Category Archives: Rants

#1ReasonWhy Post #2

Someone (FluxxDog) asked me, How does this attitude towards women get perpetuated in the first place.

I have talked about this at great length, in a bunch of different places, so here I will gather my thoughts on it.


First and foremost, the “boys club” is a cultural thing. Back when games went from being pen and paper and board to video, the people who knew how to program, the people who were into computers and the things they could do, were predominantly educated white males. Remember, we are talking about the 70s.  In the 70s, the civil rights movement was still fighting for rights. Women are STILL fighting for the right to birth control today. Those of us born in the 70s and 80s tend to view these things as “ancient” history. They are neither.

So, when you have people who are into this new fangled thing called a “computer” but most of those people are college students and graduates in engineering fields, which were pretty homogenous, you are going to end up with a noticeable lack of diversity.

Of course, computers, and thus video games, became virtually ubiquitous over the next 20 years. But take a look at the turning point of where games went from being a hobby thing to being a money thing. You have guys who are making games as a hobby, and “publishing” those games by copying the .exe to a floppy, putting the floppy in a ziplock baggy with a hand made label. When they realized they could make money from it, they shifted from making things just to goof off to making things that would sell. When your audience is a bunch of hobbyist computer nerds, you make games that appeal to hobbyist computer nerds.

Don’t discount the cultural pressures on the sexes at the time either. I am 100% certain if not for my older brother, I would never have gotten into games and nerdy things. Even in the 80s, girls were being pushed towards gender roles. I remember being told that playing games was a “waste of time” and I should learn to do something useful, like learn to sew. I didn’t want to sew, I wanted to play games. Lucky me, my mother let me. This was in the LATE 80s and early 90s. Seriously, we are NOT past cultural pressure into gender roles. Look at Lego and Lego Friends. It’s RIGHT THERE on your toy store shelf. Walk up the aisle between action figures and Barbie.

So what happened as games evolved from Pong to World of Warcraft? Well, guys who made games and wanted to make money made games for guys who were willing to spend their money on “frivolous” games. Remember, the cultural norm for women was to spend money on clothes, shoes, and jewelery. Oh man, I suddenly remember in HIGH SCHOOL (96-2000) being asked by someone why I always wore t-shirts and blue jeans, since I could clearly afford “better” clothes because I was always buying books and games. THAT WAS 13 YEARS AGO.

Games were a luxury item. Consoles, computers, all of that, were things people spent their “extra” money on. And women generally didn’t have discretionary funds to spend on “useless” things like games. (I remember reading just a few years ago that young women were finally considered a worthy market with lots of money for marketers.)

So guys, making the games, made the games for guys. So when women came in and wanted to play, they would play games that were directly targeted at men. The art styles, designs, and fantasies portrayed in the games were all directly targeted at the people who were going to spend money on it. So why would a woman, who could care less about blowing shit up, want to spend the hard earned money she had on that kind of game? Even series like King’s Quest, designed by a woman, didn’t get female protagonists until the FOURTH one in the series. The second game, and the first game I remember playing, was all about finding your princess.

This created what designers call a negative feedback loop. Guys make game for guys, so only guys like games, so games only get made for those same guys. If you tried to break out of the mold, your game company likely went under. Even worse, these early games sold like crazy. Teams were tiny, and the development costs were low, so 4 people working out of a garage could make a game that sold 50k copies fairly easily. And there wasn’t marketing costs, publishing costs, etc etc, so most of the money made was profit. And what do people do when they suddenly get a ton of money? They go crazy. (Sex, drugs, and rock and roll!)

So you have this entire industry based on this history of being a boys club. Which means, even at the time, when women tried to push in they were met with rampant sexism. Only at the time, it was impossible to do anything about it. High profile sexual harassment lawsuits really hadn’t made companies afraid of them, and so women weren’t as protected. They were over looked, ignored, and treated like eye candy. So, of course, women didn’t want to get into that.

Again, cultural expectations are heavily at fault here. Even today, even in 2012, when I had my son, there were WOMEN who were appalled I was putting him in daycare to go back to work. Especially since my “work” was “playing video games.” (Oh and don’t even get me started on the whole “video games are a waste of time/only for kids” crap.) 2012. That’s right. How horrible was I for making video games more important than my son? If I am getting that now, how was it for women 20 years ago? *shudder*

The feedback loop kept going, and got the industry in a nice cozy rut. People don’t LIKE breaking out of their comfort zones. As it took more people to make a game, and cost more money, they started to not like taking risks either. Why take a risk and possibly not get your money back when you can make the same old stale game you have made 10 times knowing it will sell at least enough copies to get you your money back?

There are a ton of small things that all add up to this thought that it is better to hire men than women. If it’s all men, no worries about maternity leave or babies. If it’s all men, no sexual harassment lawsuits. If it’s all men, at least we will all agree on the design goals. If it’s all men, we don’t have to behave and this can be like our frat house from college, man weren’t those the good old days?

Sadly, it’s just true that for people who enjoy the kinds of things that lead to one enjoying games, that they will end up being more comfortable with people LIKE themselves. So for the super nerdy programmer who has spent a great deal of time only around other super nerdy programmers, it can be very difficult to overcome the social anxiety of dealing with people who aren’t like them. So when that guy is in the position to hire… he is going to hire someone he likes.

The problem just compounds on itself. Because the bigger the industry got, the bigger the money got, the bigger the boys club got. Games like Duke Nukem attracted a certain demographic of guys. Who then went, DUDE this is awesome. Then they looked at the frat house culture of the studio that made that game and went, HOLY CRAP I WANT TO DO THAT AND GET PAID. Women looked at it, and went, UGH. And walked on. Even further, the people who had the money to find games were generally rich, old, white males. They didn’t trust female lead startups. So they wouldn’t fund them. So they would fail. And then the funders would say, “See, I told you it wasn’t a good investment. I told you they would fail.” It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

But the culture slowly became more inclusive. Games got made that weren’t wildly offensive. Games got made that weren’t exclusionary. And Nintendo went, hey guys, let’s make games that *everyone* can play. Not only that, let’s make it EASY for everyone to play. Over time the number of women playing games increased. It’s now around 40%.  The number of women making games increased too! It’s up to 12%.

That number seems low right? It’s because the cultures of studios are affected by the personalities of the people who form them. By the collective personalities of the people who work there. If you have a Dudebro form a studio and hire a bunch of Dudebros… guess who is going to feel wildly uncomfortable, unwanted, and disrespected? The industry is still growing. I would say we are just now hitting the early 20s. Games, generally, are becoming more inclusive and becoming more artistic. But you still have people who cling to the old ways and thoughts.

The problem gets perpetuated by the fact no one wants to speak up. Even through the whole 1reasonwhy women STILL weren’t posting some things. They weren’t naming names. They weren’t naming companies. They weren’t naming games. Because it’s SUCH a small industry. Everyone simply knows everyone and chances are, you are going to work with people time and time again. Speaking up, causing a fuss, and shaming men for their treatment of women isn’t going to make it better, it’s going to get you fired, unable to get a job, and make you a target for even worse aggression or treatment. Look at what happened to Jennifer Helfer. Look at what happened to Anita Sarkeesian because she wanted to talk about tropes vs. women in games. Not the gaming community or developers, just within the games themselves. And you would think she suggested that all gamers eat babies, kittens, and puppies from the way people reacted.

