Monday, November 19, 2012

Too Many Heroes, Not Enough Heroines

This girl deserves a character like her
Just in case you haven't noticed, let me be the first to tell you: There aren't enough female characters in video games. 

Now, I'm not talking about damsels-in-distress or barely dressed sexual objects because everyone knows that we have enough of those to last for several lifetimes. This is about strong well-developed female leads that save the day or maybe even come to a helpless male's rescue. It should be obvious that those characters are rare and highly undervalued.

A recent article about a father who took the time to switch all the male pronouns in his copy of Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker so that his daughter would know that girls can be heroes too just makes this fact all the more upsetting. Just like the 3 year old from this story, I always change Link's name to match my gender, but the game never shifts to match me. No matter what his name happens to be, Link is still a boy hero that has to rush in to save the defenseless young princess.

What this man has done for his daughter is highly commendable but no one should have to hack a game in the name of gender equality.

How do you feel about the presence of female characters in video games?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Virtual to Reality--Pauline, Plumbers Prefer Blondes

Donkey Kong Series--Pauline
Let's go old school today and talk about Nintendo's original "damsel-in-distress", the curvy Pauline.

Before Mario (aka Jumpman) started traveling through pipes to to save defenseless royals like Princess Peach, he climbed up rafters to rescue his girlfriend, the Lady, from the wild Donkey Kong. Of course, this mystery woman couldn't go unnamed for long and she eventually became known as Pauline.

In her original appearance, Mario's first girlfriend was a stereotypical blond in a pink dress, who only existed to give the hero a reason to challenge a giant gorilla. But once Peach was introduced as the new damsel and Mario's attention was turned toward a giant turtle, Pauline was redesigned into the voluptuous brunette in red that she is today.

Pauline's skin tight red dress bares absolutely no resemblance to the puffy dresses of her princess counterparts. This character is sassy and stylish. It's a shame she doesn't have a larger part of the series.

Do you think Mario's ex Pauline should be featured in more games?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Are Video Game Magazines Dying?

My favorite reading materials:
cookbooks, novels, textbooks and Game Informers
Question: If you want to know something about video games, where do you usually get the information from?

It's clear that we're becoming a more digital based culture, so I would guest that most people just check their favorite websites to get the latest news right when they want to see it. That's what I do most of the time.

But what about good old fashioned magazines? With the number of print publications decreasing more and more each day (for example, the long running magazine Nintendo Power will send out its last issue next month), it seems obvious that not many people still put their money into monthly mailing subscriptions.

To be totally honest, GameStop's loyalty program is one of the main reasons why I've had a subscription to Game Informer for the last few years. That two-in-one special is probably the biggest part of the company's success. But I do prefer the feel of a physical magazine copy and look forward to receiving a new issue each month...even though I am well aware that I am not part of the magazine's main demographic and find myself uninterested in many of the articles they print...but that has nothing to do with this...

Do you still read magazines or do you get your all information from online sources?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Make Your Favorite Game Sound Like Garbage

A friend of mine posted this challenge on her Facebook page and I thought it would be interesting to throw it out to you...

Describe your favorite game, but make it sound as terrible as you possibly can.

Here's mine:

You play an overweight, out-of-work tradesman who is invited to a castle to have cake with its princess. After a short trip through the local sewer system, you arrive at the castle only to discover that it is a basically an abandoned art museum and the pretty princess has been captured by the disembodied voice of giant turtle. The only way to save her is to explore the art museum/castle and jump each into the paintings, one by one.

Inside the paintings, you will be forced to complete menial tasks in the pursuit of monetary compensation and defeat random creatures that are much larger than you so that they will transform into weird stars with creepy, beady eyes that never blink...

You will waste an extraordinary amount of time running up a staircase that never ends.

Your only friends in this journey are a transparent little person in a mushroom hat and diaper that can somehow be in several places at once, an owl that likes to remind you how fat you are and a vocally challenged green dinosaur that only appears long after you finish the journey and shoot yourself out of a cannon.

If you didn't get it, I was describing Super Mario 64, the first game I ever played. How do you think I did?
How can a game this epic ever sound boring?
What's your favorite game? Can you make it sound terrible?

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Didn't Write an Acceptance Speech: Liebster Award Part Two

Well, I was nominated for a second Liebster Award. I'll take that as a sign that I'm doing something right...

