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Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

I’ve a strong interest in how women get portrayed in computer games; partly because I’m a strong believer in equality, partly because I like supercool ass-kicking women and there’s so few in games. With that in mind I’ve often found myself thinking about the depiction of female characters in my beloved Warcraft. There’s a hundred different ways I could approach such a topic, but for today I thought I would stick with the big picture and look at some trends across the board. To do that, I’m going to analyse some of Warcraft’s lore characters with a doodad called the Bechdel Test.

The Bechdel Test is intended a measure of female presence in media. Originally showcased in a comic strip (+1 geek point there) the test examines a film (or in this case, computer game) based on containing 3 simple criteria:

1. Does it include at least two female characters?

2. Who talk to each other?

3. Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?

It’s actually quite shocking how many movies, tv shows and games totally fail this test, which is of course the point. Naturally it is by no means perfect, but it’s useful as a kind of litmus test of how women are portrayed, highlighting the complete lack of well-developed female characters in modern entertainment. So how does World of Warcraft fare under the Bechdel Test?

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This week I reached all-new levels of proving my allegiance to the Horde: I got my new Warcraft Soundblaster headphones.  I’ve been very impressed with them on the whole. Previously I was using the Fatal1ty headset, also made by Creative, and they did the job reasonably well, but I honestly never used them much for listening, they became a glorified microphone I hung around my neck. With the Warcraft headset though, I’ve actually found a headset I really like, even if it is a seriously niche product that is ridiculously overpriced. Anyways I figured, good little WoW blogger that I am, I would provide a short but informative run-down of my opinions on the headset.

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Welcome to the another meeting at The Crossroads, where both Ercles and Wulfy jointly attempt to answer a topic of the day, without consulting each other just to mix things up. Today’s topic for discussion is online friends: How much do we value them and how do they compare to our real-life friendships? Read on to discover the shocking truth!

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I was appalled to read this article today about a 27-year-old man who flew into a violent rage when told to quiet down his game of WoW. For those of you not wanting to read through the article, here’s a brief summary (based on what I’ve read – the details are somewhat hazy):

James Swan

– 27-year-old James Swan lived with his mother, grandfather and several related children in a house in Florida. Swan plays World of Warcraft.

– One night around 10pm, he had been drinking and his gameplay was disturbing the children so his mother asked him to turn it down. He refused.

– After being asked repeatedly to stop he became very  angry and violent, throwing his mother and one of the children on the bed.

– His mother tried to call 911. He ripped the phone off the wall and then began to choke her, yelling he was going to kill her.

– Swan’s grandfather shows up and, unable to stop Swan from attacking his mother, grabs a revolver.

– There is a struggle and the grandfather shoots Swan in the head. The bullet only grazes him but he is incapacitated.

– Everyone involved survived (just). Swan was arrested and refused treatment.

I had three thoughts upon reading this upsetting report. First, this guy is a violent and pathetic wanker who needs to be locked up for a long time and receive some serious rehabilitation. Second, the media is going to go crazy over this and some are already blaming the game at least as much as the man, if not more so. The third issue, and the one I wish to discuss here is whether the media is right to do so? Disturbing instances like this do raise the important question: How harmful is World of Warcraft and other computer games?

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This subject has been discussed a lot on the intarwebs lately (WoW Insider and WoWcast, too mention a couple), so I thought I’d have a go at it. How WoW becomes a big part of a lot of players lives and how others look (down) at this somewhat bizarre way of spending your free time.

There seems to be two kinds of people. The ones who play WoW and the ones who hate it. This might be true for a lot of things, but there seems to be a common disliking for the game. And I’m trying to wrap my head around exactly why. I guess a lot of things that is as popular as WoW have the same effect on people. Football (soccer for you Americans) for instance has some incredibly devoted supporters, to the degree of lunacy. On the other hand you got the people who sees football supporters as bunch of brainless twats who worship other brainless twats who gets paid way to much for running around kicking a ball. It seems if you have a devoted audience you’re likely to have an equally devoted group of people who hate what others love.

The Gathering

The Gathering

“Can’t you just pause it?”. If I had a gold for every time I got that question I’d be cruising the streets of Dalaran on a Mechanohog. A lot of people, even those my own age, seem unable to grasp the concept of 25 people coming together at a set time and date to play a video game.  Miraculously I managed to explain and make my parents understand this concept, at least to a degree. So whenever I’m back home and someone asks me for this or that, they actually understand when I say “10 more minutes, just need to finish this.”. Judging by the amount of “brb, mum says I have to eat” I see when pug’ing instances, I think I should feel privileged.

This brings me to another point. Choosing between RL and the game. To most people, even s0me of those who play, the answer is given. Before you make up your mind picture this. You’ve signed up for Ulduar 10-man a week before. You’ve been in the same guild for months, if not years and talk to people on Vent on almost a daily basis. On this particular run, which you know people have spent hours preparing for, you know that there are only 10 sign ups. If you don’t show, it’s a no go. Then a friends calls you two hours before the raid and asks if you want to come to a party, come over, watch a movie or anything else? What do you do? I have to admit I have told friends no, or tried asking if they got time later. My problem with it all is that I don’t want to tell those who don’t play  why it’s a bad time. Because I know they wouldn’t understand.

In the end I think you can conclude that if you plan to raid end game actively it will change your RL priorities. A lot of people find this thought disturbing. After all, it’s just a game. Isn’t it?

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