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2015 CON CALENDAR
We're done for 2014 but it's not too early to look at 2015.
MARCH
PAX East, Boston
Boston, MA, March 6 - 8, 2015
Emerald City, Seattle
Seattle, WA, March 27 - 29, 2015

JUNE
utopYA Con, Nashville
Nashville, TN, June 18-21, 2015

SEPTEMBER
DragonCon, Atlanta
Atlanta, GA, Septebmer 4 -7, 2015

OCTOBER
GeekGirlCon, WA
Seattle, WA, October 10 - 11, 2015 GeekGirlCon, Seattle, WA, October 11-12, 2014

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Monday
Sep292014

episode 131 - The Headlines Show

This week, we take on the latest feminist news in our headline show. There are SO MANY stories about feminism right now, good and bad, and we tackle a few here. What's your definition of feminism? Do you think it needs a new name?

Links

"What's it like to be a woman in competitive gaming? A female gamer explains." by Lilian "Milktea" Chen

Emma Watson speaks at the UN
The Emma Watson hoax

"Joseph Gordon-Levitt made a video about Feminism."
Pivot TV: Hit Record
"Brick"
"The Lookout"

Reading

"Chasing the Dead", Tim Weaver
"In the Woods", Tana French

Watching

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
"Gotham", FOX
"Forever", ABC
"The Mysteries of Laura", NBC
"Red Band Society", FOX
"Scorpion", CBS
"NCIS: New Orleans", CBS

Playing

World of Warcraft
Forbidden Dessert, Gamewright
Sequence, Jax
Love Letter, AEG
King of Tokyo, iello

Coming

GeekGirlCon, Seattle, WA, October 11 & 12, 2014
"Gone Girl", film, novel 

NOTHING goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it. - Drax 

Let us know what you think about the show and how you're geeking out this week in the comments below. 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 

Episode 131

Friday
Sep262014

When Harassment at Work Persists

One of the more urgent questions raised in the “Gender/Sex Issues in Video Games” DragonCon panel was how to deal with sexual harassment at work when the company isn’t dealing with the issue.

People know how they should behave. Companies have procedures to enforce when people act inappropriately. The government has an entire commission dedicated to enforcing federal laws. But none of this means people will behave, or companies will enforce, or red tape will be cut. What to do.

First, it depends on the severity of the harassment.

Physically Assaulted

If you are physically assaulted at work, call the police. Your company is not the ruling authority when it comes to criminal activity. They don’t have first dibs in addressing a criminal offense. Call the police immediately.

No Resolution

If you have criminal charges pending, a lawyer should advise you on any actions to take regarding your employment.

Physically Threatened

If you are being threatened, but not touched, with a physical weapon call the police. Your safety and life is in danger and the employer is not equipped to protect you. Weapons are guns, knives, box cutters, paper weights, fists, etc. Call the police if it is clear that an assailant intends to harm or kill you by threatening to strike or punch you.  

No Resolution

Again, this is in the hands of the police and your lawyer.

Verbally Threatened…

Verbal harassment takes more time, persistence, and professionalism to address. The onus is totally on the accuser.

… With Harm

If you are verbally threatened with physical harm (sexual or violent; “I will assault you”) or professional harm (fired or ruined; “I’ll get you fired.”) without weapons, you should immediately go to your HR department, enter their office, sit down, and refuse to leave until you are safe. Your manager, the assailant, and the assailant’s manager should be called in to resolve the accusation (yes, we are in the verbal world now so you’re an accuser).

If you still don’t feel safe you must clearly express why you are still in danger and create a plan with HR and the mediating manager. Make sure you have a copy of your company’s harassment policy. Get the name and contact info for someone in HR who will be your representative.

In parallel to all of this, you should also go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) web site and study it. Like most government sites, it is difficult to navigate. Contact them immediately and be persistent.

No Resolution

If the company does not follow through and harassment persists, follow the exact same steps above and make sure that the harassment policy is being followed to the letter. If the harassment policy is weak or is just a straw man (a sham argument set up to be defeated), contact the EEOC, a lawyer, and the police.

… With Suggestions

If a co-worker is making suggestive comments or gestures that are inappropriate for the work place, the first line of defense is you. Respect your co-worker more than they are respecting you or themselves. Respond professionally and don’t use first-person pronouns. Say, “that’s unprofessional” or “that’s not appropriate for the work place.”

