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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The people that flagged Anita Sarkeesian's video off YouTube are the enemy of gaming

Over at Kotaku there's a story that didn't really surprise me, but certainly disappointed me. A group of people that seem to think that the only discussions about games that should be allowed are ones that they personally agree with flagged an Anita Sarkeesian YouTube video to the point where it was taken down.

For those who aren't aware what Anita Sarkeesian does; she is a feminist who looks at the games industry from an academic feminist point of view. Her work is controversial because there are a lot of gamers out there that don't understand academic feminism and so completely misunderstand Sarkeesian's perspective. They then get offended, and because they're apparently incapable of ignoring something they disagree with, and yet unable to engage in a debate that they're ignorant about, they then get angry and try to censor the debate.

I'm not going to waste more words than necessary on this because these people annoy me and personally I would rather they don't get the satisfaction of airtime, but here's why these people are holding the games industry back from being more than (culturally) a playground of delinquents:

The games industry is a creative one, if not outright art. And the ongoing development of creative industries requires discussion. Discussion about the themes, discussion about how the works are created. Discussion about the broader cultural contexts in which these works exist within. Peer review. Debate. If people start fearing to express their theories and voice their own perspectives and analysis of games, then we're doomed to end up with an industry that does nothing more than pander to the masses for fear of backlash. It starts with the critics of the games industry, but it will flow through to the developers and creatives in a way that dwarfs the backlash Bioware encountered for daring to come up with an ending to a game that the masses didn't agree with.

It doesn't matter whether you personally agree with what's being discussed. Respectful, robust debate is fine (and, in fact, robust debate is the best way to further the cause of any creative industry), but actively trying to censor something that you don't personally agree with is completely counter-intuitive. People have to be able to express their own ideas for art to be able to thrive. 

So, you don't like that people outside of the industry don't respect it like they do film or literature or art? Blame these people that try to shoot down debates they personally don't like and can't argue against on an intellectual level; they're the underlying reason that the reputation exists. To those people; congratulations, idiots. You just committed the equivalent of a book burning. Do everyone a favour and just don't watch the next one. 
The people that flagged Anita Sarkeesian's video off YouTube are the enemy of gaming
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