An incisive oral history that brings together the voices of major figures in gaming, tech, media, and politics to reflect on the long shadow of Gamergate

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Product Code: 9410
ISBN: 9780807017739
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 224
Published Date: 08/13/2024
Availability: Not currently available.
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Price: $27.95

With The Hivemind Swarmed, oral historian and documentary researcher David Wolinsky invites readers to sit in on a series of urgent, intimate conversations between some of the most distinguished voices across entertainment and media as they reflect on the longstanding impact of Gamergate. What went wrong, and what can we learn from Gamergate to help us build a more equitable online world?

The backstory: 10 years ago, a disgruntled software developer named Eron Gjoni posted online to accuse his ex-girlfriend, game developer Zoë Quinn, of sleeping with game critics in exchange for positive reviews. He offered no evidence to back up his claims. However, his posts were picked up by extremists in the gaming community who built a vicious online movement targeting women, minorities, and progressive voices. Rallying under the hashtag #gamergate, they sent their victims round-the-clock death and rape threats. Game companies, for the most part, declined to take action as their female employees were harassed out of their jobs. The FBI launched an investigation but found “no true threat.”

Gamergate holds the grim distinction of being the first modern online harassment campaign. It arguably served as a model for the alt-right movement that would help propel Donald Trump to the White House. And it highlighted a toxic media culture—not just in gaming, but in film, TV, journalism, and more—in which leaders, through their passivity, took the side of the oppressor. Now, ten years later—in the wake of #MeToo, Charlottesville, the Trump years, and the January 6 insurrection—the questions discussed here are more important than ever.

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“Out of the transient and ephemeral effluvia of the internet comes something ivied, revelatory, permanent. Bravo.” —Ken Burns, filmmaker

“David Wolinsky has compiled a raw, vital, illuminating, and frequently upsetting oral history of how a medium that excels at escapist fun has transformed into something so woefully unfun.” —Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives and coauthor of The Disaster Artist

“Presents a panoply of voices from leading thinkers discussing how video games and internet culture promote hate and misogyny. It’s impossible to read Wolinsky’s fascinating interviews without becoming aware of how tech is promoting our worst selves and tearing our societies apart. The book is a much needed, wide-ranging conversation that puts to rest once and for all any claims that the Internet is ‘just a tool.’” —Nancy Jo Sales, author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

“The American sociopolitical landscape isn’t like a videogame. It is a videogame. David Wolinsky’s accessible oral history of how we came to live inside the Gamergate phenomenon is perhaps the truest rendering yet of our digital society and what we might do about it.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human

The Hivemind Swarmed is a cubist study of a car crash, where the conflicting stories of Gamergate’s victims, bystanders, and accomplices build atop each other—or collide and annihilate. What we’re left with is the most complete portrait yet painted of the movement that birthed the modern internet.” —Lily Alexandre, writer and filmmaker

“David Wolinsky doesn’t just contend with where the internet has been and where it’s going; he wades into the hell-swamps of Gamergate to do it, guided by sharp analysis from dozens of lively and thoughtful experts. . . . Remarkably timely . . . An essential document.” —Stephen Thompson, cohost of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour

“Brings together a who’s who of game designers, journalists, industry insiders, academics, and players to constitute a modern-day Greek chorus for a sprawling, complexly layered, always engaging conversation about contemporary games culture. Essential reading.” —Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

“David Wolinsky assembles a conversation that situates Gamergate within a nuanced, complex societal framework temporally spanning the dawn of personal computing to the present. . . . His volume is incredibly powerful, and a holistic and much-needed perspective on the impact of internet culture on all facets of our society.” —Jacob McMurray, Museum of Pop Culture, director of Curatorial, Collections, and Exhibits

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