Perfect Illusion: The Sinister World of Fame in ‘Tuber Simulator’

As you can see, I'm still trying to become a dragon.
As you can see, I’m still trying to become a dragon.

If you’re not entrenched in the dizzying, Labyrinth-like world of YouTube personalities, Tuber Simulator may just seem like a fun little distraction for your phone. (It’s free, by the way. Just saying.) But if you’re a content creator — particularly one who carefully monitors the number of subscribers they have in hopes of one day scraping together a living wage — this game might make you a little uncomfortable.

And it’s supposed to.

While PewDiePie needs no introduction, his game development company might. The team is called Outerminds, and the concept they came up with is fairly simple: you’re a budding YouTube star who must produce as many videos as possible in order to generate more views, which will allow you to purchase new items. As you proceed to each new level, your chosen handle rises up the list of actual YouTubers who exist in real life. It’s fun to see your own name among such a star-studded lineup, but the road to achievements is presented as far less savory than their perfectly edited vlogs make it seem.

None of this comes as news to the YouTube community at large. Many, many popular content creators have bravely opened up regarding their struggles with mental health in the wake of their popularity, including BFvsGF, Chris Oflyng, Michael Buckley, and the SHAYTARDS — just to name a few. The pressure is real folks, and it’s important to remember that real people are affected by it. I sincerely hope that anyone looking to enter into this tumultuous platform remembers that there are many resources at their disposal.

The siren call of a massive YouTube following can lure you in and consume every part of you, which is precisely what Tuber Simulator does.

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Sunday Loot: Joining the Inclusivity Movement in Games

geek girl con

Happy Sunday, friends! We’re so excited to bring you even more amazing opportunities in the games industry this week. Make sure you’ve got the calendar app open and you finished brewing that coffee, because you’re going to be busy this month!

Today’s lineup consists of several ways in which you can join the teams that have been pioneering a new era of geekdom. Your work is so important in ensuring games become and remain inclusive to all players, which means we want to hook you up with like-minded industry folks! Whether you’re looking to show off your cosplay, want to sharpen your gamedev skills, or simply have some spare time to volunteer at a con, this list is for you. Keep being the awesome person we know you are!

As always, if you know of an inclusive gaming space or games project you’d love to see promoted on our Sunday Loot series, drop us a comment below or check out our contact list! We’d love to hear from you, especially about new and exciting spaces where all gamers can hang out.

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The Biggest Missed Opportunity in ‘Skyrim’ (Cry Moar, Ulfric)


[Trigger warning: brief mention of abortion.]

When I first popped a copy of Skyrim into my Xbox 360, I had no idea I was about sign away the better part of five years to a love affair with RPGs. I’d played video games as a child, but I never felt like those types of games were something I’d be interested in (or, quite frankly, that I’d even be good at them). I began to realize I might have miscalculated after I checked the number of hours I’d spent just rearranging Breezehome in Whiterun.

I still haven’t stopped playing, either. For me, revisiting the snowy, winding steps up to High Hrothgar felt like coming home in a way that playing other games didn’t. I’ve found myself repeating lines like wrapping a well-loved blanket around my shoulders, familiar and safe. Sure, I took issue with the way most women were represented (or rather, rarely represented at all), but my affection for Skyrim never dwindled. It’s ultimately a good thing that I stuck with it despite the flaws, because I recently discovered a plot point so staggering you’d think I’d been hit with an arrow to the knee. (Forgive me, I had to!)

Before we proceed, I’d highly recommend that you play (or watch) the Thieves Guild quest in Riften. Minor spoilers ahead! If you have played it, did you pay close attention to Karliah? She was a dark elf, formerly of the Thieves Guild inner circle alongside Gallus Desidenius and Mercer Frey, and current member of the fabled Nightingales.

What’s so special about her apart from the obvious, you ask? Not only is there strong evidence that Karliah was directly descended from Tiber Septim (yeah, that Tiber Septim), but she could also very well be Dragonborn. Poor ol’ Ulfric. He might want to consider a career in shouting at people on the streets of Whiterun instead of taking over Skyrim. Just my two cents.

