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gaming culture


PAX followup

Saw a couple more links go up today about the PAX controversy that spawned this week, with the Return of the Dickwolves.

From Lesley at “What Are Dickwolves, And What Do They Have to Do With Rape Culture? A Cautionary Tale of How Not to Respond to Feminist Criticism.”

And from Rachel Edidin at Wired: “Why I’m Never Going Back to Penny Arcade Expo”

To these I will further add that Dara has commentary here as to what it would actually mean to try to boycott PAX, and here as to what she’d really like to ask people to consider taking as an action in all of this.

And in the interests of clarity and forthrightness, I note that I’ve seen Gabe’s post here and have read what he’s got to say about the matter.

Me, I’ll repeat that to some degree I have no horse in this race because I’ve not been much of a PAX person or a Penny Arcade reader, either. On the other hand, I do have a horse on the very edge of the race because people close to me are PAX people and Penny Arcade readers. And in several cases, they are also survivors of rape. And it bothers the hell out of me, on their behalf, that this kind of shit keeps happening. It encourages the creation of a space that is actively hostile to them. And from a bigger picture perspective, it contributes to the ongoing misogyny of gamer culture. That, yeah, I do have a problem with.

And for me, it’s less a question of any specific bullshit remark the man makes, and more of a question of a repeating pattern of behavior. Gabe’s new post certainly sounds sincere, and if his heart is in the right place, awesome… except his heart being in the right place only means so much when he keeps making remarks like this over and over and over and over and over. He keeps getting called out on them, and keeps not stopping making these remarks. And since he is indeed half of the public face of the giant Godzilla of gamer culture, he is a huge influence on how that culture responds and behaves.

To paraphrase what I said in comments in response to my last post on this: I’ll be happy to stop calling bullshit on his behavior when he stops doing it. I have nothing personal against the man. I don’t hate him. But this ongoing pattern of behavior is bullshit, and if he wants his apologies to be taken seriously, it needs to stop.

We’ll see if it manages to stop this time, before next year’s PAX rolls around. It’ll be a deciding factor in whether I choose to go again, myself.


So I skipped PAX this year

… in no small part due to how I’m back in edit mode for Vengeance of the Hunter. But from what I’m hearing, first from Dara’s PAX report and then from rumblings around Twitter this morning, apparently Gabe opened his mouth again and highly unfortunate things fell out.

PAX has always been a bit of a problem for me. For one thing, hi, raging introvert girl here. So many people attend that thing that my tolerance for the crowds goes only so far if I’m there too. A couple of hours on the expo floor and eventually I get to a point of wanting to go all Invader Zim and stand up yelling STAND AWAY! YOU SMELL LIKE FEET! Which, y’know, not terribly productive.

There’s also the problem that I’ve never been a console gamer. There’s other types of gaming covered at PAX, sure–Big Fish has had a booth there the last couple of years, so casual games do have a presence. I’m given to understand we were hawking our forthcoming Zombie Zombie Zombie match 3 game, and yeah, I’ll be playing the hell out of that. But mostly, the whole event is filled with stuff I’ve never been particularly interested in. I quite enjoy watching Dara and Paul play various console games, and experiencing their stories vicariously–I really liked the storyline of the BioShock games, enough that I went and grabbed the tie-in novel just so I could read about the founding of Rapture. Portal and Portal II, also great fun to watch, and of course between Paul and Dara we’ve been HOUSE OF SKYRIM for a while now too. Also great fun to watch, if nothing else because Skyrim’s always struck me as a way fancier version of Nethack.

But. Looking from the outside in, and seeing repeated incidents of misogyny and queerphobia in gaming culture, I can’t help but get a big vibe of ‘yeah that? That’s not for me.’

I’ll be going to GeekGirlCon, though. And who knows? Maybe I’ll see something there that’ll change my mind about console gaming, even before Dara and Paul launch their campaign to try to pull me into Elder Scrolls Online next year.

ETA: First of the pertinent commentary links that have come across my radar: From Make Me a Sammich, who has generally Had Enough of This Shit

ETA #2: Elizabeth Sampat says Quit Going to PAX already, in no uncertain terms (Dara’s in the comments over there, too)