Tagged: Nintendo

Marc Alan Fishman: Press Start – Or Just Turn It Off!

Marc Alan Fishman: Press Start – Or Just Turn It Off!

So Microsoft debuted the XBOX One this week and the video game fanboys dropped trou and prayed to Lord Gates. With it, the next generation of consoles are all spec’ed out, and being built by poor children of other countries. Err, I mean by robots. Yes. Souless, never-hungry robots. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, or just the fact that I’m getting older and crankier by the day (something I may attribute to being in proximity of several fine folks on this very site), but I’m finding it harder and harder to care.

My generation was gleefully known as the ‘Nintendo Generation. When the original NES debuted, I was at the perfect age. With careful prodding, pleading, and sad-face-making, my parents dropped the $100 (a veritable fortune at the time for a lowly birthday / Chanukah gift) for the system. Elation, kiddos. Elation. Flash forward sometime later, and I was able to finagle the Super Nintendo when it debuted. I remember with near photographic memory the reflection of my beardless cherubic face in the glossy UV coating on the box… declaring all the amazing new games debuting with the console –none of which were included, save for Super Mario World.

This cycle continued all throughout high school: the SNES begat the Sega Saturn (don’t judge me). The Saturn begat the Dreamcast (continue to hold that tongue). The Dreamcast gave way to the original XBOX. And I remember it so well; plunking down my shiny new credit card for the $650 charge (the system, a game, and the extra controller, don’t-cha-know), and then holing up at a friend’s apartment for what would end up being one of very few all-night gaming sessions. See, even in my early twenties I was a budding old man. But I digress.

The newest line of video game consoles continue the trend to move away from entertainment add-on devices to full on hubs of all things do-and-watchable. Literal, visceral computers minus a keyboard and mouse. They’re WiFi-enabled, app-store-shoppable, and motion-sensitive. The XBOX One will apparently be ‘on’ all the time, and be able to take voice commands at will. XBOX, turn on. Bring up Netflix. Order me a pizza. Raise me my child. They’ve even showed a possible add-on that will project environmental graphics onto the walls and surfaces of your media room. I’ve seen the future folks… and I can’t wait to tell my son about how in my day our graphics were crappy and damn-it we liked it that way.

So why all the hatespew, you ask? All allusions to getting older aside, it’s frankly a matter of taste. The commitment of time a child (or teen, or adult for that matter) can sink into a video game is mind-numbing. Pun intended. Games today simply try too hard to be immersive. One simply doesn’t turn on the game, play a level or two, and call it a night. Suffice to say, that is what Angry Birds was designed to do. With the next generation of systems on their way, this is the trend that will continue. The phone will be my Nintendo. The XBOX will demand I plotz for 90 minutes if I intend to game.

The late Roger Ebert was adamant that even the best games were hardly art, I’ve never subscribed to that point of view. While Halo won’t sit on my shelf next to Inglorious Basterds, it certainly provided more smiles and provoked more thoughts than Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. But therein lies the blessing and the curse of modern gaming. The more video games mimic real life / real cinema / long-format stories, the more time and energy will be required of the player. Who here would watch The Godfather trilogy in 20-minute chunks?

And while yes, this doesn’t include Madden, fighting games, or arcade games… even there Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are subtly demanding more and more of us as players – both in our time, and from our bank account). Madden may have that quick game, but the appeal (for those not online) is in the franchise mode-built for hours-long tweaking, prodding, and finessing. Fighting games demand the completest beat the game with every fighter to unlock a plethora of add-ons. And even the arcade games of my youth, repackaged and resold to me through countless app stores, stack themselves in such a manner that pleads I play it… remember how much I loved it… beat it… and buy the next one.

As it stands today I play only two games on my XBOX. Batman: Arkham City and WWE ‘13. Both provide me enough fun in what brief times I pull myself away from all my grown-up responsibilities. I assume in a year’s time, my stone facade will crack under the pressure of the pretty new graphics and promises of full-on entertainment media-center domination. But until that time, I’ll happily clutch my XBOX 360 like the old fart I’m becoming… and relish my memories of the simpler times. When up-up down-down left-right left-right B-A Start meant I could beat Contra, and head outside. When a round-robin tourney of Virtual On or Mario Kart meant bragging rights for the week to come. When the game manual delivered all the story I’d need in three paragraphs or less.

