In all the awful roar GamerGate has created, it’s sometimes hard to remember that the angst at its core is actually a real and tangible thing. Many people do come to games because they feel the world “isn’t fair,” or that they have no talents relevant to it – and shows like Sword Art Online or Mahouka tap into this unhappiness, and to the desire for control it creates. Log Horizon is smarter than both of those shows, and so when Log Horizon addresses the fundamental sadness at the heart of “gamer pride,” it does it with both empathy and a larger scope of understanding. William Massachusetts knows what he is, though his view of the larger world is fractured and flawed. And William Massachusetts is proud.
I doubt we’ll get a more sympathetic and well-rounded defense of games as identity than this. “We may be maggots, losers who got beat… but I won’t let anyone, not even God, tell me it was a waste.” God damn, William, you know how to sell a speech. From “our passion makes this real” to “the game taught me to care for you,” his episode-long call to arms was about as stirring and frankly unexpected as any speech could be. After an entire season of watching the idea of “gamer” become fundamentally associated with one of the most noxious hate groups the internet’s yet assembled, William did his damnedest to bring it back to the fundamentals. You’re a muddled-up kid, William, but you’re alright.