Thursday, June 20, 2013

Victim Blaming Needs to Die

I was listening to the radio on the way to work this morning when the morning hosts said something that sent me into a ragey tailspin. The radio went off. I spewed a lot of expletives. There were several entreaties from the fiancé to calm down.

I am still very, very angry.
They were discussing the controversial comments of Serena Williams in regards to the Steubenville incident. If for some reason you haven’t heard the basic story about this and the hellfire that has ensued since, here you go. There was a party. There was underage drinking. An unconscious girl was raped. The guys who participated joked about it in a video on the internet. The guys were convicted. Some people feel sorry them. I don’t.
The particular comment this morning that lit my head on fire was one that’s not new. But it should be dead.

The comment was that the girl should take some of the responsibility for her rape because she was drunk and passed out.


No, simply no. No one should have to live with an expectation that they will be violated if they are incapacitated. Drunk, high, whatever, it shouldn’t matter.
What if it had been a medical condition that rendered her unconscious? Would the answer still be the same? Would people really say, “Oh, well, it’s partly her fault because her blood sugar dropped and she passed out.”

Or she had a seizure. A brain tumor that causes black outs. An allergic reaction to the pretzel bowl.
It doesn’t matter the reason. No one should have to think, “Hmm, if I pass out here, will some person come across me and harm me?”

There is a malfunction in a person who looks at another in a helpless state and thinks it’s okay to rape them. And there is a malfunction in society when we pity the perpetrator and blame the victim.
Lauren Nelson of Cogent Comment wrote a thorough article on the societal issues that cause this sort of thinking here. Author Chuck Wendig has several smart posts about the problem and speaking out here, here, and here. Read them. For real.

Now let’s be sane and kill this idea that a rape victim is partially responsible for what happens to her or him. Because they’re not.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Unsounded: All the FEELS

I’m gonna keep this as spoiler-free as I can, but if you haven’t read Ashley Cope’s Unsounded, then be warned. (And then go read it because it’s awesome. I’ll even link it for you here.)


If you want to know a little about Unsounded before you click that above link, then settle in. Unsounded takes place on a continent called Kasslyne. It’s filled with political intrigue, various well-developed cultures, and a mind-blowing magic system that hold the whole thing together. And in this world of thief-kings, dog-riding soldiers, and wrights lives a girl with a tail named Sette. Ferocious and sticky-fingered, Sette is on a quest to collect a debt from her cousin. She’s accompanied by Duane Adelier, a zombie wright whose patience is as great as his skills. Which is a boon because Sette would try the patience of the most zen person in the world.

Sette has a knack for finding trouble and dragging her zombie bodyguard into the fray. Things get even stickier when Sette and Duane run into the Red Berry Boys—smugglers using human bodies to transport expensive, rare First Materials.

Ashley Cope loves to make us laugh—and she loves to rip our hearts out. She doesn’t hesitate to set the reader up for a soul crushing, and she doesn’t soften the blow in her artwork.

Unsounded is currently into Chapter 7 and shedding light on Duane’s final living days. We’ve been warmed with family togetherness and dipped in political strife. We know the other shoe’s about to drop, we know that at some point Duane will become the poetic zombie we all love. Each page brings us closer, leaving us in panting, nail-biting suspense. And when we finally reach that moment, we’ll be left in a sobbing heap for the happiness that is lost.
And it’s Ashley’s fault because she’s just that good.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

TV & Gamer Rambles Collide

It’s kind of funny how my brain works. I enjoy seeing connections between things I watch, things I read, and games I play. Maybe it’s just a phrase, or a location, but when little things align, it makes me happy in an everything’s connected kind of way.

Recently, I’ve started watching Da Vinci’s Demons. And every episode, I get all twitchy because it makes me want to play Assassin’s Creed.


I’m a huge Assassin’s Creed fan. Besides being a sneaky assassin, I love roaming the cities, strolling through the streets, hopping roof tops, and taking in the scenery from the lofty heights of towers.

Da Vinci’s Demons brings it all to mind. Swooping visuals of Florence. Nifty snuff cans that look like the grenades I toss. But it’s not only that. Sometimes, when Da Vinci gets a stroke of inspiration, he starts seeing things as sketches. The overlays over reality remind me of the way the world forms in Assassin’s Creed when initializing a memory sequence.

Another show to throw me into an AC playing mood: Syfy’s Sinbad. The camera sweeps over the city, reminiscent of the panning during a view point scene. Then Sinbad and his brother flee guards through the streets, leaping rooftop to rooftop and over walls—and I have to stop myself from reaching for my game controller.
Of course, I do need to start AC:3 over…

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ramblings of a Casual Gamer: Girls and Games

A game critic, who happens to be a woman, tweeted about the fact that the new Xbox games shown at the E3 show had no female protagonists. The response was sadly negative with uses of a word I refuse to repeat. (Let’s just say some mommas with bars of soap are in high demand.)

One slightly less offensive comment was that there aren’t any female gamers.

