Stream Update (11/04)

psycheplays_stream-update

As many of you know, I’ve been streaming on Twitch.tv for a while now. I opened my account in 2013, but I only started seriously streaming last year (as proven by the fact that I streamed maybe twice in 2013, and only a handful of times in 2014). Most importantly, about a year ago I started streaming on a schedule, and I’ve been experimenting up until quite recently when I settled into my groove.

So I wanted to give a little update on how streaming was going! If this isn’t something that interests you, please feel free to skip over! ☺️

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Currently Playing (Blaugust #20)

psycheplays_blaugust15-day20_currently-playing-ffxiv

I read Jewel’s post on being a Crazy Game Lady this morning, and it kinda struck home for me. Up until very recently, I never had a gaming “home”. While I had a few games I played consistently, when it came to things like MMOs, I would hop from one to the next. I never reached level cap in any of the MMOs I played for a long time.

I have played almost every major MMO release since my early teenage years, and stuck to none of them. I’ve dabbled in WoW, dipped my toe in Final Fantasy XI (that one stuck a little more than most!), played Aion for a while and eventually pushed to the max level in RIFT before dropping it like a hot potato because its end-game didn’t appeal to me and my time schedule.

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Cheating in Video Games (Blaugust #17)

psycheplays_blaugust15-day17_cheating-in-video-games_h1z1

I’m going to talk about an arguably controversial topic today: cheating in video games, also known as “hacking” (even though that makes no sense!) This is probably much more prevalent in FPS games or other competitive games, but it does occur pretty much across the board and is something that causes a massive problem.

The reason I wanted to raise this is because of an experience I had yesterday. I am no stranger to “hackers” in games, but yesterday I was playing H1Z1, specifically a Battle Royale match. The name “Battle Royale” comes from the Japanese novel and movie of the same name, and involves a large number of players gathering weapons and defences and fighting til only one survives (or one team, in the case of team-based games.)

Long story short, T and I were in a two-player team and had got into the top 5. We were in the tiniest safe zone imaginable and had a rough idea of where the remaining players were, as we’d already seen and heard them moving around in front of us. We had our backs and one side to cover, one of us was covering the front and the other covering the other side. As we were about to make our advance, both of us died one after the other to an invisible assailant. The kill message claimed we died to an AR15 rifle, but no gunshots were fired. The sound of the attack was much like a melee weapon, and when we died, we glitched out standing upright. We came in #3, but also didn’t receive our rewards at the end.

I was pretty livid. It’s not really worth getting too mad about as I can’t change it, but it got me thinking. Why is cheating so rife in the gaming world? I know that people want to win, and when you give them rewards they will be more likely to do so, but what makes a person want to cheat?

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It’s OK to be a gamer

Blaugust Day 20: It's OK to be a gamer.

After reading Ben Kuchera’s post “Gaming is not the most important thing in my life” on Polygon, I felt a little annoyed, to say the least. Anyone who knows me knows that gaming is a massive part of my life, and a massive part of who I am. I’ve been told by a few well-meaning people that I shouldn’t allow it to define me as a person, and I don’t think I do, but something about this editorial bothered me for some reason.

I don’t think anyone will disagree that having gaming be the only thing you do with your life is pretty unhealthy, or that letting relationships or careers suffer due to your hobby is a terrible thing. But with that said, I was bothered by the attitude that it’s a negative thing to consider gaming a huge part of your life. Maybe I’m wrong, but I felt that the tone of the article suggested that people who only spend small amounts of their time gaming are not only “better gamers” (because it allows them to experience games differently) but also better, more rounded people. And I think that’s painting it a bit black and white.

Blaugust Day 20: Gaming has opened so many doors to me, and I've met so many wonderful people through it.

Gaming has opened doors to me that would have been closed to me otherwise. I am a successful 25-year-old working in a gaming company where I have met people I love and cherish, where I have grown my confidence and nurtured a passion that I’ve always known I had. I met my fiancé through gaming, and we have been happily together for almost 10 years. As a coworker quipped recently, “The couple who plays together, stays together.” That’s of course simplifying things a lot, but I chuckled and realised that when we hang out, we game. And that’s awesome.

