Sarah the Beef

"Are you related to that actor guy?"

15 notes

On You-Know-What

I was hesitant about whether or not to write this. I haven’t exactly been silent about my feelings on GamerGate on Twitter, but I don’t have the huge follower base that the women getting forced from their homes because of death threats do. I worried that writing this would just open me up to more abuse. But if women like Brianna Wu can speak up amidst threats of rape and murder, I can certainly write a post about my feelings.

I never expected GamerGate to explode the way it did. No one I know professionally really believed that it was about ethics, because it started with an angry ex revealing a game developer’s alleged sexual history, which is just so, so gross and so wrong. I thought about how awful it would be if someone I trusted did that to me. And I have been accused of having sex with someone to get a job, as have many women in this industry, so it seemed like a pretty clear-cut case of overt sexism to me: horrible, but sadly nothing new, and certainly not an ethical journalism scandal that anyone would take seriously.

Since then, I’ve been called a bitter man-hater who should kill herself while also being told I didn’t know the difference between harassment and criticism. I’ve watched friends, colleagues, and people I respect and admire having to deal with vulgar sexual comments and rape threats while being told GamerGate wasn’t about sexism. I’ve had my personal email address published on a conservative website in a so-called reveal of industry collusion—though ironically, the published emails only showed dissent and discussion among its members. I was part of a large group of game journalists against whom swatting threats were made. Even though I’m not as prominent as Brianna Wu or Anita Sarkeesian, my husband and I came up with a “just in case” plan for if I’m threatened or doxxed. I’ve tried—and failed miserably—to explain GamerGate to people outside the industry, who simply cannot understand because it’s straight nonsense.

It’s always been tough to be a woman in any male-dominated field, but the last few months have made it even harder. There are so many amazing things about the gaming industry, and I just want to write about them without fielding sexist insults, being threatened, or having my “nerd cred” questioned. I’m not exactly covering wars here, unless you count the Console Wars; I write about gaming and other issues pertinent to geek culture. If you’re anything like me, you were an outcast at some point in your life because of your hobbies. Think about how awful that felt. And then think about the things you’re saying behind your internet veil of anonymity.

When I first started writing about games, I didn’t often speak up about sexism. When I did, I was often told I was overreacting by my male coworkers. Or that I’d misunderstood. I was making too big a deal out of nothing. These were smart guys I loved working with who just couldn’t see the issue because it wasn’t happening to them. I thought rape threats and vulgar comments were part of the job, I thought having a thick skin and not reacting (or pretending it was funny) made me better at what I do. I told another journalist “welcome to the club” when she got called a bitch in the comments for the first time. I didn’t identify as a feminist, because I didn’t really understand what it meant, and I was so young and inexperienced that I hadn’t seen how ugly things could get when men think women’s bodies and opinions belong to them. Things are different now. I still love games and the gaming industry—god, I love video games an absurd, unhealthy amount—but when I see people in the industry getting personally attacked, I’m going to call out the attackers on their bullshit. At the same time, I worry that it makes me a target. I don’t worry about being criticized. I worry about my personal information becoming public knowledge. I worry about whether the abuse will spread to my loved ones by association. I worry that more women will say fuck it and walk away, and that I’ll be tempted to follow them, because just existing in this industry can be so goddamn exhausting.

But yeah, let’s talk about ethics, because that’s really important here. Let’s talk about how most gaming sites have clearly written, easy-to-find codes of ethics readily available—GamerGate supporters have just chosen to ignore them. Let’s talk about how most of the people screaming “BUT ETHICS!” seem to have no idea how any journalism works, let alone the weird field that is game journalism. Let’s talk about how none of the people receiving the worst abuse are journalists, but interestingly, they’re all women.

I’ve heard a lot of outcry from the pro-GamerGate movement on Twitter saying that they’ve received similar abuse from the anti-GG crowd. Let me be clear: condemning the abuse of one group is not condoning the abuse of another. If you say you’re all about ethics and the people making death threats using your hashtag don’t represent you, then understand that anyone threatening your life or using horrible slurs doesn’t represent me. If you are frightened for your safety, as too many women in the industry have been recently, I urge you to reach out to the authorities and take care of yourself. Abuse of any kind isn’t acceptable, but it’s come to define this ambiguous movement. If anything, it should give us all a reason to walk away from GamerGate as a movement, as a hashtag, as a trending topic.

