January 29, 2007

Warioware is Fun

Filed under:Reviews, Videogames, Wii — Lake Desire @ 10:21 pm

Warioware: Smooth Moves came in the mail on Saturday (thanks Mom!) and I played through the one-player mode yesterday. Basically, I went around Diamond City and completed levels where I played through one really brief minigame after another. Warioware is very clever with different ways to use the Wii Remote, and has me all giddy to see what’s next for the console.

warioware mario

I love the cell-shading graphics. I’m sure a sucker for cute games! My favorite part was the retro-games level, where I blinked through familiar minigame after minigame: Mario, Brain Age, Star Fox, Wind Waker.

My roommate David and I were disappointed in two-player mode. We couldn’t figure out how to set it to play with two remotes so we didn’t have to pass our greasy remote back and forth (we were eating grilled peanut butter and banana chocolate chip sandwiches), nor did we figure out how to incorporate the nunchuck.

I need to play this game more before I write up a proper review. I’m very happy with one-player mode, but I’m waiting to see how my friends do with it because a good group game is what I was really hoping for with the Wii.


As far as the story–I loved the dancing kittens, but come on, script writers, be a little more creative! Show the kids who are playing (and grownups!) that girls are cheerleaders and witches and boys are more than samurai and football players and disco stars.


January 28, 2007

“Who wants to be my newest accessory, ladies?”

Filed under:Gender, Sexism — Lake Desire @ 10:02 am

tekanji sent me the link to Geek Dating Help on the blog In One Ear…. Thom, the blog’s writer, posted a call for a girlfriend that his fictional friend Frank wrote. I was really disturbed before Thom revealed the list was a parody because like he says, “your local comic shop is chock full of guys just like Frank!” I even bought the fetishizing of Asians and underage women (I don’t know if Rachel Bilson was underage back then, but her character Summer on The OC was when she dressed up as Wonder Woman).

Then there is the looks thing. Totally not important, maybe something like Jessica Alba (circa Dark Angel) or maybe Scarlet Johannson. Or that girl from the OC…Rachel something or other. She looked hot dressed as Wonder Woman. I am totally open to all races, especially hot Asian girls. She should take care of herself some, you know, go to the gym and stuff, but not force me to tag along.

Isn’t it sad that it’s so believable a guy would ask for a woman who gamed but wasn’t better at it than him, a woman who was smart, but not smarter than him, who worked out to look good for him, but didn’t expect the same from him?

Thom’s post was inspired by Ami Angelwing’s I’m tired of hearing that I don’t exist!. Her points are awesome. For example:

I also rly dislike that most gamer/geek/whatever girls are dismissed cuz they’re not supermodels. Like, I guess I’m lucky cuz I’m considered attractive? (And there’s that whole Asian thing, but that’s a rant for another day) But it’s so annoying when guys keep complaining to me about the lack of gamer girls and how rare I am. HELLO!!! I know LOTS. LOTS!!! And it’s funny that guys who spend most of their time behind a computer and not at a gym, want gamer girls to look like they spend most of their time at a gym and not at the computer. >:|

Geeky women are invisible to the general crowd of heterosexual geek men–either because we don’t fit the standard that is required to register on mens’ radars (hot, like the right games and comics and movies, sexually attracted to men), or we aren’t out about our hobbies. The majority of my friends are women and enjoy playing video games or working in Photoshop or watching Firefly, we just don’t count. Either we don’t fit that standard of attractive and polite and unconditionally doting, or we don’t advertise what we’re into. And honestly, if we’re going to be treated like a guy’s sexmeat, why would we want to be that way? Sure, if we get it right, we’ll get praised, but is that enough for self esteem?


January 26, 2007

Fitting In: Keep Your Mouth Shut

Filed under:Online Communities — Lake Desire @ 11:51 pm

In A Girl Gamer Diary, Sapphire discusses some of the sexism she encounters frequently as a gaming woman.

The worst thing I’ve ever been told by someone was that I shouldn’t talk in my microphone if I don’t want that kind of attention, and that it’s just being brought upon myself. I’ve never felt so insulted, because it was like telling me that I’m not aloud to be myself. When I play my video games, I’m not thinking about the fact that I’m the only girl playing on the server. I’m thinking about the objectives, my score, and winning. So I’m going to use my microphone to tell my team mates where I’ve seen the enemies, or where the bomb has fallen, strategies and such. I encourage my team, and cheer when we win. How is that looking for attention? It’s just part of the game.

This is an example of women being expected to hide a part of herself that isn’t the norm in gamer culture, something so crucial to her identity: her gender. The examples of harassment in her post–being called fat, accused of being a young boy, requests to see her breasts (i.e. demands of sexual access)–are punishments women receive from male gamers for stepping outside of the norm for being women and being open about it. And the people issuing the punishment blame women, like it’s our fault for refusing to behave the ways they demand of us.

