Leigh Alexander is Editor At Large for Gamasutra and the site's former News Director. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety, Slate, Paste, Kill Screen, GamePro, Vice, Kotaku and numerous other publications. She also writes regularly about gaming and internet culture on her personal blog.
- 1 Notable Works
- 2 Overall Themes and Criticism
- 3 Other Industry Work
- 4 Allegations of Abusive Speech and Harassment
- 5 Conflicts of Interest
- 6 Babycastles Nepotism and Surrounding Controversy
- 7 Alleged stock manipulation
- 8 References
Alexander is arguably most famous for her article that was published on August 28, 2014 at Gamastura, titled 'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over. The article itself is a scathing attack on what she perceives to be the "Gamer Identity", which described it as made up of "obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers" as well as a somewhat in-congruent argument to the industry to stop developing products for "Gamers".
On that same day, eight different articles either directly citing Alexander's work, or referencing similar themes appeared on eight other gaming journalism websites. Members of the gaming community have called this event the Gamers are Dead media blitz and have hypothesized that these articles were orchestrated either directly, or indirectly, through the GameJournoPros mailing list, which Alexander has been historically connected to.
In addition to being a regular contributor to several gaming websites, Alexander has also authored two e-books. These two books are Breathing Machine, which she describes as "a 66-page digital book exploring a childhood alongside primitive computers and the mysteries of the early internet" and Clipping Through, which is "a personal digital book exploring life and work in the games industry through the lens of the Game Developers’ Conference and interpersonal relationships. Self-published for pay-what-you-want, as an experiment in creating sustainable revenue for myself and others."
Overall Themes and Criticism
Much of Alexander's work focuses on critical analysis of the video game industry and gaming culture, in particular aspects related to issues such as as social good, feminism and increased diversity in tech spaces. However she also has a history of defending the industry and/or specific publishers, with the most notable example being her defense of Grand Theft Auto IV from criticism by feminist blog Feministing as well as her response to Forbe's Contributor Erik Kain's criticism of BioWare's Mass Effect 3, in which she writes in response to Kain:
Kinda gross; first, there was this piece about how the writer’s inexperienced outsider status somehow made him more qualified to tell BioWare fans they deserved a new ending for Mass Effect than we industry-bought jaded game journo types; actually, there were multiple different blog-style stories from multiple authors that seemed pretty transparently geared to exploit the environment of fan ire toward BioWare and toward game reviewers
— Leigh Alexander
Kain responded with this criticism:
Alexander’s commentary surprised me at the time, as she seems like a journalist much more inclined to critical analysis of the industry, and one who isn’t uncomfortable writing pieces like, well, her piece in Edge
So what, precisely, should journalists do to “grow up?”
If being critical of BioWare, the gaming press, and the “artistic integrity” arguments made at the time is reason to simply dismiss Forbes altogether – Alexander wrote at the time that Forbes had likely “hired new writers that they don’t have to pay very much, and relying on the guaranteed forum and Reddit hits that come from telling superfans of “geek culture” what they want to hear” – (and this is from a journalist who is actively asking the press to be more critical) then I’m just not at all sure what the gaming press ought to do.
— Erik Kain, Do Gaming Journalists Need To Grow Up?
Overall, Alexander has established a reputation for repeated criticism of the "industry" in broad, general terms and of gaming culture in general, particularly the more consumerist aspects of it, while often aggressively defending specific studios or publishers from charges of misogyny, racism, or cultural insensitivity.
Other Industry Work
Alexander regularly does public appearances and gives keynote speeches at gaming related events, such as at XOXO Festival. From her own blog:
She regularly presents at the Game Developers Conference, and has delivered keynotes at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Women in New Media Day, Nine Worlds Geekfest, Copenhagen’s Spilbar, GameCity in Nottingham, Different Games, Games For Change, Rensselaer Polytechnic’s Gamefest, and more things that probably have “Game” in the name.
— About, leighalexander.net
Allegations of Abusive Speech and Harassment
Alexander has a history of making questionable or offensive comments on social media, particularly Twitter. A rather infamous series of tweets shows her attacking the game Twisted Metal, as well as several other disparaging tweets attacking the sex lives of developers, sparked off a long feud between her and David Jaffe.
She has also been accused of making thinly veiled racist tweets against African-Americans as well as conflating the identities African-Americans. This is especially notable because Leigh Alexander is mixed-race herself.
In June, 2013, Alexander went on a vitriolic Twitter rant against prominent Penny Arcade cartoonist Mike Krahulik for allegedly "trans-phobic" behavior. Krahulik subsequently apologized and donated $20,000 to the LGBT charity The Trevor Project. Despite the apology and donation, Krahulik was still widely criticized by the wider feminist blogging community and his intentions and sincerity were cast into doubt.
In February, 2015, Leigh Alexander commented on both TotalBiscuit and the recent developers that have commented on #GamerGate, such as Mark Kern. During these comments, Leigh called TotalBiscuit "total chode" and then further went on to sarcastically claim "life is hard for him" despite being well aware of his ongoing battle with cancer, even going so far as to favorite the tweet of someone who called it "most easily treated form of cancer".  You can see an image compilation of TotalBiscuits replies here. On the developers, she stated "most of the devs who have been pompously 'neutral' or in favor of GG are over a certain age and work in outmoded design forms" On Ken Levine, she stated "i wonder if ken levine is ever kept awake at night, haunted by how many poorly-read objectivist gamers he unwittingly created" though later stated that it "was a joke" and "not meant as an insult" towards Ken Levine. 
