The day is finally upon us! It’s Ask CheeseToastie Almost Anything Day(dubbed by twohp2few)! Yay! Thanks to everyone who sent in questions and generally to everyone who has been showing their support! I feel very loved. 🙂 You guys are all great and I wouldn’t be having this much fun blogging if it weren’t for all of your support, comments, follows and likes! The interaction I’ve been having with all of you has turned out to be the best part of this whole experience. It’s been awesome meeting all these people who are passionate about gaming and those of you who are just curious too. So, thanks everyone!
Before I get on with answering the questions (that range from easy to ‘I sort of asked for it’), here are the lovely people who sent them in and links to blogs for those that have one:
What are your top 5 favorite cheeses?
Ok so I figured I’d start with an easy one first. If you don’t know I love cheese by now GTFO. No I’m kidding, stay! But seriously though, I do love cheese. By which I mean, my love for cheese is deadly serious. I eat it pretty much every day and the only thing that actually stops me eating whole blocks of cheese at a time (which I still do occasionally) is that it’s really really bad for you.
Mozzarella – smooth and delicious. Who doesn’t love this? It’s mild enough for literally everyone. I like the fresh stuff as well as the kind that comes pre-shredded in a bag that I can just tip directly into my mouth like I’m eating chips (crisps for the Brits), except I’m not sure normal people even eat chips like that…
Cheddar – A slightly boring choice I know, but cheddar is what made me fall in love with cheese and I could never give it up! Never! It’s good with literally anything and you can get it literally anywhere. It’s like the beer of the cheese world. And I love it! I also like beer.
Blue Stilton – I freakin’ love blue cheese. I don’t care what you say. I love it moldy and smelly as it could possibly be. I once ate this cheese that a couple of serious cheese lovers wouldn’t touch because ‘it smelled like feet’. It’s true, it did smell like feet, but see, that only makes it better for me. I ate the whole thing by myself. I literally don’t care. I prefer blue cheese by itself – no crackers or anything else! JUST GIVE ME THE CHEESE!
Brie – creamy and just so YUM! This is the one that my boyfriend literally has to pry from my hands. It’s like heaven in your mouth.
Cornish yarg – YARRRRGGG! Yes, it’s from Cornwall, where a lot of pirates used to hang. I like the cheese, but I also like the pirate-y name. Also, you know how it’s made? It’s wrapped in nettle. Yes, the stuff that stings you. It’s the badass-est of all the cheeses. It kicks other cheeses’ butts.
What’s a superpower you would want and why?
Ah, I’m unfortunately going to be lame and go with super strength. I have this discussion/argument with my boyfriend all the time and he always says ‘WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU PICK SUPER STRENGTH? WHY NOT TELEPATHY? OR FLYING? OR SHOOTING LASER BEAMS OUT OF YOUR EYES’ and so on. I can totally see the logic in this statement, but nope. It’s super strength for me. Think about it. Not only would I be able to beat up literally anyone (criminals of course), but I’d also always be able to open jars, carry people around one-handed and lift cars out of potholes. It would be useful for every day life as well! Admittedly, it’s more for the fact that I’d be able to beat up anyone I wanted and smash through brick walls with my fist. It’s what I’ve always wanted! I guess being bullet-proof would be an advantage, what with all the rushing around and cracking heads, but it’s not really necessary. Yup, you can take your super speed and fancy schmancy Lasso of Truth. Like I’ve said, all I really want is to be a Krogan from Mass Effect, so that should give an idea of exactly what kind of superhero I’d want to be. I just want to go around breaking things with my head. Is that too much to ask?!
What’s your stance on the ongoing women in the games industry stuff?
Yikes! That’s a bit of a change of pace from cheese and superpowers isn’t it? It’s ok, I came prepared!
Some of you might remember that I dealt with a similar issue not so long ago, except that post was about diversity in games rather than in the industry and I wasn’t specifically talking about sexism. I know I said I wouldn’t be dealing with this issue again, but hey someone asked and so I’m happy to answer! You’ll probably be unsurprised (for those of you that read that post) that my attitude to the ongoing issue of women in the games industry and the general uproar caused by the #1reasonwhy social media movement, among others, is pretty much the same. If you don’t know what #1reasonwhy is, check out this post here. You may also want to check out my post on diversity here, so that you can get a more complete and fleshed out answer than I can give here.
