Guest columnist Robert Kingett is a gay blind author (here’s a IGN feature on how he sees gaming) who’s also an investigative journalist in Chicago, writing for many magazines, blogs, and newspapers. He lends his talent to video game journalism by crafting investigative articles and reviews, with a special interest in video game accessibility. He has been featured on IGN, breaking the news story about the accessibility menu on the PS4 and has been interviewed on many publications honoring his reporting.
Visit him online at www.blindjournalist.wordpress.com
As I am fixing the copy machine for a coworker, after sending in my article to IGN about the PS4, my cell rings and when I hear the caller ID I am instantly grateful, like, I’ve just leveled up in the new Kingdom Hearts installment. It’s my friend who has developed a crush on me ever since I stopped shaving to get the gaming news up and out there, leaving cookies to digest in his stomach instead of mine.
“Guess what?” he bellows into the receiver while I fold my cane up, sticking it in my armpit. People behind me are amazed that I am blind and can use a cell phone. They are also silently scolding me because I stole cookies from the staff room, but they will never say how abhorrent I was. It’s possibly because I look like a pale light pole.
“You’re black?” I ask, over the buzz of phones and people asking for social security numbers.
“Whoa! How did you know? Anyway, it ain’t about that babe.” Ty says, sounding as if he has just found an invisible fish to play with. “I just rented the best Law and Order episode ever!”
“You know I have Netflix, right?” I ask as I sit down at my desk and listen to Email with the other ear. My computer is reading emails at 450 words a minute, but I listen to both Ty in my inbox with rapped attention. I’ve stopped watching Law and Order sometime ago because I’d rather not watch something that causes me to actively seek out a padded room or a church.
I am interested, however, because it’s Ty. Ty’s a better looking black man than Ice-T any day of the week. And, like me, he makes people gasp with his sense of humor.
“I know that dude!” he bellows again as my computer tells me that one of the IGN editors linked me on the homepage this morning, “but this episode ain’t on Netflix.”.
“Isn’t.” I correct, automatically.”
“Ain’t.” he repeats.
“Patriarchy!” I squeal, and this causes people to question acceptance of women in office environments. A few coworkers tisk as they shake their heads. One even comes over to my cubicle.
“You know what, dear sir?” a woman named Amber says as she pops gum,: “Has anyone ever told you that you are utterly nuts?”
“Yes!” I admonish. “That’s how I make a living!”
After she leaves, I return to the call where Ty tells me that he has everything ready when I get home. The Xbox is ready to stream, the PS4 is downloading games given to me by PR reps, and he has even baked me home made cookies. I feel on top of the world, even with my weirdness.
Ty picks me up from work and, soon after, we’re sitting on my bed as he feeds me bits of a new dessert he’s working on. Being 80 pounds you greedily sample every morsel your sexy black friend gives you, if you have a sexy black friend, that is. Most people just have black friends.
“So,” I ask. “Why is it a requirement to watch this episode?”
“You’ll see dawg.” he replies with a grin before manipulating the remote, like he’s going to show me the best movie ever.
I know that this episode centers around the GamerGate controversy. A few members enthusiastically tweeted me to join the cause but I politely explained that there may come a day where I’d write about something Milo or William Usher or Ralph have not written about, so I needed to stay out of it for ethical reasons.
Ralph, Usher, and Milo, have been bulldogs in reporting the gamer gate side of everything and, as a result, whenever I want to catch up on a gamer gate happening, their work invades my ear. I’ve read several works by several people in the anti side as well, but, in the end, I figured that I could loudly support them while not joining them. My angry tweet to Ben should have been loud enough. I don’t like people who try to squash the freedom of the press while making us journalists look bad.
As a reporter, who writes about crime among many other topics in Chicago, I am conditioned to look at all sides, however. Because of the disability, I am conditioned to problem solve along with analyzing. GamerGate don’t do everything right, just as I don’t, but people shouldn’t expect them to be perfect.
In my mind, however, the antis are much worse than anyone knows. GamerGate has the usual stupid idiots in the group who make them look like they are all about E-drama or that they don’t like SJW’s just because they don’t like feminism, but, trust me, that’s nothing compared to the other side. Over there, there’s pure hate with the majority and that’s just hinting at the awful behavior.
This episode, the one that I am about to watch, would show me exactly what each side had done to create whatever image I am about to see.
I’ve always wanted to experience a catastrophic success and SVU is quite shocking, even from the very beginning.
Even though I am as adventurous as a new prostitute, the opening scene is utterly baffling on it’s own. A detective, Olivia, lets a man into her house where they begin the conversation about her son, who, I know nothing about because there’s a lot of back story I didn’t catch up on.
