A History of Deus Ex's Racism Controversies [New Normative] “With futuristic, sci-fi sequel Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [YouTube], developer Eidos Montreal has once again found itself walking atop the fiery coals of controversy. The developer first landed itself in trouble by referring to the game’s poor treatment of augmented humans (‘augs’ are treated as second class citizens, forced to live in ghettos) as the ‘Mechanical Apartheid.’ Apartheid is the term used to describe the horrific, and very real, period of segregation and oppression faced by black South Africans during the 20th century (1948-94). Many have questioned whether it is appropriate for the term, which is based on the South African language of Afrikaans (which is itself based upon the Dutch language, introduced to the territory by Dutch settlers) to be adapted and used as a slogan in a video game. In subsequent marketing materials – concept art created to further depict this oppression – the movement in favour of better treatment of augmented people is referred to as ‘Aug Lives Matter. It’s an unmistakeable and questionable nod of the head to the real-world movement for the better treatment of black people, Black Lives Matter.” [more inside]
You are first a wife and a mother. Go to the Doll House. Sexism was conceived in 1971 by Carolyn Houger, (interview at link) a resident of Seattle, Washington. With the creation of Sexism, Houger hoped to “bring out the humor in the Women’s Liberation movement.” The idea for the game came to Houger after her four-year-old daughter returned home after playing the card game “Old Maid” with her friends and made the statement, “wouldn’t it be terrible to be an old maid?” [more inside]
The Women I Pretend to Be, by novelist and game writer Naomi Alderman (previously):
No one in tech has ever been as sexist toward me as teachers and rabbis before I was 12 years old. But I've come to notice more and more how working within the particular masculine sexism of the tech industry has nudged the way I present myself, just a little. I've noticed how, very slowly, I've started to acquiesce into playing roles that get assigned to me. I've noticed how I disappear behind these masks.
What follows is not a horror story. It's a series of moments.
♫ Are Video Games Sexist? ♫ Auto-Tune Rebuttal. Jonathan Mann responds to a recent video by Christina Hoff Sommers on sexism in video games. [Via]
The Daily Harassment of Women in the Game Industry. "It’s telling that men in the gaming industry, or simply commentators, refuse to listen to the reality of these situations and try to help. They’d rather talk over women and convince themselves of a fictional reality that’s more comforting."
Meet Scarlett, North America's Top ranked Starcraft player. A complex, real-time strategy game with exquisitely balanced opposing forces, Starcraft is so popular that men can and do make a career out of playing the game. All but one of the top 20 ranked players in the world live and play in Korea. And all of them are men. So maybe it is not surprising that Scarlett, a 20 year-old transgender woman from Canada , is making huge waves in the gaming community.
Anita Sarkeesian has released the third video in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. It's an exhaustive (and exhausting) look at how women have been used as background decorations in video games for the last three decades. [previously]
There's no sexism in gaming: "Furthermore, reasonable people would see that asking to put male soldiers in the Call of Duty series is simply not do-able. Since the age of the Amazon, women have waged wars, because they have a higher pain threshold than males and have more stamina in every area of war. Who would take a male Battlefield seriously? Including men would simply cloud the matter; when crawling through tunnels, as is often necessary in war, our eyes would fall on the male backside - from then on women would be irreparably compromised."
David Gaider, senior writer at Bioware, delivers a talk on sex, sexuality, and sexism in video games and the gaming industry at the 2013 Game Developers Conference. (single-link 49-minute video)
Another Day, Another Press Conference. Yesterday's Playstation 4 announcement was perhaps most notable in what it didn't include: any female presenters. Also discussed by Kotaku and The Verge. (The Verge also notes similar trends in press events from Nintendo, EA, HTC, and Apple.)
Women in the gaming industry have taken to twitter to talk about the sexism they've faced under the hashtag #1reasonwhy [more inside]
I’m about to tell you a story about videogames, kitchens, and internet forums that has a happy ending. Stop laughing, I’m serious. - A woman gamer declares Gaslamp Games's Dungeons of Dredmor forums awesome.
""Hardcore" equals masculine. "Casual" equals feminine. It's just that simple, and all the marketing-speak about "core" gamers won't change that."
Hulk-Margaret smash stupid Sony. Girls not stupid lilac people. Girls strong and awesome! AAAAARRRRR! Hulk-Marg like gems. Hulk-Marg like gem sweaters (previously). But Hulk-Marg no like pandering only to gem interests. Hulk-Marg well-rounded, has many interests and layers. Hulk-Marg give example: SMASHING. Let Hulk-Marg find PowerPoint and laser pointer. Hulk-Marg has PowerPoint here somewhere. Ahem. Hulk-Marg found PowerPoint. Made slides. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
The Socially Conscious Gamer is just the most recent example of growing discussions about how gamer culture and problems with silencing and pushing women out, wallowing in racist stereotypes, self-fulfilling cycles of exclusion, and why these conversations are hard, if not impossible to have. Still, if rational discussions can be had about games dealing with slavery, perhaps there is still hope. Personally, I can't wait for escapism to be for all of us, and not about escaping FROM us.