Here’s the thing: if you really want to talk about ethics, most of my colleagues and I are pretty open. You can reach us on Twitter or Tumblr. You can send me messages on The Escapist. There are plenty of ways to have a rational discussion. But what I’m seeing isn’t people who want that; what I’m seeing is unrelenting abuse and misogyny from a movement that began with slut-shaming.

I have seven years of experience writing about games, but I’m still learning all the time. I’m learning from my incredible editors and colleagues. I’m learning from the commenters who mange to criticize my work without resorting to personal attacks. I’m learning from the examples set by incredible women in this wonderful, difficult industry. And I want to keep learning. So I’ll talk about ethics, but not GamerGate. That movement, whatever it was meant to be, started with something awful and has only made things worse. So if you want to talk about ethics, drop the hashtag, and let’s have a discussion.

84,227 notes

mypocketshurt90:

arrghigiveup:

jabberwockypie:

deadcatwithaflamethrower:

amemait:

last-snowfall:

deducecanoe:

ppyajunebug:

thelethifoldwitch:

Imagine Hogwarts after the Battle, after the War, sure –
But imagine Hogwarts’ students, after their year with the Carrows and Snape.
Imagine a tiny little first-year whose porcupine pincushions still have quills, but to whom Fiendfyre comes easily. The second-year who tried to go back, to fight; whose bravado got Professor Sinistra killed, as she pushed him out of the way of a Killing Curse. The third-year who perfectly brewed poisons, hands shaking, wishing for the courage to spike the Carrows’ cups. The fourth-year who throws away all of their teacups, their palmistry guidebooks, because what use is Divination if it didn’t see this coming? The fifth-year who can barely remember what O.W.L.S. are, let alone that she was supposed to take them. The sixth-year who can’t manage Lumos to save their life, but whose proficiency with the Cruciatus Curse rivals Bellatrix’s.
Imagine the seventh-year who laughs until he cries, thinking about the first-years who will fall asleep in History of Magic while their story is told.
Imagine the Muggleborn first-years left alive, if there are any: imagine what they think of the magical world, when their introduction to it was Death Eaters and being tortured – by their classmates –for having been born.
Imagine the students who went home to their parents (or guardians, or wards, or orphanages) and showed them what they’d learned: Dark curses, hexes, Unforgiveables; that Muggles are filth, animals, lesser. Who, yes, still can’t transfigure a match into a needle – but Mum, there’s a hex that can make you feel as though you’re being stabbed with thousands. (Don’t ask them how they know.)
Imagine the students who will never be able to see Hogwarts as home.
Imagine the students Hogwarts has left, when it starts up again – the lack of Muggleborns, blood-traitors, half-bloods, dead and gone – the lack of purebloods; the Ministry would have chucked everyone of age (and possibly just below) in Azkaban for Unforgiveables, wouldn’t they?
Imagine how few students there are left to teach; imagine how few teachers are left to teach them.
Imagine the students who can’t walk past a particular classroom, who can’t walk through a hallway, who can’t walk into the Great Hall without having a panic attack or breaking down. Imagine the school-wide discovery that the carriages aren’t horseless after all; that everyone, from the firsties to the teachers, can see Thestrals.
Imagine the memorials, the heaps of flowers and mementoes – in every other corner, hallway, classroom; every other step you take on the grounds.
Imagine the ghosts.
Imagine the students destroying Snape’s portrait, using the curses, hexes, even Fiendfyre they’ve been taught how to wield – it has to be restored nearly every week; Snape stays with Phineas Nigellus semi-permanently. (None of the other portraits will welcome him. His reasons do not excuse his conduct.)
Imagine the students unable to trust each other – everyone informed on everyone, your best friend might turn you in.
Imagine the guilt that everyone carries (it should have been me, it’s my fault s/he’s dead, I told on them, it’s all my fault), the students incapable of meeting each other’s eyes because it’s my fault your best friend, your sibling, your Housemate, your boy/girlfriend is dead.
Imagine the memorials piled high with the wands of the dead. Imagine the memorials piled high with the self-snapped wands of the living.
Imagine the students who are never able to produce a Patronus.
Imagine Boggarts being removed from the curriculum because Riddikulus is near impossible to grasp, even for the sixth- and seventh-years. Because their friends and families dead will never, ever be funny.
Imagine the students for whom magic feels tainted.
Imagine the students who leave the wixen world – hell, the students who leave Britain entirely, because there’s nothing left for them there.
Imagine the students who never use magic again.
(Image source.)
(From the mind of the wonderful lavenderpatil, a keen look at how students might be after war.)

