What is it with Gamers & the Alt-Right?

Submitted by Garbo in AskRaddle

Seriously though, what is it with gamers and the alt-right? I don't really understand why it seems like most gamers sway to the right, and some even further than that.

Is there an explanation for any of this or a reason for it all? I feel like GamerGate had something to do with it or explains some of it, but truthfully I wasn't around online when such things were going down so my understanding of it is limited.


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Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

I'm not too clued up on games, but based on my experience here are some generalisations to contribute:


  • are generally less actively social afk - makes them less likely to have sustained meaningful engagement with marginalised groups. Similarly, if you're a marginalised person fighting hard to get through each day and pay the bills etc, you're less likely to game, so you're less likely to engage with people who game. That says something about the demographics on its own, but also this dynamic maintains this relationship because the gaming world becomes alienated to people who aren't 'gamers'.

  • game a lot. Instead of learning about other things, for example.


  • generally do not challenge your politics, they often provide a storyline that you inhabit as a character as a roleplay, even when it's not obviously the case. They're an escape from politics rather than an engagement. A favorite quote of mine is "Escapism is the great betrayer of escape".

  • Depictions of other belief systems only go as deep as developers know about them and want to portray them. Games also have to be comprehensible to gamers, so it often does not pay to do anything radically different and these games tend not to be made.

  • though they try to be realistic, games work 'logically' and and are trope-ridden and leave many who play with the impression that life is far less complex that it is. You're less likely to notice the ever-expanding complexity of everything when your very limited mental models of the world imply that you have all the information you need.


Random_Revolutionary wrote

"games are trop ridden and give a verry limited mental model " Yeah it's one of the things I noticed too, with games but also with mangas/anime. There is a huge presence of racialism in game (especially rpgs): racial traits, factions, ects.. Also in anime: most of the time there is some kind of blood lines, or genetic predisposition of the otherwise regular/boring mc to be the anime hero. It's no surprise that when applying these concepts to real life you end up believing in races and hierarchies between them..


zorblax wrote

Seems to me that commie gamers(basically all my friends) play more strategy games than say, FPSes or RPGs.


Random_Revolutionary wrote

I believe it's the lack of identity and community that brings those two groups together.

Non-gamer racists have other identites that they can identify with. for example the proud southerner, or the bourgeois pig, have defined identities and communities.

Non-racist-white-manchild gamers also have identities with wich they can define themselves. If they are in a marginalized group, they de-facto have identity, even if they don't want to.

Also the altreich is quite young in general, so playing games is kinda normal when you're a 14-20yo looking for yourself and have access to the internet.


[deleted] wrote


ButYtho wrote

I think actually it's the opposite. In mainstream internet spaces, there is a strong left bias.

This doesn't exist IRL, and also doesn't exist in games.


ziq wrote (edited )

if you define 'left' as 'liberal centrist' (so, far right), maybe.


Random_Revolutionary wrote

You only see leftist bias on the internet because you can curate the content and communities with wich you interact. I think it's called confirmation bias. That's also why it's so hard to bring back people from altright. They surround themselves with their peers and circlejerk an echo chamber and do not access even liberal mainstream news.


ziq wrote

The alt right are just insecure white nerds who want to feel special. Makes sense they'd have a lot of crossover with gamer culture.


Glenarchist wrote

Its weird considering so many popular games throughout gaming history involve shooting nazis...but , yeah, I went on a L4D2 co-op game once and that pretty much spelled the end of ever trying that on any game ever again.


culprit wrote (edited )

'Gamer Theory' by McKenzie Wark touches on this well before Alt-Right or GamerGate even existed.

You can read most of the chapters here: http://futureofthebook.org/gamertheory/index.html

The basic idea is that games (vidya and otherwise) are ways of transmitting ideology. Neo-liberal global capitalism has used the game metaphor to spread itself into the foundational principles of global culture. Think of phrasing related to 'hustle' and 'having game'. The competitive 'win at all costs' logic of many games/sports is very related to the fascistic tendencies of capitalism and what it has now become.

GamerGate is very useful to see how the idea of making games that are not simply antagonistic contests or power fantasies caused a large reactionary force to mobilize to protect the 'safe space' of popular gaming. This was brewing for some time within the gamer culture under the debates about 'games as art' and 'games with a purpose'.

It's quite an interesting topic because of the inter-meshing of online meme culture, anonymous, channers and gamer culture that has many direct links to the current alt-right factions. Media theory is also a useful tool when trying to trace these contours.


DissidentRage wrote

Gamer culture flourished in an era of unfettered white masculinity that routinely made fun of others and formed in a shadow that hadn't yet been pierced by the light of the outside world. Add the highly competitive nature of the multiplayer scene, and you end up with a subculture that not only was inherently built on white male privilege, but reinforced the idea of superiority through subjugation. The fact that it's also built on tech that has only become more accessible in the past decade has inflated the average gamer's ego. Anyone who perused gaming forums during the 90s/early 00s would be familiar with the level of snark and the types of in-jokes in the gaming community.

The trend toward the right is the natural progression of a subculture that was coincidentally built out of the same people who typically fell victim to reactionary politics, which had once lived in the shadows and now must reconcile its demons with the rest of society as the cost of increased visibility and publicity.