GamerGate: The Reason We Can’t Have Nice Things…

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Okay, so I wasn’t going to blog about this. Partially because I didn’t want to get internet hate for it, but also because the amount of complete and utter stupid involved in the whole scandal makes me want to hit my head against a wall. Also, I don’t think I’ll be able to hold back my sarcasm and will probably end up insulting someone. But I will try my best.

*Deep breaths*

Right, for those who don’t know, GamerGate started when an ex-boyfriend (who’ll probably never have another relationship again. Just saying.) of Zoe Quinn, developer of the game Depression Quest, published a blog post accusing her of sleeping with games journalists who recommended her games. Understandably, this led many gamers to question the ethics of games journalism and whether game developers and journalists are too closely connected to be objective. (Which is fair enough) You would think that gamers would ask for ALL the people involved in these accusations to be investigated to, you know, see if there’s an truth to them.

Hahahahahahaha! No. Are you kidding? It’s the internet!

Instead, a small yet highly vocal minority of gamers decided that it was appropriate to not only to harass Quinn online, but send her death and rape threats, attacking anyone who calls them out for being misogynistic. This also expanded to the further harassment of feminist critic, Anita Sarkeesian as an episode of her web series Tropes vs Women in Video Games was released amid the scandal. All this under the guise of fighting ‘corruption’ in games journalism and claiming that the issue isn’t about gender at all.

Okay. Right. Keep telling yourself that.

You can claim that you have a  just cause and I’m all for being against corruption in not just games journalism, but journalism in general, but that does not give you the right to harass ANYONE (Not just women) or send them death threats. By only targeting the woman involved and anyone who defends her, you ARE making it about gender and misogyny. Not only that but you are not endearing people to your cause. People won’t give you what you want, if they just see you as irrational bullying extremists who are prone to knee-jerk reactions when they read something based off someone’s word. Not people you would want to deal with.

You’re harming the gaming community as a whole. You’re giving gamers even more bad press; that we’re miserable, appalling immature entitled babies that feel the need to bully and harass others when they voice an opinion that we don’t like. Worse, you’re tarring male gamers with the same sexist brush. Men who are otherwise accepting of women playing video games, who don’t really care whether the person they play with has two x chromosomes or not. You are illustrating the points that anyone has ever made about the games industry (and geek culture in general) being sexist. (Well done there guys.)

But! More importantly, your campaign of online harassment and death threats completely misses the point. Newspapers and journalists are ignoring your cause, choosing instead to highlight the appalling behaviour that you’ve shown instead of investigating the notion that maybe, yes, games journalists are a little too chummy with game devs and that maybe that isn’t right. Your actions have taken attention away from the issues that you have been trying to raise. *slow claps*

Not only this, but you’re scaring away people from the games industry; talented people who might have made amazing games. People who may have wanted to get into gaming but now won’t because they’re scared they’ll get bullied. I mean the fact that I was reluctant to write this post in case I got hate, shows that the gaming industry isn’t a safe place for anyone right now, regardless of gender.

So yeah, stop using the whole ‘we’re trying to end corruption in games journalism’ spiel as a way of justifying your misogyny. You’re fooling no one. If this wasn’t an issue of gender, then why are you targeting the only woman involved? Why aren’t you harassing the male games journalists who, if the allegations are true, are as much to blame as Zoe Quinn for all of this?

The sad thing is, it probably won’t get through to the self-righteous morons who are doing this, they’re too set in their ways to really listen to any criticism or differing opinion. They’re too busy accusing people of being white knights and social justice warriors to be open to any kind of irrational debate. (If they’re anti-SJW, what does that make them? Social Injustice Warriors? Yay for social injustice!)

As someone who dabbled, but only got into gaming in a big way in the last few years, I’ve found that most male gamers have been accepting of me. Hell, most of them don’t actually care about the fact that I play video games and I happen to be female. (Though a lot of them seem to assume I play JRPGs for some reason. I don’t. I just can’t get into them. Sorry.) I guess I’ve been quite lucky in that I haven’t experienced much in the way of sexism in gaming or geek culture in general. In fact, two incidents only particularly stick out for me; one where a guy asked me what a nice girl was doing playing violent video games (Oh how scandalous!) and one where some guy told me that I shouldn’t worry, that lots of girls these days were getting into gaming and sci-fi and fantasy. (Um, really? Thanks for that reassuring piece of information, it’s not like the majority of my female friends grew up playing video games or loving fantasy and sci-fi or anything.) It just depresses me when people who belong to a community that has been friendly and accepting towards me pull crap like this, it reinforces my lack of faith in humanity.