Those, my friends, were the days.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell


Review: Little Inferno

The Wii U, released on 11/18, has a good assortment of games available, both in stores and through the Nintendo E-Store.  A happy surprise is the large  number of smaller indie games available on the system, and of them all, the most blissfully wacky is Little Inferno, from the Tomorrow Corporation, makes of World of Goo.  Little Inferno combines the infuriating “What do I DO?” feeling of the open form game, the dark whimsy of a Tim Burton movie, and the purifying warmth of fire, and creates a deceptively simple game that unfolds like an onion in a deep fryer, and is just as delicious.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0TniR3Ghxc]

The game consists of a fireplace, more specifically, the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace.  Your job – burn things.  Buy things from a series of catalogs of flammable objects, place them in the furnace, set them aflame, find money contained within, use the money to buy more things to burn.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  As you buy objects, more become available.  As you burn more and more, you begin receiving mail from  the manufacturer, congratulating you on your proficiency.  Letters also begin arriving from another Little Inferno owner who seems to have learned a bit more about the company, and the purpose of the fireplace.

The game is dark, disturbing, and tantalizing.  Exactly WHY does the magnet make the gears in the Fireplace spin faster?  Where did Someone Else’s Credit Card come from, and why can you buy then in almost infinite quantity?  Why is the world getting colder?

For a company as family-friendly as Nintendo to select such a bent little masterpiece for not only a game for its new console, let alone a day-of-release game, is a bold move indeed.  This is a game CLEARLY not for everybody (It’s rated T-for-Teen), but for those who like dark humor, not to mention burning things, it’s a perfect little brain-bender.

Wii U offers new power, new games, long wait times

Wii U ControllerThe [[[Wii U]]] was released on November 18 to a gleefully waiting public with midnight release events and the requisite pomp and circumstance.  The system offers a big jump in power and screen resolution, the first system from Nintendo that’s HDMI-compatible.  Add to that a good raft of first and third-party games available, a new layer of social media interaction and a strong (albeit coming-soon) set of media streaming functions, and you get a solid system designed for the family and the hardcore player in mind.

The system is not without faults, tho. It’s slow. Painfully slow.  It required a system update before any games could be played (taking almost 90 minutes to download, exacerbated by the demand on Nintendo’s systems from EVERYONE needing it), as well as a separate update for each and every game before they started up, averaging five minutes each to download and install.

Once the games load, however, they are gorgeous.  The new addition to the Mario Bros franchise draws from a number of chapters of the series, including many from the latest 3DS edition, and adds on many more.  The showpiece game, [[[Nintendo Land]]], (included with the Deluxe Set, available separately for Basic Set purchasers) is a series of “mini-games”, but in name only.  Each is an engrossing and deep game featuring franchise titles like Metroid and Pikmin, games not yet featured in stand-alone games on the system, but do a good job of keeping them in the public’s mind.  The new GamePad works well with the new games, as well as being able to function as a TV remote, allowing you to power up everything at once to use the system.  Many games can be played entirely on the GamePad, allowing the TV to be used by the rest of the family.  It lacks any local storage to allow you to play games independent of the main unit, but that’s more wishful thinking than a real issue.

The system is backwards-compatible with the Wii, but this too is very slow.  It runs through a software-based emulator that provides a bare-bones Wii menu and interface.  Gone is the ability  to send email to other Wii systems, as well as the ability to import Miis, the system’s personal avatars.  You have the option to transfer your Wii’s system data to the new Wii U, but it’s an all-or-nothing option; there’s no way to pick and choose what game saves, Miis or other system data, and once it’s transferred, your old Wii is returned to Factory specs.   Fine if you’re  planning on tossing it in the closet, or on ebay, but if you were hoping to keep it as a second system, you’re somewhat out of luck.

Each game has its own bulletin board in the MiiVerse, part of the social media platform the Nintendo Network, where you can both write and draw notes about the games, share game tips and if possible, get a few laughs.  At the moment, there’s no way to choose what game boards to see,  or to sort the so the games you own and play, making accessing your preferred boards a bit cumbersome.  And of course, getting to the MiiVerse is…slow.

Coming in the next month are the various streaming media channels like Amazon Video and Hulu Plus, joining Netflix which is already up and running.  The Gamepad will also be the center of a service known as TVii, the details on which are a bit sketchy; details will be forthcoming as the service is unveiled in December.

There’s clearly room for improvement in the system, but what’s available now is well worth the expense, and  if you’ve not already gotten a Wii U, the wait.

