Mouse Smash

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


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Review: Cassius Issue 2: More diversity, more plot thickening!

Junia

I’ve previously written about Cassius Issue 1 for GeekGirlCon, and now I’ve been given the opportunity to continue following Junia in her epic adventures to understand the mark of Cassius!

As a bit of a recap, Cassius is a story from Arbitrary Muse Comics, the collective mind of Ann Uland and Emily Willis, and, while inspired by the Shakespearean play Julius Caesar, it’s clear almost right away that this is probably not the sort of story that Shakespeare imagined. Junia, the protagonist, inherits the mysterious mark of Cassius from her mentor—while on the run from would-be assassins—has to discover the meaning of the mark and what her destiny is. Continue reading

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Purple and Nine Teaches Tween Girls about Technology

In the past few years, there have happily been more instances of games and toys for girls that relate to science and technology. Goldieblox is a well-known one, but Girls who Code and Techbridge, for example, are programs to teach girls about coding and software development. In that vein is Purple and Nine, an animated webseries and comic book series aimed at girls aged 8-12.

Purple and Nine was developed by Gangly Sister, a group of parents who were concerned with the representation of girls in the media, specifically the “stereotypes of girls who are interested only in boys, fashion, and celebrity. We wanted to show girls that they could be anything, and create the heroines we believe today’s media is missing.” Continue reading


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Hayden Black on Gen Zed, the First Animated Show with a Transgender Lead Character

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Hayden Black is a writer, voiceover artist and the creator of Hulu’s Goodnight Burbank. He’s also the creator, writer and director of Gen Zed, an animated comedy about the adventures of four Millennial housemates. What’s notable about Gen Zed is that it is the first animated series with a transgender actress in the lead role—it’s about time! Here, he gives us a bit of background on his upcoming show and the importance of diversity in the media.

Tell us a little about Gen Zed.

It’s an anarchic comedy about growing up whilst immersed in tech. About finding out who we are whilst drowning in choices. It’s also about understanding and accepting each other no matter who we are. So buried in all that punk is a totally hippy vibe.

What are the main characters in the show like?

Real. The one thing I hope separates us from other animated series is that while we might have similar flights of fancy, the people here are real. They’re beautiful, they’re ugly, they’re spiteful, they’re loving, they’re pieces of shit, they’re wonderful. Just like you and me. Continue reading


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Games as Art

I started contributing to International Games Day @your Library, which is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization to make games inclusive in library collections. In my writing for them, I analyze some issues in games and write down my thoughts. This piece originally appeared on their blog, and was republished in the Games Round Table of the American Library Association.

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Can games also be considered art? There are games that, to be sure, are described as art, and games that are visually appealing, but can games as a whole be considered an art form?

In this article, I’ll consider the artistic value of games. This can be a heated and controversial topic, so I don’t expect this to solve any age-old debates. However, I hope that I can generate some thoughts on the relationship between games and art, and how games could fit in to the world of art. Continue reading


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“What kind of geek are you?”

whatgeek1I didn’t self-identify as a geek for a very long time. As a child, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the 80s, but that wasn’t particularly geeky, because all kids my age liked the Turtles. In a third grade spelling test we were told to spell the longest word we knew, and I managed to get out “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, not because I was an academic overachiever, but because I thought that Mary Poppins was an awesome movie. I liked reading, but I was much more drawn to writers like Roald Dahl and, later, Jeffrey Archer and Michael Crichton, than Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman. I didn’t even touch a Marvel or DC comic until I was about 20.

But the reason I’m writing about my unassumed geekiness is because I was once presented with the question, “but what kind of geek are you?” and I was speechless. That question left me stumped for days. How on earth do you answer something like that? I’ve had geeky interests my whole life, but they just haven’t presented themselves to me as geeky per se. I just thought that they were interests that everyone had. Everyone likes Ninja Turtles, right? Everyone wants to be a superhero, right? Wouldn’t that make everyone a geek? Continue reading


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Assassin’s Creed Chronicles has a Release Date, and it’s Tomorrow

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We’ve previously discussed the upcoming Assassin’s Creed trilogy, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles before, and the first installment of it, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, will be available tomorrow in the Americas.

To celebrate the news, Ubisoft has also released a new trailer today offering the gameplay, updated art style and a glimpse into the story.

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Imagined Universes and Their Inhabitants

GotG lineupWhen Marvel announced last year that Thor was going to be female, there was some backlash from pockets of comic book fandom saying that the change went against the mythology of the comic, and that Marvel was just pandering to feminists. Of course, given our cultural climate, it’s hardly surprising that an objection would be made on the basis of Thor’s gender. But what’s weirder is that the basis of this objection is that it wouldn’t fit into a universe which, by its definition, was a fictional one, and as such could encompass whatever sort of characters we can imagine.

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