November 17, 2014

The Sunny Side of the Street

Amid much Gamergate foolishness swirling at Wikipedia and elsewhere, I’ve been thinking of ways to re/mediate Gamergate.

When you have a hammer, everything problem looks like a nail. When you have narratology, every problem looks like a plot device.

But seriously: one problem here is narrative: the conflict concerns who is to be the protagonist of this melodrama. And if that were the only conflict – if this were all a game without consequences – that would be dandy.

But what if it weren’t a melodrama? How about a nice Shakespearean comedy: Much Ado About Games, with Zoe Quinn as Hero and Brianna Wu as Beatrice? Or, after A Day At The Races and A Night At The Opera we could have A Midnight At 8chan. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Gamergate PR operation has always been worthy of the Three Stooges with the Marx Brothers thrown in for good measure.

Or how about music theater? I can see a big, serious musical here, something like Oklahoma! or – better – Carousel. As I recall, Carousel has two choruses: New England villagers and Carnival Workers. We could have two choruses too: a chorus of feminist game developers and a chorus of “gamers”.

Stonecutters cut it on stone

Woodpeckers peck it on wood

There's nothin' so bad for a studio as

A gamer who thinks he's good!

It won’t stand up to scrutiny, of course, but what’s the use of wondering? And I like the potential for a gender-switched Soliloquy:

Like a tree she'll grow with her head held high

And her feet planted firm on the ground

And you won't see nobody dare to try to mansplain or toss her around!

As you see, I’m in a rotten mood, but This War Of Mine, a new game game by Grzegorz Miechowski about surviving as a refugee in a place that might be Warsaw in World War 2 promises a light little change of pace.