So if you’ve ever read a feminist critique of games or gamers, I can guarantee you Call of Duty was mentioned. But the truth is we need a better sample- if you’re going to complain about gamers as a community, call them sexist bigots trolls haters basement dwelling angry curmudgeons or what have you, Call of Duty is the worst place to start. The quality of inter-player chat in that game is SO ridiculously hateful that it borders on parody.
I’ve played the war games online, action games and MMOs (massive multiplayer online games) and I can tell you the communities in games like Diablo and World of Warcraft are far more polite. There’s something about first person shooters, like Call of Duty, that brings out the tar-scraping bottom of the barrel when it comes to manners. The worst offenders are teenagers still learning the best derogatory phrases in their native tongue, but the sexist rage hate against women gamers and hate in general against ANY gamer who is perceived as underperforming or hurting the team, can come from any age person during a match.
So before we run out of salt listening to some of these angry pundits like Anita Sarkeesian who want to equate the gamer community with the decline of human civilization let’s be sure we’re critiquing many different types of games across different genres, and not using the troll-spawning nature of games like Call of Duty to spray paint an entire industry.
Now as far as a little context here, Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency is one of the industry’s most outspoken critics (and she does make some great points but tends to bury them in antagonistic bile and hand wringing) harped on CoD as the nexus of male-based-evil in gaming. That is until a video surfaced where she admitted in a lecture that she doesn’t like or play video games…
Now critiquing entertainment content is great, but would we accept a movie critic who didn’t watch films? A literary critic who didn’t read or a food critic who didn’t taste what she was judging? Of course not. Critiquing the game industry needs to be a dialogue, not a diatribe from an uninformed party- and although the incredible hate-spewing and death threat reactions she got from internet trolls are NEVER ok (and speak to the larger problem of anonymous internet bullying- hardly limited to the context of games) I can’t think of a better way to bait gamers themselves then doing things like trying to convince us the word “gamer” is sexist.