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are girl gamers "attention seekers"?

(Note: Before we delve this topic, allow me to make a clear distinction between two terms that I shall be using throughout this post: first one is "female gamer," which is what I use to refer to the group of gamers who happen to be female. In other words, they place more importance on gaming than their gander. The second term is "girl gamer" (or 'gurl,' or 'grrl,' or any variation thereof), a group which does the exact opposite. They are the focus of this topic.) It's trite but ubiquitous. In the myriad of online matches, namely in Call of Duty, gamers of all genders have witnessed the occasional girl who, upon joining, obnoxiously asseverates her gender to the masses. Beyond that repetitive herald, their usernames and clantag almost always accentuate their gender. More than once have we seen that gamer with a name like xCoDxSEX-CxGurrlx with a clantag of "girl," "gurl," "lady" or "miss." To fuel the brazen vexation, perhaps just in case, you know, we're illiterate buffoons who are unable to read or, heaven forbid, suffer from a learning impediment and cannot see the obvious signs, they almost always invariably have their headsets on to confirm and emphasize their gender (also as a pulpit for her predictable utterances, but more on that later). Their modus operandi is far too predictable; to let the other gamers know that they are female. With signs more glaring than the neon-lit billboards of the streets of Tokyo, their continual underscoring of their gender almost invariably have one purpose - to coax attention from the guys. Negative or positive, with the above-mentioned modus operandi, the attention these girl gamers get is almost always guaranteed. After all, gaming is an ostensibly male-dominated scene, so to be the girl amongst the guys does seem to carry an array of perks. However, let's be honest, it takes two to tango -- the guys are at no less fault; upon hearing a girl's voice on the mic in an online game, they will either begin to serenade her and stew her with compliments and flirtation, or cast aspersions and bedevil her with misogynistic and sexist epithets, some of which include the preparation of certain comestibles. Either way, the attention is there, and the gaming scene is fertile ground for this kind of attention, be it vehement derision or blind adoration. What's worse, these girl gamers seem to uphold the postulate that their good performance in an online game must be perceived as something prodigious or extraordinary, and, accordingly, merits exaltation. They continually emphasize not only their gender, but their every opportune moment dominance over the opposite gender. They occasionally wonder out loud on the mic, in an obnoxious manner, to their opponent, whether their gender added insult to injury, "like, are you butt-hurt you got beaten by a grrrrrl?.' Yes, we get it, "girrlzzz" play Call of Duty and they "kikk boyz ass!!111!1" Their obnoxious ostentation doesn't end there. Some go the extra mile to foreground their gender. They often blazon their "girly-ness" with the colour pink in their player cards, in-game profiles (where possible) and, in certain games, in modifying their guns to that colour. Some even use pink controllers to accentuate their femininity. While some may genuinely favour this colour, these gamer girls invariably use this colour to stand out in the predominantly male crowd. Beyond the online game, many will try to coyly draw attention to their status as girl gamers in online forums, websites and YouTube videos. They occasionally ask questions like, "what do you think of girl gamers?" or "Why do people make such a big deal out of the fact that girls can game?" In discussing girl gamers, these women often use sultry attire and display protruded cleavage while thinking they'd be taken seriously. They take provocative pictures of themselves holding a game controller, all with the ultimate focus of procuring attention and accolade from other guys (and believe me, MANY guys are dumb enough to do exactly that). I respect a woman's right to choose whatever she wants to wear, and if she works hard on her body, by working out and eating healthy, she should show it off. But wearing revealing attire that begs for attention in a YouTube video that demands that girl gamers be taken seriously truly defeats the purpose. So when one of those asks, in the manner outlined above, "why do guys make a big deal about me being a