Even if you are comfortable speaking up, even if you are brave, even if you are in a safe place, sometimes the shock is just too much. I was sitting in a meeting, with designers, producers, and publishing execs, when one of them made an extremely sexist comment. Not at me, but just in general. I looked at him in shock. I was so stunned someone would feel that way, much less say it out loud with a woman IN THE ROOM, I was literally speechless. I probably looked like a complete idiot for the rest of the meeting staring at him with my mouth half open in shock. Would you believe I was praised later for not speaking up and “causing a scene”? I pointedly informed the person that if I had been able to form words, I would have.

But nothing was said. He wasn’t told how inappropriate and wrong what he did was. So he has no reason to believe he shouldn’t do it again. People don’t say anything. I have had men tell me things said to me upset them, but when I am not around, many of them won’t speak up. People are also generally taught as children to play nice, don’t make waves, and just go with the flow. This leads to everyone being aware of the problem, but no one wants to talk about it. They hope if they ignore it, it will go away.

We can’t just ignore it. We have to confront it. We have to be willing to risk everything in the hope of making a change. Simply asking someone to stop. Simply saying “That’s not cool.” Being willing to say, “I would rather make indie games and eat ramen than work with someone who is going to treat me like crap. ”

By staying silent, by simply accepting the status quo, we are perpetuating the problem. We have to be willing to help and support each other. I commented that one of the most important things is knowing which studios are good ones. When looking for a job, look at these places. Toys for Bob, Double Fine, Telltale, 2k Marin… All great places to work, that are woman friendly, all right here where I live (all of which I can personally vouch for). Make the list of good and bad places. Be aware of the good people and good leads, then follow them. When these places make great games (and they have and will again) and people ask why, explain that it is the culture and awesome people working there. The rest of the industry will figure it out.


Monday, November 26th, a Twitter hashtag popped up on my feed. I normally ignore hashtags, but this one was suddenly being spammed by 4-5 people I follow, all of whom were game developers I followed. Even more noticeable, all were women. I discovered that someone, while having a conversation about sexism in the board game (pen and paper?) industry had started the hashtag as a way of connecting the various discussions she was having. Someone saw that she was giving reasons why it sucked to work in her male dominated field. The someone is a game developer, and as a female, could relate. So she started throwing her reasons into the ring as well.

36 hours later, there have been THOUSANDS of tweets, numerous blog posts, even a dozen or so game industry news posts, and yet another mentors list started up. All focused on ripping off the bandaid that has been precariously placed over the festering wound that is sexism in the video game industry.

I must say, I leapt RIGHT into it. Didn’t stop to think, and didn’t stop to worry, I jumped right in and shouted along with the rest. It never occurred to me that I might get in trouble with my work, despite the fact that it is exceptionally easy to figure out where and who I work for, mostly because, everything I would tweet about, doesn’t happen at my current job. Some women kept silent because the things they would say DO still happen at their jobs.

Really early in the discussion, a friend of mine, (white male developer) responded that it seemed like things were blown out of proportion and those sexist things didn’t happen anymore. Three hours later, he was tweeting that he was so sorry he had no idea, because the flood of women tweeting had grown so quickly and there were so many stories. Not stories of “heard from a friend” but each one a personal tale of things that have happened. Not ancient history, but RECENT history. GDC 2012 recent. This fall recent.

I wanted to recount some of my tweets here and then talk about what this all meant to me.


  • is that at companies you might have to sign a paper saying you won’t sue for Sexual Harassment, because their games are “mature”.
  • Because when you say something is inappropriate you are told you are being “too sensitive”.
  • because when a panel at PAX is about women in games, it’s about girlfriends who play games, not women making them.
  • because if I do an interview about being a game designer, everyone talks about how I look, instead of what I said.
  • is because at some companies, you have to worry about co-workers becoming overly attached, and getting fired because of it.
  • because old school devs/publishers still believe “shrink it and pink it” is how you target women.
  • because if I say something should be removed from a game because it’s offensive, I have to defend my position.
  • because during interviews it’s implied I will leave when I have kids.
  • is because parents expect boys to “goof off” playing games, but girls should do more “important” things like learn to cook.
  • I had a guy at GDC ask me if I was lost.
  • because when I play games, and guys find out I am a girl, they assume I am a lying guy, or just there for attention.
  • because when I wanted to play D&D as a kid, I was “weird”. (I did anyway.)
  • because when I say I am a gamer, people tell me “Farmville” doesn’t count. (I then link my WoW armory.)
  • is because if I bring up gender and sexism, I am assumed to be a man hater.
  • is because of things like the Frag Dolls, where guys only want women gamers included if they are “hot”. And that’s accepted.
  • because I once had an artist bait me by asking how he was supposed to make a character female without boobs or a bow.

At the time (really early in the trend) I thought I was listing off terrible things that people would completely disbelieve. Over the course of the night, I learned that my experiences, while bad, are no where NEAR the terrible some women have had to deal with. Not only that, but I was in such numerous company, that my tweets were lost in the sea of tweets that were nearly identical.

I often point to the Guildhall as the place that gave me all the tools to do what I needed in the video game industry and taught me what I needed to know to succeed. That is no less true when talking about sexism and how I should expect to be treated in the game industry.

While at the Guildhall, we had to work on team projects. During one such project the TortoiseSVN servers went out (our source control) and we had to pass the “latest” version of the game around on a thumb drive. One of the programmers offered up his thumb drive as it was big enough. When I popped the drive into my computer to grab the latest version, I discovered why guys *hate* using icons on Windows folders. There right next to our game file was a picture of a woman in a sexual situation. Oh yeah. That’s *exactly* what I wanted to see sitting in a ROOM FULL OF GUYS. Later, on this same project, a programmer put in placeholder art. Not that abnormal. The art was of a young (minor) girl pulling down her underwear with her butt towards the camera. All the guys on the team thought it was hilarious. Me, not so much. I ignored it, until I realized that it got turned in for a MILESTONE that way. WTH? Here was something, in a GRADUATE SCHOOL setting, that was going to have MY NAME on it, that effectively had a picture bordering on child porn! I was furious. So I went to the professor in charge of our team. Care to guess what happened? Absolutely nothing. I was told I was being too sensitive and that I better get used to it, because this was going to happen in the industry. This would lead to the LIST. The LIST is a list of guys in the industry I categorically refuse to work with. I would rather leave and make indie games as a starving artist than work with these men. (To be fair, a woman could be added to the LIST, but it hasn’t happened yet.)

A few terms later, I had my second experience with sexism at the Guildhall. The Guildhall at the time was a super intense program. You didn’t have time for an outside life, so you got pretty close to all your classmates. (Yep, I even ended up dating and marrying one of them.) One weekend we had a party, and I wore a tank top. Apparently, it was a bit tight. I had lost alot of weight at the Guildhall, so I was pretty happy with the way I looked and finally felt confidant enough to wear something that wasn’t two sizes too big. I later find out from a friend that one of the other guys at the school walked into my team’s room the next week and proceeded to start making comments about my shirt. He said things to the effect of that I “clearly wasn’t getting satisfied” and if I needed any help he was “more than willing to step up”. Lucky for me, one of the guys on the team (a sportsman type so he was quite large compared to all the other guys) stepped up and threw him out. (To this day, one of my favorite people.) Add another guy to the LIST.

When I left the Guildhall I started trying to get interviews everywhere. One of the first things I was told was “Oh it’s great, you’re a girl! You will get interviews JUST because they never see girls.” I really didn’t like the implication. Even further it was insinuated that I would likely get job offers *just* because I was female. I didn’t want job offers because I was female. I wanted job offers because I was AWESOME.