Conflicts of Interest
Ms. Alexander has written numerous pieces in various publications profiling or promoting the games and creative endeavors of Anna Anthropy without disclosing their personal friendship. Most egregiously, several of these pieces are advertorial in nature and include direct purchase links to the titles that are profiled.
(see main article: Anna Anthropy#Conflicts of Interest)
Alexander has covered Robin Arnott's SoundSelf when it was an IGF finalist in February 2014 without disclosing any sort of a relationship to Arnott. This was done despite the fact that Alexander and Arnot had twitter conversations as far back July 2011, some of which were quite friendly. By October 2012 Arnott was close enough to Alexander to have recieved a piggyback ride from her. Arnott and Alexander also went out for drinks with Zoe Quinn on March 16, 2014, less than one month after Alexander covered SoundSelf.
In an article from May 3, 2013, Alexander wrote an article about Sissyfight, a game made by Naomi Clark, Ranjit Bhatnagar and Eric Zimmerman. In another article from November 3, 2014, Alexander praised Clark and Consentacles, a card game Clark had developed. Not disclosed in either of those article was the friendship between Alexander and Clark. The two have have started communicating through twitter since February 2012 and became Facebook friends a month afterwards. Their twitter conversations appear to be quite friendly, and they have also made plans to meet with each other in person on April 2012 and March 2014.
Gone Home is a video game made by the Fullbright Company, a small game developer consisting of Steve Gaynor, Karla Zimonja, Johnnemann Nordhagen, and Kate Craig. Johnnemann would leave Fullbright on 2014 to start his own company. On August 15, 2013, Leigh Alexander wrote an article to Gamasutra praising the game. On September 11, 2013, Alexander wrote another article praising Gone Home, this time in The Atlantic. Neither article included disclosure of Alexnader's friendship with several people who had prominent roles in the making of the game:
- Sarah Elmaleh - Sarah Elmaleh is a voice actress who voiced Katie, Gone Home's playable character. Leigh Alexander and Sarah Elmaleh have been conversing through twitter since October 2010, and have also became Facebook friends on that month. In between that time and Alexander's coverage of Gone Home, Alexander and Elmaleh have hung out with each other several times.
- Steve Gaynor - Alexander and Steve Gaynor have been communicating via twitter since October 2008, and have been Facebook friends since May 2009. A look at some of the twitter conversations Alexander and Gaynor had prior to 2013 show them to be quite friendly.
- Karla Zimonja - Zimonja and Alaxander had been having twitter conversations since January 2013. In a conversation from April 2013, Zimonja praised Alexander, who in return expressed hope to hang out with Zimonja in the future and explicitly called her a friend of hers.
- Kate Craig - Craig and Alexander had been having friendly twitter conversations since March 2013. In a conversation from April 2013 Alexander expressed hope to hang out with Craig in the future and explicitly called her a friend of hers.
- Johnnemann Nordhagen - Nordhagen had been having friendly twitter conversations with Alexander since May 2010.
- Chris Remo - Remo has composed Gone Home's original score. He has also been friends with Leigh Alexander on Facebook since August 2008. Remo was Gamasutra's editor-at-large between April 2008 to August 2010, while Alexander has been employed at Gamasutra as editor-at-large from August 2008 to the time of this writing (17 January 2015), meaning that Remo was a former co-worker of Alexander by the time the latter wrote about Gone Home.
On January 17, 2014, Alexander wrote an article on Gamasutra about Redshirt, a game developed by Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris. Not disclosed in the article was Alexander's friendship with Khandaker. The two have been communicating through twitter since 2009, the same year in which they also became Facebook friends. Twitter conversations from March 2013 show Alexander and Khandaker to be very close, and likewise Alexander referred to Khandaker as "my friend" in a blog post from post April 14, 2014, little less than three months after Alexander published her article on Redshirt.
On September 4, 2012, Alexander wrote a promotional profile of indie developer Christine Love's games, "Digital: A Love Story" and "Analogue: A Hate Story" for a reoccurring column in Vice. Upon investigation by the fan community, several Tweets were recovered that demonstrate that Love and Alexander have a personal, non-professional relationship. Alexander did not disclose this conflict of interest in her piece.
On March 20, 2014, Zoe Quinn was quoted by Leigh Alexander in a Gamasutra article about LGBT characters in video games. No disclosure was made in the article regarding any personal relationship between Alexander and Quinn, despite the fact that just five days prior to the article being published Quinn and Alexander made plans to drink with each other.
Babycastles Nepotism and Surrounding Controversy
On September 17, 2012. Leigh Alexander wrote an article for gaming and development website Gamasutra entitled, "Why indie games make meaningful sports". This article was primarily advertorial content and a promotional profile for Ramiro Corbetta and affiliated NYC art and gaming collective/venue Babycastles. Within the article Corbetta's game "Hokra" (part of the Sportsfriends collection) is promoted with direct links to a purchasing portal.
(see main article: Babycastles Nepotism)
Alleged stock manipulation
In 2006, Leigh Alexander wrote a favourable article about Carl Icahn's investement in Take-Two. Icahn began buying Take-Two shares in 2006, and is also one of the biggest holders in UBM stocks, the company that owns Gamasutra. In 2013, she wrote a satirical review of GTA V, and published a very crititical opinion piece later that year. Leigh Alexander created controversy by criticising GTA V, which may have lead to an increased consumer interest and sales, and in turn, a possibility for Carl Icahn to sell his stocks at a higher price
last modified on 28 February 2015, at 05:57.</li>