*Sigh*

So you may mock me and call me a fake geek girl or a gurl gamer or whatever, I don’t really care. (I have a habit of out-geeking a lot of the geeky guys I meet. Besides who gave you permission to decide on who is a geek and who isn’t?) What you’re doing isn’t really trying to raise an issue about the ethics of games journalism, it’s bullying and as everyone knows, the worst bullies are the ones who stand by and watch without ever saying anything so that’s why I’m calling you out. I refuse to let something I love be spoilt by toxic people who have to resort to bullying to get their point across.

*Deep breaths*

Thank god that’s over with. I’m sorry about the rant, but it had to be said. Here’s a picture of a funny dog to lighten the mood.

Like-a-flower-Funny-dog

To Publish Online or Not To Publish Online?

Okay, so I’m in the process of improving my LinkedIn (and actually finishing setting it up.) and I am kind of unsure of whether or not I should promote my posts for this blog on there. I mean at first glance, it seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t it? I want to be a content writer, I should show that I can actually write content for the internet, right? That way anyone who might want to potentially employ me will get a good idea about my writing. But the dilemma for me is, do they want to read slightly sarcastic rants about popular geek culture or whiny posts about writing? It would look out of place on a social media site that’s specifically about making professional connections.

Promoting my blog on Facebook is one thing. It’s about keeping in touch with family and friends, those who want to read my posts/rants can do so. Those who don’t can just simply ignore it. But LinkedIn is more about first impressions, about being professional and whilst I haven’t written about particularly controversial topics, (At least I don’t think I have.) I’m not exactly sure they’ll be interested in my A Song of Fire and Ice theories. It might look a bit out of place on a social media site where you need to be as professional as possible. Of course, it would mean being even more careful in what I post here and the language I use. I usually think twice about posting ANYTHING on the internet. (Mostly so that I don’t have to waste time getting into stupid comment fights.) It’s highly unlikely that you would find out anything too personal about me on social media, unless you are a close friend or family member. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t see why someone I used to be acquaintances with in school five years ago would need to know what’s going on in my life.

Errrrgh! Dilemma. So what do I do? I like writing this blog, it’s been fun and I am rather attached to it. Also thanks to my degree, I look at things critically by instinct now. I can’t help it. If I were to start a new blog, that would mean starting again from scratch and I wouldn’t even know what I would write about. (I don’t think I have the energy to regularly post on two blogs)

Because it just isn't a post without a cat picture...

Because it just isn’t a post without a cat picture…

This moves me on to the second part of this rather long and rambling post. Um, yeah speaking of being unsure of posting things online, I was thinking of switching things up a bit and maybe start posting some flash fiction I found in my notebook. (Nothing that I intend to get published, just in case.) I also have some ideas for some short stories that have been floating around my head for a few weeks now. (One that is kind of linked to the events in my novel.) I probably won’t post any from my (slowly growing) short story collection because well, they’re kind of interconnected and they’re maybe too weird for this blog. (Like worry about my sanity weird.) Also they still need to be redrafted and one of them actually needs an ending. (Don’t worry, baby, I’ll come back for you…)

So yeah, don’t be surprised if you see some random fiction appearing on my blog. (Now, that I’ve actually posted it, it means that I’ll actually have to follow through and post some fiction.) Um, I think that’s about it for now. For those that want to know, I’ve finished my course. I really enjoyed it and found it useful. I also learnt a lot and met some lovely people. Hopefully, now I can use the new skills I’ve learnt to help me find a new job. And now I’m really going to end it there before I start waffling.

An Explanation and a Shameless Plug…

Okay so as you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been very active on here in recent weeks. There are many different reasons for this. For one thing, I have had something of a creative block when it comes to blog posts. I do have a couple of ideas planned out, but it’s the classic thing of me getting bored halfway through when I start writing them. Hopefully, that will change soon.

Also, I have been focussing a lot on my novel in recent weeks as you all know. Things kind of get put on the back burner when I am on a novel writing frenzy. It’s weird how you can have a lot of ideas for one thing, but come up blank for others isn’t it?

