Category: Gamer Grrl’s Soapbox

Where ever there’s a mass shooting or grievous violence, the end fault always seems to land on the shoulders of “violent” video games.

Not graphic violence on TV.

Not graphic violence depicted on the news, or in the newspaper and other news media.

Not graphic violence depicted in songs…we can still beat them bitches and hoes to our hearts content.

And not in role-playing games, history books, or other media avenues.

And absolutely NOT in the lack of parenting.

Video games are ALWAYS found at fault.  So, in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook incident, a Connecticut state representative has proposed a 10% violence tax on all video games that are rated mature.  So what does this mean?

Well, of course those that enjoy the actual real “violent” video games like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Gears of War will have to pay the tax.  And more than likely games like American McGees Alice, Diablo, and even Everquest/World of Warcraft will have to pay.  However, the games don’t have to be simply “violent” to fall prey to this tax.  The Sims3, Fable, Civilization, Thief, or even Overlord will have to pay the tax.

Personally, I think this is rather idiotic since this tax isn’t going to fix anything.  It’s not going to bring the victims of violence back and I know for certain it won’t go to actually helping mentally ill folks.  No, it will just become one of those taxes where the revenue goes off somewhere we can’t see and ends up in the pockets of politicians.

Then again, I’d be willing to pay this tax as long as the bitches and hoes get a 10% tax too and THAT money goes to women’s abuse shelters.  Of course, that’s probably racist.  Gotta protect them bitches and hoes being smacked around after all!

 

When I used to play the popular SOE MMO, Everquest, I made my rounds on the Nameless (formerly Innoruuk) server.  I was Kshali Mourningmoon, a high level pink druid that was a killer healer and raid leader.  Once a month I went up to Orlando and became Kshal, the red haired necromancer, and once a week I drove over to West Palm Beach and became Kali the Tremere in Vampire Darkages or Tala the atheist niece of the Norse god Loki in D&D.  However, by day I was simply GamerGrrl, an employee of one of the numerous juvenile detention centers operating in Florida.

However, according to the GOP, my game playing means that I live a “bizarre double life” and live in a fantasy world.  Or does that not apply to me because I’m not running for a state senate seat like Colleen Lachowicz who was called out by the Republican Party a few weeks ago (Google it, you’ll get tons of hits)??

When I mentioned this rather strange political attack made by the GOP to my other half, who is also a gamer, he just looked at me and said who’s living in the fantasy world? Those of us who game and exercise our creative side, or Republicans who failed biology class or are trying to figure out why airplane windows don’t roll down.  Good question.

Seriously, why are those of us who choose to spend our free time playing games, of any types, freaks or weirdos? I really rather be running a game of Vampire the Masquerade or Paranoia for my friends than going to a bar and drinking.  I rather play the zombie board game “Last Night on Earth” instead of playing golf or bowling.  I don’t really care for watching TV, there’s only so much sporting I can get in with my weight lifting, and quite frankly the pocket book can’t really support going out all that often.

Playing a MMO (massively multiplayer online rpg) doesn’t make a person “sick”, “evil”, or “addicted.”  If a person has an addictive personality, they are GOING TO FIND SOMETHING to get addicted to be it drugs, drink, or a video game.  If a person can lead a productive life and their gaming sessions are truly on their own time and not their company’s time or the tax payer’s time, SO WHAT? Who is it hurting?

With that being said, I’d really like to poll the GOP and see if any of them would admit to being gamer’s and “wasting” their life playing games.  I wonder if any of them would stand up and admit it, or are they all that out of date?  All I have to say is good luck, you just pissed off the greater gamer community.  I for one probably won’t be voting Republican again.

 

Do the toys that we are given by our parents, that we play with while growing up, define who we are? What kind of person we will grow up to be?

Some people certainly think so.