Again, I just want to make clear that I am not in any way saying that I’m necessarily right about this or that anyone else is definitively wrong. I know it may seem like I know everything sometimes, but I don’t. Anyways, point is that this is a sensitive topic to many and is an issue that I don’t think has any easy answer to it. I respect other views on it and that’s that.
I am very much sympathetic to the plight of women in the games industry. How can I not be? I am in fact a woman in the games industry, so I’m pretty much involved whether I like it or not. I’m also glad that people are talking about it more openly now and that the #1reasonwhy movement happened, because it means that people, both men and women, could share some of the real horror stories with each other and with the public. And there were some real horror stories, including some about sexual harassment. Now I’ve been blessed to have worked with some very nice people, but generally throughout my life I’ve faced a lot of sexism and racism ranging from ignorance right up to genuine aggressive hatred. I spent part of my childhood and teenage years in Hong Kong, where I completely stuck out like a sore thumb. I didn’t fit the Hong Kong ideal of the perfect woman – mild-mannered, physically weak, fragile, dependent on their man for protection and quiet. Those who know me know I am literally the opposite. It wasn’t the easiest thing, let me tell you that. Since then, even in the UK I’ve had to deal with a lot of crap from macho men who think they’re tough. I was President of the Kickboxing Society for 2 years when I was at uni and I used to get a lot of smirks and snide comments from people new to the club or outsiders. My policy was, say nothing and just show them what I’m made of. That policy of mine has leaked over into the rest of my life and that’s become how I deal with sexism.
Now what the hell does that all have to do with sexism in the games industry? The point I’m trying to make is that, yes this is clearly an issue. Facing that kind of stuff is painful, scary and can make you feel small or even worthless. It doesn’t need to get to the stage of sexual harassment to be damaging. Even thoughtless comments said out of ignorance can be hurtful and demeaning. That’s undeniable. But what I’m concerned with is how we deal with it. Like I said in my other post, in my experience, most of the time people who discriminate aren’t going to change their minds because you make a good point or have a flawless argument. It just doesn’t work like that. Discrimination is usually based in complete irrational fear or because the person was brought up that way or both and it’s not going to be easy to just change their minds on this. I appreciate what the people who are raising awareness are trying to do and I’m definitely not saying this issue shouldn’t be discussed at all, because I think it should be if people feel the need. However, continually talking about it or trying to draw attention to it isn’t going to help, in my opinion. It’s not going to force sexist men to treat their coworkers differently and it doesn’t mean that more women will be hired. Private companies are allowed to hire who they want as long as they’re not actively discriminating against someone.
Meanwhile, the gaming demographic is changing every year with more and more women playing games. The games industry has been traditionally male dominated, but so were a lot of others like law and medicine. Now, in the UK at least, the number of women in those fields is actually larger than the number of men. It is still mostly men in the highest paying positions, but that’s changing with the tide of public opinion and just from the sheer weight of all the good work that women are doing in those fields. Actually seeing talented women in those fields, whose amazing contributions can’t be denied is what’s really changing people’s views I think, not from people constantly talking about it. If criminal activity is happening it should be reported, but if it’s just assholes being assholes, no matter how hurtful it is, they’re allowed to think that way. They’re allowed to have their opinions too, no matter how horrible. But they won’t be laughing when the natural progression of things means more women will get employed in the industry. The games industry is still pretty young. Personally I just think it needs time. The shift is already happening and more women are actually being employed year by year and what that means is that attitudes in the workplace will naturally shift with it.
I feel like what started out as a very positive movement has, for some at least, become very sensationalist with people picking over every detail, so that every time there is an obvious imbalance in genders it’s pointed out and the company is ripped apart for being sexist. That’s not the way to go I think. There IS obviously an imbalance, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. Pointing it out all the time is only g0ing to give sexist people who believe they’re in the right more fuel for their fire and give them reason to say that people are just ‘whining’ about it, whether that’s fair or not. My opinion is that we just need to let things be. No it’s not fair, but I think people need to just do their best and unless it’s something really serious, just smile and say nothing and quietly show them what you’re made of. That’s just my opinion though and I’m not saying I know best or anything like that. Like I said, I’m just glad that the issue has been brought out into the open.
I hope that answers your question, Debs!
In the event that a video gaming site does not have an active internship or job application section, and with the exception of nepotism or any actual connection to individuals already in the industry, how might a person land a career in the video gaming journalism sector?
