Q:It is beyond annoying that a site "promoting and celebrating diversity of female gamers, nerds, and geeks" would outright identify itself as "pretty gamer". Just ew. You people are gross.
MRW I saw this in the ask box, with a second message* quickly behind it:
A very short trip over to our archives would have explained the origins of Pretty Gamer. We decided to think a little bit more about what that label meant, long before the faux controversy of the Fake Geek Girl was a bonafide internet *thing*, and some of our contributors really knocked it out of the park, turning the traditional usage of the word “pretty” on its head - making us all a little better for it.
Three years ago doesn’t sound like a long time, but back then there weren’t very many blogs or writers talking openly about gender issues in gaming. No one was shouting from the rafters about sexism and rape culture in tech and gaming. But there we were, trying to carve out a nice little space for women gamers and the people that supported our right to be pretty if we wanted to be.
But yeah - you would have learned all of that if you’d taken a few minutes to check out the site.
*The “losers who never do anything anyway”
No Games for the Holidays
Yep. Seriously. Not gonna happen.
I won’t be buying any games through the rest of 2011. Why on earth would I make that horrifying decision between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when there are killer deals everywhere? When the infamous free-for-all known as the Steam Holiday sale will surely test the bounds of my resolve? After all, every game enthusiast I know is buying the latest and greatest - and likely has a holiday wishlist a mile long. The choice not to buy games during the holiday season is well, outright heresy. But it must be done for the greater good.
The Temptation of the Cheater
I admit. I’m a cheater. But you don’t understand the temptation. It’s a grind, day in, day out, the same thing. The banality gets to you. You just want to move on. To be done with it, so get that release that you crave.
So I start looking for how to get around the rules. Those ways to keep undetected, shuffle some things around so I can get my fix. After all, nobody has to no. Nobody will be hurt as long as I keep it to myself, right?
Yet - even if all that is true, why do I feel like a schmuck for trying to edit the save game on my copy of Pokemon Emerald?
Off and on for years now, I’ve been playing through all of the Pokemon games. Earlier this year, I played through Pokemon Yellow - the original Game Boy Color game, and then played through Pokemon Red, then used the save game and an old tool to copy over my Pokemon Red save game file over to my Pokemon Blue cartridge instead of playing the game for a *third* time, so I could catch the last few Pokemon I needed. Other than that shortcut, I didn’t use any cheats (I did use a glitch to capture Mew). No Gameshark, no other codes - just playing the games, go to each location to find each Pokemon, using all of the tricks and tools to capture those hard to catch legendary Pokemon - and finally using my MasterBall on the powerful Mew2 himself.
So why with Emerald is the challenge to stay “pure” so hard? I played through both Pokemon FireRed for the Gameboy Advance and Pokemon LeafGreen for the same - no cheats, just going through the game. But something about Emerald has just been rubbing me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the higher level of backtracking in the game, or how it feels like a bigger “fight lots of Pokemon to level up really high to take on the gym leaders” kind of game.
It feels more grinding, more repetition in fighting enemies over and over and over again to become powerful enough, and it’s wearing me down.
The temptation to cheat in other games has always been there. I’ll confess - I used the “God Mode” to get through the last 25% of the game Doom 3. Not because it was that difficult, but because it was a kind of boring game. I just wanted to get through the end.
I recently finished playing Fallout 3, and actually started the game 3 times because the temptation to cheat and enhance my character was so strong. The start of the game was so difficult I found myself typing in those tasty tasty cheats and giving myself a little pick me up, then just a little more - and next thing you know, I was sprawled out in my office chair while my character had leapt to nearly godlike status.
Ultimately, I’m glad I played the game “pure.” After awhile, I either got better, or my character got strong enough to handle the challenges. Over time, the temptation went away.
So I know as tempted as I am to just cheat at Pokemon Emerald - I’ll leave it as it is. Maybe it’s even best to take a break from the game for awhile, let it stew, and then come back to it and go the final slot to defeat the Elite Four. I already know it’s going to be a hard battle, that I’ll want to throw my old silver Game Boy Advance across the room when I get wiped out by a flying dragon type using *Earthquake* of all things on my electric type Pokemon -
But I also know victory will taste that much sweeter when I *do* win.
Geek Girls Do GeekGirlCon
There are some things that just go together perfectly for us geeky girls. Geek tees and converse. Feminism and cosplay. Superheroes and villains. Geek love/adoration and cons. This past weekend in Seattle, city of major tech giants and über geeks galore, GeekGirlCon was born. This was the first ever Con devoted to us geek girls. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t scores of girls show up to cons all across the nation each year? Of course we do. And you know what? We still get asked to defend our right to call ourselves geeks. Or we get harassed for daring to dress as slave Leia because no way can we be true geeks and hot at the same time.
Tricks of the Gamer Dad
Whenever I talk to other parents about their children, usually at some point I talk about how I play certain games with my children, like Pokemon, or Super Smash Brothers, or Castle Crashers. What I hear back is “Oh, but video games are so bad for children but mine would play them all the time.”
I’ve got children who are getting straight A’s in school, who participate in school events - and they game. In some ways, games are <em>why</em> they’re where they are.
But that’s only because I am an evil genius. Bwahaha. Bwahahahaha! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!
OK. But really, there are things I’ve done with my children. Some of these are just general tips, others are specific things that I’ve done.
Tip #1: Pokemon at 5.
When each of my children turned 5, after years of reading to them at night so on and so forth, I give them a challenge:
If they can read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ without a single mistake, then I’ll get them a Nintendo DS, and their own copy of Pokemon. So of course the idea of playing the cartoon they’ve been watching is OMG YAY TOTALLY GOING TO DO IT!
So over the course of a month, I’ll practice with them. Make them sound the words out. Point to words out of order so they can’t just memorize the book and regurgitate it.
Then when the day comes, and they’re able to read it without a single error, they’re so proud. And then they get Pokemon…
And realize that they have to read to play the game. Read the instructions. Read what people tell them in the game, read what happens to the Pokemon they catch, sound out the names, and on and on. So now if they’re going to play the game, they have to read. They have to think and look at the numbers to know how much power their Pokemon have. They have to use logic and strategy in understanding strengths and weaknesses.