Feb 12, 2008

[Why I Don't Play EVE]

Bitter Old Noob asked the question: "Why don't more women play EVE?"
The common theory seems to be that there's not enough dress-up or pretty colors in the game.It's so annoying to always hear those same theories over and over again, whenever guys wonder about why more women don't play 'so-and-so game'. Those two elements are not the 'make or break' elements that encourage women gamers (or a potential woman gamer) to pick up a game.

I'm female and I adore spaceships. I think mecha are sexy (I watched GundamWing for the robots, not the boys). I used to have a poster of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey on my wall when I was in high school. So with that said;

I played the EVE trial. I loved the ships, and the space environments. It's a beautiful game, in my opinion. What turned me off was the lack of accessibility (Corp politics is where things get really fun, and when you start out, you don't have any of these connections). Aside from grinding asteroids for ore, 'training' is an automatic process that you just set up and wait for days/weeks to level up. That's too 'passive' for my tastes, and I like the sense of 'working towards' character development.

I liked the tutorial. Since I'm the kind that also reads game manuals (freak of nature, I know) the length of it didn't bother me much. After that, I went about trying to get some a better ship and outfitting. Once I had mined for a day or so (a boring grind), bought an upgrade ship, and outfitted it with lots of cool equipment, I went out on a pirate mission and got summarily blown up (still being a noob). And lost everything, even with insurance. Back to the square one empty starter ship. That's when I uninstalled the game.

I don't play EVE for the same reasons lots of other male gamers don't: The game's learning curve is steep and unforgiving. A harsh death penality. The PvP is free-for-all and a general state of controlled anarchy prevails. That gameplay style is not what I enjoy.

EVE is a beautiful game, and very unique. I follow stories of Corp intrigues and wars with interest, and I love how players have made their own societies in the game, and I wish more MMOs had that openness and potential. But only a very particular kind of person enjoys the kind of PvP play mechanics EVE offers. Brighter colors and adding avatar dress-up in EVE would not get me (or others who don't already like the game) to play it, because everything else about the gameplay doesn't appeal to me (or to the majority of MMO players, if you look at the game's subscriber count). It's a game that's tailored to a very specific gamer type. (And yes, the boy's club atmosphere of the community and advertising doesn't help attract women, either).

So there's one girl's reason as to why she doesn't play EVE. =P

Feb 6, 2008

[Kotaku vs. the Boy's Club?! LOL]

From an otherwise halfway decent article on gaming journalism's need to grow up, in which, Brian Crescente shows that he's either completely in denial, or confused as to what the term 'sexist' even means:
"What needs to stop is the boy's club, in which women are only featured as sex objects. Forget being offended by it; I'm just sick of it -- if I want titillation, I'll go to porn or, you know, an actual woman. Maybe I'll read Esquire, where they at least pretend to respect an actress's work before showing off her calves. See, it's not just that gaming journalism is obsessed with sexy women, it's that the obsession takes such an awkward form. The practice is found all over the industry. Some examples:
  • Porn Stars Love Video Games! Popular site GameDaily interviews porn stars about whether their boyfriends can play video games, and which game characters they'd like to get with. In the interest of service journalism, each micro-interview is smaller than the photo of the porn star above it. (No male stars, natch, but then again who ever wanted to hear something from the mouth of a male porn actor?) GameDaily also wants you to read "Babe of the Week" and "The Most Outrageous Boobs in Gaming."
  • Strip Halo 3: Porn stars get naked on video while playing a shoot-em-up with ugly guys.
  • Shooting Range: Industry leader Electronic Gaming Monthly sent a team of girl gamers to a shooting range to test their real-life skills. Am I picky for being annoyed that they were chosen for hotness?
  • Digital Lust: Now folded, Gamestar Magazine was an unapologetic tits-and-games mag. These "behind the scenes" photos from a holiday gift guide shoot looked so much like the start of a soft porn gallery, I felt surprised when I scrolled to the bottom and saw the model still had some lingerie on.
  • Gaming's kinkiest costumes: "Got a fantasy? Chances are there's a game to match," promises this gallery from Games Radar. The copy is full of "then go talk to a real girl" asides, which only make it sadder that the site is so desperately reaching for the never-touched-a-girl audience.
The industry is addicted. Like a GOP presidential candidate, they're too afraid of losing the base to appeal to normal people with reasonable options. No wonder they're losing attention to mainstream coverage (who says GQ can't review video games?) and sites like Penny Arcade, a biting comic and review site in which a pre-teen girl -- the niece of one of the authors -- is the maturest, most capable gamer. Gawker Media's gaming site Kotaku, says editor Brian Crecente, goes out of its way to stop boy's-club coverage. Both sites have enjoyed years of rising traffic."
 Anyone who's spent five minutes at Kotaku knows it hardly "goes out of its way to stop boy's-club coverage". In reality, it's one of the most popular and unapologetic offenders, down to the very commenters themselves. Shame on Nick Douglas for just taking that claim from Brian at face value, instead of actually fact-checking to see if it was true.