May 312013

Okay, so, chaos & I love [Westward] so much that apparently we cannot stop sucking that comic’s dick on the internet and that’s what this post is. He bought a signed print from the [Kinetic Press etsy shop] and I picked out the frame and mats and it just came back from the framer and it looks so fucking good.

Damn, I’m a dork.

May 172013

Someone sent me a link to [David Gaider’s take on sexism in video games] and asked for my thoughts. That’s an excellent interview, and covers a lot of things, but the part I loved is way at the end. So if you’re short on time, or already read about this back in March, skip down to the last picture and read from there on.*

That’s such a wonderful point and sums up [my feelings] about video games: “You’re not who we want to play this game.” It isn’t that I’m not in a demographic worth making games for, it’s that most of the games are actively hostile to my demographic. A game doesn’t have to be [Dead-Island-Riptide-levels] of shitty to be hostile to me, either.

The other day my awesome brother, who is way more into gaming than I am, recommended that I grab Lego Batman 2 while it was on sale on Steam. It started with a lengthy cutscene and then I was too tired to figure out the controls, so I’m waiting to give it a better try when I’m actually awake. It looks decent and I like puzzle-type games so I’m still excited. But look at [this list] of unlockable characters. Notice anything? My cursory count is that 11 out of 60 are female (I may have missed some because I’m not very comics-savvy). Out of those, several are either “superhero’s girlfriend” or “lady version of superhero”. I’m going to say it: Tokenism is hostile. It perpetuates stereotypes and shitty tropes. People who aren’t in tokeny subgroups don’t notice how much this affects them.

There’s no such thing as a Normal Gamer. We are a diverse group. We are not all Dudes-Under-35.

Feminists and allies and anti-rape activists all love to hate on Penny Arcade and I kept not caring because often I laughed at the comics. Yes, even the gross and sexist ones. I like a lot of offensive things, and you can’t sue me for it, so there. They recently ran [this comic] and I was like, yes yes that is totally what is wrong with fucking games someone understands!

But then there’s the [accompanying news post] to that comic, which enraged me. Tycho calls the character depiction freaky and scary, but then says anyone uncomfortable with it is a brainwashed zealot feminist.

Then he points out the nearly unreadable font art of the games title, see how their core artistic style is to make things so stylized that you cannot recognize what they are supposed to be? He would have a great point if the character in question looked like [this] instead of [this]. When you watch the tits and ass of the “female” characters swaying in the artificial breeze of the game’s website, you instantly understand that you’re looking at sextoys. There is no artistic fucking refracting prism.

And then our buddy puts on some 7-league boots and takes the third step aaaaaaaaaall the way backward to MRA/VD country. Meeeeeean psychotic bullies don’t want to hear about how many times he jerked off over this visionary art that is so visionary that he just called it freaky, scary, and unable to convey basic meaning.

That sort of thing makes me feel unwelcome and actively pushes me away. It isn’t a hyperemotional lady reaction, it is a simple fact that some of these “thought leaders” spew words and attitudes that make it clear they think gaming is about men and for men. Anyone pleased about “girl gamers” on the basis of it being better to have people available for them to be sexually attracted to, that actually makes this whole thing worse, so please consider how dehumanizing it will be before making a comment about how horny guys should want to have women around in the gaming community.

Gaider is right. I don’t need a pink box and unicorns to buy a game. (Although I’d totes buy a [Charlie the Unicorn] adventure game. So would you.) I know there are great games out there that depict females artistically and without hate. All I want is to not have to wade through 50 males and a half-dozen swaying-boob sextoys to find that depiction.

Slowly but surely, the industry is taking note and changing. That pleases me and frustrates me — if you look at the pace of change in technology, you’ll laugh with me when people compare the pace of this change favorably to civil rights struggles. Yeah, it takes a long time for bigoted generations to die off and we make some progress while they get senile. But since I was a kid playing nintendo pinball, how many new consoles have come out? How many geniuses are making games? There is [a game] that will let you cast spells with your fucking brain, and you’re telling me this industry, an industry constantly eating the tail of its own revolutions, can’t figure out how to simultaneously market a game to horny 18-year-old males and crotchety 32-year-old females? I CALL BULLSHIT.

In the meantime, you’ll find me playing Portal (female protagonist, female antagonist, one of the most popular games ever, thanks, with a great but problematic sequel) and Unmechanical and Braid because I like puzzle games, and being disappointed that I couldn’t play [Bioshock Infinite], which sounds like a great less-sexist title.**



* His GDC talk. Actually I like this link much better than the one at the top, but that’s the one I was asked about. *shrug* I aim to please. (buzzzzzzz)

** I suck at first-person shooters. I loved the opening bits of the game, and then I got shot in the back 15 times in a half-hour, on baby-easy mode, so I gave up forever. The saddest part is that I’ve heard from people who played through it that the FPS element probably could have been removed entirely. *sigh* Maybe they could release a shooty-free version?

May 102013

My parts of the internet are all talking a lot about [this post], which if you haven’t read, please do so. It is required reading for the rest of this post.

Not that you have to read my post.

Thousands of people are having “I cried” and “I so identify with that” reactions to her wonderful, insightful, honest post. That’s awesome. Being depressed feels alone, and knowing we’re not is good. I mostly laughed when I read it yesterday (today I cried a little). Like when you watch a movie and some tragedy is presented in a quasi-humorous fashion, laughing is an acknowledgement of your discomfort with the events even though it is inappropriate/incorrect from the standpoint of “what normal human empathy requires.”

I am justifying my reactions, explaining why I had them. That is how I interact with you, reader. That’s what normal people do, right? Smile in the right places. 😀

Two things stood out the most to me in the post. First, the lying on the floor of a room crying. God, lying on a floor, my old frenemy. When one finds oneself sitting on a floor weeping uncontrollably because everything is empty, and horribly clean, and the only thing one can feel or remember feeling or picture feeling ever again is vague-grey-bad, then it means there is something very wrong.

DSC03018Last time I had that, I was on a cruise in Alaska with family. I couldn’t stop crying. I sat there for an unknowable amount of time, weeping, scaring my husband. I didn’t want to die, but I did want to be erased and not be there and not hurt anyone anymore with my stupid existing. Other than that, the cruise was lots of fun, but my memory of shouting at myself inside my head to shut up and put clothes on and go eat dinner without a blotchy face and for fuck’s sake act normal is just as vivid as my memory of biking to a glacier and taking chilly pictures of it.

I don’t tell that story about the Alaska cruise very often because I am deeply ashamed of it. I was ashamed when it was happening, that I wasn’t properly enjoying the vacation, and I still feel ashamed of it now, because it feels raw and gross, and writing about it feels like attention-seeking and is self-indulgent.*

Okay, here’s the second thing that stood out to me: the self-portraits. Oh. My. God. I’ve recently been interested in [Frida Kahlo], and her [gruesome depictions] of [self-perception] are what I was reminded of when I looked at the curled, cringing pink narrator. Where Frida is serenely bloody, Allie Brosh is dead-eyed and grumpy. I love them both.

They show me what it looks like to feel like they do, and that makes me feel like I can face looking at myself.



* Note for commenters: I know. Please don’t tell me not to feel ashamed, or that I don’t have to, or whatever. I’m just sharing, okay? Roll with it.