Until recently, I had never read any of the original “gamers are dead” articles, assuming they would contain nothing but the standard leftist drivel to which we’ve become accustomed. The only likely outcome of reading them would be an increase in my blood pressure. Then, while watching a video about GamerGate, I clicked on a link to an archive of one of the original articles, “A Guide To Ending Gamers” by Devin Wilson at Gamasutra.
Full disclosure: I am far from a hardcore gamer. I play Magic The Gathering and Minecraft, and am a recovering WoW addict. As a kid, I played Wolfenstein, Doom, and Mario Brothers. In college it was Duke Nukem and Unreal Tournament. I’m a casual gamer who occasionally goes nuts with a particular game, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking or reading about games. So I hadn’t even heard of Kotaku or Gamasutra before August 2014.
I happened to be on Reddit on the day of the original Quinn event and saw the threads full of deleted comments. As I learned more about what was happening, I began to nurture the hope that what I’d been waiting for was finally happening: the men of my generation were waking up. My interest in and support of GamerGate comes primarily from two sources:
My absolute disdain for all things Politically Correct
My rejection of the gradual, deliberate process of feminization Western society has been undergoing since the second half of the 20th century.
I want to protect gaming because of what it represents as because of the entertainment value I get out of it.
Games Are Fun
In any case, I was scrolling down through the article’s list of strategies for eliminating gamers, trying to keep an open mind, and actually thinking there were one or two somewhat valid points. Then I got to item #11:
We stop upholding “fun” as the universal, ultimate criterion for a game’s relevance. It’s a meaningless ideal at best and a poisonous priority at worst. Fun is a neurological trick. Plenty of categorically unhealthy things are “fun”. Let’s try for something more. Many of the alternatives will have similarly fuzzy definitions, but let’s aspire to qualities like “edifying”, “healing”, “pro-social”, or even “enlightening”. I encourage you to decide upon your own alternatives to “fun” in games (while avoiding terms like “cool” and “awesome” and any other word that simply caters to existing, unexamined biases).
That paragraph represents everything that is wrong with social justice thinking in less than 100 words.
Madness Is Real
What this person is saying is that “fun” is not an essential element of a “game”. Not only is it not necessary, it’s either a “meaningless ideal” or a “poisonous priority”. Poisonous, one assumes, because of the unfortunate fact that focusing development effort on creating a fun experience takes away from time spent making it “edifying”.
There are two likely explanations for how an otherwise intelligent, educated person could reach a conclusion so off-base, so fundamentally lacking in anything resembling validity, that it’s difficult to even describe it as wrong:
The Charitable Explanation: Operating almost entirely in a world of abstractions, as academics often do, it’s easy to get so removed from the reality on the ground that you overlook critical details. This is the “absent-minded professor” image, and it offers the benefit of the doubt insofar as it assumes an absence of negative intent.
The Ideological Explanation: For the fanatic, the goals of the revolution are all that matter. The end justifies the means; the importance of making the vision a reality warps the decision-making process and critical thinking faculties of even the most brilliant minds. Essential details are overlooked because they are obscured by emotions, desires, and rote imperatives. This yields the phenomenon we know of as “doublethink” or “cognitive dissonance”.
I don’t know what was going on in the mind of Mr. Wilson; I know which explanation I think is the most likely, but to be honest, in many ways it doesn’t matter. Either leftists like Devin are living in a dream world that causes them to ignore reality, or they ignore reality in order to bring their dream world into being.
Boys Will Be Boys
The most obvious flaw, alluded to earlier, in this reasoning is that video games will no longer exist as a medium in which to promote social good if they are not fun: no matter how well-designed for this purpose, their “healing” powers will go to waste because no one will play them. Leftists appear not to grasp this basic truth because they believe, or behave exactly as though they believed, that people can be programmed like a computer, with each program operating unaffected by the others. They start from a snapshot of current activity in aggregate, try to stamp out elements they object to, and assume there will be no unintended consequences.
As we saw last century with the Soviet Union, this model, while based on shallow truths, has no durability in the real world. People can be convinced to keep working, fighting, and trading for a time if totalitarian authority is maintained through fear, information control, and other forms of manipulation. But there are always unintended consequences of social engineering and central planning that ignores local realities.
By the time the Soviet Union collapsed, it was littered with things like factories producing farm equipment that was worth less than its component parts, because not only did the end product not work, but the cost of salvaging the components was too high to be economical. This will be the result if we allow feminists and other peddlers of academic sanctimony to continue to interfere with the video game marketplace and turn it into a PC haven.
I believe this effect is intentional, and that the feminist campaign to destroy gaming is just one piece of a larger strategy to eliminate or co-opt masculinity in all its forms. Video games are one of the few media that cater more to male than female entertainment preferences: they are dominated by games involving sports, war, and fighting, and often contain images of the female body that appeal to male sexuality. A lot of young men and boys play video games, and they can be coarse, vulgar, and unwelcoming to outsiders.
I say: So what? “Boys will be boys” is now treated as something akin to a Satanic incantation, but it has the inconvenient and feminist-galling audacity of being true. Boys and girls compared to men and women are different—we have different tastes, needs, proclivities, and comfort zones. Video games manifest this basic truth, and are not, as leftists would like us to believe, based on arbitrary, socially constructed gender distinctions designed to give one half of the population advantages over the other half.
Man The Battlements
If you imagine the world of entertainment or leisure generally as a map, video games are one of the few geographic regions where boys are still allowed to be boys, and this is simply not tolerable to feminists. They look at that territory and see a dark black stain on the pink-tinted expanse of modern culture. Feminine sensibilities and political correctness dominate the traditional media, Hollywood, academia, and publishing, while video games serve a niche market that, though large in absolute numbers, impacts a far smaller percentage of the population than other media. In other words, they have us surrounded.
But what they—and most men—don’t appear to understand is that the only reason things have gotten this far is that we haven’t been fighting back. Men have spent 50 years meekly retreating, conceding cultural territory, and even defecting to the other side. It has taken a blatant, undisguised assault on some of the least-threatening members of the male population, people who mostly just want to enjoy their hobby in peace.
This is a test, and the answer is not to become an MRA so you can try to fight the feminists on their own well-fortified ground. The answer is to become a man in the traditional sense: self-sufficient, productive, ambitious, knowledgeable about the world you live in, and resistant to female emotional manipulation. Women who understand the benefits they get from living in a masculine environment will do what the majority of women do best: follow and support you, or get out of your way. The rest, alone, bitter, and without any offspring to indoctrinate as future feminists, will join their ideological fellow-travelers in the dustbin of history.