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Thinking with Portals

As an apprentice mage, I'm gonna take a cue from the master and try to summon the dark arts to open up a portal in reality - or in this case, virtual reality - in order to hopefully bridge the gap between two warring factions in the conflict-that-won't-seem-to-die known as Gamer Gate.

For those who don't know what Gamer Gate is, it's basically a clusterfuck of identity polities.

Grab your companion cubes and a fresh slice of cake as we pray to the eldritch gods I don't accidentally wind up dividing by zero and send us into deep water where we can never quite seem to swim for some reason.

I'm going to present to you three scenarios. The first two, I think you'll agree with me, are wildly unlikely compared to the third, and yet they're a close approximation of what many people on either side of the debate apparently believe (or at least what they sound like). Using the power of contrast, I'm going to apply the Persuasion Filter to the Gamer Gate issue and I want you to see if you can follow along such that we all wind up on the same platform by the end of this.

The beauty of this dark science is, it won't require anyone to give up their positions. It doesn't change any of the facts or anyone's personal experiences of the situation. You will walk away from this ritual with all your atoms still intact, all your organs and limbs right where they've always been. No one will die or even suffer any injuries, which is actually quite amazing considering I'm about to blow many of your minds.

Again, keep in mind, I'm not trying to change you from one side or the other. All I'm aiming to do is see if you'll agree with me that the first two scenarios are pretty incredible, and unlikely, in contrast to the third, which we should all agree is more likely and more reasonable.

That doesn't mean we agree any of them happened, but just what feels closer to what happened.

Scenario 1

Glados from Portal

A group of evil, Marxist matriarchs sitting on a fat war chest of funds they stole from ... somewhere - hapless suckers, I mean donors - got together one day and decided they had nothing better to do with their time than to try and flood the gaming industry with social justice propaganda in an effort to force diversity and smash "the Patriarchy," which is a thing they just totally made up for keks.

Those same hapless gamers within all of fandom had no choice but to surrender their hard-earned dollars against their will, in some cases under protest and duress, in exchange for shitty games they never wanted and that caused them immense harm, but which they couldn't avoid because they were just literally all over the place and no one else was making anything different or even warning them about how shitty they were. In fact, all normie games were banned too and no one was allowed to make games that didn't first pass the approval of the cult of social justice, because the internet was also banned along with all independent contracting.

When the heroic gamers tried to speak out against their oppression, they were met with an onslaught of false flag lies and slanders conjured by these said same evil matriarchs. But crafty as they were, that was nothing compared to the crybully tactics that were soon to follow as the evil matriarchs - who again, had nothing better to do and all that loot to spend on such things - took to social media with their hoards of beta male allies and armies of winged monkeys to create literally dozens and dozens of sock puppet accounts for the sole purpose of launching horrible attacks, not on the gamers, but on themselves and merely blaming it on the gamers who every last one of them did absolutely nothing wrong and never threatened anyone.

Ok, so obviously I embellished that with a little bit of hyperbole just to make a point, but I think it more or less captures the spirit and the emotional outrage of many among the gaming community and their perspective of what happened in response to so-called progressive developers.

I think we can all agree, even if I were to dial back some of the hyperbole, that such a story - such a perception of the events - would be pretty incredible and wildly unlikely.

Scenario 2

World Problems Perspective

A bunch of brave, hard-working, selfless women from mostly poor, oppressed parts of what were undoubtedly third-world patriarchal societies (or so you'd think) decided to set about the noble endeavor of living out the American Dream by scraping their way to the top of the game development community, pushing aside a bunch of men - at times literally - who only sought to keep them down. Unfortunately, they were never able to quite breech the all-boys' club secret societies that we all know exist within the gaming industry in places like Ubisoft, for instance.

Having had enough of the abuse of seeing butts that were sexier than theirs, they turned the other cheek and chose to perform a high-ground maneuver by appealing to the outcasts in society. The forgotten people who, because of systemic forces beyond their control, couldn't just pay $99 for a course on Udemy to learn how to make their own games, so they tried to get The Man to do it for them, but this didn't work because men just suck at everything.

So being unable to rely on male allies, these women with pioneer spirit actually did the sensible thing, which was make the games themselves that they wanted to see. And these were unquestioningly the best games ever in terms of art, story, gameplay, etc. in just about every case. Not to mention diverse! These were games the world didn't deserve because women are naturally great at everything without effort and don't have to worry about things like skill or quality. But alas, again, the god damned Patriarchy put a curse on their work and made it so that anyone who played their games caught this terrible disease called misogyny, which was contracted by something like 90% of the entire gaming population.

