March 29, 2006

Gender Inclusive Game Reviews: Your Feedback Please!

Filed under:Feminism, Gaming Women, Gender, News, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 11:27 am

Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful proposes a gender inclusive game review site that reviews video games from a feminist perspective. Kat from The Geeky Feminist will be the head editor and they’d like your feed back over on SVtB’s blog. This is a great chance to get involved in the early stages of development! I’m super excited for the project, I’ve been hoping for a site like this but didn’t have the web skills to start one, and will be participating.


March 28, 2006

Kingdom Hearts 2

Filed under:Kingdom Hearts Series, News, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 10:48 am

kingdom hearts 2 cover art

Kingdom Hearts 2 is released in my country today. I didn’t even realize it was out this week until my mom called yesterday and told me about the GameStop employee who told her how worried he was that soda and chips would get on the carpet during their release party on Wednesday. Nerds amuse us (perhaps because we are both slightly more closeted with our nerdiness) so we had a good laugh. Anyway, I’m sure oblivious to even the new releases I’m most excited about for a blogger who writes on video games. I guess that’s what I get for reading mostly theory or political game sites.

The original Kingdom Hearts was one of my favorite games. I was seventeen or eighteen and loved Disney (for its theme parks, not as much its films). As a obedient Square fangirl, KH was a dream come true. Now, I look forward to reviewing the sequel. In the years since the first game, I’ve not only developed a more critical eye, but I’ve also come and gone as a Disney employee. I worked at Walt Disney World over the spring and summer of 2005, renting strollers and lockers at the Magic Kingdom theme park as a cheap college “intern”. Never had I been so submerged in such a noticeable reinforcement of gender norms, tokenism, and class division, nor felt so used for my body. We’ll see how my loathing of Disney influences my impression of KH2. I’ll keep you all updated.


March 26, 2006

Ariel’s Link-o-Rama #2

Filed under:Feminism, News, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 5:42 pm

Some of my favorite game-related blog posts from the past few days:

Killing the Patriarchy with Zoo Tycoon at Den of the Biting Beaver: Because I love seeing video games used as the patriarchy smashing hammer.

Now with less women at The Geeky Feminist: Kat wonders why the already low bar set in Morrowind has dropped in the new game Oblivion.

Ninty-Nine Sexists at Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful: I just discovered this blog through a comment on TGF, and loved the most recent post. Sredni Vashtar analyzses a disturbing offhand comment made by a game developer. I love his closing paragraph:

Any man talking about making games more appealing to women must recognise that the only people who can do that are women themselves. All we can do is use our male privilege to open the doors for them, and be prepared to give up that privilege.

Yay! An ally who gets it.

Guys, sometime’s It’s Just Not About You at Guilded Lilies: GL reminds male gamers it isn’t all about them without ever using the F-word:

[W]hen I am writing about what it means for women playing computer games, I don’t want to have to turn around and make it about men. Men OWN the computer game industry at the moment, and if they are oppressing themselves, I don’t see that as something I need to address – especially since there are so many things I have to say about issues affecting women playing computer games.

Also from Guilded Lilies: This Virtual Space For Rent. GL considers the implications of in-game advertising for women.


Abortion: The Game

Filed under:Videogames — Lake Desire @ 4:01 pm

GamePolitics reports on a video game examining abortion currently in development. The game supposedly examines both sides of the issue (as if there are only two sides), but I’m not sure how much objectivity exists when discussing abortion. Besides, the development company is called Persuasive Games. And I reckon they’ll be persuading in my direction with an emphasis on choice.

From GP:

The current build features mini-games in which the player guides a teen mother through pregnancy, explores a city in which all forms of birth control are outlawed, and rummages through the house in search of a condom.

That actually sounds like a cool premise: a dystopic, not-too-distant future warning us what may happen if we continue to give up our freedoms. I look forward to following this game’s development.

I’m happy that the GamePolitics readers are giving the smackdown to the antichoicers so I don’t have to. I’m glad we have such huge support on at least one feminist and human rights cause in the game community.


March 24, 2006

We Exist! Women & MMORPGs Survey

Filed under:Gaming Women, Gender, Massively Multiplayer Online Games, News, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 8:28 am

Nick Yee of the Daedalus Project is looking for Women Players of MMORGs to survey. You can take it here.

I find it amusing the first question is the respondent’s gender. Is this to make sure the respondents really identify as women? Then again, I asked it as well on my much more casual women and gamers survey, but I wanted to include people who identify something other than the female/male binary. I prefer write in responses for gender when a survey asks since, for example, the experiences of a techy woman-born-woman may be rather different than a male-to-female transsexual, a woman who could face entirely different challenges as a “minority” into geeky stuff.

