How to Early Access

steamearlyaccess

Dear Developers, First, thanks to Eri for the inspiration for this article. I've been sort of low on that lately because SLEEP DEPRIVED. But this one got my writing juices flowing, so I'm in your debt. Now onto the letter. Early Access has become code word for "raise money for development through our players". Noble cause, poor execution, questionable practice. Early Access is a running joke. We all know it. Players hear about an Early Access game and all we see is GAME. We expect that it will work, that it will be fun and that we'll be rewarded with whatever you promised us by participating. Let's not pretend that if I buy an early access game I somehow deserve to be disappointed and devs are off the hook from critique. That's what we call a fantasy or dream. Players can and do hold … [Read more...]

A Kingly Weekend III: Protests Across the USA

As the final article for this Kingly Weekend series, I want to end it with a challenge to white Americans to do better on racial progress. Even the most liberal and open-minded among us can do much more and much better. And now, in 2015, with the country hungry and protesting for change, we're really at a moment in time where we have that rare opportunity to change things. The momentum and energy is there -- all we have to do is give a damn and do something about it. Do whatever it is you are able to do in your circles of influence. Nothing more, nothing less. It's important to remember that when we talk about racial progress in America, we're talking mostly about white progress in shedding racism and racist institutions. We're talking about our willingness to change. Non-whites have no … [Read more...]

A Kingly Weekend II: Awesome Allegories About Race

mlk1-meme-pew-pew-pew-take-that-racism-e177f6

I was skeptical when I first saw the title of this video. People say allegory these days but we're actually way worse than the Greeks at making them. This video is pretty awesome. Camara Jones gives us four very, extremely, mind-blowingly simple allegories that pretty much anyone can relate to and grasp, and explains how they can help us understand how racism works. The video is a tad longer than the last one by Jay Smooth, but if you're not fascinated by the 3rd minute ...well, you're hard to impress. For the socially engaged, big terms like institutional racism and internalized racism get explained here by simple allegories about moths and gardens. It's a great way to make these conversations more inviting and less scary. http://youtu.be/GNhcY6fTyBM Camara Jones is a pretty … [Read more...]

A Kingly Weekend I: How to Talk About Racism

mlk1-meme-pew-pew-pew-take-that-racism-e177f6

So I'm not actually playing any games this week. For those watching Twitter you may have seen me announce that my fourth baby was born this week, a healthy, big fat baby boy (8lbs 3ozs) so that's how I'm spending my time right now. Between eating, sleeping and admiring this 8 lbs of flesh, it's a good time for reflection and writing. In America this weekend we're remember the legacy of Dr. Martin L. King. So even though I don't have anything specific to say about games, I want to recommend a video each day this weekend that I think socially engaged gamers would find really helpful. Watch them and share them! They're relatively short, but I think you'll agree they carry a ton of insight. These things have literally helped me to level up with just a few short words that have helped me to … [Read more...]

Listening Session: Your Gender Identity in Games

gender_roles_by_goldenkitsune_queen-d36g673

I'm experimenting with a new feature, Listening Sessions, hoping to be more interactive with you this year about our experiences in gaming. I'll kick this off with a personal story. One of the most uncomfortable moments in gaming for me was a few years back. Must have been around 2005 in vanilla World of Warcraft. One of my friends used to flirt with me in game and, since it was a roleplay server, I would sometimes flirt back though my RP characters tend to be a little on the romance neutral side. This friend was a woman, as far as I knew, and any way she had a female avatar. I took for granted that no guy would choose a female avatar. I'm sure you can see what's coming here, but entertain my story any way because I want to hear your thoughts when I'm done. One day some friends … [Read more...]

Kissing Games

It should surprise no one that in 2014 I was relatively behind on my gaming and ended the year behind on my writing. So time to right some wrongs. Shall we kiss and make up? GOOD. Try this out and then let me know what you think of kissing. And kissing in games. And too much tongue. http://jimmylands.com/experiments/kissing/ This game lead me to ask myself if I've ever had a kiss be this awkward. I'm so very glad to report NO. I can't actually remember having a kiss I didn't like. Am I lucky or is this game pretty accurate in stating kissing is difficult and awkward? And just so this post isn't too superfluous ...I remember wondering in an article last year about where all the sexy games are and why the industry seems so incapable of making one. My thoughts on this are … [Read more...]

2014 Reading and Writing in Review

The number of tragedies this year that had noticeable impacts on the gaming community seemed to be unusually high this year. I said *seemed*. I can't say one way or another if that's true, but I think these events were at least much more hard-hitting and memorable for a number of reasons. The Elliot Rodgers massacre, the misogyny against Carolyn Petit, Ubisoft's incapable development team, Blizzard's various and terrible responses to sexism, Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes series, Gamergate ...this was a terrible year to argue that sexism doesn't exist, isn't institutional and that women don't know what they're talking about. It's like people saw 2014 as a moment to prove all three conclusively. The reactions to these people and events just speaks for themselves, require no analysis. As a … [Read more...]

My Social Contribution to the Gamer Community for 2014

I wrote a lot about social justice in the gaming community this year. Probably more than any other year. And I also had personal goals to try to be better about some bad habits when it comes to my own privilege (I know people hate that word, but it's appropriate any way). So what are somethings I wanted to be better about this year that I feel I made some progress on? What did I do to become a better ally and a better human being? Listening This is so easy to miss. The most important thing I did this year was listen. I read some perspective changing books, most of which were personal accounts: Hung Jury edited by Tristan Cotten Redefining Realness by Janet Mock Blind Spot by Mahzarin Benaji Gender Play by Barrie Thorne I Don't Want to Talk About it by Terrance … [Read more...]

Let Monsters Live

Hatred by Destructive Creations (DC) was removed (and then re-released) from steam for a couple of reasons that are obvious to many of us. First, it's just a terrible game from top to bottom. No one need buy it to know it. It's not due to the unprovoked mass murder of everything in the game (there are games where we do that already). It's not because the graphics suck or there are bugs or anything technical is wrong with it. It's because, conceptually, by admission of the developers themselves, they made it strictly to be offensive ("go against trends" of "polite" games). Not sure I've heard a worse reason to make a game. To be controversial and profit from it. To each their own! A part of me knows English isn't their first language so their intentions aren't really being well … [Read more...]