Geek Girls Rule!!!

We're all just one annoying encounter from sociopathy here in Nerdville

Archive for April, 2010

Geek Girls Rule #126 – Superheroes ARE Real.

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 30, 2010

Ok, don’t click the link unless you’re prepared to sob like a baby at your computer. 

Boy gets to be superhero for a day

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization full of beautiful human beings, made a young boy with cancer’s wish to be a superhero come true.  13 year old Erik Martin got to be Electronboy yesterday, Thursday April 28th.  So if any of you wondered why stretches of highway around Seattle were closed off, and why the police escort, now you know:  Electronboy was saving the day, and the Seattle Sounders, a public utilities worker and people trapped on the Space Needle.

I cried reading this article.  And I put it to you, that unless you have no heart at all, you will, too. 

Go, read it.  And then donate.  I was going to say more, but I’m crying again. 

What an amazing organization. 

Sometimes things happen that bring back just a little of my faith in humanity.  Just a little.

ETA:  Ok, if that weren’t enough, there’s video.

If you click through to the Youtube page, there’s more clips.

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Geek Girls Rule! #125 – Sometimes Simpler is Better*

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 29, 2010

I catch a fair amount of crap for my love of “rules light” systems.  “Oooh, how typically ‘girl’ of you!”  Blah Blah Blah… Whatever.   Now, in my defense it isn’t that I can’t handle crunchy, rules heavy systems, I can.  I played, and ran, GURPS for years.  For heaven’s sake, I’ve played Rolemaster

I just don’t want to.  If I have to dive for the book more than twice a game session, it starts to feel less like fun for me, and more like work.  If every combat involves pouring over charts, consulting three different damage indices and special rules sections, I start to lose interest.    

This is not to say that for those people who think that sort of thing is fun, that they’re wrong.  They are no more wrong than I am.  We just have different ideas of fun, and that’s ok.  I’m not a big fan of leaping out of perfectly good airplanes or off of bridges with rubber bands tied to my ankles for entertainment, either.  And I’m sure most of those folks would be bored to tears by the thought of spending an entire evening reading an academic treatise on the psychology of sex and gender, and taking notes… for fun. 

Different strokes for different folks, right? 

So, I don’t think the hardcore “rules” gamers are any more wrong or bad than am I and my constant hand-waving. 

That big, pissy, whiney kettle of fish dumped over…

Wizards of the Coast has put out a “lite” version of the 4th ed rules for playing D&D with children, for a module called “Monster Slayers:  Heroes of Hesiod.” 

I think this, much like Mouseguard**, is brilliant.  It’s not that I don’t think 8 year olds of either gender can’t wrap their heads around the rules of basic D&D, it’s that not all of them are going to want to.  Some of them are just going to want to tell the stories that D&D and other role-playing systems are useful tools for inspiring.   And I don’t see any reason why they should have to master a rules heavy system to have the sort of fun that can be adjudicated, if everyone is amenable by, “Ok, you rolled a 7, you win,” instead of factoring in Armor Class, Hit Points and all that fun stuff. 

Now, some 8 year olds are going to play the “lite” version and want to explore the harder, more crunchy, full version.  Some will be content with the “lite” version, and some of them will be bored to tears by the entire endeavor and ask if it isn’t recess time yet.  That’s all ok. 

If you must, think of Monster Slayers as the gateway drug to gaming.  Me, I think it’s awesome the way it is, and might even entice me into playing or running D&D again some time in the near future. 

*Better being a relative term, a matter of opinion and not a statement of fact.

**Ok, guys, why the hell can’t I find a simple, straight forward page for the RPG that I can just point people to anymore?  Luke used to have one on the Burning Wheel site, but all mention of it appears to be gone. 

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules | Tagged: , , | 16 Comments »

Sorry for the silence

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 28, 2010

Between massive allergies and the death of my grandfather, I’ve been a bit busy. 

More soon.  I promise.

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules | 1 Comment »

Geek Girl Meet-up Tomorrow April 24th

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 24, 2010

11 am to 2pm at the Wayward Coffeehouse in Seattle.  See previous post for URL.

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Women Gamer’s Meet Up in Seattle

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 13, 2010

Women Gamer Meet-Up – April 24, 11-2 at the Wayward Coffeehouse in Greenwood (Seattle).  http://www.waywardcoffee.com/ 

We need to come up with a name that has a better acronym for this.

I’ve been mulling it over:  Seattle Gaming Women, Gaming Women of the PNW, I don’t know.  You guys talk it over.

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Geek Girls Rule! #124.5 – Advertising Sexist?

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 13, 2010

I love this clip from That Mitchell and Webb Look.

That’s about the size of it.

