Charlie Brooker on the innate misogyny of GamerGate:
“You know those games where you get to choose your character class at the start, weighing up the pros and cons of picking a Warrior over an Archmage, or what have you? Never, ever choose ‘woman’ on your first playthrough of The Internet, because you’ll face an immediate difficulty spike. Suddenly it’s a stealth game with nowhere to hide, one with hundreds of respawning enemies waiting to attack you the moment you make a noise or stand out in any way whatsoever. The enemy AI is sophisticated and unpredictable; it studies your weaknesses and moves to exploit them. Instead of shitting fireballs at you, your foes bombard you with unrelenting abuse. Reach the higher difficulty stages without dying (by your own hand) and this could graduate to blood-curdling death threats.
Sadly, there’s no easy way for male players to experience the hardcore ‘female’ difficulty setting to the full – perhaps if The Internet was available in the form of an old-school text adventure, in which you play a woman on an epic quest to just go about her business, it’d be fun to try it out for a while.
I can picture it now. Black screen, white text. DOS style.
‘You are a woman,’ it reads. ‘You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.’
There’s a prompt, blinking. You take your first step into this brave new world by typing OPEN MAILBOX, and hitting return.
DIE U FUCKN WHORE, replies the game.”