May 2014

I’ve just got wind of a new magazine called “Gamer Girls”. In an interview with the creator it becomes apparent that the salacious girls photographed in various semi-clad poses are possibly not serious gamers at all, but perhaps more of the type to play the latest version of Angry Birds on their phone while sitting in a lecture for their liberal arts degree.

Each to their own. It’s obviously trash, and also obviously going to make the publisher some short term cash. This is the beauty of capitalism and a free society – if you have an idea you can risk your money on it. The obvious beauty of this magazine is the all too predictable amount of indignant self-righteous outrage it has generated across the internets. Free publicity is a boon for any start-up, and this one has ticked all the boxes.

The outrage has flowed thick and fast. (Incidentally, this is the first time I have come across the Canadian online gamers site, and what a winner it is – I’m sure it’s going to provide me with many sources of abject stupidity into the future). The ‘article’ is so weak as to not generate even scorn, but the following comments are wonderful in the way they illuminate the very stupid. How about this little gem from commenter Niki Crawford:

“… As if that somehow negates the fact that this magazine is an embarassment to those of us who play video games. I am not basing my assessment off of the pictures alone, but the content as well. Which is weak to say the least. You are representing us in a bad light and we don’t like it …”

Where to start? The poor little dear just doesn’t get it, does she. This is the great trap with moral outrage and the ability to see offense in every dark corner; you’re prone to being taken for a sucker. If Gamer Girls magazine is representing anybody it would be girls with ample bosoms who will do just about anything to see themselves in a glossy magazine. But dumb little Niki honestly believes that she is being misrepresented. Hilariously, she would have less of a problem with the magazine if it had better content. This is insightful, as it underscores the fact that she believes that she is part of a special group, ie women who play video-games.

Not gamers, but women who play video-games. Because Niki and her cohorts would actually like nothing better than a magazine devoted to their cause. The reason that they are so very upset is that this publisher has twisted this idea around on them.

Some years ago the feminist bloc held protests outside crusty old city men’s clubs denouncing them as institutions of sexism and demanding the right to be admitted as a member. Of course now we have women’s clubs for just about anything you can imagine. In Australia there is even a Minister for Women, although the corresponding Minister for Men seems to have been forgotten about. So the goalposts of outraged sexism have had to be shifted. Now it is sexist if a game company makes strategic commercial decisions in order to give their product a chance in a highly competitive market environment. That embarrassment of an article protests the fact that images of women are not being used as game cover art. It ends with the question, ‘what are we going to do about it?’

Because they would like nothing more than to have the power to make these decisions. The sad thing is that they already do. It’s called designing your own game and marketing it the way you want. Taking a risk, like the guy who put out Gamer Girls. But these people don’t want to take a risk, they only want to censor those who have the balls to get out there and actually do something. The reason that the Left hate Capitalism so much is that it is a barometer for the truth of a situation. You can be as idealistic as you like, but idealism is nothing in the face of market forces, which is what people actually want.

Gamer Girls hurts them on every level. It sucks them into giving it free publicity, it traps them into believing that they are misrepresented, and it succeeds in spite of their lamentations. It is true brilliance, intended or otherwise.

Reports have been streaming in of a highly organised group of girth-challenged gamers who have a major problem with Blizzard’s approach to gaming and fatness. With more than 50% of the USA being overweight, the group are now clamoring for equal representation in the popular online game, World of Warcraft. The group’s spokesperson and figurehead, Eric McCallum, says that Blizzard’s attempts to marginalize them won’t be tolerated. Apparently, from what I’ve been able to garner from their fat-blog forum, which I’m not going to link to but you know you want to google it, they thought things were going well with the whole Panda expansion. I’m just going to quote from their site because seriously, I couldn’t make this shit up:

“… We thought we were going down a good road with the Pandas cause they’re fat and cuddly and all that, but now with the new expansion we’ve seen Blizzard pulling back and now its time to make a stand. We represent at least 50% of Blizzard’s US playerbase, at least!!, and they have to get with the program or we’re going to flex it for them to see! For a start, there isn’t one single fat statue in the whole of Azeroth. Think about that, not one overweight statue. That’s just symptomatic, man. Symptomatic of this whole conspiracy against fat people. If there was one major lore figure on Azeroth who was fat, then by rights there would be a statue to match this figure, and then we could figure on at least some representation …”

And it goes on and on and on and fucking on. I find it highly amusing that they reckon they have 50% of the US player-base. I would have thought that it would be much higher than that. So they’re asking for new classes, (apparently the monk was too ‘fit’), fat monsters and mobs and even a whole raid based around fatness. I kid you not, this shit is making the feminazis look downright reasonable. Soon they’ll be wanting a whole fat city. Christ knows what they think of the Undercity with its rather thin undead population.

