I support some of the reasons you bring up for women in gaming, but as you are a male, I take it with a grain of salt, as you yourself have not been personally effected by the oppressive manner of aspects of the gaming industry/community.
Well, there’s no doubt that my thoughts on women in gaming are inherently less valuable than the thoughts of women on the subject. Certainly, someone with firsthand knowledge and experience of harassment, the psychological effects of erasure, and other gendered aspects of the gaming community is more credible and a more necessary voice than my own.
With that said, the people I’m debating are almost always other men, and the things I’m saying are typically either objective facts, common sense, or logically proved. So I don’t think a “grain of salt” approach is appropriate. If you see something I say that is incorrect, feel free to push back. If you see me speaking for women or over women on these issues, please bring it to my attention. But to automatically discount the pretty obvious things I say just because I’m a man doesn’t really seem to make sense or do any good.
Well said.♥ 43 1 month ago
♥ 1 1 month ago
Games Like Literature - Episode 2: Gears of WarHey guys! This week we’re going to be deconstructing a very popular franchise, Gears of War. More specifically, Gears of War 2. Now, I know you’re all thinking that Gears of War is a super tough franchise made for dothraki-man-warriors and could not possibly have ANY sort of deeper meaning. The ironic (and in my opinion, super cool) thing is that this mindset actually adds to the metaphor being presented.
While this game is fairly old, I will try my best to keep spoilers at a minimum.
The cliffsnotes version of the story is that a parasitic race called Locusts came up from the inside the planet’s core and tried to wipe out humanity a-la Attack on Titan. However, the super manly men soldiers known as Gears threw some nukes at the situation and together the men walked off into the sunset assuming a job well done. What the Gears didn’t know is that all they succeeded in doing was pissing off the Locusts (and possibly giving them some radiation poisoning). On the surface, it seems like a ramped-up FPS but when you dissect the dynamic between the Gears and the Locusts along with the point of view it’s revealed that the Locust war is really a metaphor for the silent war going on within humanity itself.
The Locusts themselves are a parallel metaphor for the IRL locusts and the negative traits that humans have naturally. Locusts (real life variety) are parasitic insects, notorious for appearing in ‘storms’ and decimating farmers’ fields. The in-game Locusts are similar, appearing in large groups and destroying cities in a single day. They are bi-pedal, have their own language and customs, and have a functioning militia much like humans do. These creatures live in darkness, hidden in the planet’s core and commit unspeakable acts when they emerge. They embody our bottled up dark emotions that act as parasite to our mental well being. Keeping such intense thoughts back can result in people lashing out in unhealthy ways.
The Gears are uber masculine killing machines with no remorse. They kick butt, take names, then pack up for the next mission. Wash, rinse, repeat. These super soldiers represent the pressure society puts on men to be “manly”. Men in today’s society are supposed to appear to be strong with no emotional weaknesses, much like the Gears are supposed to be. This mindset is destructive for men, causing them to bottle up their emotions in order to look tough and “be a man”. The Gears’ ongoing battle with the Locusts is a metaphor for the battle that happens within a lot of male gamers. On the outside, most guys are detached seeming to have little to no emotions. On the inside though, a war is happening that they can’t share with anyone without appearing weak.
Most people playing the Gears franchise are expecting a fast-paced shooter where the only objective is to take down hordes of aliens. Epic Games definitely delivers on this front. But from the opening cinematic, it is made abundantly clear that this mindset of “rush in and kill the enemy with no second thought” is not the way to go. The Gears tried this once when they nuked the horde, and they failed miserably. With the extreme violence and flashy scenes, the developers didn’t initially hold the player back. They wanted you to go in guns blazing like you’re used to, taking down waves of baddies. The first few missions reinforce that. But when you think back to that opening scene where you are told that this strategy failed once, it makes you think twice about blasting through Locusts with your chainsaw gun. The meaning is supposed to hit you right in the middle of an over the top boss fight when you stop think that there might have been a more strategic way to go about this mess. A good example of this is when your team becomes worm chow. One of your squadmates dies a pretty gnarly death, but don’t focus on that now, you need to leave him behind and fight some more. The game doesn’t even make a big deal about honoring him or picking up his dog tags either. Now you understand how guys feel when they’re upset. They want to express their feelings, but society tells them to bottle it up and plow through life as though nothing bothers them. And you though negative self images in mass media only hurt women!
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on the Gears franchise? Did you have the same experience playing through the game or did you get a different vibe? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Regarding Last Week
Hey guys! I’m sorry for the lack of updates. I know in my last post I said I would be posting the next episode of Games Like Literature the following week. I had full intentions to do so on Wednesday until I got the news of the South Korean ferry disaster.
