Video game defenders hold the line against eeeevil women with incoherent rage, obscene phone calls

But Mega Man is supposed to be ... a ... man!

But Mega Man is supposed to be … a … man!

Welcome to the first installment of “what the hell is wrong with people, I mean really,what the hell Saturday.”

Today we’re going to look at a couple of recent controversies in the world of gaming. And by “controversies” I mean “women daring to get involved in the gaming industry and getting harassed by misogynistic assholes.”

First up, let’s look at the tale of a woman who’s now facing an angry internet mob because she drew a picture of the video game character Mega Man … as a woman.

A little backstory: The video game makers Comcept recently raised roughly a million bucks on Kickstarter to fund a game intended as a sort of sequel, at least in spirit, to the old Mega Man games. And they hired a woman named Dina Abou Kara as a community manager to handle their forums and other social media.

There was just one little problem: when the folks at Comcept announced her hiring, they also posted a picture she’d drawn of Mega Man, imagined as a woman. Aghast at the very notion of such a gender switch — though Dina wasn’t even involved in the actual making of the new game — the “community” collectively lost its shit.

As Ian Miles Cheong notes on Gameran,

Finding fault with her presentation, these persons decided to pry into Dina’s personal life by combing through her Twitter account for other transgressions against the human race, and found that she had written tweets supportive of feminism and linked to one of Anita Sarkeesian’s videos. …

These vocal individuals went so far as to produce a video “calling out” Dina’s past with “dirt” on her—because sympathising with the feminist cause is indeed enough to demonize someone according to these people. The vocal, well informed fans have since been calling for her resignation from the developer. At this point, these individuals have flooded the game’s development forums, and are trying to hold the game hostage by asking for refunds.

One user, a Mr. Nicholas Day, wrote: “This is a bad idea guys. I don’t want any anita sarkeesian feminism all up in my megaman reboot. I don’t want a sjw [social justice warrior] monitoring the forum, deciding who has good opinions and who has bad ones.”

So, yeah.

And while we’re speaking of douchey gamer assholery, there’s a whole other tale of harassment developing. An indie game developer named Zoë Quinn made a game called Depression Quest, and, a couple of days ago, she posted it to Valve’s Greenlight service, hoping that Valve would pick it up and sell it.

Instead, angry dudes attacked her as a “cunt” and an “attention whore” who could never truly understand depression because “all females are sluts and have no right to be depressed.” And then, she says, some dude or dudes started making obscene phone calls to her.

Here’s her eloquent response:

Check her Twitter for updates and more examples of the shit she’s been dealing with. FOR MAKING A GAME ABOUT DEPRESSION WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY BEING A WOMAN.

The Mary Sue has more about both stories.

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on December 14, 2013, in a woman is always to blame, all about the menz, antifeminism, doxing, entitled babies, evil women, harassment, incoherent rage, mantrum, men who should not ever be with women ever, misogyny, no games for girls, no girls allowed, oppressed men, sexual harassment and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 152 Comments.

  1. Inurashii, is “unthinkable faces” a reference to Wizard People Dear Reader?

  2. Ah, geek sub-cultures….

    Yeah, it’s pretty bloody tribal in the geek communities. In terms of misogyny, I think the below list is pretty accurate in terms of descending order of intensity.