Anyway, I’m wondering what’s next. Not enough Muslims in WoW?

I’m enjoying Elder Scrolls Online, enjoying it. That’s a big thing for me. I’ve decided to play with a few self-imposed rules as well so as to make my own playtime more enjoyable. These rules are designed based on what works for me. These rules will probably not work for you due to the fact that:

a): you are not me.

b): you suck.

So these are my rules. Firstly, no fast travel of any kind. If I get there, I walk. Unless a friendly player is able to teleport me. Then I’ll happily oblige because that is part of the gist of things. It’s like him getting me to open a lock. But otherwise, no fast travel.

The next one is only one quest at a time. No more than that in my quest log. Just the one, and one is all I shall do. When that one is finished I will select another one and do that. This is so I can retain an interest in what it is I am actually doing. By the way, I like how when you accept a quest you never know what you may receive as a reward. You only find out when you present yourself to the quest-giver and he hands over three bits of string and a sea shell. Miserable bastard.

Spend some points on leveling up some crafting. It’s tempting to just shove them into my attack abilities, but I want to round this out a bit. To that end …

No looking things up on the internets. No maps, no items, no hints, no clues, no gear spreadsheets, no class explanations, no complex breakdowns of the best skill sets and ability tree designs. None of it. I am here to explore. I intend to make mistakes. From that I wish to learn. People will call me a noob. They will have mistaken me for someone who gives a fuck.

Lastly, no interaction with the stupid prophet who obviously drives the main storyline. Already he’s going nuts that I’m not returning his calls. Well, fuck him too. I have no desire to be a hero. I have every desire to have a good time. Somebody else can save the fucking world from whatever is threatening it with the latest greatest calamity. Me, I’m going to be exploring this abandoned mine over here.

I couldn’t believe my eyes last week when I discovered that syncaine, Rohan, hell, even Nils has come back to the MMO fold, and they’re all playing The Elder Scrolls Online.

This gave me pause. I haven’t played an MMO in over three years since moving back to Australia. Mostly this was due to there being nothing worth investing my time in to justify the massive time-sink that these games are. But with these guys playing the game and giving it pretty decent reviews I decided to dip my toe in the water and restart the old MMO flame.

The first thing I recommend is that you purchase the game on the CD disks as this is a very large install that took quite a few hours on my powerful gaming rig. Then you have the usual massive patch upgrades to download and then you’re good to go. To date I have only played a very few hours and my starting toon is a lowly level 4. But I have a few observations. Firstly, the starting intro sucks beyond belief. I mean it sucks beyond belief. Why oh why do MMOs fall into the trap of making starting characters special heroes? Once again, for the umpteenth time, if everyone’s a hero then nobody is. But this hero generation doesn’t make any sense. You wake up and then you run down a passage, and then there’s this chick and now you run with her, and bad guys come and you hit them with your face, and then you run some more, and amidst all this frantic running the game keeps introducing important control elements in an attempt to guide the new player in how the interface works, but it’s all happening so fast that you can’t remember any of it.

It sucks. And the graphics are hideous, hideous! And then there’s a big moment where the girl you’re with sacrifices herself to save some prophet and … oh God, by now I was so beyond giving a shit I almost cheered when she got sucked into some prison vortex. But then thankfully you wake up in your starting zone in a little room and now you can actually get on with the game. The ghost of the prophet is there wanting to tell you so many very important things, but I instantly selected the ‘goodbye’ option as I couldn’t bear the thought of having to deal with him any more and I went out into the actual world.

So far it seems okay. I’m still in the starting town and following a quest, but the graphics are better and the town is interesting, and nobody is walking around with yellow exclamation marks over their heads which is nice. Local chat seems to be taken up with players thinking that writing ‘Arse “insert your gameplay word here” is terribly hilarious, so I’m ignoring everyone around me for now. I’ve died a few times and this game certainly isn’t a faceroll, but so far I’m enjoying it. Time will tell though if this is just Skyrim with a monthly subscription.