It’s also hard not to see some of the real-life sexism that pervades so many industries reflected in the games, but from a distinctly feminine perspective. You’re a woman, your friends are usually women, but the domineering corporate bosses from competing companies who try to undermine you, get you fired, or drive you out of business are almost always male. You defy them, of course, and leave them in the dust with your sheer excellence.
Even when the games suggest that you have a more white collar job, the work you end up doing remains far more “pink collar.” In the medical time management game Are You Alright?, you’re told that you’re a “famous doctor,” and yet you seem to spend most of your time taking temperatures, running tests, and dispensing pills—jobs that would more realistically be done by a nurse.
For their new study, published in the journal Social and Personality Psychology Science, Bormann and colleagues wanted to investigate whether this immersion is fostered by storytelling and whether it affects players’ ability to assess the mental states of other people.
“I think the education community is ready to really use technology in innovative ways,” said Richard Culatta, the director of educational technology at the U.S. Department of Education. “But I think we are largely dependent on the people who are building these tools and solutions to provide apps that meet educational needs.
“Part of the message we are trying to send here is, if you’re building and designing games for learning you have to connect and work with teachers and with school leaders to make sure you are building games that are meeting the needs.”
Welcome to the third installment in our new series, Game Changer! Because it’s important to signal boost the work of women in the games industry (especially lately), we’ll be interviewing the awesome, brave, and talented women who bring their voices to indie and mainstream game development. Check out previous entries: Jill Murray and Anna Megill.
This week we sat down with Brie Code (@briecode), Lead Programmer at Ubisoft Montreal, who has also worked at Relic Entertainment and Pandemic Studios on the Assassin’s Creed franchise and games like Child of Light, and is helping to launch an exciting diversity initiative at Ubisoft Montreal.
For decades now, companies have been selling the idea that playing video games places you in a special fraternity of people with similar interests, goals and values, even if those values are as small as “enjoys video games.” Ads like this are designed to make Sony’s customers feel like a chosen, special people, to generate a fiction of belonging that trumps everything else. In his book Imagined Communities, professor and author Benedict Anderson described this kind of broad, horizontal camaraderie as the source of nationalistic fervor, the sort of thing that makes people want to “die for such limited imaginings.”
Elves, magic, dragons, shapeshifting and ancient powers of world destruction are somehow totally believable, but the idea that brown people might exist is somehow not. My colleague Zevran Arainai, the Antivan assassin who you encounter after he’s been hired to kill you. There’s also Isabela, the Rivaini pirate who can teach you the Duelist specialization. There’s Duncan, who initially recruits you to the Wardens, whose heritage is mixed with Rivaini. We also can’t forget about the Qunari warrior Sten, who you can encounter in Lothering and rescue, or leave for the Darkspawn to kill.
Current gen-gaming controllers such as the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers are limited to rumble packs, and while both new consoles feature additional vibration motors to enhance the gaming experience; they are limited in scope and a fair bit of a nuisance. Although the vibration motors provide feedback to your in-game actions, it is limited to just that: a vibration. There are no other physical attributes of virtual objects conveyed through the device….
Possible Enterprise Use-Cases
Physical representations of virtual objects is a great start, but companies such as Tactical Haptics can take this technology a step further by re-transmitting physical interactions back into virtual reality. As I had mentioned in this previous post, “the ability to interact with the digital world via physical objects or even our own hands removes any limitations, and allows users to get a more tangible perception of the object they are interacting with.”
No score, no contest, no real win conditions—just a single, meaningful interaction between me and my fictional partner. This is Robert Yang’s Hurt Me Plenty, a videogame about spanking—but also, on a much deeper level, about consent, responsibility, and care. And it’s just one of a number of independent games that’s exploring these topics. In doing so, Hurt Me Plenty and other works are pushing players to reconsider their relationships to games, themselves, and one another.
On a deep level, most video games are competitive. As players we’re generally conditioned to expect friction and challenge. Obstacles are usually either logical or reflex-based: maneuver a falling block into an open space, marshall your virtual resources to overcome enemy armies, or avoid a hail of alien lasers as you duck behind cover. But why not question the conventions behind these themes? Are they necessary?
Magie lived a highly unusual life. Unlike most women of her era, she supported herself and didn’t marry until the advanced age of 44. In addition to working as a stenographer and a secretary, she wrote poetry and short stories and did comedic routines onstage. She also spent her leisure time creating a board game that was an expression of her strongly held political beliefs.
Magie filed a legal claim for her Landlord’s Game in 1903, more than three decades before Parker Brothers began manufacturing Monopoly. She actually designed the game as a protest against the big monopolists of her time — people like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.
And that’s exactly what the Different Play Patreon is for. Patreon has grown into something of a crowdfunding darling over the last year and it’s perfect for individuals, groups or undertakings that need regular subscribers to support ongoing work, as opposed to the one-off projects of Kickstarter. Different Play are confident that they can pay a fair rate for the writing, art and editing that each of the games they are supporting will demand. Having just broken $700 per game, they’re also able to commission art and spend more time on the layout of the work they publish. This money, combined with their own collective mentorship, makes way for the sort of games they want to see, both in terms of production standards and design, and it’s in discussing their design processes that Mark returns to that subject of particular importance to the team: emotion.