Saturday, December 8, 2012

Not In The Kitchen Anymore: A Chat With Jenny

"Women haven't been in the kitchen in a long ass fucking time and women have been enjoying video games for a long time too."

At some point while perusing around Twitter I came across the website Not In The Kitchen Anymore (NKA). NKA reveals the side of the gaming community that is often hateful, offensive, and sexist. The side that the majority of us gamers despise yet it continues to exist. Of course my curiosity was peaked. I wanted to know more so I sat down and had a little chat with the sites creator, Jenny Haniver.

Not In The Kitchen Anymore stemmed from a college project. While working on her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts Jenny was given an assignment to create a physical representation of a social issue. Thinking of an issue that effected her personally was easy, "Since playing online I noticed getting into lobbies, as soon as I started using my mic and people realized I was a girl I would get flack." 

Sounds familiar. 

Jenny recorded audio of her interactions with other gamers (mostly male), printed out giant banners of quotes from said audio, and created a welded sculpture holding two Xbox controllers. Pick up the pink controller, put some headphones on, and experience an online game from the perspective of a female; pick up the blue controller and hear a game from the male perspective. 

Image from NKA.

Very cool. 

About a year ago, Jenny expanded on her project and started Not In The Kitchen Anymore. Take away the physicality of her installation and ba-da-bing you've got one excellent website: recordings (and transcripts) of gamers acting like complete ass hats and the casual, nonchalant  replies from Jenny. In fact, it often doesn't even seem to faze Jenny, she just keeps playing. "I will play even after someone says they want to rape me or refers to me as an it." In the worst case she says she just gets tired. "I get so tired sometimes because all I want to do is play the game."

For many it's not so easy to shrug off. The banter between gamers has gone beyond trash talking to a point where legalities kick in. Most women who have ever played a game online have been unfortunate enough to experience some form of sexual harassment. A majority of female gamers have also been exposed to some shit head threatening to stalk, kill, or rape them. One of the worst clips I've heard on NKA catches a gamer saying this: "JENNY. Let me fuck you in your goddamn ass and rape the shit outta you," continuing with "I’m gonna pull your goddamn pants down, and start butt-fuckin’ you," and finally "I’m gonna fuckin’ finger the shit out of your pussy ’til it bleeds."

FUCK YOU, asshole.

Again, Jenny unfazed. But what does she really think? Simply put, she says "There's no need for that shit." Jenny deals with this buffoonery on a daily basis because it's part of running the website. She doesn't mute or block people because it's part of what she does. "It's kind of my social experiment. I have to submit myself to this shit for the good of the cause, I guess." And it's working. NKA is getting a lot of attention from some pretty big names. BBC, Kotaku, and PAX East to name a few. 

PAX East N00dz or GTFO: Harassment in Online Gaming Panel

I asked Jenny what she would suggest for females experiencing sexual harassment online. At first she hesitated, saying she was a bad example for this. However, clearly not true. I see her as a great example for female gamers as she is exposing an issue we can all relate to; she's doing something about it. So, she tells me "First of all to remember these guys are a bunch of morons, take everything they're saying not with not just a grain of salt but an entire fucking shaker," "It's not worth your energy getting upset over these people," "Laugh at them."  

For some of us it's easy to laugh for others it's easier to cry. Totally kidding, but if the harassment gets so bad that you need to mute someone, do it. "The mute button is there for a reason. The problem's not solved but it's not there for the moment, you no longer have to hear it for the moment." Jenny also suggests to "take the time to file complaints." "If you don't use the system it's not going to work." 

And who knows if it works. But, at least you're doing something and something is better than nothing. Beyond the individual Jenny believes gaming developers can have a better complaint system in place. "From my experience I've reported people who have said some pretty graphic things to me and a few days later they're still on Xbox Live." 

Let's get on that now. 

It was great talking to Jenny and it only made me appreciate NKA even more. As long as there are fucktards on XBL Jenny will be there pointing them out. So what's next for the website? "My ideal situation would be going to universities and speaking as a guest speaker for video game developers [or in] any type of classes on social or women's issues. I really enjoy public speaking and want to spread the word on this topic."

