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Games, Art, Art in Games.

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I recently finished reading through the digital version of the Alice: Madness Returns art book. If you're interested in the look of games and not just their narratives or playability I would greatly recommend getting your hands on an art book some time. I've always been completely shit at art, sadly, in grade eight my art teacher suggested to my parents at a Parent/Teacher evening that perhaps there were other talents I could pursue.

Nonetheless, that hasn't negatively affected my enjoyment of art, and within games that enjoyment extends to an expectation. Obviously I adore the comic book style of The Wolf Among Us and the beautiful, intricate and macabre darkness of Alice, but it doesn't need to be that complicated, it just needs to be appropriate. Look at To The Moon, or Actual Sunlight in its 2D form. Both games are pixel art but the mood fits perfectly and the art doesn't feel 'necessarily simple' though it may be just that, it feels fitting and complimentary.

The job of an art director sounds incredibly complex from all I've read. In some ways it's designing a wrapper for pre-designed levels, in other ways it's setting down every detail of the game world and the characters who inhabit it to enable to story to be told at all.

In this particular case, at least, it was consistently a process of being passionate about what they wanted and coming to a compromise that created something far better than what just one individual could have formulated. From the simplicity of Antichamber, the intense dichotomy of Limbo, to the soft sandscapes in Journey, art is everything. Whether a game is narrative focussed or not, we'll often just put it down to graphics 'quality' or make a passing mention that a game is 'pretty', but it's more than that. Art design, as described through the Madness Returns art book, is a process of hashing out what works and what doesn't. The thing I loved about the commentary from the art designers was the amount of times they cited heated arguments about what certain areas should look like and, indeed, what Alice herself should look like.

As in the success of all good things, they are the culmination of long, in-depth discussions between talented people with a vision. I still suck at art but at least I have that takeaway, and these lovely art books. Is there any in-game art that you're particularly fond of?

A Short Extra Life Refrain

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I plan to make a video on this which you'll be able to find on my YouTube channel when it's up (www.youtube.com/jessmcdonell) but it's been far too long since Extra Life 2013 now and I have some things I want to say properly.

Our 72 hour stream was so much fun. I spent the first 48 hours watching and admiring the strength of those who forwent sleep and sanity to stay streaming, particularly Erick and Seb, though Alex, Danny and others who opted for the night shift like Caro and Peter should also be commended. I couldn't believe how they managed to stay fresh and funny and entertaining the whole way though but they did and it was so inspiring. Not only that but many of them put their health, dignity and (in Johnny's case) clothes on the line to help raise money for the great cause of aiding the Oakland Children's Hospital.

At about the point of watching the American stream I didn't think I was going to be able to do my share. I signed up so excitedly to do the full 24 hours solo, no behind the camera help, no nothing, just me. I have been known to break streams and a day before we were going live the system was blue-screening every time I switched out games. Our capture card was busted, the games I wanted weren't playing well with our settings and I was spending a lot of time tearing my hair out and losing sleep. The Saturday right before the Sunday of my stream I spent five hours in the office with a technically-inclined friend of mine to set up and install all the games assuming we wouldn't have the connection or capability to do it on the fly, which we didn't. That finally finished and then Ed came in later to magically make the whole thing function and thanks to that I think I got about five and a half hours sleep.

I found out the day before that my shift was due to start at 5am, not 7am as I previously thought it did. I wasn't really fussed though, 24 hours was still 24 hours. So I came in by myself in the dead of night and set everything up. The stream didn't crash once, I settled down quickly and stopped worrying about running out of things to say and you guys gave me one of the warmest and most supportive receptions I have ever received.

That 24 hours was one of the best moments of my whole life. I never felt alone even though I spent the vast majority of that stream being extremely alone in the office all by myself all Sunday. You guys were right there with me, either succeeding in Portal, waiting up for my shitty gamer ass in Borderlands II or sticking by my side as I trawled through the high seas of Sid Meier's Pirates or the futuristic, lush Dreamfall. I never would have guessed I would be so impacted by your generosity and love, I never would have thought I would be crying in front of 1,200 people because we took our overall donations from 13,000 to 20,000 in mere hours. But I was, and I did, and I'd not take a second of it back.

