Matt Forney
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Why GamerGate Will Win: My Personal Story with Gaming

This is a guest post by Kid Strangelove. Kid originally published this article at his own blog on April 17, 2015, but he deleted the site a while ago so he could focus on other projects. He asked me if I’d be willing to re-post some of his articles on my blog and I said yes.

It’s been almost eight months since #GamerGate was declared dead… or was it six months? Or four months? Or five weeks? Who can keep track of it anymore? The topic is as active as ever on 8chan, Reddit and Twitter, new controversies keep popping up almost weekly, and old controversies keep being revisited. The lines have clearly been drawn and the participants are at their battle stations for the next conflict in this culture war…

…social justice warriors vs. gamers.

One group that has never lost before versus another that was trained to never lose. As absurd as this may seem to a casual outsider, this is the cultural battle of a generation.

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Obviously, I’m on GamerGate’s side. But why? Why do I, and people like me, have so much invested in this issue? For many of us, it starts with taking some giant steps back.

Let me tell you about a time when Kid Strangelove was just a kid… and then some.

Age 8

I had just come to the United States from Russia with my family. While my grasp of the English language was still extremely limited, there were two distinctly American things I immediately picked up: pizza by the slice (okay, that’s more of a New York thing) and Street Fighter II. Among the neighborhood kids, the pizza place was the place to hang out. A pizza party was officially the greatest thing ever (and, now that I think about it, it still is), and I got to meet plenty of different local kids while still learning the language. The teenagers that would string together long winning streaks seemed like gods, legends to us. Maybe someday, we could be like them. My parents still tell me the story about my first day at school, which was followed by pizza and Street Fighter.

“So Kid, what was the first word you learned?”

“Amigo!”

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Age 11

The pizza place was buzzing with the sounds of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and everyone would gather around and watch, even when they were not playing. The game still had a “our parents think its bad for us, so it must be great” appeal, as we “oooh-ed” and “aaah-ed” at every fatality and combo.

The local library, with its newfangled, Internet-enabled computers, provided the perfect downtime to the pizza place, since we could read about Mortal Kombat and anything related to it. And that’s how I stumbled on it: the Kombat Kodes! I printed them out, and one evening, at a particularly busy night at the pizza place, I entered the codes and unlocked Mileena and Sub Zero! I had done it! I became the star of the pizza place!

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Age 15

Dark Ages, my first and only MMORPG, became a mild obsession. I became nocturnal, since we had dial-up Internet and my parents needed the phone for work. There I met Toto, a teenager from San Francisco, and we became allies. I’d have his back, he’d have mine. We barely had any idea who the other was, but this camaraderie united us in many common goals. I hope you’re doing okay out there, Toto!

Age 16

Half of my summer was spent translating documents from English to Russian or Russian to English: my first summer job. It was worth it: I was able to buy a PS2 as soon as it came out!

Age 18

With Tekken Tag Tournament and Soul Calibur II both available in our school’s rec center, the Arcade became the place to be again. After making plenty of friends, we went to seek out further competition, and boy did we ever find it. That was my first entry into the world of competitive gaming, and the first step outside our college bubble.

Age 21

I found myself back in NYC, done with college, and with barely any friends… until I started hanging out with the local fighting game crews. Many of these guys are still my great friends to this day!

Age 23

The Giants win the Super Bowl, and the people I’m celebrating this big moment with… all of them I met through gaming.

Age 25

I go to Las Vegas for the first time to participate in the Evolution Fighting Game Championships. While my showing is quite poor, I make many new friends, including fellow players from Japan, France, Russia, Sweden, the list goes on. That’s right: because of gaming, I have friends all over the world.

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Age 30

At my darkest moments during my cancer diagnosis, who helped me out? My gamer friends. They made sure I was relaxed, they made sure to cheer me up, they made sure to distract me from my diagnosis, and they made sure I was… me. However, I do now have an unhealthy Destiny addiction.

A lifetime of gaming, a lifetime of friendships, a lifetime of lessons, a lifetime of hard work, a lifetime of support, a lifetime of diversity, and most importantly, a lifetime of acceptance.

My gaming friends come from all walks of life and have a wide range of worldviews. Heck, sometimes we get into political discussions that may or may not get heated. But we do remember one thing that binds us: we are, at the core, friends and gamers, and nothing can break us.

This is why the anti-GamerGate crowd disgusts me. They want to walk into my world, my life, and say that it is all false? They want to walk into this world of universal acceptance and suddenly change the rules? They want me to hate my friends because they are a different religion, sex, skin color, or however the fuck they try to split us apart?

Hell no!

Or maybe, just maybe, the opponents of GamerGate are scared. These are the people that preach an authoritarian idea that we must diversify by their rules or perish, yet they can’t handle the ultimate diversity: diversity of ideas. We accept each other, we teach each other, and we look past each others’ faults. Think about it: you’re in a MMORPG, your warrior is taking damage, and you’re getting healed up by a healer. Do you care if the healer made an allegedly transphobic joke two years ago? Do you care if the dude shooting lightning at the monster is conservative? Nope: all you care about is the outcome.

And that’s why GamerGate will win: we don’t care about your past. We just care about the future and the outcome, and we won’t lose.

Welcome to our world, bitch.

Read Next: Publisher’s Statement Regarding Matt Forney’s Articles and GamerGate