Nintendo Wii U digital promotion offers benefits for Deluxe owners

The Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set, listing at 349.99, is already sold out before its release on the 18th

Nintendo of America today announced a benefits incentive program for purchasers of its new [[[Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set]]].  By signing up with their Club Nintendowebsite and registering their system purchase, users will receive a ten percent “points rebate” on purchases of WII U made through the Nintendo e-Shop.  In addition, for each five hundred points earned in this fashion, users will receive a five dollar credit on future purchases in the eShop.

Club Nintendo allows users to earn points by registering their Nintendo purchases, and by taking brief surveys about the reasons for purchase and opinions on gameplay.  The points can be redeemed for downloadable games or collectible accessories.  High points earners are also eligible for rarer limited-edition items, made available for free.

This is the latest in a series of promotions intended to drive business to the Nintendo eShop. The release of [[[New Super Mario Bros 2]]] for the 3DS offered a 50 point Club Nintendo bonus for buying the downloadable version of the game.  Another promotion running now allows users to receive a free downloadable game with the purchase of one of a select set of new releases for the 3DS.  Nintendo does not offer their downloadable games at a discount over the store-bought versions, which makes them far more profitable to the company – while saving money on printing and shipping of physical media, they also receive the full price of the game, not just the wholesale price made if sold to a retail store.  It also eliminates the resale market – the downloaded games cannot be sold back to a store, and can only be transferred from one system to another a limited number of times. Special offers like this are clearly intended to make the digital purchase more appealing to the user.

With this offer, a fifty dollar or higher game would effectively earn an immediate five dollar rebate towards further eShop purchases. However, the final list of Wii U games available through the eShop has not yet been revealed; only four retail games have been announced so far, including NintendoLand, which already comes with the Deluxe Set.  Nintendo customer service reps have stated it will include their both “full-size” retail releases like New Mario Bros Wii U, as well as many smaller games at lower price points.  Their retail games are delivered on a DVD, which holds up to 4.2 GB of data. It’s almost certain most of their releases do not fill those discs to bursting; if they did, only about 8 retail games could be stored on the system’s 32GB internal storage. The system does support additional storage via SDHC cards, and while external hard drive support has been reported, no details are available.  So at the moment, the viability of downloading a high number of their retail games is questionable, rendering the ability to truly take advantage of the promotion somewhat limited.

 The  Wii U Deluxe Set retails for 349.99, but is already sold out via pre-sale, and like many new systems, is commanding usurious prices via ebay and other secondary markets. It features, for an additional fifty dollars over the basic system, an extra 16 GB of storage, the game Nintendo Land, and additional accessories including  a  charging cradle for the new Wii U Game Pad.

While the promotion begins officially in December, all Wii U purchases made starting on the day of release (Nov. 18th) will qualify. Details on the promotion are being made available at the Nintendo site at http://ddp.nintendo.com/

Quest of Drawers: How to be a convention sketch collector

The New York Comic-Con is just a few days away, and I’m packing up my necessities in my bag, along with my towel, and preparing for the show. Above all else, above my new Nintendo 3DS XL to score more SpotPass friends, above the mobile hotspot so I can post all those awesome cosplay pics,  above it all, is Norbert and my sketchbook. I’m a convention sketch collector.

Norbert at the Green Lantern Convention by Romeo Tanghal

Under the name The International Norbert Conspiracy, I’ve been collecting sketches of my mascot for over twenty years now, and I’m approaching five hundred sketches. The question I get asked the most often (aside from the obvious “What is WRONG with you?”) is “How do you get so many?”

There’s always someone heading to their first convention, and keen on scoring sketches. And they ask the hive mind where to start, who’s the best, how much do they cost, all the standard questions. And since I’ve been meaning to do this for some time now, here’s a run-down of some basic tips to get started.

First, a few basics. There’s a few ground rules you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re trying to get sketches from the happy helpful people at a convention. Even if it looks like OTHERS aren’t following those rules, follow them anyway. Usually, the artist will recognize it, and appreciate it, hopefully lighten their mood, and you may get a better sketch out of it.

BE PATIENT – The larger a con, the longer the lines. People are getting books signed, some others are also getting sketches, and some just want to get a minute or so to talk with someone whose art they like so much. And if they got on the line before you did, they get to go FIRST. And they get to take as long as the want. Usually, the artist will grasp there’s a line, and try to keep such interactions brief; not because he’s rude, but because he wants to make sure he gets to everybody. But if he doesn’t, don’t remind him. Don’t sigh, don’t make a show of looking at your watch, and don’t do that “wind it up” thing with your fingers. You will get there when you get there.

