Opportunity for gaming interviewers -- No experience necessary!

Have you ever wanted to enter the field of gaming journalism, but didn't have the time or the confidence in your writing skills to submit an article? Does the opportunity to interact with industry professionals appeal to you? If so, then consider becoming an interviewer for Cerise magazine!

What we're looking for:
  1. Enthusiastic people who want to conduct interviews with industry professionals and game-related bloggers by e-mail, phone, or other media.

  2. Reliable people with enough time to conduct (at most) one interview a month.


NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! You will be working with an Interview Co-ordinator (right now that's me) who will help you with the preparation and post-interview process.

While much of the co-ordinating will happen via e-mail, we recommend that you sign up for our forums. There, you fill find a number of resources that will help you form your interview strategy, including guidelines and suggestions for future interviews.

This is not currently a paying job, but it is excellent experience for anyone interested in journalism and/or the gaming industry.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in this thread, or alternatively contact me via e-mail. All those interested in the position, please e-mail me directly at andrea [at] theirisnetwork [dot] org.

X-posted: lesbian_gamers, girl_gamers, girlgamers
Noodle

EverQuest 2 Valentine's Day Quest

Valentine's Day in EverQuest 2 is called Erollisi Day, after the EQ goddess of love. This year's Erollisi Day event involved talking to different NPCs and playing matchmaker based on their personalities. I completed the quest once, and then read a thread about it on the official EQ2 message boards, where a dev hinted at another solution. I tried again and found the other solution: the quest can also be completed with same-sex pairings for 2 of the 4 couples!

I know it's just a small detail, but with the game industry being the racist, sexist, and homophobic behemoth that it is, it's nice to see a glimmer of enlightenment once in a while.
  • tekanji

Call for debaters: debating femininity in games

Okay, first off some people from last time expressed interest in seeing the outcome of the hardcore versus casual debate, so here it is: An old debate for the new year: casual vs. hardcore. I think it turned out rather well, myself.

We're now looking for two debaters to take a hard look at femininity for our February 2008 issue, Princess Power.

Theme: To be feminine, or to not be feminine… that is the question
Submission deadline: January 20th, 2007

Platform 1: To be feminine
This platform would argue that, while femininity has gotten a bad rap due to the way it’s been used and abused in culture, femininity is something that should be embraced both in games and gamer culture.

Platform 2: To not be feminine
This platform would argue that femininity isn’t worth salvaging: it’s too long been associated with weakness, frivolity, and other negative qualities and no attempt at reclaiming it would have a significant impact on current gamer culture.

If you're interested, you can reply in thread (and I'll get in touch with you), e-mail me (andrea [at] theirisnetwork [dot] org), or contact us via this form (use "Submission Query" for you contact reason).

Gamer vs. Gamer is a regular feature of Cerise so if you're interested in debating with other gamers, but aren't into this month's theme please check out other upcoming themes here and if you're interested give us a shout out.

X-posted: lesbian_gamers, girlgamers, and girl_gamers.
  • tekanji

Looking for debaters

Cerise Magazine looking for two brave people to take on the task of entering into the age old debate of hardcore versus casual for our January 2008 issue, New Year, New Games.

Theme: An old debate for the new year: casual vs. hardcore
Submission deadline: December 20th, 2007

Platform 1: Hardcore 4eva
This platform would argue that, despite the increasing popularity of casual games, hardcore gaming will remain the heart of the industry that drives innovation and creates lasting franchises. (How one defines "hardcore", however, is up to the debater, and in fact using an updated version of the term that includes a hardcore play-style for casual games could make the debate more interesting.)

Platform 2: Casual to the core
This platform would argue that, while there will always be a special place for hardcore gamers in the industry, the financial reality is that casual gaming is the future.

If you're interested, you can reply in thread (and I'll get in touch with you), e-mail my co-editor Robyn (revena [at] theirisnetwork [dot] org), or contact us via this form (use "Submission Query" for you contact reason).

