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May 8th

…is the realization of the wasted potential found in so many ass-kicking video game women like Samus and Lara Croft. FemShep is not Barbie-fied supermodel who kicks ass in revealing clothing so that male gamers can have their violence with a side of tits and ass. And while the option exists for her to have sexy moments if you pursue a romance, that romance is still on her terms. This isn’t any of the Metroid games, or Dead or Alive, or Tomb Raider. FemShep’s nudity is never a reward for the gamer – it’s part of her story.

August 15th

…videogames. With all aspects of it; commercial, indie, academic and journalistic. My reasons for this are still largely intuitive, but I know enough to say that homogeneity is at least partly to blame.

At the Border House blog, Quinnae Moongazer asks “Ain’t I a Gamer?” [mirror] It’s an unfortunate tale that seems to indicate Microsoft doesn’t think that any women use their Xbox LIVE service:

Chantaal describes a customer service letter that was sent to her by Microsoft that assumed she was writing about an issue her nonexistent son was having, instead of making the correct…

August 8th

…her conclusion that,

we should be acknowledging and welcoming this new kind of gamer, and listening to what they have to say. From Senet to Settlers of Catan to Counter-Strike to FarmVille, we are all gamers, connected through the electric muse of interactivity, chasing the same brain state. And that, especially when it unnerves us, is a beautiful thing.

David Wildgoose at Kotaku Australia kicked off the healthy amount of discussion seen around the XBLA game Limbo this week. Wildgoose, inspired by a Kyle Orland piece at Gamasutra talks about game durations in ‘Does length matter?’…

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

September 20th

…to lead designer Patrice Desilets of Assassins Creed II-fame about the conversation he is aiming to have with the gamer through the game. I’m terribly excited for not only the game itself, but the implications for the industry by designers and developers employing this kind of language and approach.

Touché Bitches has been mentioned here before and they’ve recently undergone a bit of a refresh. They’ve started doing shorter, more editorializing link posts – hey, guys, that was our schtick! (just kidding). Head on over for some interesting linking, editorialising and the occasional long form post.

Simon Ferrarri…

September 14th

…Both pieces frame #GamerGate well within the context of this ongoing abuse, speaking on both the nature of harassment and on Quinn’s life as a professional female artist while under this sort of duress. Both also, in profiling Quinn at precisely this time, inadvertently reveal an uncomfortable truth that we tend to only pay significant attention to women when they become the subjects of hate campaigns like this.

Putting Things in Perspective

But before I speak too soon, the Rock, Paper, Shotgun staff has soberly but boldly provided a line-by-line response to #GamerGate allegations, simultaneously debunking the misinformation…

February 2021

…The Fluid Zone

These essayists each considered the way identities are variously performed and constructed, for better or worse, in videogame communities.

  • What is a “ReAL GaMeR”? | How this Social Construct Marginalizes Women & Minorities – Asmara (39:44)

    Asmara looks at how and why the “gamer” identity label has come to be associated with particular (antisocial, exclusionary, sexist, racist) attitudes, and particularly with young white cis-het men, rather than simply describing someone who enjoys playing videogames. (Manual captions)

  • Identity, Gender, and VRChat (Why is everyone in VR an anime girl?) – Straszfilms (59:07)

April 3rd

…of ‘Norco’ Is Found in the Tenacious Weirdos Who Live There | VICE Cameron Kunzelman finds profundity in the authenticity of the people populating Norco‘s only slightly-exaggerated dystopia.

  • Norco review | PC Gamer Alexis Ong offers the highest praise to Norco as a game that approaches its bleak, hyperlocal, dystopian setting with humour and heart.
  • “On a good day, Norco is a bastion of beautifully evocative storytelling that invites any player to take refuge in its world. On a bad day, it cuts deep as a sobering, but loving portrait of a modern dystopia—a community on…

    March 21st

    …as a hobby and discourse.

  • Gamer Trouble Book Club #1: O Gamer My Gamer – No Escape Kaile Hultner embarks upon a read of Amanda Phillips’ provocative, accessible primer on and intervention in the cultural landscapes of games, the industry, and academia.
  • MY LIFE FOR NERZHUL – DEEP HELL Skeleton remarks upon history–and journalism–repeating itself every time Bobby Kotick awards himself a generous bonus and Activision-Blizzard lays off a bunch of people.
  • “Looking at Blizzard now, all of the original staff have left, or been folded into mobile games and esports marketing strategies departments. Former…

    June 2nd

    …developer in relation to mental health.

  • Feedback Makes Me A Better Gamer–When You’re Not An Asshole | Kotaku Cecilia D’Anastasio proposes some best practices for giving feedback in competitive gaming.
  • “There’s a way to do it with love that makes your gaming community more supportive and more powerful. There’s also a way to do it spitefully, with an overtone of superiority and abuse.”

    Critical Chaser

    Oh no.

    • I Covered My Entire Body in Gamer Goo | Fanbyte merritt k gets a grip on hardcore gamer skincare.


    April 28th

    …The Term “Gamer” – A Critical Hit! Kate Willaert offers a deep historical dive on where the word “gamer” actually comes from, and the story has a few more twists than you’re probably expecting.

    “A group of science fiction fans pioneered games journalism, created the first US gaming magazine, and redefined the meaning of “gamer.””

    Sequence Break

    Four articles this week all revolve around breaking games in some way–either by pushing them to their mechanical limits, playing them in novel ways or for novel reasons, or in producing new games that respond directly