Thoughts on Ready Player One and the Video Game Industry – RE: Females

I adore this book, in fact I’d even go as far as to say it is one of my favourites. However, that does not abolish the fact that this book is dominated by white men.

Much like universities way back in the day, and much like big names in the computer science industry, past and present, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline worships the names of artists, game developers, computer scientists and musicians that are all Caucasian men.

Now, I wish we lived in a world where this meant nothing. I personally believe that people are people, and that we are all equals. We are blank slates born to form by our experiences, regardless of our gender.

Unfortunately, many of us are formed by sexism, racism, and slander. Take Aech for example. She is a gay African American woman posing as a straight white male within the OASIS.

I live as a female in a male-dominated society as well, especially in terms of game development, my future field. Every indie developer that comes to the front of my mind are males: Dan Salvato of Doki Doki Literature Club, Toby Fox of Undertale, and Thomas Brush of Pinstripe (all fantastic games that I recommend, by the way). Then I look at those such as Hideo Kojima, Shigeru Miyamoto…there’s a lack of a feminine touch when it comes to big icons in the game development world.

This is a problem that I one day hope to fix.

THAT BEING SAID!

I don’t for a minute believe that women are lacking in the field. In Ready Player One, Art3mis points out the majority of the female icons of the 80s, being the badass girl that she is. I find a lot of value in taking time to credit and value the possibly overshadowed women of the world that is still quite unbalanced.

People like Emily Greer, who cofounded and is CEO of Kongregate.

Jennifer Hale, an iconic voice actress in games such as Metal Gear Solid and BioShock Infinite.

Yoko Kanno, a Japanese composer and musician.

Amy Hennig, one of the geniuses behind Uncharted.

Kim Swift, who worked on Portal and Left 4 Dead.

Corrinne Yu, who started her career with the loveable King’s Quest series.

And a big round of applause to Carol Shaw, the first female to be a full-time video game designer!

The list goes on and on and on and will continue to grow.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that there are more and more women joining industries such as the video game development one. However, I am a female computer science student. I sit in a lecture hall with a gender ratio that is nowhere near 50/50. I am often one of few female – quote unquote – “nerd” friends. I’m repeatedly told how difficult it may be for me to be hired because I am a girl. I admire so many people I admire and grow nervous to find how much masculinity is behind each of them. And then I read Ready Player One once again and find a total of 5 female characters named within the OASIS: Art3mis, a romanticized and sexualized character. Aech, who hides as a male for the majority of the book. Wade’s mother. Halliday’s love interest. Og’s wife. Note how those last three, despite standing out as females, only remain in my head because of the men they are associated to, and not for feats of their own? Why is it that, despite how much Wade pushes the concept that equality is abound in the OASIS, even past the 2040s, a sexist devise is still so prominent?

I wish I had a conclusion. Some reason for writing this post other than my pure need to vent. I do have some parting remarks, though.

  1. If you’re ever feeling as beaten down as I was about a lack of women in whatever field, do some research. Find the names and stare at the identities of your fellow females that have proven that whatever you are doing is more than achievable.
  2. Give those same females some recognition. Male names are pushed often, yes, but if anyone has earned praise, give it to them. Even if it’s just in a small post like this one.
  3. Read Ready Player One. Seriously. It’s so good. If you’re a sucker for 80s references or video games, or both, you’ll be as obsessed with it as I am.
  4. Get yourself ready, because someday my name is going to be as noteworthy as some of the men listed in this post.

 

 

 

Got any thoughts in response to this? Feel free to let me know, I’m always down to discuss anything civilly.

Traveler’s Tale Creation

In the beginning there was nothing.

There was no land, no sea, and no sky. There was no night, and no day. The world, its dimensions and its countries were nonexistent.

Then The Great Faatir came, disguised as an ordinary man, and set a foot down, thus creating the world beneath his feet. He felt the vibrations of the magic in all worlds, and manipulated them to create the air, the water, the earth, and the fire. He created animals and creatures to walk upon this new world. Looking at his own image, he created man, completing the fifth and final element; spirit.

Satisfied with his work, he left this land.

