Bleats

I've Nearly Died Multiple Times Playing Pokemon GO But It Still Hasn't Stopped Me

Gotta catch them all, no matter the risk.

A few days ago when I walked straight into another person because I was playing Pokémon Go.

After this collision incident occurred, it occurred to me that it might be time to consider all of the dangerous situations this arguably innocent game has put me in.

Firstly, there’s the physically dangerous scenarios such as walking into people. I’ve also walked into traffic, slipped on the footpath, twisted my ankle in a small pot-hole and walked straight into a sign.

That’s the thing about Pokémon Go – it might get you out and walking, but it demands a seriously large amount of time looking at the screen if you want to collect all objectives and catch all Pokémon.

Up until this point, I haven’t sustained any serious injuries, but I do wonder about the extent of the damage that I’m doing to my neck. 

Not all of this clumsiness can be blamed on the game however, some of it really comes down to a general lack of spatial awareness.

(Perhaps those with challenged spatial awareness shouldn’t play on-the-go mobile games.)

 

The “Gyms/Arenas” and “Raids” are another concerning aspect of the game.

A couple of weeks ago I was putting my Pokémon into a Gym and about halfway through the battle I noticed a man with two phones on the other side of the street, staring at me in a strange and aggressive way.

I immediately realised how such situations could become aggressive or threatening should the wrong mix of personalities pop up.

“Raids” involve people meeting as a group around a given object or monument that is marked on the map. Often, these raids take place in somewhat creepy locations, or rather locations where I unfortunately  would not usually feel safe to go alone, as a woman.

The game clearly has this in mind as no raids take place after 9pm in winter and 10pm in summer – in an attempt to keep players safe.

As it stands, nothing too bad has happened to me playing this game, but I have become very aware of the dangerous situations it has the potential to put players in.

I have genuinely spent three hours at a “Pokémon Community Day,” literally walking around a park in circles.

So, if you are thinking of downloading the app, maybe reconsider your life choices before you get addicted.

 

The Badass Women Who Totally Owned The Story In Your Favourite Games

Game over, fellas.

Seeing Brie Larson absolutely rocking and embodying the Captain Marvel character got me pumped up and reminded of some equally awesome female characters and protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the years – via gaming.

The gaming industry is undoubtedly (although changing) a male dominated one, and that means, in turn, that the protagonists we usually see in games are also male.

Sometimes, however, we get some damn cool ladies to play as. Here’s a quick look at some of my favourite deep, dark, interesting and complex women brought to us by the gaming industry. 

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider

The queen of the video game world has long been Lara Croft, who despite a questionable beginning in terms of her physical portrayal has since developed into a less sexualised and more rounded character. The latest iteration provides us with a strong, mentally tough and extremely driven Croft.

Cassandra, Dragon Age: Inquisition

One of the great things about role playing games is how immersive they are, and the great potential they give to strong character development. Cassandra is an imperfect and multifaceted woman who can be incredibly stubborn, but develops a great ability to listen and understand new perspectives.

Ellie, The Last of Us

Starring in one of the greatest games ever made, the thing I love the most about developer Naughty Dog’s decision with this character is that they did not make her a damsel in distress. Ellie is not only a fiercely independent and brave character, but a mentally robust person whose acceptance of the world falling apart around her is admirable.

Amanda Ripley, Alien Isolation

Amanda might not look like the heroic type of woman you’d expect to see on this list at first because she has a tendency to spend a lot of time running and hiding. But, if we stop and think about the position she’s in, where literally one tiny move in the wrong direction is a matter of life-and-death, she starts to look like a master of survival.

Commander Shepard, Mass Effect

Shep is one of the most immediately obvious champions of female gamine heroines. Players are given the choice of the male and female version of this character, and there is no difference in story arc based on gender. Continuously displaying strength and bravery in difficult situations, this is a woman that all gamers of all genders can look up to and appreciate.

Aveline de Grandpre, Assassin’s Creed: Liberation

As the first female protagonist to appear in an Assassin’s Creed title, Aveline was a long time coming. She’s an extremely fun character to play because she uses a series of disguises to move through dangerous spaces and achieve goals. Another excellent aspect of this character is that she’s of mixed French and African descent – also not often seen in the gaming world.

There are plenty more (although not enough) great female leads and characters in the gaming world, and I for one am excited to meet the new and empowering women this industry should bring to us over the coming years.

Stop Telling Female Gamers We're Only Playing To Impress Guys

Sorry, your princess is in another castle.

I am a woman and I like games. Sometimes I like to play Pokemon and sometimes I like to dabble in a bit of MMORPG, not that you can really dabble there – you sort of have to commit, well, entire days at a time. (That’s Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, for those playing along.)

Anyway, there’s nothing interesting or special about being a girl who finds this form of entertainment engaging, fun and even social. It’s another facet for escapism, one more way to switch off for a few hours and enter another world. In fact, I would even say it’s healthier than zoning out and streaming TV series, because it usually requires you to logically solve problems and actively use your brain.

Games have almost always been considered as a “boy” activity, mostly because of production and marketing being targeted at males. While this has changed over the years, the gaming world is still very much a male dominated one. The rise of Twitch (where gamers stream themselves playing live) has also confirmed this, with mostly males dominating the platform while females are berated for using the platform for attention, money or male approval.

I’ve personally come face-to-face with the odd, often accidental sexism that surrounds females who like gaming and gaming culture, even in cases where the subject matter is the the more female-accepted Nintendo facet.

Recently, I was talking to some people about the new Pokemon Let’s Go Evolvi game, and someone in the group called a Pokemon by the incorrect name (lol). When I corrected them, tongue in cheek, a boy in the group said: “oh, so you’re one of those girls who’s not like other girls right? You love gaming and find shopping boring?”

I’m convinced he didn’t understand the brevity of sexism in what he was saying, but that alone is also deeply concerning. It’s not just the belittling of female independent thought here that’s the problem, it’s the stigmatisation. The idea that girls engage in this culture only for the purpose of attaining a certain image, or impressing a particular group of people, is inherently problematic. It is possible for women or girls to do things for a purpose other than seeking the approval of someone else, namely the men they are accused of attempting to attain it from.

Similarly, this social construct, labelling and at times blatant misogyny can also be seen in the music industry, where girls or women are accused of being “posers” or even “groupies” for liking a certain genre of music or a particular performer.

Men rarely receive the same kind of criticism based on their interests, likes or the aspects of culture in which they choose to engage in.

If girls like games, let it be that simple. If boys like games, that’s cool too. We’re all free to be interested in whatever we like, regardless of the gendering that may surround the subject matter.

What’s even more important is to question our own views and ideas of why people do things. We all do things to impress others from time to time, but the entire female population doesn’t base their interests off what they think men might like.

Oh, and the “you’re not like other girls” thing is a problem too – “other girls” are also fine just the way they are.

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