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Strip 460, Volume 3, Page 125

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< Piro >

that other site...

"Movin along..."

Thursday - September 11, 2003

[Piro] - 11:05:00 - [link here]

PLEASE NOTE - IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING BOOK 2 PREORDERS IN THIS RANT, PLEASE READ IF YOU PRE-ORDERED BOOK 2

Before I get into today's rant material, I want to stop for a moment to remember the traumatic events that happened on this day two years ago. Many of us, including us here at Megatokyo, found our lives overwhelmed by sheer magnitude of the events happing on the TV screens before us. It took a long time for us to move on, to the point that the events didn't somehow dominate our thoughts and our lives. Last year, on the one year anniversary, both Seraphim and I found that we still had not fully delt with it all, and revisiting the events helped, I think, finally help us come to terms with such a horrific and overwhelming tragedy. Time heals all wounds, I believe the saying goes, but scars will remain, as well as the positive effects of a successful healing process. The anniversary and memory of the events of two years ago do not warrant us having to stop our lives, make websites go black, or require memorandum webcomics, but that doesn't mean that we don't think about them. For the people who's lives were more directly affected by the loss of loved ones - your wounds will take longer to heal, and our thoughts are with you today.

If you are one of the people who had preordered a copy of Megatokyo volume 2 you should have received an email from me this morning that verifies that you are on the list of preorder customers provided to me by IC Entertainment. The main purpose of the email is to verify your shipping address - if it has changed, please respond to the email with your current shipping address (one that will be valid in January 2004). If you pre-ordered and did not receive an email, it is probable that your email address has changed. If you do not receive your email by the end of the day, please email me at piro@megatokyo.com with [MT BOOK 2 PREORDER] in the subject line, and I will update the list with your new email address (and address, if that has changed too).

I apologize that it has taken this long to actually get the emails out. Trying to figure out how to deal with a list of people this big, and get all the information into a usable form so that I could email everyone effectively was more problematic than I had realized. Big kudos go out to Seraphim who spent several hours entering and verifying information so that we can take care of all the preorder customers. Hopefully we can get all the shipping information and preorder stuff verified so that when the books are done, there won't be any problems with you finally receiving them.

In other news, some of you may have noticed from Seraphim's rant that she and I snuck away last weekend and drove down to Maryland to go to SPX (Small Press Expo), and yes, we went without telling anyone :P.

I seem to have backed my way into the comics industry here in the states without really knowing a lot about it. Most of this has to do with the fact that I never really was a reader of American comics, and the only indie comics I ever followed were a few little titles back when I was in college. The Japanese comic scene is where most of my attention has been for the past ten years. Yet, I don't think it's the fact that the 'manga' style comics that we all like to read are as popular as they are simply because they are Japanese - they just represent the kinds of stories and a type of comic language that is really appealing. To me, there is no reason why a non Japanese artist/writer couldn't produce works that had the same appeal. I'm not really sure if I'm doing this ok or not, but that has sort of been my attitude.

So, in an effort to better understand what other English-language writers and artists are doing, I made the mistake of agreeing to take Seraphim with me to Underworld Comics and Games, a rather nice comic shop here in Ann Arbor. Ho boy, that was a mistake. ^^;;; She dove right in and started sampling comics left and right. Neither Seraphim or I still have much interest in the superhero genre, but what's surprising is how many other fine comics and stories there are out there, if you just take the time to look.

In the end, we not only did we get a pretty good sampling of the kind of comics out there besides just manga titles, but... she seems to have become a ardent fan of several titles -_-;; Some of these creators were going to be at SPX, and that's how we suddenly found ourselves driving eight hours to Maryland (our third trip down there this year) and wandering a convention as an (gasp) attendee, rather than a guest or exhibitor. It was kind of refreshing, being on the other side of the table again. :)

SPX is a showcase for alternative, independent and small press cartoonists and publishers. We spent a lot more money at this show than we've spent at any of the other anime cons this year, and I have a big stack of stuff that I've been looking at since we got back. In my next rant, I'd like to share some of the titles that I liked and thought were worth mentioning. It was also cool running into several other webcomic artists - Jonathan Rosenberg from Goats, Richard Stevens from Diesel Sweeties, Corey Marie Kitley from Life So Rad and some folks representing Eat Your Lipstick (Monica Gallagher, the gal who does it, wasn't at the table when we stopped by, but we grabbed a post card so we could check it out later). Anyways, I'll cover the other stuff I looked at and read in my next post.

