I'm 51 years old, I'm female, I'm happily married, I'm retired from the work force... and I spend way too much time gaming. I enjoy long walks on the beach, with a gun, sometimes with my husband - shooting n00bs.
I not only like to shoot people, I also enjoy cooking and crafting. Mostly I make my own armor in games like Skyrim and cook my own potions after a busy day of hacking and slashing my way through various critters, guards and bandits in most any WRPG game.
If you're into a threesome or foursome with a mature couple, then come join us - only be sure to bring a med kit. We're old, sometimes we fall down and can't get back up without some help!
PSN: Elsa XBL: Elssa62 Playstation Gamer Advisory Panel Member (GAP)
Currently Playing: PS3:
Black Ops 2
MAG (mostly Valor, though I have a Raven and SVER alt)
... and occasionally Warhawk, Starhawk, Resistance 2 co-op or Killzone 3!
(I don't currently have gold and only use my Xbox for the occasional older WRPG single player game)
iOS (iPad and iPod Touch)
mostly casual word games... I do love my word games!
Elder Scrolls Series (Oblivion and Skyrim)
Dragon Age series
Left 4 Dead 2
Last year for Valentine's Day my husband got me a funny little book called "Porn for Women" and included really nice pictures of guys saying things like "God, that's SO interesting... tell me more" or "Oh look! The NFL playoffs are today. I bet we'll have no trouble finding parking at the crafts fair". It was cute and I thought it would be fun to adapt it for gaming so I created these pics last year, but then I never posted a blog because frankly... it's entirely sexist! This year, I just don't care about the sexist thing... so for the two other people out there that might find these funny, here ya go!
Have fun this Valentine's Day! For myself and my husband, it will be love and bullets as we will likely load up a shooter game and go kill some bad guys. Having a gaming spouse is awesome... but it's also a lot like assembling Ikea Furniture together... you have to have a pretty strong relationship to make it work. There can be arguments regarding picking out the right furniture, because tastes can vary... and then there is the aspect of working together which more often results in that lovely bookcase ending up looking like a coffin that you wish you could bury your loved one in without anyone being the wiser!
So if you're in a game and you hear "sorry I ran you in the jeep over honey!" or "Dammit sweetie, why can't you fucking carry a med kit!"... then say hi to us! :)
I'm not a competitive person. I tend to prefer multiplayer shooter games that are based on team tactics and allow for helping out team members with the ability to play medic or engineer or other non-shooty aspects to the game. I love discussing team tactics and working together to achieve a common goal... and in the rare case when that actually happens, games are magic for me. They fill my heart, not just with a love of the game, but with a sense of real affectionate for the random players I might be in the squad with.
My lack of a truly aggressive competitive spirit seems to be fairly common among my gender. There have been several recent studies that seem to point to a possibility that the salary gap between men and women may, in part, be due to women not wanting to apply for positions that are very competitive. The first study showed that men are much more likely to apply for positions where salary was based on personal performance, and women tended to strongly prefer positions that had low competitive levels - where the salary was a flat fee (independent of performance) or where the performance was based on how the team did, rather than the individual.
The second study was even more controlled and eradicated issues that might actually arise in the workplace (women were equally skilled, there was no chance of discrimination and the time limit would create no conflicts with home life), yet 75% of the male participants in the study opted for a competitive tournament setting with the chance to make more money, whereas only 35% of the women chose this option.
Now these are just preliminary studies and don't represent all men or all women. Obviously there are strongly competitive women in the workplace, and non-competitive men. The main thing I took away from these studies was a side thought on whether video games could actually help non-competitive people become more comfortable in competitive situations? Looking back on my own experience with competitive multi-player games, I do think that video games can be helpful in better understanding many of the variances in a competitive environment. Gender, age, race, sexuality, appearance... these factors play almost no role in video game competition, so we are all free to better examine the actual nature of competition and how it might apply to real life.
Understanding the Game: Playing a variety of competitive video games has shown me that it's not entirely about skill, sometimes it's about looking at things like the points structure. In a game like MAG, people can often achieve better personal scores by playing the role of medic - gaining massive points for healing and reviving. They can use a well situated vehicle's turret as an armoured gun to more easily acquire kills, and if they equip a repair gun, they can get additional repair points for repairing their own vehicle. In games like Modern Warfare 3, spamming the recon drone and marking enemies can help to bring up a personal score if one's killing skill isn't high. In a game like Warhawk, sneaking around and continually hiding out and taking zones can make someone an MVP.
A game may seem to be about killing the opponents and achieving team objectives, but a closer look at a game and it's structure can reveal ways to "win" and achieve high personal scores that are a little bit outside of the main game's structure. The same can hold true of the workforce. When competing, it's important to understand the structure of the competition. It may not be about achieving the best sales record - it might be about the ability to bring in new clients, grow existing clients, client satisfaction, and retaining clients. In some workplaces, personal popularity and networking is more of a factor than performance, in other workplaces, promotions may be entirely based on statistics like the number of calls handled in a phone support situation, so brevity and volume might even be more important than client satisfaction. It's all about understanding how the game works.