My other reasons for my unplanned hiatus include life stuff. I have a lot of it going on at the moment. (Nothing bad, don’t worry.) Without going into specifics, life is getting a bit chaotic. I have a lot of things to get done, a lot of things that I really need to get sorted out but I am short on time. One of the main reasons for my hiatus is that I’ve started a three week digital marketing course with The Prince’s Trust. It’s been really useful so far (if tiring. It’s hard to get back into the routine of 9-4 after you have been out of it for a while) and I have week of work experience at an advertising agency which will hopefully boost my CV a little bit.

Which brings me to my next point. Wait for it, here comes the shameless plug. YAY!

I Googled 'Shameless Plug' and this happened...

I Googled ‘Shameless Plug’ and this happened…

*Clears throat*

Okay, so as part of my course I have to help build a website and it would really help my group if you guys went and checked it out. It’s a website that reviews films and talks about the fashion and music used in them. We also keep up to date on all the latest news in the world of film. So without rambling on any further, I present you Popcorn-Films!  So yeah, tell your friends.

That’s about all I have to say for the time being. I do have more posts coming and fully intend on getting back into a regular posting schedule once things have calmed down a little.

 

 

My Date with Neil Gaiman and Other Stories.

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So I was lucky enough (and actually had money) to go and see Neil Gaiman read The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains at the Barbican last Friday. As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of Gaiman’s work. I love Neverwhere, American Gods and most of his short stories, especially The Price so I couldn’t really miss the opportunity to see him, could I?

I would go on to write a review of the evening, but since I love his work so much it would not be a very objective review. (I think one of the reasons I like him so much is because when I picked up Fragile Things, I realised that it was okay to be dark and twisted and more importantly, you could be dark and twisted and still get published.) But I enjoyed the stories that he read out, particularly The Day the Saucers Came and the October story from the Calender of Tales. I loved the illustrations by Eddie Campbell which seemed to enhance the story for The Truth Is A Cave.

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Um, apart from that. I haven’t really been up to too much. Though I’ve finally reached 30,000 words of my novel. (Yay!) I don’t know why but for some reason, I suddenly have inspiration to keep writing it. (I mean, I want to finish it. But it doesn’t feel like a chore.) It’s like something has flipped a switch in my head and now the words just flow easily and I’m actually happy with them. (Though that is probably going to change.) Writing is weird sometimes. I always seem to get inspired by the most random things. Though maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been so bored from being unemployed that my mind needs to focus on something else for a change. I’ve always thought that I need to be bored to be inspired. I tend to have more daydreams when I’m bored and these tend to end up as story ideas. (Though they end up being completely different stories a lot of the time. But that’s another subject for a different post.)

I don’t know. The human brain is strange I guess. I’m still enjoying the process though. I’m used to writing short stories since they don’t require much planning and there tends to be more room to experiment. But I like writing my novel for the most part. (Though I have big changes I need to make and a few chapters that need to be written and slotted in and certain points.) Some of it is frustrating though, especially when you end up writing yourself into a corner or realise that you have to re-plan and restructure the beginning for parts of it to make sense. I’m determined not to go back and start again (since I’ve already done that once.) so any big changes will have to be made in the second draft.

Anyway, that’s all my news for now. I’m sorry this post has been rambling and not very well thought out. I’m sure I will think of something better to write about next week. (I really need to get better at posting every week.)

 

 

 

Swooping is Bad…

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Okay, so you know that I am a massive Dragon Age fan because I don’t shut up about it. (Sorry, but not really if this annoys you.) Anyway, E3 was last week (or the week before. Time becomes a weird thing when you’re unemployed.) and whilst I didn’t watch the majority of it, (not that I didn’t have time. Just couldn’t be bothered.) I did say pretty much the only thing, apart from the disturbing lack of actual gameplay for The Sims 4, that stood out for me was Dragon Age: Inquistion.

Now, that may be an obvious thing as I am kind of a huge Dragon Age fangirl. (Not rabid fangirl. Everything has flaws.) But I was really hesitant when I first heard that it was in development because of all the problems with the second game. I was also really worried when I heard that it was going to be open world like Skyrim. Don’t get me wrong, I love Skyrim but for very different reasons and I wanted Dragon Age to be it’s own game. But I was really excited when I found out that they were letting us pick a race again in the game and that the Qunari are playable for the first time ever. This is a big thing because the Qunari have always been the mysterious Other that you can’t quite get your head around in the game, especially with regards to their religion. Also it means that I can finally play as a female Qunari mage and yell ‘Saarebas!’ whilst flinging fireballs at my enemies. (Side note: Saarebas actually means “Dangerous thing” in Qunlat, quite apt considering. Yes, I am that sad or awesome depending on how you look at it.)

