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New Game Plus

June 19, 2007

We’re growing in numbers

Filed under:Gaming Women, News, Online Communities — Lake Desire @ 8:55 pm

Check this out: a new feminist gamer group blog called Girl in the Machine. From their mission statement:

We are gamers, students, artists.

We are two girls and a gay guy.

We can remember the Days of the Arcade, tell you the original game on which Super Mario Bros. 2 was based (Doki Doki Panic!), and forcibly borrow all of your fingers and toes and those of your immediate family and your dog to help us count our respective game collections.

We are feminists.

Welcome to Girl in the Machine.

I’m so happy there are most folks blogging on gender and gaming. I remember back in the day when the only sites I knew about (that weren’t afraid of the f-word) were Shrub.com and the feminist_gamers LJ community.

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June 5, 2007

Cerise Magazine: The Making of a Gamer

Filed under:Gamer Culture, Gaming Women, Lake Desire Elsewhere, News — Lake Desire @ 6:47 am

The June issue of Cerise Magazine, The Making of a Gamer, was released today. Articles included a WisCon (Women in Science Fiction Convention) report, gamer stories, and reviews. My own contribution is an interview with Heather Michelle Rousse, lead artist at Yatec Games.

The submission deadline for the July issue is on June 20.

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May 1, 2007

Cerise Magazine Released Today

Filed under:Gamer Culture, Gaming Women, News, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 9:19 am

Happy May Day!

The first issue of Cerise Magazine was released today. The deadline for submissions for the June issue is May 15. Check the submissions page for details.

My own contribution: a review of Final Fantasy III on the DS.

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April 10, 2007

Cerise Magazine Submissions Reminder

Filed under:Gamer Culture, Gaming Women, Online Communities — Lake Desire @ 11:28 am

Cerise, the new magazine by and for gaming women, is still accepting submissions for our first issue. The deadline is April 15, 2007. What we’re looking for:

  • Reviews of games, systems and gaming supplements
  • In-depth critiques, essays and opinion pieces about gaming
  • Interviews with industry professionals
  • Modules and mini-adventures for tabletop games
  • Interior illustrations – women playing games, female RPG characters, etc. No fanart, please.
  • Short, one-page-or-smaller comics dealing in some (preferably humorous) way with gender and gaming

    A bit about Cerise’s philosophy:

    Although gender is the foremost focus of Cerise, we are dedicated to creating an inclusive space for individuals of all identities traditionally underrepresented in the mainstream, and for our allies who support our movement to increase our presence and representation in the game industry. We are a feminist publication and oppose all forms of oppression and the ways in which that oppression manifests itself in game communities in ways that hurt women, transgender individuals, queer-identified people, people of color, people with disabilities, and other marginalized individuals. We hope that our inclusive philosophy will propagate to help the game industry and culture at large become an environment welcoming to people of all identities.

    Visit our submissions guidelines and mission statement for more details. The theme for our first issue is Getting Women ‘Out There’ In Game Journalism.

  • Submissions by no means have to conform to the theme of each issue. Please consider submitting–this is a wonderful opportunity to get your name out there and be part of an exciting new project.

    end

    April 8, 2007

    Silencing of Women in Gamer Communities

    Filed under:Gamer Culture, Gaming Women, Gender, Sexism, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 10:00 am

    While blog commenters might feel deprived their freedom of speech when they are banned for calling us hateful names or being dismissive our writing, what bloggers like myself are trying to do, in banning them, is protect our own voices. The male “right”, rather privilege, to always have men’s voices heard deprives women of our own speech in both public and private discussions. Men use their power to be invalidating, bullying, and harassing, and this shuts women down. (I’m focusing on gender in this post, but people are silenced based on all sorts of identities: men who don’t fit into this macho paradigm, people of color, transgender individuals, people with disabilities, young and old people, poor folks, etc. We should be talking about that, too.)

    In an in depth and thoughtful post on her blog called Harassment, silencing, and gaming communities, tekanji shows how such silencing discourse is permitted and endorsed in online gaming communities. In response to her post, I’d like to make a few points about how gamer culture and the hate-speech within it silences women.

    • tekanji’s father could have asked her to stop blogging after a threatening letter from a banned Shrub commenter was sent to her house. Harassment and threats would have unfairly silenced her voice by shutting down her blog in exchange for personal safety.
    • Telling women we should just tough it up and take it blames us for not being “strong enough” to survive in male dominated spaces. It also expects us to work twice as hard at having a thick skin.

