Friday, February 21, 2014

My Semi-Retired Crusade Against Video Games

My family is in the process of moving. I say “process” because we live in the new house but not everything has left the old.  Unpacking I discovered shirts I had made while a graduate students for my personal crusade.  Yes, I had more than one crusade but this shirt really  exemplified so much of who I am today.

It was almost a decade ago and I was poor grad student working in retail hell aka Game$top. 

The worst part of every shift was when parents came to purchase games for their kids and even after my explicit reasons why they should not they still bought the game.  Grand Theft Auto was the biggest seller and I would regularly remind parents that in this game,

“Your child can have sex with a prostitute and then kill them to get some money back.”

Most parents would avoid making eye contact and handed me their credit card with ID. 

I built a website, went to some industry events in my inflammatory t-shirt, and made a stink with as many parents as possible. 

What is Happening Now

Fast forward to now and one of the most shocking realities for me is that my WAR website still exists.

And in better, more substantial news there are people who are great with new media doing innovative stuff to keep the gaming industry honest.

The problem with parents is still a problem but this industry is getting more accountable, not great but accountable.  In a recent post I referred to Anita Sarkeesian from Feminist Frequency who has made tremendous headway in giving an audience to problematic gaming tropes.  I forgot to mention James Portnow from ExtraCredits who is also doing some really great critical perspectives on issues in games.

In my current reality I am following conversations about video games on many different fronts with different audiences that should overlap.
  • Game publishers/industry
  • Textbook publishers
  • Parents
  • K-12 Educators
  • Cultural critiques/ bloggers (seriously if you have not checked out Anita or James shame on you)

There are very different dialogues happening in different circles.  But no matter the conversation many of them in the past, present and future will continue to be about games.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Romance and Technology

I have been working on a thoughtful blog post about what area of technology I would most like to investigate as part of a current course I am enrolled in.  If I am being honest the area I will research is pragmatic and overlaps with my current professional research.  The area I would like to research is interpersonal relationships, specifically marriage and technology/ geekdom. 

This blog was created as a place to reflect and honor the awesomeness of my partnership with John Boone.  Technology, gaming and professional wrestling were a large part of our initial friendship.  Our history day project was a website and in 1997 people thought teenagers coding html was hot shit. We celebrate milestones in our life by playing video games and some of the most memorable aspects of our friendship revolve around tech.

Now that we have kids we are forced to recognize Valentine’s day in a new way.  Normally we buy video games and wrap them with flower wrapping paper.

Today my gift is to think about what major moments in our journey make us, well "us." Please click the image bellow for a timeline of some milestones in the Boone story.