girl?" the question answers itself; it becomes a big deal because they make it a big deal. Yes, female gamers exist. And no, only idiots give your gender any sort of importance. To make matters worse, some of these "girl gamers" are often belligerent towards fellow gamer sistren. Despite their bumptious display on their female-ness, they often see themselves as "one of the guys." Many even admit not liking other girls or having a hard time befriending them. It is surmised that their uniqueness will be eclipsed by having another girl around, and that they will no longer be given undivided attention. Indeed, Chelsea Thomspon (AKA Nintendoll) of Negative Gamer (now called Nukezilla) nailed it perfectly: "Gamer girls hate on each other because they feel threatened by each other. Another female in this boys club diffuses the overall attention that a girl will get. Therefore a gamer girl will rip into another female gamer to protect her status as the most important girl in this male-dominated social circle. This is not unique to the video game industry, Ive seen it happen in other predominantly male territories such as tech schools and the local rock climbing gym I used to frequent." It's not just frustrating to me, but also to many, many female gamers out there who just want to game. They love gaming, both singleplayer and multiplayer. But despite the myriad of sexist twerps online, they are not the only source of frustration. Why does a female gamer have to be twice as good to be considered equal? Why does she have to work hard to be taken seriously? It's because of the perpetuating canard that female gamers are rare, and that those who are girl gamers do so for attention on Halo or Call of Duty. To the people to whom the earlier points applies, here is some newsflash: 1) You are no longer a minority or an exception by virtue of your gender. 2) And if it seems like you're the only girl in the game, it's because 90% of the girls who play don't make any obnoxious references to, or mentions of, their gender. 3) By demanding special attention to your good performance, as a girl, in any game indirectly insinuates that girls are inherently inept at video games and as such, any good performance they make must be given an exceptional recognition. What about the men? Why not focus on them? While, like female gamers, most male gamers are decent human beings, there is a sizeable population of social scum that are sexist and/or sexually desperate. Some of those I ran into in Call of Duty even admit being ex-convicts (the veracity of their statement is an entirely different matter). They are, as far as I am concerned, a lost cause and an insignificant stratum of the population that are inconsequential in the greater scheme of things. They are also the population that gives attention to those gamer girls that crave it. I would gladly have written about them too, but that would mean that I actually care, and I really don't. I did emphasize that men contribute to this "gurl gamer" phenomenon by giving these girls the attention they want, but beyond that, I see no point to discussing them. I'd rather discuss more interesting topics than them. A little disclosure, lest I be considered a hypocrite: As a gay male gamer, I am all for equality. I'd like to see the day where we, without adjectival qualifiers, are all consider gamers, and are judged on our skills and passion with videogames. Yes, in Call of Duty, I do emphasize that I am gay My clantag is Gay and I do announce my sexuality. And yes, I do get attention, but it's mostly negative. I've had people tell me they want to hang me, or that all gays should be burned. I'm not saying I don't enjoy the attention, because I do. However, it's not because I find it gratifying, but because it's amusing to see the entire lobby writhe in agony. Most often than not, nobody really cares. I don't get "attention" 99% of the time, and that is fine. And this is ONLY in Call of Duty. Beyond that game (If you play that game, you know the kind of crowd it can attract sometimes), I make minimal to no mention of my orientation. I just like to hit a discordant notes with the bigots out there whenever I can. I'm not telling people how to play their game. That is their absolute prerogative. Not once in this post have I said how should one game, because, frankly, it's none of my business, but remember that certain actions, as unfair as this sound, can have negative effects on innocent bystanders - in this case, gamers who happen to be female.