I am here to announce that I am a girl. I am a gamer. I am not the only one.
If girls aren’t buying games, then why am I on my second Xbox and second Playstation 3? If girls aren’t buying games, what are all those games on my shelf?
I play mostly RPGs, and while I’m more about the story than my particular character, I do like it when I come across a kickass girl character. And I like creating them, too. Many RPGs such as Dragon Age and Skyrim allow you to choose your gender. And that’s awesome.

Some marketers say guys don’t want to play a girl character. I know more than one guy who, given a choice, created a female character in WoW, Fable 2 & 3, the Fallout series, and Skyrim. So, if guys are choosing a girl character, then why can’t we have a game star a woman MC?
Some games, like the Final Fantasy XIII series, do have a central female protagonist. (Lightning in XIII and part 3: Lightning Returns, Serah in part 2.) These are strong characters who fight for good and those they love and happen to be women. Guys play these games, love these games, and will argue every point of the gameplay, but I’ve never heard someone say it’d been better if Lightning or Serah had been a boy.

So if guys like creating girl characters and playing girl MCs, and girls want to see more girl characters, why is there a problem?
One problem I recognized in the comments on that particular Twitter feed was this: some guys apparently think girls all want to play video homemaker.

Which is interesting because I and other girl gamers I know like to smash zombies, pick off monsters, and take out the bad guy.  So why can’t we have more zombie-smashing, monster-eliminating, bad-guy thrashing girl MCs?

Ramblings of a Casual Gamer: PS4 and Xbox One

I’m not a hardcore gamer, but I do get all giddy when the E3 show comes around. My eyes go all round and shiny while I wait eagerly to see the new consoles and games. I had to hold back happy tears when I watched the rebranding video for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Square-Enix is cranking out the beautiful world-building that snags me every time, and I’m interested to see how the newly named Final Fantasy XV plays. Other shinies I want to get my grabby hands on are Kingdom Hearts 3, Assassin’s Creed 4, Thief, and The Order:1886.   
I’ve eagerly awaited the official unveilings of the PS4 and Xbox One as well. I generally lean to Playstation, but I do own both current consoles, cause ya know, Fable.
That being said, Microsoft has lost me with the Xbox One. First and foremost because of the required internet connection.

Get ready, folks: I do not have home internet service. I live in the boonies. Only recently have they advertised broadband in my area, and the fine print makes me less than confident in its ability to handle gaming. While I can check my email and Twitter to my little heart’s content via my phone data plan, attaching to a home game console is a no-go. So, even connecting to the internet every 24 hours is out of the question.

Then there are the game restrictions. Really, Microsoft? You can only share a game once? Dear 13-year-olds, please pick ONE friend to swap games with.
On the reselling side, I sort of get it. I do. If that guy buys this game used, then the publisher doesn’t see any profit. But used games can be good, too, especially for lesser known franchises. For example, I walk into a game store and pick up this obscure game I’ve never heard of out of the bargain bin. Maybe it was a small seller and the production was short. It’s not available new. Maybe it’s a game I’m leery about sinking $60 into. In either case, the bargain bin game’s in a price range where I’m not going to scream and throw something if I hate it.

I take it home, play it, love it. Guess what? If it’s a series, I’m going to buy the next game new. If it’s standalone, I’m going to look for other games by the publisher and buy them new. So maybe they didn’t get the money from the one game. But that one game introduced me to them, and now I’ve bought/preordered the next five. I think that’s still a win.
I’m not even going to get started on the voyeuristic qualities of having my Xbox always listening to me.

So, come new console time, it looks like I’ll be leaning totally toward PS4.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

TV Rambles: Game of Thrones

::DUDE. SPOILERS:: If you haven’t watched this series—or the last episode—and you don’t want to ruin it, then turn away now! You’ve been warned.


Still, here? Okay.



The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R R Martin was turned into one badass HBO series. Now in its third season, Game of Thrones never ceases to awe me—and piss me off. The screen writers have done a hellacious job adapting Martin’s magnificent fantasy world to the television. With all the complexities of the novels, they’ve stayed on point. For that, I say thank you and offer a standing ovation.

Back to the show. Game of Thrones throws me into a full-out tantrum about every third episode. People I like—animals I want to snuggle—DIE all the time. From honorable Ned Stark’s untimely head-lobbing to poor Robb’s butchering, they all make me want to throttle someone. (Looking at you, Roose Bolton. Bastard.)

If you want to live, don’t be a Stark.

The last episode has raised a lot of ruckus. Emotional and gruesome. Yes, it was gruesome, namely the murdering of Robb’s wife. But amongst all the carnage, there was one thing left out: Catelyn Stark’s reaction to the death of her eldest son. I imagine they thought it would be too horrible to air. (I have another theory, but it’s too spoilery to put here.) But the raw impact of Lady Stark’s drop into madness doesn’t quite come across as well as it did in the book. In the novel, she claws her eyes out. *shudder* Slitting her throat at that point becomes a mercy, really.

To be honest, I was slightly disappointed when she just stood there. It’s not that I wanted to see blood, but Lady Stark’s final snap was what finally made me feel hardcore for her. I never particularly liked her, but in that moment, she had me.

On the other hand, I felt more for Robb, so it sort of balances out. Again, kudos screenwriters. Keep up the awesome.