Understanding Your Own Skills: One thing I've learned from video games is that I don't always know my own skills. I always thought I was a bad sniper, but by actually giving it a go, I've found out I'm a awesome sniper! I can easily rack up the most kills in a game by sniping, but again, it goes to understanding the game and by not taking objectives or reviving other players, my overall points will often be low. I can however, apply this new-found skill to an assault rifle with a 4X scope and a silencer... and be in the action accruing points while still getting those long range kills I seem to be good at. Gaming has taught me that I should try things I don't think I'm good at, and additionally to look at new ways to use those skills. In the workforce, I think we too often focus in on something we "think" we're good at, but don't try other aspects of the job we dislike or where we think we will do poorly. Every game and every job is different. Sniping in one game is very different from sniping in another game... and sales in one job might be very different from sales in another job. Being competitive often means trying out all aspects of your job and often finding you may be good at something you didn't previously like, or felt you weren't good at! It can mean adjusting how you use your skills in order to be more competitive.
Understanding the Competition: Those of us that play competitive video games have, at one point, found ourselves being red-lined, pwned, or totally destroyed. Those are the games where we can barely spawn without encountering an undignified death. In the workforce, we may well be the "new kid" and everyone around us looks skilled and quite ready to teabag our lifeless resumes or corpsehump our performance statistics. Video gaming has taught me that there is value in seeing an arrogant and overpowered enemy. Often it's not all that difficult to sneak around behind enemy lines, take the objective and win the game. In other circumstances, it's possible to find a safe spot where you can snipe all those arrogant red dots rushing out into the open and at least achieve the highest score on my team.
In the workforce, whether you're a web page designer, an accountant, an artist or a CEO - look at your competition. What are their weaknesses? What can you do better or different to win against established forces? Looking at the competition and adapting becomes second nature in video games. Seeing their weaknesses and using them to your own advantage is part of healthy competition - in a game, or in the workplace.
Understanding Your Own Team: Sometimes you get on a team where everyone wants to snipe and nobody is going for the objective, where people are rushing headlong into an obvious enemy area, or where people are just... well... dickheads. Sometimes when you look around at your own team, you realize that you're on a team of losers. In a video game you can try to take charge and see if you can bring some order and strategy to the idiotic chaos, you can cut your losses, forget about your team winning and just go for personal points, or you can just quit the game and find another game with a better team. In the workforce it's important to look around and see if you're on a team of winners, or a team of losers. If you're stuck with the losers, you might try and make them into winners... or you can just forget about them and look after yourself. You can also try to get on that team of winners you see over in the corner. Regardless of your decision, it's important to take an objective look at your team - be it your work unit, branch, or even the personal relationships you've formed in the workplace. It's also important to realize, that just like a video game, your team might change over time. Some clans in certain games become the "winners", but changes over time might see new clans arise and older one's start to disintegrate. Being competitive means having an honest look at your own team, and often making some hard decisions.
Fair Play and Morals: It doesn't take too long when playing competitive video games before you will encounter those that glitch, cheat, or have no sense of fair play. You may also on a rare occasion encounter the opposite... someone in the group who says, "we've won the game, it's over, pull back a bit... everyone switch to pistols!" - I love that guy! Mostly though, you'll find those glitchers, cheaters and asshats. When people on your own team are using a glitch you are presented with the moral question of use it, or not. Report them, or not. The more I play competitive games, the more I start to realize that the use of some glitches or cheats is not entirely a black and white issue... there is a lot of grey where certain glitches are used by everyone to the benefit of the game. In many situations, what one person might call "cheating" another person might simply say that it's not outside of the rules of the game (flag tossing in Warhawk was often used to pad points before a patch was brought in to disallow it).
These same situations often arise in the workplace, especially if you're competitive and take better notice of this phenomenon. It's interesting but I remember one example of a company that found that some of their sales people had teamed up in order to win a quarterly prize offered to the employee with the highest sales. They would use one employees number when entering sales and then split the prize. Corporate decided to look the other way because what was happening was that employees were teaming up, working with each other, looking for potential partners... and overall sales were dramatically increasing because, through teamwork, employees with normally low sales when teamed with other employees actually had a chance at winning... so everyone's sales were up. Even employee morale was increased because more employees had a chance of winning and people were getting along better so as not to offend a potential future partner in this "scam".
In various work situations - as an employer or an employee, we are often conflicted regarding whether to cheat, or how to deal with others who cheat. We also have to go back to the rules of the game to even determine IF there is cheating. These are all situations faced when playing most competitive multiplayer video games and individuals can learn from how they handle these situations and possibly apply what they've learned to workplace situations.