Here's my first Liebster Post for those who care.

Thank you so much Shakibrya from Your Style Forecast!

Since I have already nominated 11 fantastic bloggers and posted 11 random (video game related) facts about myself, I'll just skip those parts.

Here are the questions from Shakibrya:
1. What’s the meaning behind your blog title?
I have always loved video games but everybody and their mother's mother has a video game blog. Mixing in fashion was my attempt to be creative. The name itself came from trial and error. (Many of my other choices were already taken).
2. Who would play you if your life was a movie?
I'd hope for Keke Palmer. But she would have to genuinely love games.
She's fashionable but does she play video games?
3. What song(s) would be the soundtrack of your life?
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall--Coldplay
Everybody Loves Me--OneRepublic 
Made For You--OneRepublic
Must Be Dreaming--Imogen Heap
We Can Make the World Stop--The Glitch Mob
We Swarm--The Glitch Mob
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence--Utada Hikaru
LoveStoned/I Think That She Knows Interlude--Justin Timberlake
Serious Coin--Nostalgia 
The Hero--Nostalgia
And the Super Mario Galaxy 2 theme...

4. What are your favorite books to read?
Depends on my mood. Right now I'm into anything related to geishas (Memoirs of a Geisha; Geisha, A Life). Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America is on my reading wish list though.
There's an empty space on my bookshelf.
Only this can fill it.

5. Who is your style icon?
Also depends on my mood. Right now, it's Dita Von Teese. Bet you didn't see that coming. Just take the time to watch some of her interviews. You will not be disappointed.
I mean, look at her...Amazing.
6. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Fickle fashionable gamer. (I think I'm cheating, but oh well...)
7. What’s the most inspiring city to you fashion-wise?
Umm...London, I suppose. I've never thought about that before.
8. What is your dream job?
Terrible ad campaigns aside (read my rants here and here), I still dream of being a Localization Editor at Nintendo of America. Or Europe.
9. You are invited to The Oscars to present an award, what do you wear?
This or something extremely similar.

10. It’s your first date and you want to make an impression. What do you wear?
I would wear this skirt if I owned it. 

Any suitor must understand that
video games are my first love.
11. What are your favourite colours to wear?
Various shades of black, white, grey and beige. I've included a picture of my closet at school for reference...I do branch out, but my wardrobe is a work in progress.
Look closely and you might spot some bright blue and pink.

I just want to take this time to thank you--yes, YOU--for reading my almost random nonsense. It really means a lot to me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Games with Friends: Because Multi-Player Does Exist

Video games are often considered a solitary activity. Everyone knows the image of the loner in the dark basement, playing from sun up to sun down, only interacting with people in the real world when it becomes absolutely necessary. Many believe that the obsessive gamer who avoids social interaction is the only kind of gamer that exists. These people tend to overlook the fact that multi-player titles can bring people together just as easily as the most popular single-player games can tear relationships apart.

People don't play games like this anymore...on computers like that...

For example, games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl can turn strangers into friends and the closest companions into bitter (but loving) rivals. With the right group of people, this classic can erase the stress of even the most difficult day. It's the game of choice when it comes to my friends. If someone suggests we play video games, they only ever have one title in mind...Many of our late nights get-togethers have been filled with laughter and the struggle to get the Smash Ball and come in first place.

Instant party: Just add friends.
Some of our favorite inside jokes have been inspired by the random things that fly out of our mouths in the heat of battle. The longer we play, the more incoherent we become. My favorite Smash Bros. related quotes include these amazing gems:
"Pikachu used Thumber!"
"Oooo, food!...Oh no, it's a trap!"
"You think you're SO HAPPY!"  
"Not the sparkles!...Keep your sparkles away from me!"
This only scratches the surface of our insanity.

And don't think that things like this are for hardcore gamers only. Even my friends who've never picked up a controller can simply watch us play and still feel included in the madness. The fun that it creates is just that universal.

Video games don't belong in a basement. They are meant to be shared.

So, what do you pull out when your favorite group of gamers gets together? Do you prefer to play alone or with friends?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day: Video Game Edition

Voting stickers are bit accusatory in my district.
Consider this my obligatory post about election day. Hopefully you will find a way to cast your vote either in person or by absentee ballot because this a very important election.

It doesn't really matter who or what you vote for as long as you make sure that your voice is heard.