Reblogging this kickass post by the equally kickass
lavenderpatil
because everyone should read it

I think… I could be wrong… but everyone Prof Trwylany (sp) said would die at the beginning of every term DID die in the battle of hogwarts? BUt yeah. The year after that was probably filled with grand speeches about those who sacrificed their lives, and how they would rebuild hogwarts, etc. meanwhile… the kids knew. They were there. They knew what it was really like. And the incoming first years probably had a very different relationship with the older kids, who’d seen shit, than in years past. I think there’d be a long year of seriousness and severity… or everyone would try to put on a happy face and pretend that Colin Kreevy wasn’t working on the school paper any more because he was dead. Stiff upper lip. But with a very subdued attitude.

Imagine the seventh years who came back. Because nobody finished their seventh year. That year was a loss. But the ones it really mattered for were them. Imagine the older kids who are up in the night because they can’t sleep for bad dreams hearing the crying from the lower dorms and finding that little girl who can’t make pincushions but can make Fiendfyre hugging her knees, and saying, “You know what, bring your pillow up, you can sleep on my bed while I read.” Imagine the new first years, the ones who hear the story on the train, who’re eleven and still young, seeing an older student sitting alone staring blankly and going over to them and saying, “D’you want some of my chocolate frogs?” because they can’t think of anything else to do. Imagine one finding someone who’s sitting staring at nothing one day and asking in a quiet voice, “Do you need a hug?” and then staying for an hour while the older student cries and cries and hugs them, because some eleven year olds are really smart (and some eleven year olds already came to the school from Bad Shit) and know that sometimes it helps to hold someone you could look after. Imagine the older students who look at these younger ones coming in, all new and safe and bright, and swearing on Merlin’s grave that nothing will ever, *ever* hurt these kids. Imagine the alumni of Dumbledore’s Army, who refused to let the fucking Death Eaters win when they were here and kicking and sure as she won’t let them now, finding things to do on weekends, organizing things, refusing to have it so that people just stay there alone being sad. Fuck the third-year rule: *everyone* can go to Hogsmeade, you just buddy up the young kids with the older kids and I mean, fuck, *who’s going to be a threat to the older kids now*?Imagine them making up insulting nicknames for their old enemies, taking Voldemort and the Carrows and Lestrange and metaphorically spitting on them every time they use them. Imagine Ron volunteering to take on the Boggart that takes up residence in the one class cupboard because no, look, the stupid thing *still looks like a bloody spider* and look it’s fucking hilarious when you take its legs off and tie it up with a bow. And the class laughs. Imagine Harry staying at the school for a couple years, even when he’s done, because once people understand how the charm worked - how because he let Voldemort kill him it meant that nothing Voldemort could do could hurt any of them anymore - everyone just feels *better* when he’s there. Imagine the nights where everyone leaves the common rooms and camps out in the Great Hall and drinks Butterbeer and tells stories and cries and sometimes there are shouting matches because people get so raw, but in the end everyone falls asleep in a pile together. Imagine all the really, truly inappropriate jokes the survivors make, the ones that make their parents’ eyes fill with tears and terrify the first years, because actually when you’ve been dragged face-first through Hell the *worst shit* becomes fucking funny. Imagine how the owls don’t have to be kept in the owlry anymore, because every kid needs the animal they brought with them; imagine that for the kids that lost theirs, or never had one, their friends finding them some, buying them some. Imagine the girl who knows the Cruciatus Curse breaking down crying because she can’t believe she did that, she can’t ever believe she would and she knows she’s wrong and evil and tainted, and Ginny holding her while she cries and when she calms down, Hermione tells her the story of Regulus Black, and about how just because you made shit choices once that doesn’t mean you can’t make better ones now. Imagine that people have been dealing with this kind of horrible shit all through human history, and people are out there dealing with it today, and yes it absolutely sucks and it’s horrible and the scars it leaves are real and heartbreaking and sometimes people are too badly hurt to go on, but also former child-soldiers play team games and laugh at funny stories and refugee kids with horrible stories love colouring books with bright colours and play games with the friends they’ve made in the camps. And these are kids who fought. Who fought like little demons. Who *chose* to fight. So yeah, it could be awful. It could be nothing but bleak from beginning to end, a year (a decade) of sternness and unhappiness. But it doesn’t have to be; it isn’t guaranteed. (and as @tygermama notes, we Muggles have been figuring out this shit: we give it names and throw our best guesses at it, and some of them are good. So there’s help there, too.)

