Friday, June 12, 2015

This this thisthisthisthis THIS.

The Legendary Adventures of a Fearless Girl Gamer by Latoya Patterson.

"But even though I'm not so off from the average gamer, who is 35 years old and nearly as likely to be female (44 percent) as male, according to the Entertainment Software Association, no one looks at me these days and thinks "gamer." Nobody."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fixing Gaming

The Huffington Post just published this article: How To Fix Gaming For Women and Minorities, According to One Major Critic

It's about off-shoot of Boing Boing, Offworld, "an unequivocal home for women and minorities" in the gaming and tech spheres. On one hand, seems like a cool idea to have a safe space. But rather than segregating ourselves I'd rather diversify the current spaces... by force, if necessary. I'm kidding! (Am I???)

But it's early days yet, and maybe this will grow into an awesome forum for discussion of these issues. For now, go for the article on the #GamesSoWhite hashtag, stay for the weird, weird, WEIRD game recommendations (awesome).

Sunday, June 7, 2015

*blows dust off blog*

Welp, here I am again!

The last thing I posted about on this blog was Awesome Con 2014, so maybe it's fitting that I come back strong with Awesome Con 2015 (and beyond). As you may recall (or see below in my previous posts), I was unimpressed with the "women in gaming" panel last year. So this year I organized and moderated my OWN panel called "Your Move: Creating Inclusive Gaming Spaces." At first I was like, "WHAAAT why do I think I can even?" But it all came together fabulously thanks to my wonderful, wonderful panelists.

We talked about some of the problems that plague various gaming spaces (online communities, game design and marketing, friendly local game shops) and suggested solutions (what to do if you're being harassed online, how to send a message back to game developers,  how to make in-person gaming more friendly). A video of the talk will (eventually) be put together with the power point (of course there was a power point) by my good friend Mac. We'll either post on YouTube or send a copy out to interested parties. Further updates as events warrant!

After our talk finished on Friday night, I got to relax and enjoy the rest of the Con. There were plenty of Diversity Panels (in comics, in pop-culture, etc) but just like last year they seemed to focus on problems and not a lot on solutions. It also seemed that a lot more of the panels I attended were fan-driven, rather than creator-driven. And Nexus Gaming Alliance was out in full force... *eye roll*

To end on a high note, I leave you with two heartening (official) signs from Awesome Con 2015. The times, they are a-changin'!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Representation (Just Like This Panel) Is Important (And Awesome)

The difference between the second panel I attended and the first was like emerging from a den of ignorance and into the shining light of truth. This panel had actual creators - Amy Chu and Alitha Martinez were especially impressive - and an amazing moderator, Alex Simmons. We talked about the problems creators and characters of color (say that three times fast) face every day, the differences between creating for DC or Marvel versus doing indie comics, and online racial/sexual harassment, to name a few. Each panelist had a unique individual perspective and was aware enough of the general milieu to provide an excellent basis for discussion. We even talked about solutions to said problems.

Left to Right: Alex Simmons, Amy Chu, Alitha Martinez,
Laura Lee Gulledge, Jeremy Whitley

"You gotta wait for those old guards who just don't get it to die." - Alex Simmons

Paraphrasing Alitha Martinez: You need to make new characters, not just colorize a classic.

We talked a bit about "voting with your dollar," and it made perfect sense at the time. But how do we get the  general (let's be honest, still predominantly white, male, and straight) comic book audience to vote with us? And how to we communicate that we're buying, for example, Captain Marvel because Carol Danvers is an interesting character and not because Carol Danvers is an attractive blonde? Food for thought...

P.S. I need to be reading Amy Chu's Girls Night Out starting YESTERDAY. Just ordered my copy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Yes, There Are Girl Gamers. No, They Are Not Hosting This Panel."

