Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Gaming Community Still Doesn't like Girls in their Club

Even though I am female that is planning on gong into the game industry, I haven't understood or researched much into the entire controversy behind Gamergate. All that I knew up until recent digging is that the movement was promoted by men who didn't like certain women in the industry and/or what they were saying about gaming.

It turns out that my initial impression wasn't exactly wrong. I don't understand why it is so hard for some boys to understand that girls can make and play games as well. I have heard the term "Fake Geek Girl" thrown around a lot on social media, especially in regards to cosplayers and other con-goers. Memes like the one below can be seen all over the internet, inferring that you can only appreciate games if you actually look like the stereotype of a "nerd".
However, as this article puts so very well, the idea behind "fake geek girls" and #gamergate is all linked back to boy's fragile insecurities and gatekeeper syndrome rather than this being an actual problem in the gaming and geek culture community. Just as with any other passion, there is no reason why you should have to fit in with the stereotype in order to be able to enjoy your favorite things.

And heres another image just for fun illustrating this point:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Fighting ISIS Using Music

By now you've probably heard of Helly Luv, the Kurdish pop star that supports the fight against ISIS in the middle east through her music. After releasing her single "Revolution" she has even received death threats from the terrorist group, which means that her methods must be working as she had hoped.

Luv's song "Revolution" (violent content warning)

As the old adage goes: "The pen is mightier than the sword." And I believe that this is a prime example of this in action. In a war situation, you can only use violence so much before that becomes an ineffective threat, but helping to spread the message that gets people to unite against a common enemy is a force that is hard to kill. The internet may have its downsides and problems, but allowing for people to unite and spread hope to those who might otherwise not be able to hear it is one of the perks and great advantages that we now have in the digital age.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

So Easy, an Artist Can Do it

I am not a coder, I am an artist. With that being said, it kind of sucks that I'm expected to keep an online portfolio of my work to be able to reference when applying for any job in my field. If I was left to my own abilities, my website would look like a mess, and no one would probably ever want to hire me. Sure I could pay for one of those services that let you pay someone to make a site for you, and you just have to pay a monthly fee to make sure that it stays functional and looking proper; but why would I do that when it's so easy to do it yourself with only basic coding skill?

Many people take the easy way out by simply just paying someone, but since I know how to type basic commands and apply templates, I can do the same thing without paying anything at all. Templates are far easier to manipulate than people think. All you need to know is how to save the files in the right spot, and being able to link things within the page properly. Even if you don't know how to do this already, Google has the answers from people with abilities that range from basic to professional, typically giving you the same results.

It's interesting how many people don't realize this, and would rather pay for a website with a pretty layout.

Snapchat: Feeding the Crazy

Like most people born around the millennium, I use Snapchat as a way to communicate with my friends. Although I mostly use it for purposes of sending quick pictures of stuff around me and the occasional response to something that's been sent to me. I just hope that I never become like one of the crazy people that use Snapchat as a way to keep tabs on their SOs and friends.

I have heard many stories of girls going crazy over the fact that their boyfriend has another girl in their "Bestfriends List" on Snapchat. Why does that matter? Are you really so insecure in your relationship that you feel threatened by any other female that your SO is talking to? In my opinion, if you act this way just because of a list on some app, then you have larger problems than your boyfriend talking to other girls.

Even though this kind of behavior has become the norm since the social media boom, that doesn't mean that it should be considered okay. Social media might be an easy way to feed our egos and make ourselves feel more important than we really are; but when our life is centralized around it, we turn into these people who get into relationship fights over friend lists.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Assassin's Creed: Transmedia

With society's growing emphasis on convergence, and fan's want to know more about the universes that they love so much, transmedia storytelling (or TMS) isn't simply limited to books and movies anymore. Video games have joined in on the TMS craze, and I believe that Assassin's creed is a great example of this.

Assassin's Creed was first released in 2007 and has since had several sequels and spin-offs for almost any platform you can think of. Along the way there have also been low-budget short films released as an attempt to fill in some back story information and fillers that take place between the main games in the series. More recently, there have been a series of books that follow the events of the games, but in a written format rather than playing them.

Coming up this year there is a full-length feature film that follows the life of someone within the same universe, but completely separate from the characters from the games.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Online Abuse: Just Another Reflection of Society

I know what you're thinking after reading the title of this article: "She's trying to discredit the real pain that victims of cyber-bullying go through!" And let's be clear right off the bat here: No I'm not, so take a chill pill. I know that cyber-bullying has real victims that feel real pain, and that bullying via cyberspace is significantly harder to escape from than the face-to-face variety. But here is my proposal for why this problem hasn't been fixed yet, and why I don't believe that it ever really will be: As a society, we are all just a bunch of shitty human beings at our core.

Bullying, in general, has been around since humanity first learned that making someone else feel like shit could make you feel superior to them. A common stigma is that bullies only exist in the world of children in school, especially high school age kids. But anyone that has ever attended college or has worked at a job where there are other people around you know that this isn't true. Instead of being pushed around by the big kid on the playground with self-esteem issues, were now subjected to rumors and stories told in confidence being spread. So basically we're still stuck in high school.

I don't believe that the motivations and primary goals that bullies have have changed much over the years, the emerging of social media has just given them a faster and more convenient outlet with which to carry out their deeds. I'm not trying to justify the behavior, but if we as a society haven't been able to rid playgrounds of bullying, how is it possible to make any dent in a form that allows for anonymity of the abusers and messages and images to be spread in a matter of seconds? If you want to lower the occurrences of cyber-bullying, you need to first lower what causes bullying in general: us being allowed to be shitty people to one another.

Facebook Secretly Censoring More than Usual?

So we already know about how Facebook uses algorithms to only show you things on your news feed that it deems as being "important" to you. Although this is hardly accurate, because there are multiple reasons why you might have been looking up someones profile, or googling information about a particular topic that some girl from high school that you still have on there happens to be posting a lot about lately. But according to an article from Gizmodo, Facebook might be tailoring what appears on the trends as well as what you see in your news feed.

The "Trending Topics" header that appears on everyone's homepage is a feature that came out within the past few years, and is supposedly supposed to show users what topics are coming up frequently among your friends, as well as what users as a collective are talking about. But instead of this section being run by pure algorithm, there are workers hand picking what they think should and shouldn't be shown there.

Aside from making sure that Facebook itself and news about the site stay out of this module, the curators could push topics, or blacklist them at their own discretion. One of the effects of this was a consistent lack of more conservative-based topics ever appearing in the trending section, no matter if lots of people were talking about it or not. This was due to the lack of conservatively-mined people curating the topics.

I might not agree with what news anchors and politicians on the right-hand side of the political spectrum have to say, but I still believe that it is important to put all of the topics of interest that people are talking about out there, without being censored by some third party's bias.