Thursday, 30 June 2016

Porn, computer games and patriarchy

A debate article in Swedish tabloid today accused patriarchy for encouriging destructive men's culture and driving men into isolation. The sentence "Men flee into computer games and porn and live isolated, without close relations" [my translation] caused emotions to stir in some video game journalists ( and

The journalists draws the conclusion that the article authors equals porn and computer games, and that they think that men will feel better if they stopped playing computer games. Now. Personally I do believe that patriarchy offers a destructive men's culture. However, whereas the article says that men need help to start talk about feelings, stop watching porn and seek help, they don't say that men should stop playing computer games. Like, they literally don't say it.

Though, it is of course implied between the lines, that computer games is an isolating hobby and that only tormented men who can't talk about feelings or treat women with dignity plays computer games. As the video game journalist points out, women play as much video games as men.

But... the part about fleeing is true. Escaping the real world's problem by playing video games is a thing. We are legion, we who can witness how games helped us focus on other things than the pain and frustration we felt in the "real" world. There's even scientific reports saying that playing video games help children to forget about their physical pains, helps PTSD sufferers to feel calmer without medication, and so on.

I never really watched porn, so I can't compare that with computer games, but I have been binge watching SupernaturalThe Walking Dead, Spartacus (which, I must admit, does have a thing or two in common with porn) and other tv-series and I really don't see the difference behaviour wise. It's all about dealing with that lump of angst in your chest until you get proper help.

However. No hobby, or escape occupation if you like, be it gaming or watching porn, is healthy if you put everything else that makes you feel good aside. I mean, If I hadn't seeked professional help during the times I felt the worst mentally, playing World of Warcraft wouldn't have helped me feel better in the long run, only for the moment.

And while we're on the negative aspects of mentioned business, I dare say that porn and video game culture has one other little thing in common: That twisted idea of women and their purpose in said media. So, putting "porn" in the same sentence as "computer games" isn't as far fetched as some would think. Both are surrounded by a culture that treats women different than men, and usually in negative terms.

However. I strongly agree with the video game journalist that gaming doesn't equal isolation and destructive behaviour, or automatically causes it. Far from. The social life I have would be much more limited if I didn't have World of Warcraft. It's another kind of social relation than eye-to-eye of course, since we communicate mainly through text and use avatars and character names, but it's still social behavior with real people. And it suits me good since eye-to-eye contact drains me energy-wise, no matter how much I like the person I hang out with.

So, all in all - no, the debate article shouldn't use computer games and porn as sloppy and trollbaiting as they did, but also no, the debate article authors doesn't say that men would feel better if they stopped playing computer games.

Game on (and remember, it's okay to cry)!

The Walking Dead: No Man's Land - but women's!

I've been playing TWD: No Man's Land for a while now and still like it. One reason is the humungous amount of mindblastingly awesome women. Mostly because there's nothing special about them. They are as good as any other character, and they make up about half the randomized characters I get.
Sorry Daryl, my heart beats for you but in this game you're not number one.
In a world that is so white-cis-male-hetero-oriented as the world of video games, this is really refreshing. Of course, there are a whole bunch of kick-ass female characters in other videogames too, but usually they're there for a special purpose. The mass in the background tends to consist of men.

One of my first bruiser characters, the equivalent of tanks in this game, was a woman called Catherine. She had black dreads, pilot shades and body armor. Not gonna lie, I was dumbstruck with awe when she entered my team. She served me well until the quests started requiring a minimum of level 6 characters, and she was fully trained at level 5. I had to retire her. Catherine, you always have a place in my heart.
Tough luck, lock, Catherine's tougher.
Of course, out of the characters I recruit, there's a majority of white people. Or... I think most of them are. Sometimes it's hard to determine the color of their skin. Maybe it's me interpreting them as white because that's the perspective I have? Anyway, my point is that even if this game is good gender-wise, it could probably improve color-wise. Then again, what game couldn't...?

By now, I must admit that when I recruit new characters, I usually go by their looks. Do I find them attractive? No? Reject. Do they look cool? Handsome? Okay, let's check what type they are. Rare? Accept. Uncommon? Well, if they look awesome and kickass enough, they're in. Shallow, I know. But hey, it's only a video game. Right? Right.
Lip piercing? Knitted cap? Glasses? You're hired, Virginia!
This means that I currently have no male character at all. I had one that looked allright, but he reached his level cap and I retired him. Sometimes I think that maybe I should stop selecting from appearance like this. Diversity in video games and all that. But, on the other hand, it's a way of selecting without having to go into calculating extremes, where I need to make an effort in my planning.
You're cute, Phil, but cute alone  kills no walkers.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

From pc to tablet

So. I've added tablets to my gamer title. I've always had this prejudice that games for mobile devices are too shallow for me. I mean, I'm used to Mass Effect-epicness, and WoW roleplaying. Surely I couldn't do with small mobile games, no matter the high ratings...?

Well. This spring, my gardening heart awoke and I started to plant seeds and plan for my garden, but my gaming heart lacked patience. So while my real life crops grew, I had to do something equal game-wise. Of course I had the Sunsong Farm in Pandaria, but it wasn't quite enough.

Hesitantly, I picked up my tablet. Searched Google Play for "garden games". Found stuff like Hay Day but I don't like extracting bacon from pigs, and Stardew Valley but I don't like old school pixel design, and then...! Hello Kitty's Garden. And even if I'm not that into Hello Kitty I still find her sympathetic. So I downloaded the game.

And was satisfyed. It had everything. Plant crops. Cultivate them. Farm them. Cash in. Do quests. Instant rewards, nice graphics, no brain work to speak of. That is, until I went hardcore Kitty and calculated maximum profit for each crop and started to plan ahead to get enough money to buy new gardens... And still it was fun!

Maybe I should consider myself lucky that it wasn't possible to buy star points, which you could exhange for in game money, for real money. The option was there but nothing happened when I pressed "buy stars". Only way to get stars, and in the long run, Hello Kitty herself as a follower, was to fill in forms, download and play other games, and so on. And I'm not doing that. Buy stuff for money to enhance my gaming experience - sure. Watch optional videos to get rewards - yeah why not. Hand out my e-mail and phone number and get spammed - nope.

Now, progress is slow. Very slow. I'm on 2519 out of a maximum 1600 xp (yes) and counting. I don't level up any longer. My garden isn't nutrient enough to grow all the available plants, and the next area I can buy is so expensive it'll take me months to gather that money.

Then I found The Walking Dead: No Man's Land. I'm happy again.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Khorium hunt

I made another video. This was as spontaneous as the first I did; I was home alone and had some spare time, so I decided to give it a go.

It's interesting to hear myself talk and see myself use my face when I talk. Naturally, that is something you don't get too much of in your everyday life, right. To be honest, I'm pretty happy with what I see and hear. Of course I'm unused to speaking English, and there's a lot more to improve, but still.

I also see this as some kind of documentation of my pre-testosterone voice. That will truly be interesting, what changes will come.

Maybe I should actually plan my next video. Write a rough script. Decide a theme.

Or maybe I'll just keep drivel away.