TLDR: Overall, would playing competitive video games help non-competitive people become better at competition? My own feelings are that it might help them to better understand competition, it might give them more faith in their abilities, it might help people become more familiar with how to handle certain competitive situations... so yes, I do think that playing competitive video games can have some real world positive value. Video games are also one of the few venues where men and women can compete directly against each other - very much like the workforce.
From a personal viewpoint, I do think that playing competitive online games has made me much more comfortable competing against men. It's also brought me a certain level of confidence and a better understanding of competition. It's "toughened" me up a bit more where I am more willing to take risks for greater rewards, and where I'm also more willing to compete based on my personal performance and not always based on cooperative game play.
So if your young daughter starts to take Mario Kart a little too seriously... knocking others off the track, wanting to "win" at the cost of others - this may not be something to discourage. Finding her competitive spirit may not seem very gentle or ladylike... but it may better prepare her to break through the glass ceiling in the competitive real world of the workforce.
So I finally (after trying out a LOT of demos) found a Kinect game I actually like. Someone on another blog indicated that the game Rhythm Party was similar to the old Eyetoy Groove game... so I looked up the demo and gave it a try! I loved the game, and yes, it's very similar to Groove. This is a simple game of hitting certain marks in time with the music... using your own moves. I really dislike the current trend of "copy the professional dancer so we all dance the same" thing. I don't want to dance exactly like the geeky dancer doing those "I'm a trendy kid" moves... I just want to dance any way I want and get some exercise. The only real drawback to this game is that unlike Groove, it doesn't allow for any customization (creating your own routines), and it doesn't show a camera image of me... no, it shows part of a blurry camera image of me... with no hair. I don't understand why Kinect games just don't show a simple camera image, but instead I'm usually missing body parts, or more commonly, my hair! I don't even have short hair, it's shoulder length, but I guess now I know what I'll kind of look like if I go bald. Maybe Kinect just doesn't like gray hair - age discrimination! Still, Rhythm Party is exactly what I wanted... let's buy the thing!
Surprise!... it's 800 Microsoft "points". Last time I bought a game on XBL it was a "games on demand" and I paid the exact price with my credit card. This was the first time I have been faced with the "points" thing. Ok, I guess I need to buy 800 points.... no, I can only buy 500 points or 1000 points. Ah! Ok, well I can probably buy some DLC with the left over 200 points. Wrong again, DLC for the game (extra song tracks) is 240 points! At this point, I'm almost ripping my hair out to match the Kinect version of reality. so I decide to see if I can buy the code for the game, or a points card from an online source - maybe EBGames or Amazon.ca. No again. Americans can apparently buy 400 or 800 point cards, but not Canadians. Well dammit! If they just told me the game was 1000 points or $14.50 I would probably have just bought the game and figured it was an ok deal at that price - but now I'm just pissed. They want me to pay extra for the game and then have these absolutely useless points sitting on my account. To make matters worst, it seems that the US price of 1000 points is $12.50... so Canadians (even though our dollar is near par) are getting ripped off. Sony has offered Canadian/American dollars on par for many years now - with the exact same price on games in both stores. I also understand that Americans can purchase in increments of 400 or 800 points... which doesn't seem to be an option available to Canadians either online or through purchased points cards. I already have a Hate/Hate relationship with my Xbox because of the requirement for Gold to even use the web browser, never mind any game I might buy for $60.00 that I won't be able to play because most of the games I buy are for the online multiplayer component.... and now I've encountered "microsoft points" - UGH!
Yup... you're fucked!
The Xbox with Kinect was a gift from my husband. He bought it for me during the big PSN hacking outage because he knew how much I missed online play. It came with a one month trial of Gold and I have to admit that I really enjoyed the online play of the Xbox, but I have a moral issue with paying an additional fee to play the game I just paid for. I can pay $59.00 per year so that I can use the web browser on my Xbox, or Netflix or play the games I bought... or I can get all those services for free on my PS3 and pay $49.00 per year for PSPlus and get a ton of free games. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of comparison regarding which choice offers better value, so yeah, my Xbox has been Gold-less and accumulating dust aside from the few times I play an older WRPG on it.
Still... I do need the exercise, so I'll buy the 1000 points and just convince myself that I'm buying this game for $14.50. I already checked and apparently my left over 200 points won't even buy me a goddamn virtual puppy for my avatar - they're 240 points! I'm gonna try really, really hard not to get frustrated over the point manipulation thing of so many games being 800 points, but not being able to just buy 800 points.