Here are some other things that happened, vagued up and out of chronological order. I got an email asking me about doing an interview one time, and the person on the other end thought it would be great to point out it had to be specially scheduled because they couldn’t take me to the normal interview place, a strip club. While on the subject of strip clubs, at GDC one year, I was standing in a group of people. We were all invited to an after party (omg awesome!) and then the person doing the inviting, stopped, looked at me, frowned and made a point of UN-inviting me. “You won’t like it, there will be strippers there.” (Ugh.)

As a female, playing and making games, guys tend to latch on. They have all had experiences with girlfriends who didn’t get gaming or even things like playing WoW. I already do. This makes it very easy for them to relate to me without having to leave their comfort zone. I expected to have guys ask me out or hit on me. What I didn’t expect was employers telling me to “be careful” in how I turn them down. One lead even went so far as to indicate that if I offended any of his guys when I turned them down, I would likely need to “update my resume”. I have had to learn to always bring up my husband in the first interaction at interviews and when meeting new people.

Oh interviews… what a tangled mess. Legally potential employers are not allowed to ask your marital status, age, or child plans. I have had an interview where the guy interviewing me asked if I had any questions about the company’s maternity policy at the end of the interview. When I indicated that I was not really worried about it, he smiled, laughed and said “Oh good. We don’t like hiring women about to become moms, they never come back from maternity leave.” Well, at least I know how you feel. I have interviewers who will make sure to call out during the interview that they work on “mature” games and that means I might see pictures of naked women or things that are “nsfw” and I need to be okay with that otherwise I can just leave now. One interviewer responded with relief when he found out I was married, as it meant I was “unlikely” to cause problems on the team.

Once you get past interviews, there are the inevitable HR interviews where you get to hear such lovely things as “What counts as harassment”, “How to deal with guys who ask you out”, and the ever lovely “You work in the game industry huh? That’s pretty brave. I guess you are used to this now.” Like the fact that it is prevalent makes it okay. Like because I knew it was like this when I got in, that means I just have to deal with it.

I also want to really point out, companies are not afraid of screwing women over as much as men. There is a weird double standard. I got paid HALF of what my male counter part did at a studio once. Why? Because I was hired on a temp basis, then when I wasn’t temp anymore, they didn’t have the money to pay me what I deserved. Lovely. I was also once informed, to my face, that a position I was promised, wasn’t being offered to me, because they needed it to offer to a guy they were trying to recruit. They had to offer him that position and not mine, because “he had a family to support” and needed a full time gig. Apparently I didn’t. Like I didn’t have student loans or rent to pay.

On the subject of looks… I am not “hot”. I am a overweight by at least 20 lbs. But I do have red hair (point in my favor), though I always wear t-shirts and blue jeans. Specifically MENS t-shirts. Why? Because when I branched out and wore baby doll shirts and fitted t-shirts, I got hit on, told I was being inappropriate, and actually had guys say, to my face, things about my breast size. Yay. Oh and what’s on the shirt matters too. I wore a Penny Arcade shirt that says “I’d tap that.” with a Magic the Gathering tap symbol on it. I was pulled aside, talked to about my “inappropriateness” and forced to change. All the while guys were in the office, ON THE SAME DAY wearing “Rogues do it from behind” and “How big is your sack?” complete with WoW bags on it, t-shirts. I did an interview about breaking into games, what a designer does, and what it’s like being a girl in games. It was put on YouTube. Every female commentor talked about my stories and asked questions. Every male commentor talked about my looks and the face that I was wearing a Team Fortress 2 shirt. They were not complementary on my looks, unless they liked redhair, then they were WILDLY sexual and inappropriate. I wore out YouTube’s report button that day.

The worst part about the whole looks thing is that it leads to situations where, I as a woman, am uncomfortable looking at women who have been put on display for the sole purpose of sex appeal. Ie – Booth Babes. Penny Arcade does alot of things wrong, but this one, this one they got RIGHT. But if I complain about the poor woman shoved into the skin tight latex outfit, I am told I am just “jealous” because I am ugly. Yeah that’s it. It has nothing to do at all with the fact that I am here to work, not have sex.

Oh and don’t even get me started on Fat, Ugly, or Slutty. That’s a whole other animal in gamer culture that needs to be exorcised and banished.

One year at PAX they had the Frag Dolls on a panel talking about Women in Games. I took it to be a “women making games” which yeah, my bad, but even a “women playing games” would have been better than it turning into the Frag Dolls preening on stage in skimpy outfits, talking about how they got paid to learn to play the games they play, and how they love beating guys. Oy vey. So much wrong I couldn’t even sit through it. I wouldn’t care about the skimpy outfits if there had even been one doll who was over 130lbs. Or if the implication that the majority of them were hired THEN trained to play video games. Or if I hadn’t realized that the point wasn’t to appeal to women who played games but rather to appeal to MEN who played games by creating a false image of super hot gamer girls who just want to find a nice nerdy guy to play games with. To this day I can’t hear or see them without feeling my stomach churn.

When talking games with guys, it gets really offensive. And sadly, they have NO IDEA. I have a Nintendo bag I use as a purse. I have had male gamers ask me, while POINTING AT IT “Oh, do you play video games?” No, I just like the yellow stars… WTH?!? Or when I go into a new Gamestop or my local one gets a new employee, and I walk in, the guys working there always flock to me, and ask if I need help. When I say no, they hover. Then comment on everything I look at. (Although, I must admit to a sense of great pleasure when these unknowing men find out I make games, and the looks on their faces… it’s priceless.) Fortunately I have managed to break a few Gamestop employees of this habit by informing them that not only do I know games, but I make them as well. They tend to remember that.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I talk to a guy about playing games and they automatically assume I mean Farmville or Bejeweled. (Although, let’s be fair, some of those Farmville players are HARDCORE.) I roll my eyes and wait for the conversation to get interesting before pointing out that yeah, I played x, y, and z games. I beat the first two and hated the third. Oh, why yes, I DO play WoW. What level is my character? haha, silly boy… I have ONE OF EACH CLASS AT 85!* (*except warriors, and she is 80 because… god they are boring to play.) Not only that I am top DPS and occasionally heal in my raiding guild. (Again, the faces are PRICELESS.) I have video games from the PS1 era. I beat Suikoden WITH ALL THE STARS. Legend of Zelda – Check. Ocarina of Time? – Check. Baldur’s Gate? KotoR? Morrowind? Castlevania? Eternal Darkness? Heroes of Might and Magic? All check. (Oh and I could go ON.) Don’t compare gaming pedigrees with me. I got sent home with a note from school because I insisted Xyzzy was a word thanks to Zork. My FIRST MEMORY is of the end of King’s Quest 2. Oh and here’s a comic, that really illustrates this point.

Really oddly, some guys in the game industry seem to get really defensive over NOTHING. I was once asked which of 4 female characters I liked. I assumed that the guy doing the asking really wanted my opinion, and asked because we were attempting to target children aged 10-12 of both sexes. I looked at the four character designs, admitted that they were all pretty good, but this one, this one was the best. I pointed the one out. The girl in the drawing was standing up straight, with her shoulders squared, in a very heroic stance, and appeared to be about 12. Her hair was long, and in a ponytail. She looked like a strong interesting girl. Boom. The artist pointed at another one and said it was his favorite. The character was quite a bit younger appearing, around 7 or so. She had her finger in her mouth, her head tucked shyly, one foot turned with her toes dug into the ground, and pig tails, with big ass bows. She was looking coyly up at the viewer, with her body turned slightly to the side. It was by far the worst of the 4 sketches. I pointed out the character was too young, and the bows were a big turn off (not even mentioning the annoyance of her super shy stance). He actually said to me that he knew better and he knew girls loved bows. It took ALL MY STRENGTH not to point out that ONE of us HAD BEEN a 12 year old girl (and actually much more recently), MAYBE we should listen to her input. It was at this point I realized, he didn’t want my input. He wanted to needle me. He wanted to “push that button” and see how I would react. Not even.

