Feminism, IRL

Sabers & Stilettos: Women’s Impractical Armor in Cosplay

As any geek knows, comic conventions are some of the best places to show off just how much you love something. One of the most common and (in my opinion) coolest ways to do this is definitely cosplay. Who didn’t love to dress up as a kid and pretend to be your favorite character? News flash: it doesn’t have to stop when you hit middle school. Cosplay is short for ‘costume play,’ which is kind of weird, right? It pretty much means you’re doing hardcore dress-up. 

Some cosplays are better than others. We’ve all seen attempted Iron Mans out of construction paper and laughed. And then we look at the really fancy, hand-built ones and we’re in awe. Either way a viewer sees it, it’s fun for the actual cosplayer.

I speak from personal experience. I used to just do little things—like throw on a Starfleet Captain’s shirt and call it a costume. Now, though, I went all-out with a Darth Revan costume my aunt and I built together.

Darth Revan, Knights of the Old Republic, cosplay
Spoilers: Darth Revan is the big bad and protagonist of Knights of the Old Republic.

Cosplay is a great way to show off who your favorite video game characters are. Now, for women, this can actually be pretty difficult. What if your favorite character is Morrigan from Dragon Age, but you don’t want to be wearing next to nothing? Sadly, this is a problem that can be seen with a lot of female characters. Either the character doesn’t have an outfit you feel comfortable in or it’s too complicated (ex: Commander Shepard or a Halo Spartan’s armor). Even for my Darth Revan cosplay, the chest piece just doesn’t fit right—and it never will. The armor in the game is a generic male-figure piece, and for a slightly curvier woman, it just doesn’t work. 

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Feminism, RPGs

Cassandra Pentaghast Masterpost: The Herald of Feminism

Dragon Age: Inquisition, Cassandra, Bioware

[Author’s Note: Only minor spoilers will be discussed. If you visited The Fade, peruse freely!]

After 100+ in-game hours and still more Hinterlands questing to be done, I’ve been having quite a lot of trouble settling on a title for this piece. Even knowing the subject of my love letter, it’s still next to impossible conveying precisely how I feel. My choices ranged from ‘Dragon Age Is Cassandra’s Playground & We Are Her Playthings’ to ‘The Life & Times of Cassandra Pentaghast: Queen of Everything.’ You can see my dilemma, then.

This time around, I’d learned well from my previous mistake while playing Dragon Age: Origins that judging an ill-tempered character too quickly might not be the best plan when playing a Bioware game. Still, I hadn’t thought much about Cassandra since her days shouting in the cutscenes of Dragon Age 2. It’s not as though I contested her clear prowess, just that I was enamored with Varric at that point, thus any character aggressively stabbing books in front of him was perceived as a threat—or taking up more dialogue that could’ve been his. May the Gods strike me down for my ignorance. As you’re obviously aware, Cassandra is now my queen and I’m here to tell you, in no uncertain terms, why that is.

Take a journey with me through this masterpost of epic proportions, establishing Cassandra as the single-most complex character in the whole of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s admittedly illustrious cast. If you’re not in love with her and ready to face a horde of darkspawn at her behest after this—I mean, it’s possible you’re actually Corypheus, but I’m sure even he’s a little bit jealous of Cassandra’s serious game. Aren’t we all?

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Analysis

Idle Gaming: A Multitasking Playground

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Multitasking is pretty much a given for most of us, especially if we aim to operate as functional members of society. Treading proverbial water at school or work means developing the ability to get multiple tasks done as efficiently as possible, and this rarely leaves time for leisure. So how, then, are we supposed to get our gaming fixes while still going about our lives as normal?

Idle games—that is, games that you can open in a browser tab and leave running in the background—are perfect for folks who need to squeeze some leisure time in between day-to-day tasks. They are more readily accessible than their PC and console cousins, since you can play them anywhere an internet connection is available. Thanks to this, they are easy to pick up and put down as needed. Being able to leave the games running also allows us to go off and do other things expected of a human being (activities such as “eating” and “spending time” with ”friends,” for example), without fear of having our game’s progress stunted. Indeed, it’s just a little bit more satisfying to get distracted by the real world, and then come back to your idle game to find that you’ve leveled up several times over and need to distribute those points.

