What Are You Playing Wednesday

Starting scene in Violett. She is trapped in a cage and needs to escape.

Starting scene in Violett. She is trapped in a cage and needs to escape.

Welcome back to Wednesday question time:

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

The last few weeks I’ve played Watch Dogs, Dark Souls 2, and I started and finished Violett (review coming soon).

What have you been playing?

Posted in Off-Topic | Tagged | 8 Comments

TotalBiscuit’s twisted barter economies

Youtuber TotalBiscuit doesn’t know what criticism means. He doesn’t know what it is for, and he doesn’t know what it does. Months ago, he took to video to claim that DMCA notices were preventing him from doing his job “informing consumers”, explicitly saying that the job of critics is to advise people on what they should and should not buy. More recently, he’s been issuing veiled threats to the indie developers who are criticising his misogynistic comments about a female developer, saying that he’s “spent 4+ years helping indies” and that by calling him out, “many have turned on [him]”.

I’m not going to name the developer in question here, because it’s already unfair how far this discussion of misogyny and ethics has been going on in her front yard. I don’t want to continue associating this person’s name with the awful things that have been said. Her abusers want to see her smeared, they want to see her work undermined in favour of a discussion about her moral character. I refuse to play into that, and this article isn’t about her. It’s about TotalBiscuit.

So, TotalBiscuit is both a consumer advocate and a helping hand to developers at the same time? What a saint he is! Juggling all those conflicting responsibilities. No wonder the world owes him so much loyalty. So sad for him that the double standards he feels he is owed are not being applied by this cold and unforgiving universe. People who criticise his work are “turning on” him, betraying him after all his years of loyal service. But when he criticises other people’s work, it’s important journalism and nobody should try to stand in his way. TotalBiscuit is a critic, you see, a consumer advocate and a voluntary PR mouthpiece for indies, and that affords him special treatment.

TotalBiscuit claims that he tries to stay away from “SJW topics”. “Honestly that whole debate is something I try and stay the hell away from because the people involved in it are fucking terrifying.” Evidently, he thinks that accusing a woman of “exploiting” people by sleeping with them isn’t wading into “SJW” territory. Perhaps he thinks it’s a totally “reasonable stance” to say that women use sex to bargain favours out of people.

TotalBiscuit doesn’t know that “fucking terrifying” means. What’s “fucking terrifying” is that in the hypothetical situation of a journalist exchanging sexual favours for game reviews, people like TotalBiscuit argue that it would be the journalist who is being exploited. What’s “fucking terrifying” is that women who are sexually harassed need a vast support network and a wellspring of inner resolve to even dare try and talk about what has happened to them, while hate-filled ex-boyfriends like Eron Gjoni can write ill-conceived screeds and have their word taken as gospel. What’s “fucking terrifying” is that women in games are subjected to abuse and harassment constantly, while TotalBiscuit’s biggest professional worry is DMCA notices.

TotalBiscuit takes at face value the idea that a woman’s sexuality is a threat to journalistic ethics (note: in an earlier version of this post I said he “suggests” this. It has been pointed out that he doesn’t do this directly. However, he does repeat the idea without challenging it). Nobody who says this should have any authority in this industry. It’s absolutely revolting. Sex is not a thing that women give men in exchange for something else. You don’t put kindness coins into women to get sex in return, no matter what video games might have told you. Sex is a thing that two (edit: or more) adults do together without coercion. Anything else is assault. I don’t know what TotalBiscuit has been through that makes him see sex as a barter economy, but he needs to unlearn that mess.

TotalBiscuit thinks that he has nothing to learn about his own misogyny. “Any right-thinking individual knows that hating women is bad, we don’t need libraries worth of articles to tell us that.” This week’s events seem to demonstrate that there is a huge subculture within games composed of men who desperately need to seek help, and instead just reinforce each other’s disordered views on women and relationships. The sick ideas that proliferate in this culture need to be called out: be it TotalBiscuit’s rapey interpretation of journalistic ethics, or Eron Gjoni’s destructive quest for revenge against his ex-girlfriend, or JonTron’s publicising pornographic cartoons that humiliate her. These men need to learn to do some goddamn self-care and stop spreading this toxic shit at women’s expense.

TotalBiscuit doesn’t know what criticism is. He can’t receive criticism on his own work. His criticism of other people’s work is primarily concerned with “value for money”, like a Which? guide but for art. His critical lens — if it can even be called that — is so dehumanising, it turns even relationships between people into a cold economic transaction. No wonder he and the people around him approach their relationships with women with such a sense of entitlement.

Posted in General Gaming | 11 Comments

What Are You Playing Wednesday

Aiden Pearce from Watch Dogs.

Aiden Pearce from Watch Dogs.

It is Wednesday question time:

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

The last few weeks I have been playing a lot of Watch Dogs. I am terrible at the criminal convoy and fixer missions, but I am slowly going through the main mission.

What have you been playing?

Posted in Off-Topic | Tagged | 24 Comments

What Are You Playing Wednesday

A town in Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn.