First post of my Awesome Con recap starts on a low note: the panelists from Nexus Gaming Alliance "resident Gaming Ladies" all canceled, leaving two people I believe to be "the Nexus chiefs" to run the show. Two of the first things out of the (biologically) female moderator's mouth were "I am not a gamer" and "my brain is male*." Her only claim to fame was that she was "friends with" some professional gamers. Okay... if you are not a female gamer and claim no credible expertise about gaming in general, what are you doing hosting this panel?

She did provide some interesting statistics, like 68% of households play video games and 40% of the gamer population is female. But it quickly became clear that these were derived from a web search. While some of them might have been credible, it would have served her better to cite peer-reviewed articles. Like, I dunno, articles from any of these journals.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Awesome Con Diversity Track

The second  annual Awesome Con, DC's pop culture and comics convention, is this weekend! The first year was kind of a mixed bag for me. As some of you know, I yelled at a panel moderator for being blatantly sexist (while I myself was cosplaying as Lt. Uhura from Star Trek TOS). Mimosas may have been involved. 

ANYWAY. That's all the in past. This year's programming has a healthy dose of panels discussing representations of women and people of color. Here they are complied in one handy place - I call this the "diversity track," since they're basically all filed under different tracks on the Awesome Con website. 


11AM - Saturday Morning Gets Funky: "this panel take audiences back to the 70's when black characters became popular in main stream cartoons."

1PM - Yes, There Are Girl Gamers: "discussing the silly behavior of men online." [Promising title, but the summary is a bit flippant for my taste. Let's see how this plays out... pun intended because my puns are always intended.]

2:30 - Representation Is Important: "Come and learn what comics creators are doing to help the diversity of the world change comics and hopefully help those comics change the world." 


11:30 - Sexism, Violence, and Geekdom: "discuss depictions of masculinity, femininity, and gender-based violence in the geek community." 

12:45 - Women In Comics: "discuss women in cartoon-land: characters and creators, the changing world of comics, and how they make their livings with pen, paper, and a mouse or two." 

Hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Check out Gigargun!

Is there a nerd in the world that hasn't dreamed of donning a robotic suit to go toe-to-toe with a gigantic monster? A friend of mine, Duffy, is involved in creating a new tabletop RPG called Gigargun that allows players to do just that. Here's an excerpt from his latest blog post:
[The world of Gigargun] has dealt with the existence of giant monsters for over half a century and has almost become jaded to its own wonder. We are populating it with corporations, cults, militias, and criminal organizations that trade in giant monsters. We are devising scenarios where you will be challenged in new and creative ways that take advantage of the world.
Now, I haven't had a chance to play test Gigargun yet. Luckily, my Best Frenemy Mac was able to play it at Tabletop Game Day at our FLGS. And he shared with me one of my favorite gaming stories to date. Apparently a father brought in his two sons for Tabletop Game Day, and the younger one was painfully shy. Already I'm like, "I know that feel, little bro." But then this:
We would all ask him what he wanted to do and he would sit there quietly staring down at the table for a few seconds until his father said, "Would you like to _____?" and he'd nod, someone would put the die in his hand and he'd roll it.

Then the undead whale surfaced (which is apparently a real thing in Japanese mythology, who knew). The kid was on top of our ship, riding his giant lion-looking pet monster, and this time when Duffy asked him, "What would you like to do?" He looked up for maybe the first time, and calmly said, "I would like to jump onto it's back, dig my way down inside of it, and rip it's heart into pieces until it dies."

The table fell silent, then Duffy leaned forward and patted him on the head, and said, "Yes. Yes, that is going to happen now." And we proceeded to make it happen, step by step, over the next few combat rounds. Thanks to a few very good rolls, including a critical hit on the heart itself, we won a few rounds later.
DON'T YOU JUST LOVE IT?!? As much as I love D&D, I have a hard time envisioning something like this happening in that system. This gives me the impression that Gigargun's mechanics are flexible enough to handle just about anything. Even more importantly, it shows that the stories you can tell with Gigargun are evocative enough to bring all our shy inner eight-year olds out of their shells.

Duffy, when do I get to play?