The conversation seems to be great at first but then spirals, as she descents into constantly alluding to the fact that her son is a boy, therefore, is utterly doomed in society.
“He might be violent! Yikes! He’s a boy! A BOY!”.
Mind you, she’s talking about this to another man, standing inches from her. The subtext is clear. men are evil. We’re irrational beings, not to mention, insensitive to equality. Throughout the entire first scene, the meaning is beaten into my head. I feel as if the show is practicing discrimination against men, and I am not even five minutes into the episode.
Next is the games convention where the level u– sorry, rape, takes place. I don’t know if I am judging this episode on a bias because the first scene almost had me in tears with shame and laughter, but every voice I hear belongs to a white male, except for Ice Tea and his female partners. Ice Tea explains every video game term to the female detectives who, apparently, have never played a video game in their life. This is unrealistic and laughable. I cant take it. I am rolling on the floor, kind of angry I did not think of this brilliant troll stunt first.
There’s a certain message that I’m receiving, as I listen to the events unfold before me, sitting beside my sexy black friend. As he’s describing what’s happening, the message becomes louder and louder with each passing minute. All of the people who actively play games at the convention are male, and, mostly, white. Naturally, this isn’t true
I’ve been told that the plot has been ripped straight from the headlines. It’s clear to me who’s headlines this script derived from, because everything feels so exaggerated I presume I am watching a parody, rather than a dramatization that I am to take seriously. It’s clear to me that the video game websites have been spewing these lies.
The best line, naturally, is the very forced line, “GO HOME GAMER GIRL!” in the beginning of the episode. I’m guessing Dick is howling with laughter at his own trolling attempt. It works, and it works well, if the aim is to make people understand how exaggerated everything is.
As someone who makes a living writing, I pay very close attention to words and how they are used. The narrative that some wannabe journalists have spun is evident all throughout. You don’t have to read the articles that video game websites have been putting out to see the damage. It’s in this SVU episode. The notion that women just can’t get a foot in gaming, despite myself, as a journalist, writing about and interviewing female developers. They portray people who play video games as violent beasts, even though statistics say people who play don’t engage in as much crime. SVU acts like there are no folks other than white straight men in gaming, despite me being a gay video game journalist who’s played alongside many black people, Mexican women, Mexican men, etc. Watching this, you would think all video games are violent, despite games like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy existing.
My career as a journalist has taught me many things. It has taught me to report the facts, to the people, while minimizing harm. That last part is very important. What that means is, we cannot attack a person’s personal beliefs or character. If an investigation causes a particular person or group personal harm, then we need to write about a different angle or topic. If someone is doing something illegal, or libelous, for example, it is our job to expose that but leave their character out of the report. This episode was an attack. It tells me that the story was derived from the most viscous anti-gamer headlines. The journalists who crafted such are not professionals.
It’s clear, as the episode goes on, as Ice-T becomes less sexy to me with his constant video game puns, as the hilarity of the exaggerations reaches a level that I can’t even describe, that the wannabe journalists have attacked their audience. In my mind, and, as part of my training, that tells me they were never journalists. Kotaku is even name dropped in the episode, once. That shouldn’t happen, either.
When the episode ends, I stare at the screen like a white carpet eyeing a dog with diarrhea. I am ashamed that there are bloggers out there who make journalists look bad. Once more, I am even more ashamed that video game publications, who are supposed to be there for gamers, are attacking gamers with false claims that statistics and basic research debunks. I don’t know if I should be laughing uncontrollably, but the tears stream down my face as I roll on the floor, cackling as if I’ve lost my mind.
This episode is epic trolling, but the scary thing about all of this is, is that there will be gamers who will hate all journalists because they will associate one with the bad ones. There will be people who are not into gaming, who will see this episode and see lies, only emphasized by exaggerated articles with an agenda on certain video game websites. There will be gamers who will be furious at this portrayal. I don’t blame them one bit. We should all be furious at this trolling.
Some people assume that just because I am a journalist, that I’m not a hardcore gamer. Some people assume I am like the wannabe bloggers, but that simply isn’t true. This episode has made me proud of what we have done as gamers, and what GamerGate has done as a community. We have stood by one another, side by side, with our weapons of logic and wit, and have spoken out against the false statements, shady behavior, and the hypocritical business practices.
We are a family that stands, hand in hand, with our love and acceptance center stage. Some are black. Some are Muslim. Some are journalists. Some are cab drivers. Some are painters. Some are deaf. All of us, however, welcome the other with love because, well, we’re gamers. I think that’s obvious, don’t you?