In last week’s edition of “Playing Politics,” I talked about an article from The Gamer written by a journalist pathetically trying to claim that “Resident Evil 5,” a game set in Africa, was horribly, irredeemably racist because it starred a white man. The week before that, I mentioned an article from IGN where the author expressed her deep disappointment that “Final Fantasy 16,” a game inspired by medieval Europe, didn’t look like modern-day San Francisco.
And late last week, I had the great misfortune of stumbling upon an article from Polygon claiming that Link from the “Zelda” series is a gay icon, and that “The Legend of Zelda’s queer themes are more than just subtext.”
In all these situations, gaming itself took a backseat to the politics of the writer. Graphics, gameplay, and fun be damned, modern-day games journalists are more concerned about what kind of message the game sends or how they can use our favorite characters to further their leftist agenda.
Video game journalism has been in a sorry state for a while now, but I think we can precisely place the beginning of its decline in 2014, with the advent of Gamergate. Other than which starter Pokemon to pick — the correct answer for that by the way is Squirtle — Gamergate is perhaps the most controversial topic in gaming.
For those not in the know, Gamergate was a campaign to push for ethics in video game reporting. It started when a female games developer failed to disclose a sexual relationship with a journalist who positively reviewed her game.
The whole thing collapsed into cyber warfare, with each side accusing the other of spewing vitriol and sending death threats. Very messy. To this day, Wikipedia refers to Gamergate as “a loosely organized misogynistic online harassment campaign and a right-wing backlash against feminism, diversity, and progressivism in video game culture.”
Gamergate was so scarring to the leftist psyche in the gaming sphere, it ignited the same obsession with activism in the culture-focused press that we see with legacy outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post. But I don’t want to rehash Gamergate too much; that’s a deep, deep rabbit hole that I would really rather not stumble down right now.
What really matters here is what happened after Gamergate; the massive uptick in politics posing as games journalism. Leftist journalists saw what happened and felt they had to use their platforms to fight for the “right” politics instead of, you know, informing gamers whether a game was fun or not.
Hang on, you’re saying I should review the new Mario game? Sorry, but I’m too busy writing about how Princess Peach is actually a symbol of white supremacy and Luigi is trans.
To drive the point home, let’s take another recent example of the gaming press attempting to push a political message instead of doing their jobs. I’ve talked about “Hogwarts Legacy” before and how the alphabet people and their sycophants hate it because of J.K. Rowling’s views on trans issues. But by the way the journalists reported on this game when it came out, you’d think Voldemort himself had made it.
From Inverse: “The Real-World Cost of Hogwarts Legacy Is Unforgivable”
From The Gamer: “Hogwarts Legacy Made Us Ignore Transphobia, So What’s Next?”
From GameRant: “Hogwarts Legacy Should Have Done More To Support Trans Players”
From Polygon: “Why I’m not buying the Harry Potter game: Hogwarts Legacy is tainted by J.K. Rowling’s transphobic views”
Notice anything missing here? Like an actual description of the game itself? Anything relating to whether it’s good or bad? Is it even fun? Nah, who cares, let’s just accuse Rowling of being a bigot and whine about the people who buy it.
The gaming press has become yet another tool in the arsenal of wokescolds. And it is legitimately making gaming worse. There absolutely should be a press that talks about games in an objective, non-political way. Gamers deserve serious analysis, not just leftist talking points.
But, like the “mainstream” outlets they’re apparently trying to ape, truth has been replaced by dogma. And journalism has been replaced by activism.