A common response to this might be, “I’m just kidding” or “you’re uptight.” Again, keep it professional and not personal. “That might get you in trouble at work with the wrong people and you’re more professional than that.”

If they shrug it off, I think they’ve heard you. It’s not your place to rub their nose in it or illicit a confession. Close the book and be happy if it never happens again. You made a difference.

If the conversation persists or the harassment persists, then it’s personal. You need to know your harassment policy and follow their guidelines immediately.

No Resolution

If harassment continues and HR is dragging their feet, work your way up through the hierarchy of HR. In parallel, contact the EEOC to get documentation and advice started.

If you make it to the top of the HR department without resolution, then go above them. If HR is not held accountable then you can conclude that the harassment policy means nothing to the company and harassment is tolerated. Things get tricky. Hopefully EEOC will step in.

I say put your head down, don’t say anything else about it, and do your job to the letter — all the time looking for another job. You have to get out of there. You might want to stay and be Norma Rae, but that’s a different article entirely.

-----------------------------------

The work place is not a unique or exceptional environment. Any time you’re not sure what to do, think about the situation if it were in a grocery store. What makes sense?

Company guidelines and laws can also be misused to falsely accuse co-workers. This is also an egregious offense and can do permanent damage. False claims negate valid ones and can potentially ruin careers. There is no justification for it.

Wednesday
Sep242014

The Unfamiliar Familiar: The Joy of Auto Level 90 in WoW

When I started the research for my dissertation, one of the concepts in gaming identity I wanted to explore revolved around women selecting healing classes in digital RPG games. It was suspected that gender stereotypes mapped over into game spaces; that women wanted to be "caretakers" and that was the reason so many of them played healers.

The research interviews I did for the dissertation did not support this idea at all.

In fact, not a single participant who played a healer said they played because they wanted to take care of the group. They all said they healed because it took significantly more skill. The only woman who mentioned "taking care" of the group as a priority played a tank, a feral druid she ran in bear form. This idea stuck with me long after the dissertation was complete. 

As a gamer, I have long been terrified of the "responsible" roles in MMORPGs. When I first started playing World of Warcraft back in late 2005, my first toon was a warrior. I had no clue what I was doing when I started that toon — I didn't know what a tank or DPS (damage per second) was in terms of game play or group roles. It was the first class that popped up and the description seemed the most straight forward... so I accidentally rolled a tank. 

I ran a small handful of instances as a tank at that time, until I became overwhelmed by the social responsibility. I tried my hand at healing around the same time and had the same reaction: I didn't want to be responsible for the group. The backseat and DPS was the place for me. 

As I mentioned in a recent post, one of the motivations for returning to WoW has been the joy of nostalgia. This weekend I turned that feeling on its head.

Part of the package for pre-ordering the new expansion is the ability to auto level a character to the max level of 90. You can apply this boost to any level character, and even though I was aware that there was a bonus if you leveled an over 60 character, I rolled a brand new Pandarian Monk and selected the Brewmaster build. 

So now, I begin my journey as a tank. 

The auto level process is rather disconcerting  it's a little like skipping several chapters in the middle of a book. Suddenly, I found myself at the end of the Pandaria content when I had been slowly working through the story from the beginning with my main, Sunnybee. At Mark's suggestion, I went back to the area where I had been leveling with Sunny so that I would be testing out my new monk, Pandamonaium (Mona, for short), in familiar and lower level territory. 

There was a certain freedom in jumping in with a new character and one that plays completely differently from my familiar DPS. Playing the Monk class is a little like learning how to dance, throwing kegs and spitting fire, and holding aggro like you would hold your dance partner close. 

I'm planning to continue writing about this new gaming experience, sharing my experiences with this new class and new gaming adventures.

Have you had any similar experiences stepping out of your comfort zone in an otherwise familiar game?

Monday
Sep222014

Episode 130 - Tim Weaver, author of "Never Coming Back"

Rhonda here. Mark joins me as co-host this week. We were thrilled to have as our guest, The Sunday Times best selling author, Tim Weaver.

Weaver contacted me after I posted my review of his first U.S. publication, Never Coming Back, and I responded like any fangirl would by asking him to be on the show.

Never Coming Back is the fourth in Weaver's David Raker series and I hope that Penguin will publish the rest of his books in the U.S. as well.

