Following the gaming community and all of it’s personalities on social media can be a pretty exhausting endeavor. I follow a lot of folks online because I’m genuinely interested in the people who work in and around the industry, but the near constant stream of negativity and unpleasantness that you run into can be overwhelming at times, even to me. I sometimes feel the temptation to shut it all out by blocking, muting, or unfollowing certain people to avoid the constant bickering. And while I think that it’s absolutely necessary to take care of your own mental well being (which sometimes involves shutting those things out) I also believe that ignoring those unpleasant aspects of the community can be harmful as well, whether it’s intentional or not.
I think it’s incredibly important to call out people in our community who are actively doing it harm. People like Dr. Disrespect, Colin Moriarty, or PewDiePie who thrive off of controversy and spread ignorance, racism, sexism, and homophobia to their fans. To remain silent is to passively endorse their behavior and to turn your back on those who are hurt by their actions. But I think there is an equally (if not more) important thing that we can all do, and that is to lend your support to, and help to elevate the voices of those in the gaming community who are going out of their way to help others and spread positivity and inclusiveness.
I honestly do believe that there are many more good people out there than bad. The problem is that if you take a look at the numbers, many times the people who are spreading hate and negativity are immensely popular, while the folks trying to do positive, meaningful work have a small fraction of the followers. So I think we all need to do a better job of shining a light on those good people, in the hopes that their messages might break through the wall of anger and cruelty, inspiring more people to act out of kindness, compassion, and love. We’ll take a small step today my sharing with you some of the people that inspire us. People who are out there every day doing amazing work that deserves more recognition. Hopefully listening to them will have the same effect on you as they have had on us.
Steve Spohn (@stevenspohn)
As the Chief Operations Officer and Community Outreach Director for Able Gamers, Steve has dedicated himself to speaking out and educating both players and developers on the importance of accessibility in gaming. He has been a champion of players with disabilities and is a prime example of somebody who does not and will not let life’s challenges dictate who they are or what they can do. He is a constant source of positivity and an advocate for living your life to it’s fullest.
Kahlief Adams (@Kahjahkins)
As the host of the podcast Spawn On Me, Kahlief celebrates and casts a spotlight on people of color in the video game industry. The show recently celebrated it’s 300th episode and shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to the show, Kahlief and his co-hosts (Cicero Holmes & Shareef Jackson) have used their platform to raise money for charity, donating thousands of dollars to organizations such as One Simple Wish, The New York Lawyer’s Guild, and the National Network of Abortion Funds.
Kallie Plagge (@inkydojikko)
Being a games journalist these days can sometimes mean having a target on your back, being a female games journalist brings an even bigger set of challenges. As the Reviews Editor for GameSpot, Kallie has not only faced those challenges (and her harassers) head on, but she’s also told unique stories that probably wouldn’t have been published in years past, including an article on bra sizes in response to a recent Final Fantasy 7 “controversy”. She’s one of the most talented young games journalists around.
Amanda Farough (@AmandaFarough)
Amanda is the ultimate multi-tasker. She’s the editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz AND SuperParent AND the mother of 4 children! How she juggles all of these things I’ll never know, but she somehow manages to be an expert on the business of video games and keep a large family running smoothly. All of this while still keeping a positive attitude and outlook on life.
Luke Lohr (@MLSReserves)
Luke is a super talented up and comer in the world of indie games coverage. He’s the co-host of a popular podcast (The Xbox Drive) as well as a frequent streamer, building a community around his ever growing Mixer channel (where he’s known as InsipidGhost). The best part about Luke though is that he’s genuinely one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, with an infectiously positive attitude and love for gaming and his friends.
Jared Petty (@pettycommajared)
I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Jared Petty in person, but if I ever do, he seems like the kind of person that I would just want to run up to and give a giant hug. The former IGN and Kinda Funny host has been covering the games industry for years with his unmistakably cheerful personality. When so much of the gaming discourse out there can be angry and negative, Jared brings happiness and joy. He’s such a warm ray of sunshine that you’d be smart to apply sunscreen before reading any of his tweets.
These are only a few of the people that we believe deserve to have their voices heard by more people and receive more recognition. Men and women who are out there being positive influences on the gaming community. We hope that you follow and listen to them and share with us the people that inspire you. We can’t stop calling out the bad behavior that we see, but we also need to be better about highlighting the good. If we call attention to the people that lift us up as much as those that bring us down, maybe we can start to turn the tide of the conversation.