Card game on Japan PS Home: How to play the game properly

On the Japanese PS Home there is a lounge under the Nippon-Ichi(日本一)space on the world map; a small, dark room with two cardgame platforms. I see a lot of North Americans/Europeans going there often and then whining in English about how they don't know how to play. For the record, I myself am from North America and my knowledge of Japanese is intermediate at best, yet I familiarized myself with the game just after three tries.

At first I didn't know what was going on, but when I got into it, I got HOOKED! This game is super fun and very enjoyable! You should try it, and I'll tell you how.

This is my guide of this particular game, which I personally wrote. I can't post it on the official PSN forums because 1) I was banned from there and 2) I don't want to expose my region hopping in official PS forums so as not to have my account suspended on the whole PSN, so I'm writing my guide here. Hopefully it'd be of some help to others (Note: Please credit me/link to this post if you are using the info from here. Thanks!).

Anyway, even after I figured out the rules, I still didn't know what the game was actually called until I asked my Japanese friends on PS Home, and that's how I familiarized myself with it.

The game is a fun card game called "Daihugou/Daifugou" (だいふごう, or 大富豪 in Kanji), meaning "very rich man." It is very popular in Japan but barely known in the West. Those who know it call it "Japanese poker," but it's not the same as poker. After playing a few times, I managed to fully understand the guideline of this game, so I wrote them down to share them with everyone else.

Rules and Procedure:

  • The basic rule of the game is that, in order to win, you need to get rid of all the cards that you have. Whoever gets rid all the cards first takes first place and becomes the だいふごう, or "very rich man."
  • There has to be at least three players in order to play this game.
  • When the game starts, you get a random collection of cards.
  • There is a card "hierarchy," but it's different than the one in the West. In this particular hierarchy "3" is the lowest. And so it goes this way: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, and 2, with 2 being the highest. (I will get to "Joker" later).
  • Each person takes a turn to use the cards, starting with the game initiator.
  • Whatever card is put in, you have to "top" it with a "stronger" card. Meaning if the other player put "5", you need to put "6" or above. If you can't top the card/cards, you must skip your turn (or "PASS").
  • If the card(s) you put it is "un-toppable" by other users, you clear the platform and get free reign to put in whatever card(s) you want.
  • You can put in 2 cards or more if they are of the same "value" (i.e. two "5" cards, three "Jack" cards.. etc). If someone else put in two cards, you need to top that with two cards of equal but higher value.
  • You can also put in multiple cards of "rising value," for example: "3", "4" and "5". However, there are rules to that:
    1) It has to be three cards minimum.
    2) The values of the card have to be "immediate/sequential." For example, 6, 7 and 8, NOT 6, 7 and 9
    3) The cards have to be of the same shape (diamond/ace/heart/spade) and same colour (red/black). That is to say, if you have, for example, "9, "10" and "Jack," and all of them are red and diamond, you can use them. This particular type of card combination is rare, which means if you have it and use it, others might not be able to top it, which insures you free reign in your next turn.
  • With regards to the quantity of cards used: you can ONLY use the same quantity of cards put on the table. For example, if someone put two cards together, you have to top it with two cards ONLY, not three, nor one.
    - Also, you need to match the type of combination of cards, so if someone put three cards of equal value, you have to use three cards of equal value that are higher than the ones on the table.
    - With regards to card of "rising value," the highest card in your combination must be higher than the highest one put on the table.
  • As I said, you can use more than one card (i.e. two or three cards) depending on the circumstances. If you win a turn, the table is cleared and you have free reign, and if you have the proper combination, you can put down up to four cards or more.
  • However, when you use four cards or more, you invoke a Kakumei(革命), or a "Revolution." In a Kakumei, the tides are turned, and the hierarchy of cards is completely inverted. That is to say, "3" becomes the strongest card, and "2" (along with Jack/Queen/King/Ace) becomes the weakest. So in a Kakumei if someone puts in a card of a certain value, you have to top it with a card of a lesser value (This goes for multiple card combinations as well).
    - This is based on the idea that the "poor man" revolts and overthrows "the rich and powerful," making the poor "3" the strongest and the rich and royalty (i.e. "King and Queen") the weakest.
    - In this lounge, during a Kakumei in the game, there is a huge red 革命 written on the top right corner of the screen. This should let you know when it's a Kakumei.
  • However, the revolution can be countered during a Kakumei. This is called "Kakumeigaeshi"(革命返し)or "counterrevolution." This nullifies the Kakumei and the rules go back to normal. This is done the same way a Kakumei is done, i.e. by using four cards or more.
  • The "Joker":
    - The Joker is the strongest card out there. It cannot be topped.
    - Kakumei or not, the Joker does not lose its status as the most powerful card, and it still cannot be topped.
    - The Joker acts as a wildcard as well for any "card combination". So, say you want to put in three cards but the maximum you can do is only two cards (for example, you have only two "8"), if you have the Joker you can add it to the combo to make it three cards, and it would also be "untoppable". People usually use the Joker if they have a possible three cards combination and want to add a fourth card to invoke a Kakumei (or nullify one, whatever).

