You should be listening to Leigh Alexander.

14 10 2013

Because she’s right.

“The most disappointing thing for me about “gamer culture” isn’t really that there are a group of vocal product-gobblers who think that an entire medium belongs to them. It’s that there are so few people who are willing to interrupt them in that perception.”

I mean, I’m a straight dude: I get it. It’s hard to do it. It’s hard to stand up to a crowd of self-righteous “gamers” and call one of them out for being a jerk, especially when you  (and they) know they can probably just drown you out, bury you under a mountain of stinky wet carpets woven of their baseless claims and decibel level, supported by what seems an infinite supply of supporters. But it’s time to start.

Half of the gaming community is made of up women and it’s time to stop pretending otherwise. Games that have stellar mechanics, creative settings, and beautiful emergent gameplay can and do have shallow, sexist portrayals of women. Why does Lara Croft have to be hyper-sexualized and whimper as she climbs to Hero? Why can’t she be like almost every male protagonist ever who starts out a bad ass? I don’t know, but I do know that we need to start talking about it. Tomb Raider had some great mechanics and looked great, but it and games like it still present women in lame ways, using old and insulting tropes.

If we don’t talk about the representation and perception of women in and around games, it will never stop being disappointing…and I don’t want that. I don’t want anybody’s daughters to grow up in a world where their parents can’t in good conscience share video gaming with them. Right now, how could you?

“Here’s this fantastic mode of escapism that many people enjoy which will constantly depict women in ways that are either underpowered or in roles where they’re easily replaceable with inanimate objects.”

“Here’s a scene where other players will viciously berate and chastise you should they learn that you’re not straight and male, or best-case demonstrate perfect insensitivity. (Though, to be fair, they don’t have to know anything about you to just randomly use derogatory language that’s aimed at females.)”

“On second thought, maybe you’d like to try books.”

Gah. If I have a daughter, I really want to share gaming with her because I love gaming right down to my core. There are games that have hit me in ways books only wish they could. The games need work though, and the community needs a massive reality check.

I wish I knew what that could be.

Anyway, watch today’s Errant Signal; it’s relevant (if not directly) and very good.

I’ve been burning time working, relaxing, and playing Path of Exile…which is fantastic if you have mega Diablo 2 nostalgia and Diablo 3 left you wanting for that. I considered doing a video for it, but other than a quick “Check this out” it’s not really worth the trouble I think. I’ve got another Don’t Starve episode on the bench that just needs me to pull the Encode trigger….but, you know, encoding means no Path of Exile so…. 🙂 I’ll get there.



3 10 2013

Pre-order for XCOM:EW is up. Make no mistake, I fully support TB’s view on pre-ordering games. It’s a sign of impatience and totally unnecessary; bad even, since you can’t guarantee the game will deliver on expectations. (E.G. Aliens: Colonial Marines.) That said, I Kickstarted (pre-ordered) Torment, and I pre-ordered XCOM:EU. I believe in the Interplay-in-Exile team. And I believe in Firaxis.

My money is now where my mouth is.


This has been a Youtube-tastic weekend.

29 09 2013

Okay, so…this finally happened.

Also, more Don’t Starve.

And a really silly whim.

If none of these are good, it may be a sign that I shouldn’t do more than one in a weekend.

A scholar and a gentleman.

29 09 2013

Char42 on Youtube calmly and carefully dismantles every point (I hesitate to dignify many of them as “arguments”) made by Mr. Repzion; this video is very well thought out, researched, and presented.

I’m still not starving here.

26 09 2013

I love this game. This episode I get cozy in my camp, assert my undisputed dominance over the pigmanz, and shift to throw down mode when some dogs come to claim my face as their trophy.

Thade’s Starving his Youtubez.

25 09 2013


This is a thing. Are you hungry? Because this guy definitely is. Basically all the time. And despite his regular exercise and intake of obviously organic food, he always appears to be in poor health.


Penny Arcade, we need a formal apology…and probably more.

23 09 2013

I had a cold making voiceover work (such that it is) impossible for me, so instead of finishing my 3rd episode last week, it’s sat on the bench; I instead spent my time making maps of make believe places and prepping for the D&D campaign I’m running, which I hosted on Saturday. Anyway, that’s not what I’ve come here to talk about today.

