A few days ago, my handler at this site tipped me off to a little rumbling in the realm of Gaming. The tip? An article on the venerable gaming site Kotaku highlighting an alleged incident of “violence against women” in the gaming realm. It should be noted that while I used to be a regular reader of Kotaku, in recent years my readership has slacked off due to Kotaku’s propensity to hop on phony social justice crusades. Instead of covering games, It seems to be a steady stream of articles intended to set the medium back. What makes this case particularly interesting is the outright self-serving nature of it. The scandal involves an indie game developer called Zoe Quinn. Ms. Quinn is alleged to have traded sexual favours to an editor at Kotaku for favourable press for her game “Depression Quest.” What’s worse is that upon further research, I’ve found that Ms. Quinn engaged in a phony campaign to make herself appear to be a victim of some sort of alleged anti-female animus in the gaming world. What doesn’t help her, or her defenders at Kotaku, is that the sources she alleges to be defaming her have all produced proof to the contrary. Ms. Quinn has attempted to use her connections to silence this dissent to some limited success. I say limited because there are wonderful things called web archives, so while the articles critical of her that prove her to be a manipulative liar have been removed from the sites they were initially posted on, they can still be found through archives. What I find especially odious about this woman is her sabotaging of a female-centric game development event. In an industry that is often criticized by gaming media outlets (including Kotaku) as having a lack of gender diversity… here was an event specifically designed to attempt to bring women into the realm of game design. Ms. Quinn lead a campaign against it on the grounds that it was somehow oppressive and degrading to women, and encouraged people to support her own “Rebel Jam” instead. An event which, as of the writing of this article, has a website that is taking donations, but has no date set for any type of event. I’m sorry, people, but that strikes this writer as being shady. This woman can play the victim card all she wants, but she is no victim. She is a manipulator of the first order. What I find outrageous about this whole thing, is that despite all of the damning evidence against this woman, Kotaku seems to want to go beyond the pale to cast the victims of her scheming and conniving as evil perpetrators. This has nothing to do with concern for the subculture surrounding gaming and everything to do with the fact that one of Kotaku’s editors was caught, semi-literally, with his pants down. In a full throated indictment of the supposed sexism inherent in gaming culture, titled “We Might Be Witnessing the Death of an Identity,” Kotaku provides plenty of articles that cast poor Zoe as a victim of her own success as a female game designer while completely ignoring all evidence of her villainy. What it amounts to is that this man, Nathan Grayson, should be let go and cast out of the journalistic community. What he did is a compromise of integrity. We who cover entertainment and tag ourselves as journalists should still be beholden to the concepts of journalistic integrity. The moral standards are not different for us because we choose to pontificate and investigate goings on related to music, movies, and video games. In addition, a morally compromised business person is not exempt from scrutiny by virtue of being a woman. The shame in this does not lie on those who suffered business setbacks or personal setbacks at the hands of Ms. Quinn, the shame lies on her and her defenders at Kotaku.
This is the website for Ms. Quinn’s Rebel Jam, so you can see that there is, as yet, absolutely no date set for the event: REBEL JAM
The Kotaku article that sparked this post: We Might Be Witnessing the “Death of an Identity.”
Even though I had no direct contact with them, I would like to thank the people at Know Your Meme, and 8th Circuit-Network for their fairly complete chronicling of this little controversy.