In the 21st century, there are still people out there who think that letting a boy play with a doll, or a purple controller, will make them gay.  There’s also people who think girls who aren’t interested in playing house or dressing up and doing ‘girl’ things won’t somehow survive to become a strong woman.  Well, I hate to tell you this.  Dolls don’t make boys fall in love with other boys and running around in army fatigues and playing with GI Joes won’t make a girl any less of a girl.

For those that know me, it probably won’t surprise anyone that I was a tomboy.  From my earliest childhood memory I can remember my father coming home from his drill duty with the National Guard in his fatigues.  I loved my father and I was a daddy’s girl to the letter so I wanted to be like my father.  I can remember insisting on going to school in my little mini combat boots and army fatigues so I could be like daddy and I had aspirations to join the army.

Well, that never happened even though I did well on my aptitude test!

I also had a fair amount of barbie dolls, and I even asked for Barbies and My Little Ponies from Santa.  However, He Man, Transformers and GI Joe got just as much or more wishlist space as the Barbies and My Little Pony.

I can remember running around playing He Man, GI Joe, Ghost Busters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with my friends.  Those sessions of “lets pretend” were much more interesting than playing house.  The times that we did play house, the area around the playhouse my father built for me (complete with kitchen and a running sink) had a moat dug around it.  It wasn’t a small moat either and it tended to have water in it regularly.  And of course the inside of the playhouse got soaked on a regular basis because we were firemen and had to put the fire out.  Or it was a ship and we were sailing the high seas…it was rarely the ‘My Three Sons’ type household.

Around 9 or 10 years old I got a horse.  My Christmas wishlist suddenly had Breyer Horses on it and horse related stuff.  However, the games of ‘lets pretend’ didn’t stop.  My friends and I were knights on our valiant steeds that were off to slay the evil dragon.

I think all through this, up until I was 16, I flat out hated to wear dresses.  I was at home in jeans and t-shirts covered in grass stains, mud, and later loads of horse hair.  Up until the end of high school, the ONLY exception I made for “girly” things was for homecoming and prom.

Today I wear dresses, sometimes.  I love corsets.  I love steampunk jewelry.  I get my hair and nails done on a regular basis and I’m happily married.  I’m a great chef and kill it when baking.  I sew.  I also am a game master, love role-playing of any type, don’t hesitate to play the opposite sex in a game if I have to, and I wish I never sold my Transformers all those years ago at a yard sale in my Grandma’s front yard.

So do toys define who you are?

Every great once in awhile, when I go through the various press releases and launch notices about new sites and innovations in, I come across something related to gaming.  This morning was one of those days when I came across a little gem of a press release.

Evidently a dating site called DateaGamer.co.uk launched a new sister site called ShagaGamer.com.  This idea has always been swimming around in my head because there’s one universal truth.  Gamer guys want to hook up with gamer girls.  Why not combine hot, single gamer girls with horny guys? It’s a gold mine waiting to happen.  From the look of it I’m not the only person who’s thought this through.

However, as I read through the press release, I damn near spit out my coffee because I was laughing so hard.  Of course the others in the office wanted to know what I was giggling hysterically at.

Founder Tom Thurlow conceived the new site after noticing that many members of his DateaGamer website were not looking for endless love, but rather someone to bed in between “Call of Duty” and “Diablo” sessions.

Really? No kidding.  I thought gamers were all looking to settle down for a monogamous life with the perfect wife, 2 kids, dog and white picket fence.  But this isn’t the part that had me cleaning my computer screen.

“Since its launch earlier in the year, DateaGamer.co.uk has grown more quickly than we ever anticipated.  Over the past few months we noticed that instead of looking for love, many of the members were using the site purely to meet up for sex.”

Nope, still not yet.  Just setting you up.

