. People whose ideology, interests, habits, and behavior that were often at odds with others set that all aside to fight this enemy. Can they continue to cooperate with one another, or will we see them turn on each other?
At the beginning of both events, the resistance movement was like the mythical hydra, cutting off one head, taking out one militia, or running off one gamer only spawned more. In both cases the movements expanded through operations to decentralize, making this comparison even truer. Like the show’s biggest rivalry, Mason and Pope, the people using the GamerGate hashtag were constantly at odds, but linked with a common goal. Those moments of contention were usually between the various communities that make up the revolt, chan culture versus twitter users, indie devs and writers, neutrals and die-hards. Even when these little flare-ups happened, lovingly referred to as simply ‘weekend drama’, they tended to die off quickly, with a few people walking away but most remaining steadfast.
As with the show, the ‘war’ is all but over for many. While some are taking the fight in many directions the original call for ethics in games journalism has been answered on so many levels. While far from won, it’s hard to deny that the fight has calmed considerably. The ‘aliens’ have suffered devastating blow after blow, some outlets are falling, others have made significant changes, and very few hold out any illusion that the revolt hasn't changed the face of gaming media for some time to come. There will always be a need to be vigilant and still small pockets of aliens to ‘mop up’ but the flames of war have, without a doubt, calmed.
Now it seems, with the lack of a consistent target for people’s ire, the old adage that ‘warriors need a war’ is proven. The hydra, that was once useful in helping a loose confederation of consumers stay ahead of a slanderous media, has set focus on its own heads. Weekend drama begins early, and ends late. Ideology takes precedence over common goals, and it’s no longer good enough to simply disagree. Just like Falling Skies is going, the humans have all but won, and now Mason and Pope’s old rivalry has come to a head and turned once allied factions against each other. While the militia tries to fight the remaining aliens, drama and hate have become a distraction. The media, like the aliens, will just rebuild and return to their old ways if the resistance dies out and that seems more likely to happen as not.