Gaming is stress relief to me. It helps fuel my creativity. When I play a game I enjoy, I am inspired to create things, normally through writing. While gaming may not be the most important thing in my life, it’s one of my greatest passions. I work where I work because I play games, and because I want to make gaming better for other people who play and love them as I do. While I think I’d still be good at my job if I were less of a gamer, my passion drives me and makes me want to make things better. I want to push myself and push the industry to improve.

I get what Kuchera is trying to say, really I do. I don’t think it’s healthy that people feel they’re being personally attacked when someone dislikes their chosen platform or game, and I have received very violent and horrible threats from people when I expressed distaste at a certain MMO many years ago. I know they took it too far. And gaming is not the most important thing in my life. I don’t suppose it’s the most important thing in most people’s lives. But these well-meaning people who tell me how to define myself, and those that say it’s bad to consider gaming a huge part of your life: thank you for your opinion, but I’m afraid that’s all it is. An opinion, right or wrong, doesn’t make me want to change the way I live my life or celebrate this one very big hobby of mine.

Blaugust Day 20: I'm happy to identify as a gamer. Even if that includes wearing Draven make-up.

I define myself as a creative person, a writer with an incredibly active and vivid imagination, someone who wants to share everything she can with the world. I define myself as someone who wants to make things better. And I define myself as a gamer, someone who loves to lose herself in distant lands and exciting storylines, and draws her inspiration from fighting dragons and overthrowing kingdoms, flying spaceships (or, more likely, crashing spaceships). And y’know what? I’m okay with that. I know that I cannot speak for all gamers, but that’s my point. I can only talk about how I identify, so no one else can determine what is and isn’t “right” for others.

How is defining yourself as a gamer any different than defining yourself as a writer? An artist? A musician? A film aficionado? A bookworm? I think there’s a difference between saying you are one of these things, and saying that one of these things is all you are. And I think this article and its commenters miss that point by a wide shot. It also seems that these people who tell others how they should define themselves often are the first to tell everyone about how full and rich their life is, with all the travelling and skydiving and bungee-jumping they do, while still fitting in family time and a little bit of their hobby on the side. I wonder why it is that they feel the need to share this to anyone who will listen, but crap all over the people who enjoy one thing in particular.

#Blaugust
Header courtesy of Belghast of Aggronaut.com.

Interested in taking part in Blaugust?

Check out the Nook on Anook, or Belghast’s post on the Gospel of Blaugust and get started! You don’t have to write a gaming blog, and your posts don’t have to be about gaming to participate. So come along and join the fun!

Gamescom is over!

Blaugust Day 19: Gamescom 2014 is over! I had so much fun.

Blaugust Day 19: Gamescom 2014 is over! I had so much fun.

Gamescom is finally over for another year, and I have to say despite it really taking its toll on me — as it always does — I’m a little sad to see it done! I had an amazing time, but unfortunately my Blaugust posting slipped as I was working 12 hour shifts every day and just wanted to sleep once I got back to the hotel! Not to mention we didn’t have the best wifi!

I met so many wonderful people; players I’d never met before, people I knew from Twitter, guildmates from Final Fantasy XIV, and even a friend I’ve known for almost 10 years from Gaia Online unexpectedly! Despite working my ass off, I managed to squeeze in some delicious beer and Schnitzel and even get some shopping done in the merchandise hall where I bought myself an adorable Tonberry plushie from the Square Enix stand!

Blaugust Day 19: They even let me go on stage...are they mad?

On Saturday I was on stage to interview Siv HD and Sp4zie, which was a lot of fun. They’re both really great guys; very friendly and naturally funny. They made the Q&A really easy, even when I was panicking a little because there was a lot of people in front of the stage! If you look really closely in that photo, that’s me all the way down on the left wearing the red tartan leggings. I had a blast — no pun intended, which anyone at the League booth will likely understand due to the t-shirts this year! — and I really hope I get the opportunity to do more stage work in the future.

Blaugust Day 19: Goodbye Gamescom 2014!

So goodbye gamescom, thank you so much to everyone I worked with, met and hung out with. I had so much fun, and even though I am absolutely exhausted I’m sorry it’s over! If you’d like to see more photos from the event, check out the Flickr account that I got these images from. I’ve missed a few days of Blaugust in the middle and need to catch up on comments, please bear with me!

#Blaugust
Header courtesy of Belghast of Aggronaut.com.

Interested in taking part in Blaugust?

Check out the Nook on Anook, or Belghast’s post on the Gospel of Blaugust and get started! You don’t have to write a gaming blog, and your posts don’t have to be about gaming to participate. So come along and join the fun!

