My response to #gamergate – a New Year’s resolution

For those who have spent time on the video game section of the internet a particular topic has dominated conversations for quite a while and that topic is Gamergate (for once a legitimate illusion to the watergate scandal). Regardless of how one feels about it all there are two issue at play: the ethical standards of video game journalists and women in the industry. Many supporters of gamergate say the issue is about the former, detractors say that really about the latter, men feeling threatened by women and going so far as to declare the death of gamer as an identity. (Gamer by their definition being white, twenty-something males who still live with their parents and have the emotional maturity of an eight year old. For the rest of us, gamer is just someone who likes playing video games).

Personally I wouldn’t call myself a gamer because I identify as an all round nerd/geek anyway. I have always played computer games as much as I have always read Sci-Fi novels, watched films, read comic books and wanted to be a scientist et cetera.

So here’s my response to the #gamergate debate:

If you think something is missing in culture. Create.

If you think you have a story to tell. Create.

If you think you have a message for the masses. Create.

If you think there’s an injustice in the portrayal of a group you identify with. Create.

In short, no one can make what you want to make. You have to create it yourself.

For a while now I’ve been planning on learning computer coding. It was a bit daunting really and even now that I’ve dabbled in a little python what holds me back is a lack of application for the language. Like learning Spanish and never going to Spain. I’ve realised the reason why I wanted to learn to code is because I want to create. I have an idea for a computer game and I want to make it.

So here’s my New Year’s resolution and my response to Gamergate:

I have downloaded GameMaker: Studio and I will work through all the tutorials, fiddle around with some basic ideas and maybe, in a few months or perhaps by the end of the year my idea for a game will be ready to show to someone other than myself.

And if/when I show it to someone I expect it to be judged on its merits as a game not on the merits of my gender. If it’s rubbish, it’s because I’m not good at making games, not that because I’m a woman I’m not good at making games. If people like it or think it has potential it will be because I’ve learnt the skills necessary and I worked hard. And regardless, if I’ve learnt the skills to make games I can pick myself up and try again with a new idea. No artist ever stopped painting because their finger painting when they were 3 wasn’t worthy of Matisse. Practice makes perfect as they say.

So a very happy New Year one and all, I hope this is a resolution I will be able to keep!