“It’s not something we were expecting, but obviously gamers have urges too…”

Oh, really? Gamers have urges too? While I have little faith in the up and coming generation as far as being relate to the opposite sex much less each other if it doesn’t have to do with the internet, controllers, or pixels, I honestly wouldn’t have ever known (as a gamer) that we have urges.  However, if I weren’t happily married (to a gamer) I’m sure that I’d have found my “urge” with your site.  Oh, wait, I had Everquest to thank for that one…

Well done DateaGamer, well done.

I’m not going to make excuses.  I’ve been absent from this site, I haven’t been updating and I certainty haven’t been doing a good job of talking about gaming.  What do I have to say for myself? Well, I’ve been travelling and gaming.

Last month found me in the US for one fourth work and the rest vacation.  I figured since I was already in the states for my job, I might as well go home to remind myself exactly why I left again.  I have a list of reminders which will be good for awhile now:

- It’s dry.
- It’s windy.
- Nothing has really changed.
- The locals think good sushi is deep fried.
- The local gaming store is only open 2 days a week.

Honestly, I think the last 2 are the most serious offenders.  I want to know who on earth that isn’t in the deep south and in the habit of deep frying everything from twinkies to sticks of butter, would deep fry sushi.  Ok, I get it.  The health department won’t let you serve raw fish.  But deep frying it?? Stick to the tuna and avocado rolls people.

And the game store.  I guess I’m spoiled by the fact that the game store I go to is open all the time.

But now I’m back and I’ve actually been doing loads of computer gaming.  I re-subscribed to Everquest2, lord help me.  I’m playing Diablo3.  I’m still trudging away with Cthulhu Saves the World, started messing with CitiesXL, have several maps on SimCity4, and loaded up Portal so I can get inspiration for a mini Paranoia campaign I’ll be running at the local meetup the next several months.

That brings me to my table top gaming.  The first vampire game after our imposed break will be starting on July 1st once again.  I’ve got that meetup Paranoia game, which will be doubling as a play test for Conception 2013.  Oh yea, and I’m organizing the yearly pilgrimage to Conception as well.  Somewhere in all of this I’ll have to paint the other half’s Descent mini’s and start running the Free Port game again.

And I got a bicycle.

WTB 24 more hours in my day!

I can’t really say that I’m a Facebook Gamer.  I played Restaurant City for about a year before I lost interest and I dabbled in Hotel City.  But I never got sucked into Farmville like a lot of people I know.  However, today while looking through my news items (on Facebook no less), I came across a friend who linked to an article called ‘Police Give Take on Facebook Pot Farm Game.’

In this article, Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray was quoted saying that the game disguises and glamorizes the drug.  Um, ok…

But in the last part of the article, Chief Ray says “I don’t think it teaches you how to be a pot farmer or a pot grower, no more than a dungeons and dragons game would teach you how to be a dragon slayer.”

Personally, I don’t really think that PotFarm glamorizes the drug anymore than Dungeons and Dragons turns the average house wife into a chain bikini, sword wielding, magic performing psychopath.  I myself play all sorts of games Mr. Ray might think glamorizes murder, back stabbing friends, guns, and even drugs (Your Friend the Computer wants you to just be happy after all…).  Vampire the Masquerade, Hunter the Reckoning, Paranoia, Necessary Evil are just a few systems and settings that I can name off the top of my head that doesn’t exactly set the best example in the world since I can be a card carrying, duel chainsaw wielding psycho path if I really want to be! Doomsday Barbie from a Necessary Evil campaign comes to mind.

Really, I think people just need to stop making mountains out of molehills when it comes to games.  If parents actually parent and the US would fucking grow up when it comes to soft drugs, I wouldn’t even have to be writing this blog post.  Now would I?

Wow.  February has been particularly busy for me.  So busy that I haven’t had time to make one post on GamerGrrls myself! Phewww! I bet you are just dying to know what I’ve been up to.

