Female Game Developers Discuss Harassment In The Games Industry

Before Gamergate, before death threats forced Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn from their homes, before bomb threats, before Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel appearances for fear of being shot. Before all of that women faced harassment in the games industry and it has to stop. In this fascinating footage released by the producers of GameLoading: Rise of the Indies — a feature film about indie development — a number of women opened up about the struggles they had personally faced working in video games.

These interviews all took place months before Gamergate started. They have nothing to do with allegations of 'corruption'. These are just women opening up about the difficulties in being a women involved with games.

Zoe Quinn discusses the harassment she faced immediately after the release of her game Depression Quest — death threats, rape threats — the reasoning behind those threats? Depression Quest wasn't a 'real game'.

Perhaps the most poignant part of the video is the moment when Quinn admits that one of the most difficult parts of being harassed are the accusations that harassment doesn't happen, or that women should just toughen up and accept harassment as part of the status quo.

Obviously, they shouldn't. That fact shouldn't even have to be stated. Harassment, of any kind, is unacceptable and the sustained harassment of women in the games industry is a nasty little thread that needs to be weeded out immediately.


    Having seen people on the net going to extreme lengths and finding the address of Zoe Quinn's family members and forcing them out of their home is just twisted. I could not believe that happened. I can't even imagine something like that happening in Australia.
    It is way beyond twisted and to top it off - was it not her parents forced to hide away from their home?
    Surely these twisted f***s are going to be caught and jailed. It is middle ages barbarianism scaring people out of their homes.

    Last edited 16/10/14 10:04 am

      It is exactly that, couldn't of said it better.

    The idea that someone could be abused or threatened in this day and age just because they're a woman trying to do a job is absolutely horrible. Honestly, this is exactly the sort of behaviour one would have expected from a Taliban controlled Afghanistan.

      It doesn't have to be Taliban. It can be any strict religious group. Women's rights/equality is a relatively new concept based upon a rejection of cultures that have religious roots. The more we reject religion, the more we can live in harmony. Rejection, not tolerance of religion is what's needed.

        so don't oppress women, but please oppress anyone whose religion you don't agree with. Got it.

    Before anyone jumps in with the usual 'this is overblown' etc, noones been in the position these people are so we can only assume. Simple fact is we'll never know until we've, as the saying goes, 'walked a mile in their shoes'.

    I'm guilty of acting like a dick on the boards now and then, I've been a twat time to time and made an ass of myself but it's never anything truly mean spirited. But some of the stuff on the last article, was really eye opening in terms of a few of you guys I used to really respect. I'm hoping like myself, it was just a faux pas.

    When we see things like this coming up, it lends absolute credibility to the whole issue. There's a problem and it needs addressing. Hiding our heads in the sand and believing it doesn't exist *is not working*.

    Reconsider your stance guys, think about whether you're letting emotion cloud fact and if you're actually giving this all the consideration you should, because quite frankly, some of you are far better than what you displayed in that last article.

      You being a dick? NOOOO :P I'm not sure why people think they'll always be able to act like tossers, or get away with the demeaning attitudes and comments they make on a regular basis. It just boggles the mind that as soon as you become a faceless person, the true prick seems to come out and cause havoc.

        lol. Of course. Admitting it is the first step of recovery right? haha.

          Hi I'm Ed, and I'm an alcoho--- Wait wrong forum -_-

      I agree.

      I do wonder why people are saying that this particular group of incidents needs to stop.

      I think any abuse, bullying, mental abuse, physical abuse, threats etc needs to stop be it offline or online and regardless of who the perpetrator or victim is.

      As you have said people do not know what others are going through in life in general until we have walked in someone else's shoes aka empathy.

      I refuse to use the name of the cause that this whole thread is about as to me it is picking out one issue to tackle,
      I feel the whole online issues need to be addressed and that society should aim high and work to eliminate such actions and the secondary issues will be resolved by treating the cause and not just a symptom :)

    Hey Mark,
    Thanks for reminding us that the current situation with female devs in gaming is not knew, it's an entrenched aspect of gaming culture that is entirely unacceptable.