It's not just my Xbox that I'm pissed off at. I'm looking at my PS3 and feeling my hair fall out over the continuing frustration of third party games simply not working on the system. I've been playing MAG as my go-to shooter game for well over two years now and was looking forward to Black Ops 2 as a new shooter game. I held off on pre-ordering the game because so many shooter games have launch issues. Some eventually get fixed (Battlefield 3) and some never do get fixed (Ghost Recon). Additionally, the PS3 has issues with sustaining the needed player base on shooter games to be able to play them well past launch, so I figured Black Ops 2 might just have the volume for me to be able to just jump in any time and play a game. On launch day, I hit up the PS3 section of the official Black Ops 2 forums and found pages and pages and pages of complaints about two issues - PS3 freezing in multiplayer and server issues. The new developer thread on the "servers unavailable" issue is now at 225 pages and growing fast (in addition to copious complaints not on the official thread tracking the issue). The PS3 freezing thread is also gaining quite the following. The worst thing is that many of the PS3 freezes happen when people finally manage to get into a game, so when they do re-boot their PS3 units and re-load the game they are insulted with a warning that they are on probation for quitting games! The devs did seem to take notice of all the complaints, and they do seem to now be tracking these issues and working on them, but until a patch resolves this issue, I'll hold off on buying the game. I really don't want to be stuck in the Skyrim situation of owning a game that just barely works on the system. I did manage to platinum Skyrim but had to disable all auto-saves and use manual saves... which constantly reminded me I was playing a game and I was not at all immersed in the world. I held on to the game for the advertised DLC... and like others with the PS3 version, I'm still waiting.
I don't understand how Activision can produce previous Call of Duty games that eventually worked fine on the PS3, and then fuck up the current game so badly. They're using the same old tired game engine they've been using since Modern Warfare, so it seems they should have been able to manage the basics of people getting into the game and playing the game. Some third party PS3 games do work fine... I had absolutely no issues with Capcom's Dragon's Dogma and it seems almost entirely random as to which games will have PS3 issues and which won't .... but I guess if it's a huge AAA game with millions of dollars invested into it (like COD or Skyrim), the chances of it not working on the PS3 seem to increase. :(
Anyway, I guess I'll de-stress by getting some exercise with Kinect Rhythm Party and by trying out some of the PSPlus games I've acquired. I tried out Just Cause 2, and it's a goofy fun game if I ignore the quests and just explore the island while blowing shit up and playing with the cars, boats and helicopters! There are also a bunch of other games (Warhammer, Payday, RE5) that I haven't even tried yet.
Ah well... at least I feel a little better after venting about my recent gaming frustrations! :)
... and hell, maybe I'll just load up Modern Warfare 3 and see if people are still playing.
First off, for those that don't know - I am an old, white female. My gender has occasionally been questioned, but I can describe menstrual cramps in detail, and I can also now give a crash course in early menopause... and the threats of those are usually enough to confirm my gender. I'm also an old white woman who plays FPS games online, with a mic. Yes, I've encountered harassment, and on occasion I've also been guilty of dishing it out. Well, apparently Microsoft plans on perma-banning Halo 4 players for sexist comments, and all I can think is "which stupid cunts at Microsoft decided this was a good idea?".
Now when I say the word "cunts", I don't mean it to refer specifically to women... the same as all those British players who game online tend to use it to refer to a moron - male or female. It's just a swear word simply intended to denote feelings of vehemence towards.... well... someone - usually the player that just teamkilled you or teabagged you. I've noticed that American players seem to use the word "bitch" in the same way. At first I often thought the "bitch" comments were directed towards me - often the only female in the game. It took me awhile to realize that it's used more often towards other men. These words are still exceedingly sexist because their primary purpose is to apply female characteristics to other men in an derogatory way - but this use of "sexist" language is most often used to harass other men, not women. So is it sexist language that will earn the ban? if men call each other sexist words will they be banned, or will it be actual sexist acts towards the opposite gender to undermine their gaming enjoyment that is a bannable offense. If it's sexist language, who determines which words are sexist? A friend of mine often affectionately refers to her friends as "you silly cunt"... would she be banned for the use of that word, even though her intent of the word is simply affection for a friend? Will intent be the overriding factor? I recently ran across an annoying MAG player who would meow every time I was in his squad... and when someone would finally ask why he was meowing, he would say "I smell pussy in this game, and girls shouldn't play my game". He used no swear words - but clearly and annoyingly harasses women whenever there is one in his squad (I finally blocked little pussy boy). So is it the use of words... or intent? If it's words, then where is the list of banned words and will their use evoke a ban for anyone - male or female? If it's intent, how do you prove intent or give proof of intent that the actions were sexist and intended to specifically harass women?
It's also only "sexist" language that will apparently earn this lifetime ban... so I guess if you want to use racist or homophobic language you'll be safe. I'm sometimes confused for a male in online play and have been called a " faggy, homo guy" or a "tranny" - will this continue to be acceptable, or will the perpetrators be subject to a ban - not because I'm actually a homosexual male, but because I am a heterosexual female who was harassed with sexist language that implied I was a gay male rather than a straight female, even if the intent was not to actually harass a female, but the end result was? (oh my, things do start to get confusing don't they?)
