[Linkspam] Across the Divide – 3/15/2012

A closeup of some awesome Mass Effect-themed anil art showing the red/white stripe, and the N7 logo.


Some interesting reads from around the web:

U R so gay! Homophobia in gaming and why it hurts (Atomic)
“Why is ‘gay!’ the first thing that a lot of people in gaming circles reach for when they need a good name to call someone? It’s simple, really, and it has nothing to do with sticks or kindling; it’s a powerful slur because in the minds of the straight male gamers who coined the term, being gay is just about the worst thing they could think of.”

Mass Effect 3 Won’t Make You Gay (HuffPo)
“If you love games, champion developers like Bioware for filling their games with people we recognize; it’s comforting to see people like me, and not like me, in these worlds. And if you’re a member of the gaming press, use your words to say something meaningful. It’s not always enough to say, “Well, here’s a thing.” You have a voice. It’s time to say, “This isn’t OK.” We’re in a position to take a stand. So take one, already.”

Games of 2011 Analysis — How many even had women in them? (PikiGeek)
“Yeah. That’s all of them. All 19 of them, among the hundreds of games that got released last year, and some of the women aren’t even portrayed in the best light. It was, however, collectively decided that Batman: Arkham City was the best example, as there was an entire scene between Catwoman and Poison Ivy.”

Is pervasive sexism holding the professional fighting game community back? (Ars Technica)
“I think we’ve discovered a few times now that calling out the fighting game community and slapping them on the wrist and saying ‘No, no, no. That’s not right,’ doesn’t work, because the more you do that the harder they fight against that,”

Game Design and Sexism: Player Feedback Mechanics (Gaming as Women)
“However, we are all socialized very strongly to view women in certain ways. We expect women to be responsible, do the boring administrative work, and in general shut down the fun.  We emphatically do not expect women to be silly.  So women are less likely to be silly, and everyone is less likely to notice when they are.”

Dying Boy Gets His Own Personal Virtual Wonderland Built by a Game Community in Just Four Days (Kotaku)
“Players working around the clock joined and power-leveled a new guild (reaching guild level 70 in, reportedly, approximately 65 hours) in order to have access to goods, housing, and amenities ready for the big day. And when it came, they turned out in force. When they were done, young John had a virtual wonderland to call his own.”

Where Are the Black League of Legends Characters? (Kotaku)
“Out of the 93 characters to choose from (as of March 4th), I counted 39 human-looking characters (more if you have a looser definition of “human”). Out of those 39, I could only find two characters who didn’t look Caucasian or East Asian, based upon their portraits.”

What else have I missed? Leave some links in the comments to share with The Border House community!

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
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8 Responses to [Linkspam] Across the Divide – 3/15/2012

  1. Twyst says:

    I would have thought Portal 2 or Skyrim were better candidates than the game that calls Catwoman a bitch over and over… but i could be wrong.

    • Ike says:

      The Portal series has the best (and by “best”, I mean “the way things should be”) female representation of any video game I’ve played.

      • feministgamer says:

        =\ But she’s completely silent. Certainly that’s not *completely* ideal?

        • GLaDOS says:

          Chell may be silent but GLaDOS sure isn’t. :3

          I don’t think Chell’s silence is down to her gender. There are several first person games featuring silent male protagonists including Bioshock 1 & Bioshock 2 and Half Life 2 (which used the same engine as Portal). The characters’ silence and relative lack of backstory (compared to many third person game characters) are devices used to allow the player to better immerse themselves in their character.

          That’s not to say that Chell’s presentation as a character, in the context of her gender, can’t be analysed and critiqued. It’s just that IMO her silence is more down to the style of the game, how Valve had wanted to situate the player and the way they’d wanted the narrative to play out. In this way Chell is treated no differently than Gordon Freeman or Subject Delta.

    • SleekitSicarian says:

      Seriously. >__> I get the idea behind not counting situations where the PC’s gender is player-determined (though I thought having kids in Skyrim tell my female PC that they wanted to grow up to be warriors like her was pretty neat), but Arkham City’s a perfect example of a case where passing the Bechdel test doesn’t indicate that the material isn’t full of gender-fail.

    • Deviija says:

      Ugh, no joke. But, like it was saying, just because it passes (or doesn’t pass) is not necessarily an indicator of empowered women or feminist-friendly stuff. Nevertheless, it is still a really depressingly small number of titles.

      • … It might be nice to note that that ‘games of 2011′ thing is only listing a very particular kind of game and ruling out VAST HORDES of releases. It’s only examining a specific list of titles from wikipedia somewhere (without even a link to say which one) and even by that standard, just GLANCING at the first list of 2011 video games I see on wikipedia I see several games that would meet at least criteria 1 that weren’t listed. To say nothing of the releases from smaller publishers (or online games) that don’t make that list at all.

        I don’t expect any individual to be able to come up with a perfect list because nobody’s played every game, but this shouldn’t be quoted as TrueFacts. :)

        Is anyone willing to set up a website similar to the one for movie tests so that people who HAVE played other games can submit and talk about them? We’d get a much better picture that way.

  2. Trodamus says:

    Don’t mind me, I’m just sobbing like a little girl with a skinned knee over the everquest 2 thing ;_;

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