Mouse Smash

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

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Thor’s Sales Record is Evidence that Diversity in Comics is a Good Thing


You don’t say. Well, it should go without saying, but that hasn’t always been the case.

I’ve previously written about the importance of gender diversity for making comics accessible to a broader range of readers. Without having to rehash a lot of that, here’s some empirical evidence that shows that not only does gender diversity seem to morally be a good thing to have in comics, it also seems to have notable financial benefits. Continue reading

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Are you a Feminist? Some notes about Feminism and Equality

Today, as you’ve probably noticed, is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the achievements of women in a whole realm of different sectors, such as economics, science, literature and so on. It’s a day that the United Nations has adopted as a day to promote equality and recognize what has been done, and what still needs to be done to achieve gender justice. Continue reading

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WTF of the day: Soulcalibur: Lost Swords hires Hentai Artist for Female Character Costumes (NSFW)

By now, it’s not news that the game industry is rife with accusations of sexism, misogyny and objectification of women.

Given the publicity that the industry’s received in the past year about its horrendous sexism problem, it’s baffling that Bandai Namco Games has collaborated with hentai artist Yamatogawa to design new costumes for characters in their free-to-play PS3 game Soulcalibur: Lost Swords.

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The Asian Geek Girl: A Study in Stereotyping


It can be hard to be a geek girl.

It can be harder to be a geek girl of color.

Once, in my freshman year, I went to a meeting of my college’s anime club. There were a few other girls there, but I was the only Asian in the room. When I walked in, the president of the club greeted me with “Konichiwa!” Perplexed, I thought everyone was greeted that way at the Anime Club, so I just sat down. As others came in, he simply said “hello” or “welcome” to them, in English. He didn’t say “Konichiwa” to anyone else. After the meeting, I explained to him that I wasn’t Japanese; I’m Australian but of Chinese heritage. He looked disappointed. Feeling awkward about that interaction, I never went to another Anime Club meeting. Continue reading

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The Top Ten Games of 2014 (that I played)

2014 has been a year of many changes for me. In June, I left academia–a field I’d been in for the last 15+ years–to explore what it would be like to be part of the videogame industry. This is my attempt to make my geeky leanings into a career! So, in the past six months I wrote about, networked, and yes, played way more games than I’d otherwise have the time and inclination for. In the last month alone, when I was overseas, I had six articles published at various sites and that was without my even having an opportunity to update my blog. Whew!

So here we are at the end of the year. Of the games I played this year, this would be my Top Ten list.To be fair, there are games that I bet are great, but that I didn’t get around to playing yet, like Bayonetta 2, Assassins Creed: Unity (despite the release fiasco), Dragon Age: Inquisition and Tales from the Borderlands. So this list is limited by what I’ve played this year that actually came out this year, plus a few honorable mentions for games that were published before 2014 that I’ve still not let go of. Continue reading

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Error 404: Ethics in Journalism issue arises; Gamergaters not found

I’m not sure if this article should start with something like YOU DON’T SAY.

Prior to the launch of Assasin’s Creed Unity, Ubisoft made reviewers agree to an embargo time set 12 hours after the game went on sale on the east coast of the US. An embargo is an agreement between the press and the publisher about when coverage for the game can be released to the public. What this means is that, in theory, reviews can’t be published before the agreed time, which is usually prior to the game’s release, so players can see if they want to buy the game.

By setting the embargo time to AFTER the game was released, consumers didn’t have any information about the game’s quality before they dropped their cash on it. It also doesn’t help that the game is incredibly buggy. According to this BBC News article, players have been posting screenshots online of characters missing parts of their faces, hanging onto invisible ledges, and bending to QWOP-like proportions.

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This book should be required reading before you respond to someone on the internet

Ad hominem

Ad hominem

I’m going to try very hard to keep this general, but it should be almost immediately obvious how this relates to a very current and heated shitshow going on in the gaming world.

As a philosopher, it really makes me cringe when I see arguments comments like the following: “some particular person is not a real gamer. She is a horrible stupidhead and shouldn’t be saying anything about video games.”

Common sense would tell you that that’s just false. The fact that someone isn’t knowledgeable about a topic doesn’t mean they ought not to talk about it. Sure, they probably shouldn’t talk as if they are an authority on the issue, but that’s different. Interpreting this charitably, for instance, it might be that someone is trying to learn about a topic, and they can’t learn about it without talking about it. Think, for example, about how hard it would be to understand quantum mechanics if you couldn’t discuss quantum mechanics. Continue reading

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The Sand Snakes: What’s with Nipples on Armor?

Snakes1As any good GoT fan knows, the Sand Snakes are the bastard daughters of Oberyn Martell, who met his demise at the end of Season 4. After the death of their father at the hands of the Mountain, the oldest of the Sand Snakes, Obara, Nymeria and Tyene, take action to declare war in retribution.

A few days ago, Watchers on the Wall revealed the first images of the Sand Snakes on location in Seville. They have reportedly been filming a fight scene.

Two things immediately came to mind:Snake-Whip

1. Why do they all look the same?

2. Why are their nipples on their chest armor? Continue reading