Study finds female players may not be into guns, but are still into killing

The Quantic Lab, a survey data-based social science research project investigating the psychology of gaming, recently published interesting findings on players and their motivations. A portion of their research explores difference across gender, diving deeper into stereotypical assumptions about female players. For example, some might point to Quantic Lab’s finding that, out of all the genres, women are least likely to play tactical shooters as proof that female player don’t like violent games. But another recent survey found that, upon further investigation, it’s safer to assume that women just find guns kinda boring and prefer to murder virtual people through other methods. According to the Lab’s blog, by…

Everything is going to be OK

You probably need this interactive zine about being hopelessly optimistic

Game maker and web artist Nathalie Lawhead announced that she’s making an interactive zine earlier this week, under the working title “Everything is going to be OK.” It’s about being hopelessly optimistic while everything is breaking around you. “It’s a cathartic dump of my past experiences mostly about feeling hopeless or ostracized for being a woman and doing the tech thing,” Lawhead told me. This is a topic she has written about before. “To me, the election results drove the point across that this situation will not improve.” What she fears most is the “sexist backlash” that having Donald Trump…


Here’s some women who make videogames you should follow

Until yesterday, Elon Musk didn’t follow any women on Twitter. Plenty of men, plenty of companies, but not a single woman. This was originally pointed out by Motherboard, which prompted Musk—aka, the man trying to send the first humans to Mars—to make his 55th follow Caity Weaver of GQ Magazine. He now follows one woman on Twitter. The Guardian picked up the story by Motherboard and ran with it, pursuing an examination of the tech leaders of the world to see how many women each of them followed on Twitter. Out of the accounts The Guardian looked at, the most women any of…

The Little Mermaid

New study outlines gender inequality in movie dialogue

When film critics discuss the limited types of roles available to women, it can be tempting to try to debunk their arguments by listing counter-examples. “What about Ellen Ripley?” one might say. “What about Furiosa?” Unfortunately, a few well-written roles cannot make up for an overwhelming systemic disparity. The difficulty with this type of counter-argument is that it assumes an all-or-nothing mindset, as if feminists are claiming there are no positive roles for women at all. Rather, feminist critiques often focus on disproportionate lack of opportunity, something that becomes clear in Polygraph’s latest study of how dialogue is distributed among…


LARP game has players cope with the expectations placed on different genders

It’s not hard to understand the appeal of LARPing (live-action role playing). A player can both cosplay and let go of their inhibitions in a safe space by acting out a character-driven narrative. Though I’ve never LARPed before, actress Felicia Day convinced me of its potential for sheer fun in an episode of Supernatural where her character got to be the Queen of a popular LARP and was practically worshiped by the other players. Definitely appealing. But perhaps the best aspect of LARPing is that it is a medium entirely shaped by its players backgrounds and intents, and can be…


Graphic novel tackles issues of contemporary Iranian identity

In an international context, Iran is often thought of as a news headline, or a generalized and vague region in the “Middle East.” When the youth in Iran make statements about pop culture and their relationship to it, like the video of Iranian youth dancing to Pharrell’s hit Happy, it immediately becomes an item of politicized news. However, with recent movies like A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), described by director Ana Lily Amirpour as the first “Iranian vampire spaghetti western,” Iran gets a chance at an international identity without the typical assumptions or politics. That said, Amirpour is American-Iranian, rather than a…

80 Days ConversationPiracy

Meg Jayanth’s quest to amplify marginalized voices in videogames

You embark on a wager to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or less. Your journey might be made on the slow trudge of mechanized camels, aboard whisper-quick copper airships that defy gravity, or even on a certain famous submarine, many leagues under the sea. Your travels might even find you flirting with death. These journeys, and many more, are available to you in the world of Inkle studio’s 80 Days (2014), the world that writer Meg Jayanth built. As a brown female writer in videogames, Jayanth is something of a rarity and, taking into consideration the haul of awards…


Japanese horror game has an air of Studio Ghibli about it

“At night every town…changes” the new trailer for Yomawari tells us. The idea in this upcoming PlayStation Vita-exclusive, from Japanese studio Nippon Ichi, is to take on the role of a young girl whose sister and dog have gone missing. Despite her fears, the girl is determined to find her loved ones, even if it means traversing her town while it’s warped into a different place by the cover of darkness. With the company of only a flashlight, the girl must overcome multiple obstacles; monsters and darkness are scattered throughout her journey. The horror and stealth of the game are made immediate…


LARPing for Social Good: The Power of Live Action Role Play

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Fantasy entertainment once considered only for children has evolved into a social tool for diversity. LARPing inspires empathy and understanding for gender identity and oppression issues. When Anna Anthropy created Dys4ia (2012), an autobiographical game about her experience taking hormone replacements as a trans woman, she sought to give players insight into her unique perspective. Anthropy knew that shared experiences can raise people’s awareness and even inspire compassion for diversity. The power of empathizing with others could ultimately lead to kinder behavior and a better place for society as…