Video game industry still doesn't understand women

Alison Carroll, the official Lara Croft model ...

Image via Wikipedia

I just read this article over on G4tv.com by Kevin Kelly titled “Sex in the City 2: Gaming with the Girls“. I think the article was aiming to be a list of games you can get your girlfriend, who is a Sex in the City fanatic (hence the title). The games listed in the article aren’t half bad, except for the “soulless” Imagine: Fashion Designer, and Kelly wrote the article in an attempt to be humorous but happened to fail miserably. I know I shouldn’t get offended at Kelly’s attempt at humor, but Kelly wrote in exactly the way the gaming industry views women, a view that is insanely offensive considering  we now make up more than 40% of the gaming population.

Any female I know that happens to like Sex in the City already plays video games. What video games do they play? At least some sort of web- based puzzle game when they are at work,  and another normal game on their Wii, Xbox, DS or PC. The rest of the women I know that like Sex in the City are 40 and above, and are already playing some Bejeweled-type game online, which is, surprise, also A PUZZLE GAME.

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Are female exclusive gaming clans anti-women?

Imagine Dream Weddings: girl-game comes with f...

All female gaming clans are the reason they make games like this one: Image by gruntzooki via Flickr

I have long puzzled over the validity of  “all female” gaming clans… and as more young ladies get involved in the competitive gaming industry, more and more all female gaming clans are popping up. The following is a rant of ideas that have been around since 2006.

I understand women feel the need to band together as the video game industry is male dominated and women can feel marginalized,  and granted, some male gamers are still shocked to find a girl gamer online, but that novelty is disappearing as more and more women play video games. There is no need to segregate competitive clans based on gender, and  exclusively female clans hurts the female gamer in the long run.  It is already hard enough to be a female gamer, from the cracks at my voice sounding like a 12 year old, to all the close-up porn sprays I am subjected to, that the idea of me asking for special attention because of the genitalia between my legs is just mind-blowing. I just want some R-E-S-P-E-C-T,  nothing more, nothing less.  I just want to be a person that plays games. I don’t want to be a novelty.

By having the female gamers separate from the males in competitive gaming clans, you are asking that the females in the gaming world be treated differently.  By asking that females be treated differently, you are perpetuating the myth that women in gaming is a novelty, and is something special.  By having an all female gaming clan, you identify yourself as the other, as the outsider, and how can you ever be fully integrated into the gaming community if you wish to remain in your gender-based group? It doesn’t happen.  All female gaming clans, while sounding good initially, just make it worse, especially when you never hear of them winning a single tournament (or maybe that is the gaming media’s fault?).

(Side note: why does it matter how good these ladies look, any way? Shouldn’t their skills matter more than their appearance? These gaming clans are marketing themselves to women, not men, so why all the revealing pictures? I’d rather join a clan where everyone was dressed like a classy lady, thank you very much.  Is this why females have yet to win any major titles? I don’t see competitive male gamers being judged on both their appearance and gaming skills, so why do women need to prove that they are hot AND a good gamer? Hot women who play video games are not a novelty any more, sorry.  If over 50% of us play games now, chances are, many of us are attractive.)

I can’t think of a clan that claims to be all male (it happens by default), so why are there all-female clans? It’s not like the competitive gaming community has different categories for male and female gamers, right? Competitive gaming is not the Olympics in the physical sense, so we ladies don’t need separate teams…the sooner we are integrated the sooner we will gain respect in the community.  If women ever want to be treated like normal human beings in the gaming community, they have to start acting like it.  Female gamers need to get into the habit of viewing themselves as plain ol’ ordinary gamers, not OMG “girl gamers” in need of their own special “girl gamer” clan.

If I see one more profile with the words “I’m a hot girl gamer, deal with it!” or another attention whore-y profile (I get it, you’re insecure!) next time I log on I think I will riot. Somewhere. On the internet.   Or maybe I just don’t understand, because I am no longer a teenager and I don’t play with teenagers…..


11 reasons why you should download Portal today

The box art for the PC version of Portal.

Image via Wikipedia

Hey all you PC gamers! Today is the last day to download Portal for free! Portal’s freeness is the MAIN reason you should download the game today, but if “free” isn’t enough to entice you, I’ve comprised my own list for why Portal rocks, in no particular order.

