Mouse Smash

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


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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

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The Asian Geek Girl: A Study in Stereotyping

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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