BE POLITE – OK, you’re talking with the artist now. Remember how much you hated that guy who was taking All That Goddamn Time with the artist? That’s YOU now, to the guy behind you, and so on. So even though it seemed like everybody else was taking forever, that does not give you license to do the same, and maybe a little more. If everyone followed that rule, the last person in line would be able to go full-term in a pregnancy by the time they get to the front of the line. If EVERYbody’s just a LITTLE polite, things go faster.

BE REASONABLE – Again, bear in mind there are people behind you. If you ask for a drawing of the entire Justice League, from every iteration, fighting the total population of Topeka, be prepared to hear there’s not enough time to do so. Be prepared to be happy with a headsketch, or a simple figure.

BE PREPARED TO PAY – This is something which has become more commonplace in recent years, for a number of reasons. First off, the vast majority of artists pay their own way to come to the show, and hope to make enough money at their table to cover their expenses, and then some in a perfect world. Hard to deny them that.

In the case of more popular or “Hot” artists, there is more than a small chance that the sketches they’re doing will end up on eBay as early as that night, making the seller quite a pretty penny. There’s nary an artist who hasn’t got a story of doing a piece for someone who swore it was for their kid, who was either sick, couldn’t make the show or some sob story, only to see the art up for auction before the weekend is out. So the prevailing mindset has become similar to that of the sports memorabilia business; “this guy’s probably gonna sell this, so I might as well get my cut”. And again, it’s a hard argument to dispute, as sadly, the odds are in greed’s favor. So in the case of more and more of the bigger artists, free sketches are harder to come by. They’re not impossible (tips to follow), but if you really want a piece by your favorite artist, assume it will cost you some money.

There’s an upside to this as well, If you’re paying, you have a bit more say in what he will draw for you, and you almost certainly will get a more detailed drawing than if you just got a quickie “con-sketch”. Some artists have started taking orders for commissions BEFORE major conventions as well. Check their Facebook, Twitter or other social network feeds and see; don’t be afraid to ask, either. That’s often a win-win situation as well – the artist can see some money before the show, can complete the piece more at hie leisure, and you’ll get it as soon as you walk up to him. Likewise, some will arrange to ship you the piece after the show. If you’re asking for a very intricate piece, don’t rule that out either.

Once you’ve gotten those rules memorized, here’s a few advanced tips…

Check the publishers’ signing schedules. At a big show, the publishers will have a steady stream of creators at their booths, signing and almost always sketching. While the artist is on his own at his table, he’s on the company’s clock at the booth. They’ll certainly be quick little pieces, but if that’s all you’re looking for, that’s perfect.

Get a sketchbook. A sketch on a piece of comic art board is easy to turn over to another person. But a bound sketchbook is a subtle sign that this is a piece you intend to keep. While it may not melt the creator’s heart, at least he won’t be grumbling to himself how much he thinks you’ll get for the drawing.

Bring reference. If you want a piece of Batman or Superman, odds are peple know how to draw them. But if your favorite character is less off the A-list…well, don’t be offended if they don’t remember how many frogs and buttons are on Sonar’s jacket (it’s four). Bring a couple pictures they can use as reference.

Try a theme sketchbook – The more fun you can make your collection, the more interested you’ll get the artist. Ive seem books with just drawings of one character, some with them all doing something in particular, and one wonderful collection of heroes draw in the style of Fisher-Price Little People. Make it something they’ve never drawn before, something that’l; interest them, get the creative juices flowing.

Troll artists’ alley. No, don’t go up and insult everyone, slow down and look at all those up-and-coming creators who are pushing their self-produced books. Say hi to the guys and gals who did one issue of a DC or Marvel title a year or two ago. There’s a lot of talent there and you’ve got no way of knowing who the fickle finger of fandom will touch next. A year later, they might have a line across the floor, and you’ll be kicking yourself for not getting them when you coulda.

Try, try again. Aside from a handful of artists who have simply been too busy to do a sketch, I’ve got a few who have actively refused to draw Norbert. In the first case, the time will come that they WILL have time; if not at this show, then another one. In the second case, unless there’s some specific reason they don’t want to deal with you, like you threw up on their shoes or something, there’s no harm in asking again another time. Maybe they were tired, or in a rotten mood. Give it another shot. If you need to, buy them new shoes.

As with everything at a convention, the goal is to have fun, without in some way ruining someone else’s. A bit of patience and decorum, matched with a good attitude, and you can have a nice time and get a fun new hobby started.

