December 29, 2009

Question of the Week #12: It's the holidays!

I've been busy with holiday cheer, and my hope of writing more than once a week has not actually happened.  The holidays aren't officially over, and I'm feeling more festive than serious, so here's a not-so-typical question of the week.

What fantastic RPG swag did you receive this holiday season?

December 22, 2009

Idea for an Experiment

How many of you are familiar with the beautiful tool that is Google Wave?

I started playing a Paranoia game on it, and as I played I realized this would be a great way to experiment with gender in games.  Specifically, if gender is not known, how do people react to each other in an RPG setting?

This is something I hope I have time to pursue, along with all the other projects I listed on here earlier.  If any of you are interested in participating in such an endeavor, I would love to hear in the comments.  I would possibly need someone to help me manage all the data as well as actual participants.

Once again, there are a lot o ideas but nothing concrete yet.  I promise you, this will be concrete in time.  I can't say how soon, but this is something I want to put on the top of my extracurricular list.

December 14, 2009

Question of the Week #12

Let's get back in gear!

This Question of the Week is inspired by an article that The Boyfriend shared with me.  You can read it here.  It regards to sexuality in video games, and how two-dimensional stereotypes unfortunately become the norm.  Thomas Cross talks about how the video game industry markets to a "general consumer", which is theorized to be a heterosexual white male.

With that part of the article in mind, my question is this:

Do you think that the big RPG companies (Wizards, White Wolf, etc) market to a "general consumer" that is only one gender?  Or is that "general consumer" genderless?

This article brings up some good questions that could reveal some issues that crossover to the RPG world.  But the difference of the mediums must be noted.

December 13, 2009

Sorry for the absence

I want to apologize for the week and a half without any kind of post.  My hours at work have increased, I need a break from my extracirriculars for that week.

I don't want this to happen again, and I don't want anyone to think I've abandoned this project.  I have not, and this is still very important to me.

Things to look forward to:

An interview from Wolfcon.  Anna working with Black Sun Games was kind enough to interview with me.  I'm going to get that up ASAP.

Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress.  I'm going to break down and buy it now that I have a decent income stream.

The thesis.  I need to read it more throughly.  As much as 300 pages from a philosophy grad student aren't the most exciting thing, it's very important to this project to see what others have discovered about women in RPGs.

And hopefully, so much more.

Thank you all for your patience.  It's good to be back.  

December 02, 2009

The Only Girl At The Table

Part of the reason I asked my question of the week (seen in my previous post) is because for the two RPGs that I participated in at WolfCon I was the only girl.  I have never been uncomfortable in this.  I have a long history of a) being the victim of petty girl politics in elementary school and b) tomboy for the majority of my life.  I am very used to being the only girl in a group.

However I began to notice how girls with different experience could easily be turned off by gaming if they were to be the only girl at a table.  It's not that these men did anything outrageous or wrong, but it could easily make a woman uncomfortable.  I began to realize that I was okay with a lot of things a lot of other women may not be okay with.

One thing is jokes.  Guys are more likely to be very crude in jokes.  I am as well, to be perfectly honest.  It's a family trait.  However, not a lot of people are comfortable with genitalia joke with people they only met a few hours ago.  I have friends I've had for years who still don't like me sharing my crude jokes no matter if I am making fun of them, myself, or some imaginary character I just made up.  I can see a lot of my female friends not liking that at all.

I can also see the assumptions that some of the players make about my character being a problem.  For example, someone referred to my character as the "cute girl" without me even describing my character at all.  Yes, she was a girl, but I wasn't even thinking about her attractiveness level.  In fact, if I were to redo this character concept I would probably make her unattractive intentionally, especially f I was making her for a campaign.  It also makes me wonder if the comment was more about me, or more about the assumption that all girls that game want to be a sexier than their real selves.

Also, I find that when I play a female character in a game, her chances of getting hit on go up exponentially than if I play a male character.  I don't know if its because I mostly play with males, who in turn are more likely to think of flirtatious male characters, PC or NPC. It's just something I've noticed through my years of playing games.

All of this was noticed when I was gaming at WolfCon.  I don't want anyone to think that I was offended or put off by any of this behavior.  I was treated with respect and all players were equal at the table.  These habits were just little things that my scare off the average female who may be interested in gaming and hasn't tried it yet.  That might explain why women have been slow to join the RPG community.