July 29, 2006

Guide to Getting Your Guy to Game

Filed under:Gender, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 4:55 pm

I recently discovered The Girl Gamer blog and through them a lovely article on Getting a Guy to Game Guide. It’s been online a while (since 2005) but is entirely relevant in this day of age. For instance:

ever give up. It may seem like you’ve tried to convince at least 100 guys to get into videogames. And it may seem like they’ve all rejected the idea, claiming that they’re all too busy with work, school, and other commitments. But I implore you, just keep trying. You’re trying for something great. You’re trying for history. You have a purpose. Never giver up and never lose sight of that. Because otherwise we’d just be a bunch of hot chicks throwing slumber parties and having pillow fights while wearing skimpy nighties and playing videogames all night long. And who wants that?

No one.

I’m rather fond of their method of deciding if you’re ready go to be a parent with your gamer guy: see how you both treat Baby Mario in Yoshi’s Island.

And, slightly off topic, this last quote totally reminds me of my childhood:

And do not let him play Oregon Trail and name a character after you, unless you want to see yourself slowly disintegrate from pleurisy and gangrene.

Oregon Trail was totally my method of revenge in elementary school.


July 27, 2006

Official Call for Submissions: 3rd Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

Filed under:Science Fiction, Site News — Lake Desire @ 8:50 pm

I’m hosting the next issue of The Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans, which will be released one week from today on August 3, 2006.

The issue’s theme–or writing prompt–is the present through origins. This could be a reflection on how your feminism and geekiness came to intersect, a post that traces the the evolution of women in a particular genre, a revisitation of the old school canons, a look at fresh and new things that are starting a revolution of their own, a memoir of finding that first great book or game or comic that really clicked for you, or whatever you can imagine.

Of course, the usual guidelines are fair game. They are (written by Ragnell):

  • All Weblog Postings on Science Fiction and Fantasy works in all media (books, comic books, television, film, roleplaying tabletop games and video games) written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
  • Fan fiction written from a Feminist Perspective is eligible.
  • Posts about fan fiction written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
  • Posts about conventions and fan gatherings of a Feminist nature are eligible.
  • Posts about conventions and fan gatherings written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
  • Posts about any science fiction or fantasy fandom written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
  • Posts linking to newsand announcements are eligible, so long as they pertain specifically to the Feminist Sci-Fi Fantasy community.
  • Considerations about science fiction/fantasy news from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
  • Analysis of non-Feminist works from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
  • Rants about any of the above written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
  • Posts which spell “Space” using 3 A’s and two exclamation points and are written from a Feminist Perspective are eligible.
  • Posts about Green-Skinned Amazons (from Outer Spaaace!) with more than two breasts that are not written from a Feminist Perspective will not be eligible (and if they aren’t damned funny,* will be reproduced for mockery).
  • Posts about Getting Your Girlfriend into [specific type of fandom] had also better be damned funny. If written from a Feminist Perspective (even tongue-in-cheek), they will be eligible.

    *Sexist and/or homophobic does not equal damned funny, nor does it constitute anything approaching a Feminist Perspective.

  • Anything goes, really.

    Submission deadlines are August 1, 2006 (although I’ll still consider late submissions if I have time). Please E-mail them to lakedesire@gmail.com or use the web submission form.


    July 26, 2006


    Filed under:Gender, Sexism — Lake Desire @ 1:12 pm

    I get a kick out of geek paraphernalia, but it isn’t something that I sport myself. In fact, I sometimes try to hide my nerdiness. I keep my video game remixes to my MP3 player and usually read on the bus instead of playing Gameboy. I’m happy to talk to strangers about cycling or veganism or feminism when I see a sign of the common interest, but I generally won’t jump into a conversation about video games in public.

    I was recently at a neighbor’s party, and a guy I met asked me why I wasn’t drinking. “Don’t be a pus,” he said. I was caught off guard, so I replied very calmly, “I went on a 50-mile bike-ride today, so I really just feel like having water.” In response, the guy said he used to ride his bike to work, but it moved and now was two miles away from his home so he just drove. “I really spend most of my time on computers, at work then gaming when I get home.” He went on to me vaguely about PC gaming, and I just smiled and nodded. “Oh, that’s interesting,” I said while my gaze wandered for my roommate so I could have an excuse to escape. I could have interrupted this guy and made a comment to indicate I knew what he was talking about, that I was part of the geek club. But I decided not to. This guy was a jerk and a creep, and I didn’t want to draw more attention to myself.

    In real life, I pass as a non-geek. I have legs covered in hair and scuffs and chain grease. I have waist-length curly hair. I wear clothes from Disney World, thrift-stores, and REI. I think my glasses are my only nerd-cue. So I pass as something else, someone out and proud about a lot of things, but not being a geek. I’ve let gamer become the private identity that I only share with those who get to know me and the rest of the world who happens upon my blog.

    What would I have gained by giving a piece of myself to that guy at the party? What would I have gained from looking cool to someone who’d use my genitalia as an insult to bully me into drinking?

