Archive for November, 2012

Episode 56 – Transgaming

transgender issues in gaming, transgender, mass effect, saints row, dys4ia, ana anthorpy, ea, open worlds, games saved my life, ashly birch, HAWP, morgan mccormick, translabyrinth

There are people in this world who aren’t comfortable the way they were born. Their attitudes and habits suggest that perhaps a woman can feel like a man, or visa versa. Transgendered people all over the world have lived through a lot. Torment, confusion, a staggeringly high suicide rate, and a society that would prefer to forget they exist.

Gaming has offered a world that can accept anybody, even those who feel unacceptable. As our guest, Morgan McCormick of TransLabyrinth, states that game worlds are crazy and it can seem that a person changing gender is certainly not the strangest thing that can happen. Games can then provide a safe and fun place for not only play to happen but perhaps, a introspection on who that person is and jump into the shoes of someone a different gender than they are. It can be a tool of self discovery as well as a way to blow off some steam.

But game communities are not the most empathetic group in the world, nor do game publishers and developers seem to pay any mind to the existence of transgendered people. Their presence in the game world is minimal and it’s time to change that.

Featuring music by Monodeer from the album Noise.bmp EP

On a side note – A big thank you to everyone in the subreddits r/transgender and r/transgamers for helping me navigate this complex and sensitive issue.

Episode 55 – Whatcha Playin’ 11.19.12

Emily Jarrett decides that we aren’t too shabby a podcast and sticks around for a Whatcha Playin’. Emily conjurs up a conversation about completionism when she brings up the game Psychonauts. What is it about the gamer’s brain that drives us to search every corner to complete every single aspect of the game? SPOILER ALERT: We don’t provide answers, we just shout our question to the heavens. She also teaches us about the existance of two very interesting RPG board games – Discworld’s Ankh-Morpork and Fiasco. Rich challenges Steve’s opinion of Dishonored after exploring the detailed ins and outs of the game. Finally, Matt owns up to an Iphone game addiction brought on by Touch Arcade, Jetpack Joyride. Why do they have to put your friend’s scores on the top every time you open the game? He’s only 50 points ahead… I can do this. And so it begins…

Featuring music by Bear and Walrus from the album Lake Poems

Episode 54 – God and Gaming

dragon age, mass effect, bioware, religion, emily jarrett, journey, assassins creed, bastion, god, faith, narrative, el shaddai

Mythologies and religious stories can infuse a sense of familiarity and structure to a game’s narrative or moral discussion mechanic. It can inspire great things from a player or offer a sense of introspection. Matt and Rich are atheists. Their insight on this topic can be limited. To remedy this we invited Emily Jarrett, grad student of Divinity and host of PAX Prime’s God and Gaming panel, to offer a religious perspective on gaming.

We chat about these themes in Bioware games, Bastion, Journey, and El Shaddai.

Does religious inspiration in a game make it more inspiring? Does it add weight to moral choice? Why do we not see a lot of current western beliefs represented in games? Are the more tenants of ritual, pilgrimage, and sacrifice important to how we relate or react to games? One thing we know for certain, as Emily says, we can’t lose our stories.

Featuring music by Bear and Walrus from the album Lake Poems