Gamers also tend to assume that “feminist” is a bad word. Feminists hate men. I am a feminist. I don’t hate men. In fact, I know a metric TON of wonderful, intelligent, fascinating, and amazing gamers who are men. I married one of them. What I want, isn’t games made for women only, that’s just as bad as games made for men only! I want GOOD GAMES that do not alienate me as a woman and player. That’s it. That’s all I want. I want my opinions and input listened to when working on a team. I don’t want to be ignored because I am a girl. I don’t want my ideas invalidated because I am not the target audience. I don’t want to have to play a male.

The more I read the twitter posts, the sicker I felt. Also, let me just make one really important statement.


Really early, while still at the Guildhall, I got to meet Brenda Braithwaite. (Now Brenda Romero.) I have followed her work, mostly because, HEY LADY DESIGNER, there aren’t many of them and I wanted to learn from her. I couldn’t wait to see her tweets and she did not disappoint. The one I was really waiting for was this. It is brought up all the time that women aren’t very visible in the industry. NOPE. AND THEY AREN’T GOING TO BE UNTIL YOU STOP REFERRING TO THEM ONLY IN RELATION TO THEIR HUSBANDS. No offense to Romero, but of the two, she has the better portfolio. Why is it a woman with DECADES of experience is so instantly linked to a guy that she just recently (this year) married? Should I expect this? I married a programmer. Hell, he even has a twin brother who is also a game programmer. There are Pittmans ALL over the place in the industry. Should I expect to always be linked to them? Even though it’s arguable that my most popular game has done better than my husband’s most popular game?

I began to feel really really lucky. Yeah, I have had some bad experiences, but I wasn’t afraid to talk about them, like some women. I have a LIST of guys I will never work with, but I haven’t had to leave a position yet. And my current job, in 2 years I have had ONE moment that could even make it into this conversation and it was a perfect example of how things should go. There was a line in the dialog that really smacked of casual sexism. I bought it up with the writer that it needed to be removed. It was. Bam. Later, talking to someone about how nice it was, they were confused as to why the line needed to be removed. “But, it’s being complementary?” As if boiling down a woman’s value to a numerical value was okay, as long as the number was high. Once I made that statement, the awareness washed over his face, he looked a bit shamed, and that was the end of it. In one moment, I spoke up, and I know for a fact, I made my game better. This seems like a good time to say, hey guys I have worked with that don’t cause all this… thanks. Thanks for accepting when I say something isn’t cool, you stop. When I say something needs to be cut or adjust to keep from alienating women, you accept that I might be right and we work together to adjust. Thanks for 90% of the time making it a non-issue. (Does anyone else find it ironic that my most positive experience in the Industry is at an Activision studio? Activision gets alot of wildly undeserved crap. I love working for them and I would recommend them as an employer to anyone. Class A company, all around.) Thanks to my lead, for when I told him I was pregnant, and expecting right before we were supposed to ship, his only response was “Oh that’s great! Congratulations! (I will admit, I didn’t expect that. My maternity leave went so smoothly. I had such fears and worried about it. But not only did my company completely rock through my pregnancy in supporting me, but also made my transition back so seamless it was surreal.)

As a side note, I wonder how many other women have noticed that the presence of a woman on the team tends to reign in a large amount of this without even trying? I heard about a studio’s culture before starting, then once I did, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. A lead actually made the comment that it seemed like some of the guys were too embarrassed to make their inappropriate suggestions and comments when I was there. My existence cleaned up the locker room.

The whole thread of tweets started to get really depressing. So many women, with so many of the same issues and problems. Then so many men, both non-empathetic and trolls, showing up to make comments or attacks. I finally started having to block people on Twitter. There were good tweets too. Good things came from this. Awareness, another mentor list, and other hashtags that detail all the awesome things in the industry. But at the end of the say, even when we got gaming press, we also got tons of people who were simply unable to understand WHY this was such a big issue. “The majority of gamers are men, so all games should be for men.” “Why don’t you just go make your own games?” “Why not just get another job?” “I have never seen it.” I can’t even respond to these, because I know, regardless of how logical or founded my argument is, they are looking at it through their male lens, from a place of privilege. Unless they take the time to try to understand what it is like in my spot, my shoes, my body, they will never understand. Thank god for all the male game developers I know who took that time. Who made the effort to break out of their comfort zone. Who are so much better than the middle ground. Huzzah.

Here we are, 4000 words later. Sexism is alive and well in the game industry. Is it getting better? God yes. May I introduce you to Chell and Glados? Have you seen the Transmogrification feature in WoW that lets you get rid of or create skimpy outfits? Have you played Skyrim and seen that there is NO DIFFERENCE between men and women protagonists? Have you played XCOM and seen both male and female NPCs in positions of power? (Your squaddies are even allowed to be women!) Have you played Dishonored where men and women are treated fairly in the world and the leader is an Empress? Did you see Mirror’s Edge? Did you notice the new Lara is actually mostly covered (though we still need to work on that whole sexual assault fiasco) by logical clothing? (Not a game, but MAN, did you SEE BRAVE?!?! Yay Pixar!) I have worked at a company for two years and have gotten used to not having to deal with these problems. I have met men in the industry who are just as feminist as I am. It IS getting better. We aren’t there yet. But every year, we get closer to games that appeal to everyone, and we get closer to having games that women can love and relate to. And every time a game is released that appeals to all audiences, not just WASPs, we are including more fascinating people. People who will bring interesting ideas. People who will make our games EVEN BETTER. At the end of the day, that’s my goal. To make the BEST game possible. I don’t care where an idea comes from, if it makes my game better, GOOD. I am not leaving. I love my job, and even with all the grime, I am not going anywhere. I have made games I want to play and I intend to do that until they nail shut my coffin.

Thank you as well to all the amazing women who took the time to share their stories and experiences. Who didn’t keep silent. Who didn’t ignore the situation for fear of reprisal or attacks. Huzzah.

I will leave with these two tweets I made before the #1reasontobe hashtag got started.

#1reasonwhy you should be a girl designer anyway? Because every time you speak up and stop unintentional sexism, you MADE A GAME BETTER.

#1reasonwhy shows it is important to work with people you like more than on a game you like. You can survive bad games with the right peeps.

Hey, I was playing with that.

Minecraft 1.8. I couldn’t wait. Villages, abandoned mines, Endermen… oh, my!

Until Notch broke my world. Okay, to be fair, he didn’t break the world. But when I would go an investigate a new area, new chunks would spawn and there were “issues” due to the fact they Mojang changed the way the world was created. Like my ocean dropping down one block in the middle of no where.

I tried to keep playing. I really did. I persisted for about a week. Then gave up and started a new world, which I played for about a week.

I realized that Minecraft would be releasing in November and this mean that I only had 2 months with this new world before they likely broke it again. So I just stopped playing Minecraft until then. It seems wrong to stop playing a game I enjoy simply because I know the world is going to be broken.


This really brings up a larger issue with games, persistent and otherwise, and the way some designers approach them. My main complaint is this:

I spent time and money playing your game. Respect my investment, or I won’t be returning.

