Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist, media critic and a creator of the video blog “Feminist Frequency”. Sarkeesian has been targeted by a huge online harassment campaign following the launch of her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. The situation has been extensively covered in the media and has placed her in the middle of discussions about misogyny in video game culture and online harassment. Sarkeesian has continued to study gender perceptions in video games and speaks publicly about the problems she perceives in the gaming industry and it’s culture. During her speech at Loyola University Chicago Digital Ethics Symposium, she discussed the issues she has seen in the gaming industry and how she has become a victim of online harassment.
Sarkeesian like many young girls, grew up playing video games that lacked strong female characters. Games have always felt like a boys club and create a culture that can feel alienating to women. She gave the example of the gaming system Gameboy; just in the title it has the word boy, which can be off-putting to many parents who would be concerned about giving their child a toy meant for the opposite sex. Recently there have been changes occurring within the industry making games more inclusive. A cyber mob called gamer gate has formed from misogynistic men who feel games are being ruined by these changes. Sarkeesian although not reasonable for the changes has been vocal about her feminist views on games and has become the target of their attacks.
Many of them feel Sarkeesian is personally responsible for the changes and have made threats of violence and rape because of it. They are defending the male dominated gaming media that is the domain of many young men. To further attack Sarkeesian, they have been impersonating her by spreading false quotes and creating various social media using her name, photos and logos. The most surprising form of harassment to me was the superimposing of her face on the bodies of naked women. Although all these hate crimes are occurring against her it seems like not much is being done about it, tools that are suppose to be used to help are being used against her. For example on YouTube, they have been exploiting the anti harassment setting on YouTube by mass flagging all her videos to get them removed from the site. Her Twitter is constantly being flooded with tweets and although it is possible to block other users on the site, it is impossible for her to block every single person. She spoke about how all these social media sites have features to protect users but need to do more.
Sarkessian’s talk was very eye opening, I had never considered how degrading some of these games can be to women or how defensive someone can be when something they are passionate about feels like is being attacked. To most people games seem insignificant, but to the people playing they are huge part of their lives.
Logging into LambdaMoo for the first time I was not sure what to expect. I never understood gamers or how it is possible for a person to become connected to a game. Upon entering LambdaMoo I felt overwhelmed with the amount of reading. Everything was explained in great detail and as I spent more time in the game I found myself becoming impatient, just skimming everything not actually reading. Being just a guest in this elaborate cyber community I felt like a complete outsider, It frustrated me not knowing the proper commands, where to go or what I could interact with. We were told in class about all the cool places we could visit in the game but I struggled to get out of the house and into the drive way. Other classmates shared how they managed to find their way to Paris or had conversations with other players in such a short amount of time.
Getting back on later that day I was determined to have an adventure in Lambda Moo, I decided to explore the house more and eventually I was lead to a bar where there were various games to play like PacMoo. I spent 10 minutes playing this familiar game but in a whole new way, it was interesting to move around not being able to visually see where anything was and respond quickly to avoid being captured. After that I explored the outside of the house and climb into a tree house that contained a time machine that I tried to figure out how to use. After many failed attempts I gave up and continued to roam around.
Entering I expected it to be similar to playing the SIMS game but it ended up being completely different. It had no objective, I am use to playing games that are win or lose or have a reward for playing. Playing a game for the shear entertainment and enjoyment of interacting with this community didn’t and still doesn’t make sense to me. I experienced how easy it is to lose yourself in the game but don’t think it is something I would enjoy doing regularly.
There are currently 171,475 words in the Oxford English Dictionary and trying to only use 140 characters in a tweet seems ridiculous to me. I was forced to create a twitter last April by a friend who is an avid tweeter. She started the hash tag #JestelleNeedsATwitter and after months of arguing I finally made one. Being a reserved person I did not like the idea of having details of my life made public knowledge. I already had a Facebook and did not see the point in having another social media account. In the five months I have had my twitter I have only posted 44 tweets, I follow 44 people and only have 36 followers, which is kind of pathetic. Looking over my tweets most of them are inside jokes between my friends and are only favorited by the people or person involved.
When thinking about what thick tweets I wanted to post, I thought I should make it something more generalized. I rarely tweet but I do follow quite a few funny meme accounts and enjoy scrolling through them whenever I have time. The crying Kim Kardashian meme is one of my all time favorites and I felt it described perfectly my feelings at the time. I posted my first thick tweet on Thursday night, a night when most college students are out at a bar enjoying thirsty Thursday. Unlike me who spent my night catching up on homework in the library. Two chai lattes down and hiding in the sacks I was feeling hopeless that my assignments would never get done. upon posting I instantly got 3 favorites and even a retweet which is a lot compared to what I am use to, it gave me a sense of hope that I was not the only person struggling. While I am still not twitters biggest fan, I do see me usage increasing as I get more comfortable composing tweets
I remember the day my family bought a computer; I was about 5 years old when my parents decided to purchase one. I went with my parents to our local Micro Center and bought one of those large beige-colored computers. I remember being excited about getting it but I don’t think I really knew what a computer was or what it could do. My mother immediately bought me a bunch of learning phonics types of games and needless to say our computer remained unused by me for a very long time. It wasn’t until the day my uncle bought me “The Oregon Trail” game that my love for using the computer started.
Thinking back that game wasn’t very interesting but at the time it was my favorite pass time. “The Oregon Trails” was originally designed to teach kids what 19th century pioneer life was like. Your wagon was essentially traveling down the Oregon Trail and was faced with various obstacles like having to figure out whether or not to cross a rivers. The wagon carried multiple people who you could all name and along the way they would all end up dying from various random causes and deceases. As the player you were the wagons leader and would make all the decisions for your wagon like whether or not to rest for a few days if someone was sick, to hunt for food or trade with people for supplies.
I never beat the game and would somehow always end up dying from dysentery.As a learning game I feel like it failed because I never really learned anything about the Oregon Trail. It did however thoroughly entertain me as a child and the games sound track will forever be stuck in my head.