Multitasking is not just the domain of those seeking to get their gaming fix, however. Idle gaming is also a great way for those with anxiety, depression, or attention deficit disorders to calm themselves and focus on other tasks (those of us who knit during lectures or while listening to books and podcasts know this far too well). These background games require just enough attention to keep us mildly stimulated, but they are not demanding enough that we feel that we can’t leave them alone.

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IRL

In Games Do We Part: My Life Married to a Non-Gamer

My wife is … not much of a gamer. She thinks anime is “squeaky” and the sound of button-mashing grates on her ears. The music from several games makes her head hurt and that’s not even mentioning the sounds of combat. In a word: games annoy her, which is why I generally don’t play them much. Not to say she is making me, but I would rather enjoy domestic tranquility than fuss. Granted, this has caused some problems as you might imagine, but on the whole I reserve my gaming time for when she is busy or otherwise occupied.

Mass Effect 3, EDI

Now, I do game, and since my laptop can run several games I have gotten back into the habit. She … indulges me at best. When I say I am going off to shoot people, she just smiles and wishes me a happy time. I try to mute the really loud sounds, like the Mass Relay from Mass Effect, in order not to trigger her issues with sound. So yes, there are some issues but they are not insurmountable.

Some of the problems can be categorized into a couple of areas: cost of games, time involved, sounds, and my obsessive talking about it sometimes. These issues are not just things that can affect my marriage but are also issues for anyone living with someone they are romantically involved with when their significant other is not a gamer. Just because they don’t game doesn’t mean we can’t.

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Reviews

Houston, We Have a New Fave: Reviewing Sunburn!

When my phone autocorrected ‘or’ to ‘Orlais,’ I knew it was time I took a mini-hiatus from playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. It was either that or convert my office space into a war table, and I’m happy to report it wasn’t the latter. Thus, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to download Sunburn!, the new game for iOS that just released at the end of November. Spoilers: It’s spectacularly adorable.

Sunburn!

While the creators of Sunburn! describe their project as “a sad, sad game,” I emphatically disagree. They’ve not only managed to handle dark subject matter with incredible finesse, they’ve masterfully blended charming pixel art, an upbeat soundtrack, and accessible mechanics all in one playing experience. I was utterly disarmed by this game within the first five minutes of play, which is saying a lot given I don’t often spare the time for gaming on my phone.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to blast yourself and your fellow crewmembers into the deceptively cute inferno that is the pixelated sun. For 50+ levels, you’re cheerfully encouraged to find, string together, and lead those on your team through space so you can … well, die together. It really is cute—just trust me on this one.

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Interviews

Companion Quest: Interview With That Flighty Broad

Jackie, otherwise known as That Flighty Broad, is a talented freelance illustrator and gaming enthusiast with her own Let’s Play channel. We’re very pleased she agreed to help us officially kick off FemHype‘s series of interviews with women who game. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Hello, Jackie! Thank you so much for talking with us.

Jackie, ThatFlightyBroad

  1. Where can readers find your presence online?

YouTubeyoutube.com/user/thatflightybroad

Twitter: twitter.com/ThtFlightyBroad

Facebook: facebook.com/Thatflightybroad

Tumblr: (my illustrations and creative endeavors) redeyejack.tumblr.com & (general/video game nerdery) that-flighty-broad.tumblr.com

  1. What (or who) initially introduced you to YouTube Let’s Plays? Do you have any particular favorites at the moment?

I became enamored with Let’s Plays when I first developed depression and began exploring different self-care techniques that worked for me. I sometimes found that playing the games I loved triggered my anxiety, but I would still want to envelop myself in the sounds, atmosphere, and story of those games. I started by watching other people play the classic Tomb Raider games, and eventually started watching LPs of different games in the background while I got work done.

I began seriously considering recording my own LPs after watching John over at HarshlyCritical, because I really enjoy his conversational style. His videos made the whole recording process seem more accessible, and after a while I buckled down to start recording and resolved to just have fun while doing it.

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