One thing is for sure tho... if I have to drive to Maryland one more time this year, I'm gonna scream... unless of course I get one of those really nice little crumb cake things from Bau Au Pain or whatever it is at that one service area off the Ohio Turnpike... try the Urban Blend coffee, it was pretty good.

< Dom >

The hand that holds a gun cannot lose its way

"Girl gamers and other "rarities""

Sunday - September 14, 2003

[Dom] - 11:00:00 - [link here]

Here's an excerpt of some more news from last week that caught my eye:

(The Day.COM)--Like many in her generation, Leslie Lund likes nothing more than all-night video game sessions in which she builds armies, destroys villages and shapes the future of the world. But the 20-year-old is also part of a little known subgroup - women gamers.

The Entertainment Software Association found that a surprising 26 percent of video game users are women over the age of 18, confirming what many "game girl" advocates have long argued: Women love video games.

At the same time, they say, game makers haven't acknowledged that players aren't just young and teenage boys who want to shoot, terminate, and conquer their way to virtual victory, all the while using female characters with unrealistic curves and tight clothes.

While girl gamers are always crying out for respect, in recent weeks I've been seeing more and more articles like this, and it bears inspection on both the professional and personal levels... at least, I think so.

So recent surveys say that the girl gamer population is rising--which is only natural as video gaming passes further into the mainstream. After all, Sony recently shipped its sixty millionth PS2 (no, there aren't that many actual PS2s owned) and video games are just plain everywhere across popular culture. And yet all walks of gamer life continue to ignore the female segment of the population.

The easiest example is on the personal level, where (for example) there was that British survey where gamers were found to ignore their significant others to the point of not having time for sex. I know a couple of girls who call themselves "gaming widows" due to Warcraft, Diablo, and now Disgaea, because, while they're gamers, they're, y'know, not worth gaming with. 'Cuz they're girls and all. While I'm not saying that this is a common thing, it occurs more often than the girls'd like.

And of course, there's the professional realm, where developers just can't quite seem to figure out what the girl gaming segment of the population wants. Phaedra Boindiris even runs womengamers.com to try and tell game companies "Hey, that's not kosher" when it comes to character design and game design, but it doesn't seem like anyone is listening--Sports games, FPSes and various action platformers continue to dominate sales charts, and those are distinctly male-dominated markets, leading to a "we don't need to care about girls" attitude. And the male-dominated developer community doesn't hurt this attitude, either.

Of course the RPGs have the large female audiences, as is well-recorded among sales numbers, so at least that segment of the game industry knows what's good for them. Meanwhile, oddly enough, the games that appeal most to a lot of girls include... Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, which ostensibly is a distinctly male game but has drawn in a good deal of girls I know with the shopping elements. Which is also, as far as I know, one of the driving factors behind the mega-success of The Sims, which has a huge female audience and, according to some articles, had a large influence from its female developers.

And yet even with the increasing impact on the market, companies still ignore the girls just as the boyfriends do, making me wonder what it'll take to put girls on the gaming map.

But anyway, the whole point of this rant is, I want to hear more opinions from female video gamers about how the video game community treats them, both on the personal and professional fronts. Is what I'm saying off base? Is it right? Did I miss something? If you have any contributions, please e-mail me and I'll post the comments that interest me the most (I'll ask permission first, just in case).

Okay, that's done, back to the Triple Threat of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Disgaea and Bistro Cupid 2 that is consuming my life like a trio of vampires with controller ports. On the plus side, I can play all three at once, with the help of a lot of remote controls and a 2-page feature I'm writing on Crystal Chronicles that mandates that I have to play games (oh, woe is me :)

Until next time!

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