Digital Culture, Play and Identity – a WoW Reader


Keep a look out for Jill Walker Rettberg and Hilde Corneliussen‘s Digital Culture, Play and Identity. A World of Warcraft Reader which is now available for pre-order at amazon. The table of contents looks snazy, tasty and delicious. It’s a book I’ll definitely be reading no matter what I’m doing in my life at point of release. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to have two women like Hilde and Jill at the university. I keep kicking myself, though, for staying the media studies path instead of joining the Humanities. Oh well – such is life. Either way, they’ve been such an inspirational source for me the last couple of years – and I’ve never even had them as a lecturer for any class! Jill’s publications can be found here and Hilde’s here. Seriously, though, whenever I was going mad with the complications of thinking about virtuality, their writings always made me see a light at the end of the tunnel. This promises to be an excellent book. Contributers include: Scott Rettberg, Lisbeth Klastrup, T.L. Taylor, Ragnhild Tronstad, Tanya Krzywinska, Espen Aarseth – and more!

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"The top tier of Second Life is run by the women"

Excellent Metaverse Territories introduced me to a great blogpost about Second Life from Broken Toys called “Utopia Hidden Underground: Another Look at SL“.

All in all it sums up nicely with:

“That core of the singularity is what is actually Second Life’s core
strength, and what keeps its users struggling through the level grind and the
broken client and the lack of governmental, er, Linden oversight. Because as a
social MMO, once you get past all the clutter and dross, SL actually works. I
can honestly say that nowhere else online have I argued about Islamic
fundamentalism at one in the morning while lounging in a pool with a half-naked
demon-thing. Much like how people played Ultima Online despite its rampant
peekay and endless bugs simply because it was the promise of something new,
people find the core of SL is actually the other players. That’s something
that’s difficult to break.”

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Women game bloggers

Every now and then a ‘battle of the sexes’ discussion comes up in the gaming blogosphere which always stirs up a loud debate. Personally I think these debates can be healthy because I’m always introduced to new voices, which I enjoy. I may be getting old because I really don’t get provoked by the sexist comments – instead they just make me chuckle.

Recently Crecente from Kotaku wondered why there aren’t more female gaming bloggers. Apparently Kotaku’s looking to expand their repertoire and want to include a female voice in their writing staff – well good for them.

The shocker, however was:

‘But despite my digging around and my somewhat overt nosing around at GDC, I was hard-pressed to find the same sort of, for lack of a better term, job pool that I usually find with male writers.’

My experience coincides with ‘Always Makes Me LOL’ Amber Night:

‘This seems a little strange to me, since my own experience has been that there is fairly large pool of female bloggers in the gaming space’

I find it incredibly odd. And I have to admit that a thought passed through my mind wondering if Crecente posted this piece just so we could point him in the right direction so he didn’t have to bother looking.

So yet again ‘the battle of the sexes’ discussion has produced something wonderful. One Hundred Little Dolls has written a list of female gaming bloggers and I’m sure we’ll see it growing too! A joy to see some locals on the list: Jill Walker, Hilde Corneliussen and Torill Mortensen – I’m so proud! I can’t wait to go on a little link adventure and explore these blogs! Wouldn’t it be precious if T.L. Taylor started blogging?!

cHixOrs


When I should have been studying for my INFO 100 exam (I have no idea how I’m going to pass that thing) I had lunch with these beautiful ladies on wonderfully productive Maren’s initiative. It was a great lunch although somewhat sad for me, because these three brilliant ladies are all at the beginning of their Master’s and are about to venture out on writing about gaming. There certainly is a great deal of sorrow in my heart for seeing the back-end of my venture – I was so extremely jealous of their vigor and excitement! Urgh – how emo of me!!!

The hours passed quickly and I’m sure we only covered half of what we wanted to talk about. Topics:

  • games designed for girls – what’s bad and what’s good about them
  • Wii, DS, Consoles
  • Boyfriends helping out with games – good or bad thing (I was silent – but very interested)
  • Hedvig (on the far right) is getting married next summer so we went into a frantic and excited creative spurr of having a Nintendo themed wedding!
  • The price of stuff – pinkishness – and loads of hardware chit chat
  • I learned a lot about the role-playing community here in Bergen – which was REALLY interesting!

