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August 11, 2011: “girl gamers” is a dead term – finally!

August 11, 2011 3 comments

I’m going to write this here, in my little corner of the internet where it will likely pass by unnoticed.  I recently wrote a blog on Destructoid about the weekly topic of “esports” where I wrote a half assed blog about how I don’t consider gaming to be a “sport” but think that competitive video gaming is it’s own thing… part sport, part art, part game – something totally unique and it should be celebrated as such and not try to be something it isn’t.  Due to the time constraints of hitting the deadline on the weekly topic, I didn’t really fill out my thoughts well, and it wasn’t a very good blog… but nonetheless it got promoted to the front page of the Destructoid website as the weekly topic blogs often are.

Well… a shitstorm hit and the blog garnered over 200 hateful comments in addition to being picked up and discussed on other sites.  I was called a lot of awful names (including my personal favorite of  “mentally crippled”).  In addition to the insults,  people called for me to be fired (I’m just a community member and was never “hired”); that I knew nothing about the topic (which is the point of being given a weekly topic and just writing our thoughts about it); and that I was a shitty journalist (I’m a blogger… not a journalist) among other things.

In amongst all the vitriol I did notice one thing though… there were few, if any, “go back to the kitchen” or “girls don’t know gaming” comments.  In fact I don’t recall seeing any sexist comments.  People did mention “she” so they were aware of my gender, but overall I was treated the same as any other gamer would be treated.

While this situation is just the usual internet shitstorm that will quickly fade away, I did learn a few good lessons about blogging…. but more importantly I think I can officially say that the whole “girl gamer” thing is offically dead for me.  As a female who games, we have finally achieved equality with male gamers and are finally being treated no differently.  I have found this to be true in online gaming for quite some time now, and it appears that even in gaming communities we are no longer being subject to the whole “it’s a girl” thing.   I think we can drop the “girl” in gamer and just be gamers now.

… and I don’t have to make anyone a sammich! 🙂

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July 25, 2011 – Playstation Plus… or Minus

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

So… my “welcome back” free subscription to Playstation Plus expired.  The free trial actually made me NOT want to subscribe to the program because it made me realize that much of the content I was getting was in reality only rented.

In particular, I downloaded the DLC Escalation pack for MAG.  Frankly, nobody plays the DLC so it wasn’t the game mode I was interested in… it was the extra weapons that came with the Escalation pack.  I became addicted to using the Gotha assault rifle and losing it has been difficult.  The abrupt loss of DLC and any free games downloaded while being a member of Playstation Plus seems worst than never joining PS Plus in the first place and simply spending that money on owning the actual content instead of the subscription.  I was only a member for one month and felt the pain of loss on leaving the program … I can well imagine all the content I would suddenly be without if I had been with the program for a year or more.

Apparently the only thing you get to keep is the free avatars or games that you bought at a discount price.  So what do you get by being a Playstation Plus member.. well, apparently you get early beta access, but this seems very limited because betas are often now bundled with other games or available on various twitter feeds.  You get the ability to try a game out for one hour… no big deal as most of these games offer demos anyway.  Early access to demos?  Again, not a big deal as the demos soon come available to everyone.  Some free games, yes, but you lose these when your membership expires, and this applies to the free DLC as well.  Overall, what you seem to mostly get is the rental of some free games (mostly small games available at a cheap price anyway) and some free DLC.  You do get some special pricing, which for some people may make the program worthwhile, but overall I think the withdrawal pains of losing free games and free DLC if your subscription ever lapses is a pain that is difficult to measure, and not worth the small amount of savings you might get on some older games when they go on sale.

Playstation Plus… I thank you for your one month free trial.  It has saved me from making an expensive mistake.

The possibilities for the PS3… a look back at UT3.

July 25, 2011 Leave a comment

UT3 seems to be an overlooked game in the PS3 library, yet it’s a game that showed many of the true possibilities of the PS3 system. Just a few of the things they managed to incorporate were:

Keyboard and mouse support! You could play this game with either the controller or you could use a keyboard and mouse. Why is it that no other game has offered this option? It seems that this would be ideal for single player RPG or RTS type games that often originate on the PC, and the option of keyboard/mouse control might attract more PC gamers to the PS3. While the new Move controller system might attract those that are unused to a console controller, there is still a very large number of PC gamers that simply prefer the mouse/keyboard combo input. It seems that other games could use this input as an alternate control scheme, yet no other PS3 game that I’m aware of has done so. Rather than attracting new gamers, it seems that this might be a way of attracting existing gamers.

