These people look at a game like Depression Quest and they can’t comprehend what could possibly be good about it. There are no graphics! It’s about something boring like mental illness. This isn’t what we were told a videogame would be in the future. They are meant to be realistic and immersive virtual worlds where we can live out all of our fantasies! The same goes for Gone Home, a beautifully realised game that explores teenage girl sexuality and riot grrl culture in the 90s. You don’t shoot anything. Nothing ‘happens’. How could these games possibly be received well by a videogame press? Well, it must be a conspiracy.
So videogame journalism has been invaded by these ‘social justice warriors’ who wish to destroy videogames with cultural criticism and writing more diverse than consumer advice. As [game designer Owen] Grieve rightly notes, the fear of any sort of cultural criticism of the medium of videogames comes from a history where any criticism of videogames was the thinnest veneer of wanting to censor videogames. People see Sarkeesian discussing sexism and think of (now disbarred) attorney Jack Thompson and his multiple lawsuits against the Grand Theft Auto games. So now, any form of progressive social politics in writing is a sign of wanting to censor videogames, of wanting to somehow profit from them when, really, it’s just the consequence of videogames finally, at last, becoming just another pop cultural form with a diverse range of audiences and commentators and creators, finally getting the critical discourses it deserves.
–Brendan Keogh on gaming going mainstream.
Slight aside: in some ways, Depression Quest makes me really angry. It makes me angry because it’s the sort of game that, by all rights, should’ve been made thirty years ago, back when text-based adventures were A Thing. The fact that these sorts of experimental “Twine-ish” games–including Gone Home, which is, in some respects, a Twine game with rad graphics–is only gaining serious traction now… says something about gatekeeping and consumerism and the hollow void where gaming’s artistic soul should’ve been all these years.