For the last 6 or so months, the world of gaming has been distracted by a fedora-clad elephant in the room. I’m talking of course, about Gamergate. Doxxing, discrediting and death threats aside, I think it’s fair to say that whatever side of the debate you’re on, there haven’t been any winners. In fact, it seems impossible to emerge from any GG related disagreement unscathed.
For Australians, the most recent controversy has been the Adam Baldwin/Supanova debacle, where fans were petitioning for the ex-Firefly star to be barred from attending the fan convention, due to his part in the GG movement. There were thousands of voices calling for him to be banned and thousands of voices crying out for him to be allowed… And this baffled me. Who even cares about Adam Baldwin one way or the other? This is a man so unremarkable even his IMDB page doesn’t know who he is. Even Stephen Baldwin, the skateboarding, extreme sports evangelist is a more impressive Baldwin.
This isn’t about taking a side or poking fun at any particular party. It’s about having a creative perspective on an issue we’re all bored to death of. For too long, Gamergate has been a way of pushing gamers apart, creating friction and argument. The Supanova debacle has driven home that many gamers don’t feel safe or comfortable anymore. And here at Big Head Mode, we say that’s not good enough. We all love games, we should be standing together, side by side. You don’t see Commander Shepard spouting hate speech… Well, except against Hanar…. and maybe Geth… And Jacob. Look, bad example. The point is, this approach gets us nowhere.
This is why we’ve come up with a potential solution, that will hopefully build a much needed bridge between the warring factions. We call it…
The concept behind GamerMate is simple. It’s just sending a positive message with no sinister or critical undertones. Something to promote a healthy, fun attitude to gaming. For instance…
See, now what gamer could possibly disagree with this? Who doesn’t like laughing, friends or gaming? No one, that’s who.
Why incite hatred when you could incite friendship? See, nobody loses there!
Now, the difficulty when it comes to wading into the GamerGate battlefield, has always been how you engage. It’s one thing to post a stand alone status but it’s quite difficult to diffuse any GG related disagreements online without being accused of choosing a side. Or if you play things too diplomatically, you get called a fence sitter (which is apparently, even worse). But that’s the beauty of GamerMate. Not only are NOT taking a side in a pointless, bloody online conflict, you’re not chickening out either. Instead of ‘fence sitting’, you’re fence painting! Pink, Green… You can paint that fence whatever colour you bloody well want!
Take a look at the hostility in this tweet. There’s a lot of inflammatory language, he’s clearly very worked up… I mean, “Skipping PAX”? Who would do that? PAX is loads of fun. This is the perfect opportunity to add a little #GamerMate flavour…
And just like that, you’ve engaged in a non-hostile way. Instead of being “Anti-GG” or “Anti-feminist”, you’re just ‘pro-Skipping’! Here’s another example…
Don’t be fooled by the clever layer of sarcasm or the frankly confusing focus on zombies, if you peer closely at the end part of the tweet you’ll see the words ‘cunt’ and #FeminismIsAwful. After a moment of consideration, you’ll probably notice there’s once again, some offensive language. #GamerMate to the rescue…
Not only have I used #GamerMate to once again spread some ‘groovy vibes’ but if you notice, I also used the common ground of ‘Zombies’ to try and strike up a friendly conversation. And lo and behold…
BANG! HE RESPONDED! The system works! No attack on my sexuality/race/gender/console preference. Just two mates, having a chat about things they like. Isn’t that what the internet was invented for? (Well, after pornography at least).
By this stage, I was enthused that #GamerMate single may have the power to bring about the peace that the Gaming world has so desperately sought for so long. I was on a crusade.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility…
Now in hindsight, the advice of “work together” to “achieve anything” perhaps shouldn’t have been used on the guy mentioning using 150,000 people to murder someone… But that just proves the potency of #GamerMate. This is why it needs to be used responsibly. We want to spread peace, not really incite a genocide. Take a look at the technique of fellow Big Head Moder Carlo… After all, why should I have all the #GamerMate fun?
The best thing about Carlo’s tweet here, is that he’s absolutely right. Socks ARE a great way to keep your feet warm in winter. SNAP. Now you’re thinking all about the cosy comfort of warms socks, rather than the spurious ranting of a vile person! Isn’t that great? With #GamerMate, anything is possible!
It’s not always this easy though. There are some people out there with such a foreboding presence, it can be incredibly difficult to engage with them in any meaningful way. Like the final boss, these people cast such impossibly long shadows, that your positive words and good vibes may simply bounce off them. I’m talking, of course, of people such as Adam Baldwin.
“Truth is the new hate speech.” Wow. I mean, wow. How can you possibly combat such sheer will? A will that some might even call “inflammatory ignorance”? Obviously it would go against the spirit of #GamerMate for me to refer to someone like this as a ‘vortex of pure hatred’, but for a GamerMate novice, trying to influence a target like this may almost seem completely hopeless.
This is when you pull out the big guns. When you can’t find the words to tell these people about the importance of harmonious gaming… Why not just show them?
We all know the saying “A picture says a thousand words” so lets use that to our advantage. Just find as many photos as you can of gamers having a good time and tweet them relentlessly! After a while it’s bound to rub off on them!
See Adam, look how much fun they’re having? Don’t you just want to pick up a controller and have a few games with your mates? What? No, ignore that woman in the background, just focus on the smiles… See? Fun!
And again, if this isn’t quite working, maybe you need to find an image that your target can relate to more…
Look at that, Adam! Even old white people can leave their out-of-touch, backwards attitudes at the door and enjoy video games together!
So remember, when you see hostility on the internet, remember the things that bring us all together. Games. Mates. Laughs. Socks.
No more GamerHate… Be a GamerMate!
Don’t let us have all the #GamerMate fun! Join us, spread the word! Tweet a little bit, every day, with your mates!