Ooooof

This entire post is a story unto itself.

*Sob* This is much better and wonderful and … BRB, CRYING IN A GOOD WAY.

Fuck this almost made me break down on public transport ;__;


The Carrows only took over the school for one year.  If you’re a sixth year who can’t cast Lumos it probably had more to do with you wanking off the first five years.

Beautiful.

mypocketshurt90:

arrghigiveup:

jabberwockypie:

deadcatwithaflamethrower:

amemait:

last-snowfall:

deducecanoe:

ppyajunebug:

thelethifoldwitch:

Imagine Hogwarts after the Battle, after the War, sure

But imagine Hogwarts’ students, after their year with the Carrows and Snape.

Imagine a tiny little first-year whose porcupine pincushions still have quills, but to whom Fiendfyre comes easily. The second-year who tried to go back, to fight; whose bravado got Professor Sinistra killed, as she pushed him out of the way of a Killing Curse. The third-year who perfectly brewed poisons, hands shaking, wishing for the courage to spike the Carrows’ cups. The fourth-year who throws away all of their teacups, their palmistry guidebooks, because what use is Divination if it didn’t see this coming? The fifth-year who can barely remember what O.W.L.S. are, let alone that she was supposed to take them. The sixth-year who can’t manage Lumos to save their life, but whose proficiency with the Cruciatus Curse rivals Bellatrix’s.

Imagine the seventh-year who laughs until he cries, thinking about the first-years who will fall asleep in History of Magic while their story is told.

Imagine the Muggleborn first-years left alive, if there are any: imagine what they think of the magical world, when their introduction to it was Death Eaters and being tortured by their classmates for having been born.

Imagine the students who went home to their parents (or guardians, or wards, or orphanages) and showed them what they’d learned: Dark curses, hexes, Unforgiveables; that Muggles are filth, animals, lesser. Who, yes, still can’t transfigure a match into a needle but Mum, there’s a hex that can make you feel as though you’re being stabbed with thousands. (Don’t ask them how they know.)

Imagine the students who will never be able to see Hogwarts as home.

Imagine the students Hogwarts has left, when it starts up again the lack of Muggleborns, blood-traitors, half-bloods, dead and gone the lack of purebloods; the Ministry would have chucked everyone of age (and possibly just below) in Azkaban for Unforgiveables, wouldn’t they?

Imagine how few students there are left to teach; imagine how few teachers are left to teach them.

Imagine the students who can’t walk past a particular classroom, who can’t walk through a hallway, who can’t walk into the Great Hall without having a panic attack or breaking down. Imagine the school-wide discovery that the carriages aren’t horseless after all; that everyone, from the firsties to the teachers, can see Thestrals.

Imagine the memorials, the heaps of flowers and mementoes in every other corner, hallway, classroom; every other step you take on the grounds.

Imagine the ghosts.

Imagine the students destroying Snape’s portrait, using the curses, hexes, even Fiendfyre they’ve been taught how to wield it has to be restored nearly every week; Snape stays with Phineas Nigellus semi-permanently. (None of the other portraits will welcome him. His reasons do not excuse his conduct.)

