So funny story. I’d been planning on doing another silly PhotoShop post like my last Bayonetta post where I ‘Shopped ScarJo to have the same proportions as Bayonetta, only this time I was going to look at the new WoW models.
The thing is, once I started comparing the screen shots to references of actual female athletes, I realized that there’s actually not much to complain about in terms of anatomical correctness. Granted, it would have been much better if the female orcs and tauren (and hell, humans!) were as bulky as their male counterparts, and if female trolls had a stoop like the male trolls did. But at least their anatomy is completely within the realm of the reasonable.
So, you know. Well done, Blizzard on not failing at one very specific thing. Now please do carry on failing at pretty much everything else related to gender.
So while I’m figuring out a different entertaining thing to blog about (I do actually have a few other pies in the oven, just none of them are done yet, so to speak), I thought I’d do another links post.
Things about #GamerGate
Zoe Quinn writes here about how, for her and other women targeted by #GamerGate, August Never Ends – the consequences of being at the center of an internet hate movement are life-altering and irrevocable. She then follows up here, talking about the continuing efforts of those behind #GamerGate to doxx and SWAT people who speak out against GG, and the potential lethal consequences for people targeted this way.
Related, the Guardian has a pretty good piece about SWATting as a #GG tactic and why it’s so dangerous. (In 2011, American cops killed 404 people – and that figure only includes murders by cops that were counted as “justified homicides”. Killings not counted as homicides were not included in this figure, so it’s hard to say how much higher the real number is. So with that in mind, each time GG gets someone SWATted, the odds are frighteningly high that the police will shoot first and ask questions later.)
Things not about gamers that are pretty much about gamers
Arthur Chu wrote a fantastic piece on Slate about “the plight of the bitter nerd” and why so many so many nerd men wind up hating feminism. It’s great because it has a lot of empathy, since the author himself identifies as a former bitter nerd who hated feminism. But at the same time it’s an excellent takedown of guys who pull shit like trying to equate “she made me feel bad” with “he raped me”. Mostly this is written about people in tech, but sub in “gamer” for tech and this 100% applies.
On his blog, David Brothers wrote about the problems with being a black artist who tries to talk about racism/sexism in the comics industry. And again, sub “gamer/gaming” for “comics” and this 100% applies. For instance, here is is talking about “outrage culture”:
We talk about outrage culture and never stop to ask ourselves why someone saying “This hurt me, here’s why” is offensive, but a white man creating a comic where women are raped and non-whites are racially stereotyped is not. We scream “Free speech!” in the face of people who say “This is messed up.” We never examine why someone is angry before dismissing them for their anger. We demand perfection and eloquence from someone who has just been confronted with the unbridled contempt someone else has for them and everything they represent.
Considering that a certain segment of my trollbase likes to refer to me as being part of the “Outrage Brigade”, this really rings true. Almost none of the hate I get online is for the games that I make, despite that they cover controversial subjects. Pretty much all of it is related things I say here. Because having opinions about things and expressing my feelings is, to some people, somehow a Crime Against Art.
Anyway. The piece is a bit long, but fantastic and you should read all of it.
People making progressive games despite some pretty strong pushback
Over on Ars Technica, I read an interesting piece about the struggles that Dontnod Entertainment went through in trying to find a publisher for their game, Life is Strange, which features a female protagonist. Apparently, but not surprisingly, most studios they talked to wanted them to make the protagonist male. Thankfully, Squeenix was willing to publish the game female protagonist and all. So, much as I bag on Squeenix for their ridiculous character designs, good on them for not being too craven to publish an interesting game simply because the protagonist isn’t a dude.
This piece on The Guardian starts out with a pretty depressing rehash of the origins of #GamerGate, but the other 2/3 are an interesting look at how Twine is democratizing game development by lowering barriers to entry and allowing more female, queer, and PoC developers to make games and get them published.
Things that are totally cool
Because I wanted to end on a high note…
New podcast alert! Chris Chinn, one of the smartest voices in games blogging, and Na’amen Tilahun are starting a new podcast called Yellow Peril & Magical Negro (love the name, btw) – where they talk about games from a PoC perspective. The first episode covers a lot of ground – everything from Dragon Age: Inquisition to superJews – and was an interesting listen!
Lastly, Epidiah Ravachol, the mind behind Worlds Without Master and many other cool games projects, is doing a cool thing this year; he’s trying to play 51 different games in 2015. It’s a pretty neat idea, but what’s really cool is that he’s making badges for people who want to try the challenge, including some pretty neat variants. Like this one:
 Credit where credit is due, you still get props for making the purple elves the good guys and the milky elves the bad ones.