    That guy reminds me of the type 100LittleDolls recently encountered. In her post Masculinity, Nerds, and Me she writes:

    I’ve been thinking and thinking about the whole situation and managed to come up with this: the guys I was around were taking part in a form of alternative masculinity. They’ve suffered the consequences of not being traditionally masculine: they’re not rich, they don’t have tight bodies or physical prowess. A way for them to prove their masculinity is through wins and game scores, and extensive comic book knowledge. Another way is verbal; by using sexist and homophobic slurs, masculinity can be proved by effeminizing their peers.

    100LittleDolls articulated this very well. If this is what we face as minorities in geek circles, no wonder I’m not quick to come out.


    July 24, 2006

    UBC Study on Race in Video Games

    Filed under:Race, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 4:57 pm

    A recent study at the University of British Columbia Finds Top-Selling Video Games Rife with Racist Asian Stereotypes. UBC grad Robert Parungao, who conducted the study, says:

    These images have gone unchallenged for the past 20 years or more. Parents, government and media watchdog groups have protested the widespread violence and sexism in video games, but the blatant racism has gone largely unnoticed.

    I think Parungao brings up a good point: even images the mainstream would acknowledge as racist are ignored in favor of critiquing violence and sexism in video games. All are valid criticisms of video games.

    I’m still trying to sort out racism in video games. I play games with roots in Japan and the United States. I don’t know how race is constructed in Japan, but regardless of origins video games join the rest of the media that contributes to our perceptions of race. Something apparently harmless in Japan may carry entirely different connotations when translated for a North American audience.


    Dr. B on the PSP Adverts

    Filed under:Race, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 3:56 pm

    I hadn’t commented on the racist Sony PSP advertisements in Holland because, well, they left me speechless and depressed. I didn’t want to deal with the white gamer backlash who defend the ads by deciding they’re not racist or even argue they’re examples of reverse racism (American Racism Manifesto is a good, quick read if you’re unfamiliar with my view on race).

    Dr. B. brings up a good point that Sony pulls racist white/black ads (but keeps others). She links to two racist (and sexist) videos of PSP ads that run here in the United States that have not been pulled. Why is it easier for us as Americans to criticize racist media in countries other than our own?


    July 21, 2006

    She’s Such a Geek

    Filed under:Videogames — Lake Desire @ 9:18 pm

    Remember the call for submissions for She’s Such a Geek, the collection of essays written by women on their geekiness? The book itself will be out November 28, 2006, and you can pre-order copies now on Amazon. Hooray!


    July 19, 2006

    Women and Games Disconnect

    Filed under:Videogames — Lake Desire @ 1:56 pm

    I found an interesting article today: It’s not that women don’t understand video games, it’s that video games don’t understand women. Journalist Girard responds to the “males are objectified in games, too” comment we sometimes hear:

    While it’s true that both male and female characters display the common heroic traits of being young, strong, virile and fertile, Ray said, only the female characters display physical traits humans get when they’re ready for sex: partially open mouths with large red lips, heavy eyelids (or “bedroom eyes”).

    This good read is via Netwoman.


    July 18, 2006

    Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans: 2nd Edition

    Filed under:Videogames — Lake Desire @ 10:55 am

    The Second Edition of the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans is up at Pretty, Fizzy Paradise.

    I’ll be hosting the next edition here at NG+ on August 3, 2006. Submissions are due August 1, 2006. E-mail them to me at lakedesire@gmail.com or use the online submission form.


    July 14, 2006

    This Gamer is Unwired

    Filed under:Videogames — Lake Desire @ 10:11 am

    I’m so weird. I moved yesterday, and don’t have ther internet at my new house, or a TV. We’re getting a hand-me-down television in a few months, but in the mean time I’ll be spending a lot of time on my DS Lite and Smashing it up at my friend Giraffe Pat’s. Of my new roommates–both anti-racist white guys my own age–one is an ex-gamer and the other is a non-gamer. They seem curious about this gaming hobby of mine. This is going to be interesting.

    In other news, good reading at Guilded Lilies a: two part interview with game developer Tara Teich.


    July 8, 2006

    Voice Changing Software for “Lady Gamers”

    Filed under:Gaming Women, Gender, Massively Multiplayer Online Games, Sexism, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 8:30 am

    Harassed in game? Now, instead of reporting the harassment to moderators or challenging the ways the game environment and culture encourage it, you have a new way of blending in and participating: disguising your voice as that of a man’s.

    According to Eurogamer, there is a new software available that can change the pitch of your voice in online games like World of Warcraft with TeamSpeak so you can hide your gender.

    AV Voice Changer Software is somehow a unique product for female online game players who want to prove that playing online games is not a pastime for men only, and that their talent can make male partners goggle.

    This attitude suggests that the status of male gamers is desired, and women must do what they can–such as hiding their gender–to elevate themselves to be like the boys in their own club.