Matt Forney
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Narcissist Bum Fights: Anita Sarkeesian vs. the Basement Dwellers


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.

No comment.

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.

Read Next: The Backlash Against Feminism Has Arrived

  • Apollo

    My take on all the rage against Sarkeesian was that gamers were just pissed off at Feminist nonsense encroaching on one of the few remaining areas where unashamedly male behavior is still tolerated in our society. And this was very typical and very annoying Feminist nonsense too – placing all the blame for the “problem” and all responsibility for fixing it on men, with the only effort coming from her being her bitching about it.

    Not to dispute your point about hardcore gamers being crazy self involved anti social assholes (I was as unimpressed with the whole Mass Effect ending furore as you apparently were), but I don’t think you need look any further than the “Feminists are assholes” hypothesis to explain the hate sent Sarkeesians way.

  • Dave

    Great writing Matt. A really insightful article.

  • Mark Laszczuk

    Hahaha, ‘hosing off a crusty’. Gold! I love punk and hardcore (and some D-beat) but goddamn if I can’t stand crusties. Fucken vile, stinky hippies. At least I don’t live in Portland, the crusty capital of America (although I intend to visit one day to skate Burnside).

  • Kirk

    Who reads the comments on porn sites? Why do porn videos even have a comments section? Am I the first person to raise this question?

  • Towgunner

    Great article, it comes down to this. If she wants to “change” the video game industry than she should learn how to make video games and have at it. Instead she’s forcing her opinion on everyone else, which leads us nowhere. Simply, if she has some “right” to force her singular opinion on others than, it would stand in a “fair” society, the rest of us have that license too. And if that’s the case, then I think I can speak for the average gamer to keep things exactly the same. Hence, her claim carries no validity. Just another example of the sickness of feminism. I think this is a Gen Y’er site, if so…gents if you guys want any kind of meaningful or pleasant life destroy feminism, period. A free market once, very efficiently, serviced a marketplace with the exact kinds of products it demanded. Since that arrangement also results in wealth creation, it was as good as it gets. This precedent for arbitrarily forcing games to change being based, importantly, on the “demands” not from the average consumer of these products but from an admitted outsider is a disturbing development. You’re being told how to live, I advise each and everyone of you to revolt against this immediately. Although we’re drifting towards all out tyranny (certainly the constitutional republic is dead), certain aggrieved groups (women being one of the biggest) still use the argument that they need “rights” because they can’t be told how to live. That said, its high time for you Gen Y males to step up and say what needs to be said to feminism and women – mind your own business, I have as much as a right as you to live my life how I want to!

  • JD

    I’m a frequenter on /v/.

    Not out of choice, really, but because all of the major news sites have been overrun by feminist writers and white-knight enablers. Hernandez at Kotaku, Klepek at Giantbomb, Walker at RPS. List goes on.

    Personally I’m hoping that the sites in question will start to lose traffic as people become tired of outrageous clickbait feminist articles. The feminists will peel off for greener pastures the very instant the attention starts to dry up. The people who actually enjoy video games (men and a tiny fraction of women) will slowly come back and reform the communities and hopefully forget about it all. This is already happening at Giantbomb where they muzzled their white-knight and sent him to Siberia. I mean, Chicago.

  • Cole

    “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.”

    Expect more games to go this route. Mass Effect is the harbinger of the upcoming meld between “Second-Life” investment in virtual characters and classic console gaming, where action-packed plot lines are riddled with romance and “you-go-girlisms”. It sucks for casual gamers who actually have a life and just want to blow away bad guys without constantly rolling our eyes.

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  • baguazhang

    I still don’t see what the big deal was.

    Okay, some guys photoshopped her with bruises and shit. That happens all the time on Youtube. Look up videos of “Justin Bieber beaten up”. Nobody cares. Nor should they.

    It’s just another reminder what feminists call “harassment” usually turns out to be, nothing.

  • Blah

    I think playing video games is more about just killing time. Maybe MMO players derive some sort of real sociological validation from video games, but, honestly, it’s just a way to waste time.

    Didn’t know she was an EA consultant – I suppose that explains why her analysis was only slightly more in depth than the games she was “reviewing.”

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  • John Dunkerley

    Sounds a little Trad-Con-Jobby in places. I also detect some shaming language in there, the kind feminists (and women in general) use. These women today aren’t worth the trouble of even trying to go to bed with. So I’ll take my new Focus and go out to dinner for one, please. If I come home and play games all night in my underwear, listen to music, read, or even go catch a flick, I never need permission. It’s so much more free living the way you want to. MGTOW is the life!

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  • Bo Jangles

    Interesting way to look at it. I grew up with video games but i suspect gamer culture has morphed since then.

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  • Union Lacktivist

    Matt Forney clearly does NOT know what a narcissist really is.

    Yanked from the Internet:

    Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following symptoms:

    1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

    2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

    4. Requires excessive admiration

    5. Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

    6. Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

    7. Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

    8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

    9. Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

    There is absolutely nothing in these traits that would apply to someone who is a hardcore gamer simply because they play games. However, many of these traits certainly fit Anita because they are real behaviors. She also does have a sycophantic following, something that narcissists seem to be able to pull off on a regular basis.

  • Aldous Huxley

    So would you say your anger in this article over pornography is the effect of you having a narcissistic outlook on your knowledge of women, and the comments were interfering with your ‘supply’?

    Not saying a lot of nerds aren’t vicious narcissists, but it seems your definition is geared toward making you feel like you are in control through ritualistic categorization. I see little logic in making condemnations upon what cannot be quantified. Contrast this with minority crime rates, which can be. Food for thought.

    I would have tried to make money on the outrage; I care very little for the reasons people who do not care about me are upset.