GamerGate, stereotypes and the ‘gaming community’

Ever since the GamerGate movement arose a few months ago, many claims have been made about how it has hijacked the “gaming community.”

GamerGate’s supposed message promoting ethical games journalism has been dwarfed by its association with harassment, threats and misogyny. Now national media has picked up the story, with a New York Times article making the front page of the paper.

That attention has only amplified the message of so many who bemoan GamerGate’s negative influence on the “gaming community’s” reputation. Just read a few of the top comments on that piece to learn the general public’s reaction to GamerGate (hint: it’s not good).

Clearly, gamers have a long way to go to shake their reputation as basement-dwelling nerds. And many gamers believe GamerGate is to thank for that and have taken to Twitter to voice their concern for this “gaming community.”

Here’s the thing: Older generations might forever lump gamers into a single stereotype. But why are gamers so quick to do the same? Why is there seemingly only one “gaming community” that every schmuck who has ever played Angry Birds is suddenly a member of?

There are so many different types of gamers that classifying them as one group is both unnecessary and inaccurate. Gaming has become such a mainstream hobby that there is room for countless communities under its umbrella.

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UAT pulls Gamasutra ads over #GamerGate

The University of Advancing Technology has reportedly joined Intel in pulling its advertising from news site Gamasutra, citing the organization’s “negative journalism” regarding the #GamerGate movement.

Twitter user @Jayd3fox posted the following image Oct. 4 of an email, supposedly from Alan Hromas, UAT’s marketing and communications director.

The email reads, “UAT ceased advertising on Gamasutra as soon as we became aware of their (sic) being an issue with negative journalism,” he wrote. “Having one of the oldest game programs in the nation, we are very sensitive to issues of this nature.”

UAT hasn’t responded to requests for more information or to verify the email’s legitimacy.

Intel pulled advertising from Gamasutra Oct. 1 following complaints from #GamerGate supporters about an editorial the site had published that declared “‘Gamers’ are over.”

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Arizona Gamer reviews The Sims 4

What makes a good sequel: improving core features or adding new content?

A perfect sequel would do both, but developers often prioritize one over the other. Even a giant like Electronic Arts had to choose with The Sims 4, and the company chose the first route, even going so far as to leave out popular features from previous games.

Compared to its predecessor, The Sims 4 offers better customization, interaction and depth while sacrificing an open world and leaving some obvious content holes that, in typical Sims fashion, will inevitably be patched with expansion packs.

As a base game, The Sims 4 is the best installment in the series despite lacking some features as pools or toddlers. Here’s the thing: every games in the series has used expansions to complement the first release. Every Sims game is guilty of it, so it’s unfair to hold it against The Sims 4 more so than another installment. However, it’s a valid criticism of the entire series.

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Where The Sims 4 shines is with its core features. Overall, they’re a strong improvement over The Sims 3. Most notable are improvements to the dialogue and emotion systems, which have undergone a complete overhaul to include various mood states for each Sim.

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Best video game music: AZ composer talks tunes

chrisVideo games soundtracks are becoming “too Hollywood,” according to Arizona composer Christopher Norby. Some games avoid this trap, he said, but the true potential for games composing has still not been fully realized.

A native of Derry, Ireland, Norby now lives in Tempe and has worked on three mobile games: JellyFlug, Fionn Folk Tales and Grand Theft Seagull. All were developed by Ireland-based Troll inc.

He started playing the piano at age 6 and became interested in composing at age 11; films were his first inspiration, he said.

“The one that really stood out to me first was Aliens, the James Horner score,” he said.

While games composers owe a good deal to film soundtracks, Norby thinks games should avoid copying the style of film soundtracks too much, he said. Bioshock did a good job of keeping an orchestral and cinematic feel while staying original, he added.

“Some games have started to lose their originality,” he said. “But I think games are a brilliant media for writing music.”

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Saboten Con expands gaming schedule

Local anime convention Saboten Con is taking place this weekend in Glendale. But you don’t have to be interested in anime to check out an expanded schedule of gaming events at this year’s convention.

In addition to its usual lineup of anime guests, panels, screenings and vendors, Saboten Con will feature multiple gaming tournaments, free play events and even a few video game guests.

Voice actor DC Douglas, voice of Albert Wesker in Resident Evil 5, and Kingdom of Hearts voice actor Derek Stephen will both stop by the con.

There will be two 3DS tournaments for Pokemon X/Y and Mario Kart 7 on Sunday, and AZHP Gaming is hosting tournaments for multiple games as well as casual play throughout the weekend. A complete schedule of gaming events can be found online. Passes are $20-$45. All events will take place at the Glendale Renaissance hotel.

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Guests at a previous Saboten Con (Source: http://www.sabotencon.com)

Steampunk goes western in Age of Grit

“Firefly” meets steampunk – and Final Fantasy meets the Wild West  – in a local developer’s turn-based RPG seeking funding online.

Arizona-based indie studio iqSoup has launched a Kickstarter campaign for western steampunk RPG Age of Grit. Andy Morrison, president of iqSoup, hopes to raise $12,000 by Sept. 25 to support the development of the PC strategy game – specifically, to hire artists, a composer and more programmers.

Age of Grit follows the adventures of the captain and crew of a steam-powered airship as it explores a western world in search of whatever jobs will pay the bills – transporting passengers or cargo, bounty hunting, working as guns-for-hire, engaging in piracy and more.

Morrison said he drew inspiration from Age of Grit from multiple sources, including Firefly, Final Fantasy, steampunk and the Wild West.

Andy Morrison

“There’s so much potential that has never been realized,” Morrison said. “What I like about ‘Firefly’ isn’t so much the setting… but the adventures they have.”

Unlike Firefly, Age of Grit will take place on one planet, on a single continent, because Morrison feels futuristic games set in outer space have been “kind of overdone.”

Instead, the game will focus on smaller scale adventures that highlight character interaction.

“When it’s on a more epic scale, a lot of that stuff can get pushed to the side,” Morrison said.

Combat in Age of Grit takes place between airships, is turn-based and revolves around a steam power mechanic. Airships generate a set amount of steam power each turn that can be used to power weapons, engines and other systems – but not all of them at once.

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Arizona game devs design indie esports title

A team of Arizona game developers is hoping to bring esports back to its roots with an indie title aimed at local tournaments and modding communities.

The game is RMF, a movement-based 3D arena title for PC developed in the Unreal Engine and aiming for a fall release. Project manager Austin Shamp said it plays similar to a competitive game of tag.

“The players will be playing high-stakes tag, where one player will be chasing everybody else,” he said.

RMF‘s main game mode has no weapons, which Shamp said emphasizes precision in movement. While team game modes are planned, the primary game type is free-for-all.

“Focusing on movement makes it a lot easier to balance,” Shamp said.

Shamp is working on the game with Alex Reiss – Shamp designs the levels while Reiss handles the programming. The team is looking for at least one artist to handle textures, models and animations, as the game is still using default Unreal assets.

RMF is still in development, Shamp said, and the movement mechanics are taking the most time to perfect. Because there is such an emphasis on movement as a “strong base mechanic.”

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Arizona gaming news by Alex Ferri