I have a renewed warmth and fondness for every person reading this right now. Every person on that Twitch chat, those who watch my shows, appear on YouTube, follow me on Twitter or track my work through my Facebook page. It's impossible for me to see the negativity in it any more after having you guys rally behind me, and all of us who were on that stream. Especially when I really needed you, when I was feeling very sick and tired you guys kept right there with me and told me I could do it and, well, I did.

So thanks, whether you watched for a minute or two or hours and hours, I really feel like we did something special, and I love you for it. Thank you.

Entering YouTube

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I've been wanting to make YouTube videos for ages. The first people I was really into following were sxephil and kevjumba. Both perfect comedians who created interesting material and, ironically, have diverged completely in terms of quality from what I've seen. I followed musicians, vloggers, news shows, directors and pretty much bits and pieces of everything under the sun because YouTube as a platform is fascinating.

It's a window into the lives of people who are talented or interesting in countless different ways. Right now the main people I follow religiously are nerimon, charlieissocoollike, tyrannosauruslexxx and ninebrassmonkeys. They're all clever, interesting, talented and- well, British. I have a thing for entertaining, charismatic British people, a fact to which my significant other can attest. I'm also crazy about everything nigahiga does and by extension the laboured and loved short films from Wong Fu Productions.

All of these users are a testament to what YouTube can achieve for people, how far it can get you and what a brilliant stage it can offer for young, talented people. Also old or not-so-talented people! Also cats. It likes cats.

I've been wanting to try my hand at it forever but it's something I wanted to be so careful about approaching. The YouTube community can be scary and unforgiving and I didn't know that I'd be ready for that so I held off. Then I got to this stage where I'm doing GS News all the time and people are seeing me and hearing my work but not knowing who I am at all. This then results in people making incorrect assumptions about what my role is or who I am as a person and given that honesty is my bread and butter I felt the need to stand up and say something.

So, as a result I now have this channel: www.youtube.com/jessmcdonell

I don't want to talk about news or have this be like a GameSpot personality "supplement". It's not. This is just me, saying what I care about and hoping to get to know you and have you get to know me. I'm sure I'll make a video about this thought one day and while I've expressed it more than enough I still feel the need to repeat it. I care about being genuine. I honestly think that being yourself, being honest and not compromising to either of those is the best thing a person can do. At the end of the day the one assurance you have is that you will always be stuck with yourself and that should be a person you are not only proud of but someone you are upfront about.

So watch me be blunt, upfront, honest, whatever you want to call it. I'll be making videos on suggestions and whatever else happens to strike my fancy at the time so hopefully it'll be fun. Maybe I'll see you there =]

Why Telltale and Quantic Dream Own A Big Part of my Gamer Heart.

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You know what sells? Call of Duty. I don't care how much we bitch and moan about how sick of it we all are, whether we're gamers or critics or what have you, clearly enough of us are buying it that it's still killing it year on year in terms of games that utterly dominate. I mean, do you think they'd produce them at the rate they do if they weren't selling like hotcakes? Well they are. And honestly as much as Acti tells us they are changing it up, every time I see a new CoD title I never think, "Wow, this is such a departure from the last greyscale, moody, military shooter". It's pretty much the same thing, but that works for them and that's fine.

CoD is really a multiplayer experience, same with Battlefield, and the developers know this. They don't have to develop an in-depth narrative because no one is going to cut them down for it- they know where their focus should be and they're evidently quite successful at providing that. Same goes for all your big eSpots titles. They obviously aren't (for the most part) story games. I think the exception to this might be StarCraft (haven't played it myself) but obviously your DotAs and LoLs are on the market for their mechanics, well designed as they may be, not their stories.

That is a really long way of explaining why I have zero interest in MOBAs or generic military shooters - Spec Ops: The Line exempt, that game is fantastic. It's also why I don't care for multiplayer in general, usually, or sports games.

I play games for story, I always have. When I was much, much younger I could get lost in a book and read the whole thing cover to cover in one sitting. I loved watching all kinds of movies and TV shows and I still watch more series' than I have the time to dedicate. But there is just absolutely nothing like getting lost in a game world. It's what attracted me to adventure games like The Longest Journey and Syberia, or Monkey Island and King's Quest before that. But adventure gaming is evolving and point-and-click is not the only domain where well-rounded stories live any more.

