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2014 CON CALENDAR

SEPTEMBER
Wizard World, TN
Nashville, TN, Sept 26 - 28, 2014 Wizard World, Nashville, TN, Sept 26 - 28, 2014

OCTOBER
GeekGirlCon, WA
Seattle, WA, October 11-12, 2014 GeekGirlCon, Seattle, WA, October 11-12, 2014

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Friday
Oct242014

❤ Positive Feminism

When I’m on a con panel, I look for an opportunity to mention that I don’t agree with the conclusions of She-who-shall-not-be-named in her Game-Trope series and that her voice is not the best to put forward for feminism.* When I say this, there are audible groans of disapproval in the audience. That’s fine. I want the community to be open to differing opinions and keep an open mind. But it seems people aren’t comfortable doing that.

After one panel at DragonCon a handful of people came up to me and secretly confessed they agreed with me about She-who-shall-not-be-named. “But if she’s not our feminist delegate, who else is there? Don’t I have to fall in line?”

Absolutely not.

Putting forth only one representative for a complex idea will, in fact, have the opposite effect. The fallout we’ve been seeing lately is a clear example of that. The proliferation of hearsay may even cause the  altogether loss of the term ‘feminism’ as anything socially positive. A valid cause and idea has become lost in a screaming match. There are lots of reasons for the screaming (lies, misinformation, piety, etc.), but one is the desperate need of the feminist community to defend the narrow representation we’ve put forth.

The feminist model that speaks for you should be chosen by you, not a community, hashtag, meme, or prolific headliner. Social media is defining who and what you are. Drive social media; don’t ride its helter-skelter, chameleon party bus. Choose for yourself a feminist that speaks for you and raise them up via your tweets, friend clicks, likes, posts, tumbles, etc. We talk to people on the show all the time that may voice your feminism  look back at those as a starting point.

The first thing you need to do is understand is what feminism means to you. Feminism is not a cause, it’s a conviction. Feminism is not a negative, it’s a positive. “I’m against hate speech,” is a cause. “I’m for inclusion and diversity,” is a conviction. Spell out your principles on paper about what it means to you to be a feminist. Then, you can choose a mentor and a cause.

One feminist cause seems to be railing against hate speech but it’s a very small and futile one. As any psychologist will tell you about relationships (or anyone who’s been in a relationship), you can’t change another person — not with reasoning, screaming, badgering, shaming… anything. You’ll make bigger strides for feminism if you become a better feminist than you will in trying to stop one person’s hate speech. As a group cause, we can encourage individuals to stand up, one-on-one, against online hate speech.

What about death threats? This is different. It is a form of hate speech, but it crosses a line. This is not a cause, it is a crime, and our tax-paid enforcement agencies should be dealing with it. If they are not, you have a cause with law and enforcement leaders and your social media rants may actually work against you in this. If you are a victim of threats, you should be going to the police and not online. There is no benefit to you or the community to make threats public.

“But people need to know this is happening.”

In regards to death threats specifically, why? If law enforcement is handling it, then what does it benefit feminism or the online community to know about it? If it is being dealt with, it is, by definition, not a cause. And you’re not going to stop it by putting it on the new celebrity stage of social media. Retweeting gives it importance and I don’t think it’s the importance you intend. Believe me; the hater is thrilled you retweeted. The online affirmation is the retweet/like/❤/△/@.

To Regina’s optimism, I am the pessimist. I see no end to hate or threatening speech. And if we can’t change the other person then let’s not waste our efforts. Exert all of this energy to raise the positive message, live an example of our feminism, be a feminist mentor, and put forth more and more representatives. If we’re going on a raid, we need more than a single crafting sorceress.

I'll Give You A Topic

Are there any other feminist models out there? Who are they?

* I think I used all the hot-button words in that sentence. That should get a bunch of unnecessary hits. Bleh.

Tuesday
Oct212014

episode 134 - Anne Marie Porter: Gaming & Health Research

This week we catch up with researcher and graduate student, Anne Marie Porter. Anne Marie shares with us her research exploring games and health. Yes, you read that right. HEALTH. Listen to hear some fascinating effects gaming can have on the brain. 

Rhonda and I WRaP up our week as the fall TV season takes off. I share some shows I am reluctant to return to this season - are there any on your NOT to watch list?

WATCHING

"Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge", SyFy, HuluPlus
"New Girl", Season 3 on Netflix
"Brooklyn Nine Nine", Fox
"Selfie", ABC

READING

"Chicks Dig Gaming", Mad Norwegian Press, out November 11
"In the Woods", Tana French
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory", Caitlin Doughty

PLAYING

"Magic: The Gathering"

COMING

NC ComicCon, November 15 & 16, Durham, NC
"John Wick"
that samari movie Keanu Reeves did ("47 Ronin")
"Constantine", NBC
"2 Broke Girls", CBS

You can also get in touch with us on facebookgoogle+, and twitter.  If you haven't done so already, please consider leaving us a rating or review on iTunes

Until next time, game on! 
Regina & Rhonda 

I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.