But another set foot upon this world. His brother Uqbah. He was unhappy with the life in this world, seeing mankind and it’s equals as weak and pitiful creatures that were unfit to live. He was the end of all of Faatir’s work, eliminating every last being.

When Faatir learned of his brother’s actions, he returned to his world and fought with him.

Brother against Brother. Life against Death. Creation against Destruction.

Both brothers tired, Uqbah was defeated.

Banished from the world, Uqbah returned to Hazarmaveth, a kingdom of his own creation.

Faatir, with his remaining strength, replenished his world back to its original state, and created five divine guardians to look after the world in his absence.

Aithne, the goddess of fire.

Coventina, the goddess of water.

Leewana, the goddess of wind.

Valterra, the goddess of earth.

And Gwennor, the goddess of spirit.

Completely drained, Faatir retired to the heavens, to never return to the world he created.

The Five Guardians split up, looking after their respective areas of the world. They lived as equals to man, residing in a temple of their own design.

But then, Uqbah returned.

He sought vengeance on this world and his brother, despite his still limited strength.

He used his little power to send desires to the man that resided in this world. He sent them thoughts of blood, war, and of death. Under Uqbah’s influence, they proclaimed war on the Guardians, and on each other.

The Guardians, quickly realizing Uqbah’s work, imprisoned him within his own kingdom.

Yet just like Faatir, the Guardians were weakened.

Legends say they imprisoned themselves, taking their own souls, capturing them within a crystal, to be awakened when their strengths would be replenished.

They left behind only the temples they once slept in, hearing our prayers from their prisons of stone.

People Are Strange Birds

People are strange little birds.

It’s how I view them at least.

Strange little birds with their ups and downs in life. So determined to spread their wings and fly. So determined to explore that blue expanse of the sky.

Me, I’d consider myself an owl, perhaps crossbred with some sort of raven. A nocturnal creature that is intelligent, yet with that sly cunning of a precious black-feathered creature.

I’ve met all sorts of birds in my life. The innocence and purity of pretty little doves, the parrots that lack a single shred of originality, and the sharp-eyed eagles that stand above the rest.

The connection between human personalities and specimen of birds has always been so clear to me. When meeting a person, the second I can get a feel for who they are, it is as though a great pair of wings sprout from their backs, each individual with a different coloured plumage.

Some would see them as angels. I see them as the graceful, overconfident swans, the blunt yet honest roosters, and the intelligent and animated penguins.

And now the visions are becoming reality, the fantasies are be coming physical.

Soon, those beautiful specimens will breeze free from this cavern, free from their cages.

The resourceful yet flighty sparrows, the successful white, inflexible albatross, and the poised yet nosy hummingbirds.

Soon, those beautiful angels, those avian-human recombinants, will have a chance to spread their wings and experience the air as they were always meant too.

The flashy and colourful peacocks, the aggressive yet solitary cassowaries, and the athletic, unfocused swifts.

My beautiful, colourful creations. Revel in your true forms. Soon, you will see…

Yes, people are strange little birds indeed.

What Am I?

I hold emotion and yet I feel nothing

I offer protection while you are hiding

While I am aging, I am never changing

I alter the soul that I am cloaking

 

I can mold to your resemblance

Be I human, mammal, or separate

 

I could give you vision and leave you unseeing

I can offer air or demolish your very being

 

I give another life while sealing your demise

Forever veiling the truth while never once shy

 

What am I?

 

 

 

The Red Phone

The man was lonely, as often introverts are when they reach their older years. He couldn’t physically do much anymore, and without many people his own age around, he never found much joy in facing the world.

In fact, he found most joy in being in the old garage.

It wasn’t the prettiest thing. The ground was nothing more than dirt, and there were boxes scattered everywhere. The workbench was cluttered and filthy…the only relatively pristine things within the area included an old, ragged blue armchair, a typewriter, and the still shiny, vibrant red phone.

It as a phone that had heard many conversations. From invitations to lunch, to pleasant chats, to dreary calls from relatives, to sorry information that someone dear had passed…Yes, the phone had heard a lot in its time in the garage.

And it was about to hear another.

Continue reading “The Red Phone”