Anyway, I can’t really say much on the companions. I’m glad Varric is back because he was my bro during DA2 and he might possibly be the best thing about that game. For me anyway. As for the others? Eh, we’ll see. I’m curious about Iron Bull though, apparently he isn’t all solemn like your typical Qunari. I’m interested in seeing what that will be like. As for Cullen, I’m not really bothered about him, I don’t get what all the fuss is about where he is concerned. I’m glad Leliana is back (though that was obvious from the end of the second game.) and I want to know what she’s up to. Likewise with Morrigan. I really want to know what happened to the demon baby I made her have with Alistair and I want to know how integral to the plot that is going to be. (Oh and I think we’re getting a Tevinter mage as a companion too. That should be interesting…)

Um, what else? Oh yes gameplay! I like the idea of targeting the limbs of a dragon to incapacitate it rather than just swinging a sword at it’s ankles until it dies. Also, I like that they’ve introduced spells that you can only use once per battle. It adds to the tactical element of the battle. I’m glad they’ve brought the tactics back properly as that is how I play the game.  They’re also bringing it to the console versions too this time round, which is also good because the graphics whilst pretty look like they might chew up my laptop so I may have to get it for the PS3. (I hope not though. I’m a PC gamer at heart.) But yeah, I hope the tactics actually work properly this time round. I hope we get to lay traps again like in Origins, instead of just hacking and spamming fireballs. I hope that I don’t end up having to constantly babysit my companions like I did in the second game.  That would be good. Also no waves of enemies. It makes flanking difficult.

I don’t know, I definitely feel a little better knowing that they’re going back to making it an RPG. I just hope we get crafting back. They’re definitely taking advantage of Frostbite 3. I do have one question though, weren’t they thinking of including a multiplayer element to it? There were rumors circulating around for ages and it hasn’t been mentioned since. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of multiplayer elements in single player games, I have to say it would’ve been awesome to be able to storm a castle with friends. But eh, oh well.

I just hope that it lives up to the hype to be quite honest. I know there will always be some element of disappointment but I hope that because it’s had a longer time in development that it’s going to be amazing. I just hope that Bioware have learnt their lesson.

 

 

 

 

Yes, This Is Another Rant…

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So this may come across as something of a rant. But I got into a debate with someone (Well I say debate. It was more an argument where he just repeated the same point whilst ignoring mine. I hate people like that.) about whether or not schools and universities should stop doing English Literature courses. His argument was that the teachers spend too much time dissecting novels and poems linking them to the authors’ lives and looking for symbolism (that probably isn’t there.) instead of teaching them to appreciate the actual stories.

Um, okay. This is fine and all and he did make a valid point. But I think that English Lit should still be taught. Why? Because it enables people to read books that they would not think to pick up (I found that this happened to me a lot. I really didn’t think that I would enjoy Mrs Dalloway as much as I did.) and it helps them to think critically about the books that they read. It also teaches students to approach the stories and novels from different perspectives such as Freudian, Feminist and others as well as putting them into a historical context which helps them to better understand what the stories are actually about. I mean, Frankenstein was written during a time of social revolution and scientific progress. Shelley was inspired by the discoveries of Galvani who had managed to reanimate dead tissue and she was very aware of the moral dilemmas that scientist faced. It is one of the reasons why her novel is still relevant today.

Also, where would your cat sleep?

Also, where would your cat sleep?

As for the fact, that sometimes teachers read too much into novels and poems I think that does happen. (I have sat in lectures before wonder whether my lecturers were making things up as they went along.) But whilst a lot of poets and authors do probably just write things because they sound cool, just as many use techniques such as symbolism and unreliable narrator for a purpose. For example, in The Dresden Files, Harry knows that his pentagram necklace symbolises his faith in magic which is what protects him. In Beloved, the titular character can be interpreted in several different ways and symbolises the traumatic pasts of the slaves. And yes, while dissecting poems and novels to the death can be boring. I don’t think it is a valid reason for cancelling all literature courses. I think it just means that the way that Literature is taught (especially poetry.) should be changed so that it engages with students and inspires them to read.