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Blanket Fort Chats: Boosting the Games We Love

Analogue: A Hate Story
Analogue: A Hate Story

Blanket Fort Chats” is a semi-regular column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. As “Blanket Fort Chats” nears its one-year anniversary, we’re doing a bit of a retrospective. In past Q&As, we’ve asked folks which games they think have pushed the boundaries of the medium. In this week’s post, we’re going back into our archives and highlighting these very games.

Analogue: A Hate Story & Hate Plus by Christine Love

Tanya Kan: “In visual novels, there’s nothing that captures my imagination as much as [these games]. Christine Love has woven political intrigue with heartfelt stories in a wonderful mystery. She has also managed to include some comedic turns in a broader melodramatic story, which is no easy balance of tone and pacing.”

Antichamber by Alexander Bruce

Diane Mueller: “I have an appreciation for games that have come out lately that force the player to un-learn typical game conventions. Antichamber attempted to do this in the same way — changing areas when the player looked away, making the player walk backwards to progress, and such.”

Bastion by Supergiant Games

Tanya Kan: “[This] hit all the right notes: a resounding sense of adventure, a tinge of regret lost to the passage of time, and a lore that is intensely and uniquely its own.”

The Beginner’s Guide by Everything Unlimited

Vaida Plankyte: “I absolutely love The Beginner’s Guide. It has a completely unexpected structure — a bundle of games with an overarching narrator — but it works perfectly. I love the fact that its creator focused on telling the story in a way that worked best without feeling like he needed to comply to what a traditional game is.”

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The Joy of Movement: A Dance Between Player & Machine in ‘ABZÛ’


When Thatgamecompany released Journey back in 2012, it created a massive shift within the gaming industry. It was an unforgettable adventure with fantastic storytelling, a stunning art style, and a powerful soundtrack. It took the player through various ancient caverns, crumbling cities, dangerous underground lairs, and managed to create a constant sense of wonder. Two of Journey’s key creators — art director Matt Nava and musician Austin Wintory — have gone on to create a new game, leaving Journey’s dry deserts and delving deep into the cool waters of ABZÛ.

In ABZÛ, you play as a diver who is exploring the beautiful and vibrant depths of the ocean. As she dives deeper, certain areas are mysteriously decaying, and she helps to restore them back to their natural beauty. Journey and ABZÛ share many of the same concepts and characteristics, such as environmental storytelling and uncovering the secrets of an ancient civilization.

In other video games, movement isn’t exactly a notable highlight. It gets you from A to B — from one story point to the next. But in Journey and ABZÛ, playful movement is a critical part of the game’s design. It’s fun to majestically glide through the air in Journey or gracefully twist and turn in ABZÛ. A vital part of what makes both games particularly unique is their ability to create joy in avatar movement.

Taking a closer look at ABZÛ, we can examine how the game places emphasis upon the concept of movement — using it as a basis to combine the player and avatar into one ‘virtual body,’ and how that body connects to the reactive underwater world.

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FemHype Goes to #NYCC: The Panels We’re Excited About

New York Comic Con

What’s up, FemHype crew? Paige here, bringing you all the coolest panels scheduled for New York Comic Con 2016. Jillian will be attending this year, so we gathered a few amazing talks that will be taking place there. From discussions about diversity to guides for up and coming talent, this weekend is jam-packed!

Even if you can’t attend New York Comic Con this year, check out the panels listed below and follow the hashtag #NYCC to get the inside scoop! Going to be there this weekend? Tweet @FemHype to meet up with Jillian! And for all you Tomb Raider fans out there, our friends over on Tumblr have amassed a huge list of fun activities and talks for you to check out.

What panels are you interested in? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Right to Exist: Transition & Affirmation in ‘Final Fantasy IX’

Final Fantasy IX

[Trigger warning: mentions of gender dysphoria and transmisogyny.]

I was in the middle of finishing Final Fantasy IX because XV’s coming up when I realized that my playthrough was decidedly more impactful than a mere way to dredge up hype. I knew I loved the game back in the day, but I had never played it during my transition. So yeah, I’m transgender — presenting full-time, on hormones, doing all the stuff that makes me feel comfortable, and I’m surprised to find that this game feels like a sort of weird reflection of myself now.