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Geek Girls Rule! #124 – Bitches ain’t Shit… ORLY?

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 8, 2010

http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/28300

The above is a commercial for God of War 3, titled “Insignificant Other.”  I apologize for linking you to a site where you’ll have to watch an ad to see the ad (WTF?) but I think reading the comments below demonstrates why women don’t feel welcome in the videogames community.

But first let’s talk about the commercial: 
Dumpy, Pasty Dude?  Check
Conventionally Hot Girl?  Check
Girl Clueless About Videogame?  Check
Girl Whining?  Check
Girl Pouting?  Check

Seriously?  This is what you project as an image of what women are and do, and you wonder why we think you’re a bunch of misogynous dickbags?  Is it really that hard to figure out?  You don’t really need a degree in Women’s Studies to see what the problems with this are.  At least I hope not.  I mean, I don’t have a degree in Women’s Studies.  I have a History degree.  But I understand that when you project an image of a really hot girl, dating a pasty, dumpy gamer dude, and depict it as UNREASONABLE of her and WHINING that she wants to, oh, I don’t know, spend time with said boyfriend and maybe, have the SEXX0RZ, oh wait… You guys don’t think girls like sex either.

*insert random grumbling*

Here’s the deal, slappy.  There are LOTS of women who like the God of War franchise, granted after advertising like this you may have to pull a few fingernails to get them to admit it.  Lots of women play videogames, and not just the girly video games.  Jen, who writes here, is a fiend for the NHL games for Xbox, as well as the killy, stabby games, and WoW.  I love fighty games, even though I can’t cope with FPS’s, because with my glasses they make me motion sick and with my contacts I focus so hard I forget to blink and my eyes dry out.  But back to God of War…

The responses to the commercial are primarily along the lines of  “Totally hilarious!”, with a scattering of people saying it’s misogynous and in response: “You chicks just need to mellow out and quit calling everything misogyny.” 

Really?

Ok, so reverse genders in that commercial.  Pasty, chubby Gamer Girl, playing videogames while a male model stands in the background and:
A. Acts as if he doesn’t ‘get’ the game or understand it.
B.  Whines about his girlfriend ignoring him.
C.  Pouts.

No, really, think about that.  Your knickers would be all kinds of wadded.  Or maybe not, because, “Dude, everyone knows fat chicks can’t get hot guys, that’s total fantasy.”

I have a headache.  Way to start the day.  Why do I do this to myself?

And please, before you feel the need to tell me why it’s not really misogyny that the stupid hot girl (because hot girls are always stupid, duh) doesn’t get video games, and is sooo high maintenance because she expects her schlubby boyfriend to, oh, TALK to her, do us all a favor and don’t.  Because you’re just going to be contributing to my incipient stroke, and make yourself look like an asshole. 

God of War was on my list to pick up when I had some spare cash and hours, but after this, I don’t think so.  I think I’ll stick with SoulCaliber and the Lego series of games.  At least in Lego Star Wars Padme gets to shoot things.

ETA:  I have already bahleted one trolling post, if I can fill up an “Anti-Feminist Bingo Card” by reading your response, it’s not getting approved.  Here’s a hint, if you accuse me of whining, bahleted.

ETA2:  Just in case you’re wondering, I hadn’t seen the commercial in question until the Geek Husband What Rules yelled at the tv last week, “What a misogynist piece of shit!”  Go ahead, call him an over-emotional pansy.  I dare you.

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules | Tagged: , , | 20 Comments »

Gentler Sex My Ass – the LARP Version

Posted by javagoth on April 5, 2010

Maybe it’s the old age and treachery thing but I have been surprising/horrifying storytellers since I started gaming 12 years ago.  The first thing that stands out in my memory is when I came up with my first character concept on my own.  I start with a general idea and then create a history for her.  There is often research involved and I generally end with costuming choices – either from my own closet or trips to Value Village and such.  I get irritated when cheese mongers use the blanket excuse that we are playing in the “World of Darkness” to explain and excuse any all sorts of random cheesy violence without any real thought or consideration actually going into it.  They explain this in that condescending, long suffering sort of way that conveys that, clearly, they don’t expect a frail, withering flower of a girl like me to understand.

Oh really?

I got news for them – I understand much more than many of them do.  The very first background/history I wrote for the first character concept I created entirely on my own got the following response from the 20-something storyteller in charge of backgrounds at the time:  “It’s kind of icky.”

In a nutshell:  Her parents had been killed in a car crash, her foster father locked her in a basement room, beat her, and was a pedophile, she bided her time until she was able to escape the situation, she became a prostitute because she was not hung up about the sex thing and she was underage.  She used that to secure a place to live as well (she was freelance).  She was working the airport and came to the attention of a vampire.  He embraced her, took her to Amsterdam, and made her one of his working girls to get info & gossip.   One day he screwed up and got himself killed and the other vamps told her to get the fuck out of town because they didn’t want to deal with a young, ignorant vamp and had no real reason to kill her.  She returned to Seattle to start over – the end.