In a game where TeamSpeak is crucial to utilizing the game, hiding your gender is a very tangible setback–and another way women have to work harder to prove they’re as good at gaming as men.

I don’t agree with Sapphire’s point that every woman who is “out” about her gender (isn’t that silly we have to come out?) has experienced harassment, but I think this article is pretty on-point with describing one way gender dynamics play out in gamer culture.

Faith also responds to Sapphire’s post on The Girl Gamer, and points out that a lot of the sexist lines come from behind a computer screen where it’s harder to get your ass kicked. I agree: the internet doesn’t require the tact real life requires to hide wankery. The hateful things people say to attack Faith really piss me off–people seem like they go after her gender like it’s a weakness or something.

Faith writes:

So whether they are bagging on their team for losing and calling them a bunch of fags or bagging on you and telling you that girl gamers suck, its just how they play. Don’t take what they say personally, because they are just saying the first obvious thing they can bag on you about like sexuality or gender.

I disagree here–I don’t think that this has to be the accepted standard for how people act in online games. Rather than develop a thicker skin (which I’m not especially blessed with), I’d rather hold men to a higher standard–I expect more out of them as decent human beings.


All I Remember about Aki is Her Bikini

Filed under:Gender, Science Fiction, Sexism — Lake Desire @ 6:45 pm

I mentioned the other day I watched Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, for the first time since the film was in the theaters.

Square ain’t exactly progressive in its race and gender roles, but it was still disturbing to see Hollywood slapped all over Final Fantasy’s more or less deep themes. And with it came all that bullshit of a mainstream, capitalist narrative. Like sexism. And racism.

Aki is a doctor. She has her own spaceship. She saves the planet. So she’s supposed to be the filmmakers’ perfect woman (remember when she was in Maxim?), but having her PhD and knowing how to pilot a ship into space are pretty cool, even if its men deciding what makes a woman perfect. Like there is such a thing.

What did I remember about Aki after all these years? That she is a Mary Sue. (It sucks Mary Sues are almost all we get as female leads, but also sucks because that label, in a way, invalidates them as legitimate characters.) I remember the detail of her hair, her pores, her bikini picture. That in the film her boyfriend dies to save her. Stuff that we always hear about women: their looks, their scandals, their romances. Not their mental or physical accomplishments, but their abilities to look good and be somebody’s girlfriend.


January 25, 2007

Objectivity and Gamer Kinship

Filed under:Personal, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 9:47 pm

We’re discussing Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within tomorrow in my posthuman anime class tomorrow, and I’m dreading it. For some reason, the thought of talking about Final Fantasy in the classroom makes me cringe.

Which is weird because I love thinking about video games academically whether it’s looking at the cyborg implications of the physical act of gaming, or doing “literary” style criticism of game narratives.

I think something irks me about the passion, the way any one individuals reading of the game is right. Yeah, I think students should study what they’re passionate about, but what kind of subjectivity to we take when we discuss something so crucial to our identities as the games that carried us through teenage angst? I’m the last one to try to be objective or even believe such a thing is possible, but I think gamers (myself included) could try to look a little harder at how our passion interprets our reading of video games.

I used to really feel a kinship with other solitary gamers, other folks whose eyes would lite up if I hummed One Winged Angel or called someone a spoony bard, but it seems kind of corny now. These days, I’m warry of people I meet who are foremost gamers, especially if they are men, who have treated me like my enthusiasm in discussing our shared hobby gives them access to my time and my body.

Tonight, I was out with a group of friends and a group of guys with slicked hair and matching long white coats (one of whom several of us knew for being a creepy) sat down near us. “Mind if we sit near you ladies?” they asked. We all looked at each other. I blurted to the guys, “What, are you cosplaying the Turks?” I was kind of glad nobody got it–lately I’m just not feeling much of a connection with people because they played the same RPGs as me. What’s meaningful to me is spending my actual play time with people I care about–and the group of friends I was out with tonight (only one of whom, Meghann who posts here, identifies as a gamer) are spending the night next weekend, and we’re all pumped to play DDR and Wii.


January 20, 2007

Killer Betties: Call for Bloggers

Filed under:Gaming Women, News — Lake Desire @ 10:58 pm

Killer Betties is looking for more bloggers. See!


***Must be female.

***Must be interested in video games.

***Must be able to write so that others can understand what you are saying.

I like how open Killer Betties is to new bloggers. It’s kind of intimidating starting up your own site (at least it was for me), so they’re giving quieter and more shy folks a chance to talk games. Also I imagine there’s built-in support from your fellow bloggers if your post gets linked on Kotaku or something. (Ouch!)