Mods! UT3 offered PS3 users the ability to freely download user-created mods, mutators and maps from various web sites and seamlessly load them into the game. There was even a later patch that provided web browser integration and mods could be downloaded directly to the game through the web. Unlike games like LittleBigPlanet, there is no moderation or restrictions. Destructoid recently ran a story regarding The Ball, which is to be released on October 18th on Steam. It’s a UT3 mod that is actually freely available to play for those that already own UT3 on the PC or the PS3. There are many sites that offer downloadable user-created mods for the PS3, and but two of the better sites are: Read more…

The Business of Charity

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment
On Facebook I noticed that one of my friends was looking for sponsor’s for an Extra Life charity event where she will be playing games to raise money for charity. I sometimes donate to these causes, but a recent report last night on my local news gave me pause for thought. Apparently only 20 cents of every dollar donated to the Canadian Cancer Society actually goes to research. The rest goes to fundraising costs and administrative costs. On looking at Extra Life I noticed something similar. First off, the Extra Life charity takes nothing, however the funds raised are given to the Child’s Miracle Network which then distributes it to a more local Hospital Charity. In my case my dollar would go through this:

Extra Life – $1.00 (no deductions)
Funds then go to:
Children’s Miracle Network – 88% of my dollar goes to actual programs… so my $1.00 is now .88 cents.
Funds are then distributed to my local Hospital foundation, which in my case is the BC Children’s Hospital foundation, where 71% of my dollar goes to actual programs. My .88 cents is now down to .62 cents.
Even at this point my .62 cents does not necessarily go directly to programs, but may in fact go to administrative costs for other programs (such as the Sunny Hill Health Center for Children which is funded by the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation). Read more…

July 21, 2011 – too much gaming!

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Crap!  Daily blogging has fallen by the wayside.  I injured my back a few weeks ago and sitting for any length of time at the computer is just uncomfortable.  I also still torn as to whether I want to do the majority of my blogging over on Destructoid, or whether I want to do it here.

Blogging on one’s own site is nice… but there’s a lack of social interaction that can be found by blogging on a bigger site. I think I’ll maintain this site because there is a freedom in writing what I want to write without worrying too much about presentation, but I’ll continue to do my bigger blogs over on Dtoid and transfer my better ones here for safekeeping and the ability to categorize them.

The odd thing about my back is that I’m writing less, but gaming more.  This probably isn’t good for me either.  I know that after sitting and gaming a lot, my back is sore and the pinched nerve makes my legs quite numb.  I really should be more active, but when my back is sore and my legs are numb/hot (and all the fun stuff that goes with a pinched nerve) I just don’t feel like being overly active.  Still… I guess I’ll have to discipline myself and restrict my gaming because I’m developing the bad habit of gaming in the afternnoons as well as the evenings now.

I picked up Fallout New Vegas at a really good price and have taken to playng the game in the afternoons.. then switching to an online game like MAG or L4D2 in the evenings.  I’m not even really enjoying Fallout New Vegas because it’s just too much like Fallout 3.  Lots and lots and lots of walking around.  The quests are fine, but often they are very unclear and I just spend half an hour dragging some guys body back to his wife only to not be allowed to bring it in the door of where she is… and on looking the quest up on the internet, apparently I was supposed to take his body to some nearby soldiers.  Where in hell was the map marker for that!!!  So many of the smaller quests don’t show in the quest log or have map markers which often makes them an exercise in frustration.  Honestly… I think it was just pure laziness on the part of the developers.

Still… the game is somehow mesmerizing… I find myself saying “let’s just play till I find out what that building on the horizon is”… and two hours later…

July 8, 2011 – in the company of strangers

July 8, 2011 1 comment

Last night I ended up in a large group playing MAG.  I was only familiar with one of the group members and the others were all strangers to me, but it’s amazing how the loose bonds of being in a group seems to reinvigorate the gameplay.

People were reviving each other, there was constant talk about strategies and enemy movements and mostly there was encouragement – just run in and take the objective -screw your KDR!  Not surprisingly, we ended up with a lot more wins than losses last night – something that doesn’t often occur with the Raven faction, especially when playing against SVER.

The mechanism in shooter games of being in a “squad” or being a part of a team just works so much better when people actually talk.  I can understand there there are times when people don’t want to use a mic… often when playing late at night and out of consideration for others in the household, or younger kids (the game is rated T for Teen) that maybe shouldn’t be exposed to some of the language adults use when they get killed by a shotgun at long range then teabagged.  Still, the people that don’t use a mic are missing out on such a large part of online gaming.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling of yelling “I’ve got the flag and need cover” and hearing encouraging (and useful) comments from your teammates.  There nothing quite like saying “There’s a guy planting a charge at our bunker” and hearing someone else yell “I’m sniping at the back and have him!”.  There’s just such a wonderful sense of comraderie when playing with a team or squad where most people are using their mics.

Strangers or not…  for that brief time when playing the game, those strangers are my “teammates” – a word not to be taken lightly.  It’s the one word that sums up why I enjoy online shooter games so very much!

July 7, 2011 – Boss Battles

Dear Diary,

I’m still playing Beyond Good and Evil and it’s interesting to be playing “boss battles” again.  So often I play online shooter games and the “boss battle” is that idiot sniper guarding the back of the objective – perched in some inaccessible area where the only strategies might be to throw your own body in front of a teammate to take the hit but accomplish the team objective, or to put on a ninja loadout and spend some time in the back lines doing some sniper hunting (and we all know how much fun it is to creep up behind an annoying sniper then knife them in the back!).

Boss battles against real people are hard.  A more skilled opponent often does the unexpected – like when that sniper knows your coming and moves so that he can do a pre-emptive strike… or when he lays a mine on the path to where he’s camping.  Boss battles in games like Beyond Good and Evil are both easier, and harder.  There is almost always a pattern to the attacks, so you often have to die a few times until you figure out the pattern… and additionally there is usually a “weak point” that has to be aimed for or timed.  Once the pattern and weak point have been established, the boss battle is usually not all that difficult. Read more…

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