Also, arguing that all Literature courses should be banned is forgetting the fact that books and poetry form a fundamental part of our culture. What kind of world would we live in if we did not allow students to access that part of our culture? We would have people growing up who will have never read a single book in their lifetime and that would be a shame. How would we be able to encourage children to learn and experience new cultures if we don’t expose them to books? Not everyone can afford to travel to far off places to understand what different cultures are really like. If we didn’t teach Literature, we would end up with a whole generation who would be ignorant of their own and other cultures; who would lack empathy and would have an extremely narrow-minded view of the world.

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Besides, books inspire a lot of people not just writers. Would I be as loyal as I am if I hadn’t picked up Tolkien or Harry Potter? If we cancelled literature courses would we be discouraging a lot of potentially talented young writers if we stopped exposing them to books? Would I have started writing if I had not been encouraged to read from a young age? I don’t know. Without Alice and Harry and Matilda, I don’t think I would have been inspired to write my own stories and keep writing. I would have made things up in my head sure, but I don’t think I would’ve actually written them down. I know one thing for sure though, without books I would have had a very boring childhood.

I dunno, I just don’t understand how someone can think this. (But he thinks Tolkien is cliched. Yeah I know.)  But that’s me I suppose. I guess this is all irrelevant anyway, since you don’t need to teach people to appreciate stories. They do that anyway. A good story is a good story whether you dissect it or not. I just think books should be available for everyone and Literature courses allow that. What do you think?

Cats-reading-books-pics07

We Need More Shows Like In The Flesh

in the flesh

As someone who likes zombies but finds them becoming overused (I think that was one of he reasons why I couldn’t  get into The Walking Dead.) I love In The Flesh. I loved the first series and I am loving the second. Why? Because it’s a zombie show that does not just focus on Zombies and gore (in fact there is very little in the way of gore.) but it focuses on people.

In The Flesh, follows the lives of Kieren Walker and his friend Amy, ‘partially deceased syndrome’ sufferers and their integration into the small community of Roarton after a cure for  rabid zombification was found. As with all good TV and literature involving monsters and zombies, In The Flesh portrays the undead characters as the feared Other dealing with the prejudices of a community still dealing with the horrors of the Rising and becoming a metaphor for Kieren’s sexuality. The second series is still about otherness but in a different way, this time they represent the unemployed and immigrants with the pro-living, UKIP-like party, Victus forcing the undead to take part in a work scheme that gives back to the community. Hmmm, I wonder what that reminds me of?

ren and amy

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the Undead Liberation Army and followers of the mysterious Undead Prophet who retaliate to Victus’ polices in violent ways, by taking a drug that turns them back to the rabid zombies they were when they first rose up from the dead, thus confirming every negative thing Victus says about them, ramping up the tension between the living and the undead in the community. This raises questions regarding the Dylan Thomas quoting Amy who embraces her undead status and went to live in a commune at the end of the first series. Has she been indoctrinated by the Undead Prophet or does she truly believe his teachings? What is the reason why she returned to Roarton with her disciple friend, Simon? (I don’t trust him. He’s clearly working an angle and will upset Amy and I love Amy.) Which side will  Keiren pick or will he ever get past his internalised prejudice? We also have Jem, Keiren’s sister who was a former member of the HVF, the local militia that was tasked with killing rabid zombies during the Rising and her struggles with PTSD and returning to civilian life as a war hero.

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Usually, I dislike TV shows where they hit you over the head with a socio-political commentary, but I feel that In The Flesh manages it quite well, focusing on the story and the characters. It’s the most compelling television show I’ve watched in a long time. It’s not afraid to go places that most TV shows would shy away from. It has complex female characters who are not there to purely serve as love interests and LGBTQ characters do not fall into tired old stereotypes and are not solely defined by their sexuality. Also the sections of society that the zombies serve as metaphors for, actually get representation which is a refreshing change.

I don’t know, I feel like we need more TV shows like this. One’s that actually reflect the society we’re living in instead of the ones that reflect the society that TV producers think we live in.  Also with the cancellation of Merlin and Being Human last year, and the steady decline of Doctor Who (the Moff seriously needs to quit.) In The Flesh is fast becoming one of my favorite TV shows and is surely a good reason as to why we need to keep BBC Three.