The Gamergate controversy is a great example of convergence and remix culture, both in how the two sides interact internally, and in the different forms of media they use to fire at one another.
Although both sides engage in various types of media, new and old, outspoken opponent of Gamergate and feminist activist Anita Sarkeesian took to Youtube in her web series “Tropes vs Women in Video Games” to join the conversation. Even though this is an example of an arguably older medium, it is an interesting reflection of convergence, because she is using one type of media to analyze and talk about another type of media – video games. This is the epitome of Henry Jenkins’ definition of convergence culture in which he explains that “[w]e are entering an era where will media will be everywhere, and we will use all kinds in relation to one another” (Jenkins).
This particular web series, and anything Anita Sarkeesian says for that matter, fans the flames of the Gamergate movement, and they respond in kind; except for pro-gaters don’t hesitate to use all the tools remix culture has to offer. Memes are of particular interest when sorting through their arsenal.
Though creating memes through the use of graphic art reflects convergence (especially when shared on social media), it is especially interesting when social media users reference popular television shows and movies as methods to further assert their argument. This is interesting because it applies a multi-layered, culturally embedded medium to convey one’s thoughts. Further, it requires an audience that is as culturally literate in the issue at hand plus the elements being referenced in a new form of communication.
Whether or not you agree with their rhetoric, this colorfully illustrates the age of convergence and remix that we live in – old media stacked on new media referencing other old and new media stacked on top of more mixed media.
Youtube is ripe with remixes. Since the Gamergaters are quite the media literate bunch, remixing proves to be one of their favorite ways to get back at what they perceive to be corrupt journalists, game developers and social justice warriors. This ‘fail’ compilation (a popular video remix archetype) made by gaming youtuber “Mr. Repzion” of one of Anita Sarkeesian’s videos displays the back and forth in all of its…fidelity.
I don’t see a lot of remix videos coming from the anti-gamergate camp, mainly from the gaters themselves. Here is another example of a video remix, made by youtuber “Harmful Opinions” in which the user blatantly remixes an interview from Zöe Quinn, rearranging her words so that she reiterates the Gamergater point of view; namely that the movement is all about ethics in video game journalism and touting the importance of that logic, instead of talking about all of the abuse she has gone through since Gamergate’s inception.
In some Gamergate forums, like this one, members of the movement are equating the SJWs that they so disdain, along with third wave feminism and by extension the anti-gamergate movement itself with Hillary Clinton and her supporters.
Of course, this must have its own remix video, because it’s not a valid point if it doesn’t, right?
The media used by the Gamergaters, it seems, is much more nuanced and varied than the other side of the debate. The anti-Gamergaters come from the ranks of the older, more established media. Such as the Washington Post, New York Times, and The New Yorker.
In fact, this is what a lot of the debate centers around (for the Gaters), that everyone in the entrenched, older media world seems to be against the Gamergate movement, and in their eyes, this signals corruption and collusion. Those in the older media primarily rely on using these more established media formats such as newspaper articles, magazine articles (both digital and print) and videos. It would seem that they leave most of the remixing and convergence to the gamers. Though, it is important to point out that social media has still been universally adopted by all parties. In this tweet from Anita Sarkeesian (Feminist Frequency), she references a video that apparently was a seminal remix video in the Gamergate movement that helped fan the initial flames of this entire controversy.