I brought this up on a recent podcast, but given that ABC News was dumb enough to rely on her as a source, the time is ripe for a takedown of everyone’s favorite hirsute faux-gamer, Anita Sarkeesian.
And yes, she’s a born liar, through and through. Sarkeesian launched her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video series supposedly because she was a long-time gamer, a lie that was exploded recently. After the infamous 4chan-led gang-stalking attack on her last year, Sarkeesian collected hundreds of thousands of dollars of sympathy donations from feminists… which she sat on for nearly a year in violation of Kickstarter’s terms of service without so much as a slap on the wrist, while some pick-up artist dweeb got banned for hurting some feminists’ feeeeeelings. Sarkeesian has also conveniently failed to disclose to her fans that she’s a paid consultant for EA, which makes her untrustworthy as an independent commentator.
But it’s Anita Sarkeesian’s narcissism, not her duplicity, that is the topic of this post.
The violent response Sarkeesian received when she announced her Tropes series was used as evidence of gamers’ latent “misogyny,” but the real answer is more complicated than that. Hardcore gamers aren’t misogynists, they’re narcissists, who derive narcissistic supply from video games. Sarkeesian became the target of a lynch mob because she was attacking their source of validation.
“But Matt, that doesn’t make any sense! Aren’t narcissists supposed to get supply from PEOPLE?”
Yes, in most cases, narcissists seek the adulation of other human beings as a means to fill the gaping void of their existence. But getting people to worship and admire you requires you to be able to enthrall them to begin with. What if you lack both a sense of self and the social skills necessary to interact with the people you need to feed on for supply?
Answer: you get the modern gamer.
I’m not saying all gamers are narcissists. Shit, I enjoy a game of Dungeons of Dredmor every so often, and I’ll sometimes pull out one of my old favorites for a bit of nostalgia. We’re talking the worst of the worst here, the basement-dwelling, poorly-shaven, masturbating troll of legend. The kind of person who doesn’t shower and has gigabytes of porn on an array of portable hard drives. The nerds.
That’s right, hardcore gamers are narcissists. Because these dorks don’t have the social acumen to build normal human relationships, their false identities involve submerging themselves into trashy pop culture. To a certain extent this phenomenon has been around for decades with the likes of Star Trek conventions and anime freaks, but it was the evolution of video game graphics into greater realism that accelerated nerd narcissism into the monster that it is today.
Think about it: if you can’t so much as say hi to someone else without offending them with your rancid B.O., why wouldn’t you retreat into a fortress of video games and porn? Games are completely within your control. They don’t talk back or think for themselves. They don’t ask “How high?” when you tell them to jump, they just jump. When you lose at them, there’s no punishment; you just load a savegame and try again.
And when you win, they’re always ready to pat you on the back and tell you what a good boy you are.
If you want a prime example of how gamers are narcissists—and what happens to anyone who is dumb enough to impact their flow of supply—look at BioWare and their Mass Effect series. BioWare has had a rep for writing optional love subplots into their games, which I’ve always hated because the stories are contrived, sentimental and have little to no bearing on the plot. But as technology has improved, BioWare’s “romance options” (just typing that makes me want to snap my Macbook in two) have gotten increasingly elaborate, to the point where your character can pick and choose which character to fall in love with and even watch them having sex at the game’s end.
Anyway, BioWare’s Mass Effect trilogy was billed as a series in which your decisions, major and minor, would have a lasting effect on the plot, with the ending of the third game spiraling off into any number of directions based on your choices. When Mass Effect 3 was originally released last year though, the writers completely dropped the ball on the plot; there was no closure and no completeness. Instead of being shown how three games’ worth of choices changed the fate of the galaxy, you got to pick between three endings that were barely distinguishable from one another. Okay fine, the ending sucked, but big deal. It’s just a video game… right?
Try telling that to the BioDrones.
The gaming world exploded in indignation over Mass Effect 3’s ending. The largest contingent of whiners by far were the ones screaming about how they were “betrayed” by the ending (including one loser who actually complained to the FTC about it). A significant minority attempted to reframe the ending out of existence (another popular narcissistic defense mechanism) by claiming it was all a Jacob’s Ladder-esque hallucination happening in the protagonist’s dying mind. A few more people cynically argued that BioWare had deliberately cut part of the ending out in order to sell it as downloadable content (which turned out to be the correct answer, as the Leviathan DLC add-on showed).
I remember trying to research an article about Mass Effect around the time of the game’s release, sifting through thousands of angry threads on BioWare’s forums before giving up out of depression. Seeing all these people crying, fuming, screaming, acting like their lives were over because of a fucking video game… it made me want to drink. The coup de grace was an academic paper from a “credentialed expert”; a science fiction literary major at UCLA who claimed that the Mass Effect series was what inspired him to become a sci-fi major to begin with.
The narcissistic rage coming from the gaming community was so bad that BioWare was not only forced to issue an apology, but they had to release a free DLC pack that changed Mass Effect 3’s ending. Think about it: the developers had to compromise their artistic vision (as flawed as it may have been) to placate their unruly fans. These losers’ identities were so wrapped up in a work of fiction that they threw a violent temper tantrum when the story didn’t end the exact way they wanted it to. The most recent DLC add-on for the game, Citadel, was specifically designed to feed into the BioDrones’ narcissism; it all but turned the game into a Japanese dating sim.
So how does Anita Sarkeesian play into this?
Simple; her modus operandi is undermining video games as a source of narcissistic supply. Tropes vs. Women in Video Games is intended to delegitimize the traditional depictions of girls in games, whether they’re damsels in distress like Princess Peach or big-bosomed Butt-Kicking Babes like Lara Croft. The nerd is wedded to games as they are because the sexual validation he gets from a pre-written script in a BioWare RPG is the only kind he gets, aside from porn. (As an aside, the gamer-narcissists are the same kinds of people who comment on porn videos with clueless remarks like “Wow, she looks like she’s really getting into it!” or “It’s obvious that that dick’s hitting her in places she’s never been fucked before!” You almost want to grab them and start screaming like Kinison: “IT’S ACTING, YOU FUCK! THE ONLY REASON SHE’S TAKING A COCK IN THE ASS RIGHT NOW IS BECAUSE SHE COULDN’T MAKE RENT THIS MONTH!”)
Make no mistake, Sarkeesian is as much a narcissist as the unbathed, sunlight-deprived hordes who despise her. Her false identity is based in her bogus accomplishments as a Strong, Independent Woman™ combined with the mythological belief all feminists have that an Evil Patriarchy is trying to keep her down. Instead of designing a video game herself, one that depicts women in the way she wants, Sarkeesian wants to force everyone else to think like her in order to minimize her risk for narcissistic injury. Like a virus floating through the bloodstream of an organism, Sarkeesian’s only desire is to propagate herself, killing her host in the process. The horde of jack-addicted trolls who harassed her are the host’s white blood cells exterminating a threat before it can gain a foothold.
Unstoppable force, meet immovable object.
That’s the essence of the “cyber-harassment” Anita Sarkeesian suffered; one narcissist who found herself outgunned by a larger horde of narcissists. There are no good guys here, just two gangs of loathsome cretins—feminists and gamers—trying to claim first prize at the Pity Party. Bum fights. The only reason Sarkeesian gets a leg up is because, possessing a vagina, she can always play the white knights for sympathy points.
But hosing off a crustie and giving her clean clothes doesn’t make her any less of a bum.
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