That was one of the nicer backgrounds I’ve done.  Seriously.  One of the later characters that I created and, sadly, didn’t really get to play had a sire who contrived to have her picked up and severely tortured in Inquisition proceedings as part of her indoctrination and training to be a follower of Lilith.  This went on for days – with her would-be sire feeding her bits of blood to keep her alive.  She was finally left, broken, on “The Wheel”.  Some hours later her sire took her off the wheel, took her home, and then embraced her.  By the time I was bringing her into play she fully believed she needed to look for other disciples, gain their trust, and bring them to the truth in a similar manner for their own good and growth.  She was not evil in an expected way – she fully believed she was doing what was best.  I did a fair amount of research into interrogation methods used during the Inquisitions (there were actually many).   Again, I horrified the storytellers who read the character history.

My current character had the most traumatic and violent circumstances to her embrace that I have ever heard or experienced in game before.   She was jumped by a gang of Belial’s Brood vampires where she had been a key character in thwarting them from using a machine to change history, again (long story).  They tortured her for hours because the leader wanted to completely break her before embracing her.  This included beating the crap out of her and the use of the power nightmare to make her believe and experience the feeling of having her foot cut off, being on fire, and worms crawling into her eyes. This was the brain child of another woman – who also plays one of the best low humanity, barely contained, will kick your ever-loving ass (a point proven in several games now), violent characters I’ve ever role played with.  This character showed up unexpectedly and came to her rescue – except that the leader pulled my character on top of him as a shield when her charcter was about to deliver a death blow – so she very nearly cut my character’s head clean off – which is why she had to embrace her.  She buried her in a hole in a wooded park and fed my character congealed animal blood when she woke.  There’s much more to the story but those are the basics surrounding her embrace.  Conversations between sire and childe have often involved my character exhorting her sire to please not put severed fingers in her pockets.  One set her sire gave her happened to be what was left of her own mortal fingers accidentally severed the night of her embrace – a defensive wound.

My fellow girl gamers and I have done far worse things to our own and each others characters than many of the storytellers in our games.  We are at times delighted and horrified with what we’ve done.  I like to keep track of it in an In Character (IC) journal on Live Journal.  It’s friends only as much of the information there is not stuff other players/characters would necessarily know.  There was a storyline about her dead lover from a previous existence (long story) being stuck in between time periods.  My character’s choices for resolving the issue and ending the pain her lover was experiencing was to either A) Kill a mortal and condemn their soul so that her lover could take over their body or B) do a ritual to put her lover to rest (which, incidentally, involved Native American spirits literally consuming her after she was made manifest in this time period).  This was also the brainchild of the same woman storyteller who narrated her embrace.  I love her brain!

Talk to the girls you game with about their characters and their backgrounds and what “World of Darkness” means to them.  The answers just might surprise you.  If you want violence with an actual story behind it, consider asking the girl gamers for their ideas.  You might find that we have just the deliciously evil ideas you were looking for.

Posted in by Tammy Mickelson | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

Review: Doctor Who, Episode 1.1, “The Eleventh Hour”

Posted by Danielle Ni Dhighe on April 5, 2010

Doctor Who is back for its 31st season, although it’s being promoted as Series One. There has already been a Season 1 (1963-64) and a Series 1 (2005), so Series One is a confusing designation. However you refer to this season, it ushers in a new era with a new showrunner (Steven Moffat) and a new star (Matt Smith), among many other changes.

Minutes after regenerating, the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) finds himself having to once again save the Earth from certain doom, gaining the assistance of new companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) along the way.

Matt Smith is simply amazing. I’ve never disliked a Doctor yet, and knew that wouldn’t change with this incarnation. From Smith’s initial interviews, there was just something about him that screamed Time Lord. What surprised me is how quickly he vaulted to the level of Tom Baker, Christopher Eccleston, and David Tennant in my esteem. He just flat out nails the character and makes this incarnation his own, with some nods to both the Second (Patrick Troughton) and Tenth (David Tennant) Doctors. I also love his costume even more after seeing it ‘live’. It reminds me of a more upscale version of the Second Doctor’s.

Karen Gillan is also well cast as Amy, bringing charm and feistiness to the character, and one feels an immediate sense of connection to her. There’s something very effortless about her performance, and I think she’ll be an excellent companion for Smith’s Doctor. The remainder of the cast is respectably solid, but to say more about individual roles would require spoilers, and I want to keep the review free of them.