Please do Jenny, and let me know when you're speaking in Minnesota.  

This article is featured on Future Retro Gamer (Soon).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where Have I Been?

It's been months since I have blogged. Not without reason.

So, I figured I would post a bit of an update as not to cause panic.

I haven't simply stopped writing. Nope. I'm currently writing for an amazing website, NoobFeed. In doing so I believe I have expanded my writing skill and have been producing more quality articles. Check it out. If I enjoy it you sure as hell will too.

Anyways, I haven't abandoned blogging. My time has just been occupied by other things.

At that I will attempt to update my blog more often. Keeping it on the topic of video games but perhaps in more of a personal matter.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Female Gamers: Part Two

Like I've said before, the majority of my interactions with other gamers have been positive. Unfortunately, I have experienced a negative side to online gaming. If you're going to talk shit do it right.

We all love top 10 lists right? How about top 5? Like it or not here it is: 

The Top 5 Negative Things Said/Heard About Female Gamers:

Keep in mind these are things I have heard while talking on my mic. I can take my dose of trash talk and playful banter but there is a line that can get crossed.

5. Antisocial loner.

This is definitely something that can be said about both male and female gamers alike. However I'm not sure why a gamer would say this as it's insulting oneself. I don't live in my mother's basement and I do have real friends. It's OK if you don't though.       

4. Lazy and disheveled.

Another one where I think "Why?" In saying this you're not just putting me down you're also putting yourself down. Sure we're a bit lazy. We do sit on our couches for hours at a time but lets have other interests too?

3. Fat not Phat.

Fat is in the realm of lazy. There are fat women and fat gamers. So yes there are fat female gamers. Must you assume I am obese? 

2. Ugly and not attractive in any way.

There are very attractive female gamers. If you haven't figured this out by now Google it. Enough said.

1. Sexual/Sexuality remarks

This is number one for a reason. I've never been more turned off by online gaming then when I heard a fellow gamer discussing rape. Jokingly or not: NOT COOL. Sexual remarks as such should be off limits.

For some reason because I'm a female gamer I am also a lesbian. Must we discuss our sexual identities? I'm not assuming you're a straight male.

Things like this make me question if I should turn my mic on or just play it safe and keep it off. Let's be adults and keep our trash talk on the humane side. And if you're not an adult and speaking so obscenely maybe you should ask your mom what she'd think. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Female Gamers: Part One

I recently asked my twitter followers to describe girl/female gamers in one word.  

The majority of the responses that I received were positive:


"Unique, endangered species"






Others certainly emphasized gaming as a gender neutral term:

 "Same as male ones i guess?"


Others I didn't quite know what to think of:

"If a girl gamer states her gender then you can't help but judge them for wanting attention."

So, what to think of these responses? Well clearly from this small sample of my Twitter followers (the majority being male) people think female gamers are pretty damn cool. Overall it would seem that female gamers generally have positive interactions with male gamers. 

In my experience 99.9% of the time I receive praise and support for being a gamer. But there has been a handful of times where I have been insulted, degraded, and put-down simply for being female. 

In part two of this blog post I will explore the typical negative perceptions of female gamers, why I believe this occurs, and how we can discourage this negativity.  

For now...
Game On!

This blog post is featured on Future Retro Gamer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Female Gamers: An Introduction

Who knew? There is such a thing as a female gamer. 


There are female gamers just as there are female athletes, mechanics, and  soldiers. Holy s*@%.
Clearly we're all aware that girls play video games (I certainly hope so). And guess what a lot of them are pretty damn good. I'm not going to be the judge of my own gameplay but sometimes I'm pretty kick a** (Other times, not so much).

This is not going to be a discussion about male gamers degrading female gamers. It's not going to be a rant about how much "girl gamers," rock. Instead I'm just going to be honest. Overall I'm going to try to stay positive; expressing my experience and thoughts on how others view female gamers.

More to come and...
Game on!

