Friday, 27 March 2009

Random Late Night Thoughts

Not everything I write here has to be about games, ne?

So I've been on this crazy anime kick lately, and decided to re-watch Sailor Moon. I loved that show so much when I was 10. One of my biggest regrets now is giving my complete Sailor Moon manga collection over to my best friend. She used to copy the drawings when we were younger, and she recently got accepted into the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. So...I guess I don't regret it that much. It just means when she's a rich and famous comic book artist, she's going to have to buy me a set of my own.

Anyway, it was just a huge nostalgia-fest for me. As much as it sounds silly to admit it, I miss the little kid side of me that really believed in superheroes. I always loved fantasy over silly dramas or regular romances, even as I got older. Maybe it's just because fantasy worlds just occured on such a large scale; the whole world and beyond. Really spurs the imagination....

...ack, I need to stop, I'll get all day-dreamy <3

Speaking of superheros, I can wait for some sweet PAX cosplay! I know it's a long way off, but I've been trying to plan what characters to be from my favorite video games. I'm going to try Ulala, if my sister permits it (it was originally her costume and it would have to be taken in for me a bit). I also want to do a cosplay of one of my favorite series of all times, Harvest Moon. I've been wasted hours in Island of Happiness and I want to cosplay the main female farmer, though I doubt anyone will get it *sad face*. Someone also suggested Chie from Persona 4, which I'm considering. There's a company that sells the official jacket (DO WANT) but it's about $100 so I'm not sure if I'd be able to afford it. Plus, very few people got my Persona 3 Yukari cosplay last year *more tears*. And I am dying to do a Left 4 Dead cosplay of Zoey, but it would only work if I had three people with me to be Louis, Francis and Bill. Any takers?

If my cosplay choices sound weird, it's just because I really only cosplay games that I'm a huge fun of...and I have weird taste in games I guess. I might be short enough to cosplay as a Little Sister...but I wonder how I would be able to make my eyes glow without, you know, burning out my own retinas.

Waaa, more on cosplay--Limebarb.com just sold their Sue costume (from CLAMP's Clover series)! So sad! I really wanted to save up money to buy it, it was amazing! Seriously, it is one of the best cosplay stores I have ever seen. Expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for.

Now I'm going to have dreams of cosplay I can't afford. No fair.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Drawing The Line Between Fantasy and Reality

It's six am and I have stayed up all night for no reason, so time to feel semi-productive and write something.

In my Victorian Supernatural lit class (best class evaaaar) we got into a discussion about feminism and the different types of views feminists have. More specifically, the difference between the beliefs of second and third wave feminists. Second wave feminists believe that there is kind of an unspoken sisterhood between all women, that we're all fighting the same battle, etc. Third wave feminism sees all women as individuals with different goals, fighting the battle in their own way.

What does this have to do with video games? Well, I know it's been beaten like a dead horse, but it brought up thoughts of Fat Princess, especially since it was playable at this year's GDC. I had a pretty infamous incident where I tried to have an intelligent discussion with the feminists who opposed the game, which eventually led to them being like, "This isn't the place for discussing this, this post was for making fun of trolls. You are a troll hahahahaha you suck."

I don't like the idea that people oppose the game because they claim it is offensive to women everywhere. Blindly grouping all people as either on your side or against you is ignorant. Clearly since I am a woman who has nothing against the game, I am "betraying my sisters" or some nonsense. What disturbs me is the idea that these women feel as if this game reflects society's view on women.

The game is a fantasy, both visually and within the gameplay. I'm pretty sure the developers weren't trying to say, "Women are so stupid that, if offered cake by their captors, they would gorge themselves until they got too fat to move." Just writing that made me feel ridiculous. Such a literal interpretation of a game is laughable. That's like saying Banjo-Kazooie is an unfair portrayal of the relationship between bears and birds.

It seems strange to me that the people who have the most trouble separating the fantasy of videogames from the reality are people who don't actually play them. I have played Call of Duty and yet never shot a gun, mastered Cooking Mama and still manage to burn toast, and played Street Fighter without ever engaging in a real fight. Someone not accustomed to the world of gaming looks at Halo multiplayer and sees a killing spree. I look at it and I see a scoreboard. Blowing up a car in GTA IV would look like terrorism, but I don't see anything that's too different from when I was 4 and made my Hot Wheels cars crash into each other (providing my own sounds effects of course).

Books were considered dangerous at one point in time because of what was held within. TV, which in the course of human history is quite new, is still thought of as a threat. But today, videogames get all of the blame because they are the newest form of entertainment, and the least understood by the general public. I think games are starting to carve themselves a place in our culture and people are eventually going to have to accept that. They have the same function as books and TV: they provide us an escape, a fantasy world where we can be anyone or anything we want. People who are incapable of separating those two worlds have problems much deeper than a simple videogame could be the cause of.

Jesus, I hope some of that made sense. I feel bad because I always write about women and their role in the gaming world and stuff, which I'm sure people are going to get tired of hearing. But I can't help it; there are just so many warped conceptions of women inside and out of videogames.