10. It is the most unconventional puzzle game you will ever play (well, until the rumored Portal 2).

9. How many puzzle games have you played where inertia was a key feature in solving puzzles? None! Because Portal is one of the most original games you will ever play.

8. The two main  characters in the game are female; both you and the robot who guides you.

7. The writing is insanely witty… from the dialogue to the story line. How can a puzzle game have such good writing? Play it, and find out.

6. The game is about portals!!!…. you make portals, you walk through them, you end up in a different location.  It is mind blowing.

5. Want to know where the origin of “The cake is a lie” meme came from? Portal! What other game is good enough to have a meme?

4. This ending song: [youtubevid id="Y6ljFaKRTrI"]

3. The game only takes you a couple hours to beat, but replay value (radio transmission achievement) is high.

2. The controls are easy to figure out, even if you are not used to the first person perspective in video games.

1. Portal has won numerous awards (ahem, 70!) and received more praise than my beloved Team Fortress 2.


Surprise! Size matters in a porno video game

ESRB "Adults Only 18+" rating symbol...

Image via Wikipedia

I would first like to clarify that I did not play the entire game, just the demo (I am not about to pay for a porn video game, thank you very much). I would also like to mention that I have never played a porn video game, or an “action adventure porno game” before in my life.  We live in a world where a good chunk of our population plays video games, or watches porn, so it is only a matter of time before someone combined the two: hence,  Bonetown.

Even though the game came out in 2008, I found the cartoony ‘Bonetown’ the other day when this article was on the front page of digg. Other outlets have written about how “morally depraved”  Bonetown is, or how offensive the game is on a variety of different levels, so I am not going to go there in this post. Writes Jessica Wakeman over on The Frisky:

“Bonetown” touts itself as “the world’s first action adventure porno video game,” but it’s more like thoughts from the internet’s most ignorant trolls set to animation. You know, the trolls who think racism and sexism have been “solved” so it’s really hilarious to perpetuate stereotypes about minorities and women.

via ‘Bonetown: “The World’s First Action Adventure Porno Game

Bonetown is supposed to take place in some GTA universe, where everyone is running around drunk, stoned, or both, and you have sex right on the street. Because I was playing the demo, I was confined to this small area around a beach (here is some very NSFW gameplay in a trailer park that I did not have access to), and I quickly learned the world map. (The only building I was allowed to enter in the demo kept crashing my PC.)  I spent my time running around beating up Asian tourists or stoners and sexing up fat ladies.

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Indie Fallout 3-inspired movie in the works

I have long been saying that Fallout 3 was an amazing game, if not one of the best ever made. From the story line, to the creatures, to the post-apocalyptic  environment, the game play to the music (I cannot decide if “Mighty Mighty Man” is my favorite song, or if “I don’t want to set the world on fire” is ), to showing women have hair above their lip too… oh my lord, just talking about Fallout 3 gets me excited in a variety of ways.  It’s not just me though, that adores this game in a borderline fanatical way. Check out this fan movie inspired by Fallout 3 titled “Desert Story”:

[youtubevid id="dw1Vh9Yzryo"]

You may be wondering why at the end of the film the two females didn’t go with the male hero, off into the wilderness. The Fallout 3 universe includes people who are not cookie – cutter good or bad, or who think logically- these two females decide to stay in their home. Most likely they were raped, mistrust all people except for themselves (because how could you get by in that world looking like they do without becoming prostitutes or sex slaves?) , and figure they’d be better off without the male hero.

If you want to be good in Fallout 3, you have to accept that sometimes you will save bad people from bad people, or saving people doesn’t necessarily influence their decisions in any way. Even if you saved two females,  that doesn’t mean they’d join your party. By staying with each other, the freed  “prostitutes”  are unintentionally feminist,  as opposed to the hero who is  intentionally feminist by treating the hookers as people.

I now have a small writer crush on Tim Pape  (why didn’t I think of this, dammit!).  Wild Gunmen has an interview with the Papes here, where it is revealed there will be 2 more episodes in the same vein, and a feature length movie that is already “partially funded” titled Black Velvet.  (oh, what would I do to be cast in this?!)  For another interview with the Papes, check out Co-Optimus.com, where the Papes mention the next two short installments are inspired by Zelda and The Princess Bride (<3!!!!!).

Another fan movie worth checking out is Law Abiding Engineer. Suck on that, Ebert!