Gamer vs. Gamer is a regular feature of Cerise so if you're interested in debating with other gamers, but aren't into the whole "casual" versus "hardcore" thing please check out other upcoming themes here and if you're interested give us a shout out.

X-posted: lesbian_gamers, girlgamers, and girl_gamers.
  • tekanji

Debunking rumours: Chinese MMO's anti-genderbending policy

Doubtless many of you have heard (from Kotaku or other sources) about Shanda Entertainment, a Chinese MMO publisher, requiring photographic proof of a person's sex in order to allow them to play a female avatar.

This information is most likely false! Joystiq has done some digging into the issue and turned this up:
The source of story in the English-speaking world seems to be a painfully short, two sentence "editorial summary" on Asian business site Pacific Epoch. Besides containing scant details or supporting information on Shanda's policy, the summary contains the eyebrow-raising assertion that players with female avatars would have to "prove their biological sex with a webcam." While this isn't impossible, we find it hard to believe that a publicly traded company would start encouraging its customers to send in pictures of their naughty bits for any reason. Besides being ineffective (what's to stop a player from sending in a picture of someone else?) the system seems overly complicated when a National ID card number could easily provide proof of gender (much as it already does for age confirmation in other MMOs).

Pacific Epoch cites popular Chinese MMO web site 17173 as the source of its information, and while we couldn't find the original article on their site, we did find a story about some obviously fake Halo 3 branded condoms, which 17173 presented as fact. Combine the questionable editorial judgment with the translation problems inherent in citing information from a Chinese site and you have a perfect recipe for an erroneous story to spread across the internet.


The moral of the story? Just because something looks official doesn't mean that it actually is. Especially regarding areas in which there are language barriers where we can't easily verify the source of the information ourselves.
  • tekanji

A favor from players of WoW, FFXI, GW, and CoH/CoV

Last year I did a paper on idealized fantasy bodies in World of Warcraft and found that my section on sexual dimorphism got a lot of attention. So, it's about time for me to start working on my paper for WisCon 2008 and I want to look at the sexual dimorphism in a few popular MMOs (World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, and City of Heroes/City of Villains). But if I'm going to pull it off, I need help. In concrete terms, I need screenshots (and movies, if possible!) of the avatars so that I can illustrate these differences. Since I only own FFXI (and haven't had the time to play it in over a month),

What I'm looking for.Collapse )

I am in severe need of help from other players to help me collect these things. If you play World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, or City of Heroes/City of Vilains and have some time to help out, please leave a comment below. Even if you only have time to get one screenshot it will help. I know this is a huge amount of information that I'm looking for, which is why I'm trying to spread it out among as many people as possible.

Thanks for your consideration!

X-posted: lesbian_gamers

An open letter to Ben Bleiweiss and StarCityGames

The following is an open letter published by Adonis Mirror: I believe it's of interest to our community. It covers how a Magic: The Gathering card was translated from the English "Delay" to the French "Retard" and how the retailer StarCityGames.com worked to profit from players who find able-ism funny. 

I am a Magic fan, as well as a fan of Star City and one of its principal managers. Nevertheless, this profiteering highlights the elevation of masculinity above community in the Magic scene--and gaming as a whole for that matter. That masculinity can also be seen in the words "pimp" and "rape" that are so frequently used by players.

The original text (which is perhaps better formatted and comes with images) can be found at 

http://www.adonismirror.com/wordpress/?p=15

An open letter to Ben Bleiweiss and StarCityGames

Dear Ben,

In most circumstances, I’d begin a letter like this one with a Dear Mr. Bleiweiss.

We’re not friends, you don’t know me, and I’m about to level some fairly heavy stuff in your direction.

On the other hand, you’ve been kind enough to respond to my more basic questions on the forums at StarCityGames, sometimes taking me aside privately: you, above all people, realize that something as fundamentally trivial as a collectable card game is literally a house of cards. They’re worth nothing if no one wants to play and your business model depends upon fostering community. You do that better than anyone. It’s a testament to your own diligence that I feel comfortable starting this letter with a “Dear Ben.”