Does the term "sexist" work both ways? When being teabagged it's not at all uncommon for me to say "grow some balls before you teabag me, you dickless moron!" (well, either that or "what, no dinner and a movie first?"). So I'm guilty of using sexist insults towards a male - am I now subject to a ban because as a women I used a sexist insult to a man? I'm also a bad driver and have been known to laughingly say "ok, so I drive like a woman!" when I crash our team vehicle into an obstacle while trying to drive it to a bunker... should I be banned for using sexist language in reference to myself?
What about the more obscure harassment... most every female gamer has experienced that male who really, really, really wants on your buddy list and floods their inbox with pleas to be added. They claim they are not sexist and that the love women gamers... which in itself is sexist in that they differentiate "female" from "male". It's a subtle harassment, but it's still annoying. Would this sexist behavior be banned?
What about women who evoke harassment? Most of the nasty PSN notes I receive are because I said something derogatory to someone in the game... if the criteria for banning is the receipt of XBL messages such as those highlighted on sites such as "Fat, Ugly or Slutty", then what's to prevent some women from manipulating this response?
If the criteria is verbal, what's to prevent women from grouping up and lying about one of the group-member's ex-boyfriend? Claiming harassment in order to get the person permanently banned or at least temporarily banned while the complaints are investigated? If people don't think that women can be vicious... then apparently they've never been divorced.
The "sexist language" threat of a permanent ban has no balls when Microsoft and 343 don't spell out EXACTLY the actions or words that will get players banned for life. What they have done is either an empty threat, or worse, it will be a threat applied with bias - moderators will use their "personal judgment" regarding who gets banned for life and who doesn't.
Vicious harassment exists in gaming. It's not just sexist harassment aimed at deterring women from playing, it's also racist and homophobic harassment. There is harassment of younger players who's voices still reflect their youth. There is harassment of well... anybody and everybody. There are answers though and the answer is NOT some poorly thought out reactionary plan to specifically target sexual harassment of women in gaming. A more effective answer is to give players the agency to easily institute a voice ban. When a player is muted by two other players in a game, they go on auto-mute. They are simply and effectively informed that they have been muted. Anyone who wants to speak with this player must actually go to the trouble of un-muting them. If a player is auto-muted in say 5 games - then they are perma-muted. Again, anyone who wants to listen to this player or speak with this player would then have to go to the trouble of actually un-muting them in order to communicate with them. This is a clear and easy answer to harassment of all kinds, including that idiot that feels the need to blast rap music at very high volumes through their mic in every game (and if it's one of those "gangsta bitch" misogynistic rap songs - is that considered sexual harassment of women?). If the harassment is via messaging, then have an auto-ban on the player's ability to send messages after "X" number of complaints. If they want the ban lifted, they would have to exonerate themselves.
The thing is that there are answers. The answer though is not a narrow minded focus on sexism, while ignoring other forms of harassment. It's not perma-banning people from a game based on some nebulous criteria. Instead it's giving players the agency to better control who they play with. Microsoft already has a good start with their ability to use the party chat system. They even have gamer "zones" such as Recreation, Family, Pro and Underground. These zones don't actually seem to have any purpose or effect, so why don't games create their own Zones. In a game with the population base of something like Halo 4, it should be easily possible to at least divide players into "Family" and "Underground". Any one found to be swearing and abusing the "Family" rating could be automatically re-classified permanently into "Underground" if enough players mark this gamer via an in-game system.
Answers... yes, they are there. Perma-banning for sexism in Halo 4 - not an answer. Instead, I'm starting to feel used and dirty... that "banning sexism" is simply a marketing tool aimed at women to encourage them to play Halo 4, aimed at the press to generate publicity, and aimed at the Sarkeesianesque sympathizers who buy into the whole issue with their white knight dollars. The irony is that in banning players for making "sexist" comments against women - they themselves are acting in a sexist manner by treating males and females different. By singling out "sexism" instead of harassment, they are playing the big ole gender card and they are doing nothing more than exacerbating the existing male vs female negativity.
Halo 4.... look for ways to battle harassment, but please get off the sexism sympathy train. It's quickly running out of steam. and I'm getting damn tired of being used as fuel. The problem isn't sexism or harassment against women... it's just plain harassment against anyone!
I can't help feeling a bit maternal about those on my buddy list.. I care about you! I also can't help but notice that some of you are playing Borderlands 2 - all the time, - probably too much. I wonder if you're practicing safe gaming.
It seems it's not uncommon for gamers to be hospitalized because of gaming marathons, or for people to actually die from gaming marathons... but there are reasons for gaming marathons - like Borderlands 2, or a double XP weekend, or Borderlands 2 DLC, or Dishonored,or Borderlands 2 (did I mention Borderlands 2?) - and gaming doesn't have to endanger your health with a few common sense tips.
