Despite being the principal consumers in a global market worth $83.6billion as of 2014, the value of which is expected to increase to $113billion by 2020, gamers are relatively powerless when it comes to shaping policy or politics. People know about us but the Chancellor is highly unlikely to consider PSN customers in his next budget and it would surprise me if the guys at Valve had a direct line to the Federal Reserve.

Since we don’t have much in terms of political capital we are easy targets for whatever reactionaries may be about at the time, which makes it extremely important for us to know who our allies and enemies are. Peculiarly, neither our comrades nor our nemeses are currently who you might think they are – something has changed and I think I know what it is.

Traditionally, it was easy to draw an accurate picture of the anti-gaming folks. Normally they would be older, usually of the American conservative Christian right wing, but not exclusively; after all, who can forget the very British clenched teeth and sphincter of Mary Whitehouse? The prime example is the disbarred American ex-lawyer Jack Thompson who went up against Grand Theft Auto, Bully and Manhunt in his time. Australia’s own Michael Atkinson, who has the exact sense of humour and fun one would expect from the man who opposed an R18+ rating in a country famed for its use of “cunt” as a term of endearment is another example.

Essentially, we used to just assume that there is a traditionalist, oldie, “I’d rather have my tea in a china cup” type who opposes pretty much anything to do with games and that these people are our enemies.

However, times have changed and this is no longer the way things are.

The real threat to the creativity and innovation that are pretty much the exclusive pride of video games in today’s media comes from an entirely different flavour of reactionary. Where before the would-be censor would appear in tweed and tie now they are more likely to comprise of piercings, dyed armpit hair, an ill-fitting t-shirt and come armed with a well-worn copy of some obscure gender studies textbook. That is, of course, if they appear in public at all – you are far more likely to find him/her (how dare I be so controversial!) on Twitter, Tumblr or begging for money on a crowd funding website. We’re talking Anita Sarkeesian and her army of followers as well as her allies from the social justice warrior battalions.

Video games’ new assailants are armed with different ammunition than their predecessors. Where as before the ‘ban this sick filth’ brigade called for games to be censored based on a simple sense of moral outrage and used rather simple tactics, the strategy is much more subtle now. Games are described as ‘problematic’ or containing ‘tropes’ and other quasi-intellectual guff that attempts to effortlessly blend the intellectually null concept of ‘intersectional’ (the absurdly convenient notion that all forms of oppression overlap – a swift rebuffing of cultural Marxism will usually suffice to flush this crap if you have the 5 minutes required to do so) with genuine gaming criticism.

Gaming’s current haters are far more insidious than their predecessors. Ms Sarkeesian and her friends appear very reasonable, with their seemingly innocent calls for more inclusively and diversity at the expense of just a little bit of violence and titillation. Surely it is to be taken for granted that gaming is riddled with misogyny, anti-LGBT sentiment and other archaic social vices? Surely it is incumbent upon us to sacrifice the visceral violence, adult content and other themes in our beloved medium to make sure no one has their feelings hurt or is made to feel unwelcome in our world? And, if this can be done for the low, low price of a bit of censorship here and there then how could we refuse? Aren’t the poor women, gays, trans folks, ethnic minorities just to delicate, too fragile and haven’t they suffered enough at the hands of the kind of material running through modern video games and therefore it is incumbent upon us to change the way we do gaming? Aren’t we on the side of social justice and the heavy-breathing warriors who carry its standard?

Well, no… to most of that… especially the disrespect implied in treating women, gays and other groups as if they are made of porcelain! I’d suggest, in fact, that gaming’s new critics – when they aren’t being a bizarre Jack Thompson drag act – are mistaken. The characterisation of gamers and gaming culture as anti-women, anti-gay or anti-anyone (except censors, of course) is inaccurate and most of the research shows that gaming, especially violent video games, makes people more sociable, more tolerant and less likely to lash out in real life. I haven’t space here but I promise that isn’t the only example of facts running counter to the popular narrative.

Gamers are in the bizarre position of being treated as lesser by people that claim to be fighting for equality and fairness; we are the crystallised example of the social justice warrior paradox. It’s time that we acknowledge the peddlers of ‘problematic’ as what they are – the current iteration of censure and sinister cultural conformism that has thus far failed to beat gaming but has, in its current form, come up with the most ingenious tactics yet.

We have to beat this stuff, this feeling that gaming is inherently problematic and part of ‘the patriarchy’ (as wobbly a concept as there ever has been) with what always beats nonsense and narrative-driven politics: facts! But we will need the help of the gaming press and this is, I promise, the last negative note in this article. Since Gamergate, we have known how poorly the gaming press has behaved but its new direction is no better. It has, through its usual echo chamber, provided a megaphone for frauds, liars and bullshit artists. Our press did so well to defend us against Ms Whitehouse and Mr Thompson but now it submissively prostrates itself before the new censors – it’s just not good enough.

While it may seem that the situation is pretty bleak, I like to end my articles on a positive and, thankfully, there is cause for optimism in this current round of gamers vs. censors. We have accrued some excellent allies in our fight for creative freedom and the right to consume whatever forms of entertainment we want. We have Milo Yiannopoulos – the flamboyant, gay, SJW kryptonite in a blazer – who writes frequently for Breitbart defending games and gaming. We also have the wonderful Christina Hoff Sommers who is a walking antidote to Tumblr in spectacularly erudite human form and vloggers like Stephen Crowder backing us up. What is worth noting is that the new defenders of gaming – of which I am myself a very small part – are overwhelmingly right of centre conservatives with a wide libertarian streak running through their character. How times have changed!

That is the state of play as I see it. On one side of the battlefield stand the right-on, safe-space promoting asshats who pretend to be progressive while being the spiritual successors to the right-wing crackpots that went before them and on the other side are those of us who – be we gamers or not – who think that all media and forms of self-expression are worth defending and doing so vigorously. I know whose side I’m on and I encourage you to join us – we actually have fun after all. Besides, if it helps, we actually respect gamers.