On a lighter note, what if video game characters could run for president? Who would you trust to run this country of ours?

Personally, I would choose Fox McCloud from the Star Fox series. It's true that he has no experience repairing a failing economy, but I think his experience leading a diverse (and in some characters' cases, annoying) crew could help to blur the lines in between political parties.

If he can handle them, he can handle anyone.
Which video game character would you vote for?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Do You Want a Wii U as Much as Nintendo Wants You To?

Nintendo wants you to care about this. But do you?
With the North American launch date (Nov. 18th) only a few days away, everyone's attention is turning to Nintendo and the shiny high-definition Wii U.

It's pretty obvious that this console's pre-launch hype is not as strong as the insane anticipation leading up to its predecessor's release. Not many people believe that lighting while strike twice for this line of systems... But even though the fanboys and girls don't seem quite as intense as they were back in 2006 (trust me, I was one of them), people are getting excited about Nintendo's newest console...

But I'm not. At least not enough to make to the store that Tuesday.

Hardcore Nintendo fan that I am, I am intrigued by the new technology, even though if I am bit skeptical. I look forward to the moment when I have it in my hands and can decide for myself if the screen in the controller actually makes sense in real life. But when it really comes down to it, the launch titles just don't make me want loosen the tight grip I have on my wallet right now.

This doesn't mean I don't want it almost desperately...It just means I can be more patient than usual.

Are you looking forward to the Wii U launch date with painful anticipation? Can you wait for the new system or are you going to pass on it completely? Was there a game launch that you were excited about in the past?

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Play As You Are"--Nintendo and the Female Audience Part 2

Be a girl AND a gamer...with a little help from Nintendo
I'm a hardcore Nintendo fan and that will probably never change, but I can hold a serious grudge. After writing (and venting to anyone who would listen) about Nintendo's new "I'm not a gamer" ad campaign, I let it go. I didn't think that the marketing would be that serious anyway.

Then a new Nintendo commercial popped up on my YouTube subscription box (because yes, I do follow their company channel). It was just another spot with a girl rambling on about how she doesn't play video games, but this time it came with a link to their "Play As You Are" website. Of course, I was extremely curious...

Clicking that link was like reopening a wound.

The first thing you see are the smiling faces of their beautiful young spokeswomen but Nintendo makes sure to remind you immediately that these girls aren't gamers. Everything on the page is swirly and feminine. I must admit that I like the way it looks even though it offends me. Nintendo knows exactly what it's doing.

Nintendo makes games like this for girls like me.
The site is basically a portal to the main websites of a handful games Nintendo considers "appropriate" for non-gaming female consumers. Fashion, photography, art, puzzles. Yes, there is a Super Mario and a Professor Layton game mixed in, but the rest are titles you will soon see in your nearest Wal-Mart bargin bin.

This is the stereotype that I was arguing against in my post about whether boys are better gamers than girls. Nintendo made this entire campaign with the idea that females are better at puzzles, word and art games than any other kind they could possibly come up with. Look don't see any sites like this for males, do you? That's because no one thinks they need them. Because boys don't need easy titles to give them an excuse to purchase a game system.

A little known fact: girls don't either.

I love Nintendo from the bottom of my gaming heart, but this approach is wrong on so many levels.

What do you think about Nintendo's new campaign and website? Does it make you want to purchase the console and games featured? Am I overreacting?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wish List--Pac-Man Print Mini Skirt

No quarters required to play.
Pac-Man is one of the most iconic video game series ever. It's not the hottest thing now, but there was a point when anything related to that hungry yellow circle was considered a guaranteed hit. Even that rushed Atari port that was pretty much impossible to play still sold millions of copies simply because of the hype...

Whether you poured your soul and extra quarters into eating those colorful ghosts or your arcade experience is extremely limited, chances are that you've played Pac-Man--or one of its numerous spin-offs--at least once in your life (I wasted my allowance on it more times than I'd like to admit...). Its pick-up-and-play simplicity has made it an extremely universal game.

With its multi-colored ghosts and circles, this skirt is the perfect way to display your love for the addictive maze game. But the design is so understated that from far away it looks like any other pattern. The skirt is almost as universal as the game itself. A fantastic combination of video game love and everyday style.

Find this skirt on Etsy.

Ever blow all your money on an intense game of Pac-Man? Would you ever wear this skirt?
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