Gamers are Dead

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Gamers Are Dead is the name given to a collection of articles critical of gamers. These articles were published within the same time period from August 28, 2014 through early September. Each of these articles echoed a narrative; that the "gamer" identity or culture was dead. These articles heavily implied the "gamer" identity had been killed by sexism and misogyny. The articles which inspired the most backlash were from gaming websites themselves for their implication of a dismissive attitude towards these publications' primary audience. It is suspected by many that, due to the timing of these articles, both in the quick succession of which they were released and in the midst of an unresolved scandal, the articles were an act of collusion. Their impact caused the GamerGate consumer revolt to become much larger and more determined in its effort to expose impropriety in gaming journalism.

History

On 28 August 2014, the day after the creation of the GamerGate hashtag, numerous writers most of whom writing for game and tech websites published articles which all carried the same basic message and tone. Four days later on 1 September 2014, Rock Paper Shotgun published their own article matching the tone and content of the other nine. Gamers almost immediately suspected that the simultaneous release of these articles was not a coincidence and that there was hidden collusion taking place. At the time it was believed that it was coordination done through the PR firm Silverstring Media. However, upon the revelation of the GameJournoPros group, it became widely accepted that the mailing list was responsible for the coordination.

Many gamers were outraged, not only because these publications declared their identity and culture dead, but because they had done so in such an obviously coordinated way. Before this point it was thought that impropriety in video game journalism was confined to isolated incidents of unethical behavior by individuals. However, this incident showed that not only were nearly all major game journalism outlets involved in such unethical behavior, they were also actively coordinating their narrative. This caused GamerGate supporters to redouble their efforts in exposing corruption and pursuing reform in video game journalism. Every participant in the Gamers are Dead effort has been boycotted by GamerGate supporters, and so far none of them have issued any retractions.

Background

This event is perceived by many gamers as a tangible indication that the gaming media has made a definitive paradigm shift away from reporting on behalf of the consumer, and instead focusing on a biased cultural critique of video games and the people who consume them. Consistent tendencies to inject reviews of games with a monotonous political perspective, and skew scores based on a game's compatibility with that perspective, had long roused cynicism from gamers who were dissatisfied with a lack of objective information they were getting about the games in which they were interested. Given the one-sidedness, occasional vitriol, vagueness, and condescension with which gaming journalism had become synonymous, many gamers ultimately developed a distaste for the practice of politicizing game reviews and began denouncing many prominent gaming sites which partake in it.

Several gaming blogs had insisted that their postmodern political analysis was not bringing imbalance to their reporting, and that the social projections they perceive from video games are undeniably consequential to all gamers and thus imperative to observe; and that measures to ensure objectivity in such observations were unnecessary.

The Gamers are Dead articles epitomized these rising tensions, and reflect a sense of hostility from game critics towards an uncooperative demographic which they feel is holding back their sense of progress for gaming as a medium. Many view the articles as an authoritative scolding of the free market, in which games are developed to appeal to as large and generic a consumer base as possible, as opposed to actively catering to fractionally narrow demographics as stipulated by modern progressiveness. By marginalizing the sensibilities of this agenda, gamers are often ostracized in editorials as being bigoted and repressive, accused of using the status quo as an excuse to be politically incorrect. Gamers' rejection of this narrative has been a recurring point of contention throughout GamerGate.

Articles

Title Author Publication Date
"Gamers" don't have to be your audience. "Gamers" are over. Leigh Alexander Gamasutra 28 August 2014
We Might Be Witnessing The "Death of An Identity" Luke Plunkett Kotaku 28 August 2014
An awful week to care about video games Chris Plante Polygon 28 August 2014
The End of Gamers Dan Golding Personal Tumblr blog[1] 28 August 2014
It's Dangerous to Go Alone: Why Are Gamers So Angry? Arthur Chu The Daily Beast 28 August 2014
Sexism, Misogyny, and online attacks: It's a horrible time to consider yourself a gamer Patrick O'Rourke Financial Post 28 August 2014
Gaming Is Leaving "Gamers" Behind Joseph Bernstein Buzzfeed 28 August 2014
A Guide to Ending "Gamers" Devin Wilson Gamasutra 28 August 2014
The SJW effect – welcome to the end of the world Patrick Garratt VG247 28 August 2014
Put The Hate on Hold Fenriff Destructoid 28 August 2014
The death of the "gamers" and the women who "killed" them Casey Johnson Ars Technica 29 August 2014
This guy's embarrassing relationship drama is killing the 'gamer' identity Mike Pearl Vice 29 August 2014
Announcement: Readers who feel threatened by equality no longer welcome Tim Colwill GamesONnet 29 August 2014
Why we need more developers like Zoe Quinn Dan Whitehead Eurogamer 30 August 2014
Game Developer Association Condemns Harassment, Offers Help to Targeted Devs Emanuel Maiberg Gamespot 31 August 2014
There are gamers at the gate, but they may already be dead Jonathan Holmes Destructoid 31 August 2014
This Week in Video Game Criticism: Tropes vs Anita Sarkeesian and the Demise of 'Gamers' Kris Ligman Gamasutra 1 September 2014
How to attack a woman who works in video gaming Jenn Frank The Guardian 1 September 2014
The Monday Papers Graham Smith Rock Paper Shotgun 1 September 2014
  1. Despite being published in a personal blog, Golding's article is considered part of the Gamers are Dead attack because he is the director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival

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