Mouse Smash

JC Lau's blog about geekery, gender and other rants


Leave a comment

A Midyear Resolution: Diversify Your Gaming Experience with One Simple Trick

I have played video games since I was three years old, when my mother brought home an Apple IIe computer, and loaded up Pac-Man for me. From there, I went from playing a range of games like Tonk in the Land of Buddy-Bots and the Monkey Island series, to console titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Assassin’s Creed and Halo.

But here’s one thing I’ve noticed: my favorite games will, more often than not, have a protagonist that looks nothing like me. Where games have a single playable character, that playable character is likely to be a man. A white man. Maybe he has a beard, maybe not. He’s probably also straight–perhaps he also has a wife or child or someone close to him who’s died or been kidnapped at the start of the game as a plot device, and he’s probably armed with some sort of gun or melee weapon or both. Continue reading


Leave a comment

An Interview with Feminist Camp!

Feminist Camp is a weekend camp for college-age students that goes beyond classroom or campus activism for networking and learning more about feminism. While Feminist Camp was originally based in New York, it has since expanded to the Seattle area. I had the opportunity to speak to the campers last November, and also got to interview the camp organizers!

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Seven Indie Games I played in 2016

2016 was a pretty interesting year for games: with the rise of VR and announcements about new generation consoles, there’s a lot more going on for gaming than in previous years. I didn’t get to play everything that I wanted to (of course), and although I played a lot of AAA games as well, I’m trying to spend more time looking at indie offerings. Here (in no particular order) is a quick list of some of the indie games that I played last year and would recommend: Continue reading


Leave a comment

A Season’s End: Looking Forward, Looking Back at 2016

A version of this piece was originally published at GeekGirlCon’s blog. In the time (11 days!) between it was published and now, there have been at least two terror attacks internationally (plus one averted), even more influential figures have passed away, and the Electoral College confirmed Trump as President. There are still four days left in the year, which I’m cautiously optimistic will just pass away quickly and uneventfully.

My original plan for this blog post was to write a review of the events of the past 12 months. But, for a lot of us, 2016 was not the greatest year, for a variety of reasons. A lot of scary political things happened, or are still happening, both at home and abroad. Many figures who were influential when we were growing up passed away. Zika, Brexit, having giraffes added to the endangered species list

It’s no wonder that some people have described this year as a giant dumpster fire. Continue reading


1 Comment

I’m going to GDC!

gdcbanner

I’m still new to games per se. I’ve grown up as a consumer, a writer, and a critic, but not a creator. This year, I got my first job in the industry, and it’s been a fantastic journey so far.

In games, the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is one of the biggest industry events on the game dev calendar. It’s HUGE, with a lot of industry-facing talks, workshops, and networking opportunities. Unlike things like PAX or E3, the focus is on game makers and the industry as a whole, rather than end users. For someone starting out in games, it’s seriously a wonderfully immersive way to get connected, and get a more in-depth idea of what the industry as a whole is like. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Review: I saw Arrival and have some feels about it

arrival-2

I didn’t read any reviews about Arrival (except this one) before I went to see it at theaters today. So, all I knew about the film was that there were aliens and something about scientists trying to communicate with them (which, if you think about it, they do in almost all films involving aliens).

What I wasn’t expecting, then, were lessons in the construction of language, the importance of clarity and perhaps something about not losing faith entirely in humanity.

Spoilers may follow, so be warned.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Adventures in QA: Chapter 6: Work-related Microaggressions

So at work I am on a team where we have a lot of disciplines represented. There’s design and art and production and test and whatnot. It’s pretty cool. We are all considered experts in our field and the team works together because everyone brings their mad skillz to the table as it were.

Or so I thought. So, we’ve had a few issues with one of our tools lately and our investigations haven’t brought about any answers. We referred it to an engineer outside our team who gave us an explanation about it. Unfortunately, that explanation was wrong. Continue reading