Thursday Freebies: the culturally marxist edition

The internet’s been pretty busy at being interesting this week, so it’s time for another link roundup!

Awesome people being awesome

I missed seeing this when it first went up, but Blerds put up this fantastic piece in December about “5 Offensive Stereotypes Reinforced by Video Games That Need to End“. It’s an interesting piece, especially as it comes at the issue from a scientific angle by examining the real-world biases that these games are helping reinforce.

Next is this piece on Joystiq about gaming while black. I couldn’t find one passage to quote, because I wanted to quote it all. So save me some trouble and go read it.


Over on KickStarter, there’s a campaign to fund an anthology of science fiction stories by queer authors, delightfully titled Queers Destroy Science Fiction. (Okay, so this totally isn’t about gaming, but I have to admit the title totally got me.) It’s already funded, so anything else they get is gravy.

And last, but certainly not least, the ever-amazing Avery McDaldno is spear-heading New Stories – “a retreat designed to celebrate diverse creatorship and bring together several indie games communities (digital, tabletop, LARP, and beyond).” What is it? Well,

New Stories is a retreat being held at Camp Solomon Schechter, just outside Olympia, WA. May 8-10. It runs Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. Registration includes rustic accommodations and a weekend of catered meals (kosher, vegan options).

The weekend will include games, workshops, panels, semi-structured social spaces, and an opportunity to connect with makers and thinkers from several indie games communities. The retreat will challenge us to look at digital, tabletop, and live-action play in new ways. We’re hoping for 100-150 attendees.

We’ll be inviting several guests to the retreat – women, people of colour, and queers who can bring game design wisdom, critical perspectives, and awesome workshops to the table.

If you live on or near the West Coast, I’d advise you to maybe check it out!


Social Justice Adventuring Party


A lot of my feed this week has been awesome women fighting back against #GamerGate. Which is awesome. Especially since it occurred to me that their approaches would make for a pretty well-rounded Social Justice Adventuring Party. (Because a party of nothing but Social Justice Warriors wouldn’t be balanced enough to deal with a typical adventure, yannow?) So here’s what I think the super teamup from this week would look like in terms of class:

Social Justice Cleric: Zoe Quinn proves that she’s a cleric, not a warrior with the launch of Crash Override, a service devoted to helping victims of cyber harassment recover their lives and a sense of safety. I wonder how many times a day she can cast Turn Neckbeards?

Social Justice Ranger: Randi Harper, creator of the Good Game Auto Blocker and prominent target of #GamerGate, not only has the hit dice to take some serious damage, but also can put out some serious DPS. She’s going full-time with her anti-harassment work, and is relying on Patreon to support her in that work.

Social Justice Paladin: Margaret Pless (aka Idledilettante) is starting up a new series on The Daily Kos about domestic terrorism and #GamerGate. The linked piece is a 101-level summary of #GamerGate, up to and including recent SWATting incidents against people perceived as anti-GG, but I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Actually about ethics in game journalism

This piece on Boing Boing is a great look at how harassers are using crowdfunding to enable their hate campaigns. (I know! Boing Boing doing serious journalism? It surprised me too!)

Also, Destructoid just published this piece about “the real sources of unethical videogame journalism“. Shots fired.

4 thoughts on “Thursday Freebies: the culturally marxist edition

  1. As much as I agree with the general message, that Blerd article was really shallow. E.g. they say that in Skyrim Redguards (the black people, but also native Americans depending on how you read ’em, imho) are too stupid to use magic. Has this person even bothered to google “Skyrim Redguard”? They get a freaking bonus to one of the magic skills! They start with spells! Aren’t there any better examples?

    I’ll concede that in the previous Elder Scrolls games this isn’t the case. E.g. in Oblivion they have penalties to Intelligence and Willpower, with bonuses to Endurance. The Blerd article could have mentioned Oblivion by name instead of specifically Skyrim, and maybe the designers actually got better for Skyrim?

    Anyways, I’m probably being overly critical of the article because I kinda like the Elder Scrolls series, even while acknowledging its gender & race problems. There are definitely negative stereotypes in games that should be pointed out.

    • The Elder Scrolls series has always been kind of self-aware of its racism. Even back in Arena and Daggerfall, regardless of the race you chose, you were always subject to a slew of race jokes. “I heard that it only takes one drink to get a High Elf trashed. I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or the fourteenth, though.” Access to magic has never been restricted to race (though some races DO get bonuses), though if you didn’t choose a ‘caster’ class in Arena, you never got access to spells, regardless of the race you chose. Like in real life, all of the races have members who see themselves as superior and find reasons to look down on the others.

      I DO think that the imperial race could’ve stood to see a bit more diversity, considering that it was made up of all the various bits of humans who’d been dragged to central Tamriel as slaves in the 1st age.

      Daggerfall probably has the best depicted range of ethnic diversity (perhaps even within the Redguard “Race”, if we’re to assume that the majority of individuals in Hammerfell are Redguard), but there are a whole slew of other problems that game has.

      I’m derailing, aren’t I? Sorry, I’m just a mothpriest drawn to the Elder Scrolls flame. :/

  2. This week’s Oglaf comic is pretty good, and connects to a lot of what you say in your posts: (multiple pages)

    I really like the oglaf comic actually. There is a really good mix of incidentally gay and trans people, and wide variety of beauty standards. I highly recommend reading the archive if you haven’t seen it before.

    • Oglaf is a fantastic webcomic. It’s not in my reader, because it’s fantastically NSFW, but I do like to check in with it every once in a while.

      And yes, the new comic is pretty excellent. 😀

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