I can say with full confidence that I believe that you’re the single most positive force in the game of Magic. From your work in the “Building on a Budget” series to the columns you write on community building, you’re the one voice that reliably says: “Magic is for everybody.” Or, at least it has the potential to be if we don’t let ourselves get in the way.

That’s why I found it so disappointing that you signed off on trying to exploit the French versions of the Future Sight card, “Delay.” Yes, the card was translated into French as “Retard.” Merely selling them to English speaking audiences is one thing, but putting a premium on them is quite another: StarCityGames unveiled them at $15, a far cry from the $2 you ask for the English edition.

By adding that $13 tax on a piece of cardboard, you’re not just an invisible-hand guided by what demand for the product might bear. Instead, you’re complicit in the joke and any harm it might cause. That $13 tax says that you know certain members of the Magic community think the translation is amusing and that they’ll gladly pay $60 for a play-set of four in order to sneer “retard” at their opponents. (Note: no italics to represent the foreign nature of the word in this case.) You’re aiding and abetting that.

Of course, a fair number of those opponents will indeed find that quite amusing—although most of them somewhat less so if they wind up losing to the well-moneyed jokers, one might imagine. They’re playing against Islands, too, after all. No matter which side of the table they’re sitting on, they’re equally in need of your community building articles. Perhaps the one where you cite how a Women’s Studies class altered so many of your perspectives:

http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/article/13789.html

…it was the single most important class I ever took at any school, and it changed my entire life. It opened my eyes to a lot of my problems, including taking many aspects of my life for granted, pointing out all the wrong ways in which I was treating other people (both male and female), and opened up an empathy in me that I had suppressed years ago.

Empathy is the reason why people stop finding “retard” funny. It’s why we remove words like that from our vocabularies—all sorts of terms that demean entire classes of people, insults that incur splash damage far beyond the people we even know.

The Magic community needs to grow out. I’d say “grow up,” but there’s nothing inherently childlike about arrogance and hatred. Indeed, those are things that are pumped into us as we age. Giving a damn is somehow “Political Correctness.” I’m not writing this to censor anyone, especially you Ben, but think about the example that StarCityGames is setting.

It’s more than just French “Delays.”

It’s Raphael Levy with his “Pimp my Draft” column that you fund. Yes, it’s a take off a popular television show, he didn’t invent it. And yes, the word “pimp” has been afforded secondary meanings, making it harmless enough that even the supposedly conservative world of country music finds a Trick my Truck title to be “family friendly” in a way the Dixie Chicks are not.

Some statistics report that the average age of entry into prostitution is 14 years of age. That’s in the United States. The numbers are even more dismal elsewhere. For people like us who have the disposable income to even think about engaging in something like Magic to make light of that is—well, despicable doesn’t begin to cover it. Not by a long shot.

Kyle Sanchez is another writer funded by StarCityGames.  As the resident sometimes-shock-jock that you employ, the title of his weekly “Down and Dirty” column makes light of his last name and a “sex act” where a man smears feces across a woman’s lip. Sanchez recently gave one of his tournament reports the byline of “Montreal Massacre: 29 Hours of Pain.”

Marc Lépine walked into the École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989 and murdered 14 women after accusing them of being feminists who stole his rightful place in society.

Kyle Sanchez, on the other hand, had a hard time transporting hair care products in his luggage.

Clearly the homage was justified.

This sort of selfishness pervades the StarCityGames forums as well. I’m not saying that it’s any worse than other male-centric forums, only that with your help we can hope to do better.

A simple keyword search of the forum (at the time of this letter) revealed 430 uses of the word “rape” and an additional 227 instances of “raped.” While very few of the authors were speaking specifically of a forcible sex act, each and every use was sexualized: real men penetrate and are superior for it; to be penetrated is to be victimized and to be victimized is to be a not a man but a woman or something worse.