It's not as complicated as it may seem. It's actually quite fun and easy to figure out if you play it a few times. I've beaten so many people in this game, and that's keeping in mind that the Japanese are really good at card games, so the challenge element is definitely there and it adds to the fun.

There are a few notes I would like to add about this particular JP PS Home game:

  1. The game "initiator" refers the "first person" to join that game; he/she gets to decide when to start the game. If that's you, wait until at least two more people join, and once that happens, press "X" (there should be a sign in the bottom right side of the screen) to start the game. Don't make people wait.
  2. The game can host up to six players. However, the more people there are, the less amount of cards each person will end up with, which lessens the chance of having powerful card combinations.
  3. When it's your turn but you do not have the card(s) to put in, please press "square" to skip (pr "PASS"), don't make people wait.
  4. When a game starts, the initiator (first person there) takes the first turn and gets to cast the card, the second person to join gets to be next, and so on. In other words, in the beginning of the game the turns are based on the "joining time".
  5. However, once a game is over, the order is changed: the loser (or person who finished last) gets to cast the cards, and person who finishes before the last person gets to be second, and so on, with the winner taking the last turn.
  6. If you are a winner of the game, sometimes you get a "60 second" notification on the screen. Don't worry, this "warning" basically says that you need to get rid of one of your cards. So if you get it, press "x" and take advantage by removing one of your cards. This mostly happens if there is an "odd number" players, or when it becomes one if a player leaves.
  7. If you need to refresh your memory on the rules of this game, there is a "mini guide" at the corner of that lounge (the bookshelf). The pictoral guide should give you some insight if you can't read Japanese. However, that guide is not as detailed as this one

Tips and Etiquette:

  • Let's start with the etiquette. The Japanese are very formal so you should follow suit out of courtesy, though this is not set in set in stone. This is not part of the rules, it will not affect the outcome but you should do it anyway out of common courtesy.
  • When joining a game (not just this one, but any game on JP PS Home), start by saying the formal greeting Yoroshiku (よ ろしく)(Do the same to anyone else who joins). Either type this on the on-screen keyboard if you know Hiragana, or press L1, and choose「あいさつ」(3rd option), and under that list choose 「よろしく」(4th option). Alternatively you could say Hajimemashіte(はじめまして) (same list, 1st option).
  • When one of the players win, you can:
    - applaud (press R1, then「楽しい」(3rd option), then「手する」(1st option on that list).
    - or just say Ometedou! (おめてどう!), which means "congratulations!" (L1, choose 5th option「
    then 2nd option on that list「おめてどう!」)
    - or both
  • While you start the game standing, people normally just sit down. This is the formality, and this is how the game is normally played. besides, the camera zooms in once the game starts so you should be in view of other players. To sit down, press R1 and choose the 5th option「その他」and then the 6th option「座る」.

That's the guide. Feel free to use it/distribute it as you see fit, but please credit me if you distribute it. Enjoy the game, and Ganbatte kudasai!

Also, if there are any factual, orthographic or grammar errors please let me know! Thank you!

Alone in the Dark: Inferno... what's with the bad reviews?

I'm hopefully targeting the audience who played this game. I'd like to preface this entry by saying that I am a person with high expectations in a game. It takes me a lot of convincing to like a game, as you can tell from my list on my page, apart from Altered Species most of my games are 8.0+. Except for Alone in the Dark. I gave that a 10 because there is no option for 20. The game has an excellent story line and stunning graphics. The soundtrack is one of the finest in the industry (Case in point: "Who am I?" from the OST). And who could forget about the intense driving scene, where, just when you finally leave the building you were trapped in, you realize that the evil force is not only destroying the building, but the entire city of New York! The driving scene is so intense because it is fast-paced, cars are coming your away, buildings are falling where you have to swerve to avoid damage and the fissure that's chasing your car. Most importantly all this adrenaline-rush is perfected by the music playing the background. I could not think of a game more perfect than this one, Resident Evil 5 and Silent Hill: Homecoming were astounding, but AitD should have been on that list as well.