Oh – there was just too much to blog about here – excellent and intelligent women who are interested in gaming – it was just such pure joy!!! Just talking about different gameplay strategies for the new games coming out was music to my ears!

Anyways – we’re gonna try and meet up once in a while – and I’m sure others are welcome as well! So if you’re studying an aspect of gaming – let us know! Discussions are passionate, lively and enlightening! I learned so incredibly much and also felt that I could contribute as well! I think we left it that we should meet up before Christmas! Unless I get to work more the weeks before Christmas (which I’m hoping for) – I’m free whenever after December 1st and before December 20th (YAY – SINGAPORE!!!!). In my humble opinion, I think we should keep teaching staff and men out of the equation – but that’s just my opinion, don’t know what the rest of the gals think.

Girl Geek Dinners


Cool!!! Barcelona and London organise Girl Geek Dinners! What an excellent concept! Definitely comes on top of my list of “things I want to do when I’m unemployed in a month”. It would really be cool to see all the girl geeks of Bergen gathered for a dinner – I’m just looking forward to finding them! But I’m sure most of them will be just like me asking the existential question, “Am I geek enough to attend a geek dinner?”.

The wiki says: “Someone who is female and has an interest in technology, particularly computing and new media. Not necessarily technically minded.”

Hmm…I feel comfortable with that! But who should be invited to speak and who can we ask to sponsor such an event? Ooooh! My mind’s already excited! And how to advertise to girl geeks! Wow! That’s definitely an interesting dilemma! What media channel to use to reach girl geeks and be taken seriously? What an interesting challenge! Woo hoo!! I’m really psyched!

Finally looking forward to unemployment! ;) Hehe!

Girl gamers

I had the priveledge of meeting a new enthusiastic Media Masters student a few weeks ago looking to write something about gaming. Yay!!!!! From what I understand, she had grown up being a bit of a gamer and didn’t quite understand why other girls weren’t as well. We ended up having a conversation about the phenomenon “female closet gamers”. You know the type…the girls who’ll gladly dismiss games as a waste of time and a nerdy thing – but secretly they have a nintendo at home! Anyways…it seems like this is the topic she wants to pursue – and I just thought I’d throw it out there and see if anyone knows of someone doing something of the same research?

I guess she’s gonna have to divide between casual and ‘serious’ (although I hate that word) gamers. And I know I’ve got some articles hidden away here somewhere in my del.icio.us. (it’s taken me SUCH a long time to find a tagging system that actually works for me – some stuff just gets lost). I’m wondering how best to tackle such a question.

I’ve already mentioned Hilde Corneliussen (also…didn’t a student from good ol’ HI department hand in a thesis about this recently?)and Torill Mortensen. Also Henry Jenkins ofcourse.

The student is a blogger – AND WE LOVE BLOGGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So bless her!!!

She’s written a post where she ponders about tackling the Nintendo Wii and how they’re trying to bring in the casual gamers and women (in Norwegian) and I was thinking it might be interesting to analyse how the Xbox360, PS3 and Wii differ in their advertising.

But I thing she’s more of an audience kind of gal! I’m wondering if the answer lies in finding the hardcore female gamers who are out of the closet, interview them to see if they think it’s a big deal or not? And I think maybe she should stay away from MMORPGs – because they sometimes seem to be an exception. And I think it would be cool to look at 20 year olds and above.

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"Girl things" in games

Granted, I really don’t have time to focus on blogging at the moment, so excuse me if I’ve misunderstood this completely! I just….I just couldn’t let this pass by without adding some comments. I’m confused, terrified and well…just a tad insulted, to be honest.

Edward Castronova’s latest Terra Nova post examines one of the ‘theories’ introduced at Ludium 1. Uhm…from what I can gather The Koithuo team proposed a way of looking at ‘the evolutionary theory of human gender differences’ and implementing this as a test into games, using Steen’s ‘girl game modes’ which say “that women will be interested in a) games about rating men’s prowess (The Yenta Game”), choosing men to connect with (“The Marriage Game”), and getting men to stay committed to them (“The Newlywed Game”).”

Now…it seems the crew at A Tale in the Desert have implemented a game in their world to test these theories. Which I completely concur with Castronova when he writes that:

“Regardless of whether you agree with Steen’s theories or not, the exciting thing here is that we get to see them tested, at the level of an entire society. It’s not just a theoretical/political debate any more. We’re getting some information.”

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