Quotes like “I can go through this forum and every other and rape a hundred stupid posts for terrible ideas” or “Sure, [a Threshold deck] will rape a net deck version [of Flash] from a random Player” abound.

The forums also contain 1500 uses of the word “pimp,” which has come to mean foil-coated or otherwise extravagant cards in the Magic community’s lexicon.

One “Boxy Brown (Just a Box Bitch)” of Santa Cruz commented favorably on your sale of French “Delays”:

“Yes. French Delays are awesome. It’s the perfect combination of good utility card + inherent pimpness for being foreign + hilarious joke.”

I believe you read that post as later in the very same thread you spoke of your plans to expand your foreign inventory.

“Pimp-ness” is about masculinity in more ways than one.

Until last Winter, if you asked me what the last rare card I pulled from a Magic pack was, I’d have told you “Phyrexian Dreadnaught.” That was in 1996. When I was invited by several family members to play in a Legacy tournament at Game Empire in San Diego, StarCityGames was my source not only for cards but for getting a handle on Magic again. Hell, the last time I played, the “stack” had not even been invented yet!

Thanks to you, I handily won my very first match that day. My second of the tournament didn’t go so well. During our initial game, my opponent played a “Phyrexian Arena.” Only it was a Japanese version, a foil at that, “pimp” in every conceivable way. I had no idea what it did and I listened to his explanation and said “ok.” I was a fish out of water and I certainly didn’t want to make waves. He was The Man and I was in his territory: the last thing I wanted to do was to look like I was in an even weaker position by appealing to others for help.

Yes, that’s my mistake—due to my own schooling in the art of masculinity that I have yet to overcome completely—but it’s an error that “pimp players” deliberately work to exploit whenever they can. Even the idea of a decadently expensive deck (foil and foreign versions being irrelevant to the mechanics of the game) is designed to say that the one wielding it is an “insider,” more a part of the game, and the community, than someone with lesser cards. As a society, we’re all taught that lesser people should know their place and that they certainly shouldn’t snitch.

When it became clear that his chances were going down the tubes and I had him on the ropes, he chose to “not pay the upkeep of one life” and sacrificed the card, as if it were an infinitely superior version of “Phyrexian Etchings.” He won the following two games. I later went to the store owners, who were effectively judges, and asked them what the card actually did, wanting to be clear in the future. They had a talk with my opponent (though his victory stood) and I was happy enough that I now knew what the card did. I was there to learn, not play hall monitor.

Not to bore you with more personal history, but the following week I participated in a Standard tournament, at a neighboring store called Artifex. My first opponent was playing a variant of what I now know is “Solar Flare.” (I was then ignorant of such things, being new on the Type 2 scene: hell, I was playing tribal soldiers!) A teenager of indeterminate age, he was also employing Japanese foils. Let me tell you, having to take someone’s word for what blue cards do is a scary prospect! Trying to explain what “Compulsive Research” does off the top of your head is trickier than it sounds, even when you’re being completely honest about it.

He might have been honest about it, but he sure wasn’t happy about it: he was gleeful, thrilled that he found someone so inferior as to not recognize every legal card by its artwork. And someone who was playing garbage like “Orcish Artillery” at that—someone he could treat as inferior, not just to his “Akroma” and “Angels of Despair,” but to himself as well. Then he lost twice to a “Blood Moon” that I pulled from a pack before he could even read.

Even if he had run roughshod over me, however, as he certainly might have, and probably ought to have, I think that “pimp” cards are unhealthy for the Magic scene. The callous sexism echoed in the term “pimp” itself speaks to other inequalities. For every person “pimpness” draws into the game, it pushes another person out: masculinity is a zero sum enterprise, after all.

Imagine, please, someone else going to their first Type 2 or Standard tournament. He or she taps two “mountains” and a “plains,” announces “Orcish Artillery,” only to be greeted by some guy sneering “reee-tard.”

That’s a rather unfortunate introduction to the Magic community. But it’s one that can certainly happen now, thanks in part to StarCityGames. What would you say to that player in your next “Real Deal” column, Ben?