This blog post is featured on Future Retro Gamer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Video Game References In the Media (TV)

They're everywhere! Seems like every time I turn on the television I hear another reference to a game, console, or character. Here are a handful of my favorites:

(They may not have things right and you're probably going to notice).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Video Game References In the Media (Music)

Video games have been referenced in the media as long as they've been around. Recently I've noticed a trend with referencing video games in music, especially hip-hop. There is a gaming/hip-hop culture mash that has been going on for years. I'm thinking it's just easier to rhyme with Xbox then to sing about it. 

Here are some of my favorites:


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (featuring Fences)

Album: VS. Redux EP
Song: Otherside
Release: 2010

Despite how Lil Wayne lives
It's not conducive to being creative
And I know 'cause he's my favorite
And I know 'cause I was off that same mix
Rationalize the shit that I'd try after I listen to dedication
But he's an alien, I'd sip that shit, pass out or play Playstation


House of Pain

Album: House of Pain 
Song: Jump Around 
Release: 1992
I'm the cream of the crop, I rise to the top I never eat a pig cause a pig is a cop
Or better yet a terminator
Like Arnold Schwarzenegger
Try'n to play me out like as if my name was Sega



Chamillionaire (featuring Krayzie Bone)

Album: The Sound of Revenge
Song: Ridin'
Release: 2005

N****'s see if they can see me lean 
I'm tint so it ain't easy to be seen
For me to see me ride by 

They can see the gleam
And my shine on the deck and TV screen
Riding with a new chick she like hold up
Next to the PlayStation controlla'

  *It's not a PlayStation Controller*


  Cee Lo Green

Album: The Lady Killer
Song: Forget You
Release: 2010

Yeah I'm sorry, I can't afford a Ferrari,
But that don't mean I can't get you there.
I guess he's an Xbox and I'm more Atari,
But the way you play your game ain't fair. 



Album: Seven's Travels
Song: Trying to Find a Balance 
Release: 2003

Doesn't take much and that's messed up
Because these people do a lot of simple s*** to impress us
While everyone was trying to out-do the last man 
I was just a ghost trying to catch some Mrs. Pac-Man



  B.o.B. (featuring Bruno Mars)

Album: B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Song: Nothin' on You 
Release: 2010

I’ve been to London, I’ve been to Paris
even went out there to Tokyo
back home down in Georgia to New Orleans
but you always still to show (still to show)
and just like that girl you got me fro (got me fro)
like a Nintendo 64 (64)
if you never knew well now you know (know, know, know)



Lyrics found on LyricsReg and elyrics

Great article by
The 50 Best video Game References In Hip-Hop



Game On!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pinterest Geek

Pinterest: love it or hate it. I am a Pinterest lover! Included on this (what I'm sure you'll find very interesting) post are a few of my favorite, geeky, nerdy, gamer, "pins."

I hope this is not true.

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Game On!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Xbox Live: Multiplayer, Mic's, and Kids

You've got your mic on. You're kicking it playing Call of Duty, Halo, or some other equally awesome, violent, competitive multiplayer game. You hear a tiny, quiet voice attempt to insult your gameplay.

Yes. You're hearing right.

Everyone's heard that video games may or may not effect kids in a negative way. My opinion is that they can but most of the time they don't.

I mean look at me for example. Generally I'm not an agressive person. I played my share of "violent" video games back in the day and I turned out just fine. And when I say violent I'm talking violent for their time (Doom, Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein).

Clearly today's games are a lot more realistic. The characters actually look like people and weapons; well they look like real guns. If a kid has descent enough parents they'll know the difference between reality and fantasy (I hope).

I'm not trying to write a research essay but there are many articles and websites stating the positive and negative effects of video games on children. sites a study by Walsh (2000), stating that aggressive behavior in children is linked to the amount of time a child plays video games. In other words the more time played the more aggressive a kid may be. So parents: watch what your kids are playing and put a limit on the amount they play.

The purpose of this post is not to go on about video games, aggression, and children. Moreover, I wanted to get across the effect that adult gamers may have on children. AKA: what you say through your mic everybody hears; including the little ones.

A lot of the multiplayer games I am speaking of (Halo, COD, Gears) have mature ratings to begin with. Us gamers know that online interactions are not rated. If you're a non-gamer parent you may not. In short, it makes me upset (to say the least), when a child is on XBL absorbing negative language, racism, and sexism. All the while their parent(s) are clueless.