January 18, 2007

Lake Desire Elsewhere: Wii Review

Filed under:Lake Desire Elsewhere, Reviews, Wii — Lake Desire @ 10:31 am

My Wii review was published in this week’s issue of AS Review, the weekly paper I work for. Does this make me a game journalist?

Console gaming has gone beyond pushing buttons with your fingers for decades. Remember Duckhunt and Nintendo Track and Field? Some accessories have been more successful than others. Virtual Boy and SNES Super Scope are remembered with nostalgia for their lack of popularity. On the other hand, new titles are released regularly for Dance Dance Revolution, which you can play at home with dance pads, since the late 90s, and I hear that Guitar Hero is pretty hot these days.

But before Wii, games that needed more than pushing buttons were either gimmicks or fun accessories for niche games.

The Wii is unique because as a console it incorporates full bodymotion into play. It’s the system’s entire concept. The Wii normalizes using your body to play video games, and gives game developers a big venue to get creative. Future consoles will only have more immersive features. Wii is really promising for a person like me who can’t wait to really feel like she’s swinging a sword.

One of the things I love about video games is their capacity for indulging me in what I can’t do in real life, and Wii makes my indulgence even more engaging.

The format is kind of weird (hey, we’re low budget college students), but you can read the whole thing here.


January 17, 2007

Warioware Smooth Moves: Worth Getting?

Filed under:Videogames — Lake Desire @ 2:14 pm

Has anyone had a chance to play Warioware: Smooth Moves? I’m thinking about getting it because I’m looking for some more fun multiplayer games. I’m trying to hold off buying a game just to have something new (I could always get some used GameCube games and controllers since I missed that console), so I’d love to hear some opinions.

(I’m not big on renting things–I got in the habit of getting stuff free from the library or my friend that works at the local indie video store which doesn’t rent video games.)

What I’d like:

  • Fun multiplayer games
  • Fun for nongamers
  • Something that will be fun in a couple of years (maybe I’m not expecting another Smash or Mario Kart, but if we’ll be bored with this game in a few weeks I’ll wait and get it used)

    I don’t care about:

  • Graphics (I like corny looking games)
  • Single-player mode (I’m more of a social gamer–I haven’t even been playing Twilight Princess lately unless my roommate David is there to cheer me on)
  • end

    Wii Bowling from Altitude

    Filed under:Personal, Wii — Lake Desire @ 8:56 am

    My roommates and I threw a party on Saturday, and I moved the Wii to my bedroom so we wouldn’t have a conflicting dance party and tennis match with new blackeyes. One of our friends invited some of her circus buddies, and they wandered into my bedroom like this. We passed Jules, the guy on the top, a remote, and I grabbed my camera.

    some acrobalance folks play the wii

    Can I safely say this is the world’s first successful second-story Wii Bowling?


    January 5, 2007

    What you may not know about Lake Desire

    Filed under:Personal — Lake Desire @ 1:34 pm

    Brinstar tagged me with a meme: five things you probably didn’t know about me. Here goes!

    I love powerlines.

    Yeah, powerlines. They always pop up in my creative writing, probably because I spent a lot of time exploring the powerlines by my house, back when I was in junior high and high school. The powerlines ran along Lake Desire (where I take my name), over abandoned coal mines, and beside a former Nike military base. The powerlines were the setting of many of my teenage adventures, including my on-going post-apocalypse fantasy.

    I rode my bike in a parade.

    This past summer, I went on my first bike trip. I bungeed my backpack onto the rack of my 1990 red Giant road-bike (which my friend Zeke found dumpster diving and passed along to me) and, with friends, made a big circle from Bellingham to the San Juan Islands to Vancouver Island and back south to Bellingham. On our last day, when we were riding through Canada, we happened upon a parade. It was awesome.

    There is an alter in my bedroom, and Sonic the Hedgehog is in the center.

    I live in a church (well, it’s a duplex now) and the original alter is in my room. (Yeah, people got married and layed out their coffins where I sleep. Cute!) My Sonic plushie, that I got in 3rd grade, is in the center.

    I’m not an animal lover.

    Often folks assume I really like animals because I’m a vegan. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t hurt an animal–and eating them hurts them–and I certainly like some individual animals I know, I just am not super into animals and have little desire to have pets. I don’t really like having fur on my clothes or dogs jump up on my lap or cats stick their butts in my face.

    Actually, there’s an exception. Birds. I love them. Chickens, ducks, and parrots. Especially chickens. I hit it off with them normal people do with dogs or cats.

    I still sleep with Bunnie.

    I got my favorite plushie, a mouse named Bunnie, when I was an infant. I still sleep with her.

    I tag: 100LittleDolls, tekanji, Mia, Becky, and Faith.