Sexism and Sexuality in Games

At GDC 2013 David Gaider, a lead writer/designer for Bioware, spoke on Sexism and Sexuality in Games. The video clocks in at around 40 minutes but is full of a tremendous amount of insightful questions, insights – and even challenges the listeners in many ways. He talks some about the history of women in games, of the “typical” game players, how the industry is changing, and how we (as players) can change the industry.

mass-effect-women

One of the quotes I liked the most was “How do we invite women to gaming? How about we at least start with ‘How do we at least not offend them?'” David challenges us as those who participate in the games industry to think about things differently. As a developer he takes responsibility for his role in the industry that has created much of who we are as gamers today. The answer isn’t to create games specifically for women, which is about as offensive as making games specifically for gays, transgender, or minorities. Create games and look to tell the best stories possible.

It is my, your, our responsibility to begin thinking about these gender issues more seriously than we have in the past.

VIDEO LINK: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/194571/Video_Sexism_and_sexuality_in_games.php

If you haven’t checked out Anita Sarkeesian and her Feminist Frequency initiative examining female tropes in video games – check it out! It can be heavy handed at times and it takes a little objectivity to be able to watch and not instantly get triggered by some of what she says. It helps me to know that, while a gamer, Anita is not someone who grew up doing lots of gaming. That the images she (and other non-gamers) experience in games may look far worse than they actually are to more dedicated gamers. Sadly, many of the things that we have come to accept as “game mechanics” or “story telling devices” are probably barely noticed by gamers. So while it is unfortunate that many gamers aren’t as triggered by these scenes as they should be, it also doesn’t mean that they are instantly interanlizing all the language and imagery as something that is right.

  1. Video 1
  2. Video 2

David makes another great point that should be considered. If games want to be considered “art” – we as consumers need to demand more seriousness from the industry and our fellow game players. We can make demands of our fine art, movies, books and television.

Why not expect the same treatment from our games and our game makers?

Advertisements

Tolkien-Inspired Stained Glass Designs

Check out these awesome Tolkien-inspired stained glass designs!

a_long_long_adventure_with_hobbit_by_breathing2004-d5q4spj

LINK: art of Tolkin by breathing2004 on deviantART

I may purchase some of these and frame them in as much of a sequence as I can manager. The colors are so vibrant and depictions so unique!

Alien3 – Rediscovering a Masterpiece

The Aliens franchise is one of the longer running and most interesting scifi properties out there. It spans 4 dedicated films, 2 spin-offs, 1 pseudo prequel, hundreds of comics, a plethora of games, books, toys and more! When I saw Aliens I became an instant fan and never let go. My fandom went so far that my college film thesis was even on Alien (and a little on Aliens).

Most fans of the franchise focus only on Alien (Ridley Scott) and Aliens (James Cameron) and discard Alien3 (David Fincher) and Alien: Resurrection (Jean-Pierre Jeunet). After reading a few articles and rewatching the movie again, I’ve found new excitement around Alien3 and think you might too!

alien3-logo

Continue reading

Movie Review – Indie Game

Watch Indie Game: The Movie Online | Netflix.

Image

I just recently watched Indie Game: The Movie (which is streaming now on Netflix). The movie follows the creators of 3 of the most amazing indie games through their final phases of development. The games they focus on are Fez (Phil Fish) , Super Meat Boy (designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes) and Braid (Jonathan Blow).

The movie was one of the first films to be born on Kickstarter – which is also an achievement as well.

If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to make an independent game, the type of crazy and insanity that can come from it, or just a window into the minds of creators and developers, this is worth checking out. It is raw and emotional. Tears are shed and death threats are liberally handed out. It is also a worthwhile viewing for anyone who wants to create, who is creating, who wants to understand the mind of creators. Films and Big Budget Games are made by huge teams but independent games (and books) are created by very few people. It can be a very isolating and insular activity that is libel to have impacts – which this movie clearly demonstrates.

Once you are done watching this, if you haven’t, make sure to listen to the soundtrack for free on Bandcamp: http://jimguthrie.bandcamp.com/album/indie-game-the-movie-soundtrack

Lastly, if you haven’t played these games, they are available on Xbox and PC/Steam for very reasonable prices.

Stranger in a Strange Land – Boys, Girls and Gender Equality

If you have children you may begin to have conversations around the differences between boys and girls. Not physically but with the toys they like, the colors they prefer, the games they tend to play, the clothes they wear, how they act. It is inevitable as a parent to have these conversations as our children try and find their own space in the world and learn what it means to be part of a larger community outside of their immediate family. But what do you do when you hear sexist remarks creep into your preschooler’s mouth?

Continue reading

Movie Review – Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Are you interested in watching a boring, played-out, derivative horror movie? I wasn’t either … but that was exactly what I got when I recently watched Guillermo del Toro’s remake of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. It seems that I have reached the bottom of my horror movie well and run out of worthwhile options. Check out my spoiler-filled thoughts below…

Continue reading