Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Weekly Link Roundup

/sigh. Internet. You're not giving me much to work with here for blogging purposes. Everything I'm running into involves #GamerGate, or Wal-Mart is now selling their used game stockpile. You know what? Fine. You win today. The tubes of electric current and digital information have decided that the readers are going to be rehashed the same content. Here's your link round-up. The internet decided for me. But I did narrow down the selection to amusing and interesting articles that hopefully broader your horizons.

 - Mackenzie Kelly is a Republican running for Austin City Council in District 6. Why am I talking about her here? Not because today is election day (PSA moment: Go vote if you're registered or have 10 forms of ID if you live in Texas), but she is a supporter of #GamerGate. What's this? A women that supports the movement? Madness! Well, not really. She joined in on #GamerGate because of the "core values" are about gaming journalism. Which is a meme at this point that no one takes seriously. The chances of Kelly winning her seat are slim to none-she registered late, campaigned with almost no donations, and was only able to get onto the ballet by submitting a 25 signature petition to the state, bypassing the $500 fee because her campaign donations were not enough to cover it. But The Washington Post wants to make it know that there are women who stand behind the principles of #GamerGate.I really enjoy the comments about how normal it is to be verbally assaulted by 12 year olds because "that's part of the community." It doesn't make it right, Kelly. It doesn't make it right.

- Anita Sarkeesian's op-ed piece in the New York Times is making the rounds with lots of responses on both sides of the fence. The article from The Salt Lake Tribune, in the area where Sarkeesian cancelled her appearance at a school, is probably the shortest. At least they get right to the point without fluffing it up.

- Student writer Cameron Grover of Maine Campus says "nobody messes with Felicia Day." Well..okay then! Oh, and there's another "summary" of #GamerGate in there too.

- New York Magazine tries to dive into the origins of 'gamer rage.' It's a long read, but does bring up some interesting points regarding how both sides of the argument, in this case pro-girl gamers and anti-girl gamers, both use language that isolates and threatens others for not confirming to their viewpoints. Of all groups, "gamers" tend to be the most volatile and committed in exclusions by words. 'If you're not one of us, you don't belong' and it isn't left at that-instead it becomes a constant verbal assault. And everyone who games is guilty of it...

- #GamerGate is influencing MIT faculty, and making it harder to do their jobs. Professor Phillip Tan holds online courses for over 16,000 students, including middle and high school students through gaming programs, and the issue has made it difficult to include people in tasks when students are feeling left out by their peers because of their gender, skin color, and sexual orientation. The MIT Game Lab even enforces a stronger code of conduct policy then what the school has in place: Play nice or you're out. The article is worth the read to at least get a glimpse into MIT's gaming program and how they work.

- Not entirely about #GamerGate but does deal with sexism in gaming: Bayonetta Doesn't Care If She's Not Your Kink. You're right Maddy Myers. She doesn't. But I don't know if we can completely dismiss the male gaze argument. I know, you're going to point out that it was debunked in the 1980's be feminists, but that doesn't erase it from history. Movies began as Nickle Slot machines that played images for customers that appeared to move by rapidly cycling through each shot. These weren't for kids, but originally for adult men, the money-earners. Guess what the subjects were about? Naked women. From those small beginnings grew an industry that based itself on camera angles and movement that valued the human body. You can argue all you like that the male gaze is no longer in charge in film and video games, but they affected over a century's worth of camera editing and stylization that to completely dismiss it is illogical.

- Last but not least, 'expert blogger' Laralyn McWilliams posted a stirring note to all of Gamasutra's readers. Here's an excerpt:

Even if each of us didn't make every element in the game they're playing, each one of us is on the game development team for our culture as a whole. We're watching the usability session in action -- right now, today. Yes, it's painful and frustrating. Yes, you may want to argue with the player on the other side of the one-way mirror who doesn't understand your carefully crafted controls. Yes, you may feel shafted because a handful of malicious players are griefing a segment of the player base without your permission, and now you're on the hook to fix it.

But as experienced developers, we all know the answer is not that "She's playing it wrong." The systems of our industry are failing her.



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