      If you’ve never been yelled at by a large man for speaking up, if you’ve never been called a bitch, let me tell you: it’s scary. Those words carry with them the institutional, cultural, and physical power that men have over women. There are times, even as a confident adult woman, I am successfully silenced because I don’t want to face that.

    • Whether threats come online or off, I have know way of knowing if it is just going to stop at words. There isn’t a clear boundary between online and off. Take tekanji’s example of the threatening letter sent to her house. In my own life, when I was in junior high, two former friends (gaming was a big part of our friendship) threatened violence, my family, my pets, and my friends online, and went as far as vandalizing the yards of my friends. Online, they called me a slut, prude, accused my mother of incest, and posted pictures of pornography on my website. This was beside my first and last name, which could draw dangerous attention from uninvolved parties. When these young men attacked my character, my parents advised that I didn’t say anything back lest it provoked this young men into further “retaliation.”
    • Popular game blogs like Kotaku and Destructoid are among the widest read and hold more weight than the voices of small-time bloggers who end up with trolls when their posts are linked. On this, tekanji writes:

      The editorial content on these sites are “official” which, especially when we’re talking about sites with a certain amount of popularity, gives them more weight than a personal blog or a comment in the post. What this means that, when women read these sites — and if you’re a woman interested in gaming you will come across them, most likely long before you find any woman-positive sites — you are shown time and time again that your perspective and your opinions are not only lesser than that of men’s apparently pressing need to drool over boobies, but that if you speak out against it (and even if you don’t) you set yourself up to be an object of ridicule — and who is going to be taken more seriously, the bloggers at these popular sites (many of whom have some sort of journalistic training behind them) or you and your personal site?

      In commenting on mainstream game blogs, women have to think twice as hard about what they say, when others can spit out stream of consciousness posts, to anticipate what won’t provoke the wrath of other commenters. We’re unfairly accountable for both our own actions and the actions of others.

    • Trolling silences women. About a year ago, a feminist game blogger, The Geeky Feminist, shut down her blog in part because of harassment a link from Kotaku brought to her website. tekanji writes,

      The loss of her voice was felt by the feminist gaming community, and because of the rampant trolling (which were the same kinds of comments that I highlighted in my previous section) encouraged by a post that mocked and misrepresented an issue raised by several people in the gaming blogsphere, Kotaku bears some responsibility for chasing away one of the unique voices in the gaming community. Exactly the kind of voice that Brian Crecente claimed he was having trouble finding.

    I want to be able to speak up in mainstream places without being ignored, having my character attacked, or called names. But I’m not willing to grow a thicker skin, to censor myself, to have to constantly, preemptively watch my back. I’m not asking for special treatment, just to be treated with respect owed to all human beings. Until the mainstream is ready for that, I’ll continue to blog from the margins where I can call some shots.

    Cross-posted on Feminist SF – The Blog!

    end

    March 25, 2007

    What Final Fantasy XI taught me about being a woman

    Hello Vana’diel, goodbye real life

    I don’t regret going through a MMORPG phase. It was a grand waste of my total playtime of 60 days of my life, but my life as Herbi the mithra shaped who I am today. I started playing Final Fantasy XI when I was 18. It was the spring or summer before I left for college, and my then-boyfriend got a copy of the game’s English beta version. We were both pretty obsessed with Square, so we were giddy to spend our summer in doors.

    I’d never played a MMORPG before, and I was frustrated with how long everything took and how set back I was if I decided I wanted to play a different race (I picked a hume female who looked like me–good thing I’m white or I would have been sorry out of luck) or even just change jobs. I hated being a warrior, but kept playing and didn’t want to throw out the time I put into her and start over. When beta ended and retail came out, I was excited to finally have my own account so I could play with my boyfriend. I created Herbi the mithra thief, and he was a little tarutaru named Tofutie. We joined the Midgardsormr server with our other friends from beta, many of whom I continued to play with until I finally quit for good at age 20.

    Sex kittens aren’t real live girls

    Mithras in FFXI are a race of cat women where males are apparently a rarity. It was a joke that mithras are always played by men, and we called them manthras. A guy cross-dressing for some risk-free thrill was fine, but it was like there wasn’t supposed to be a real, live female subject behind the sex object.

    People called me he sometimes, but not as often as I got called dude when I tried out World of Warcraft as a tauren and undead. (Can you imagine calling male characters “she” by default?) In our linkshells and parties, people often were surprised that I was the woman. Tofutie is one of those nice guys who goes above and beyond the rest by being a decent human being. He certainly was a lot more patient with other players than I was. He was a healer–a white mage and eventually red mage, and I switched was a paladin, the tanking class. I absolutely loved tanking, and miss it even now. “What! Tofutie is the dude?” our linkshell friends would say. “Girls don’t tank!”