It turns out, there were just entire armies of secret sexists lurking within the gaming community, and they all came out in force, unprovoked, onto the internets and just started levying death threats to the women who made these games and the journalists that supported them. It was literally like Left4Dead but online. We all went on to die following the repeal of Net Neutrality years later.

Again, I realize I'm being deliberately over-the-top in terms of the analogies, but it's necessary in order to break people from the hypnotic spells of confirmation bias. To portray the situation as being far more extreme than it really is, to give you a sense of how each side feels about their own team emotionally, to offset the opposing hostility they might feel towards the other.

Obviously, not everyone on that team will necessarily feel this way. It's simply meant as a heuristic.

So again, I think we can all pretty much agree the above scenario didn't actually happen. Not even close. Pure fantasy. So now, we get to something more realistic, more nuanced.

Scenario 3

Vivian James Flipping Off

A bunch of women from mainly first world countries, living in relative privilege, decided to become game developers and critics. Awesome! Go you! Some of them undoubtedly had shitty, even traumatic, experiences early on in their lives that a particular brand of postmodernist ideology appealed to, which gave them strength, comfort, and solidarity, but also warped their perspective on certain issues such that they were, at once, attuned to social problems others weren't seeing while also seeing problems where none probably existed.

That mindset fed into their work, for better or worse. Some actually lived up to their ideals and proactively tried to create content they wanted to see, while others simply nagged that the industry wasn't doing it already until the devs eventually caved to their abuse. These women made some good games, but a lot of them also sucked by market standards and the gaming community generally embraced the good but rejected the bad, the latter of which really pissed off a number of activists that lacked a sense of introspection. Tensions were high as many gamers - mostly men - felt like their space was being invaded by a pushy postmodernist agenda; and to some extent that was true among certain activists, but also some people were just trying to make games more inclusive for a wider audience than men.

Their success rate was a mixed bag.

A lot of gamers who'd built up a culture and identity around existent games voiced their opposition to this new wave very strongly on social media but didn't go so far as to threaten anybody nor would they ever. However, a few assholes went and ruined it for everyone by being belligerent assholes and actually making real threats against the game devs and the media. Fear and anger took hold and it became hard to sort the wheat from the chaff, so the developers and journalists overreacted and overgeneralized, blaming more people than they probably should have, while failing spectacularly to comprehend such basic concepts as shitposting and trollery, as well as the mystically complex notions of blocking people or simply ignoring them.

Many gamers also apparently failed to grasp these same concepts, and the notion of quietly starving entities they didn't like through passive boycotts simply eluded them. In many cases, it never occurred to a lot of them they could vote with their dollars and actually had freedom of choice to be masters of their own destinies while leaving others alone to do the same.

It didn't help that the media-political complex was awash with globalist shitlords and shitladies just looking to stir shit up, or that some radical Marxist activists probably did create a few sock-puppet accounts because they're whacked out in the head like that. But all in all, the problem children on the internet comprised a rather small, though rather vocal, minority of ... iono maybe a few dozen at most worldwide on both sides?

So, what do you think?

Does this third scenario sound more plausible than the other two, regardless of which side you're starting on? Again, I wanna emphasize I'm not trying to get anyone to abandon their particular position or to deny their lived experiences. But seeing these three scenarios side by side, which do you think is closer to the actual truth of what happened with regards to Gamer Gate?

If you picked the third one, chances are, you probably felt your own emotional anxiety levels drop just a little bit to the point where you actually feel a tad about the topic overall. Experiencing a little healing of that fissure within your soul right about now? Maybe the world doesn't seem as scary or filled with hateful people as you thought prior to reading this article. If that's the case, then could it be possible there are other areas of your life in which might you have strong emotions towards a particular issue or person or group that maybe you'd not thought of from a different vantage point?

Could it be that, gasp, you were actually wrong about something once?

If that's the case, then I'd say you're starting to break free from the hypnotic spell of partisanship and are beginning to see more clearly to the other side. That your thinking has been elevated from a two-dimensional plane to a much deeper three-dimensional space.

You've seen how it's possible to tear a whole in the universe and reach across to the other side - something you might have thought was impossible before, but now you don't. Now you're thinking with portals. 38D

The cake is still a lie, though. On that, we can all agree.

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