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.

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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.

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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?

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Lego launches Legends of Chimera

Lego will be launching their newest, cross-platform mega machine later today – and it looks to be quite exciting. Television, video games, books, oh my! More to come soon!

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ARTICLE: Lego Legends Of Chima Games Coming In 2013.

WEBSITE: http://chima.lego.com/en-us/teaser/

What Kind of Gamer Are You?

There has been a lot of chatter on group classifications over the past year and long flame wars over topics like geek vs. nerd or casual vs. non-casual gamer. I participated in a few discussions on this lately and wanted to share at a really high level what I came up with.

For what it is worth – here were my quickly scribbled breakouts. I think these apply to video/pc games and possibly board games and pen/paper games.

Casual or Hardcore?

A Casual Gamer is someone who games infrequently and/or on a limited set of games, spends minimal amount of money purchasing games, may have little to no gaming related news on their radar, and can be very passionate about the few games in their wheelhouse, rarely has much to say about gaming.

A Gamer is someone who is informed about the industry/games they like, pays attention to magazines/websites/twitter, may have multiple machines, skilled enough to pick up most games, has time to game but not enough to usually be an expert or played everything out there, can carry on a gaming conversation.

A Hardcore Gamer is someone who takes their gaming seriously – from their machine(s), time spent on message boards/guides, pays for DLC/subscriptions/guidebooks/memberships, informed about games/industry, passionate around competition/multiplayer, gaming ability may be wide and shallow or narrow and deep, usually has plenty to say about games.

Thoughts? Where do you fall? What would you change here?

Guild Wars :: A Forward of What Is To Come

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Guild Wars, the PC MMORPG, is one of my all-time greatest games. I have a tremendous amount of passion for this property, the game and the company that makes it. In my wheelhouse of life impacting games, such as Ultima and Phantasy Star, Guild Wars ranks incredibly high. So many of my recent memories are entwined with those of playing Guild Wars 1.

With the release of Guild Wars 2 only a few weeks away on 8/28, I have been spending some time reflecting on why I am so passionate about this property. It took me a little bit of time to convince my fiancé (now wife) to give it a try, but once she did, she was hooked. We’ve been playing together for over 5 years and have shown up for all the in-game festivals, met wonderful people through our guild, and learned the pains and pleasures of playing kid-free to playing with 2 kids now (long stretches of playing are quite impossible without babysitters being involved).

Over the next few days, look for additional articles where I talk about Guild Wars, gaming and storytelling, and gaming with your spouse.