I love Minecraft, but I won’t be giving Mojang another dime. I won’t be buying their new games. They don’t respect the player’s time invested into their creations.

Is it an easy fix to make the world add new things in already discovered and explored areas of the game? No, it’s not. But it is respectful of the player. I spent at least 2 months building my obsidian palace and digging my huge quarry. Respect the work I did and do not screw up my save file because you want the ocean to be one block lower.

In World of Warcraft, for the most part, when I do or earn something, it’s done. I get to keep it. And for the most part, Blizzard does a great job of respecting the player’s time. You spend enough time and you can get anything. They have messed this up on occasion (Keymaster, the Darkmoon Faire turn in achievement, removal of old quests and rewards) but for the most part, this seems to be a design goal they meet.

This is perhaps one of my greatest gripes with Jolt’s games like Legends of Zork (now gone) is that they were wildly disrespectful of the player. Your time and money meant nothing and they were completely willing to wipe it off the game’s database.

As a game designer, when dealing with games that will be updated, or patched, always stop and consider each change from the point of view of the player. Does it make their achievement worthless? Does it make time they invested worthless? Does it “roll back” things they have earned? If you ever answer yes, stop. Think. Is there a better way? There probably is. That is what game design is all about, finding the best way to do something.


I am playing Minecraft again, but I will admit, I found a bug that lets me dupe items. And by god, I have been using it like mad. I no longer care about doing things “legit”. What’s the point? Mojang is just going to screw them up anyway.

RNG is bad game design

I cannot say this enough. It makes me want to grab a rolled news paper (if one could even find one in this day and age) and smack a designer across the nose with it. BAD BAD BAD. STOP DOING THIS OR I AM GOING TO TAKE YOU TO THE POUND.

RANDOM IS NOT GOOD DESIGN. Read that line about 10 times, please.

Why in the happy hello kitty’s name would you ever do something random in a game? It’s a crutch. And some people are under the mistaken belief that it allows for a feeling of “unscripted-ness”. The thing is, random should only ever be used the in the creation process, then the results cherry picked to be added to the game. (Like generating a few thousand faces, then picking the best 10% or so for your NPCs.) Random can also be used on anything that doesn’t matter at all (which of these 5 possible vendor trash items is the guy going to drop? It doesn’t matter, it can be random). But what these designer really want, but are failing to get, is a systemic solution to their problem.

Systems are a great great thing, and used effectively, can *make* a game. But systems are very difficult to set up well as they can lead to cascading issues when interacting with other systems. It also requires designers and programmers to either be the same person, or attached at the hip. But random is something that people seem to assume a good system is. When people played Bioshock 2, every so occasionally they would be attacked by a big sister. People who played the game might assume that these attacks felt “random”. It’s not. It’s a system, designed to interact with other systems. It’s also a bit more complex and scripted than most systems would be, but it is still used in a system fashion.

When I started playing Skyrim, I discovered very quickly that Dragons can and will attack at random times. *yay* /sarcasm

But wait, you might say, that seems like a great idea! It’s fun! It makes the world feel alive and perilous! It makes it feel like you aren’t fighting as ordered by a designer!

If things could be done well, randomly, there would be no designers. But having a designer allows for a crafted, non-frustrating experience. Because a designer can look at the sequence of events and say, this is a terrible spot for pacing and narrative to have an event happen. Let’s move it somewhere else.

Example #1:

In the main quest of Skyrim, at one point, you leave a city with two NPCs in tow. Now, I am playing a mage/thief. As a mage, it is hard for me to fight around NPCs as they like to move in front of me and take damage. As a thief, they are even worse because a single hit with a bow leads to their death. Normally, this isn’t too much of a concern, as they can handle themselves, and I can focus on other targets.

Unless we get attacked by a dragon that is.

So now, not only do I have the worry of an NPC DYING, which they can totally do, but also, I can’t help because we are all targeting the same thing and I might hit one of the numb skulls. And if I do hit one of them, they turn on me, along with every guard in a 100 mile radius.

Yes, this random attack is fun and not at all frustrating. /sarcasm


Example #2:

The first time seemed pretty bad huh? Kinda hard to top that level of frustration and difficulty.

Oh, it gets better.

At ANOTHER point in the main quest (notice how BOTH of the incidents take place when actively involved in things REQUIRED to complete the game?) you are told to meet with a guy in a city and he is going to help you sneak into a secured location. COOL. *pulls on my thief hat* Ready. Locked. Loaded.

Only in the middle of this conversation, he goes, oh, by the way, you can’t take any weapons or armor, but you can give them to me, and I will smuggle them in. My response: “I’m sorry what? UH NO. You can have my bow when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.” So here I am, handing over my epic bow of ass kicking, my light armor of super thievery, and my amulet, ring and headband of melting faces to some NPC I TOTALLY DO NOT TRUST. Oh and did I mention, I totally don’t carry a second set of armor? So now, I am naked. Quite literally, my character is walking around in her underwear, and several NPCs comment I need to put some clothes on. Instead of handing me my “Party Clothes” like I expect, he tells me to meet some OTHER NPC at the stable to get my clothes. Oh and she will hold anything else I didn’t hand him. (All that loot I was carrying.) So here I go, walking out of the city to the stables, in the all together, to meet this chick.

Now CLEARLY the developers realized this was a tricky point in the game. Fast travel is disabled. You can’t really go anywhere else, you have to finish this mission first. They KNEW you had just handed over all your equipment, rendering you as useless as you were in the opening cutscene.

I walk out the city gates, thankful it’s only a short sprint to the stables when I hear…


Look up, oh yes, there it is, a RANDOM DRAGON ATTACK. OH YAY. I have no armor, no weapons, and no health potions. This is gonna be FUN.

Needless to say, it wasn’t. Not even a little bit.


The idea may have seemed sound. For a large portion of the game (which is terribly relative considering how much dang game there is) this doesn’t seem to be a big issue.  But here, in these two instances, this makes the game blindingly frustrating and annoying.

In either case would I have noticed the lack of a dragon attack during the completion of these quests? The one I can’t do anything because I just handed over my armor? Yeah, I am going to finish that as quickly as possible. The one where I am escorting 2 NPCs? Yeah, that one is a stick with it until you are done too. There is NO LOGICAL reason to not disable random dragon attacks during these times. The player is never *ever* going to notice. Your DESIGN decision is going to actively make the game better.

It could be argued that since they are random, the developers never encountered a dragon during these times. Well, sure that’s possible, but when designing something like this, as a developer, you need to play through the game thinking always, is there ever a time this would be the WORST POSSIBLE THING. It’s just a good idea to consider when implementing a game wide system like this.

Regardless, the random dragon battles don’t make the game feel unscripted or even realistic, but rather they make it feel buggy and broken. Never sacrifice gameplay for realism. Remember, the player won’t notice the dragon not showing up, but they will remember the dragon showing up at the worst possible time, and then write a blog post ranting about it.

L.A. Noire – How it is a poison apple.

I haven’t played L.A. Noire myself. But I did sit and watch my husband play it. As a fan of Law and Order, CSI, and NCIS, I could not contain my excitement for this game. It was huge, ambitious, and most of all, had tons of recognizable actors to fill the roles of the people in the game. The game had some fairly serious flaws (who puts the climax at the end of the second chapter?) but those could be overlooked. It was a fun and interesting game.

But now, having read this, I wish I had never allowed my husband to buy it, and I wish I had never seen it played. Why? Because if L.A. Noire succeeds, then it continues to support and exceptionally BAD management style. (And clearly a very bad manager.) The game industry needs to break away from the lone programmer in his basement, pounding out a game in a weekend mentality. Unfortunately, if the game does well, all bad decisions are forgiven, and the perpetrator is allowed to go on to another project, with a new team, and make other lives hell.

