Cyberpunk eSports, procedural murder mysteries, and boring piggies

Earlier this month I traveled to Austin for RTX, a gaming and Internet convention put on by Rooster Teeth. It was a momentous convention for me—partially because I had never been to Texas, but mostly because it was my first time attending an event as press. I got to talk to Dave Lang of Iron Galaxy and Brandon Sheffield of Necrosoft Games about Gunsport, which I wrote about for Game Beyond. Check it out!

Right after RTX, my feature on the indie procedural murder mystery game, Noir Syndrome, went live. I got to talk with the creator, Dave Gedarovich, about procedural generation in videogame design. It's over at Kill Screen.

Back in May I wrote my first review for Kill Screen. I experienced the frustration of getting stuck in a game before walkthroughs and FAQs have become available. Reviewing games before release dates is probably more stressful than most people realize. Anyway, you can read my review of Full Bore here!

Lastly, I recently participated in Good Games Writing's Pitch Jam and Crit Jam. I've received valuable feedback from no fewer than five different panelists. It's well worth signing up, especially if you're new to cold pitching. As a result, I'm more confident in my pitching ability now, so keep an eye out for new stuff from me!

Game Beyond and rhythm game community coverage

I started writing for a new outlet! Aaron Bartholomew and others just launched Game Beyond, a site with tenets such as "Write what you would want to read." I can get behind that sort of thinking. 

Coincidentally, a story that went seemingly unnoticed by gaming sites showed up on my Facebook feed earlier this week. Jeff Lloyd, a competitive Dance Dance Revolution player, put together a stream for charity. I contacted Jeff, he got back to me, and I wrote up this article.

I love this story because rhythm games and their community don't come up often in the news. Of course, it's a much smaller group, then, say, the fighting game community (which gets a spotlight every now and then, for reasons both positive and not so positive), but I still think it deserves attention. They have their own games, lingo, tournaments, and passion. The reactions from them (the RGC? MGC?) has been great as well. Thanks to everyone who shared my article. I hope to cover more stories from this community in the future!

Do we need a Nintendo Girls Club?

Yesterday Kill Screen published a four-woman conversation about Nintendo Girls Club—the Nintendo UK YouTube channel that appeared back in February. One of those women was me! You can check it out here. We had a lot of fun emailing each other back and forth. Turns out not all girls have the same experiences with games. Who knew!?

Why was the topic such a big deal in the first place? The backlash against this channel seemed to stem from more than one train of thought. Naysayers deemed the videos one of three things: 1. Unnecessary, especially for Nintendo, 2. Patronizing to women, 3. Sexist against men. I don't think a single marketing campaign aimed towards girls has the power to overtake years of commercials targeting boys and create a different gender imbalance, so I'm just going to leave that third one alone.

The second thought did spring to my mind. It's hard not to take this kind of thing personally. Of course I would be offended if this channel were aimed at me. But it's not, as the other ladies pointed out to me in our conversation. It's aimed at girls who are not yet into gaming. I grew up with older male cousins who gently pushed me into games. I might not have continued playing if not for Pokémon, the wonderfully inclusive (despite only being able to play as a male avatar in those days) franchise/goldmine. Only something adorable like Jigglypuff could persuade my impressionable mind to look past the words Game Boy. If you were a 10-year-old boy in the 90s, would you ask your parents for a toy called Game Girl? That scenario may not be completely analogous, but I think that's also part of the problem. "Game Boy" somehow sounds more gender-neutral to us. How did that happen?

Which brings me to the first concern: Is this Girls Club even necessary? Nintendo is already the most inclusive game company out of the whole bunch, right? As I just mentioned, it hasn't always been. I wouldn't doubt that some of that testosterone-fueled marketing from the 80s and 90s still lingers on our minds. As Kelsey points out during our exchange, we wouldn't need a Nintendo Girls Club in a perfect world. The utopia in my mind resembles a contemporary Nintendo commercial—children of all ages playing any game they please on a gender-neutral system. Any color of their choosing. But are we truly there yet?