Convention Hype!

Blaugust Day 10: Convention Hype! It's Gamescom time!

Do you feel that? That tingling feeling going from your nose to your toes? That’s convention hype, and I am practically bouncing off the walls with it! This week is the week that over 340,000 gamers around Europe look forward to literally all year: Gamescom week! As this post is scheduled, by the time it goes live I’ll be on my way to Cologne, Germany for a brief holiday (visiting lovely friends!) before I throw myself head first into Gamescom, one of the biggest gaming events worldwide.

I am so excited. The photo above is from last year, when a community intern and I were asked to hold the photographer’s camera while he signed something for someone, and we decided to steal a sneaky selfie. You can probably see the excitement on our faces.

I’m mentally and physically preparing myself (with beer, games and relaxation) for a week of long days, sore feet and a lost voice. But ultimately, it’s all going to be worth it as I get to hang out with the community that I feel I truly belong in, where I’ve made my career and where I plan to stay for a very long time. I hope I’ll see some of you there!

I will be aiming to continue with Blaugust during this week, hopefully accompanied by some photos from the event and tales of my adventures, but there’s a slight possibility that I’ll struggle to keep up so I apologise in advance if that happens! I will reply to everyone’s comments as soon as possible. I am completely overwhelmed and utterly thrilled with the people I’ve been able to meet through Blaugust so far, and it’s only just begun!

#Blaugust
Header courtesy of Belghast of Aggronaut.com.

Interested in taking part in Blaugust?

Check out the Nook on Anook, or Belghast’s post on the Gospel of Blaugust and get started! You don’t have to write a gaming blog, and your posts don’t have to be about gaming to participate. So come along and join the fun!

Fake guy gamers

Superman & Lois Lane by Joe Shuster & Jerry Siegel.
Image source: Comics Alliance

In complete contrast to my post about how harmful calling people “fake girl gamers” could be to the community, I came across an article today on Comics Alliance called Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment that completely fascinated me.

I encourage you to read the full article over there, but the gist of the message is that the sexism and misogyny that run rampant in the geek and gaming community is not okay. The angle that the writer, Andy Khouri, tackles this from is that a “real” geek guy will realise that these kinds of threats are not only stupid, but incredibly harmful and frankly dangerous.

“I will find you. I will hurt you. I will physically violate you… for being wrong about Spider-Man.”

Can you imagine, gentlemen, receiving that threat from a potentially dangerous man whose identity you have no hope of discovering but who knows your name, what city you live in, what you look like and where you work?

Now imagine receiving messages like that from men so frequently that you’re no longer bothered by it.

Now understand how f*cked up it is that you’re no longer bothered by it; that you’re no longer bothered by men’s anonymous threats of brutal sexual violence, because they’ve become just as common as a train not arriving on time.

– Andy Khouri, Comics Alliance

The quote above, taken from the article I linked, is what was so interesting to me. I have genuinely never thought of it this way. The way this has been worded provoked me to think back and remember the times I’ve been threatened with some form of violence, including sexual, on the internet. I was astounded. The first time it happened I had just left school and was working in a gaming centre. A young teenager and his friends threatened me online with some very violent sexual acts that I won’t repeat here, and why? Because I voiced my negative opinion on World of Warcraft (after playing it for a year, mind you.) It scared me at the time because these boys knew where I worked, my full name and what I looked like. I remember how that first threat impacted me so profoundly and how scared I was. But what shocked me was that it’s happened several times since. I’ve seen it happen to other people online and I’ve barely even batted an eyelid. I’ve even just shook my head and thought, “Oh, there go those keyboard warriors again,” like it’s something that just happens.

This isn’t something that should just happen, and despite my vehemence against calling out people for being “fake” in our community, this feels like a healthy way to use that term. People who are passionate about their geeky interests should be aware that, as Khouri says, our superheroes and our gaming idols don’t do misogyny and sexism and rape threats. And if they do? They’re not really the kind of heroes we should be supporting.

Make sure you read the full post by Andy Khouri here on Comics Alliance.

Fake girl gamers

Fake Girl Gamers: Fem!Shep is angry that you think slut-shaming is okay.

The title of this post is a bit misleading. I want to talk about something that I’ve noticed recently that has really bothered me, and it’s not “fake girl gamers”, but is directly linked to them.