In terms of internships at and freelancing for games sites/magazines, a lot of the time opportunities like this aren’t advertised. Almost all the internships I’ve landed so far has been by emailing the editor directly. For internships, it’s the same as with any other job – attach your CV and explain a little about yourself. If you’ve got any writing samples you’ll want to send those in too, otherwise they’ll probably ask you for some. As for freelancing, that can be a little trickier, as most editors will probably prefer dealing with people they already know, but it’s not impossible. Just email in, pitch a few ideas and attach a few writing samples. Of course, whether you receive a reply is a whole different question. Keep in mind it’s a really competitive field and editors get a LOT of emails, so don’t be discouraged if you get turned down a lot or if it feels like you’re sending emails into the void. Also, once you’ve got your foot in the door, other opportunities will start coming in. It’s the first step that’s the hardest.
As for full time staff positions, those are far and few between and unlike those above, tend to be advertised on their company site, so you just apply like you would with any other job. There’s not too much I can say about this, because this isn’t something I’ve done yet! Hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to give you guys more advice on this.
I hope that helps!
If you could bring back one video game series that hasn’t had an entry in a while what would it be?
I feel like saying that I want Half Life 3 or Episode 3 to come out is a bit of a cop-out considering it’s what everyone’s always raging about and I’m not sure it even is the one I’d pick if I could choose from any series. It’s just the one that’s caused me the most angst, because WHY WON’T VALVE PUT OUT THE DAMN SEQUEL ALREADY? WHY?!?!?! WHY? But anyways, I think the series I’d most want to bring back is Knights of the Old Republic. I know, I know, there was SWTOR, but making a singleplayer RPG like KotOR 1 & 2 into an MMORPG just isn’t going to cut it for me. I haven’t tried SWTOR, so I can’t comment on its quality obviously, but the thing I most loved about the first 2 games was its deep storyline and memorable characters. In many ways, they were a lot like the Mass Effect games (which makes sense considering the first KotOR was developed by BioWare). To me RPGs like that are personal journeys. Games like KotOR and Mass Effect make you feel like the whole universe is yours. An MMORPG on the other hand, is a whole different story. I’ve never seen a single one that achieves that level of depth or emotional involvement that traditional RPGs have. It’s unsurprising considering MMOs usually set out to achieve very different goals and the social aspect inevitably changes everything. I’m not hating on MMORPGs at all. In fact, I’ve been known to play some on occasion, but to me, deciding to drop KotOR 3 was a huge mistake that needs to be rectified. I know 2 had its problems – you can check out what they were here, but I think both installments were unbelievably good games and I would love to see the franchise go back to its roots with another one.
Ok, so I may have gotten a little carried away with that one. Did I mention that I love KotOR?
Which video game websites or blogs do you read? and why?
Well, I read quite a few! For ‘research’, you know? I do try to read fairly widely, but there are a few sites that I always come back to.
The sites that I get most of my news from these days are GameSpot and CVG, because I think they’re all good sources of news and give you the pertinent info without being sensationalist. For opinion pieces, I also turn to Eurogamer and PC Gamer, because I find their writers generally have fair and reasoned opinions and a high standard of writing. I also read a bunch of games mags like OPM and OXM, pretty much anything I can get my hands on. Obviously I’ve worked at a couple of those places or will be working there shortly, but I do think that these are the sites I’d be turning to anyway.
In terms of blogs, I’ve met tons of talented video games bloggers since I’ve started my own and there are too many to name right now. For links to some of them check out my Liebster Blog Award post and my Sunshine Award post.
Are there any video game journalists whose work you admire?
That’s an easy question to answer – there are many talented video game journalists whose work I enjoy reading and who I can learn from, but I wouldn’t say there’s anyone I specifically follow. There are sites that I return to more than others, but I tend to look at articles on a piece by piece basis. I’m always on the lookout for well-written articles and good writers, but yeah, no favourite games journos yet! Sorry for the rather uninteresting answer, but there you go!
When will you be getting ocelots?
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Those of you who don’t follow Sam & Sam’s Tekkit Ender Quest are probably wondering what the hell this question is about. Basically, pretty much since the first episode I’ve been going on and on about taming an ocelot, but for one reason or another it’s just never happened (no thanks to Sam as he’s been very uncooperative about this matter). But soon, I promise you, the day will come whether he likes it or not!