I appreciate this article but this sentence really stood out to me as lol-worthy:
“The industry has grappled with harassment and toxic behavior since the Gamergate scandal of 2014,”
I grew up on video games. I’ve been gaming since I was a kid. I played Warcraft I and II, and countless other games on PC. We had a Super Nintendo, then a Sega, then the first PlayStation.
The console we didn’t have was a Nintendo 64. We used to visit my aunt in the summer, and next door was a family with 6 kids. 2 girls and 4 boys. They had an N64. Sometimes we got to play with them.
I remember when they got Ocarina of Time and were excited to show us. By excited I mean they’d let us run around in the fields and snatch the controller away anytime there was a sequence of actual things that needed to be done.
My dad always let me figure stuff out on my own, and yeah the boys probably thought they were being nice or “helping”. But as anyone who plays video games will tell you, if someone does all the actual gaming and then hands you the controls, you’re kinda just... running around.
My little sister and I would sit there for ages while they played Mario Kart and they would pass the controllers between them and take turns and straight up forget we were there if we didn’t agitate.
I went on a date to the movie theatres when I was 17. We had some time so we played in the arcade. They had Tekken 3. I smoked my date. He ended up becoming my boyfriend eventually but he was pretty mad at me for being better than him at a video game I’d grown up on.
My dad was amazing. He found so many games in the 90’s that are still some of my favorites. No One Lives Forever and Oni stand out in my mind a lot. I loved being able to play female characters.
I found WoW in 2012. I was terrified of playing with others. I’d learned since childhood that dudes don’t really believe that women play video games. I didn’t want to talk to real people and experience the misogyny I knew was already there.
It’s uhh... kinda hard to level completely on your own in WoW. You hit a wall at a certain point and need to start partying up with people to complete certain dungeons and stuff. Yeah there’s the dude who picked flowers til he reached max but that’s not usual.
I found a decent guild but I refused to get on voice chat for a long time. I just wasn’t ready for that level of contact. I didn’t even own a mic. And then one of my guild mates started stalking me.
Like “you’d be a great mother to my kid” level stalking.
So I started a new character on a completely different server and started over. Did the laying low thing a bit. Eventually leveled up, and made friends with someone else who convinced me over months to get on voice chat with him.
We’re still friends. Still chat from time to time. He got me into raiding. I was a healer, and a pretty good one too. Suddenly I had to be on voice chat with groups of people just to play the game properly at that level. It was weird.
I got everything from the “you’re a girl so you don’t know what you’re talking about” to the benevolent “let’s protect the girl because she’s a girl and we’re nice gentlemen”. Just... so many weird things to navigate just to play a game.
The toxic behavior in gaming isn’t exclusive to gaming, and the gaming industry isn’t set up to combat it. Sure there are things that can be done but the attitude I got online is the same attitude I got in person as a kid is the same attitude I’d get if I sat at a poker table.
And for the record, no I did not get free shit or carried or special treatment in any of my online gaming experience. Not WoW, not DOTA, not LoL, not Overwatch.
I did however, meet at least one dude in each of those who pretended to be a woman offline to get free shit. 🤷🏻♀️
I’d like to think the words “grappling with” in this article mean the gaming industry is actually doing something about the harassment since GooberGate. But gamergate started over 4 years ago, and I’m looking for direct actions taken in response and not finding much at all.
I can point to several women and trans folks who have completely changed careers because they’ve been harassed out of video games. I can see the direct line from GG to the alt-right. I can’t find a single policy or reform to point to that’s a direct result of GG.
So, yeah it’s nice that some higher up people counting dollars want to see more women in pro leagues. But the “gaming community” harassed Remilia out of the LCS, and no one who’s ever played games around dudes is surprised by that.
I mean... yeah. This comes up all the time. For some reason dudes can’t believe that we play games because we like games. https://t.co/iqlxfBws8N
I didn’t think I had to say this but since it ended up in my mentions... “what about the guys who aren’t harassing women? Like if there’s only one toxic dude on mic there’s like 4 dudes who aren’t saying anything.”
I don’t give cookies for breathing.
And yes, thank you, I’ve heard all the “pro-level” arguments for why women aren’t going pro in esports (hint: it all boils down to “they’re just not good enough”). And I’m not interested in hearing them again because they’re bullshit.
Because even if it were true (it’s not, but even if it were), no one gets good at something if they’re being harassed all the damn time just for trying it, you jerks.
A couple years ago one of my husband’s buddies was putting together a game night, my husband asked if wives were invited and the buddy was perplexed. Why would they be?
This sparked a several day argument, with my husband trying to explain that I’m more of a gamer than he is.
I can guarantee this buddy never harassed a woman on mic while gaming, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hold misogynist ideas about women and video games.
Women like video games because video games are fun. Period. That’s it.
We don’t play games for attention or free loot or to get boyfriends. We play games cause games are fun. That’s it. That’s the whole conspiracy.
You can believe us or you can keep being jerks about it. Those are your options. 🤷🏻♀️
I mean, just look around. https://t.co/CgUo76PYdt