First off, I really want to reach through the internet and smack this lead guy. So I am just going to pick apart the crap they quote him on.

“It’s my game. I can go to anyone I want in the team and say, ‘I want it changed’.”

The smallest game I worked on had about 25 people on it. The largest over 100. The minute a second designer has been added to the game, it is no longer “your” game. You can’t make L. A. Noire alone, and it is as much their game as it is yours. Especially when people are pouring their lives into getting it made. This doesn’t provide the “idiot idea” filter that the leads of a game are there for. By running everything through leads, there is a vetting process for time spent. Is an idea really good enough to improve a game? Can it be done in a reasonable amount of time? Is the gameplay improvement worth the time spent implementing and maintaining it? Most of all, it is a sanity check. It should prevent things like Duke Nukem Forever, provided you have a good studio head and good leads.

Crunch – “If you wanted to do a nine-to-five job, you’d be in another business,” said McNamara, citing routine hours from 9am to 8pm – “whatever days it takes” – with frequent travel and 4am calls with the New York-based publisher. “We all work the same hours,” he told us. “People don’t work any longer hours than I do. I don’t turn up at 9am and go home at 5pm, and go to the beach. I’m here at the same hours as everybody else is.”

This is EXACTLY the kind of mentality that lead to the EA Spouse debacle. First off you have employers who think it is okay to ask their employees to work these hours. Second you have employees who are so fearful of losing their jobs they will allow themselves to be exploited. Third you have exceptionally short sighted thinking the anything gets done any faster when all the employees are rapidly burning out.

I once had to crunch two straight months on a game. There was literally a point where someone said something to me about what I was doing on Thursday and I could not tell them. Not only because the days had blurred together, but also because I couldn’t even have told them what day TODAY was, much less when Thursday was coming around again. Why did I crunch like that? Well, mostly because I liked the job, I liked the game, and I liked the people I worked with. It was fun for me. But I also knew we had a hard line, set in stone, release date. We had to ship that day, regardless of where the game was. Honestly, by the time we reached the second month I was working at most 75% of my previous “skill level”. By the end, I couldn’t make a change without going to another designer and getting them to double check I wasn’t screwing things up. As people burn out, they get sloppier. They stop making good decisions. They stop fixing things in the correct way. They stop working at good productivity. At that point, it’s like trying to run a marathon with a thorn in your foot. Yes, not stopping will keep you ahead, but you will move slower than if you simply took the time to stop, pull the thorn out and bandage up your foot, then return to the race.

The thing that most stuck me about my experience with crunch was that everyone, from the studio head to the newest artist, we all knew that our crunch was a result of poor planning. Everyone was willing to admit it. They knew they took too long on the tools. They knew they hired people too late. They knew they promised more than they could deliver. Did that make it right? No. But It certainly made everyone feel better about it to hear the leads say “Yeah, we screwed up, but no use crying over it now, remember it, move on, and let’s get this thing shipped.”

He even goes on to say “The expectation is slightly weird here, that you can do this stuff without killing yourself; well, you can’t, whether it’s in London or New York or wherever; you’re competing against the best people in the world at what they do, and you just have to be prepared to do what you have to do to compete against those people.”

Unbelievable. All it takes is organization, planning, proper scoping, and good leads. I am currently on a triple A product where my crunch days are still in the low teens after a YEAR and multiple milestones. And even then, it was my own choice, not the company telling me to, just to get thing done faster that I wanted done already. But then we have good leads, good producers, and the ability to say to our publisher “Okay, we can do this well or we can do this fast, we can’t do both.” They chose the well option.

It is also implied in the article that they hired young people to do the work, and then just churned through young cheap labor that was willing to do the work, just because they wanted it so bad. The problem with this is that you have wildly inexperienced people making decisions on your multi-million dollar game. That’s gonna turn out well.

All in all this article shows that despite this game’s success it was poorly managed, and a result of extremely bad business practices. We shouldn’t as developers be supporting this kind of management. Games made like this, that still succeed, leads managers into thinking that they can do this kind of thing and make money. True justice would have the game failing, miserably, to show that unless you take care of your employees, listen to your talent, and strengthen your studio, you are just setting yourself up for failure. True, there can be flukes, but for the most part, I would expect this to kill a studio.

It’s okay to be Takei

It’s things like this that make me wish I had grown up anywhere else. I grew up in TN. I went to school for 16 years in TN. As a very young kid my mother stressed to me “Never talk about religion and politics.” I was in 6th grade or so before I really understood. Like many other kids at the time, I was beginning to discover the world at large, picking up on fads, and really beginning to think as my own person. It was during a time when the Ying and Yang symbol became a popular “meme” though that terminology wasn’t used at the time. I bought a little Ying and Yang ring and wore it all the time. A woman at my church, well meaning I hope, lectured me about wearing a “sign of the devil”. When I said it was something about “Chinese religion” (yes, I am aware of how WOEFULLY unknowing I was) she replied that the devil used it that way to trick people into believing in him and all other religions were just his way of keeping people from God.

Seriously. I am not even kidding. Here I am, 12 years old, and THIS is the kind of thing I was being told by a “trustworthy” source. She was an elder of our church. She was my Sunday School Teacher. And she was not above giving me completely inaccurate information to support her own beliefs. The ends justifying the means and all that. Lucky for me, at 12, I had already realized that there were some adults in my life who weren’t as smart as me. So I did what every nerd does when confronted with conflicting information. I looked it up in the encyclopedia. (The equivalent to checking Wikipedia these days I suppose.)

All this leads to the deep and oppressive belief for some people that they are right, everyone else is wrong, and their complete certainty supports even the most heinous of acts, because the other person was wrong. These “well meaning” people are really just self centered, close-minded bigots who want control over everyone else. Sadly this mentality seems to be pervasive in the South. Maybe it is the excess of religion. Maybe it is the excess of poverty. Regardless, it is bothersome.

There is a mountain of evidence that supports that homosexuality is not a choice. (Yes, I linked the wiki article, you can see the references at the bottom of the article.) If the person is over the age of 18, it’s none of our business who they have sex with or even who they marry. How backwards is TN that there homosexuals are having to fight for the ability to TALK about themselves while in other states they are fighting for the right to marry? Stop this! It’s discrimination! All men are created equal! Regardless of whether they like men or women.

What makes this so much worse is that it is targeting kids. Sort of. My point is that here you have adolescents, growing and learning how to be people, and the State Senate is withholding information from them that might be vitally important. I was in 3rd grade when I first kissed a boy. I was in 4th grade when I first kissed a girl. I knew immediately afterward that I liked boys. It was that simple for me. But what if it wasn’t? I don’t think I ever told my mom I kissed anyone, but I know I talked to friends, and I remember talking to a teacher about it. Kids need to have people they can trust, with experience to either help them through their problems, or at the very least find someone who can help them through their problems. School sucks on so many levels. You are learning a ton of information. You are beginning to build relationships outside your family. You are beginning to worry about college, careers, and even becoming aware of the world and all the problems in it. Add to this the hormones, first periods (the male equivalent?), discovering the other sex, bullying, possible family problems, and sheer awareness and you have for someone of the most traumatic years of someone’s life!