Obviously you can find them in shooters like Spec Ops: The Line and action games like Beyond Good & Evil but two studios have a wonderful legacy of knocking it out of the park and continue to do so; as the title implies I'm talking about Telltale and Quantic Dream. Everybody knows Telltale from the masterpiece that was The Walking Dead but their new episode game The Wolf Among Us is flying a little lower under the radar. It shouldn't. It's beautiful, and the story is shocking and enticing. I have not cracked into Beyond: Two Souls from Quantic yet but I played a little here and there at trade shows before it was released.

I like these studios because the story is always the main player. It's never shoehorned in or wrapped around multiplayer. These are studios that cherish and adore narrative and give it the attention it deserves. You can feel in the spot-on dialogue in The Wolf Among Us that nothing has been glossed over or accepted as "good enough". I admire these studios for their ability to be patient with narrative. The detective thriller, fantasy nature of The Wolf Among Us means the story moves quickly but Telltale is not afraid to give you those quiet moments to get to know your colleague in the back of a taxi or investigate every inch of a potential crime scene until you have all of the information.

Quantic Dream is happy to have you set out plates and mess around in the garden with your kids for what amounts to almost the first hour of Heavy Rain if you let it. These are the things that create story, not the hectic life-threatening moments or the heroic deeds. It's the quiet moments where you get to know the characters and how they act when the world isn't coming to an end. Even The Walking Dead featured these moments when the world was, obviously, always coming to an end.

Storytelling is my favourite part of gaming and will always be. That's why I gravitate toward the great narrative adventures over genre or mechanics or play-style, and the developers who aren't afraid to trade the big selling features of military shooters and MOBAs for something more artistic.

That's just me though. Let me know what your favourite thing in gaming tends to be. Is it a feature like mine? Or maybe a genre or a mechanic? There's so much that this medium is capable of, it's fun to keep exploring.

"Critical": The Value of Criticism and "Who Cares?"

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Hello internet place, let's have a chat.

Sometimes people tend to think I'm too pessimistic or unfair because I have a tendency to pick things apart and ultimately question their worth. I do this in my home life, my general work life and the process I use for boiling down what news stories to bring to you everyday. I can be very judgemental which stems from my rather strong sensibilities on my tastes and opinions, but the word I prefer to use is critical.

Being a rather obsessive (and I mean that in every sense of the word) perfectionist, self criticism is the thing that most often plagues me, drives me, and makes me better than who I was yesterday, or last week, or last year. I spend a lot of time working on my presentation skills, my editing skills and improving what I feel needs work. Unfortunately this doesnt leave a lot of room for me to congratulate myself on the things that I actually do get right, lucky for me I have lovely friends, workmates, family and a significant other to make sure I remember how much I am succeeding, not just where I am faltering.

I called this blog post, Critical. When I first interviewed for this job I was asked (as so many people are) for three words to describe myself. I chose passionate - obvious, and true, creative and then I stumbled into the last word. I said critical. I noticed the expressions change on the faces of my now colleagues who were interviewing me - Id just said something different, done something unexpected.

As I travelled home from that interview I remember stressing over it, thinking I should have said gamer. Only realising now that that would have been an awfully generic thing to say. Saying critical worried me for its implication that I have a tendency to be negative, which I do, but being able to be critical is so important and so true to who I am. I am critical of myself, but I am also critical of those around me who I expect to come into the realm of my atrociously high standards. Count yourself very lucky if you also happen to have a boss with the same atrociously high standards - even if your natural reaction would be to dread that scenario. I promise you its worthwhile.

I am critical when I step into the office in the morning and need to weed out the worthwhile stories from the crappy ones in just a few minutes. I am able to make snap decisions and cast aside bad ideas in favour of good ones, or just wait for the good ones to come if what is presented to me is just not good enough.

I tend to use the phrase, "Who cares?" which seems to annoy my colleagues no end. And my friends and family for that matter. But I really see the value in that phrase, especially in this job. It's important to discuss, who does care? Why should they care? Am I doing something valuable or reporting something that people want to hear about?

