We Might Be Witnessing The 'Death of An Identity'

I've been working at Kotaku for nearly eight years now, and while I've seen some online kerfuffles over various issues in that time, I've never seen anything like the past two weeks.

There has been so much hate. So many angry words, so many accusations, over...what? Video games? Women in video games? People who write about video games?

It would be absurd if it hadn't forced people out of their homes for fear of their personal safety.

There are a lot of opinions going around about this sad state of affairs at the moment, and you don't have to travel far to find some, but if you want to read something beyond a simple recap, something more substantive, my advice - as someone horrified by the degree of hostility, bigotry and sheer inhumanity that has been on show - is to start with these two articles.

The first, by Dan Golding, is called "The End of Gamers". "On the evidence of the last few weeks", he writes, "what we are seeing is the end of gamers, and the viciousness that accompanies the death of an identity."

The second, by Leigh Alexander, is called "'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over." It's a similar piece, albeit one aimed a little more at developers. "'Gamer' isn't just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use", she writes. "Gamers are over. That's why they're so mad."

"These obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers — they are not my audience. They don't have to be yours. There is no 'side' to be on, there is no 'debate' to be had."

Note they're not talking about everyone who plays games, or who self-identifies as a "gamer", as being the worst. It's being used in these cases as short-hand, a catch-all term for the type of reactionary holdouts that feel so threatened by gaming's widening horizons. If you call yourself a "gamer" and are a cool person, keep on being a cool person.

Once you're done here, I'll see you next week, where we can hang out as thoughtful, considerate human beings and enjoy video games as they are, not what some folks feel they can dictate from a dark corner of the internet.