DON’T BE THAT GAMER, a conversation with Brianna Wu

IMG_3938I have a friend who is is so not a gamer, doesn’t play’em, doesn’t care.  He doesn’t even have a Facebook account, might be some wisdom in that.  Anyway, he knows I’m a gamer.  He kind of looks at me the way you’d look at a person whom you suspect might be on something and is not telling you, kind of a half smile with intermittent Spock-like brow raises.  So he tells me a female programer and a game creator is coming to our local University.  He knows I have an interest in game development and I also feel passionate about womens’ issues.  He tells me this woman has received death threats and she even has security planned for her lecture.  So I’m like why would a game developer need security?  Her name is Brianna Wu.  I start doing a little research.  Come to find out this woman is being threatened by a small but very vocal group of so called “gamers.”  Now, I’m wondering what kind of dude threatens a woman trying to break into a field dominated by men.  How much of an ass do you have to be?  As I delve into this world of angry screaming spitting child-men.  It occurs to me, that these guys are nothing new, and I’ve seen and heard  them before.  I remember back when Will Smith was given the roll of James West in the Movie “Wild Wild West.”  He received death threats.  And, more recently, Idris Elba who played Heimdall in the “Thor” movies.  Hell, I think these fools even gave the Black Annie a hard time.  So now I’m wondering who are these  “People ”  and who has the  kind of time to sit around and attack other people over fictional characters, meanwhile ignoring the same situation when it’s reversed.  Cleopatra, comes to mind.  Ok so I’ve done my homework.  I’ve educated myself on the so called “Gamer Gate” issue.  I took a long look at what the Gamer Gate folks are saying, that they are concerned with corruption in the print media by writers who are in bed with game developers, etc.  I guess you can’t just come out and say “Hey, I’m a misogynist, racist frightened little man and I’m afraid of you!”

These “hate groups” even gave themselves names, I bet they have tee shirts with clever thinly veiled misogynist statements on them.

So I pack up my back pack and threw one of our awesome NightGames  hoodie and tee shirt (shameless Nightgames plug) in it for Brianna Wu.  I wanted her to know that not only do we at Nightgames appreciate, support   and look forward to the emergence of more women programers and developers, we are going to be active allies!

So I attend the lecture titled “Sexism in the Tech Industry” and I meet Brianna Wu.  She is  the head of Giant Spacekat and she leads one of the largest professional game-development teams of women in the the field .  She is tall and smart and focused but she appears a little shaken.  She tells me that someone the night before caused a scene.  She tells me she’s received over 40 death and rape threats.  They’ve threatened her husband, as well.  She tells us how many of her friends and other women have been run out of the industry.  Her eyes well up.  Makes me sad and angry.  I feel like Gamers are supposed to be the progressive ones not the bringers of more pain to the world.  She is stedfast and determined and she tells us about the new game her company Giant SpaceKat  released last year.  It looks good and I can’t wait to buy it.  After the lecture, I give her a gift, the Nighgames Hoodie and tee.  She likes them.  I tell her about my blog and my company, NightGames.  I tell her we are with her and we will help and support in anyway we can.  She smiles.  The person assisting her is in a big hurry.  She wants to get her out of there and eat lunch.  I ask for a pic for the blog, then I get side tracked.  She loves the Nightgames Logo design.  She tells me she’ll tweet about it.  I thank her and tell her I’m trying to build a stronger female membership.  I haven’t taken a pic yet and she is wisked away.  I wanted to talk more and I missed my opportunity to take a good picture for my blog.  I wanted to kick myself.  I should tell you at this point, that I’ve been up for over 24 hours straight and I’m feeling loopy as hell. My takeaway from this lecture and what I’d like to say to you is.  We are Gamers.  We’re supposed to be the forward thinkers, the welcoming minds of our generation,, visionaries right.

We have to be better, we can be so much better!

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