And if not, How can I make a dumb joke about it and move on?

People see criticism as a very bad thing but criticism from my boss has made me very good at my job, criticism from good friends has made me into a person I'm happy being. Imbuing your own clever, discerning criticism into your daily life is not an awful thing and I'd recommend it highly.

Just always remember to give yourselves a break every once in a while. Or have a loved one or a good friend remind you to do that if you're not so good at going easy on yourself.

That's all the words I have for you today.

Gone Home - Also A Cute Redhead.

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I want to talk about Gone Home. Kind of. I also want to talk about me.

[Warning: Minor Gone Home Spoilers]

I'm going to head this off with something I'll get into later but should be said now and ALL of the time. I like being up front. I do it in my personal and professional life. That means being honest, telling the truth and (most importantly for this position) being genuine. I try to do that every time I write a script or a blog or hell, even a comment. So everything you'll hear from me will be brutally honest. Always.

Let's talk about Gone Home. There is a ton of stuff going on in this game which is intriguing and mysterious. Sometimes it feels like a horror game and sometimes like a Dear Esther-esque puzzle game. You know, except for the bit where that game kinda sucked and this game was amazing. I don't want to spoil the game but I will talk about one bit. You're Kate and youre finding out all these things about your family, one member of which happens to be your seventeen-year old sister Sam. Sam writes you journal entries and is voice acted in the kind of way that makes you feel close to her even if shes not real and neither are you. There's an intimacy in her voice, a way of talking about herself while shes supposed to be writing to your protagonist that makes you feel like you're under her skin too.

Sam meets a girl. A very cool girl. And this is the moment of the game that something twigs in my head and all the 1995 décor (which I do NOT remember since I was 4) fades into insignificance in the face of something I can relate with. Sam describes this girl, Lonnie, as the kind of girl you want to find an excuse to talk to but she's just so unfailingly cool that you feel like a total idiot around her. I wasn't exactly seventeen when this happened to me, it happened several times between the ages of fourteen and, well, now. But I do remember being eighteen and meeting a girl in my creative writing class. I've never heard that sensation of being in awe of somebody replicated quite as well as Sam's words did in Gone Home. It's not quite like being in lust, or love, just an instant admiration, the feeling that you meet somebody and you just want so badly to be their friend.

The things Sam talked about and the way she talked about them dragged me all the way back to five years ago. And to relationships I'd had in the past. You rarely get to hear the voice of a seventeen year old girl in games. And if you do she's all stylized or 'strong' or 'sassy' because god forbid female characters just be normal, flawed people like male ones. To be fair the style of this game facilitates her character but nonetheless the delivery is beautiful and flawless. A teenage girl is one thing, but a teenage girl talking about making friends, being an outcast, finding somebody phenomenal and getting really deep into a relationship with said somebody is not something you find in games. The story of finding yourself, especially finding yourself in others while getting a crush, or falling in love and with someone unconventional (in this case, a girl) is, for me, relatable and touching.

I can't even say its something you don't find often because you just flat out dont find it. Games that make you feel are special; games that hit home are special. Gone Home is exceptional. Any game thats capable of dragging me back into a memory where I sat across a tutorial room from a stunning redhead listening to her read out her poetry and trying to plot a way to befriend her is something I've never encountered. We never went out, though, in case you're waiting for the end of that story. I did befriend her though.

I almost feel a bit intruded upon, that it could make me feel all these things and push all of its own feelings as well as mine back on to me. But moreover, I just respect it. Even if you're not a girl, or a LGBT-identified person, please try out this game. This is just a tiny glimpse from my personal take-away of what is a nigh on perfect game. For me, at least.

Also watch Caro's wonderful review: http://au.gamespot.com/gone-home/reviews/gone-home-review-6413000.

Sparked By #twittersilence - Although Unrelated. Mostly 'Thank You'.

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I'm a bit overwhelmed right now but I wanted to write this because I want to tell you guys some things. I was reading up on what is going on with #twittersilence at the moment - basically standing up for women who get rape and death threats for being feminist and what have you. In regards to the feminist stuff I was brought up on a very simple and very honest definition of the word. To be a feminist is to believe in equality for both sexes.