    I liked surprising people. I wasn’t supposed to be an actual girl playing the sex kitten. I wasn’t supposed to be blunt and crude and sexy and after all that reveal that yes, I actually was a real live woman behind the computer. That was just weird. And yes, I did like attention, but who doesn’t like to be rewarded with /praise?

    Marriage is for heteros only

    We’d do some casual role-playing in FFXI, but Herbi and Tofutie couldn’t get married because they were both women. Even video games have institutionalized heterosexual privileges.

    Synth me a pie, bitch!

    A friend and I tried to start a linkshell called FemmeFatale for girl gamers. I macro’d an advertisement and dropped it regularly by the auction house. I got mixed praise and criticism. Guys begged to join (some pretended to be women). We did let male-identified people in, which was kind of problematic because it was like a little club of “alright” guys who thought they were super special for not being misogynists or something. (I actually learned the word misogynist from another mithra thief, Nekomasa, that I admired.)

    One time, a guy told me that there wasn’t a need for a linkshell for women, and that I should shut up and synth him a pie. I blacklisted him, but I was upset.

    The linkshell fell apart when the leader’s in-game boyfriend said he was going to move to live near her. He was 19, she was 13. I found out her phone number and got another player to call her parents and tell them. I still think we did the right thing: no way the power dynamics in that relationship were equal

    Endgame

    FFXI put me in situations where people used my gender against me. I used it to stay in a romantic relationship longer than I should have been, although Tofutie was a nice shield from being preyed oncourted by the creeps. And I never did reach endgame, I got too screwed over by other players. But I’d go back. I miss being Herbi and being an honestly good tank and I even miss a lot of the friends I played with. I’d go back and play again if I hadn’t quit to fill my time with studying and novel writing and bike riding and making new friends.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I stopped being so reclusive, stopped dating, stopped being so unfriendly, stopped being so uninterested in school when I quit FFXI.

    That’s it for my pithy conclusion.

    end

    March 23, 2007

    The IRIS Network: Cerise Magazine Networking Women Gamers

    Filed under:Gaming Women, News — Lake Desire @ 2:06 pm

    Check this out: The IRIS Network, a community for women and other under-represented gamers (console, computer, and tabletop) to network. Our main publication is Cerise, an online magazine on women and gaming. Cool, eh? Spread the word, register on the forums, and submit stuff to the magazine.

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    March 18, 2007

    Neat! Feminst Gamers Group Blog

    Filed under:Gaming Women, News — Lake Desire @ 2:26 pm

    There’s a new group blog called Feminist Gamers. I’m sure bloggers Mighty Ponygirl and Moira have been around the blog scene and I’ve just never bumped into them before, but it’s nice to see some new folks writing about games and gender in the same space. Woohoo!

    end

    March 14, 2007

    Yes, women gamers blog!

    Filed under:Gaming Women, Privilege, Sexism — Lake Desire @ 9:17 pm

    Kotaku accused women gamers of not blogging. 100LittleDolls listed 51 blogs by women gamers.

    tekanji originally directed my attention to the irresponsible Kotaku post, On Women and Gaming. According to Kotaku, there aren’t any women game bloggers, and that’s our own fault for not blogging. Crecente wrote:

    While I think that strong woman writers who cover gaming are not proportional to the number of women playing games, the bigger issue it seems is that there aren’t a whole lot of immediately recognizable female writers on the net. I think the ones out there now need to be more vocal perhaps, or maybe I’m just not reading the right sites.

    He’s right that women’s voices are under represented on mainstream game blogs. As far as I know, there are zero women blogging at Kotaku, and only three out of 20-something at Destructoid. Instead of examining his own site for alienating women (just read the comments to see examples in action), Crecente blames women for not being writers or vocal enough. (Seriously? Since when do nonfeminist guys think being a vocal + woman != bitch?)

    I promise it’s not like we’re hard to find. And I for one just don’t want to step out onto sites like Kotaku where I’ll be called an uppity bitch because I don’t suck joystick.

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    March 2, 2007

    Meme: Game Covers that Sold Me

    Filed under:Gaming Women, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 12:47 pm

    tekanji tagged me in a lovely superfun meme.

    Some of the covers I’ve included aren’t necessarly games I’d buy now, as a critical adult, but they did get me interested in these games when I was younger. I’m including them because they sold the game to a teenage girl.

    (more…)

    end