In order to be the perfect stoned gamer, one must inform themselves of every element of the gaming community, including the ones that are so obviously ridiculous that it's borderline hilarious. If you've never heard of #GamerGate, consider yourself lucky. Up until now your life has been a tranquil one filled with late-night bong sessions and early-morning Destiny looting before you go to class or work. In fact one of the reasons why you smoke weed is to get away from drama like #GamerGate and the many 'isms' that are associated with it. Well stoned gamer, you must face the facts. #GamerGate is a thing, and it only appears to be growing in society. However the most important aspect you need to know is while this #GamerGate argument does exist, the entire controversy can end with marijuana's acceptance into the gaming industry.
Let's not pretend #GamerGate doesn't have some credence, because it does. At least in the beginning it did. Now it's just turned into a cacophony of death threats and school shootings.
At the heart of #GamerGate is the age-old beef between hardcore gamers vs. artsy game developers. In short, the traditionalists and hardcore gamers believe that games are designed for sheer entertainment, and that anything that doesn't focus on this is simply extraneous gaming material. While it's nice to have an eloquent back story in a game like El Shaddai, hardcore gamers believe the focus must be on the sheer entertainment that can be obtained from the game. The 'artsy' stuff is deemed simply irrelevant.
Of course for the hardcore gamer, philosophical concepts and social issues are considered 'artsy' (another way to say infinitely complex) and ultimately relegated. The true problem for the hardcore gamer seems to be the point in which games started to become critiqued like art instead of entertainment. That made the predominately male hardcore gaming audience angry, and they became even angrier when women began to focus on these cultural issues in game development.
Once games started embodying robust socio-economic issues, writers began critiquing them as such. This transformation in medium led to an influx of women joining the gaming industry, thus lessening the gargantuan gender divide that has been endemic to video games for decades. Games begin to take on a greater significance in culture, something that Marshall McLuhan essentially predicted in his 1970 book 'From Cliché to Archetype.' A new renaissance happened in the gaming industry, and we witnessed works like Braid, Journey, and Monaco hit consoles (all created by genius Kellee Santiago). Naturally, this made the hardcore gamers angry. Really angry.
They saw games like this as a clear departure from what matters most: gaming mechanics. Social issues were being brought to the forefront instead of gameplay and entertainment, and they lashed out the only way they knew how -- being as misogynistic as possible.
Instead of attacking the gaming movement in question, hardcore gamers begin to vehemently dissect the female developers making these games. Keep in mind, the internet isn't the utopian place that Al Jazeera America wants you to believe. It's filled with the lowest denizen of humanity that use technology to do everything from organize assassinations to force children into sex slavery. Granted that all goes down in the Dark Web; the web infrastructure that we inhabit is just filled with racism, homophobia, antisemitism, and misogyny -- and all of it was on display when these hardcore gamers went after their first victim: Anita Sarkeesian.
Anita was actually the first developer to identify the growing representation of females in the gaming industry, and her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games show (broadcast under the FeministFrequency YouTube), ignited a slew of incredibly hateful things thrown in her general direction from the hardcore gaming community. We're talking everything, folks. Hacking, doxxing, death threats, rape threats -- in fact the harassment that Sarkeesian received was so immense that it led to a complete investigation by the FBI.
All of this came to a strange twist when developer Zoe Quinn created 'Depression Quest,' a game that introspectively looked at her own depression as a means of narrative progression. The indie game was met with some favorable reviews praising Quinn's blunt honesty of game development that gave others an intimate look into her own illness. The entire gaming industry was on the verge of being legitimized in mainstream culture until her ex-boyfriend wrote several disparaging blog posts about her, one of which accused her of cheating on him with Nathan Grayson, a writer from Kotaku.
We know, your life was going just fine before all of this, and now you're knee-deep in a realm of game developers being accused of cheating on game journalists. Don't worry, it only gets more bizarre.
Despite how trivial Zoe Quinn's alleged relationship with writer Nathan Grayson was, many gamers believed that Kotaku's coverage of Quinn's games were far more favorable because of this. This led to a vast distrust in gaming journalism in so far as the relationships a gaming outlet may have with a developer could have the ability to alter the coverage their products receive. It also led to ridiculous memes like this, which goes to show you the power of MS Paint.
Due to these allegations, gaming sites like Kotaku begin publishing articles that essentially chastised their audience for their own accusations and behavior, something that hardcore gamers (and internet trolls) don't respond positively to. One particular site, GamaSutra, accused their audience of participating in what is now known as #GamerGate. Of course their readers got their own revenge and formed an email campaign against all of GamaSutra's advertisers, claiming they were 'racist' and 'offensive.' It may have seemed like a shot in the dark for GamaSutra readers, but ultimately they prevailed when Intel pulled all advertisements from the site earlier this month in response to this pro-feminist article.
Since then, Intel has apologized for removing the ads -- sort of.
...while we respect the right of individuals to have their personal beliefs and values, Intel does not support any organization or movement that discriminates against women. We apologize and we are deeply sorry if we offended anyone.
Still, as of October 15th Intel's ads still aren't running on GamaSutra, and the computer developer has essentially aligned themselves with the #GamerGate movement, and not the good side. Intel now accepts the anti-feminist opinion of gamers as verifiable fact, and they're directly illustrating by where they place (or don't place) their advertising dollars.
#GamerGate isn't even close to being over, folks. Just today Anita Sarkeesian has to cancel her guest lecture at Utah State University after receiving an email from some whacko that threatened a school shooting.
I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs. This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.
You have 24 hours to cancel Sarkeesian’s talk … Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.
That guy needs to get laid -- or smoke a bowl -- or both.
Of course, that's my entire point. None of this would happen if the gaming industry accepted marijuana as a much needed remedy to the testosterone-fueled bullsh*t it has turned into. Unfortunately as many of you have seen with my High Times feature on the history of gaming, developers love to distance themselves from marijuana while simultaneously exploiting the cannabis culture in order to turn profit and heighten their own popularity. Rockstar nearly broke their ankles trying to duck me when I told them I was a journalist from High Times Magazine and I wanted to talk to them about marijuana's place in the gaming industry. The same with Deep Silver Volition.
The solution is to smoke more weed. Actually smoke more weed than you can handle, game developers and fans. Once you experience dissolution to ego, you will realize there's no need to violently lash out because a developer that incidentally happens to have a vagina is trying to get you to think in a more lucid way. The death of the gamer needs to happen today, and from its ashes will rise the stoned gamer. The Stoned Gamer is Nietzsche's Übermensch, and with our manifestation we will bring on a new collection of values and ethics to the gaming community. Let's leave the misogynistic past behind and shape the future of gaming the way we see fit. It's simply not conducive to the survival of our species. Besides, stoned gamers are better than that.
Gamers and developers, never say no to weed -- only say perhaps. Marijuana will change the paradigm of gaming, but only if you let it.