I hate how distorted and corrupted the image is of that word. Women are afraid to use it and associate themselves with bra burning and men are threatened by it because they think its associated with man hating. It is not either of those things. I dont overanalyse calling myself a feminist. I believe in equality. That word means gender equality. Thats it.

Anyway, I do get a lot of hate. Every single person you've ever seen on the internet does. Hell, maybe you do. And while it's bad for everyone it CAN be particularly hurtful and difficult for women to deal with when certain individuals resort to making terrifying rape or death threats. There is no universe where this is okay but I do feel like there will always be the insecure, pathetic individuals who will resort to that. I am in the somewhat unfortunate position of catering mostly to a young, male audience which does pry out some of these individuals from under their shitty woodwork but I have learnt to deal with it. I am still learning to deal with it.

Here's the important part I want to get to, though. Those people suck, and they're there but they aren't all that there is because the overwhelming majority is you guys on Twitter, Facebook, or on my GS News video pages which I hang out in EVERY DAY. I get to talk to you and make inside jokes and I really love it. I am a strange, introverted girl and you guys made my little show page feel like home and that's special to me. I was tentative about how that show would be received and mostly it's just been fantastic. It's the reason I get angry when trolls abuse any of you on there and I fiercely protect you because already, even after only a few weeks, I feel like we have our own little community.

Then there's the people who follow me on Twitter or who just follow my work in general and I dont say fans - I hate that word. I hate any term that somehow signifies we are on different levels because we aren't. I'm just a girl who happens to be employed in a public-facing position at a website that you guys frequent. We both love games, you might like the Xbox while I like my PS3 but, hey, I think we can sort it out. We're just people, and not so different from one another. But, you know, I have tricky days.

Days when people are really harsh, or I'm just generally feeling down and the extra criticism weighs heavier than it normally would. I see all these women I admire on Twitter talking today about how much hate they get on Twitter every single day and I almost feel guilty because you guys have never given me anything but your support. When I'm sick, when my job gets hard or when I'm feeling down youre just there. And I hope it seems like I care about you and your lives too because I honestly do. Thats why I love being in the comments and replying to every single tweet I possibly can.

You guys are why I get joy out of my job. If you care about what I say and you're happy with my work then thats really all I care about. Sorry for ALL of the emotions.

Basically, I love your faces, you're all freaking excellent people and you make what I do feel worthwhile. Thank you, whether you follow me or watch my videos or actively chat to me I just need to say thank you. I'm overcome with the realisation that most of you are so decent and kind. I'm eternally humbled.

Have awesome days <3

GameSpot News Daily Madness

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As of a week ago now, well, a week and two days @EdmondTran and I have been bringing you the news and a lot of you seem to like it which is freaking awesome. I quite like it too =] I figured since we're invading your homepages everyday you might want to know a bit about how the show is produced. The incredible crew that goes into this show is a whopping two people. Myself, and Ed. And that's it on our end. The show is produced for 4PM in San Fran which would be loads of time though sadly we are not in San Fran, we are in Sydney where 4PM becomes 9AM. So, here are my and Ed's mornings (though his have a little less hair fixing and makeup wearing - a bit less).

5:00AM: WAKE UP TIME. Yes, it's glorious and not at all horrible. The trick is to get out of bed right away. And then sit in front of my floor heater for twenty minutes congratulating myself on having gotten out of bed. The clever Eddie or Martin from our US and UK offices will have sent me the days news so that I can get a head start on reading. All of this is getting ready time and getting to work time until...

6:20AM: Get into work. It's a hectic, delirious morning where Ed puts up with me jumping and putting on stupid voices and I threaten him on pain of death not to repeat any of the weird things I say at six in the morning. Also, he gets too many coffees and I have a hot chocolate (because I'm a grown up) and we both regret it because we're trying to fill food-shaped holes in ourselves with beverages. I start scripting the second I get in the door, fortunately being sarcastic and snarky about nearly every news item comes pretty naturally to me so it only takes about half an hour each day.