1. The beer hat Dehydration is a real thing. If you really can't take the time to drink a nice big glass of water while fast traveling in Borderlands, then get yourself a beer hat! You can drink and play at the same time. Drink water. Juice is full of sugar and will hype you up (and pack on the pounds) and colas, coffee and tea are diuretics that when consumed in large quantities will basically make you piss out much of the fluid you should be retaining. If you don't have the latest in beer hats, then make sure that you have a very large glass of water or a bike flask of water (which doesn't spill when you throw it on the couch next to you). Have a goal of finishing the entire amount within a 4 hour period.
2. Washroom breaks One of the best things about drinking lots of water while you game is that it mostly forces you to get up and go to the bathroom at fairly regular periods. Unless you're seriously ill, don't do the Depends Adult Diaper thing - it's just really uncool, probably uncomfortable, and likely a bit smelly. On a washroom break, refocus your eyes, do a quick stretch - and park your Siren or Assassin near a safe place where you won't get killed by a Scrag!
3. Meal breaks While eating Pizza pockets or drinking Ensure meal replacement milkshakes through your beer hat might seem like an attractive alternative to actually eating... don't do it! There are these things called "breakfast", "lunch" and "dinner" - if one of those mealtimes arrives, take 20 minutes to half an hour to actually leave the game and take a break. Make a meal, eat it... and don't look at your TV. Look out the window, read a book, check email on your phone - but do something where your eyes get a break by re-focusing at varying distances. Hell, watch your meal cook in the microwave if you have to, just make sure you look at something different for a short while and that you walk around a bit or stretch.
4. Sleep Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture. While you may think that you are super-human and can play for three days straight with no sleep, the reality is that your skills have likely decreased to those of a 9 year old girl... well, actually, it's probably a nine year old girl who is now carrying your ass in Borderlands and constantly rescuing you from Badass Blackhole Threshers. Don't let your game (and reputation) suffer because you're too stubborn to grab a much needed period of rest. When your eyes droop and you find yourself wiping drool from your mouth that you didn't know was there until the icky wetness ran down your chin and dribbled on your chest - take the time to put the controller down, exit the game, close your eyes - and sleep!
5. Shower When you're battling Spitter Scrags and Chubby Varkids and you suddenly wonder what that odd odor is that you keep smelling, well, it's likely you. Getting those badass points or to that next level is no excuse for bad hygiene!
6. Appropriate clothing Please wear appropriate clothing when you're gaming for long periods of time. Don't wear constrictive clothes (and yes, ladies, that means taking off the underwire push-up bra and putting on a supportive yoga top or sports bra... or going bra-less!). Joggers, pajamas, or naked - doesn't matter what you choose, just make sure you don't have anything cutting off circulation and strangling body parts while you're engrossed in your marathon. Myself... I'm a pajama person. No, I'm not talking Victoria's Secret sexy pajamas - I'm saying that yes, if you've played online with me, I was probably wearing floppy flannel pj bottoms with an elastic waist and a yoga top (for the boob support), with a hoodie or sweatshirt because I'm always cold. Now that you have that horrifying visual in your brain, it's time to look at what's on your feet (after a quick look at some "appropriate clothing"!).
... apparently naked gaming is a thing!
7. leg condoms!! As a last note (and the most important note) - compression socks!! Compression socks aren't just for little old ladies with varicose veins anymore! There is a current trend for Olympic athletes and long distance runners to wear compression socks either during the event, or immediately after the event. Various studies have shown no drawbacks to the use of compression socks, and the positive benefits include reduced muscle fatigue, improved circulation and possibly better lactate clearance. Compression socks essentially work by adding compression or tightness at the ankle, which helps to prevent blood pooling, clotting, and it helps to improve circulation. More importantly compression socks feel great!! My doctor recommended compression socks for me on one of my earlier surgeries because I tend to be fairly sedentary during recovery and I'll be the first to say that they feel awesome! You can pick them up for around $10.00 to $20.00 at most any pharmacy and they are well worth every penny! I use them regularly for gaming because I'm often sitting in one position for extended periods of time. Yes, these leg condoms may initially feel odd, but you do get used to them, and they can be useful in helping to prevent blood clots or other circulatory problems for gamers who don't get up regularly and stretch!
Oh yeah... and as an extra bonus note - a door lock!
So, if you're going to be gaming naked, while wearing a beer hat and compression socks - you will want a lock on your door. It's not for you... it's for the sanity and safety of anyone who may inadvertently scar their mind by seeing you during your gaming marathon!
Safe gaming - it's really just common sense and leg condoms. In your eagerness to enjoy the pleasures of gaming, I just don't want to see any accidents happen - something that you often have to live with for a long, long time. Dehydration, blood clots and other health issues can generally be averted with a little common sense, so enjoy your gaming marathon, but game safely! Most of us already know this information... but how many of us practice it? I know I'm sometimes guilty of gaming for 4 hours or more without drinking, eating, stretching or looking after myself, so this blog is as much a reminder for myself as it is for anyone else reading it. Game safely!