So what is a kid supposed to do during this time to come out relatively unscathed? TALK. Oh that’s right. Talk to parents, talk to teachers, talk to guidance counselors. Talk to people they trust. Talk to people with experience who can guide them a bit. And in TN they are trying to take that safety net AWAY. Do I think it should be talked about every day in every class? No, but then I don’t think sex and violence should be either. But I am not the teacher. I am not the parent. I am not the one on the front line having to help a kid deal with their budding sexuality or help a class understand why Suzy has two mommies. Neither are these Senators. They need to educate their teachers, counselors, and administration on how to handle these situations with tact, wisdom, and grace, not make a legal argument that could land a helpful teacher in jail!

I never really thought much about George Takei before. I liked Star Trek, but I was always more of a Spock girl. When he saw the news on this, his first response was to offer up his own name as a replacement. It’s okay to be Takei. Instead of being gay, you can just be Takei. At this moment, I was not only suddenly a Takei fan, but I was also thrilled that someone with the public eye like him was willing to stand up and say, this isn’t right, and is in fact incredibly stupid, we will just circumvent your idiot law.

Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. Not talking about it doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen or kids aren’t going to be gay. We never talked about it in my school, and yet three of my classmates are now openly homosexual, one of which is fighting for the right to get married. It’s going to happen. Teachers need to be prepared, not ignoring the elephant in the room. Who says “Ohhhhh myyyyyyy.”

Lego Star Wars III

I have a love hate relationship with all Lego games. They all have the same wonderful possibility and they all so far have managed to create in me a frustration that rarely crops up in other games.

The cutscenes and story edits are nothing short of inspired. Watching Leia lift up R2’s dome and chuck the disc in like she was tossing it in a garbage can was hilarious in the extreme. LSW3 focuses on the Clone Wars, a story I have never particularly cared about, but once more, has managed to make the story hilarious and adorable all at the same time.

The game leverages collecting and completionists to great effect. There are studs, characters, bricks, and mini-figs to collect every where, with a single simple percentage showing how much has been completed. The fact that the game is designed to be played through twice, just to collect everything from each mission.

The gameplay is basically solid. Combat feels nice, watching enemies explode in a spray of studs is rewarding, and even the jumping feels substantial.

Now, having said that… COULD THEY FRAKING FIX THE GLARING BUGS ALREADY?!?! Three Star Wars games (4 depending on how you count), two Indiana Jones games, a Batman, a Harry Potter, with a Pirates of the Caribbean and likely a Harry Potter 2 on the way, and they STILL haven’t fixed the damn enemies can stand behind something and shoot through it, but I can’t shoot through the thing to hit the enemy? Don’t even get me started on the targeting system that just LOVES targeting the pile of destructibles instead of the 5 droids slaughtering me.

Then there are things like, in the very first level of LSW3, the player is moving up the screen (which is a GREAT way to show off the 3d) and encounters a cannon and has to jump on it to shoot down a droid tank. Instead of having the cannon activated, or jumped in like a vehicle, it is a context sensitive “run” against it until you pop into it. Yes. Great idea. No one would EVER have problems trying to do that while being SHOT and KNOCKED BACK from the tank shooting at them. Not to mention the trigger for activating the cannon is so dang small I spent 3 minutes sliding back and forth across the back of it trying to get it to trigger. Yeah, this is fun. /sarcasm. Add this to the fact that they have this EXACT same setup FOUR times in a row… yeah, not a great design.

Rounded edges of cliffs that make falling off or getting stuck on a slope are everywhere, as always. Multiple force activated objects right next to each other so the game never picks the one you are trying to activate? Present. Endlessly spawning enemies who interrupt the building of some wildly complex and long Lego item? Accounted for. There just always seems to be so much shoddy design. I can’t tell if it is bad designers, over worked designers, or just apathetic designers.

I always want the games to be good. They usually are, until you hit the mind bogglingly frustrating parts that I just have to ask “Did NO ONE see this during testing?” If not, then they need to get better testers.

The Best Job you will ever Hate.

“Don’t come here if you think making games might be fun or cool. Don’t waste your time and money. Only apply if you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else.”

I learned Level Design at the Guildhall at SMU, a Master’s level program that focused on training and practical experience. The same professor who said the above, at the risk of having admissions kill him, also said that working on games was the “best job you’ll ever hate.” It is such an odd thing to say, but it was true. It’s the best job, and sometimes I hate it.

Spending 80 hour work weeks for 2 months only to have it universally panned by critics in addition to getting laid off?

Having to work on games like Imagine <Insert Random Profession Here>?

Knowing something is a terrible idea and having to do it anyway because the Publisher said so?

There is a reason the average burn out for developers is around 8 years. Spending more than 2 years at a single studio is uncommon. The average lifespan of a video game studio is 11 years.

It is common for developers to work 60-80 hours a week near the end of the project, to get it wrapped up and shipped.  The sad thing is, for most independent game studios the sales of the previous game go directly to fund the next one. If the game bombs, the studio could, and likely will, have problems getting deals with publishers to make their next game. For an owned studio, if the game bombs, they will likely be working on a less important title next, which won’t do as well, which starts the vicious cycle towards closure.

The business is about making money, so when a game doesn’t make money, it doesn’t get sequels. Why do some games get endlessly remade with only the smallest of changes? They make money. And as a game developer, you rarely get to just work on games you would love, but rather, because you need a job, so you work on Barbie’s Dream House Interior Decorating to pay the bills.

This video is true. People watch it, laugh and say, it can’t be that hard. It can’t be that bad. Oh but it is.

Breaking into the industry is extremely difficult. Staying in the industry is a feat worthy of Sisyphus. Becoming one of the big names is virtually impossible. You don’t get paid as well as you would in another field. You work twice as hard for half the credit. And the greater internet dickwads blast your game and call it crap without ever having played it. So either everyone in the video game is insane or extremely passionate about what they do, despite the many hardships they have to deal with to make games.

Suck it up Princess!

Honestly, I am sick of it. This “Age of Entitlement” mentality that people have assumed in the last decade or so.

As a kid I was taught the value of hard work and respect. I was always told if I wanted to go to college, I needed to study hard and get scholarships. If I wanted a car, I needed to get a job and pay for it. If I wanted something and it didn’t fall under the set of things my mother would purchase for me, I had to get it myself. That subset of items barely included Walmart clothing, shoes, and the occasional book. I didn’t have a phone in my room, much less a cell phone until I was in college. I didn’t get a car at 16, I had to use my moms, IF she would let me.

I didn’t feel entitled to anything. A teacher was there to help me learn, to teach me new things, but if I failed, that was my own fault not hers. If I misbehaved, that was my fault, not my mother’s.

Now there is this entire run recently of articles and posts about us “20 somethings who are remaining ‘adolescent.’ ” To which I say. Suck it up PRINCESS. Get over yourself. Get over the belief that we have to “accomplish” anything with our lives. They equate college and creative jobs with success. The idealized 50s home, family, and job with the American Dream. Well guess what? We grew up. We moved on. Our world advanced. Catch up or be left behind with the fossils who gripe about television and movies ruining people. We aren’t ruined. We are different. My mother’s goal in life was to get married, have children and get a stable job. That was the goals of her generation. Then she did exactly what parents are supposed to do. She instilled in me a sense of individuality, confidence, and drive to be more than she was.

If you want to accomplish something with your life, don’t expect someone to give you everything, tell you what to do, or how to go about it, simply DO IT. College degrees do not equal success, but rather drive and intelligence will propel you forward. It’s not our generation’s “problem”; it’s our playing field. We move from here.