    Video Games–as mentioned by lots of folks here and elsewhere, this really is the nadir, especially the online community.
    Superhero Comics–Honestly, I’d say in terms of sexism and misogyny in the media itself, superhero comics may very well outdo video games, but you have less pushback against women who want to read the comics (but heaven help anyone who suggests that objectification of women in the genre is a problem).
    Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction–The pushback here is mostly against women authors, by the few grognards who want to remain in the 1950s, when bold space exploring men rescued women from gynocratic planets and showed them the superiority of traditional gender roles. There has been a growing backlash against sub-genres (particularly urban fantasy) that appeal more to women, though.
    Real Science Fandom–I’m talking here about things like Mythbusters and other efforts to popularize the scientific approach. While the professional community is pretty bad at times (we’ve seen those incidents), I’ve seen less pushback in the amateur zone, which is a good thing.
    Tabletop RPGs–I do still occasionally see some guy who is upset that the RPGA isn’t a bunch of guys sitting around their parent’s basement, but honestly, that particular community was cracked ages ago. The worst is usually some idiot who tries to be ‘ironic’ and ‘edgy’ with some over-the-top sexist portrayal of women in his self-published supplement for the open-source systems.
    Japanese Manga/Anime–This more like ‘benevolent sexism’, in that it’s usually expected that women into comics and animation are talking about the Manga/Anime market. And of course, the content can be anywhere from surprisingly forward-minded to appallingly sexist; in particular, traditional gender roles get a LOT of enforcement here, especially for girls (who are expected to be pure and virginal except for that one kind of bland guy and to be able to cook, clean, and frequently provide household money as well).
    “Euro-style” Board/Card Games–This is an activity that appeals to the same market as the other geek stuff, but I have yet to encounter any particular sexism at all (and certainly none geared towards the hobby itself, as opposed to what I guess could be called ‘background’ sexism that’s just the world as we know it being shitty again). A big part of this may be the relative newness of the market–really, the games in this category have emerged over the last ten years or so (Wikipedia notes that the first real break-away game in the States was probably Settlers of Catan, which first launched here in 1995).

  3. Gah. I’ve been gaming since I was… 8 or so? On a TRS-80, text-based adventure/horror games. We drew maps on dot-matrix printer paper. The only games with graphics were Pong, and Dancing Demon (spend 30 minutes programming dance moves, and then little robot does his dance). Then Atari, and arcade games – my best (female) friend and I spent hours at the arcade playing Street Fighter. Then Nintendo… etc.

    I still game, but I generally avoid online play. Busband plays a shooter online though, and I am pleased to say he had a number of women who’d play with him and his clan, and they were treated like everyone else. Maybe because it was an over-30 clan?

    I wonder if the sexist losers who complain like this are young, and think gaming was invented around the time they happened to discover it.

  4. Just downloaded the Cat Lady demo, and will totally play Deppression Quest (and donate) – so thanks for the heads-up!

  5. Freemage–
    One thing that interesting is, although I haven’t done a lot of tabletop gaming, when I’ve done it with people my own age (older part of Gen Y/Millenials) it’s been 50/50 male/female. The one time I did it with a mostly-Gen-X group, I was the only woman.

  6. Also, I went to Boskone, a science fiction book convention, in 2003 and have gone a couple more times recently, and it seems like the attendees are closer to 50/50 male/female now than in 2003 (when I think it was about 1/3 female).

  7. I don’t get the fuss about the female mega-man. Gender-swapping characters is very popular on the internet (in fact, it’s Rule 63: For every given male character, there is a female version of that character. For every given female character, there is a male version of that character.) It’s actually fairly popular to do so (some do it for fun, some do it because they are transgendered themselves, quite a few do it because they get a sexual thrill from it, etc.)

    I don’t know why this one particular case is pissing off the dwellers so bad.

  8. This seems like the right thread for this Fake Nerd Guys tumblr.

  9. That’s not gender-flipped Mega Man, that’s gender-flipped Mighty Number Nine, the titulat character of the game in question.

  10. Facts Are Like Names: Often gotten wrong, even when they sound right.

    People didn’t hate the image, they hate the person who made it. And not just for the obvious feminist ties, they also hate her for being the “community ear” on the forums of a spiritual successor to Mega Man… despite admittedly having never finished a Mega Man game.

    The person who is meant to kind of distill the community thoughts and present good ideas to the devs is someone who has absolutely no idea what the community wants. The anger over THAT is what has erupted in all these desperate attempts to have her flipped out of office, so to speak, even if a lot of them use a misguided standpoint (HURR DURR FEMINISM HURR) to attempt it.

  11. If you’re going to necro a thread, try doing it with new points, at least.

  12. If they were upset about their leader not being competent enough then they should have addressed that, rather than acting like she was some nazi or bullying her a shit ton. Why is this so difficult to understand?

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