First of all, let’s get the necessities out of the way — do “fake girl gamers” annoy me? Yes. I find it obnoxious when anyone pretends to be interested in something that has become popular just because they hope that the popularity will rub off on them. I don’t like the idea that people are manipulating a community to try and get attention, and it bothers me that “fake girl gamers” have a negative impact on the attitude towards other female gamers, and the attitude that male gamers have towards us.

However, an extremely harmful trend I’m sure you’ve all noticed is “real” female gamers calling out the fakes in an aggressive, demeaning and disrespectful way. I’m talking about women turning on each other to call those they deem as fake gamers various names that usually come down to slut-shaming in some form, and often pointing out their profiles on social media websites or livestreams to, what? Incite rage and encourage other gamers to harass these women?

There are a few things wrong with this plan. First of all, linking to these women just drives people towards them and gets them the attention you so desperately want them not to receive. Secondly, who the hell are you to decide whether someone is “real” or “fake”? Of course, here I’m not talking about the obvious Girl Not Actually Playing or Girl Taking Off Clothes On Twitch — I think everyone would agree those women are not there for the sake of gaming. But I still don’t think they should be called out or slut-shamed, for the simple fact that it reinforces that slut-shaming is okay, when it’s really, really not.

At the risk of coming off all feministy on you (note: I am a feminist, and I don’t think being one is a bad thing) — slut-shaming is a misogynstic tool used to control women and make them behave more “appropriately”. Why, then, would women hurt other women in this way? Stop it. It doesn’t stop those girls from doing what they’re doing, it makes you look like a horrid person and this reflects poorly on the gaming community and makes it harder for “real” women gamers to join in, and you make other people, male and female alike, think that treating other women this way is okay. How are the big bad men everyone talks about all the time going to learn that treating people this way is wrong, if women themselves tear each other apart?

Honestly, if you asked me which was worse between “fake girl gamers” and “girl gamers slut-shaming fake girl gamers”, I know I’d choose the latter. Both are harmful to some extent, but only one of them is self-destructive. So good job.

Best of Steam Tags

Steam Tags: View your own recommended tags based on your interests.

Valve recently announced the new Steam Tags, a system that allows gamers to tag their games or search for games by tags. Supposedly, it’s an impressive new way to find what you’re looking for, and to be fair its recommendations so far have been pretty good. For me, I’ve been recommended Indie, Sandbox, Platformer, RPG and Action, which to some extent is pretty accurate (though I don’t feel I’m much of a Platformer, they can be pretty cute and fun!)

Steam Tags: Tag your favourite games.

Steam Tags: Find games by tag, such as all games tagged with RPG.

It’s a pretty simple system; when you view the game in the store, there’ll be some tags that have already been applied to it visible on the right-hand side. You can expand upon these tags, or add your own, as well as agreeing with tags that gamers have already assigned to that particular game.

Some people have come out and condemned gamers for “trolling” by applying what they deem stupid tags to certain game titles, but I honestly don’t see this as a particularly bad thing. I think gamers should have the right to tag things how they see fit, within reason. If you can’t encourage a gamer to write a full review, at least getting them to assign a single word or short phrase to a game they loved or hated has the potential to be incredibly helpful to gamers looking for new games to play, or trying to decide what to avoid entirely.

And frankly? I find some of the “troll” tags funny. Here are some of my favourites I’ve found with a bit of browsing:

The best of Steam Tags.

No prizes for guessing which game “walking simulator” brings to mind (psst, it’s DayZ, though I always called it Running Simulator). Does Steam Tags have the potential to be abused? Of course it does. But sometimes you just have to let the community run off and do its thing, and see what falls out of the tree when they’re done.

Chatting it up on The Sundering

Hanging out on The Sundering podcast, February 2014

I’m going to be hanging out with Xia, Ceraphus and Rayfyst tonight on The Sundering podcast! I’m a total noob when it comes to podcasting; I’ve never taken part before but I’ve always been interested, and these three were kind enough to invite me onto their show for some shenanigans, on the night before my birthday of all days!

We’ll be chatting about gaming current events, and apparently I’ll answer a few questions about my gaming habits as well. Feel free to come along and listen to The Sundering podcast live at 9:00pm EST (which, for all you fellow Europeans, is 2:00am GMT or 3:00am CET, sorry!) or catch up on their website later.

This is my first podcast, be gentle!