Summary: People are dumb, I need sleep. ZOMG LIEK GURLZ TOTALY ROOL!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

On a Less Serious Note...

First off, site re-design today! Woo! As much of a geek as I am, I am terrible when it comes to webdesign. I can read enough HTML to alter it to my liking, but I stopped designing my own sites when I was about 15 (I think I started around 12). I do love photoshop and the like, so making my own header was fun, even if I cropped it a little too much. I don't currently have photoshop on my computer which is driving me a little bit crazy, but Picnik.com is a good enough substitute for now until I can go home and get a copy of CS2 from a friend (she got one of the newer versions and didn't need her copy anymore, yey!).

In other news, Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook is the best (worst?) thing that has happened to me this past week. I'll I've been doing in my spare time is playing it, then laughing maniacally in the face of my other gamer friends who are unable to beat my score.

What I like about it is that it's essentially a mini Xbox Live Arcade that all of my friends have and that I don't have to pay for. I can see the scores of all of my friends who have the app, and our scores combined give us a team score that enters us to win a raffle of free stuff! Hooray!

I have to say though...I guess one of the reasons I love this app so much is that I am giving a thorough ass-whooping to all my friends who I'm playing with. My high score is about 132,000. Second place on my friends list is a measly 87,000. Keep in mind that my high score THAT IS CLEARLY THE MOST AMAZING SCORE EVAR was achieved within the one minute timeframe. Casual games can get you hooked worse than the hardcore ones sometimes ;_;

It would be way cool if I won a prize pack. I'm nowhere near the team score necessary to win the laptop, but free games are always good.

Getting Ahead in Gaming

Now, I'm a staunch advocate of girls getting more into gaming, I really am. But what drives me nuts are women who whore themselves out in order to do so. There are plenty of women game writers out there such as Colette Bennet, Tiff Chow and Lauren Wainwright who are able to rock the blogosphere using only their artistic and writing talent. But why aren't these women famous?

Oh, right. Because they don't plaster their ass and tits all over the internet.

Women who pose naked with Guitar Hero controllers ruin it for the rest of us. I've worked hard as a writer to get where I am now, and have been blessed enough to have a few of my articles grace the front pages of larger sites like Kotaku and Destructoid. I blog as much as time permits (keeping in mind I am currently attending school in another country) and I am constantly asking people to critique what I write.

But there's another, easier way for women to gain fame in the gaming world: sexy photos. Either through sexy cosplay or strategically placed controllers, may women first get attention by pretty much whoring themselves out. Men see the photos, thinking "Damn that's hot!"(then as an afterthought check out their writing or personal blog.) "Oh, and she also actually knows about videogames!"

To me, these are real female gamers. They are becoming spokespeople for a demographic that they don't even accurately represent. When I hear Raychul Moore say in an interview

"Don’t always try to beat us at everything or be overly competitive -- play with us not against us. And yes, power-ups and combos help. But cheat codes will get you nowhere."

it drives me a little crazy. Why would I not want a guy to go all-out competing against me in a game? Asking a guy to change the way he plays a game just because I happen to have been born with a pair of brea
sts is stupid. I have rocked the hell out of my guy friends in video games sometimes, to the point where they don't even want to play any more (granted, this is usually only within my speciality of puzzle games). If I asked a guy not to be overly competitive, isn't that the same as "go easy on me, I'm a girl?" Screw that. Also...that last line is so corny ;_;

Women like Hailey Bright of Coin-Op TV are different. Sure, she models in a bikini sometimes--but that's because she started off as a real model. Jessica Chobot may have had a dubious start, simply being known as "the girl who licked the Sony PSP," but she's been doing some pretty admirable stuff with her career....and I have yet to see a picture of her online that features her covering her boobs in anything else but clothing. What makes me sad is that people like Jessica Chobot, who is clearly an avid female gamer, need to kick-start their careers in the industry by doing something blatantly sexual.

Some girls use cosplay as an excuse. "It's just a really good cosplay." I love cosplay and all but there are plenty you can do to show off your fandom and not show off your boobs. My two cosplays of PaRappa the Rapper and Yukari (Persona 3) last year at PAX got a nice positive reaction, even though they weren't at all sexy. This year I'm going a little crazy (going to try to do Ulala from Space Channel 5) but that's only because I freaking love that game. I would just as soon cosplay as one of the Morilians, but the costume would be much more expensive to put together.

I don't really mind the sexism that takes place in games, because it's really a marketing tactic. But we now live in a world where people need to market themselves, which can be a good or a bad thing. On the one hand, women are being given a clear advantage over men as to how to get their name out there. But the flipside is that in order to do so, they must alienate the very demographic of gamer they wish to represent.

I guess in the end, I can't blame some women for posing for questionable photos in order to further their career. For some, it's a small price to pay. I guess I would just prefer to not have to go about getting "discovered" that way.