For those few who don’t know, a ferry sailing to Jeju Island off the coast of Korea capsized with roughly 400 high schoolers on board. Only about 100 kids have made it out of there alive. The rescue mission to save the other 300 has now turned into a retrieval mission to bring the bodies to their parents. I don’t want to publish false facts so if you want to know more, search the news.
All of this devastated me. Right now, like so many people, I feel helpless and at a loss for words. It didn’t feel right to go on about my week normally while hundreds morn their lost loved ones. Many bloggers and YouTubers interrupted their schedule as well in observance to the tragedy. In their contents’ absence, please think of all of the kids who never got to say goodbye to their parents. Think of all the parents who will never hold their kids again. I pray that those affected will be able to find peace soon.
Games Like Literature will continue next week on time, that I promise. I apologize for any inconvenience that this caused.
Games Like Literature - Episode 1: Viewing Games as a Literary MediumWelcome to Games Like Literature! This is a blog series where I will analyze the qualities of a game to bring out a deeper meaning - much like what one does when reading literature. But before we begin, there are some key things that you need to know .
Quick Disclaimer: Most everything I know about analyzing literature I learned from How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster.
First off, I know what some of you are thinking. "Games don’t have literary merit! You’re pulling all of this out of your butt! Games aren’t symbolic!" But much like most literature, some symbols and meanings that YOU get from the work weren’t necessarily put there by the author. That doesn’t make them any less legitimate! Games are slowly but surely aligning themselves with art which means that they are slowly maturing and gaining more “merit” as some would say.
Second, you are totally entitled to disagree with me. In fact, I encourage it! I would love to hear your perspectives and have you challenge my views as well. Your opinions are just as valid as mine.
With that, here we go!
In literature, the main thing an author tries to do is grant an experience. The author wants you, through their work, to gain insight into human nature and our struggles.This is what makes literature so objective. Two people can read the same piece, interpret it differently, and both be valid in their analysis. There are many tools the author has to convey experiences. The biggest one is symbolism. Word choice is also very important. In a good piece, every word has weight - no word was put there to be filler. But in games, designers have so many more tools at their disposal. The feeling of agency, the illusion of choice, and even game mechanics all help to convey deeper experiences*. The added bonus of games as a literary medium is that the players are experiencing the world the designers set up themselves. Written works have to use crafty words to get a particular image or sense in the reader’s mind. The reader can only get a shadow of the experience the author was getting at. The blanks have to be filled in. With games, there is no need for that. The designers can put people into the work itself to experience events and perceive them as if they were actually there. This concept is what gives video games so much potential to become a powerful medium in the artistic world. This is what makes games like literature.
Thanks for reading, guys! I will start to break down a video game next week. If you have any requests for games you want me to look at feel free to send me an ask or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org See you next week!
*If you’d like to learn more about these things, head on over to Extra Creditz. They do a much better job than I explaining the nuances of game design.♥ 19 3 months ago
Thoughts on Programming
Today in my calculus class, my teacher had asked if anyone was a web designer. Having dabbled in HTML and C++ (along with Python, of course) I raised my hand, where he then asked if I used WordPress. I then (jokingly) replied, “No, that’s programming cheating!” My teacher made the usual quips that languages change too fast, so it’s easier to just use WordPress or a program like Dreamweaver.
Now don’t get me wrong, those are good tools for people who are learning or are just messing around for fun. But in my opinion, to be serious about programming, you have to see programming languages as… well, a real language.
Think of it like this: when you are little, let’s say about kindergarten age, you learn to form basic, but effective sentences. Something along the lines of ‘I like my cat.’ As you get older, you can form more specific and in depth thoughts. Instead of ‘I like my cat’, you say ‘I enjoy spending time with my cat, Lucy.’ Now your words are clearer and more coherent. You narrowed down your statement to why you liked your cat and even defined your cat to be Lucy. But to learn all of that new vocabulary, did you really struggle as if you were learning a new language altogether? Chances are, probably not.
Now there are only two main reasons that I’ve seen programming languages change - to give programmers a way to better define and sophisticate their code or the opposite, making code more efficient.
In essence, you will learn to better define your sentences or minimize the effort needed to bring the same message across. (typing ‘LOL’ is a lot faster than saying ‘Wow, that’s funny!’ isn’t it?) But with all that change, was it really that hard? Some argue that it is, but I think it’s not. Don’t think of it like “ERMAHGERD I HAVE TO LEARN ALL NEW CODE AND LABEL STATEMENTS ASDFGHJKL;’SDFVGBSDKCWBH K” Just learn to adapt as the language changes, just like you would with a real language.
Only n00bs use WordPress.
(just kidding)♥ 4 1 year ago