I want to feel free to speak freely and talk "smack" when needed. I do not want to have to worry about the 8 year old that may have just heard me cuss someone out.

 In short parents need to monitor their child's Xbox Live use and/or not allow their child to use a mic while playing a multiplayer game.

Game On!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The 90's: Game's I Loved

My last post was about the games that influenced me as a gamer today. The majority of these games included games from the 90's. It got me thinking, what other games did I love as a kid? Well here they are and where you can download them (some of them). Many of them have several versions; I have included the links to the versions I remember. 

Some great websites to find these games and other abandonware:
C-DOS Abandonware

Anyone who had Microsoft played this pack of games. It included a lot of card games and the basics like Tetris, Minesweeper, and chess. My favorite game in the pack had to be Chips Challenge.

I also spent a lot of time on MEP playing:
I watched the TV show on PBS and played the deluxe edition on PC. I had ton's of fun with it and what do ya' know, it's educational.

My brother and I used to play Double Dragon on the Sega Genesis. It was great playing multiplayer as I wasn't the best at it. It was my first "action" game on a console.

Another game I played on the Sega Genesis. I honestly have no idea what version of the game I played. All I know is I absolutely loved it.  

Drum roll please...

 PaRappa the Rapper
This game was so entertaining that I had to put a video up of it. Pretty funny stuff. I played PaRappa the Rapper on the PS1. It was a 90's style of guitar hero.

I played PaRappa on a demo disc. I never owned the entire version. Most of the time the sensei would tell me that I failed. Probably a good thing my parents didn't spend the money. 

Game On!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Yesterday's Games, Today's Gamer

We all have those games that stick with us. The one's that started it all; that sucked us into the addicting world of video games. 

These are the games that I love and cherish because they made me the gamer I am today :)

California: Gold Rush was one of the first computer games I remember playing. My Dad taught me how to run it in DOS. Remember DOS!? Kind of makes me feel old. 
"Unlock door," "Take Money," I loved using the keyboard; commanding the character with my typed words and controlling him with the arrow keys.

I'd always get stuck in the jungle and die of malaria. It was stressful, even as a youngin', but I kept trying (and failing).

My Dad had a huge influence in the growth of my gaming. Growing up there was always a computer readily available. At times there were more computers than people in the house.

My Dad and siblings would sit in different rooms and we'd have a mini LAN party. It was the coolest thing messaging each other warnings about the "meat heads" and the location of the rocket launcher.     

Doom is the prime example as to why I am a gamer. Wolfenstein was the first first-person shooter game I ever played but Doom...Doom is the reason I am playing COD and Halo today.

I started playing computer games long before I ever played them on a console. I remember having a Sega Genesis and playing Sonic the Hedgehog but nothing pulled at my heartstrings quite like Crash Bandicoot.

I remember getting the PS1 with my brother; he got an NHL game and I chose Crash. Crash was my Mario.

It was just pure fun. Running from boulders, chasing after creatures to jungle music (aku aku!), and facing the evil Dr. Neo Cortex.

Myst was released in 1993. Did I understand the plot? Probably not. I think I was too young to really appreciate the beauty of the game. 

Although I do remember being stunned at how realistic the graphics felt. The library, the forest (one particular tree freaked me out a bit), and the architecture. 

Myst is the game that made me appreciate video games for their artistic value and story lines. 

The Sims was the quintessential game of my youth. My sister and I would pull all-nighters building houses and controlling our Sims. Often making them go crazy and trapping them in between walls.  

I bought every expansion pack, game guide, and magazine having anything to do with the Sims. I was obsessed. At one point I even wanted to be an architect.

The Sims stuck with me. To this day I still enjoy the game (Preferably on the PC). 

I play multiplayer games/Xbox Live because of Halo 3. Straight up.

At one point in my gaming "career" Halo 3 was all I was playing. I loved the social aspect of it; meeting fellow gamers and being competitive.

It changed my life forever. Because I loved Halo 3 so much I became more immersed in a gaming lifestyle and began exploring other games.