    Hey everyone else,
    Gaslighting is just straight up nasty. It shouldn't have to happen to you or someone you know before you take a stand. If you see someone in any of your communities gaslighting another person and you're not okay with out, call the perpetrator out. You don't have to confront them, just let them and any bystanders know that gaslighting is not okay. Same thing if you see anyone attempting to rationalise such activity through sayings such as "you're being too sensitive, it's just a joke", "it's on the internet, it's not real", or "boys will be boys".
    The level of abuse in games culture is absurd. Please think carefully before throwing out a bunch of words have the sole effect of making you feel better about yourself whilst diminishing the value of another. Please think carefully before casually announcing your hate for this or that person within the industry.


      It's not just female dev but also female gamers in general. You only need to go to http://fatuglyorslutty.com to see how badly some gamers need a kick in the head.

      It's a shitty entrenched aspect of cultures everywhere... Gaming specifically has nothing to do with it.

      People being dicks to other people still occurs when you take the games out of the equation.

    I completely agree that all of this stuff is just terrible.. But dislike that it's being associated that it's "gamers" doing this. To be clear, it's psychotic assholes doing this stuff.

    Let's not reverse years of forward progress in the gaming industry by making it about "gamers".

      That's exactly why us reasonable gamers, who just wanna have fun and enjoy our gaming, need to shut down this type of behaviour. This minority of people who abuse and threaten are making the rest of us look bad, just as extremist Muslims who make up an absolutely miniscule percent of the Muslim population, are causing all the good, reasonable Muslims to be stereotyped.

        I know it wasn't your intention, but putting it like that kind of reads like one of those shitty "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." catch all slogans to cast blame on people solely because they're not out actively supporting whatever cause is in question.

        As beers said, people really need to stop opening with things like "These gamers need to be stopped..." because the use of "gamers" implies a hell of a lot more than just the morally bankrupt people actually in question.

        I mean the fact that "Before GamerGate" is the FIRST thing in an article headlined about the harassment of women instantly leaves the overhanging implication that that is all GamerGate and the supporters of it are about... Harassing women.

        That being said, I really don't think that was Mark's intention at all... And just had more to do with GamerGate ending up associated with it as it is now.

    You know I remember a time where being called a gamer illicited views of a grown man living out of his mom's basement in his little man cave. I think I prefer that poorly executed stereotype to the one gamergate is going to end up inadvertently attach to gamers. Intolerant bullies who prey on women.

    Yes I've heard all the minority acting out arguments but the world's population as a whole won't see it like that. Heck I don't see it like that. All they'll see is gamers preying on women within the industry.

      I'd actually argue that the world's population as a whole wouldn't care enough to see it one way or another... Not the part about harassment of people, as that should be a no go anywhere.

      But on the gamer part of things... The average person these days either plays games in some form, be it on their phone or on their uber PC rig, or at the very least knows someone who does. So when they hear how people who play games are supposedly this or that, they don't go "They ARE?!" and just take it as fact... Instead they think of themselves or the people they know that play games, and likely come to conclusion that whatever headline bait they just read is full of shit.

      The world's MEDIA (or anyone looking to further their own cause really) on the other hand love a good baited headline and story... Being at all accurate is not a requirement either, because as long as you don't say anything directly you can later go back and add "That's not what I meant, you misread." the moment someone questions it.

      It's why you wont read a story about "Someone was harassing people the other day." on it's own... That's not news. Not anywhere.

      It has to be along the lines of "Someone who enjoys *insert-hobby-here* was harassing people the other day." because it associates two things and creates a point of conflict, which generates traffic... Because acting as if only sexist assholes play video games, while also indirectly hinting that maybe those who play video games are all sexist assholes is click baiting gold.

    I thought depression quest was a boring stupid game, so I stopped playing and played something I liked. American Mcgee made bad day LA, that was so bad I wanted to go back to the bargain bin I brought it from and demand my $2 back..........I wish neither game makers raped and killed.

      I played depression quest a while before the insanity that it's associated with started and I thought it was pretty good. In my personal playthrough the game was quite accurate to my own experiences and was a decent attempt at communicating what it can be like. The early part, realizing something was up, was especially well done and felt very familiar.

