Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dear Gamers, We had better be doing better

I want to direct your attention to Anita Sarkeesian.  She is a blogger.
You can finder her blog here,

She writes about a lot of things, but what got my attention is she wants to talk about games, video game specifically, but a lot can apply to Table Top games.

Well Anita had this idea.  The idea was she wanted to talk about depictions of women in video games versus various tropes.  Mind you there was initial indication on what she was going to say.  She wanted to talk about it. She set up a Kickstarter to be used to buy video games to play and to do the videos.  Perfectly reasonable if you ask me.

That is until the bottom feeders on 4Chan found out about it.
Now complaining about 4Chan is like complaining that shit smells bad. Yes, it does, but it's shit.

Well read what happened after that.

So after the most despicable display of human behavior where Ms. Sarkeesian was called ugly, a man hater, threatened with violence, rape and death.  Her project is now 20x over her goal of $6,000.00 ($126,550 as of this writing).
I pledged, and I hope you do as well.

But I am not here to get you do that.  She is doing fine thanks to press coverage.
I am here to talk about what happened here.

The issue was she was going to talk about it.  The mere idea of this sent the lowest form of internet mouth breather into a fit of rage.  The fact that many of them were gamers or at least self-identified themselves as gamers is bad for all of us.  And frankly if you can't see why then it only illustrates how pervasive this problem is.

The problem is of course not just one of rampant sexism in games, both Video and Table Top, but how we treat and welcome (or fail to) the female gamer.

I don't pretend for a moment that we, the larger community of self-identified gamers, can fix all the issues we have here.  And I would also like to think that the reader of this Blog looks at this a problem.

But what can we do?  Well the best I think we can strive for is make gaming a more enlightened place. Yes, were are here to have fun, but I also think back to all the things I have learned over my years as a gamer.
I feel we can use this as a learning tool as something more than just pushing dice and papers around.  There is a solid social aspect here that Video Games can't touch and we, because of that, can and should be better.

Right now my game group consists of all guys. Boys, actually since they are my sons.  But I'll soon be adding one of my son's friends to the mix. But what I can do with them, and I feel I have some success, is point out that Role-Playing is some EVERYONE can do.  Girls like Harry Potter too (remember who my audience is) and if Hermonie can kick ass, so can they.

I think this needs to be the frontier RPGS need to move too.  Get us out of the basements and into the family rooms! Get different people involved.  IF the larger video game community is unwilling to welcome more gamer girls (and women) I say we do.  Make the games that people want to play with their families.

I am not talking watering down the games (At all!).  S&W, LL, BF, OSRIC and S&S are all perfect as they are right now, plus 100s of others, but make the space more inviting.

Table Top Gamers lament that we are loosing ground to video games.  The sales numbers certainly attest to this.  There is a place though where we can always do better than the video games, IF we choose to do and choose to make it better.


Higgipedia said...

Video Games don't stare at a female gamer's tits.

That said, my wife loves TTRPGs, but can't stand most TT Gamers because of the lack of social skills and rude behavior at stores (many times on the part of the staff).

Non-creepy groups can attract female gamers.

ERIC! said...

Culture Change is slow.


Roger G-S said...

These are gamers.

These are gamers on the internet.

Any questions?

In other words, as with any other activity really, you have to select for social skills before you sit down. The internet represents the dregs of the basements all gathered in one concentrated shit spray.

Greyhawk Grognard said...

@Higgipedia: I hope your current group rises above the expectation!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

My Buffy group was almost all female. I think the type of game can play a role.

And yes there is a sampling issue here. If you go to the outhouse, expect it to smell like shit, not flowers.

Vincent Diakuw said...

Thanks for the heads-up on this great Kickstarter, Tim.

Anonymous said...

So shame-addled gamers are throwing over 125,000$ at a screed about how we're all jerks (in order to compensate for the vulgarity of anonymous 4chan) and you want people to give more?. Look. Guys. People get it. You are "the good guy" or whatever. But here are some real causes: You could be donating to help actual women in india (who don't even have running water). You could buy a family in Africa a goat that would ensure them through hard times and worse, you could actually help rescue pre-teens from human trafficking in Thailand. But no, it's all about the shame. Gamers should really be asking themselves how much they hate themselves and how far they'll go to cleanse themselves of their sins. Meanwhile,

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@pseckler13, you know it is not mutually exclusive. You can give money to this AND to other places too.

I would rather spend my money here than on yet another retro-clone on Kickstarter. I also happen to give to Veterans groups and I try to give a little to Trevor Foundation each year.

But yes. There are plenty of deserving charities

Anonymous said...

I seriously don't mean to pick on anyone, but I am freaked out by going back and forth from $125,000 for a blogger to tell us that Morrigan from Nightstalkers has unlikely cleavage, and then flipping the page and seeing "buy this family a pair of chickens for $25" or "Buy this Ethiopian Family some seeds for $17"; I don't think anyone should be forced or coerced or even socially pressured to give to anything personally (the 'One' charity made famous by Bono turns out to actually absorb 99% of its donations for it's staff and expenses.. which might be why the call it 'One'), I just have a hard time as seeing this as a victory for anything but vanity.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

You did see the part where I said: "I pledged, and I hope you do as well. But I am not here to get you do that. She is doing fine thanks to press coverage." right?

Look the truth is she doesn't need our money. But what I do want is TT gamers to talk about this stuff. Talk about the barriers to our hobby and whether we are our own worst enemies in this.

Do that while volunteering at a homeless shelter. Of better yet. Find (or make) a better game and then buy 20 copies and give them to an inner-city youth group or an organization like the USO to get them into the hands of serving troops.

If it is vanity, then I hope a lot of people are paying attention.

ERIC! said...

While we don't seem to see eye to eye on some things, it would seem, I must say I agree.


Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Eric, it would be boring if we all agreed on everything!