Imagine the students unable to trust each other everyone informed on everyone, your best friend might turn you in.

Imagine the guilt that everyone carries (it should have been me, it’s my fault s/he’s dead, I told on them, it’s all my fault), the students incapable of meeting each other’s eyes because it’s my fault your best friend, your sibling, your Housemate, your boy/girlfriend is dead.

Imagine the memorials piled high with the wands of the dead. Imagine the memorials piled high with the self-snapped wands of the living.

Imagine the students who are never able to produce a Patronus.

Imagine Boggarts being removed from the curriculum because Riddikulus is near impossible to grasp, even for the sixth- and seventh-years. Because their friends and families dead will never, ever be funny.

Imagine the students for whom magic feels tainted.

Imagine the students who leave the wixen world hell, the students who leave Britain entirely, because there’s nothing left for them there.

Imagine the students who never use magic again.

(Image source.)

(From the mind of the wonderful lavenderpatil, a keen look at how students might be after war.)

Reblogging this kickass post by the equally kickass
lavenderpatil
because everyone should read it

I think… I could be wrong… but everyone Prof Trwylany (sp) said would die at the beginning of every term DID die in the battle of hogwarts? BUt yeah. The year after that was probably filled with grand speeches about those who sacrificed their lives, and how they would rebuild hogwarts, etc. meanwhile… the kids knew. They were there. They knew what it was really like. And the incoming first years probably had a very different relationship with the older kids, who’d seen shit, than in years past. I think there’d be a long year of seriousness and severity… or everyone would try to put on a happy face and pretend that Colin Kreevy wasn’t working on the school paper any more because he was dead. Stiff upper lip. But with a very subdued attitude.

Imagine the seventh years who came back. Because nobody finished their seventh year. That year was a loss. But the ones it really mattered for were them.

Imagine the older kids who are up in the night because they can’t sleep for bad dreams hearing the crying from the lower dorms and finding that little girl who can’t make pincushions but can make Fiendfyre hugging her knees, and saying, “You know what, bring your pillow up, you can sleep on my bed while I read.”

Imagine the new first years, the ones who hear the story on the train, who’re eleven and still young, seeing an older student sitting alone staring blankly and going over to them and saying, “D’you want some of my chocolate frogs?” because they can’t think of anything else to do.

Imagine one finding someone who’s sitting staring at nothing one day and asking in a quiet voice, “Do you need a hug?” and then staying for an hour while the older student cries and cries and hugs them, because some eleven year olds are really smart (and some eleven year olds already came to the school from Bad Shit) and know that sometimes it helps to hold someone you could look after.

Imagine the older students who look at these younger ones coming in, all new and safe and bright, and swearing on Merlin’s grave that nothing will ever, *ever* hurt these kids.

Imagine the alumni of Dumbledore’s Army, who refused to let the fucking Death Eaters win when they were here and kicking and sure as she won’t let them now, finding things to do on weekends, organizing things, refusing to have it so that people just stay there alone being sad. Fuck the third-year rule: *everyone* can go to Hogsmeade, you just buddy up the young kids with the older kids and I mean, fuck, *who’s going to be a threat to the older kids now*?

Imagine them making up insulting nicknames for their old enemies, taking Voldemort and the Carrows and Lestrange and metaphorically spitting on them every time they use them.

Imagine Ron volunteering to take on the Boggart that takes up residence in the one class cupboard because no, look, the stupid thing *still looks like a bloody spider* and look it’s fucking hilarious when you take its legs off and tie it up with a bow. And the class laughs.

Imagine Harry staying at the school for a couple years, even when he’s done, because once people understand how the charm worked - how because he let Voldemort kill him it meant that nothing Voldemort could do could hurt any of them anymore - everyone just feels *better* when he’s there.

Imagine the nights where everyone leaves the common rooms and camps out in the Great Hall and drinks Butterbeer and tells stories and cries and sometimes there are shouting matches because people get so raw, but in the end everyone falls asleep in a pile together.

Imagine all the really, truly inappropriate jokes the survivors make, the ones that make their parents’ eyes fill with tears and terrify the first years, because actually when you’ve been dragged face-first through Hell the *worst shit* becomes fucking funny.