Emily S. Whitten: Geek Culture – No, Really, We’re Not More Enlightened

The first time I went into an actual comic book store by myself as an adult, I went in more to browse than with a specific purchasing goal in mind. I was walking by stores, and lo, there was a comic book store, and I’d just started reading comics, and wanted to read more, so I went in, ready to find things to read and buy them.

Having read a few paper comics as a young child and watched a lot of comics-related cartoons and movies while growing up, but not having read comics as an adult until a few months prior, naturally I was familiar with very few of the names’ in comics (i.e. writers, artists, or what-have-you); or with every good book or character. I had no clue who was writing or drawing which book, or what I should try first, which comics were classics, or any of that; only that I was interested in picking up some good stories. I was, in other words, a prime target for a canny salesperson who could have helpfully loaded me up with all the great stories I should read right away. I’d probably have bought them all, and the storeowner could have retired on the spot. But it didn’t happen.

When I entered the store, the (male) sales clerk ignored me completely for about the first twenty-plus minutes, as I stood nearby looking rather overwhelmed at the varied selection, instead helping three different men first (one of whom came in after me). I actually tried to get the clerk’s help with a polite “excuse me” a few times, but his response was a brusque, “Just a minute” before turning to ask Guy Number Three if he needed help. (Note: It was not just a minute.) Finally when there were no other customers in the store he turned his attention to me. I asked him if he had any recommendations for a good trade to pick up. A short conversation ensued. I can’t remember the exact words several years later, but if I had to do a play-by-play of the conversation and what I felt like was happening in its subtext (and I wasn’t imagining this based on some idea of how I’d be treated; it was completely not something I expected to encounter) it would go like this:

He acted like recommending a book to a woman who was unfamiliar with comics was some sort of huge chore and he really had better things to be spending his time on; but when pressed, recommended Watchmen. I asked him what it was about, since it was sealed in plastic and he didn’t want it opened by someone who might not buy it, and he said, oh, it was by Alan Moore (but still did not tell me what it was about). I indicated that I’d never heard of Alan Moore. He indicated that clearly I must be some sort of poser imbecile (‘You’ve never heard of Alan Moore?’), not an actual rare Female Comics Geek, because comics geeks know who Alan Moore is.

I indicated that I’d read a few issues of Runaways that I liked, after a suggestion made by my boyfriend. He indicated that now everything made sense. I was a Girlfriend Who’d Read A Comic Once. Not an actual Geek. Just a Girlfriend who’d accidentally wandered into the store without her Geek Man. He half-heartedly recommended I just look around at a few things and maybe I’d find something I liked – this being made a bit difficult by the trades being in plastic you weren’t allowed to open without permission. Then he walked away. Just left me standing there in an otherwise empty store, still clueless, in the midst of the bewildering selection of Stories I Couldn’t Browse Through Without His Permission, feeling very unwelcome and slightly ashamed to not already know everything about every comic, ever.

Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything that day. The guy made me feel so unwelcome and so much like I was bothering him just by being there that I didn’t even want to go to the check-out line to interact with him again, and I’m not a timid person. At all. Now, you could say, “he was just a rude guy.” Well, he was. But he was rude to me specifically because I was a woman and therefore clearly not a serious geek. I know this because I watched him interacting helpfully and not-rudely with the three male customers who he helped before me, one of whom had also asked for recommendations. I know this because I had a whole conversation with him in which he made me feel, both subtly and not-so-subtly, like I was unwelcome in the store and unworthy of his time because I was a woman and therefore not knowledgeable about comics like his male customers. I know this because I still remember how it felt to be unexpectedly treated like a second-class citizen by someone whose job it was supposed to be to help me.

Why am I talking about this now? Because it wasn’t an isolated incident. Ridiculous as it may seem, even now, when I know much, much more about comics and the industry, when I’m actually known by some people for how big a fan I am of comics and a particular character, I still occasionally encounter the attitude that I’m somehow here in the Comics World by accident or as a Secondary Character in the whole show; not because I love it with as much passion as any guy out there.

For example: a year or so ago, I was attending a con and ran into a male acquaintance of mine who is on the creator side of the industry and who I’ve known for awhile. As we stood near his table at the end of a row in Artist’s Alley chatting and catching up, out of nowhere he said to me “So, where’s the guy?” I had no idea what he meant, and replied with a blank “What?” His response: “Well, you’re always here with one of the guys [in the industry]. I was wondering who you’re here with this time.”