Okay, way too dramatic, but I’ve been extrapolating a bunch of stuff that reminds me of my present fears and anxieties. This is a game about identity — how it’s established, refined, and even molded by experiences with others. Over its 40-hour play time, I witnessed a stuck-up (and completely hilarious) knight question his own loyalty and develop into a more independent person, a dragoon terrified of her own erasure, and a princess who learned to better understand herself as she discovered the world.

What about the entire existence of the black mages and genomes, both of whom develop a sense of individual and communal identity through social interaction and personal reflection? Then there’s Kuja, a man who rages against his progenitor for the simple right to exist.

I get it, really, I do — Final Fantasy IX is not a game about me, nor is it representative of trans people in general. I’m bringing a lot of baggage with me that colors my interpretation of the game’s themes. Yet the dilemmas these characters face has resonated with me so much more ever since I accepted my trans identity. I can recall when I doubted myself — when I raged against the kind of affirmation and definition that I now believe in. 

It all started months before this. I was staring at my first torrent of creepy internet messages when some guys on Reddit said they wanted to fuck me, and I didn’t know what to feel. My mind raced. I knew how I was supposed to react, but my disgust was purely cerebral. I started viewing the message as endemic of normalized sexual harassment, and while I was appalled by how casually these men treated me, the feeling was borne of distaste for the trend — not the immediate act. In truth, all I sussed out was terror, guilt, and shame. How on earth could I find this experience validating?

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Queer Identity & Diversity: The Winners of Rainbow Jam ’16


Rainbow Jam ’16 was a game jam held between August 20, 2016 and September 5, 2016 and run by Steven Taarland. The jam was designed to promote the ideals of the development group, which are to celebrate and promote diversity in games and the game industry.

The theme of the jam was “identity,” and although it was not necessary that groups adhere to this theme or make games about queer diversity, many of the games did explore these topics. All games that featured queer themes have been given entries on Queerly Represent Me and can be found on the Rainbow Jam ’16 database page.

Starting small, the game jam quickly expanded with the help of collaborators and sponsors, with more than thirty entries submitted before the deadline. More information about the jam and those associated with it can be found on

The winners of Rainbow Jam ’16’s five prizes were announced on September 23, 2016. They included a community prize (voted on by the community); a technical prize (based on innovative mechanics); an artistic prize (for a game with a unique art style); and two best game prizes for an individual and group submission, respectively (based on overall game polish and dedication to the theme).

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Thick as Thieves: Your Favorite Video Game Siblings

Tales From the Borderlands

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to all of you! I am pleased to present the results of FemHype’s latest survey! We had 160 respondents to the question of who your favorite video game siblings are, which I am totally floored by. Your interpretations and thoughts are so valuable to this investigation, and an impressive 46 examples of video game siblings were brainstormed.

We’ll be splitting your feedback into this fun little (well, actually pretty long) list, “Thick as Thieves,” and a more in-depth analysis of the whys and hows of sibling relationships will be coming up next. If you don’t see one of your choices represented here, you may see them in the next article — so stay tuned for that.

Without further waffling, here is the data on just who your faves are! As respondents could choose multiple answers, these percentages won’t tot up to 100%.

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Sunday Loot: Amplifying Your Voice in the Games Industry

BlubBlub: Quest of the Blob

Happy Sunday, friends! We hope you’re enjoying the weekend with a nice cup of tea. But if you’re already out the door and on the go, not to worry! There’s a long list of super cool opportunities in the games industry right now, and all of them offer ways to boost your work.

Sign on to support a new game on Kickstarter, lend your voice and experiences to an upcoming book, or even submit to a wildly popular festival. The possibilities are endless! Just let us know where you’ll be showcasing your work next, okay? We always love to see the incredible work of our community!

As always, if you know of an inclusive gaming space or games project you’d love to see promoted on our Sunday Loot series, drop us a comment below or check out our contact list! We’d love to hear from you, especially about new and exciting spaces where all gamers can hang out. ✌

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