I should probably be writing a “favorite games of 2015” post, but uh, I didn’t actually play a lot of games. Her Story (highly recommended, btw), The Beginner’s Guide, some of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and some World of Warcraft. Not much of a list, eh? What I did do was listen to a lot of podcasts. What follows is a list of my favorites, organized by topic and otherwise in no particular order.

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Cool Girl Detox

So you’ve realized you have a bad case of Cool Girl and you know it’s a problem. Good for you; admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? Now to figure out how to go about doing the work of dismantling the patriarchy in your mind (so you can go on to work to dismantle it in the world outside).

Step 1: Stop reading men. Also stop reading white feminists.

 

The first part should be fairly obvious — set aside your Game of Thrones, your Dresden Files, your Jonathan Franzen and your Dave Eggers. Don’t worry, you can come back to it later when your detox is done (but you probably won’t want to). But you also really need to set aside ‘Lean In’ and all its ilk — it reflects such a narrow band of feminism and femininity that it’s just another iteration of Cool Girl with a feminist label.

People like Meghan Murphy and Sheryl Sandburg want you to be cool enough to say you’re a feminist without doing any of the pesky work of dismantling white supremacy or interrogating cissexism or asking men to change their behavior. How Cool Girl is that?! Just say no to white feminism.

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NOTICE
Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted;
persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished;
persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

By Order Of The Author,
Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.

— Mark Twain, Author’s Note for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain, undoubtedly writing an angry screed much like this one

Note: There will be spoilers for The Beginner’s Guide herein; if you care about that sort of thing you should probably play it before you read this.

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You were a burgeoning feminist. I mean, you’d always believed in equality of the sexes and were nominally a feminist, but you used to think that it wasn’t such a big deal any more. You were a Strong Woman and men couldn’t tell you what to do and things were mostly equal already, right?

But one too many abuses at the hands of men, one too many instances of realizing that you were keeping silent, one too many times telling yourself “well, it’s just that one guy”, when it all kept happening over and over and you started to realize: you still need feminism. So you started reading and learning and understanding about privilege and marginalization and intersectionality. And you came to the conclusion that the way to avoid those abuses, at least in a romantic relationship, was to date a Good Feminist ™.

Good Feminist 

You were a little doubtful that they existed but you knew you couldn’t date anyone who wouldn’t treat you as an equal. You told yourself you’d rather be alone than do that again. So you waited and you watched and you dated a few guys but none of them were him.

Cartoon image of a frog with a crown on its head and little hearts floating around

Prince Charming

Then you met him and it seemed like a dream come true. You’d talk media and analyze how men and women were treated differently, and you talked together about how things could and should be better and he was sympathetic. You talked about work and hobbies and how hard it was to be in video games or comic books or any other nerd interest and deal with harassment and being doubted. He told you, proudly, about how all of his exes had learned to raise their standards after dating him, how he’d taught all these women to look for the Good Feminist ™.

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Well, I finally finished the first flowchart for love/space (i.e., the first major chunk of writing plus establishing the structure and most of the scripting). Scripting from here on out is mostly copy/paste/modify, rather than problem solving, which is mostly good, except that I love problem solving so I’m a bit sad that most of the focus from here on is writing. I love writing, don’t get me wrong, but it’s much more of a struggle for me than the rest of it.

Also, brain and eyes so tired, I think I need to make sure to take a night off here and there. I have been working on this pretty much every night (and all weekend) since Friday. Spending all day working and then continuing to stare at a computer screen when I get home is a bit… tiring.

Still, I’m pretty happy with my progress. My hope is to have most of the writing done by the end of the week and then I can focus on polish/tweaking for the last week before the submission is due.

6-6-2015 11-01-41 PM

I’ve been sharing screenshots on twitter but it occurs to me I should post them here as well! This is the UI for love/space, the game I’m currently working on for the WAG Challenge! Can you guess what the icons on the control panel stand for?

I’m building it in Unity3d with Fungus, a neat little asset/scripting package for making visual novels in Unity.

In love/space you play a woman who is part of a crew seeking a new home for humanity. Something goes wrong along the way and she’s left alone with an increasingly unreliable AI and memories of the love she left behind. What happened to the crew? Can she fix whatever’s wrong with the ship’s AI? It’s up to you to figure it out! The game will be available on itch.io at the end of the month.

Content warnings: misogyny, harassment

At this point, I have written and rewritten this piece many times in my head. There are so many things I want to say and so many things I’m afraid to say, so many things that have already been said and much more clearly and eloquently than I could ever express. But this community (the gaming community) is my community too, both as a gamer and a creator, and I feel like the community and I need to have a talk. Because, you see, a significant subset of the community has been trying to tell me for most of my life that this isn’t  my community, that this community isn’t for me or people like me and others (women, LGBTQ, people of color, etc – basically anyone who isn’t a straight, white, cis man).

I finished Bioshock Infinite a few days ago – for the most part I had fun with it but it was ultimately disappointing, and there are some very specific things I really did not like. Possibly I’ll write a longer blog specifically about that at some point, but for now my summary is: meh.

I’ve spent most of the day today playing Neverwinter and I’m enjoying it. I doubt I’ll stick with it for very long, but there are some interesting things that they’re doing. I also feel like some of the key decisions Arenanet made with Guild Wars 2 have seeped in, or maybe we’re just finally at that stage in MMO thinking, but either way, I’m glad to see it. Artificially inconveniencing players as a means to gate content just never sat well with me, even when I understood the thinking behind it. It is interesting that this shift is coming from the F2P space. With Neverwinter, I think it makes even more sense, with the Foundry in place. Speaking of which, I have played through one Foundry quest (they actually incentivize players to play them, through daily quests). I haven’t yet crafted my own, though I definitely will be playing around with it. Very very curious to see what that toolset looks like. I’d probably be doing that right now if the servers weren’t down for maintenance.

I also picked up Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, and I’ll probably boot that up in a bit to check it out. It looks super fun though.

Originally published here.