I wrote and rewrote the following post pretty much daily over the course of the past few weeks in response to the ugliness happening around video games and women in video games. I finally gave up toward the end of this past week, because I could never find a way to discuss all of this that didn’t seem like it was all about me me me when it all had absolutely nothing to do with me. When Jenn Frank, of all damn people, probably the most heartbreakingly honest writer in the gaming press, was hounded and harassed for supposed corruption of all damn things, I lost the stomach to write about this at all. Or, frankly, to write about the games industry. When I told my wife what had happened to Jenn (whom she knew from the time a few years back when we had over to our place to take part in a disastrous-but-fun 1UP-centric dinner party), she simply started sending me job listings for “less toxic” lines of work. I found her response depressing, but honestly gave it some consideration for a day or two. (I got over it.)
With Zöe Quinn’s Batman-like — or rather, Oracle-like, in a DC universe where Barbara Gordon is forever allowed to define her identity on her own terms than as a sub-franchise of a male hero — exposé of the culprits behind all this crap, the conversation has shifted so radically I’d need to completely rewrite this to make the still-relevant parts feel relevant. Frankly, I’m tired of looking at this wall of text, so I’m just posting the most recent revision (from Wednesday) behind the jump cut in its entirety: A chunk of text vomited from the what-ifs of the Internet. You can pick out the parts that remain relevant, if you like, or you can just ignore it.
(Cliff’s Notes version: That would be the parts about the folly of painting the general gaming audience with too broad a brush because of the actions of a few, and the ethics of crowd-funding.)
Oh, also, I started supporting Quinn on Patreon after she came under attack by anonymous abusers out of sympathy. Now I’m supporting her on Patreon because she basically blew up the Death Star right as the technician in the glossy underbite helmet activated the final turbo laser lever. In any case, I’ve still never met her, still never written about her (outside of this post), and still never will.
Also of note: Since penning the text below, I’ve written about Mighty No. 9, which I helped crowd-fund, with the basic premise of the piece being, “I Kickstarted this game and I’m liking the way it’s shaping up.” I’ve also just backed Tetropolis, a game I wrote about at PAX East and would very much like to play, though sadly it doesn’t look likely to make its goals. If that constitutes corruption, friends, this whole species is going to Hell.