I don’t know how much money you’ve made off of the French “Delays.” I’m guessing maybe about $400, maybe as much as a $1000; perhaps much less as you’ve dropped the price to $12.50. I’m not sure that you need to make money in that way. Maybe scraping the bottom of the barrel isn’t worth it.

I can tell you that I won’t be pre-ordering the full set of theme decks for the upcoming Lorwyn expansion from you, as I did for both Planar Chaos and Future Sight. Nor will you be my choice for single cards in the immediate future.

My business isn’t a huge loss, but I hope that my respect will be, and that you’ll consider my words here.

Knowing the kind of person you are, I believe that you will.

 

Sincerely,

Richard Leader

AdonisMirror.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cerise: July 2007 and Call for Submissions

Cerise June 2007

The July 2007 issue is out! The theme is "Inclusive Game Design", and we have some great articles that look at what can be done to make games more inclusive.

We're currently looking for submissions for our August issue. Here's the call for submissions:
Submission deadline: July 20, 2007
Theme: The Social Gamer

Women gamers are often dismissed as “casual” or “just social” gamers, regardless of the hours they put into play or the attitude with which they approach their games. Of course, the reality is that the vast majority of games are social, in one way or another. Many require social interaction of some kind in order to be played at all, and even games which are designed exclusively for single players have their social components ? bragging about high scores, anyone?

What are some of the social communities and structures that surround games, both online and off, and how do they intersect and interact? What role do they play in the gaming experience? Is it important to have membership in more than one community? Are “special interest” communities necessary? How does one go about finding or creating a community for oneself? And where does the media specter of the “antisocial,” dangerous gamer fit in? If you’re fascinated by these questions, and others pertaining to the social aspects of games, this is the issue you’ve been waiting for.


X-posted: feminist_fandom, lesbian_gamers, feminist_writer

Cerise: June 2007 and Call for Submissions

Cerise June 2007

The June 2007 issue is out! The theme is "The Making of a Gamer", and we have some great stories in our new feature "gamer stories" relating to that.

We're currently looking for submissions for our July issue. Here's the call for submissions:
Submission deadline: June 20, 2007
Theme: Inclusive Game Design

We often talk about what developers can do to attract women and other groups outside of the target audience to games, or discuss how bad game design can foster an environment hostile to that goal, but the nuances behind inclusive game design (beyond “give me women heroes who aren’t defined primarily by their sexuality”) don’t get as much airtime as perhaps they should.

What are the fundamentals of inclusive game design? How far have we come, or not come, since the old days of gaming? Should we give companies allowances in terms of these fundamentals, based on potential increased costs and other factors that come with inclusive design? Where do lesser talked-about issues, such as accessibility for people with disabilities, fit in? What about the more complex issues associated with inclusive design, such as using an idealized society versus a flawed one, or giving everyone equal choices versus using a certain amount of difference to create a dialogue about equality? If you have something to say about how, when, and why to strive for inclusive game design, then please consider submitting your piece for this issue.


X-posted: feminist_fandom, lesbian_gamers, feminist_writer
chick

Cerise Magazine

The first issue of Cerise Magazine, a new monthly online publication by and for gaming women.

We're currently taking submissions for our second issue. The June 2007 theme is The Making of a Gamer:


Chances are if you’re a gamer, you have a story (or three) to tell about how you got there. Whether it be playing video games with our parents, reflecting on how it felt with our first gaming group, or even looking at how we were, and sometimes still are, treated by the workers and customers in our local gaming establishments, every woman has had unique experiences that have shaped our identities as gamers.

Do you have a story to tell about an experience or two that shaped your identity as gamer? Do you want reflect on the good and bad of being a young gamer, or talk about what games helped get you into gaming, or think about the first character in a game that you really got attached to and why? If so, then this is the issue for you!


The submission deadline for the next issue is May 15. We're also looking for reviews, art, photography, game modules, short comics, interviews with industry professionals, and in-depth reviews/critiques/opinion pieces on gaming.