7:10AM: We shoot. Ed does all the behind the camera magic and I stand there and say my words. I usually make myself laugh from my jokes FAR more than anybody else does but I do my best to yell my hilarious one-liners in Ed's face so he'll realise how funny I am. Still waiting for that day. The shoot is a combination of different shots to camera and on-camera V/O. It's all stuff I've personally never done at GS before - or anywhere - and I'm a big fan of the final result.

7:30AM: This is where I write out the headline and the deck for Ed while he sits and stresses over the edit. It all goes awfully quickly punctuated by one or both of us cursing at our Macs (I'm not usually a Mac person but when I edit videos I find Final Cut Pro really is my favourite method). All up we have to get the video out and done from shooting in about an hour and it needs to be published on site within two and a half hours from start to finish - if you do not edit I will tell you this is tricky! But it sure is satisfying.

9:00AM: Publish! This is the best bit where we get to calm down (I get to calm down, I should say, Ed manages to busy himself with post-production work) and I get to watch what you guys thought of it. Whether you're commenting on YouTube, GameSpot, Facebook or on Twitter using #GSNews, I guarantee you I'm reading every single word. Your support and criticism is what keeps this show interesting and getting better and better as we go!

GameSpot News

So thanks, I appreciate all your kind words around this very hectic show that we've taken on. They're invaluable and (more often than not) really lovely to read.

Women in the Public Eye: Cleavage or Classy? Pick One.

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Originally posted to AnotherSideQuest.com 

 

I've been grappling for a while with what it's like to be a woman in the public eye because it's not as simple as being a video journalist or being a GameSpot employee. It's not as easy as it is for guys. I can't just focus on content creation and being good at my job because I have to consider a whole bunch of other things. Up until twenty minutes ago I thought these things were important, I thought they were proper considerations that I needed to be aware of ALL the time if I want to do this job. Now I think that's bullshit and I'm going to tell you why.

This morning SourceFed host Meg Turney posted up a picture of herself in a push-up bra (I KNOW you want to see this so here you go) and I reacted with disdain. I had such admiration for her as a bisexual, cool, gamer who hosted a fantastic show. She's laid-back and intelligent and a lot of the things I aspire to be in a video journalist. She's also drop dead gorgeous. When I saw that picture I jumped to the same conclusion that a lot of people who aren't men probably did - she's selling out, she's using her boobs to get attention and to garner Twitter followers etc. I went on a Twitter tirade saying she was removing all integrity from her career and proving that she's just another girl who will exploit herself to get male attention - what I said was stupid. Basically.

Image
Meg Turney's Assassin's Creed Cosplay

She reacted against these types of responses in two different videos and I received a well deserved smack in the face. The things I have come to understand from this industry are mostly things I have gathered as a result of males trying to objectify me or males trying to protect me. Perhaps neither is useful to me deciding who I want to be and how I want to represent that person publicly. I've been told not to tweet about my body in a way that might be misconstrued as sexual, I've been objectified for wearing a low-cut top and many, many more from both sides of the scale but you know what, I'm saying, "No". I'm calling bullshit.

Just because I'm a woman talking about video games to a large sect of grown-up, sensible people and a small sect of vocal sexist pigs does not change how I'm going to act. I'm going to be me. I now believe that as long as I'm not showing up to a bikini to work or tweeting propositions to my followers there's no reason I shouldn't be exactly who I am. I'll dress in high-cut t-shirts some days and others I'll wear the tank tops I'm usually more comfortable in.

I'm not buying into this "women need to act differently to men in gaming JUST because they're women" anymore. It's total bullshit and it's not fair. And, honestly, it's sexist. Whether it's people giving me advice for my own good or just a bunch of assholes objectifying there's no good reason to change myself.

Now I'm not saying I'm going to follow in Meg's footsteps but I don't think women who do should be crucified or be accused of selling out their integrity. Everyone has their own attitudes and personality. If she wants to show off her boobs which she's clearly fond of then who the hell am I to tell her otherwise? Just because she's a woman, she should be more demure lest she be objectified? How is saying that any better than telling women to take off more clothes in a video? I honestly believe it's not.

Women should be okay with talking about their bodies and showing them off if they so choose. Yes, there will ALWAYS be gawkers and weirdos but she isn't dressing that way for them. I never dress that way for them. I want to be able to tweet about my body in a non-promiscuous way without going "Oh but what will the men who follow me think? What if they think it's racy?", I want to dress in a way that makes me happy without a thought to what it might make some assholes on the internet think.