      It certainly had its issues, but the game felt fairly authentic to me and with my own experiences in mind it was a somewhat harrowing experience. It wasn't fun, I probably wouldn't play it again, but I think it's important that games are explored as a medium that reaches beyond the typical action oriented productions.

      I wish more people had the reaction you did/ do though. The most vocal parts of the internet seem to freak out over really stupid things and take their reactions to ridiculous extremes. If more people had a mindset along the lines of "don't like it, don't play it (or make threats directed a the studio/ individual/ team that made it)" like you, the internet might just be a slightly better place.

    Please forgive my ignorance but what is "gas lighting"?

    I rarely post to this site as I prefer to read and observe, thus the guest account.

    Anyway this "gas lighting" brings me to my next point.

    I think part of the problem is that no one calls such things what they are, and instead calls them terms etc (as above)

    I think when we start giving things terms as names it takes away from what they really are.

    Call it what it is, pure and simple heinous disgusting behaviour by a human to another human. Should I give that a clever name I would be taking away from the impact of what the behaviour actually is.

    I state human towards another human as when it comes to that type of behaviour the genders are irrelevant, no human should be subjected to that regardless of gender.

      Wiki is not the best source but it will suffice for a quick explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting

      Use of colloquial terms to describe a situation can be confusing to outside parties who don't want to search for a term of acronym on the internet. I think you summarise well that instead of colloquial terminology or long form descriptions, a blunt and open description is often apt. However, I also think that gaslighting is a common enough term when referencing psychological abuse that its usage creates an accurate description of the phenomena.

      On the whole, I couldn't agree more with your sentiment.

      Edit: In the current situation where someone is repeatedly told that they are not being abused, it would be more appropriate to point out gaslighting as the mode of abuse rather than claiming the individual is engaging in disgusting behaviour. The behaviour is identified, named, and there is no room for rebuttal.

      Last edited 16/10/14 1:57 pm

    Worth a gander:

      Interesting read.
      This piece covers the disparity of the movement to traditional political extremists and revolutionaries, ultimately providing a context to the apparent internal dissonance over goals and intent. One of the better analyses I've read.

    Maybe it's different here in Australia, but I was doing a games development course, there were two females in the class. I never thought any different of them as game developers to any of the males in the class. In fact I was more than happy to see them in the classroom. I think that it is a problem, but the gaming community have taken it as an attack on them as opposed to taking it as something to work on, Just because I myself have not experienced it or have not taken part in harassment or sexism against women, in the gaming industry or anywhere else for that matter does not explicitly mean it isn't happening. It's good to have the discussion, but not when it comes at a price to peoples lively-hood. Unfortunately the few out there that are so-called representatives of the gaming community have completely blown things out of the water. Anita and Zoe aren't completely free of blame, some of their comments have added fuel to the fire. Both sides have taken shots at each other. There are going to be people that will never change their there stance on the situation, I just hope that we find our footing again, and maybe we can finally get a sivilised discussion going again.

      "Anita and Zoe aren't completely free of blame"

      "Both sides have taken shots at each other"

      Maybe your heart is in the right place, but these are some stupid, stupid comments. They are both totally, utterly free of blame in this situation. And only one side has published home addresses. Only one side has threatened people with murder and rape.

    I would be more open to Kotaku articles if they acknowledged and reported the other side of this issue, the hate, threats and doxxings given to developers who support Gamergate. Such as the three female Gamergate supporters who went on HuffPost Live. Want to link to that?

    Because equality for all really does require you to report both sides.

      This is straight bullshit. If one side is complicit in threats of rape and murder, of releasing personal details on to the internet, then no, you don't need to report both sides. They have made it clear they have no interest in a democratic debate, so fuck them.

      Not really. That's called 'false equivalence'. Yes there are two sides to every issue, but sometimes one is wrong, or simply not as important as the other. By reporting on both sides you can give a sense of equality that doesn't and shouldn't exist. E.g. Reporting that the earth is round and feeling obliged to put in a quote from the flat earth society to 'show the other side'.

