A large part of what seems to be going wrong, and fuelling the conflicts in gaming is a lack of common memory and experience.
The newer players weren’t around for the Satanic Panic, the Vampire Panic, or even Jack Thompson’s rampage in computer games. If they remember anything, they wrongly remember Gamergate as a harassment campaign, rather than a continuation of resistance to censorship and media irresponsibility.
Even those who were around in the old days seem unwilling, as companies, to resist the more modern moral panics. Sensing, perhaps, the way the wind is blowing, a great deal of cowardice has been displayed, compared to the courage of the past. This seems to be entirely because the new moral panic is wearing progressivism and social justice the way the Bug wears an ‘Edgar suit’ in MiB.
Nor has this current generation endured the sheer awfulness of bullying, book-burning and torment older gamers did. As such, they weirdly come to conclusions that gamers are gatekeeping, rather than protecting themselves, that they were and are racist/sexist/homophobic when the gaming table was always a haven for outcasts and the marginalised.
Talk about victim blaming.
It’s also peculiar to see people who believe so much in the importance of identity exclusive spaces and safe spaces, wilfully and gleefully vandalising important ‘safe spaces’ of others, recasting victims as villains, creativity as evil, verisimmilitude as exclusionary, hyperreality as wrong-think rather than immersion.
If they had been through the same formative events, I don’t think they’d be so ready to hurl accusations, to demand censorship or to pillory anyone who even mildly disagrees with them.
Maybe they’ll learn.
Without hope (and patience, and explanation) – even the slim, grim hope felt in this post – we condemn those who cannot yet see us to never being able to, and thereby join the ranks of those who are the problem.
Given the cyclical nature of life, it all does make me wonder if (and hope that) we learned~