Parasites to Gaming: Learning from GamerGate

Ruffino, Paolo (2019) Parasites to Gaming: Learning from GamerGate. In: Beyond the Console: Gender and Narrative Games, 8-9 February 2019, V&A and London South Bank University, London.

Ruffino at V&A LSBU _ Parasites to Gaming.docx
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Ruffino at V&A LSBU _ Parasites to Gaming.docx

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


In this paper I talk about my personal parasitic involvement in the GamerGate controversy. GamerGate is the name given to a misogynist campaign directed towards women involved in video game culture. The phenomenon escalated between Summer 2014 and throughout 2015, leading to personal attacks against some of the most popular commentators who were defending their right to speak. My intervention takes as starting point a comment left on Reddit in March 2015. The thread collected accusations against academia, seen as an institution that spoils and disrespects gaming culture. The Reddit user contributed to the thread with the following comment:
Academia is like a parasite to gaming at the moment. They produce nothing, they just try to make money and papers (prestige) off other people's work. Usually by trying to shred it through a biased perspective that has no real application IRL
(koyima 2015)
In this paper I draw inspiration from the polysemy and polyvalence of the term ‘parasite’ and illustrate the ethical imperative that underlies the parasitic figure (Serres 1982). The figure of the parasite allows us to deconstruct identity affiliations and overcome the concept of representation as a false myth of the discourses on gender (Shaw 2014). I argue that the problem raised by GamerGate does not consist in establishing who is included in or excluded from videogame culture. Such perspective leads to think of players as existing within categories (often similar to those of market surveys), whose supposed introduction to videogame culture is presented as an event (Alexander 2014; Golding 2014). Instead, looking at the many forms of parasitism, or the numerous ways of writing and rewriting the present, past and future of video game media, allows us to consider the multiple dynamics of legitimacy and exclusion of groups, people, and forms of life (Chess and Shaw 2015).
In this presentation I describe the ways in which my work has been influenced by the comments of pro-GamerGate users on Reddit, and how they have been acting as parasites of my own interventions since 2015. I also look at beneficial parasitic practices by game authors such as Anna Anthropy and Robert Yang, who critically question the contradictions of game culture post-GamerGate.
Alexander, Leigh. 2014. ‘Gamers Don’t Have to Be Your Audience: Gamers Are Over’., 28 August. Accessed 27 April 2018.

Chess, Shira, and Adrienne Shaw. 2015. ‘A Conspiracy of Fishes, or, How We Learned
to Stop Worrying About #GamerGate and Embrace Hegemonic Masculinity’. Journal of
Broadcasting and Electronic Media 59 (1): 208–20.
Golding, Dan. 2014. ‘The End of Gamers’. Dan Golding blog, 28 August. Accessed 27 April 2018.

koyima. 2015. ‘Post on People Are Now Claiming That GamerGate Is Killing Gaming
Archiving’. Reddit, 10 March. Accessed 27 April 2018. are_ now_ claiming_ that_ gamergate_ is_ killing/ cpa6sjh.

Serres, Michel. 1982. The Parasite. Baltimore (MD): The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Shaw, Adrienne. 2014. Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture. Minneapolis (MN) and London: University of Minnesota Press

Keywords:Games Cultures, Gender, Gamergate
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:34954
Deposited On:19 Feb 2019 12:07

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