Monday, October 24, 2011

Beyond the Girl Gamer 3.1: Box it Up

Beyond the Girl Gamer: Introduction | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 2.1 | 2.2
[This post is very image-heavy and so much of it is behind a jump.]

The discussion so far, over the last six months or so, has focused on what we see inside games: how the characters, both player and non-player, are designed; how the characters comport themselves; how the scenery of the narrative world is arranged for the male gaze; that the scenery of the world is, in fact, arranged; and how so many of the game worlds we visit use the same tropes to tell the same stories with the same kind of gender problems built into them.

The umbrella of "games, gaming, and gamer culture," though, goes well beyond the in-game, narrative, digital worlds.  Arguably, the biggest and most persistent problems we face aren't in the text, but rather, are wrapped around it.  And so we reach the third bucket of this series: marketing.

We've looked at the existence of the Chainmail Bikini trope before (1.2), but the problems of female characters in game marketing are bigger than, well, boobs.  Broken down, we're presented with two major areas of concern: the invisibility of non-sexualized female characters in marketing art, and the over-visibility of minor female characters just for the sex appeal.

A huge number of games do this.  After thinking of some on my own, I put the question to Twitter and received another few dozen suggestions in the first hour.  Sadly, there's no shortage of examples.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guest Post Roundup

As promised, here's a roundup to the three guest posts I did at Alyssa's place last week:
  • Video Game Stories for Non-Gamers, in which I take a stab at a short list of games suitable for those who are interested in epic or clever stories, but who don't have a decade's worth of gamer hair-trigger reflexes built up.
  • On Games vs Gamers, in which I summarize in under 600 words roughly all of the work I regularly do over here, pointing out the existence of the male gaze and so on.
  • Friday Tunes, in which I had worked 12+ hours a day at Day Job all week and decided the hell with it, here's some video game music I really like.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blog News

Two things:

1.) Posting here will be slow-to-nonexistent this week.  However, I'm excited to announce that it's because I will be doing some guest-posting at Alyssa Rosenberg's blog, Tuesday through Friday.  I've got one or two ideas brewing / drafts a-going already but if you've got something you'd love to see me take to her audience, speak up. :)  (Oh, also, hello new readers!  Welcome.)

2.) Your Critic has a voice!  And although I am of course sure it sounds nothing like me, in actuality I suspect it rather does.  You can hear me and several brilliant writers and editors of The Border House in the inaugural episode of their podcast!  This episode focuses on romantic arcs and diversity issues in BioWare's Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises.  To have a listen, clicky clicky.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"I'm trying to undo it, remember?"

[This entire post discusses the story and endings of Bastion at length and in depth.  Consider this a spoiler warning.]

The revelations all came from Zia; she was my key to understanding Bastion.