The WSJ article calls out several things I want to directly address. First that we are not achieving these lifetime “milestones” within our twenties as our parents did. No we aren’t. The life expectancy of humans is slowly increasing, so logically it only makes sense that our “growth” model also increases. In addition, the number of young adults going to college today is astronomically higher. Unfortunately college has become an extended form of high school to many of those same people. We aren’t being forced to stand on our own feet as early as our parents did, but that doesn’t make us worse for it. When I asked my mother why she had children, in an effort to address my own desires, she responded with “I don’t really know. We didn’t think about it. We just had children. I guess I wanted someone to care for me in my old age.” My husband and I can’t decide to get a new tv without two weeks of debate, so is it at all surprising that something as life changing as children would spark years of careful consideration?

Our lives are not tied to reproduction anymore. Women are able to determine when, how and with whom they will have children, as opposed to being dependent on men to lead them. Our reproductive control has lead to our ability to make informed choices, and even to lead to the choice to not reproduce. A woman’s worth is no longer tied to her ability to mother and birth, but rather to her accomplishments and successes in the same fields as men. People are approaching their lives with consideration and thought as opposed to blindly following tradition and it is the best thing for us, because it is only once we have let go of such things that we are able to forge ahead in ways our ancestors and even people now can barely comprehend!

WSJ talks about jobs and the desire to succeed, focusing on how women are doing it more than men. Well, men do not have hundreds of years of oppression to overcome. Women still have this gigantic looming belief that we have to prove ourselves. So we do. In every way we can find. They discuss how people spend more time in internships and low paying jobs, which honestly is a logical step not at the fault of our generation but at the fault of the companies who employ us. A time was, people started working for a company and often spent their entire lives working for the same company. These days companies and employees no longer feel such a loyalty to each other and the likelihood is, we change jobs every 5 years or so. But does this matter? No. We are responsible for our OWN lives and accomplishments. Don’t rely on an employer to plan your retirement, but rather control it yourself and take responsibility for your lives.

Another thing that bugs me in the article about how we seek out to do our greatest passions for our careers as opposed to looking for jobs. It implies this is a bad thing. Yes, a job not in our field can be required to pay the bills on occasion. I worked at ToysRUs and Borders for 7 months between graduation and landing my “dream” job in the video game industry. But is there something inherently wrong with seeking a career in a field that is our passion as opposed to tradition? And what of it? Or dose this lead back to that blasted sense of entitlement that we shouldn’t have to do crap work before getting to the jobs we want to hold? People believe they are entitled to the reward without the sweat, sleeplessness, and stress of working towards it. If you aren’t willing to work to the bone for what you want, you don’t deserve it! Quit your crying! And just because something isn’t what you want to do or is a menial job beneath an idiot boss at an abysmal company doesn’t mean you should put any less effort into doing your job well. But perhaps this is why I was always promoted at my menial jobs quickly. Not liking a job isn’t any reason to do it any less than with your full devotion. Work at every crap job as if it were the best job in the world and you might just find yourself sitting in that cushy office looking down on the peons.

Don’t even get me started on their usage of video games as an “adolescent” indicator. As if video games are any different from TV, Card Games, Sports, or any other past time that beings as the providence of children until such a time as that generation becomes adults. The truth of the matter is the majority of regular video game players ARE ADULTS. They aren’t toys anymore, but rather complex simulations and computer programs designed for enjoyment.

The blog post, written by a writer I generally admire, goes on to say we aren’t doing these things because we live under the pressure to Accomplish Something Great. Get a grip on yourself. This desire to be famous and have the love, admiration, and adoration of the masses is a sense of rabid entitlement that needs to be purged from our minds. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg made Facebook and became the youngest billionaire ever. He will always be younger than me, thus I can never overcome his accomplishment. Do I care? NO. I get up every morning, go to a job I adore, do a great job at it, come home, play in raids with 24 friends (well 20 friends and 4 people I wish vanished from the face of Azeroth overnight), pay every bill on time, still have money left over to buy mini-pet TCG cards off eBay, and go to bed with a warm fuzzball curled up on my feet. I occasionally bake fantastic bread, grill amazing ribs, and eat an entire tube of Thin Mints. Does that make me any less worthy of praise than Mr. Zuckerburg? Not in the least. My mother is proud of me, my father is proud of me, and I go to bed at night knowing if I die tomorrow, I have accomplished something worth remarking upon. It may not be 500 million users, but 1.75 million people bought and played my game. Most of them hated it too. But where is their game? At the end of the day we should only look to OURSELVES for our measure of success. What have we overcome? What have we accomplished? Is it worthy of admiration and pride? Then job well done. You didn’t create Facebook? So? You raised 3 lovely, well behaved children, who are all doing well in school and show joy? Brava! Who can honestly ask for more than a sense of knowing you have done something amazing?

Our world has changed, and I don’t think any of us would say it hasn’t been for the better. The knowledge of mankind at our finger tips. The ability for our voice to be heard around the world by millions of people without ever leaving our homes. I play a video game with college students from Indiana, Marines in Japan, Marine Biologists in Alaska, video game developers in California, and mothers in Texas. It’s literally MAGIC. Advancements in technology, science and human understanding have lead us to a golden age, that is only being held back by people’s absurd desire to belittle each other, compare themselves to unrealistic figures, and false nostalgia that things used to be “better.” They weren’t. We are more intelligent, enlightened and capable than ever.

GET.OVER.IT. Don’t look to the past for your “guideline”. Look to the future. The world is changing at a rapid rate and if you stop to wonder about the bygone days you will find yourself an archaic leftover from such eras. You are entitled to nothing. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming our “generation”. Stop blaming society for your own shortcomings. We have more choices and opportunities than any other generation of humans. So quit sitting around and griping about what you are entitled (education, love, happiness, liberty, family accomplishment), set your own goals and achieve them. Be happy with YOUR accomplishments and quit trying to fit the mold, achieve the status quo, and striving for aspirations that are impossible. You are only accountable to yourself and responsible for your own future, happiness, and success.

As a kid my mother always congratulated me on what I had done, then pointed me to the next big thing. She always gave me the impression there was always something further to reach for and the only thing that would ever stop me from doing it was myself. In this age of entitlement and whining about how “bad” we have it, even when we really have it spectacularly well, I am grateful beyond measure my mother instilled such values in me that I am able to say, “Suck it up PRINCESS.”

Awesome DPS

Being top on the damage meter does not make you an awesome DPS. I don’t care if you are doing 30k and the next DPS down is 15k.

How to tell if you are an awesome DPS:

1. You didn’t get hit by a single encounter damage mechanic. No cleaves. No oozes. No fire walls.

2. You took minimal amount of damage. Look at the damage taken meter. Are you in the bottom half of the raid?

3. You never pulled threat. FD, Soul Shatter, not reactions to pulling threat but ways of diminishing it before it happens.

4. If the group wipes you are the last to die, but not without trying Hail Marys. If you are the last to die, you weren’t pulling threat, taking damage, and using your own methods of healing. But you also need to try to distracting shot off the healer, pull out the doomguard or voidwalker, mirror image, army, etc to save the pull.

5. Special Assignment? No problem. If you are asked to do something, even as far as respecing to make a fight go smooth and your response is “No problem” at the very least you are a good dps.

6. You know your role and stick to it. Did the tank do something wrong? Do they keep doing it wrong? Are the healers failing? Let the raid leader handle it. (Unless you are the raid leader obviously.) Too many cooks ruin things faster than anything else. In dungeons, accept the fact that the Tank is the defacto leader. Yeah it sucks, but at the end of the day, they have the short queue, no you.

Do these things and be an awesome DPS. And maybe more tanks would queue.