I'm a gamer. I've been a gamer since Donkey Kong was state of the art. I learned English playing Kings Quest and I wrote a text adventure game when I was 12. I played Doom on a 486 and Quake 2 on a pentium 1. I finished Mario on the original NES and I played Grim Fandango on a celeron.
I played Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genesis and the original sim city on that same 486. I am currently playing World of Warcraft on a decent PC, Shadows of Mordor and Tomb Raider on my xbox 1.
I am also married to a gamer, my wife and I love to game together – and she kicks ass at it. I also put the new Tomb Raider very high on my to buy list because a game with a strong female lead is such a rare pleasure. If there is one thing games do not need less off it's female leads, but if theres one thing gaming needs a lot less off it's mysoginistic bastards who pretend their tirade is about ethics.
There's been massive harrassment, there's been credible threats of large scale violence – and no, this isn't just a vocal minority, this is the essence of the entire movement. It may be the extreme version of that essence, but it's in perfect keeping with everything about this pseudo-scandal right back to it's origins in the slut-shaming attempt of a jilted ex-boyfriend.
But that is also it's weakness. If my wife spoke out against gamergate, she would face death threats and harassment, but when I do – as a man, I can expect not to. None of the other men who have did after all. So I am speaking out. I'm telling this movement that they do not speak for me. They don't speak for me as a gamer, they don't speak for me as a man – and I despise everything they are saying and doing and I want them to stop.
The very misogyny that makes gamergate so dangerous to women also makes it vulnerable to men who speak out against it. Every woman who does risks harassment, death threats, rape threats, threats of violence – but men can speak out against it without those risks, and we need to. You say not all men are like that ? Prove it then – by being one of the men telling those men that what they are doing is terrible and wrong. Saying "not-all-men" is the most meaningless tripe that a response can contain, but BEING a man who isn't like that is a step in the right direction. The next step is joining the women speaking out against the men who are, and speaking with them. If you're not confronting the men who act this way, then you're one of them.
I want my wife to be able to play games with me without entering a cesspool of mysoginy. I want to play games with my daughter without fearing for her safety. Gaming is a hobby. It's not for everybody and doesn't need to be anymore than stamp collecting or model trains are for everybody – but it sure as hell needs to be a safe space for all those who enjoy it. If you aren't prepared to treat women with respect and dignity, you're the one who doesn't belong in the gaming community, you're the one who should be rejected.
Gamergate is all about excluding people from gaming – it's just wrong about who to exclude – the ones who should be excluded is everybody who is part of this vile, disgusting movement. You're not welcome in my hobby. There is a culture around this hobby, built by people whom mainstream society had no place for. It's a hobby of outcasts, geeks and rejects – and that is what makes it beautiful, but in this behavior you become the very society that our community was built to escape from. You don't belong here. This is a community that should be welcoming and safe to all who wishes to join it, all who enjoy the hobby at it's core – and if you're not prepared to help make that the reality again, then you don't belong here.
I don't know if gamergate is a majority or minority of gamers – I do know that they aren't the gamers I grew up with, they aren't the gaming community I've been friends with and part off for 3 decades. Whether they are many or few now doesn't matter. The community I was part of was something beautiful and part of what defined it was that it was so inclusive and welcoming. What these people are now, is not gaming as I know it – but it may be gaming as it is today.
Either way it needs to change. Gaming as it was when I became a gamer – that deserves to live on and prosper but gamergate needs to die in a fire.