If men don't have to censor themselves I think it's complete shit that women are asked to, or expected to. As I've said, if it's in line with the company with which they are associated (should they be, and I say this regarding my role at GameSpot too) then there shouldn't be separate rules for how men and women conduct themselves.

So, screw it, basically. I'm done reviewing myself as a woman in this industry and I'm going to start just seeing myself as a person in this industry. Besides, that's always how I've seen myself outside of it so why should it be any different? I'm not a girl gamer, I'm a gamer. I'm not a female journalist, I'm a journalist. My views are my own and that is plastered on every social media outlet I find myself on so why am I putting myself and my personality in a box that's seen to be more 'sensible and polite' just because I'm a woman?

I'm really interested in what you guys think. Do you think women in the public eye need to be careful? Should we have different rules? Why or why not? Let me know.

The Thin Line Between Directionless and Finding a Passion

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Originally posted on AnotherSideQuest.com

So, lets get that out of the way then. As of today I work full time in my dream position at the online publication I've been following since I was a little girl. It's amazing and exciting but also inevitably terrifying in its new-ness and unpredictability.

Just three years ago I would have been in my first to second year of university. I had no idea this is what I wanted to do. I spent eighteen years of my life dead-set that I wanted to be an actress - I had trained professionally and taken every course and workshop I could get my hands on - then in 2008 I auditioned for full time study at a huge performing arts college in Sydney. They notoriously never took 18-year-olds fresh out of uni but I had to try - obviously I didn't get in but fortunately I gradually worked out that acting wasn't the path I wanted to go down.

In 2010 I had just switched out of a Psych degree which was going nowhere fast since I decided I was far more interested in the theory of psychology than the practice of it. Another big reason for me changing out of that degree was due to the fact I didn't think it would be easy enough to get a job in (I know, this theme of choosing ridiculously off-the-wall jobs carries through all of this).

I was deciding between being an archaeologist, and changing degrees to do so, or being a writer for video games. The former, again, sounded a lot better in theory so I switched to a Media degree to try and get myself some qualifications and learn a bit of writing - which I loved already - and a bit of programming. Programming didn't pan out so well. I remember attending the very first three hour lecture which started at 6pm and leaving at 7pm, calling my Dad and telling him I would be dropping that class. I hated it. So, video game design probably would not have been on the cards for me.

Fortunately I had also taken web design where I could be creative and make mini-games in CSS and I was loving it and also doing very well at it. This led on to a computer games unit which was run poorly and whilst it let me be around people who cared about what I cared about we weren't doing much of interest. Our major assignment was to create an educational game about Australian history - I'll let you make of that what you will.

I had been unemployed for a while by this point if you don't include doing the odd job at my Mum's office and, being an HR executive, she had been trawling Seek.com to try and get me off my ass and into a proper workplace. It may also have had something to do with how little I cared about doing her admin work. Fortunately she dug me up the Seek ad asking for a video games journalist to work casually at GameSpot.com.

The interviews went very quickly. I studied for them harder than anything I've ever studied for. I called in every favour from my friends to review my work and interview questions and went through more wardrobe options than I'm willing to admit. When they put me in front of a teleprompter I shook like a leaf but I followed it up with a joke and went on with what I had to do. I remember being asked to state three words that described me and one of the ones I chose was 'critical'. I remember cursing myself for it afterwards because I thought it was too negative, I wished at that point that I had said 'gamer' instead - I'm so glad that I didn't. For my second interview, I made a video feature about Chosen One's which I then emulated in a more professional manner in this video which remains to this day one of my very favourites.

When Randy called me and offered me the position I remember being polite and enthusiastic on the phone as I accepted and literally jumping for joy in my bedroom when I hung up.

I feel very lucky to be in this industry, working with clever and interesting people who are also close friends. Even when I had no idea what I was doing with my life I knew if I figured it out I'd be alright, I'd make a plan and get there. I'm not saying there wasn't a little luck involved but I honestly feel that people can get anywhere they want to go with a little effort and a lot of determination. Well, it worked for me anyway =]

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