... Oh... and when you're done with your gaming marathon and have killed Handsome Jack, take a day or two off and get off your butt and go outside.
Hold on a minute... let me put down this cooking pot, untie my apron, put on some lipstick, ask my husband for permission to write this blog and vent a bit. Dammit! Why the hell didn't somebody tell me that I was being repressed? The gaming world is apparently filled with misogynistic male pigs who create female game characters to subjugate and objectify me, it's filled with male gamers who want to ogle my (50 year old) boobs and silence my voice. It's the epitome of the male patriarchal system glorifying male qualities of violence and strength. Why the hell did nobody inform me of this earlier? My own reality is that I never felt repressed in the gaming world until the gaming (and non-gaming) press and feminists came along to inform me that I was indeed being repressed, oppressed and suppressed.
I play online games and use a mic... a lot, well, probably too much. I see lots of other women in these games. Mostly I get conversation and team based dialog about what our team should be doing to win the game, but yes, occasionally I get a "what do your boobies look like" question or the classic "why aren't you in the kitchen making me a sandwich". My husband gets messages too... often to do with his apparently small penis (and I can personally testify that these people are incorrect!). I just assumed that a small percentage of gamers were dickheads, I had no idea that I was being harassed and abused specifically I'm a female, because I certainly see and hear a lot of harassment aimed at everything from someone's accent or their apparent choice in sexual partners (often their mother or sister), to their age, their actions in the game or even just their user-name. There is a culture of harassment in online gaming and it needs to change, but I didn't realize it was specifically a woman's issue. I'm so glad that somebody finally educated me. Wow... I feel rather silly now.
I write blogs and comments on a gaming website. Some have even been promoted to the front page (though none since the e-sports fiasco... though it should also be noted that during that fiasco there were people that called for me to be "fired" from Destructoid, there were comments on my stupidity and my lack of education on the topic... but there were few if any sexist, misogynistic or violent comments, even though it was fairly clear that I was a female). I see articles and blogs and game-related video series by other women on this and other websites, but yes, the female voices are a minority. I didn't realize this minority was because of a subversive plot by men to keep us out of their gaming kingdom of scantily clad big boobed babes, helpless maidens in distress, and unfettered glorious violence. I just thought that more men tended to play video games, just as more women tend to read Harlequin Romances. Did you know that romance novels were a $1.358 billion dollar business in 2010, making up 13.4% of the market - beating out the mystery and sci-fi/fantasy genres? Did you know that for many romance novels (particularly Harlequin Romances) you actually have to conform to various tropes? Each different series has specific themes, characterizations, and plot lines that have to be used. Part of the attraction to romance novels seems to be that they are comfortably predictable. The guideline for a standard Harlequin Romance reads " heroes are alpha but attainable – they're not all super rich international tycoons (although some might be!) but they're successful in their own right and should be a strong man our heroine would aspire to be with". I don't see anyone complaining about this, nor about the fact that most male romance writers tend to use a female pseudonym because of fears that women won't buy romance books written by a man. It's formulaic entertainment by one gender, for one gender - which comprises the majority of the market (rather like console video games.)
In the early days of gaming, yes, there was some resistance when I tried to gain access to these male web-based portals of gaming goodness. Mostly guys seemed to wonder if I was actually a gamer, or if I was there to pick up a male fanbase by posting revealing pics of myself in my white cross-your-heart double lined, full coverage support bra... or if I was gonna start screaming about how I was a "gurl gamer" and was gonna whip their asses because I was the superior female gender. When they realized I was just a regular gamer who wanted to talk about games - well, there just weren't any issues. For the most part I've always been accepted at most gaming sites and given the same lack of respect that men, fanboys, religious zealots and 12 year old kids are given. Again, the overall culture of gaming is pretty antagonistic, but I didn't realize this was specifically a women's issue. Thank goodness that there are now newspaper articles informing me that video game culture is misogynistic and that only women's voices are oppressed - otherwise I would never have known!