Lets see.  Gym.  Lots and lots of gym and jogging.  2011 was dedicated to giving myself an overhaul and I’ve dedicated 2012 to lifting weights.  Why? Because I can and someone made the off hand comment to me that girls can’t lift heavy weights because we’ll puff up like the Incredible Hulk.  Um, excuse me?! Unless a girl is a freak of nature and has more testosterone or is taking stuff she shouldn’t, there’s no way to ‘Hulk’ up.  So lifting it is! My goal is to be able to bench 100kg, mostly to just say I can.  So far my squats suck, my deadlifts are at about 88lbs, and my bench press is about 88lbs as well.  I can swing a 24kg kettlebell and do all sorts of other nifty things that I couldn’t do in January 2011.  However, this is a time sink.  Worth it, but it costs loads of time.

Oh yea, and I’m jogging too.  Up to 8k.  I’m planning on entering the Dam tot Dam Loop that’s held in Amsterdam each fall!

Then there’s work.  It’s contest time again and I get this responsibility 100% this year.  Of course I can’t simply organize a contest worth $30,000 in prize money itself.  Nooo..I get to organize a party in Miami too! South Beach no less! The cool thing about this is I’ll get to see a guildy from my old Everquest guild AND a good friend I larped with.  See, there’s some gaming related stuff here.

I stopped playing my Saturday vampire game simply because I’m booked until after May.  I’m a busy, busy girl.  However, I am DMing my bi-weekly Vampire Darkages game.  They’re getting ready to march on Carthage.  I have many evil, evil things planned.  Oh, and I have created a sub-domain to write about their adventures.  As soon as I get it up to snuff I’ll link it so you can follow it too!

Starting May 13th I’m going to be running a Savaged Paranoia game for the country’s Meetup Group.  I’m curious to see how Savage World will do for a seriousish Paranoia game.  Plus, this is going to be a setting for an eventual con game.  More about that later.

There weren’t any concerts this month, however, there’s a bit of a concert marathon coming up.  My dear and loving other half made a dream come true and got me tickets to see Loreena McKennit in Dusseldorf! I’ve been following her since the very early 90s and never got to see her live since tickets are usually both spendy and scarce.  So I can’t even go on about how excited I am!

March 16th is the album release party for Epica’s newest album.  That’ll be held at the 013 in Tilburg…and I get to take my video camera.

In April Delain (a dutch metal band) is playing at the p60.  I’m probably going to go to that one since I haven’t seen them since their first album was released.  My parents are also visiting the entire month of April and we’ll be headed to Germany for a week.  That ought to be fun and provide lots of ideas and fodder for games.  Especially since Cindarella’s castle in Austria is on the will see even if it’s the last thing I do list.

May 19th I’ll be in Miami then probably head over to WA State to visit my family.

June is Children of Bodem at the Melkweg in Amsterdam.

July is the Cruxshadows (YAY!!!!!!!) in Bochum.  I’m also seriously, seriously considering the Amphi Festival in Germany this year because the line up for Sunday is KILLER.  Cruxshadows, Blutengel, Project Pitchfork, CombiChrist, Lord of the Lost and The Other are all playing.  That’s pretty much my entire iPod playlist right there.

Either August or September is Lord of the Lost in I think Bochum or Essen Germany.  I can’t remember which.  August also may be Diary of Dreams if day tickets for the Summer Darkness festival are a decent price.

September is also Gamescom in Koln I believe.  I plan on hitting that up as well.

And maybe, just maybe somewhere in that mix my awesome other half will be able to talk a co-worker of his into letting us come over to either his Monaco or Barcelona flat for the F1 Grand Prix (yea, so I like Formula 1.  I’m a chick of many talents and interests!).

Well crap, that’s most of my year already planned! And that’s not even counting loads of Descent mini painting, con game writing, hanging with friends and eating kangaroo and drinking loads of cidar, etc.  What about video game playing? The latest movie? Or new book releases? LOL

So yea, that’s a bit of what’s coming up and I promise to make more of an effort to update GamerGrrls!

