Gamers have an Image Problem

Abstract: This image problem is rooted in a failure by the mainstream media (and film) to treat video games as an acceptable pastime, making gaming “a dirty word“, and perpetuating the notion that women shouldn’t have authorship over technology around them. The male gaming community is only partially responsible, and this will be discussed in a subsequent post. This post was formulated after analyzing video game coverage by major female-oriented publications and by my personal memory of video game scenes in movies.

“One of the things we were trying to combat with 3G was how girls are discouraged from learning anything about technology beyond how to use it, [not] to be responsible or have a form of authorship with it.” – Terence Hannum, Internship and External Relations Coordinator at Columbia College

Any female in her 20’s that plays video games knows gaming has an image problem. Not only does the community you play in make you feel unwelcome a la the blog “Fat, Ugly or Slutty“,  your parents find your enjoyment of video games off-putting, as do 30-somethings co-workers. I’ve had more than one conversation at slightly older dinner parties become painfully awkward when I mention I like/want to write about video games. The women scan the room and decide it is time to mingle. Then I am left with some guy, and as the silence continues between us, I begin to question his intentions. Sometimes I can see this male have an OMG-GIRL-GAMER-freak-out moment, all in the eyes, and when it abides he hesitantly remarks I must be the male gamer fantasy or some other weird crap.  Then I decide it is time to mingle.

My mom keeps thinking I will grow out of my love of video games. She is not impressed when I tell her I am laying down plumbing because my city’s population explosion is  forcing me to expand my city limits.

There is a common thread behind these awkward interactions: people born before the 80’s view video games as either a waste of time or a childish hobby. How can that be, when video games have been around for 30 years  – and adults now play video games and teachers use video games as part of their curriculum? Read the rest of this entry »

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Crysis 2 has broken my heart

Crysis 2

poor poor NYC…  Image via Wikipedia

I never download anything the day it becomes available, as it requires discussion (I currently share a video gaming machine with my boyfriend). Nevertheless, the Crysis 2 demo was downloaded and I didn’t even have to pitch it.

I had a great time with Crysis, and it was the demo that originally sold me on the game. I especially became adept at firing on enemy targets with the assault weapon attached to a boat. My whole strategy for attacking this encampment by the water involved this boat (think to the tune of this song).   I have good memories of the first demo, so saying I was excited is an understatement.

Then we went away to Florida for 6 days.  The demo was not played.

Upon returning from vacation on the 25th, what is found? The Crysis 2 demo is multiplayer, and only available to play from March 15th to March 22nd. If you try to play the demo after March 22nd, there are no servers available for you to play on. What kind of marketing madness is this??? Sure, this limited demo-play generates buzz, and Crysis 2 demo players get another reason to feel all superior, but what about me? I am left heartbroken and the high interest of  paying $60 has dissipated.

The void was filled by Neverwinter Nights 2 and all the expansion packs….


I’ve been in three separate publications in the last 24 hours

The god Woden, after whom 'Wednesday' was name...

Wednesday was named after this god ^^^ Image via Wikipedia

….and it wasn’t because I submitted any articles!

First, I was quoted in the Tribune’s RedEye on an article about female gamers….

Eordogh, a freelance video game writer, said she used to play PC games under the screen name “Laser Kitty,” but changed it to “Laser Gandalf” because of the perverted or sexualized comments she’d receive from male players who concluded she was female.

“When I play online, I get a lot of comments like ‘Show me your boobs,’ ” Eordogh said. “If a girl wants to be sexy, that’s fine, but I wish I wasn’t held to the same standards. I just want to play games, not be stereotyped.”

– “Play girls: the life of a female gamer in Chicago“, by Ryan Smith

I say something else too, but I want you to click the link. I made sure to get 2 hard copies of the RedEye yesterday.

And it was brought to my attention this morning, that there is a photo of me on the Huffington Post under an article titled Ladies Love Rahm. The photograph was taken on Saturday when I got to ask Rahm Emanuel a softball question. An internet/twitter colleague found the photo in the AP database. To see a larger version of the picture, click here.

UPDATED:

And, a photo of me is on Gawker as well! (With Rahm Emanuel of course)


Why Call of Duty: Black Ops sucks

Ohmygod, will Black Ops be the most profitable game of the Call of Duty franchise? Ad-fed gaming media says YESSSSS!

This game is soooo good, you don’t even have to use your weapons!

Thanks for the tip, reddit! Now I have another reason to never play this game…


A Reality Show about Gamers?

Family watching television, c. 1958

TV has come so far....

Video games have been around for more than 50 years, and reality television for 30 years, so it is only natural that one day there would be a reality show about gamers. (Why it took so long for video games to become mainstream when cellphones became mainstream almost overnight, I don’t know.)