I thought part of the hate was when politics get mixed in with entertainment. Jack Thompson wants video games to be less violent - to possibly lessen the impact of violence on our youth. Bobby Kotick doesn't care about the consumer and wants his company to be profitable. EA is just... well EA killed Bioware and they are just plain evil! Anita Sarkeesian seems to want video games to portray female game characters in such a way as to be more politically correct regarding patriarchal gender roles and to forward a feminist viewpoint of the oppression of women through our media - currently focusing on video games. Their interest in games isn't from the simple perspective of a gamer who likes or dislikes something in a game they've played - their interest is from a larger perspective. There's nothing at all wrong with this - but a backlash is to be expected when anyone negatively critiques or wants to change a specific media as a whole or advocates for changes that might affect the primary consumers of the media. While the backlash might degenerate into sexist or violent comments - the initial backlash isn't caused by gender or age or race or any other "ism" - it's simply caused by fear that this person might actually influence the industry in a way that some consumers disagree with. If gaming truly was a misogynistic culture where females had no influence, then the entire issue with Ms. Sarkeesian would never have arisen. In a way, the hate she received is actually a validation that a woman might influence gaming and what the incident evoked was primarily fear - which expressed itself as misogyny because the intent was to hurt, deter and belittle. Once again, a social backlash against someone who wants to change gaming to forward a social, cultural or fiscal agenda that's not popular with some consumers - I didn't realize it was primarily a female issue and that even mentioning the Beat up Bobby or Jack games was co-opting the discussion away from it's proper place - women!
I would like to thank the press, the gaming press, and feminists (of both the male and female variety) for finally letting me see the light! Now that I'm educated and more aware of my own oppression I see it everywhere! When I get that "you fucking bitch" psn note, I know it's only because I'm a female and not because I called that person a dumbass moron for driving our team vehicle into a turret and getting us all killed. I went back to the game that made me fall in love with gaming... and when I type "woman", "female" or "feminist" into Zork... it doesn't even recognize those words!! In Skyrim, it was only the female characters that were not fully fleshed out as strong female characters - all the male characters were memorable and perfect! Bayonetta and Juliet Starling... all those women who are cosplaying as those characters are actually making a statement about how sexist men are, and that women should not be objectified. I shouldn't discuss poor game characters in general... because it's derailing the discussion that it's only female characters that need changing. There are no common tropes or outdated themes regarding male characters - duh! In fact, changing male characters to be "better" could never result in better female characters - like that black dude in The Walking Dead games... making him into a more complex character didn't at all result in some excellent and varied female characters. Nathan Drake was made more complex by his relationships with Zoe and Elena - but the main protagonist of the whole game was still a man!
Oh... and shooter games!! I love shooter games and just saw them as being about working as a team and trying to achieve an objective... but of course now I see the meaning of the guns - they're giant phallic symbols and the true meaning of every shooter game is men running around with their giant dicks shooting their wads or hitting each other over the head with them to prove who has the most powerful cock! So sexist! How did I not see that... where are the vagina guns???
Now that I'm edumacated, I can warn other women not to play video games because they condition us to sexist patriarchal male values. I can warn women not to play online - unless they form a large clan of all women because this isn't at all intimidating to men and they'll be safe. I'll have to be very careful when I participate in gaming websites... I mean really "also cocks" - it's so obvious that this is a manly man's website and I'll be belittled and harassed. (I mean really... why aren't I being belittled and harassed... am I not womanly enough for you?? I kinda feel a bit offended now.) If we keep screaming in headlines how hard it is to be a female in the gaming world, then women won't game. They'll be scared to try online gaming, or go to a gaming conventions or join a general gaming website - but at least they'll be safe from the misogynistic gaming culture that men have created. If the headlines read that there are the occasional misogynistic incidents and that gaming culture was antagonistic (like politics) or that gaming culture tends to reflect the current majority consumer (men)- then women might actually shift from being a majority in the casual gaming sphere and might start playing more console games. The horror! We'd end up with games like Twilight - The Video Game... or entire Rockband games devoted to Lady GaGa! There is sexism and misogyny in gaming culture... but the best way to combat it is to apparently make sure more women don't game by highlighting this small aspect, because frankly it's just much easier to blame men for everything that's wrong with the world.
I used to believe this crap! It's a good thing everyone is letting me know I'm oppressed!
Thank God for feminists and the gaming press. I thought gaming was awesome... with a vast sea of gaming choices where I could always find a game I wanted to play, with wonderful people that I met at conventions, gaming sites and in online play. I always thought that I could make my own game if I truly wanted to. I thought that if I had artistic ability I could create my ideal female characters and get some developer interested. I thought gaming was freedom... to be a different age, gender, race or even sexuality in a virtual world if I wanted (recently I've had several lesbian experiences!). I thought I could do anything and that there was nothing holding me back from being who or what I wanted to be. How could I have been so wrong??
This blog has been mulling around in my head for several months now and I can't seem to move on to other writing until I get this out. I'm not sure if it's even saying what I want it to say, but basically there seems to be a lot of press every time a sexist incident occurs in the gaming world and I want it known that it's a small vocal minority of gaming culture that is misogynistic. There are women like myself that don't feel oppressed, suppressed or repressed in the gaming world and love many of the games that are being produced. I've always felt empowered by games and comfortable in all aspects of gaming culture - from online play to gaming websites to conventions. Yes, there are gender issues... but they are not specific to gaming culture which simply tends to reflect our more general culture. Oh... and vagina guns... I have no idea what one would look like and I know it's totally sexist to say this... but I want one!