Hate crimes against Muslims, or just trolls?

Recently in the Chicago art world, a Muslim artist had her exhibit on Muslim hate crimes  defaced with a robot and a speech bubble.  The Chicago media is abuzz with the words “hate crime”, and the Muslim community is even asking the FBI to get involved in the investigation. I write over on Chicago Art Magazine:

The most common comment on the internet about this incident has dealt with the irony of the defacement ( “doing it for the lulz” explained here). The same people leaving these comments are the very same disrespectful teenage to twenty-something males that run around saying “Why So Serious” (even a Wall Street Journal blogger has used this phrase) or making those funny cat pictures everyone loves.   I hesitate to call this a “hate crime” because the drawing of robots and speech bubbles on a piece of art don’t fit the definition of a hate crimea criminal offense committed against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age or religion.

A robot does not strike me as anti-Muslim, in so much as “anti-human”. A robot is not a swastika or a white hooded “KKK” member. What if this wasn’t about hatred at all, but just some jerk move by another artist? What if the vandal wanted to contribute to the work by saying any one who says these things about Muslims is a Fox News robot? Calling this a hate crime without proof of intention reminds me of the “possible hate crime” story about a Jewish man that was mugged. He wasn’t mugged because he was Jewish, he was mugged because he was alone, old, and an easy target.  I buy my Fox News Robot theory over the supposed Hate Crime theory. The robots don’t seem like “marks of hate” but ones of arrogance and trolling. Was this troll bothered and angered by her hate wall? I think they were probably bored by its “seriousness” and felt like causing some drama/humor.

And because I couldn’t embed this video over there in my pep talk to the defaced artist, I am going to do it here:

[youtubevid id="WlBiLNN1NhQ"]


Humans and Neanderthals had sex, now make a video game about it

If you think this is a bad idea for a video game, go watch One Million Years BC

I just heard a story on the radio: NPR’s “Science Friday” about Neanderthals and Humans interbreeding. I have known about this for years…. mainly because traditional history assumed these two species fought each other, and if they did wage war, you know there would have been some raping of women going on. But my firm belief that Neanderthals and Humans had sex also came from the book series “Earth’s Children”, by Jean M. Auel.

I used to sneer at the wikipedia page for calling my favorite series  “speculative alternative historical fiction“, but now my cattiness has been justified. Science has proven what Auel knew all along.

Writes the New York Times:

“Seven years ago, I really thought that it would remain impossible in my lifetime to sequence the whole Neanderthal genome,” Dr. Paabo said at a news conference. But the Leipzig team’s second conclusion, that there was probably interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans before Europeans and Asians split, is being met with reserve by some archaeologists.

A degree of interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals in Europe would not be greatly surprising given that the species overlapped there from 44,000 years ago when modern humans first entered Europe to 30,000 years ago when the last Neanderthals fell extinct. Archaeologists have been debating for years whether the fossil record shows evidence of individuals with mixed features.

via Signs of Neanderthals Mating with Humans

All fascinating stuff, I just hope racists don’t somehow twist this data.  From GenomeWeb.com:

Now, their comparison of the Neandertal genomes with the genomes of chimpanzees and contemporary humans from around the world hints at previously unappreciated gene flow from Neandertals to humans outside of Africa: their results suggest one to four percent of non-African human genomes are comprised of Neandertal sequence.

via Neandertal Genome Points to Human- Neandertal Interbreeding

For those unfamiliar with Auel’s novels, she writes about an orphaned girl named Ayla who is raised by Neanderthals. Once Ayla hits puberty, she leaves the Neanderthals to find her people, but not before giving birth to a baby of “mixed spirits”. The series is filled with love, action, death, and has tons of description and really really hot sex scenes (as in, the kind that make you all hot and flustered, so don’t read those parts in public).

I have long waited for a video game  based on Ayla and the Earth’s Children series (or movies will do; starting after the 1986 flick “Clan of the Cave Bear” ). I imagine some sort of RPG with a firm storyline where I get skill points for learning to hunt and fight, collecting medicinal plants and treating injuries, engaging in shamanic rituals, and domesticating a range of animals, including horses and wolves. And there can be tons of titties, I won’t complain. Video game execs (I am looking at you Bethesda!), if you need a writer for such a game, hit me up at fruzsina.eordogh (at) gmail.


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