Thanks Bungie!

Game On!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Xbox. I want you to be perfect.

I can't tell you how many times I've been playing my Xbox and thought "Why hasn't Xbox done this yet!?" and "How cool would it be if my Xbox could do this..." Be magical Xbox and do this:

1. Music
 Everybody get's annoyed when a gamer blares their music through their mic. You. Me. Everybody. It sound's terrible and 90% of the time it's just crappy music. So why can't we share our music with our party (legally of course)? I'm no expert but I know it's possible. It's Microsoft dang it!

We can all listen to and IHeartRadio for free on Xbox live, just not together. There's got to be a way to run one of said music programs, in a party, while playing a game. Mash all of the party members "liked" songs together and ba-da-bing!   

2. Expansion Packs
This doesn't apply to many games. Actually I can only think of one game. The Sims 3.

I used to play it for hours and hours on the PC. So, naturally I was excited when I heard it was coming out on consoles. Then they came out with The Sims 3: Pets. Same game plus cats and dogs. Come on! Did it really have to cost so much for a slight change to the original? Why not put it on XBL as an "expansion pack/add-on."

I should have waited until it was cheaper.
Wait. I shouldn't have bought it. 

3. Internet Search
Just going to be honest. I'm not impressed with the Bing search on Xbox Live. It was not what I expected. I think I was just being a bit loopy and imagined something amazing. Like a computer. I have to remember that a game console is not a PC. But come on, it kind of feels like it's going that way?

My expectations were clearly too extravagant for my little Xbox. I want a search option that gives me more than just the option to spend more money (games, music, movies).

How about a full on Bing search with cheats, blogs, and actual websites?

4. Social Networking 
I love twitter. Twitter on Xbox Live I just kind of like. If you've used it on your Xbox then you know what I'm talking about. I don't even feel the need to go into detail. Xbox simply needs a better Twitter program.

So you know how there's buttons/links on websites to "like," "follow," and "share?" How about something similar for Xbox Live accounts? Find a cool image; share it with your XBL friends. Read a cool blog; friend the writer.

Oh the possibilities.  
Why doesn't such an awesome company do the amazing things that I know it can!? Maybe the next generation console will live up to my expectations.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I'll Never Abandon You Xbox

Why I need a PlayStation 3

 I am an Xbox junkie. Why the Xbox 360 became my console of choice I'm not sure. As a kid I had my fun gaming on a PC, Sega Genesis, and PlayStation One. As a teenager I dabbled with the PlayStation 2 and expanded my taste in PC gaming. Sadly I completely ignored the idea of Xbox.

Currently it's all about the Xbox 360. However, I've been thinking lately and it's time for PS3 and I to start a relationship.

I'm missing out on a lot of great games. I hear about them, I play them, and I think "I've got to go buy this game." Then I remember it's a PS3 exclusive game. Oh the agony.

 Here are the games that are successfully selling me on the PlayStation 3:

 I read an article previewing this game and couldn't wait. I love a game that is visually simple but stunning as well. It seems Journey will be all that I hope for and more. Possibly coming to Xbox? Woot!                                                                                                                 
 Little Big Planet 2
Played a chunk LBP2 and felt like a kid again. It was a lot of fun playing with multiple people. There's not many games out there in this genre that people get excited about anymore (excluding Nintendo games?). Plus those little rag dolls are just darn cute.
 The Last of Us
Any thing with an apocalyptic theme gets me. I love it all. Movies, books, and games. Especially games. I think most people wonder how it would be if such an apocalypse occurred. A video game allows you to experience it. Minus real life. 
 Twisted Metal
I played Twisted Metal back in the day on the PlayStation One. Destruction, creepy evil clown, causing chaos! What more could you ask for? I can't wait to experience Twisted Metal as an adult.
 Uncharted 3
I know what attracted me to this game but I'm not sure how to put it into words. It was hyped up and I've heard nothing but good things about it. Got to love some Nathan Drake.
 Infamous 2
I played maybe 15 minutes of this game and loved it. Sliding along buildings, jumping across a city, electricity from your hands!? Simply put: Awesome.