Now it’s true that when we met I was introduced to him by another “one of the guys” who is a friend and happened to be walking the con floor with me. It’s also true that often when I’m at a con, I’ll hang out with some of the industry folks, because I naturally gravitate towards creative people who share my interests, and they tend to be on the creator side of things; and it’s true that most of these people are men. But I’ve actually never gone to a con with a man, and was surprised that this was the impression my acquaintance seemed to have; that I always tagged along with some guy, rather than being excited about and planning a trip to the con all by myself because I love comics and comic cons.

And frankly, this made me a little angry. In response, I asked him to look down his row – a long Artist’s Alley row of artists and writers – and tell me how many women he saw. The answer? Not one. In his row of maybe twenty-plus creators, there wasn’t a single woman. Gee; no wonder so many of my creator friends and people I walk around cons with are male.

Now, this man is a nice person; and he wasn’t intending to be offensive. But he expressed an attitude that I’ve not only experienced myself but seen pop up regularly all over the comics and geek fandoms – that somehow, women who are in geek fandom are the secondary characters in the all male show, there in one way or another because of a guy (or, worse, there just for guys to look at). It ties into the attitude of the comics store clerk, and bothers me for several reasons.

The first one is that I like to hang out with other geek women. I have a number of geek friends who are women, and we have great times together. The more geek women out there, the better, in my book. But attitudes like the above – either actively rude dudes who treat you like you’re unwelcome and an idiot because you are a woman and therefore, at best, a n00b, and at worst, a poser; or nice dudes who blithely assume that you’re at a con with a dude instead of because of your own interests – are not the kind of thing that will encourage women to get into or feel comfortable in geek fandoms. These attitudes propitiate a self-fulfilling prophecy: treating women like this may in fact turn women off to comics or getting more involved in the fandom.

The second reason this bothers me is that these attitudes are examples of a larger problem regarding treatment of both the female characters in comics and female fans. That problem is so large and multifaceted that Gail Simone based a whole website around just part of it, and you see it being discussed, consistently, from multiple angles and spurred by multiple separate incidents, all over the internet. (For a fun time, Google “comics misogyny.” Whee.) It involves objectification. It involves violence. It involves dehumanization. It involves belittlement and aggression towards women and dismissal of female opinion. It involves experiences I myself have had that bordered on harassment and that I don’t even feel comfortable discussing in a public forum. It’s a problem so large that I can’t even fathom a way to encompass it in one column, which is why I’m choosing to focus on just part of it here.

The third reason is that while all this is going on (and trust me, it is ongoing) geek culture seems to think it’s actually super-progressive and feminist in comparison to the rest of the world, and is sometimes obnoxiously self-congratulatory about that fact, while misogyny floats around unchecked in our geek content and culture. (Seriously, read that link for some current examples of the awful stuff that’s happening right now, such as the attacks on Anita Sarkeesian, which actually made me shudder in horror.)

When geeks are called on the existing misogyny, they get super defensive. I’ve seen every excuse or justification under the sun used to try to explain the negative behavior in a way that makes it okay and shows geek culture is still more progressive. Or, alternatively, I’ve seen people try to put it all on women. (One of my favorite excuses for geek misogynistic behavior was some guy saying that, see, the reason geek guys have these attitudes towards women is that so many of them were rejected by women when they were younger, and picked on for being geeks, and blah blah blah they had to walk uphill both ways in geek snowshoes while women taunted them and pelted them with Nintendo controllers from the sidelines or something. To which I say, Shit, son – you think being picked on for being different is something that only happens to geek dudes? You think girls never get rejected by boys for being weird or geeky? Are you seriously that dumb? Put on your big boy pants, get over yourself, and stop blaming girrrrrls for your problems.)

The attitude of self-congratulation or denial that there are problems here makes me angry, especially when held up next to the actual, real-life experiences of myself, my female friends, and people like Sarkeesian. Geek culture may be coming at things from a different angle (which sometimes results in its own, unique brand of negative treatment of women, woo), but it’s not really more progressive, and it’s actually worse a lot of the time because the refusal to acknowledge the problem leads to it becoming more firmly entrenched and accepted.

All this self-congratulation equals no confrontation of the issues that exist. I have no immediate solutions to propose, but the sooner we actually meaningfully acknowledge and confront these issues, the sooner we can truly be the more progressive cultural group that we clearly feel we should be. I hope we get there someday.

So let’s all take a moment to ponder how to make the world of comics more awesome and friendly to us geeky women who love it and, until next time, Servo Lectio!

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold and Marvel… When Again?