Entries in girl gamers (3)

Around the Web: Jane McGonigal, Felicia Day and the Women of WoW

I know a lot of other ladies, besides myself, who play WoW. I'm pretty good friends with many IRL, and I've also met a ton of talented ladies through my guild. But I don't often hear many stories about the women of WoW and how they're making an impact on the world we live in. That's why I perked up recently at hearing two fine examples of women who play WoW, and why they're shattering stereotypes on gamer girls and, more importantly, on the gaming industry as a whole.

The first story I came across on game designer Jane McGonigal doesn't deal directly with Warcraft (although she mentions WoW as one of her favorite games), but more on innovation in gaming and promoting the positive aspects that games can have on culture. Last week, McGonigal spoke on this topic at the TED 2010 conference (TED, a nonprofit organization, stands for "technology, entertainment and design"). The conference featured big-name speakers including Bill Gates, Jamie Oliver and Sarah Silverman. But it was McGonigal who drew my eye. Here's a brief interview CNN did with her:

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The Experiment: End Game

Seriously, My Girlfriend Thinks My Hobby Is A Chore! Seriously, My Girlfriend Thinks My Hobby Is A Chore! I tried to get my girlfriend to join me in Azeroth with the best of intentions.  Really, I did.  We spend tons of time together, from cooking to working on our domicile to watching numerous TV series and movies.  Sure, we have our differences - Battlestar Galactica vs The Hills - but we find common ground in every facet of our life - STRIKEOUT Plants vs Zombies STRIKEOUT Dishes vs Laundry - we both hate them.  With that in mind I thought introducing her to World of Warcraft would be worth a shot.  After all, I am forced, arm-twisting and all, into playing hours of WoW a week.  Why not spend some of that time, and get some extra material, with my girlfriend? She thought the idea was cute and obliged with a long decision making session (a female-played female drawf!).  After that tiring ordeal we waited a bit before tackling the early levels.  We never got through them.  It wasn't the controls, the universe, the inability to level outside of combat or the massacring of defenseless animals that got to my partner in crime.  She didn't dislike WoW for any of the staple reasons.  Nope, it wasn't just WoW.  It seems that she'd hate nearly any MMORPG because it was the entire idea of quests, the openness of the world and always having something to do that got to Ms. iTZKooPA.  To her, all of the content that we crave was seen as a "chore"! From a game design standpoint, I'd place the blame on WoW's lack of an engaging story.  Looking back the designers should have included an early storyline, preferably started in the opening cinematic, that would capture players right off the bat.  Extremely casual players like Lesley need to be enthralled with fun or entertaining mechanics (Tetris, Super Mario Galaxy) or a well-crafted story in the first 20 minutes or they are lost.  As most of you will agree, there is little in the way of memorable storylines or exciting gameplay in those very early levels.  Thus, the Lilyterrain experiment was an utter failure (I wish I was tauren so I could say udder and get away with it), but I am glad we attempted it. It looks like I will remain the sole player of WoW in the house, but it isn't then end of the world.  We do plenty of other activities together to keep us both happy.  Having your own little slice of life to yourself isn't a bad thing either.  I wonder what the success rate on converting your partner to an MMOG is.  How many of you have tried and failied?  How many of you have pulled off this life achievement?  How many dare not try for fear of ruining your "me" time?

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The Experiment: A Non-Gamers Introduction To Azeroth

Not The Actual Image
Not the actual occurrence.

I have touched on this subject before, but I never truly broke it down for you. I have been dating a lovely lady for almost eight months now and we have enjoyed our time together thoroughly. Heck, those vacations I took, the ski trip and holiday break, were with her. Needless to say, we fancy each other quite a bit, and yet she has managed to avoid a large facet of my life, video games.

She knows that I enjoy them and write about them frequently, but she hardly ever sees me play them. Unlike some gamers, I am not ashamed of my hobby. In fact, I tend to glorify it in my clothing, my home's decorations and even the name of one of my ferrets, Cloud. Lesley just happens to miss most of my playtime due to work hours. So the issue of games didn't really come up for awhile.

When I discovered that my fair lady still thought of video games as Tetris, I knew I had a job on my hands. I introduced her slowly to the newer games, mainly focusing on lighthearted, easy to grasp Wii titles before handing her the axe for Guitar Hero III. Then one night, I handed her the controller during a mission in Grand Theft Auto IV. Hilarity ensued.

Ms. iTZKooPA turned the game into “Grand Civilian Auto,” slowly driving through traffic as if she were in the South. After waiting at lights, allowing other automobiles to have the right of way, and extending the crosswalk to pedestrians, her vehicle strayed into a barrier into a Toll Booth. It caught fire. Panic quickly consumed the rookie gamer behind the controller.

Lesley spammed buttons on the controller until Niko fled the burning car. Once she swiveled the camera around, a horrible realization struck her, half a dozen cars were piled up behind hers trashed vehicle, blocking the exit she was planning on taking. As the fire roared louder and pedestrians begin fleeing, Niko turned...and got back in the car seconds before it exploded.

Our friends who were there upon the fiery demise of Niko have never forgotten the episode. Nor will they let Lesley, but I didn't recant the tale to make fun. No, no, I simply wanted to give everyone a feel for what kind of gamer is finally going to make the leap into Azeroth.

Just to be clear, I am not forcing her to do this, nor is she going the “if you can't beat them, join them” route. We both believe that the experiment will be a fun endeavor and something new to do with each other. So this weekend, Lesley will subscribe to her first MMOG and make her first character. While I will be by her side on a new alt, SolidPumice a soon-to-be Prot Warrior, I will not be helping her too much. The discoveries and designs MMOs have to offer are half the fun.  Wonder if Recruit-A-Friend still works...

Who knows, you may see some Horde-based coverage on ProjectLore as I won't restrict her faction choice!  Any one who has done the same have any tips?

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