Stempunk Facebook PageOn Facebook, I follow the community page that is all about Steampunk.  I love seeing people’s awesome costumes, art work and constructons because it gives me ideas and inspirations of my own.  In fact, I’m planning on dressing up for the Elf Fantasy Fair Haarzuilens in April as Alex, from A Clockwork Orange.  Of course, this isn’t just any Alex –  it’s going to be a steampunked out Alex (hey, I have gears I need to put on something!!).

Well, yesterday a post came by from the Steampunk Page about someone who called steampunk ‘gay’.  Of course this made me think instantly of the editorial that Sean Patrick Fannon of DriveThruRPG wrote back in August about ‘Some Gamers are Gay.’  Honestly, Sean’s article applies 100% to the Steampunk situation.

Look people, I’m disgusted just as much as the next person about how PC (politically correct) America, Americans, and much of the world has become.  I dislike the fact that everyone is being so careful about what they say, do, or feel because they’re scared to death of offending someone or a group.  I think people are rather stupid about giving words power over their feelings and self esteem.  However, I find it easier to get by in this world to just think before I open my mouth (ok, doesn’t always work but I try) and not say the worlds that could hurt someone next to me.  Am I always successful? Not at all.  The fact is though, our hobby is exclusive enough that I don’t want ANYONE turned away from it because of some words that were said so I do my best.

So the plea that I have for those of you reading this, is the same plea I had when Sean wrote his editorial piece, THINK before you speak.  If you use the word ‘gay’ often, stop.  If you hear someone using discriminatory remarks, have the courage to speak up and correct them.  If we don’t speak up and say “no, this is wrong”, then those words will continue to be used.

Oh, and thank you to the person who runs the Steampunk Page for making the comment you did.  I know there was several comments saying you or the folks who have made comments shouldn’t have fed the troll(s), however, I think even if it’s going to tickle some keyboard warrior’s fancy that they got a response out of you, it’s important to show that this behaviour isn’t tolerated by You or the larger community that enjoys the Steampunk Page.

Steampunk and Game on!

Today on Facebook, one of my friends shared a link to a pretty amazing article on the Huffington Post.  It’s about a big brother who stuck up for his little brother.  Why? Because his little brother wanted a game where he could play a girl character and he wanted a remote control with ‘girl’ colors but daddy didn’t like it.  Evidently playing girl characters and having a purple remote console controls aren’t “manly” enough for the dad.

I guess I’m not the best person to talk to when it comes to gender roles.  Growing up I wanted to be just like my daddy who was in the National Guard.  I can remember 1st and 2nd grade when I went to school in my little army fatigues and combat boots.  When school shopping, my mother actually had sales people knock on the door to the dressing room asking if everything was OK because it must have sounded like a war zone.  She was trying to get me to put on a dress.

I adored He-Man.  I think I owned every single one of the original metal Transformers.  GI Joe was my hero.  I played soccer, softball, and basketball and usually got kicked out for starting fist fights with the other girls.  When I got on my middle school’s soccer team, the boys on the other teams were terrified of the other girl and I since we had to play on the boys team.  I thrived for the tough and rumble world of being a tom-boy.

All through growing up, neither of my parents batted an eye because I rather play ‘war’ out in the mud than be inside brushing a Barbie Doll’s hair.  ”Girl things” weren’t forced down my throat and I didn’t have to become ladylike.  Looking back I have to wonder, is it just more accepted for girls to like “boy things” than it is for a boy to like a dolly or the color pink?

When I look around around the gaming world, the colors between “girl” and “boy” are pretty blurred.  When I was into Everquest, I knew several guys who played female characters for whatever reason.  Yea, when it first came out that guys dared play girls (or girls played guy characters so they’re left alone) there was a lot of flack.  That was back in the early 2000′s and now? Nobody cares.

On video games, such as Fable3, guys can play the Princess because it possibly changes the way the game goes.  I haven’t tested the theory, but I’m sure there’s guys who have done it.  I highly doubt this really changes their sexuality or who they are.

