Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category


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April 16
2014

PAX East 2014: The Diversity Lounge

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Born from yet another foot-in-mouth moment from Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik (“Gabe”), the PAX East Diversity Lounge was mired in controversy from its inception. Was it a genuine attempt to bring attention to marginalized groups, or just a face-saving measure? Happily, I can report first-hand that the inaugural Diversity Lounge was quite successful at bringing much-needed attention to marginalized communities of gamers, and the people I spoke to there agreed.

“I’m actually very impressed,” admitted Samson Romero from Toronto Gaymers. “We didn’t know what to expect from PAX East, to be honest. But the support here is so amazing.”

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April 14
2014

GaymerX2 to be the Queer Gaming Con’s Last

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GaymerX made history when it became the first ever queer-centric video game convention of its kind. The con’s founder Matt Conn made headline after headline as he spearheaded an endeavor to bring his dream to life: a safe space where queer and allied geeks could gather together to play the games that they love. GamerX famously made four times its Kickstarter goal in 2012 before welcoming thousands of gay geeks from all over to the halls of San Francisco’s Hotel Kabuki last August.

GaymerX2 or GX2, will take place this upcoming July in San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel, a significant upgrade in size. It is expected to be even crazier than last year’s event, and will see special guests like WWE’s Darren Young alongside BioWare’s David Gaider, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, indie game writer/developer Mattie Brice, and many more.

It will also be the con’s last…for now.

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April 11
2014

Tomodachi Life Comes Stateside! (Still No Same-Sex Relationships)

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Nintendo surprised everyone yesterday by announcing the release of Tomodachi Life (Tomodachi Collection: New Life in Japan) in both Europe and the US this summer. With a hilariously self-referential new Nintendo Direct, Jack Trenin announced the game’s June 6th release date alongside an overview of the game’s features. This would appear to be a part of Nintendo’s previously announced plans to release popular titles that have yet to be localized (like Inazuma Eleven) outside of Japan.

Any game where my love interest can be stolen by a musclebound Reggie Fils-Aime or a scuba diving Satoru Iwata is a must-buy, let’s be honest.

But before we get too excited, let’s not forget Tomodachi Life‘s infamous ‘Gay Marriage Glitch‘.

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March 26
2014

Where do Video Games Stand? BioWare’s Manveer Heir on Misogyny, Racism, and Homophobia

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If there was an award for GDC MVP I would without hesitation hand the 2014 honor to BioWare Montreal Gameplay Designer, Manveer Heir. While this year’s Game Developer’s Conference had plenty to talk about, from indie darling Papers, Please dominating the IGF Awards to Sony’s big VR news, it was Heir’s panel that had everyone buzzing. Titled Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia: Where Do Video Games Stand? the hour-long talk featured Heir breaking down the big ol’ representation problem our beloved industry has. Ending with a passionate plea for all in attendance to be ‘soldiers’ in this battle for diversity, Heir was met with a well deserved standing ovation.

After the talk I had the pleasure to speak with Manveer Heir about his presentation and what he thinks we can do enact change in an industry that desperately needs it.

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March 24
2014

Pro-Tip: Progressive Advocacy in the Games Industry is DIY

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You read about something. You get mad about it. Then, you are doused with a heavy cold shower of, “why complain now? We’ve been doing this shit for years!”

Turn now to the blog of Melissa Bennett, M.Div. In a recent entry, she posts her correspondence with Gary Lin, CEO of glispa GmbH. Mr. Lin’s company is a “performance marketing platform” with clients such as: Nexon Europe, InnoGames, Kongregate, Gaijin Entertainment, Hasbro, Wargaming.net, Konami, Warner Home Video, Toys R Us, Kabam, DeNA, Sega, Riot Games, and more. The issue at first glance is a culturally insensitive display at GDC, which leads to a deeper discussion of appropriation throughout the culture of glispa itself.

Bennett identifies deeply with the diverse range of Native American cultures her family represents. So, a fire to write is rekindled in her when she spots a Facebook post from her friend, Elizabeth LaPensée. LaPensée is an industry professional whose “work addresses Indigenous determination in video games, animation, and web comics.” In the Facebook post, we see a picture of the glispa booth at GDC with a tipi. In front are two attractive women striking a pose in traditional Halloween buckskin attire. They’re all smiles, and why shouldn’t they be? The multicultural team of glispa represents 33 different countries and 23 different languages. Despite the fact that none of the corporate offices listed on the company’s website are actually in the United States, you’re welcome to call, email or send a “smoke signal” their way.

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March 20
2014

Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2, Gay Couple Brings the Heart

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The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2 isn’t only about surviving. A gay couple plays a vital role in the game’s second episode, and teaches young protagonist Clementine about the value of hope and forgiveness in a world that seems to be lacking in both.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead for Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 2 A House Divided

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March 11
2014

Super Smash Sisters? Sexism in the Super Smash Bros. Community

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The notion of video games as boy’s club is an old and, unfortunately, resonant one. At last year’s GDC, during the #1ReasontoBe panel, famed developer Brenda Romero said that she dreams of the day she can bring her daughter to to industry events and not be ashamed of the environment. Less than twenty-four hours later she publicly resigned from her position in the IGDA after it co-hosted an industry party that controversially featured exotic dancers as part of the night’s entertainment.

But the issue extends far beyond just questionable taste at parties. There are very real issues of harassment that plague gaming.

Anita Sarkeesian has famously faced very specific death and rape threats, the personal hacking of accounts, the spread of her private information, a game designed to act out violence against her, and ongoing online harassment for her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video series.

In the world of competitive fighting games this kind of harassment and boy’s club mentality can prove especially pervasive, with terms like “rape” being a casual part of the vernacular. Stories of sexual harassment at tournaments and online can be found just about anywhere. One gamer, Aris Bakhtanians, notoriously said that sexual harassment and fighting game culture are “one and the same thing.”

What’s a gamer girl to do?

Competitive Super Smash Bros. player Lilo spent the last couple of weeks compiling data and quotes from other female Smash players, in the hopes of conveying the experiences of these women to the greater community. Here’s what she found.

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