Imagine how the owls don’t have to be kept in the owlry anymore, because every kid needs the animal they brought with them; imagine that for the kids that lost theirs, or never had one, their friends finding them some, buying them some.

Imagine the girl who knows the Cruciatus Curse breaking down crying because she can’t believe she did that, she can’t ever believe she would and she knows she’s wrong and evil and tainted, and Ginny holding her while she cries and when she calms down, Hermione tells her the story of Regulus Black, and about how just because you made shit choices once that doesn’t mean you can’t make better ones now.

Imagine that people have been dealing with this kind of horrible shit all through human history, and people are out there dealing with it today, and yes it absolutely sucks and it’s horrible and the scars it leaves are real and heartbreaking and sometimes people are too badly hurt to go on, but also former child-soldiers play team games and laugh at funny stories and refugee kids with horrible stories love colouring books with bright colours and play games with the friends they’ve made in the camps.

And these are kids who fought. Who fought like little demons. Who *chose* to fight. So yeah, it could be awful. It could be nothing but bleak from beginning to end, a year (a decade) of sternness and unhappiness. But it doesn’t have to be; it isn’t guaranteed.


(and as @tygermama notes, we Muggles have been figuring out this shit: we give it names and throw our best guesses at it, and some of them are good. So there’s help there, too.)

Ooooof

This entire post is a story unto itself.

*Sob* This is much better and wonderful and … BRB, CRYING IN A GOOD WAY.

Fuck this almost made me break down on public transport ;__;

The Carrows only took over the school for one year. If you’re a sixth year who can’t cast Lumos it probably had more to do with you wanking off the first five years.

Beautiful.

1 note

The Beatles: Rock Band - Five Years Later

image

Five years ago, on 9.9.09, The Beatles: Rock Band launched. There are several reasons it remains embedded in my memory, not least of which is that it combined one of my favorite bands with one of my favorite game series. The results were spectacular; it’s truly a wonderful game, and I’ve already written many, many words about it.

On a professional level, Harmonix’s The Beatles: Rock Band is forever tied to my first E3. I’d dreamed of going to E3 since I was 12 years old, and finally got there in 2009. The Beatles: Rock Band was one of the show’s standout games, and after trying it out during my scheduled appointment, I kept making my way back to the stage for more. Whenever I had some time between running to appointments and writing previews, I was playing The Beatles: Rock Band; I couldn’t get enough, even with the limited number of songs in the demo. There’s some video of me playing it again at a Sony press event later that year, and I’m practically jumping with excitement and bopping around to “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” I even analyzed the opening cinematic, trying to dig up every Beatles song reference I could find.

A few days ago, I wrote about how P.T. delivered an intense, memorable group vacation gaming experience. The Beatles: Rock Band did the same in 2009 (although obviously not of the frightening variety). The day I was set to leave for vacation, I was tracking my review copy of TB:RB, which was due any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. When it finally showed up around noon, I practically grabbed it out of the delivery person’s hands, ready to hit the road, Rock Band instruments already packed.

One of the first nights in the Outer Banks, we set up The Beatles: Rock Band and everyone was drawn in. I’d hoped to get the group together for a few songs, but had planned on reviewing most of the game solo to meet my deadline; as it turned out, that wasn’t necessary. We played through the entire game as a group in one sitting, rocking out to The Beatles for over four hours.

The parents, usually reluctant to join in on our vacation gaming nights, were sharing the microphones and tentatively trying out the guitar peripheral. Non-Beatles fans (yes, they exist; somehow, I married one) could at least enjoy the fantastic Rock Band gameplay. We set out to play a few songs and played them all; the next day, everyone was talking about how much fun they’d had, and what a great game it was. I’d never seen anything bring the group together like that.

It’s hard to believe five years have passed when I think about how impatiently I waited for that game to arrive. So much has changed since then—I’ve changed jobs, gone on to write for some really amazing outlets for some really amazing people, and I’ve even befriended some of the weird and wonderful people at Harmonix. I’ve gotten married, moved. The next generation of consoles launched. No matter how many years pass, though, I’ll never forget The Beatles: Rock Band and what it meant to me, from that incredible E3 to the vacation we couldn’t stop playing.