I know several guys who play female characters in table top RPGs.  Heck, my own husband has had several female characters and I believe he likes the color purple.  He’s not afraid to wear pink dress shirts either.  Oh wait, he’s just European so it must be OK.  Right?

I suppose what I’m getting at is, liking girl characters and the color purple (or wanting “girl colors” whatever those are) doesn’t change who this little kid is.  Why do we keep trying to form our kids into some ideal that WE want them to be instead of encouraging their interests and likes? Whatever reason, I have to give kudos to the big brother for standing up to his father because at least the big brother understands that no matter what his little brother likes or dislikes, he’s still going to be family.

Oh, and for those that think that the big brother was wrong for disobeying his father…just because a parent is a parent, it doesn’t make them wrong sometimes.  There is no Dungeon Masters Guide when it comes to raising kids, or even growing up and getting with the times.

Click here for the original article.

From the Mark Twain Stormfield Project

So we’ve taken the word ‘nigger’ and ‘injun’ in Mark Twain’s classic Huckleberry Finn.  There’s no more Christmas, Valentine, or Thanksgiving parties in elementary schools.  We now have Spring, Fall, and Winter festivals.  Schools have asked publishers to take a lot of religion and religious culture out of Social Studies books because Lord forbid, the minority might be offended.  People voted for a black president not because he’s the most qualified individual to choose from, but because they didn’t want to appear racist to the outside world.  We can’t say the word retard anymore because it might hurt someone’s feelings.  Oh, and in children’s sports, the sport is stopped before someone can ‘win’.

This is what America has been reduced to.  What more can they take away from us? How about Halloween?

Yes, Political Correctness has now officially crept it’s way into the realm of spooky and tacky costumes of Halloween since there is a group of students at Ohio University who have launched a campaign to ‘prevent’ culture from becoming stereotypical costumes.  Want to be a Japanese Geisha? You might offend someone.  How about a rapper or Bollywood dancer? Nope, think again.  Indian princess? No, no, and no again.  It seems we really have thin skin these days.

Wake up folks, it’s HALLOWEEN.  Political correctness shouldn’t be able to hold court here! What’s next? Get rid of all the zombie brides because they don’t take the ‘institution’ of marriage seriously? How about dressing up as a skeleton? Is that going to offend the Mexicans because we’re suddenly making fun of Dia de los Muertos? How about wearing a Carnival mask?  Do you know this has less to do with throwing beads at women in New Orleans to see their tits and has more to do with the religious tradition of Lent? I don’t hear anyone bitching about that.

Once we abolish everything offending in Halloween, where do we go from there? Role-playing and video games? Because let me assure you, games have more than enough of their share of stereotypes.  I’m sure I’d offend some Hindi from India with my current Vampire the Masquerade character.  She’s named after an important goddess and she’s Indian.  Alternatively, I had at one point a super villianess named Doomsday Barbie.  I’m sure this duel chainsaw wielding, exploding, barbie doll would offend some woman somewhere for being an unattainable model for little girls everywhere.

How about the typical high fantasy game where the men rush out to rescue the princess? I mean, in this day and age, you’d think princesses wouldn’t need to wait for the knight in shining armor to come and slay the dragon for her.  Modern princesses should be able to fend for themselves.  And finally, what about evil sorcerers? Isn’t this giving the wrong idea about Wiccans and other ‘good’ magic practitioners? Where’s the rage?

People, leave Halloween alone.  It’s one day in the year where leaving political correctness at the door is OK.  No one culture is perfect, we all have stereotypical things we’re known for.  Hell, I know most foreigners think all Americans are fat idiots who can’t point correctly to any Euro country on a map.  Am I offended? Nope.  Laugh on people if it makes you feel good.  Sit back, have a laugh, and have a beer on me! Just leave the sanctity of Halloween ALONE!