Rock Paper Shotgun has stepped up and drawn a line. They explain (at great length) that they are boycotting PAX going forward, but reserve the right to change their minds, which I assume is contingent upon Mike Krahulik stepping up and unilaterally apologizing for the epic, epic jerk he’s been. There are two articles (making for lengthy reading) both their initial statement, as well as a valuable clarification.

I assume that I’m nobody’s first stop for information, but just incase you missed this massive debacle, here’s a reasonable summary that’s mostly (but not entirely) devoid of interpretation and conjecture.

My feelings on it.

I think my position can be summed up pretty quickly; let’s first start with this quote from some UK Uni’s new student orientation:

“Consent is really too low a bar. Hold out for enthusiasm.”

I don’t know precisely how we got here, but we live in a rapist-apologist culture right now; one where women are held accountable for dressing and acting in ways that cause men to assault, hurt, or offend them. It’s textbook displacement of responsibility and yet it’s somehow okay, everywhere, and utterly ignored by much of our media, our acquaintances, our perceptions.  Something like 25% of all college age women report being raped in their lives; see the wiki article for a laundry list of citations. This shit should have more people enraged: sexual assault is heinous and we need to revise our worldviews such that it’s no longer a laughing matter. Do you see people writing comics lampooning child pr0n? No, because that’s fucking disgusting. We should treat all sexual misconduct in precisely that light: it is abhorrent. Make sure your kids (especially your sons) grow up believing it is anathema to all things good on this earth.

I get that “Gabe” (Mike K.) doesn’t really get it; he’s got the same flimsy excuse most of us have, that it’s built into the power of male privilege and very deeply entrenched in our culture…but, frankly, this shit must not fly anymore. The guy’s being a turd. He’s human like the rest of us; he wants to not suffer, he wants to be happy; we have more in common than what sets us apart.  He’s not evil but he is being grossly irresponsible. He should be looking into this shit, trying to learn why so many people are hurt and upset; whether he likes it or not, he’s a recognizable face in the industry and his actions are helping to sustain a gaming scene that is toxic to anybody that’s not straight and male. He ought to want to learn; ought to want to be better; he ought to not let his anger get the better of him, because – right now – he’s coming off in the worst possible way.

Regarding PAX.

I will be going. Boycotting it can send a certain kind of message; one that I feel carries more weight considering who you are. RPS boycotting sends a powerful message; they have a great deal of influence in the industry, so their not going is going to have shockwaves. They’ve drawn a line, and nobody can mistake it.

I will be attending, because: 1. I don’t have that kind of influence, but more importantly 2. we need people there who want Gabe to shape up. I’m confident that we’ll see more LGBTQ and feminist presentations and panels at PAX going forward, and I want to be at those events: just one more straight white guy trying to help. Equality and a safe atmosphere is what I want for gaming.

I want this so bad, because – right now – I feel like I can’t, in good conscience, share my beloved hobby with my yet-to-be-born daughter(s). Women have a hard enough time feeling safe on their commutes to work; how can I engender in my own daughter(s) love for a scene where she(/they) can’t currently feel safe?

People like Feminist Frequency are (at tremendous cost to themselves) trying to make the gaming scene a better place; safer and friendly and open, that’s what we want. Yet right now their opinions are vehemently and venomously opposed by a cluster of men who fear losing their privilege, who don’t want things to change. Things need to change.

And change starts with us.

So, go to PAX or be vocal about not going; either way, keep the following in mind.

Whether or not you want to, just like Gabe, your actions matter. Don’t let them be passive; that’s what Gabe’s doing and…well, look at this mess.

What can be done?

Honestly, I don’t know; I’m not a member of the affected demographic, just a passionate sympathizer. It’s not a battle I can fight, I don’t think, though I’ll keep flailing in my attempts. A formal apology from the Penny Arcade brass couldn’t hurt. Maybe donating every shred of profit from the next year’s worth of PAX to RAINN would go a long way to making amends. I know that he did kind of apologize, but it was for the wrong things and incomplete. That he revealed his ire for ever pulling the merch speaks volumes to his ignorance on the damage he’s done. He doesn’t get it. Well, he needs to. More specifically, he needs to want to.

Everybody’s watching, man. Whatcha gonna do?