I told her a story of a person I’d known several years ago, a male friend who had pushed back against me in 2010 when I wrote my very first piece about gender in games: a skewering of the Gears of War universe. That piece earned me hundreds of comments all over the internet calling me “retarded” and an “idiot,” plus theories that I had never played Gears at all, let alone any other game—but, worse still, it earned me similar vitriol from guys who I had thought were my friends. I had to stop talking to this one guy in particular after that. Recently, he approached me via email to apologize for his actions, to tell me that he had changed his mind about Gears and all the rest, that he was following my work, and even watching Anita Sarkeesian’s online videos.
People can change. Some take longer than others. More often, they never bother to come back around and apologize at all, but they do still feel badly about their past mistakes. I doubt any of Anita Sarkeesian’s detractors will get back to her three years later and say they realized she had some good points. But they might still think it, deep down.
I had to admit to the rest of the table listening to that story, though, that I hadn’t forgiven the guy. He had apologized, he had reformed, and he had totally turned around, like, for real—yet, still, I had no interest in talking to him about his transformation beyond a polite “oh, okay, cool.” He keeps messaging me. And I keep running cold.
People may well change, but the problem is, you can’t always forgive them. As I waited for my bus home from the restaurant that night, I thought about that guy for a while. And I just couldn’t get myself to care. I wanted him to disappear, or at least, to stop contacting me.
I’m not sure that the videogame industry can “apologize” anymore, either. I think the only solution might be to shut it all down and start over. To found our own conferences, to make our own tools and our own companies, and to create our own discussion spaces. The videogame culture we have now? It has too much baggage. I’m just not sure I can forgive it, anymore.
Maddy Myers writes the biweekly Hyper Mode column for Paste Magazine. Her work has also appeared in the Boston Phoenix, Kill Screen and at the Border House. She also blogs at her personal website Metroidpolitan and tweets @samusclone.
Raising a pair of awesome #gamers. Just like their dad 🎮💛 #epicbonding #gamersholiday #minecraft #oldtoshiba #macbookpro #asus #samsung (at The Village At Lake Lily)
Family gaming night.
Cyber-psychologist Berni Goode talking about Flow on Charlie Brooker’s How Videogames Changed the World.
Flow is extremely important. So, so important.
It’s what keeps some people sane. It’s what drives the world’s most skilled and accomplished athletes, the most intense gamers, the hardcore hobbyists, even many of the most talented artists, musicians and actors - flow is what you get when unstoppable drive meets an unflinching will and unlimited dedication.
Flow is being utterly, truly “in the zone”. And it’s one of the most amazing feelings there is.
This is why finding a sport, or a hobby, or a martial art, or a handicraft, or a new video game, or any skill-based activity that uses focus and requires practice and repetition is so beneficial for things like depression and anxiety and overall mental/physical well-being.
Helps counteract mild anxiety and depression. Wow!