The only reality television show out there about gamers is WCG Ultimate Gamer, so being the gamer that I am, of course I would  watch it. How could I not, when there is nothing else to watch on the internet?

My boyfriend refuses to watch it, calling it “WCG the biggest loser”. Harr di harr harr.  His sentiments are tame compared to chat rooms and message boards. There is much hate for this show on the internet, and I am baffled by  its existence. You’d think the nerds, freaks, and geeks would enjoy mainstream culture catering to them with a reality show.

I get a kick out of the show though, because I enjoy watching real people  (or in this case competitive gamers) face challenges, come to self-realizations in front of cameras, deal with confrontation and stress, be drunk most of the time … and “be put to the ultimate test”.  Here is a show about a group of people who think they are the best at my favorite form of entertainment (aww snap!). Watching this reality show is a no-brainer for me (WCG, and The Colony, baby).

WCG Ultimate Gamer is now in its second season, and as I write this, the 3rd episode aired days ago. I didn’t want to write about the show at first, because I tried out for it (you can read about that here), and became disillusioned when I was asked to perform only on an Xbox. I think some producers heard my complaints as this year, Tekken 6 (arcade style) and Mario Kart & Sports Resort for the Wii, were played this season. While the inclusion of other consoles perked me up, it also soured me since I absolutely own at those two games.

But enough exposition –

Read the rest of this entry »


The 'Dance Central' Work Out

A remix of "Your Rain" was used in K...

GTFO DDR!!!! Image via Wikipedia

I knew about the “Portal 2” announcement and the newest Star Wars: The Old Republic trailer before E3, so I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of the convention that would shatter my hum-drum gaming existence.

But then I saw “Dance Central“.

I think it was love at first sight.

I tried to resist. Dance Central? Please, Fruzs, have some gaming class.  I can’t buy an Xbox and Kinect just for “Dance Central”. I am part of the “Glorious PC Gaming Master Race” – not some ninny scum “Dirty Console Gaming Peasant”. But then I remembered how much I love dancing.  And then I noticed this game actually teaches you different dance moves – moves I’ve never attempted before.

[youtubevid id=”JS2LvrdIbPA”]

This isn’t DDR, where I jump around pressing buttons to the beat with my feet, and nothing happens with my upper body (DDR is no  “glorified tap dancing“).  And I do like this idea of making “working out” a game. Sure, marathon running or sprinting is a great skill to have if I needed to worry about the impeding Apocalypse, but I’ll take my dancing in my home with weights over running on pavement every 6am any day.

[youtubevid id=”EOIVaPryg8w”]

I never got into the Wii Fit, with its balance board, or yoga  in general, because I much prefer high impact workouts, like jump roping, or dancing in my apartment with weights. Why not just play this game with some light 2 – 3 pound weights around your wrists?   (psst, “gamer girls”, if you post videos of yourself playing this game with weights come November, you must link here, or I will get very mad.)

I would to take this moment to challenge you,  Kristen from GameMeetsGirl, to a Dance  Off.


Steam Sale: 7 Games for your Girlfriend

Two things I hear from my gaming male friends often are “I can’t find a girl that games!” and “How can I get my girlfriend to play video games?”. Steam is currently having a huge blow-out sale on hundreds of video games for the Mac/PC until July 4th, and with prices cheaper than a trip to the movies, there is no better time to get your lady a video game.

I’ve compiled a list of games the ladies would enjoy despite being unfamiliar with the whole video game genre. These are also the best of the cheapest, because when a game is less than $10, how can your girlfriend get turned off by the price?

In order of ascending difficulty:

1. Osmos, for $4.99

This game is the exact opposite of those “damn noisy shooters” you like to play and is perfect for the lady who has limited to no experience with video games. As the above video demonstrates, this game is as close to a yoga session for your brain as it gets. You have to be patient, flying through space in your quest to eat other orbs. The saying “Good things come to those who wait” is applicable in describing Osmos game play. You have to stay calm and move slowly, or risk colliding into a bigger orb that will eat you. Despite this games simplicity, the levels do get a bit harder as you progress through the game; there is some sort of challenge (I moved too fast and flew into the sun a couple of times).

You can play Osmos for as short increments of time as 5 minutes (a level), and feel satisfied.

2. Blueberry Garden for $4.99:

If you’re looking to get out of seeing another bizarre European indie film, get your gal this game instead. Designed by a Swede, this beautiful and quirky game reminds me more of an interactive art piece than a video game. Don’t be fooled: there is a goal in this game, not made evident by the above trailer.  If Ebert played this game he would give up his silly notion that video games are not an art form. Bobbie Johnson, from the UK Guardian, described this game as ” a dainty piece of indie magic”: “I almost wanted to put it in a ribbon-wrapped box with a kitten and cry a little”.

Blueberry Garden is more fast paced than Osmos and Machinarium.

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