2 notes

P.T.: The Ultimate Social Horror Experience

image

There’s been a lot of talk about P.T., the mysterious downloadable PS4 horror game announced at Sony’s Gamescom press conference. It didn’t take long for the internet (via one dedicated Twitch streamer) to discover that P.T. was actually a “playable teaser” for Silent Hills, a new entry in the long-running series that’s apparently the combined efforts of Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima (starring Norman Reedus, to boot).

I’ve long loved the mythology and psychological horror of the Silent Hill series, even though recent entries into the core franchise have been average at best (I’m not counting Shattered Memories, which I thought was great). I’m also kind of a big scaredy-cat baby, so playing P.T. alone was probably never going to happen.

On the first night of my annual vacation to Virginia and North Carolina, the perfect opportunity to experience P.T. presented itself. My husband and I are the only ones in our group with a PS4, and my brother, having heard all about the demo, wanted to experience it for himself. After stuffing ourselves full of barbeque goodness, we holed up in my parents’ little house on the eastern shore of Virginia, in the middle of nowhere, and set up our PS4 on their brand-new HDTV. It was time to play.

Our group consisted of people with varying experience with video games; from those of us who followed the industry closely and bought every system to those who rarely played games (usually on this annual family trip). It didn’t matter once P.T. started, though; we crowded around the TV in the living room, pitch black outside, and started making our way through that hallway, again and again and again.

The plan was to take turns with the controller, passing it around as we figured out P.T.'s consistently creepy, usually confusing, and sometimes frustrating loops. At first, whenever it was time to pass on the DualShock 4, several hands would reach out; an hour or so in, no one wanted to touch that thing. We were yelping, covering our eyes, saying things like “I don't want this” and “oh my god” and “what's going to happen, I can't, I can't!” Like I said, I'm a baby, so the fact that I was sitting on the couch curled up with my hoodie half covering my eyes wasn't a huge shock. However, I'd never seen my husband so freaked out by anything, not to mention the rest of the people in our group.

In between shrieks of triumph and terror, we worked together to figure out that infernal puzzle. Even those in the group with very little gaming experience could follow along and try to work it out, coming up with new ideas, ways to get through that hallway for the last time. Don’t go through the door yet! Is that writing in a different spot than it was before? The bathroom, there’s got to be something in the bathroom. What’s this hole? What do the numbers mean? It got scarier and scarier, creating an atmosphere so tense that words popping up on the screen was enough to make us all scream. (It probably helped that there was someone in our group named Lisa, same as the demo’s horrifying ghost; every time she saw or heard her name, she’d yelp.)

We sat there, enthralled and terrified, for over three hours, working as a team. By the end, almost no one would take the controller, but we didn’t want to stop playing. Sure, we were sick of that crying fetus by the end, but we’d made it so far, and there was no going back. And finally, after midnight, we were rewarded. Even though I’d already watched the footage of the Twitch streamer making it to the end, doing it as a group was exceptionally rewarding.

P.T. brought us all together for that first night, but it also dominated our discussions for the rest of the trip. The next morning, at breakfast in a diner on the route to the Outer Banks, we discussed what we’d seen, trying to make sense of it. We speculated about what Silent Hills would actually be like—most of us didn’t expect a first-person game, but we were hoping it would be just as good as its teaser. For the entire 9 days we were on vacation, we brought up P.T. again and again, with some of us going back and replaying the beginning to see early clues in a new light. I’ve been going on this family trip for nearly two decades, with our group getting bigger and bigger as the kids grew up and added significant others, and P.T. was one of the most memorable vacation experiences I’ve ever had.

Silent Hills may be a rebirth for the series, a return to psychological horror greatness worthy of its name. Or it may be another mediocre entry in a franchise long past its prime. The game is clearly so far away, with basically no details outside of what was revealed at the end of the teaser, but it’s hard not to feel the hype after an experience like that. And even if Silent Hills doesn’t live up to its expectations, we’ll still have that night in Virginia that we screamed, shouted, and solved our way through what’s possibly the best demo I’ve ever played.

