GamerGate and The Cusp

Remember how I said there’s a war over gaming culture between the “softcore” and the “hardcore” gamers?  Softcore gamers are desperate to have mainstream validation, while hardcore gamers only want to be catered to as the prime demographic of the industry — as the vocal consumer.  The softcore part of gaming culture, which largely includes media personalities who want to become accepted by the mainstream for the sake of their careers if nothing else, hate the hardcore because they make gaming culture look unfriendly and uncool; they complicate the “games are art” and “games are becoming movies” narratives, and they demand higher standards from everyone in the industry, including the media.

Well, the infamous Polygon site has created a new spin piece in order to attempt further damage control, and this time reveal their softcore desperation more than ever.  So much so that I felt the need to chronicle it for you readers.  This is one of the first paragraphs, which lays out importance of the current crisis:

[GamerGate] has snowballed until finally, perhaps inevitably, it reached the front page of The New York Times, as significant a milestone for mainstream awareness as there is. It would appear that gaming, on the cusp of mainstream acceptance, Supreme Court victory in hand, has traded in the stereotype of the violent loner for the violent misogynist.

I think an old fashioned editorial cartoon would be fitting:

Created by yours truly

Yes, The New York Times has the lingering prestige of old elite, a flagship of the past generation, which is nevertheless struggling to stay relevant in the age of the Internet and social media.  It’s “mainstream” to millions of people, even if those people are the ones who don’t understand the role of Twitch or Instagram in today’s culture.  For them to discredit gaming is pretty logical, and there’s nothing easier than regurgitating the neofeminist ballyhooing.  It writes itself.

All of this comes at the expense of the softcore gamer’s hopes and dreams, sadly.  To whatever extent the notorious “Gamers Are Over” campaign was actually coordinated, it’s clear that the urge to distance gaming’s image from its audience has been around for years, and this kind of bad publicity is setting gaming’s perception back in the minds of those who want validation more than standards.

So now we see it more clearly: in order to protect gaming media’s image in the eyes of the mainstream, it was necessary to officially divorce gaming from gamers, no matter how absurd and twisted the logic needed to get.  So the bluster was never aimed at gamers or developers and publishers as it ostensibly was, but at the “mainstream media” that Polygon is so reverent of.  Like so much bullshit that gets spread around today, it feigns an argument in order to occupy the best strategic position, but for completely selfish ends.

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