A town in Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn.

It is Wednesday question time:

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

This week I mainly played Muramasa Rebirth, Assassin’s Creed Liberation and Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn.  It has been all about getting in gaming time whenever I can fit it into my schedule.

What have you been playing?

Posted in Off-Topic | Tagged | 19 Comments

Women Who Stream: Jasmine Hruschak

Recently the game streaming service Twitch was rumored to be in deals with Google for a one billion dollar acquisition. The internet lit up, with responses ranging from outrage that Twitch could sell out and skepticism that a billion wasn’t enough. There is no denying that Twitch has become a giant over a very short period of time. It attracts the fourth highest peak traffic on the internet, after giants Netflix, Google, and Apple, above Hulu, Amazon, and Facebook. With integration into Playstation and Xbox consoles, it’s easier than ever to stream. There is no doubt that Twitch is a major contender, a force to be reckoned with, an entity to be watched – a big, big deal.

There have been articles written about some of Twitch’s top TV personalities, ranging from variety games Twitch host to a father-son duo who streams together. Attention is also focused on top League of Legends and Dota streamers, where a good chunk of Twitch’s viewership comes from. E-sports, with the rise of EVO and LoL and DOTA tournaments across the world have catapulted these streamers into micro celebrities.

Where, though, are the women? There certainly are women, streaming all kinds of games at all hours of the day. I want to read the stories of women streamers, to know why they stream, how they got started, and the technical aspects of streaming too. In addition, women face unique harassment challenges, in forms of threatening emails, hateful words, and toxic chat environments. Women facing harassment in public spaces is sadly not a new phenomenon and I want to know how women deal with this in such a brand new form of media.

I contacted Jasmine Hruschak, 28, known online as irlJasmine. Jasmine was a longtime streamer for Massively.com and now streams weekly on her Twitch channel, mostly MMO’s such as Archeage and Final Fantasy 14. I interviewed Jasmine about both streaming in general and what it’s like to be a woman who streams.

Jasmine's profile image. She has glasses and a pink mohawk.

Jasmine Hurschak

KC: First of all, a little background. How did you get into video games? Do you have a
favorite type or a favorite genre?

JH: When I was a little girl I used to play these Tiger handheld devices themed after Disney movies. I carried them absolutely everywhere, and eventually progressed to a Game Boy, and then finally my very own PlayStation.

Ah, the good old days.

Ah, the good old days.

I always heavily preferred games with social aspects which, back then, meant mostly fighting and racing games. Sometimes friends would come over and we would play through Crash Bandicoot together, trading the controller back and forth when one of us died, but when I was alone I was usually practicing Tekken so I could take on people at the local arcade.

With the advent of online games, and my favorite genre, MMORPGs, I get all of my social gaming desires met without having to leave the house.

Continue reading

Posted in Interviews | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

What Are You Playing Wednesday

Toadette leading a race in Mario Kart 8

Toadette leading a race in Mario Kart 8

It is late on a Wednesday and time for some questions:

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

I am still in a busy time at work and so all I have played recently was Muramasa Rebirth and Mario Kart 8 with some friends.

What have you been playing?

Posted in Off-Topic | Tagged | 22 Comments

DRAGON AGE™: INQUISITION Gameplay Series — E3 Demo & Transcription, Part One

Below is the accompanying transcript for Mike Laidlaw’s commentary.
Ambient dialogue is present, but is not included.

Continue reading

Posted in Console Games | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

What Are You Playing Wednesday

Polka from Eternal Sonata

Polka from Eternal Sonata.

Happy Wednesday everyone.

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

My week is basically a redo of last week. I played Muramasa: Rebirth and Eternal Sonata.

What have you been playing?

Posted in Off-Topic | Tagged | 9 Comments

What Are You Playing Wednesday

Torahime on a spectral horse in Muramasa Rebirth.

Torahime on a spectral horse in Muramasa Rebirth.

Happy mid-week Border House!

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

This week I went back to Skylanders SWAP Force and defeated Chaos’ mother so I assume I am near the end stages. I also restarted Eternal Sonata and I adore the visuals in that game! On my Vita, I started Muramasa Rebirth and Doki-Doki Universe since they are the PlayStation Plus games this month.

What have you been playing?

Posted in Off-Topic | Tagged | 5 Comments

What Are You Playing Wednesday

The city in Shadowrun Returns.

The city in Shadowrun Returns.

Another week, another What Are You Playing Wednesday!

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

This week I started Shadowrun Returns. I am roughly 1 hour into the game, and so far I am enjoying the graphics and battle system.

What have you been playing?


 

I would also like to take this moment to mention that we are always looking for more authors. We run this blog out of a love of video games and a sincere desire to see that medium/entertainment better reflect the diversity found in its players. Let’s talk about the problems we see and the things that excite us. If you would like to write for us, please read the following and contact us! You all help us keep the site vibrant: the commenters, readers, and writers. Thank you.

Posted in Off-Topic | Tagged | 9 Comments