3 notes

A Call to Arms

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Today I called a fairly prolific YouTuber “a piece of shit” on Twitter in response to some sexist, dickbag comments he made in regards to a recent gaming industry scandal. For my friends who don’t know, suffice it to say a prominent female game designer was blasted by an ex, and now a vocal group of men on the internet think her private life is up for public discussion. That’s a whole other thing, let’s not even get into it, other than to make my personal feelings clear: Zoe Quinn didn’t deserve this shit, no woman in this industry does.

Anyway, in response to that, I started getting abuse on Tumblr and Twitter. I’ve been professionally Internetting While Female for seven years, so I can’t say it’s the first time an anonymous rando told me to kill myself, or the first time Twitter trolls tried to take me down a peg in their own pathetic ways. I’m also not prolific enough that it happens constantly enough to derail my life on a regular basis.

Today was so draining. The original situation is complicated for reasons I can’t get into, but what came after it—it was distracting and gross and exhausting.

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Then I thought about the more well-known women in the industry, and how wading through this tiresome bullshit is just part of their day-to-day. On top of difficult, challenging, stressful jobs, these women I admire—high-ranking editors, talented game designers, amazing community managers, I could go on—have to deal with people on the internet constantly trying to tear them down for the simple crime of having a vagina and liking video games and, sometimes, daring to voice an opinion (often only the first two qualifiers are necessary). And it’s just not fucking fair.

I don’t expect to change the minds of the horrible vocal minority, the ones who literally think equality is about murdering every single man on the planet. The ones who shame women for having any hint of sexuality. The ones who scream about SJWs and WHITE KNIGHTS because they quite literally cannot fathom a reason guys might be decent to women aside from “trying to get laid.” Fuck those guys. They’re lost causes and I want nothing to do with them anyway.

But maybe there’s one or two people in the middle, on the fence, who don’t like slut-shaming but instead of making a difference whine “not all men,” maybe people like that who might be open to reason. Maybe instead of sending that horribly sexist, derogatory tweet, he’ll delete it instead.

More likely, no one will listen. But I won’t stop calling people out on their bullshit, no matter what kind of half-witted MRA Twitter army they have at their command. If that’s okay with you, come at me with your stupid, unoriginal insults and threats.

I have more respect and admiration than ever for the amazing women fighting for this industry every day, and the allied men who won’t stand for this shit either. You guys make covering the gaming industry an amazing experience I wouldn’t trade for anything, trolls and all.

10 notes

Anonymous asked: Kill yourself.

That’s not a question!

Not really sure what prompted this. Was it because I called out some douchebro on Twitter for posting a digusting, sexist comic? Because I agreed with a high-ranking editor at a feminist geek site? Or just because I had the nerve to Internet While Female? Who knows?

86,173 notes

thebicker:

foxy-green:

bencarignan:

rickybrugal:

dorkly:

Female Fantasy III

Perfecto.

perfect

May they be forever alone for their elitist douche-baggery.

I was recently interviewing the woman who founded Her Universe and we were talking specifically about women and geekdom. I asked about the rise of girls in geek culture and she very accurately corrected me: There is no “rise” of geek girls. We’ve always been here. Girls are just as nerdy as dudes are. Ladies have always been interested in sci fi and fantasy and video games - we just don’t talk about it a lot because men are assholes. 

"There is no rise of the geek girl. We’ve always been here."

Thank you.

(via mypocketshurt90)

730 notes

Marvel, This Is When You Send An Artist Back To The Drawing Board

thebirdandthebat:

themarysue:

There’s a new Spider-Woman variant cover that is, er…. less than good. But(t) we had fun with it, anyway.

Hit the link for the rest (as well as for actual, serious commentary on the cover).

So. Wrote this up today. Later on, professional comic artist Vasilis Lolos decided to comment on the post, then called himself a troll and was obviously just there to start some trouble (a no-no on The Mary Sue comment policy), so I banned him.

Then he signed up for another Disqus account to say some more.

All of his comments are still on the post except for one where he linked off to some adult comic art and this second-account one.

Then he decided to chat me up on Twitter.

So, yeah.

Way to handle this like a pro, Jill.

But seriously… What the fuck?

Fuck this month.