Normally I agree with PZ Myers, but on the issue of “gaming culture” – I can’t really comfortably side with him all the way. The issue at heart is this: Is “gaming culture” dominated by sexist douches?
I don’t actually think we can say for sure. I am not entirely sure “gaming culture” even exists.
It used to exist back when games were a niche interest – but since the mainstreaming of games to the point of being in 72% of American homes, I do not think we can talk about “gaming culture” as being a thing.
Instead there are several gaming cultures – and often individual games have their own culture going which doesn’t entirely overlap with others. A lot of people play Farm Town, because they don’t like the culture of Farmville.
Just what the community is like can be a deciding factor as to which FPS you play – the differences in actual gameplay aren’t exactly marked a lot of the time.
So to say there is a dominant segment – I do not think that is actually fair to gamers.
The other problem is who PZ picks on as his dominant segment – essentially the trolls everyone ignores in the hopes that they get bored and go away. It is like saying the kid who didn’t get picked because he is a jerk dominates the culture of the playground soccer team.
There is a troll problem online in general, and the light moderation often prevalent in gaming means that trolls can end up seeming to be a bigger chunk of the population than they really are. Internet etiquette dictates “Don’t feed the trolls” so often the trolls end up as the only ones talking.
This isn’t a problem with gaming though; this is a problem with a lack of moderation. You see the same sorts of things happening anywhere where moderation doesn’t work for one reason or another.
But the trolls are often not the ones who dictate what people who play games actually like. If they did Prince of Persia: Warrior Within would be remembered as awesome rather than awful.
Racist and sexist trolls are a serious issue in gaming and it doesn’t help that marketing often caters to that sort of thinking. For example “hottest girls’ of gaming” lists don’t exactly help keep the sexist bullshit down.
But I think it assigns more influence to the trolls than they really have to say they dominate gaming culture. Are they loud? Yes. Ubiquitous? You won’t get me saying otherwise, but dominant? Not really.