The Daedulus questions call for narrative answers, and bring up many of the issues we discuss: MMORPGs catering to male audiences, the need for women’s games, and what it’s like identifying as a gamer. I’d love to hear what you all have to say if you’d oblige me with a copy and paste to this post’s comments. I’ve shared mine below.



March 23, 2006

Ultimate Utopia and Language

Filed under:Gaming Women — Lake Desire @ 7:38 pm

Tekanji analyzes the fan-made, live action RPG parody Ultimate Utopia on her blog. She asked that we watch the video before reading her comments, so I obeyed. My initial impressions:

(If you want to watch the video, go here. I write assuming the reader has seen it.)

Like tekanji, I also Ultimate Utopia a fun satire of the ridiculous RPGs we inhale. Walking into populated houses and taking stuff! The random spells and summons that make you go WTF! All seemed even sillier in live action than they do in polygons. It reminded me of when I wrote fanfic in high school and used to try and incorporate/explain/fanwank quirky battle elements into the plot.

In Ultimate Utopia. The woman is the healer, casts the weakest spells, and crumples over in a heap. Her wand does an impressive 12 damage. She’s blown away by a GOOD spell, which must seek out the shining goodness we’re constantly reminded of in Mary Sue characters. I think this is a parody of some of the pathetic female playable characters we get in console RPGs.

The gamer-talk Ultimate Utopia was emasculating (”cocksucker” suggests the character is femininely submissive), which I don’t think was used ironically. I hear a lot of that language used so casually and second hand when I play Super Smash Brothers with male schoolmates. “You got boned” is their current favorite, since they’re likening beating someone to being physically penetrated. This is the descendant of “raped” (which I thankfully seldom hear anymore) bothers me because it is so subtle I doubt they even think about what it means.

When the opportunity presents itself, I want to ask my friends why they use such language. I hope that will be more effective in prompting analysis than the snap or witty remark I make when I see people talk that way online.


Where I’ve Been

Filed under:Massively Multiplayer Online Games, Videogames, World of Warcraft — Lake Desire @ 11:07 am

my dwarf oat at level 11

I have a confession to make. I’ve been playing World of Warcraft with friends to pass the time on my spring break. I’m Oat, a level 11 dwarf hunter on Feathermoon, and Imdira, a level tauren 14 druid on Silver Hand. I like to RP, if anyone would like to join me. I’m a bit of a noob and would enjoy the company.


March 21, 2006

Call for Submissions: Games and Culture

Filed under:Ludology, News, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 12:38 pm

To break the silence, here’s the call for submissions for Games and Culture. The first issue of the journal, which came out in January 2006, can be viewed through a free trial membership. The next issue is due out in April. The journal discusses:

Games and Culture’s scope will include the socio-cultural, political, and economic dimensions of gaming from a wide variety of perspectives, including textual analysis, political economy, cultural studies, ethnography, critical race studies, gender studies, media studies, public policy, international relations, and communication studies. Other possible arenas include:

* Issues of gaming culture related to race, class, gender, and sexuality

* Issues of game development

* Textual and cultural analysis of games as artifacts

* Issues of political economy and public policy in both US and international arenas

Right up our ally, eh?

Via Virgule on LJ.


March 16, 2006

The Extroverted Gamer

Filed under:Videogames — Lake Desire @ 10:01 am

This post is my response to Corvus’s March Round Table prompt:

Whether you’re sailing between islands in Windwaker, traversing the radiated landscape of Fallout, building one of the eight wonders of the world in a Tale in the Desert, designing fashions in Second Life, or grinding mobs in your MMOG of choice, there’s probably an area in the game that attracts you more than another, an area where you feel more comfortable, at ease, or even… at home. What makes you feel at home in a game? Is it a matter of ‘real’ estate or mental space and in a digital environment, how much overlap is there between the two? If no such space has existed for you, what would it take to make you feel at home in a game? Is such a thing even possible? If it’s possible, is it desirable?



March 15, 2006

Resident Evil 4: Come here girl!

Filed under:Resident Evil Series, Reviews, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 5:48 pm

Mutant Bonding

As Meghann mentioned in yesterday’s post, we’re playing Resident Evil 4 together on GameCube. We have a sweet partnership going on. Meghann is the coach. She spots things before I do, and pushes me to keep going when I get frustrated or stuck. In turn, she experiences the game from a more comfortable position. I’m a filter between the stress induced by of hordes of mutant peasants.