  1. Chasing the Dead
  2. The Dead Tracks
  3. Vanished
  4. Never Coming Back
  5. Fall From Grace

OTHER LINKS

Entertainment Weekly's 2014 Summer Thriller Recommendations

CONS
WizardWorld, Nashville, Sept 26 - 28, 2014

GAMES
Resident Evil
Golden Eye
Grand Theft Auto V
The Last of Us

MOVIES
The Boxtrolls

TELEVISION
The Good Wife, CBS, 9/21
The Big Bang Theory, CBS, 9/22
Sleepy Hollow, Fox, 9/22
Gotham, Fox, 9/22
Scorpion, CBS, 9/22
Forever, ABC, 9/22
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC, 9/23
Bones, Fox, 9/25
How to Get Away With Murder, ABC, 9/25 

Let us know what you think about the show and how you're geeking out this week in the comments below. 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! 
Rhonda & Mark 

Episode 130

Friday
Sep192014

Gaming Terminology Primer: Shooters

Today we are going to tackle the genre of shooter games. This is the genre that pulled me hook, line, and sinker into the realm of online PC gaming. (In this instance “PC” means Personal Computer and not Player Character.)

Shooter Games: A game genre where the player's avatar, either in first person or third person point of view, uses a weapon, typically ranged, to progress through missions or survive as long as possible in arena type settings against other players.

The thing about either having seen a shooter played, or having played one yourself, is that it's fairly easy to think that once you've seen one shooter you've seen them all. And I believe there was a time when that might have been true. During the early to mid 90s, for example, id Software pumped out several popular first person shooters that may have differed in setting but looked very similar stylistically.

Thankfully, times have changed, and with them the sophistication of gamers and game developers alike. Whether it be the hyper-realistic style of shooters set in the present like the Call of Duty or Medal of Honor franchises, or a more cartoony series like Borderlands that is set in the future, there is more than likely a shooter out there for anyone's particular tastes.

How about we take a look at some different styles of shooter and examples of games within those?

 

FPS: First Person Shooter

This style of shooter takes its name from the point of view of your avatar. You see the game environment exactly as you would if you were that avatar. Typically the only part of “yourself” that you might see are your arms, hands, and the weapon you are wielding.

Examples: Pretty much anything by id Software, Left 4 Dead series


TPS: Third Person Shooter

Also taking its name from the point of view of your avatar, the third person shooter shows all of your avatar, usually from behind as if being followed by a camera. Though, occasionally it might go to a first person view if you sight in with iron sights or a scope on your weapon.

Examples: The Dead Space Series, Warframe


Shooting Gallery

These are also known as Rail Shooters because the player usually doesn't have direct control of their avatar's movement, if there is any movement at all. This genre is probably the precursor to all other shooter games. It typically utilizes a gun that emits or detects light to determine if you hit your target. These games are usually found in arcades or on gaming consoles.

Examples: Duck Hunt, House of the Dead series


MMOS: Massively Multiplayer Online Shooter

So, this style of shooter is very like your RPG version of an MMO in that they combine lots of other elements: open world/sandbox style of play area, either first or third person point of view, and hundreds or thousands of people playing simultaneously.

Examples: World of Tanks, Planetside 2

 

LEXICON

Admin: Administrator. A person whose job it is to enforce rules, change maps, and game mode on a server.

Camping: A style of play where the player stays hidden in one location and shoots any enemies that come into their field of fire.

Cap: Short for capture. The act of capturing a point in a “Capture the Flag” match.

CTF: Capture The Flag. A game mode in shooter games where teams earn points by capturing a flag that is usually guarded by the opposing team.

DM: Death Match. A game mode in shooter games where everyone is against everyone else. The object being to get more kills than anyone else. Also known as Free For All or FFA.

Frag: To kill another player or to be killed by another player. The term, originally coined in the military, was used by id Software in its FPS games.

Gib: Derived from the word giblets. To hit an enemy so hard that they literally explode into pieces.

GG: Good game.

Run and Gun: A style of play where the player is typically on the move at all times and shooting enemies wherever they encounter them.

Spawn Point: The area or areas within the playable portion of the game map where players' avatars are spawned into the game. This happens both at the beginning of the game and anytime the player might respawn after being “killed” in the match.

TDM: Team Death Match. A match in a shooter where the object is for one team to get more kills than the other.

 

It is worth noting that shooter games are set in just as many settings as RPGs. There are shooters that fall into sci-fi, horror, western, modern day criminal settings, and sometimes even mixes of those. If you think you would like fast-paced competitive game play, you should definitely give shooter games a try if you haven't yet.

Please feel free to check out Regina and Rhonda's podcast episode on first person shooters.

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.

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