This review is not meant to be a replacement for the original story, which can be found here. However, I do not recommend actually reading the story because it is terrible.
So. In between school assignments right now. Let’s take a look at ‘Through the Gamergate’ by Sean Williams.
I don’t think I’ve ever been witness to such blatant demonization in my entire life, and definitely not of an entire gaming culture. Granted, this is a fictional story, so I don’t expect a works cited page that links to well-documented and researched data on the subject. However, this story is also meant to be allegorical and thus should have some basis in reality.
Let’s look at the story itself.
The first major problem is how impersonal this entire affair is. No one is mentioned by name, not even our protagonist. There is no dialogue, nor do any of the ‘characters’ (and I use the word very loosely) behave in a distinct manner. We have no physical descriptions, either. The result is that there are no clear characters, just a bunch of one-note caricatures without distinction from one another. So there’s no one to get invested in. Anyone with any experience writing will tell you that if you don’t have any clear or distinct characters, your story is basically dead in the water. A plot will only get you so far.
Speaking of the plot, it would be dire enough on its own to warrant some attention, except it isn’t built or presented in any cohesive manner we can latch onto. We’re told at the end that the people who are getting tortured will help to build discontent, but we see no sign that anyone in the camp actually cares before this point. It’s a cliche to say ‘show don’t tell’, but that’s only because it’s such good advice. You end up telling us the entire moral at the end without building anything up previously, and so the ending message comes across as forced.
Now, I can’t pinpoint the exact reason for this, but it’s a big enough problem that I feel you need to hear it anyway: the actual language used to convey the story is subpar. It doesn’t… flow. Reading this felt like a bumpy road. I wish I could convey the exact problem better, but hopefully you’ll find it on your own.
And then there’s the allegory. It fails. It utterly, completely fails. No one is going to be convinced by this.
Presenting your opposition as literally insane was probably your biggest mistake. (Padded cells? REALLY?!) Making this opposition into the most disgusting, hateful people imaginable didn’t help your case, nor did presenting these ‘Agents of Change’ as revolutionaries who are happy to see flowers grow at their feet.
Yeah, this institution sounds horrible, but it has no basis in anything real. It’s blatantly obvious that you intentionally presented your opponents in the worst light possible, so your intended message falls apart almost immediately.
Don’t even get me started on how often “white male” was mentioned as if it mattered. Urgh.
On top of all of that, the enemy you’re calling for people to fight doesn’t exist. #GamerGate is here because SJWs attacked gaming culture and the gamer identity, and because games journalism is corrupt to its core. There was never anything preventing them from entering the games industry. There STILL isn’t, aside from their own insistence that gamer culture is a cesspit and their open hostility.
So… yeah, all in all, this was pretty terrible. Better luck next time, Sean.