- Chaucer, A Knight's Tale

Episode 134

Wednesday
Oct152014

Game On Girl at GeekGirlCon '14!

Monday
Oct132014

episode 133 - GeekGirlCon

We had a great time this weekend at GeekGirlCon '14! Rhonda, Isabela, and I represented Game on Girl at this fantastic gathering. We recorded a short podcast and several short videos showing off all the great stuff and fantastic people in attendance. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you don't miss anything. Here is the intro video of all three of us in the same place!

LINKS

GeekGirlCon, Seattle, WA, October 11 - 12, 2014 

You can get in touch with us on facebookgoogle+, and twitter.  If you haven't done so already, please consider leaving us a rating or review on iTunes!  

Until next time, game on! 
Regina & Rhonda & Isabela

Episode 133

Friday
Oct102014

Gaming Terminology Primer: Strategy games

I was originally introduced to the world of PC strategy games by way of Command and Conquer and spent many an hour on my mother's computer playing it. Today, I hope to teach you a bit about my second video game obsession —  

Strategy Games: A game genre where the player acquires resources or territory, and manages their base and units to defeat the opponent. Typically, the player has an overhead view of the map or world they are playing on, similar to a board game. 

 More than any other type of video game, I feel that the strategy game best bridges the gap between the virtual world of video games and the physical world of the tabletop game. To me, there is something really cool about that. I think it's because strategy video games can look so much like a strategy board game, making them different ends of the same bridge between two different worlds of gaming. That bridge can allow someone who's never played a video game to find an experience that is similar to a tabletop game, or give a video gamer a way to find that tabletop games can be just as fun and exciting as a video game.

Let's dive into some of the different types of strategy games there are out there.


RTS: Real Time Strategy 
A Real Time Strategy game typically involves gathering resources, building a base, the player expanding their area of influence on the map, and finally, defeating their enemy or enemies as the case may be. All of this occurs in real time as the genre title suggests. This means the opponents are doing all of these same things at the same time as one another. A very fun but demanding type of game to play. It requires a great deal of multitasking, the ability to think on one's feet, and quick reflexes. 

Examples: The Command and Conquer series, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War series 

 

RTT: Real Time Tactics 
This genre of strategy game is also played in real time, however, it takes place at the tactical level rather than the strategic level. This means that the players do not engage in base building, or resource gathering. Usually they pick some units or are given some at the beginning of the game/map and use those as efficiently as possible to win.

Examples: The Commandos series, The Mech Commander one and two

 

TBS: Turn Based Strategy 
A style of strategy game that distinguishes itself from RTS by having the players act in turn. This slows the game play down and allows the players to think about their actions before committing to them. TBS games still consist of base building, resource gathering, and expansion, but just at a less frenetic pace than an RTS. 

Examples: The Civilization series, Age of Wonders series 

 

TBT: Turn Based Tactics 
Just like RTT games, the turn-based tactics game is dealing with combat at the tactical level. And just like the TBS games, it is turn-based. 

Examples: Most of the XCOM series, the upcoming Warmachine: Tactics 

 

Tower Defense 
Tower Defense games are different from the above genres of strategy game. Where the above genres have a mix of offense and defense in their game play, tower defense games are all about protecting something or keeping enemies out. In this style of strategy game, the player erects defensive weapons, traps, and/or barriers to try to keep enemies at bay. 

Examples: Defense Grid One and Two, Dungeon Defenders, Plants vs. Zombies

 

LEXICON

APM: Actions Per Minute. How many times per a minute a player interacts with a games user interface. Typically used as a measure of expertise in RTS games where better players will have higher actions per minute.

BO: Build Order. A planned order in which a player will build their buildings, upgrades, and/or units.

Expansion: The act of expanding one's area of control. This can improve the player's strategic standing by giving them access to resources, or denying an opponent those same resources.

Harassing: Using a small, quick force to disrupt an opponent’s resource gathering or building.

Micro: Short for micromanaging. The ability of a player to control every unit individually in a conflict. 

Teching: Short for “teching up.” A strategy where a player creates the minimum amount of early game units so that the can devote the majority of their resources to upgrading their base and units. 

Turtling: Derived from the word turtle. The strategy of building up one's defenses and keeping their units in and around their base for defense. Based on the idea of a turtle defending itself by withdrawing into its shell when attacked. 

Zerg: To overwhelm one's enemy with a force of quick and cheap units. Derived from the Zerg faction in the Starcraft games.

 

It can be said that all genres of video games have strategy behind their styles of play, and this is very true. However, I think that strategy games often times bring a deeper experience to the use of strategy in gaming — this experience, in my opinion, can only benefit a gamer. This is a good reason to give a them a shot.

Who knows? You might find that you actually like them.

Regina and Rhonda recorded a podcast on Tower Defense games. Check it out here.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or contact me at mark@gameongirl.com, or on Twitter @MarsUller.