Resource Round Up: 22nd April 2013

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Greetings, Widgetonians.

Widgetites.

Widgeons?

Ok maybe not. Hey, you!

Here’s the week’s roundup of interesting resources and links that we think are worth checking out, we aim to do this weekly, so if you see anything you think belongs here let us know. There’s a LOT this week, so go put the kettle on. We’ll wait right here.

Good reads:

At the risk of creating dark matter and watching the universe collapse in on itself, this roundup is going to kick off by referring to another great roundup. Meta. Over at Critical Distance the theme for March was “Female Role Models”, and they’ve put together a great collection of pieces.

Zoya Street has put together an amazing collection of essays about Women’s Histories in Games, for his games history e-zine “Memory Insufficient”. The next collection of essays will be on Asian Histories in Games, which should be interesting! Essays featured include Samantha Allen calling developers to start investing in more stories about women in her piece “Equality and Difference: Queer pirates and Assassin’s Creed”, Fred McCoy recalling his mother and sister’s love for videogames in “My Mom the Gamer”, and Zoya explains how PacMan targeted women as a way to socially engineer arcades. There’s also a great piece on Roberta Williams’ contributions to videogame design history, by Joseph Hocking.

Becky Chambers did an interview with Femicom founder Rachel Weil for The Mary Sue, where they discuss “the feminine computer museum”. Rachel is archiving “games for girls” in an attempt to encourage discussions and comparisons with their counterparts, and explore gender stereotypes. Hopefully by archiving these electronic artifacts we can look back one day and see how far we’ve come.

The Guardian’s Games Blog wrote on diversity in their piece “A Diversity challenge for developers”, by Matt Kamen. It explores representation of minority groups in protagonist roles, and has a chat with some great minds in the industry. It ends on a positive note too, with 5 games that break the mould.

Another interesting read was Chris Priestman’s “Either/Or: Pansexuality And Games For Everybody” for Indie Statik. In it he explores the representations of sexuality in games, and the space for removing gender and sexuality binaries. To some, the sexuality of characters doesn’t matter, but as we talk about creating characters people can relate to on a personal level, it’s important not to ignore the people to which their sexuality makes up a huge part of who they are.

In another roundup of sorts, the Guardian’s “Tech Weekly with Aleks Krotoski” ran a piece on “Women in Games — breaking the boys’ club”. It’s a good one-stop-shop for many of the GDC talks that touched on gender and the underrepresentation of minorities, with videos, and links to write ups and transcripts.

While you’re in a video headspace, check out this chat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01iswNjA98E) between John Gottschalk and Emi Spicer about gender issues, specifically ones that arose at GDC this year.

Tip of the Hat:

The Escapist magazine ran a piece on Naughty Dog making sure they had a good number of female focus testers for their soon-to-be-released game “The Last of Us”. In it Mike Wehner explains that during an interview with Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann, Druckmann described his shock at the fact the research firm hired to quiz gamers on their opinions about the game (and related materials) didn’t include any women gamers. Apparently Naughty Dog insisted that not only that be rectified, but that Ellie (a central character) belonged on the front of the box art, not relegated to the back like the firm recommended. We tip our hats to them for that. Good stuff!

If you have a few dollars to spare and feel like supporting a documentary exploring the harassment of women in videogames (with the hope of figuring out why it’s the way it is), there’s a Kickstarter campaign by Shannon Sun-Higginson called “GTFO: A Film about Women in Gaming” looking for backers at the moment. She needs to raise $20,000 to pay for completion of the project, which involves talking to academics, developers, social commentators and gamers.

Widget would like to officially support and congratulate Rock Paper Shotgun in their decision to actively not back down on discussing misogyny and sexism in the industry. By standing up and saying they’re not going to accept people being awful about this topic, they’re making the space safer for women, and helping send the message that women have a place in this culture. Thank you, RPS, and kudos. Keep up the good work! (We look forward to a time when “No, I will NOT be a jerk!” sends less shockwaves around the community).

And finally, to end this roundup on the sweetest of notes, Women In Games International (WIGI) has teamed up with The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles to introduce a Videogame Design Patch that the girl scouts can earn, using E-Line’s “Gamestar Mechanic” software. Widget congratulates everyone involved with this action, we think it’s pretty awesome. A tip of the hat to all involved!
Feel free to share any good reads you’ve caught, in the comments below. Hope you’ve enjoyed this roundup, thanks all!

Feature image source: thelastofus.com