        Actually, report that the Earth is round and you really should put in a quote from an astronomer explaining that it is a irregular ovoid. And then maybe explain why and how it was formed into that shape. You know, that journalism thing that they studied so many moons ago. Pretty sure it still applies here. You know, in their job. As Journalists.

          Not totally sure what you're suggesting but I think 'round' is imprecise enough to accurately describe an irregular ovoid. You wouldn't want to report that the world was perfectly spherical, since that would be wrong. If you're suggesting that this article isn't detailed enough then I have no opinion on that, since I'm not fully informed on the whole gamergate thing

            Ovoid: (of a solid or a three-dimensional surface) more or less egg-shaped.
            Round: shaped like a circle or cylinder, shaped like a sphere

            Two very different shapes. Two very different viewpoints, one backed by facts, the other conjecture and misinformation. An article on the topic should have both viewpoints and their reasoning, and this article does not show anything from the other viewpoint.

              The fact that you're actually trying to argue that the world is not round speaks volumes. 'Like a sphere' does not mean 'a sphere'. And are you also categorizing personal testimony from two people affected by sexism as 'conjecture'?

                I'm not arguing the fact... I'm pointing out, in the analogy you used to refute the gamer side of the issue, there is conjecture and fact, misleading colloquialisms and scientific terminology. And if you were writing an article on the topic you suggested, it would only be appropriate as a journalist to mention both viewpoints. Do you actually believe journalists should only cover one side of their topic? Whichever gets more clicks/likes/retweets?

                And the conjecture was that the earth is 'round'. Fact: it is not. I still describe it that way in casual conversation. But I would not do so in an article on the shape of the earth. So if there is an article on harassment in the games industry focused on Gamergate, I expect the article to give some fair coverage and attention to both supporters of Gamergate, and anti-Gamergate supporters.

                Get it? I'm not arguing the topic. I'm saying that this article falls short of what is expected from journalists. Regardless of my or your personal opinions.

        I'm not sure it's the same thing in this case. Reporting on what GamerGate's POV would be "false equivalence" (wouldn't it?) but what's the harm in acknowledging that other people have also recieved "hates, threats and doxxings"? Especially if those people aren't just some random internet scum, but actual game developers?

        In this case, there most likely are some GamerGate supporters who have been harassed, and it would have been unpleasant for them. So it isn't the case those reports are wrong.

        Rather, the issue is that these is a huge difference between having one or two people harassing you and an organised group of hundreds (thousands?) all doing so at once. They're both horrible things that should be stopped, but they are not the same.

    Man... Human beings are the worst.

      I've always disliked Sloths personally... creepy lookin things...

        How dare you insult the mighty and noble sloth. Have you googled baby sloth images recently?

          It's that smug lookin' look those assholes give... like 'Im gonna fuck you up first chance I get'...

        Pfft, have you seen the shit Dolphins get up to?

          What about Penguins? Or Otters? Two of the cutest animals and they do some properly fucked up shit on a regular basis :B

          Agree with you on that. My wife deliberately buys dolphin unfriendly tuna due to that. I tried pointing out that she's killing the victim dolphins too, doesn't wash

        Can you imagine how terrifying they'd be if you didn't mive really slowly?

    You know what I'd REALLY love to see done about GamerGate?
    Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I mean it.

    I'd like to see no reporting on it. No mention of it in gaming media. No mention of it by bloggers. No mention of it by the women who have been subjected to this disgusting behaviour.

    Let's be honest here. This is attention seeking, pure and simple. So let's STOP GIVING THEM WHAT THEY CRAVE.

    Ignore #GamerGate. Stop posting articles about it. Stop talking about it.

    Don't feed the trolls.

    On the subject of the other gender, I was in a 2 year TAFE course for 3D modelling in games.
    Of the 18? students in my class, only three of them were women, but those girls I tell you they were certainly in the top half of the class. Certainly blew me out of the water.

    The two that I kept in contact with, I believe they're currently both working with different Australian companies making mobile games.

    Don't let nobody tell you women don't belong in the industry. They're exactly the same as any man: filled with the potential to really make something good.

    Because Kotaku are never going to cover this:


    Just be respectful to one another.
    How hard can it be?

    Women want equality but then want special treatment because they have a vagina?


    Can't have it both way.

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