These games are breaking my heart. I need 200 bucks and my love sickness will be cured via PS3. They are why I want a PS3. Not to mention Blue Ray, PlayStation Network (Free!), and all the old PS1 games I could relive. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eight Games I Bought, Played (part of), and Tossed

Let's get this straight. I would never "toss," a video game. I wouldn't throw it to you in a game of catch, chuck it in the garbage, and I would never mix it with a salad. That would just be weird.

I often get overly excited about a game and my impulsiveness kicks in. I see it, I want it, I buy it. I bring it home and I unwrap the plastic. After a short battle, I finally peel the seal off of the case. Finally it's in my Xbox. Game on!

Then I play it for a while. I try to get into the game but it's just not clicking. I get bored. I forget about it and it begins to collect dust on my shelf. Eventually I blow the dust off and sell the game. My memory is cleared of the game. All but my hopes and expectations.

Here are the eight games that I "tossed." Why eight? Because it just worked out that way.

Alice: Madness Returns
I was expecting a creepy, gruesome, murderous Alice. The character control was terrible. The scenery was beautiful. Still, no blood, guts, or gore. Just Alice bouncing around.

 Saints Row the Third
I hate doing this but what's all the hype? I haven't played the other Saints Row games and I found this one just Okay. I need more than okay. I need GTA.

This game had advertisements everywhere. And when I say advertisements I mean billboards. I felt like I was being watched. The interaction with objects was touchy. The missions were mediocre.

I wanted a new first person shooter. I'm usually on board with all games from Bethesda. Brink not so much. The movement was to rigid. I didn't feel the the characters flowed very smoothly through the environment.

I don't think I've ever seen a wink of anime before this game. It was too much. Too many cut scenes and too little game play. The puzzles were fun the first few times but became repetitive.

Child of Eden
I bought my Kinect within the last year. Like most people that aren't children it doesn't get used very often. Child of Eden is a techno soundtrack visualized. Music cool. Visualization cool. Game play cool; for five minutes. 

TDU2: Test Drive Unlimited
It was terrible. I hated it. Glitches. It's a driving game. Can we just drive?

Halo: Combat Evolved: Anniversary
I'm having trouble admitting this one as I am a huge Halo fan. Halo was the beginning of my Xbox life. I have played all of the Halo games but the the original. Maybe that's why I didn't like it? It felt too primitive (eek).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alan Wake's American Nightmare (Story Mode)

I just finished the story mode of Alan Wake's American Nightmare. I started playing the trial on Xbox and it got me hooked. Being an achievement junkie didn't help. As soon as it popped up on my t.v. that I could now earn an achievement I was all in.

Anyways, putting aside my petty achievement addiction. The game was overall fantastic. Nothing more or less of what I expected.

What I often love best about a video game is it's story. It has to hold my interest long enough for me not to skip through scenes or get lost in a daydream. The majority of the live action scenes more then held my attention; they absorbed my mind and thoughts as if I was watching a really good movie. A lot of this is owed to the dialogue throughout the game.   

 A great voice actor narrates the game with a deep commercial sounding voice adding to the spookiness of the eerie setting. The banter between Alan Wake and Mr. Scratch was played out great. It did the job playing on good vs. evil.

The best exhibition of dialogue in the game was Alan Wake reading his manuscript pages. I have to admit I did skip over a few of these but the ones that I played through were quotable. Simple enough; great writing. Enjoying the language of the manuscripts added more to the storyline and background of Alan Wake and Mr Scratch.

I nearly played the game straight through. Not hard to do I understand, as it is a smaller game, and I often found the control and playability of the game too easy for my taste. Another element hindering me from the inability to put my controller down was the repetitiveness of the storyline. Essentially the game repeats itself. Playing in the same setting with minor adjustments to the game play got pretty irritating.

I made it through the game and enjoyed the time that it took from me. It was worth the money and I am excited to play the "arcade action" mode of the game. I will play future Alan Wake game's that are released; as American Nightmare was what you would call entertainment. 

Not to mention the game had a pretty tight soundtrack. I will definitely be downloading the tracks. Finish the game and you get an avatar award, always a joy :)