Gender in Gaming 1: What Do We Want to See?

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how we need to have a discussion about gender in gaming:* how men and women are portrayed, and why that might matter. It’s a nice idea, but frankly, I haven’t been seeing much discussion; I’ve been seeing multiple opposing camps that talk past each other (when not going for each other’s throats outright). Maybe I’ve just been hanging out in all the wrong places online, but if thoughtful, meaningful discussion on this topic is taking place, I haven’t been lucky enough to run across it.**

So my plan here, with this series of posts,  is to attempt to have that discussion…or at least a small part of it. I don’t want it to be adversarial; there’s no “versus” anywhere. For what it’s worth, I’m also coming into it with an open mind, because I have to; I honestly don’t know yet the full extent of the differences between male and female portrayals in games as a whole, why those differences exist, how much they matter (and to whom), and what any of this means, if anything, the moment we turn off the game. One of my hopes in writing this is that I can puzzle out answers to some of those questions for myself. Continue reading Gender in Gaming 1: What Do We Want to See?

Why Striving for Objectivity in Journalism is Good

Yesterday, Jason Schreier of Kotaku tweeted the following:

Nobody at Kotaku has ever claimed or will ever claim to be objective. “Objectivity” is a silly thing to strive for.

I would link to the original tweet, but I can’t seem to find it; I don’t know if he deleted it, or I just fail at Twitter today. Nevertheless, the tweet sparked some discussion on the value of objectivity in journalism in general.

To be fair to Schreier, he’s right that no one can ever truly be objective; we all have our biases, no matter how we try to minimize them. However, to go so far as to claim that striving for objectivity is “silly,” well…I have some real problems with that. Continue reading Why Striving for Objectivity in Journalism is Good

GamerGate: The Zach Quest Story

I can already sense the irritation from the #GamerGate tag on Twitter. “Why are you mentioning ZQ? It’s not about ZQ! Stop bringing up ZQ!” I know, guys. I see your point, believe me I do; I wouldn’t be going down this road if I didn’t think it was important.

But if you will, indulge me in a little free-writing exercise. Let’s say that about a month ago, a scandal broke about a male game developer named Zach Quest. Continue reading GamerGate: The Zach Quest Story

On Games Journalism and “GamerGate”

Important Note: I try not to talk about this much because it’s usually irrelevant and makes me sound arrogant for even mentioning it, but I am technically an award-winning journalist. During my four years of writing for newspapers, I won two New York Press Awards and one Press Club of Long Island Award; I think I got robbed for never winning in the education reporting category, because that was where I did my best work, but that’s another story. Anyway, I mention this as a means of demonstrating that when I write about journalism, I do actually have some idea what I’m talking about.

I’ve been watching with some interest as the “GamerGate” phenomenon unfolds. I’ve blogged before about how I dislike the sanctimonious tone and often illogical demands that come out of the gaming press, so seeing a large portion of gamers declare that they, too, are sick of it all is somewhat gratifying. That’s what this is about, as far as I can tell: gamers are tired of being talked to like imbeciles by the “news” outlets that serve them. I’m pretty sure any concerns about corruption are actually secondary, even if a lot of the people using the #GamerGate tag won’t acknowledge that.

I mean, let’s face it: a call for greater journalistic integrity sounds better than “We’re tired of you guys being such smug assholes, and this is just the straw that broke that particular fucking camel’s back, okay?” Continue reading On Games Journalism and “GamerGate”