Steven Moffat makes a statement with his first episode as showrunner. He wrote this episode himself, and it’s as good as we’ve come to expect from him, but there’s a different tone to it than the episodes he wrote for previous showrunner Russell T Davies. Moffat promised more of a fairy tale feel to the show under his watch, and it does indeed have that quality to it. Action, comedy, drama, this episode has it all. If the rest of the season is as strong, we’re in for one hell of a ride.

Director Adam Smith (who’s worked on Skins and Little Dorrit) bring across the fairy tale tone with his camera work and lighting, and this episode also marks a change in the look of the show, appearing more modern and polished than ever before. Despite being slightly more than an hour long, the director keeps things well paced, not moving either too slow or too fast.

I absolutely adore the new design for the TARDIS control room. In some ways it reminds me of the steampunk design in the 1996 telefilm while still recalling the 2005-09 version, but it’s more complex and detailed, befitting the fact that the show is now shot in high definition video. The accompanying episode of Doctor Who Confidential reveals some subtle touches to the control panel and column itself that speaks highly of how much work was put into the new design.

Murray Gold’s latest arrangement of Ron Grainer’s theme is both thoroughly modern and reflects the electronic arrangements used in Classic Who, and works quite well with the new title sequence.

Anyone fearing a letdown as Doctor Who transitions from one showrunner to another, and one actor to another, will quickly have those fears put to rest. This episode marks the beginning of the next great era in Doctor Who history.

Posted in by Danielle Ni Dhighe | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Geek Girls Rule – Norwescon edition!

Posted by geekgirlsrule on April 4, 2010

Had a marvelous time at Norwescon!  I participated in several really wonderful panels.  The ones that are germaine to this website, were LGBTQI in Fandom and Putting the R in RPGs:  Adult themes in gaming.  I had a few more panels on “adult subject” matter, like kink and Victorian Sex.

The LGBTQI panel had a really great turnout, and we’re hoping in the next year to expand the LGBTQI paneling, as well as creating an LGBTQI fan organization to increase our visibility in fandom.  We have a Livejournal group called LGBT_fandom in order to facilitate conversation about this.   As more than one person, both on the panel and in the audience pointed out, for years the assumption is that women in fandom are bi, and men are straight.  There are actually quite a few Queer fen of all orientations:  Gay men, Lesbians, Transgendered and Genderqueer individuals, and of course the ubiquitous Bisexual women, and some Bisexual men.  If you’re at all interested, please let me know and we’ll see about setting up some sort of mailing list.  And, please, please, please if you are a gay man or transgendered person, let us know if you would be interested in being on the panel.

The Putting the R in RPGs panel actually turned out to be less about sex and more about how to get under your players’ skin, and how to deal with the aftermath if you’ve done it badly, or accidentally hit a psychological landmine.  We talked about hooks that are pretty much guaranteed to pull a group in, like kidnapping a child, child abuse or animal abuse.  We talked about what happens if you push it too far and what your options are.  We talked about exploring and using gaming to deal with pathological issues willingly. And we talked about making sure your players are all ok with these things.

Yes, you can use things like rape, child abuse, eating disorders, incest, drugs and brutality in your game in a very serious, real manner (as opposed to in a very over the top cartoony sort of way), but you need to make sure everyone’s on the same page.  Pulling out the gut-punches without letting your players know it’s a possibility is a lousy thing to do them.  I’m not talking give away your plot or the surprises, but sit them down ahead of time and ask, “Hey, is everyone ok with themes like rape, child abuse, etc…”  And if you hit a landmine and suddenly someone’s not comfortable with something, you have a couple choices:  End the game there, Excuse them for the remainder of that section of plot, or see if they think they can soldier on through it.  Some people will be up for that last one, some will not.  But no one should be shamed for what they choose.

There was a lot of good humor and laughing in the panel as well.  Phil Brucato, who used to work for White Wolf and who wrote Deliria had several good suggestions for creating atmosphere and jarring players out of complacency.  Wolfgang Baur talked about starting out with an already over the top scenario, and how the hell do you ramp it up from there? The Geek Husband What Rules talked about Lines, Veils and how not to be a dick.

Honestly, while I had a blast in all of my panels, I think the RPG panel was the best.  Mr. Brucato and Mr. Baur are both wonderful people, and the audience was great!  We managed to keep the game anecdotes to a minimum, and only had to wrestle the sharing stick away from one person.

Another thing I discussed with someone in the bar, was a need for Gamer Girl Meet-ups in the Seattle area.  Please, watch this space for announcements in the future.

Thank you to everyone who came to panels, and I hope you had a wonderful time!  It was great seeing you all there!

Posted in by The Geek Girl What Rules | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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