A Zombie Blogger Has Appeared!

That’s what happens when you rise from the dead, right? You become a zombie?

Well that’s what I’m going to call this regardless.

This quick little post is just here to let you know that I’m back! I’ve done some serious revamping to the site here, and the focus of the blog is officially changing. I am now professionally writing in two locations (Word of the Nerd and The Gaming Security Agency), so this blog is going to be for shorter and perhaps more amusing posts that I feel like putting up.

Basically, I realized there was a hole somewhere between what I’m writing professionally and what I can shove into a tweet. So back to HPJ we’ve come! This site has always been a labor of love, and I can’t promise extremely regular updates, but I am very glad to have a place back that I can express myself in a bit more of a freeform style.

I’m looking forward to getting back to writing here and hopefully getting to know some of my readers at the same time!

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Everything Changes

It’s Evolutionary.

Okay, enough Pokemon referencing.  For now.  I just wanted to let everyone know that things around here are (again) going through some minor changes.  I’ve been working on some behind-the-scenes stuff, and I think I’m ready to start implementing this new plan around here.

I’m looking at pushing this blog to the next level, with more regular posts and perhaps a move off the free wordpress site.  If I can find the time and funding, I might be moving Hot Pink Joysticks to it’s very own domain, which would mean all sorts of new toys and excitement around here.  But before I get to that, I want to prove to myself and my readers that the blog is ready for that.

What that means for you is a slight restructuring of posting formats and categories as well as a more stable posting schedule.  I will be posting about three or four times a week now, and using Twitter and Facebook for more random things.  You’ll be able to see my Twitter feed on the blog (thanks to a handy little Widget), and my Facebook page is found easy as cake with a quick search of “Hot Pink Joysticks” inside Facebook itself.

Specific segments will now include Fresh-Twist Reviews, Previewpalooza, The Featurette, Strings and Things, and Snippets and Snapshots.  Not every post I do will fit into one of these five categories, but they’ll be the main features on the site for awhile.  I may come back to the GM Project a little later on.

I’ll also be continuing my work on the Anime Addicts Anonymous blog.  Updates on those posts will be stuck up in Twitter and on the Facebook page.  ^.^

Thank you all for your patience, and let’s look forward to a new chapter in Hot Pink Joystick’s bloggy lifetime.

Back to My Roots

I’ve been taking a long, hard look at the blog and where I’ve gone with it.  It’s been over a year since I made my first post, and I’m not sure I’ve grown very much in the directions I wanted to go when I started it all.  So I took a little time off to just step back and think everything through.

For those of you who don’t know, I dream of someday writing full time for a gaming or anime publication.  This blog, while always being a labor of love and a way for me to express my geeky side in a public medium, is also supposed to be helping me develop a strong, unique voice before I start looking for paying work.  It’s part of the perks of being a college student — I can keep going to school to follow my dream and use my spare time to work on the blog here.

When I started Hot Pink Joysticks, I wanted to create an environment where I could express myself — and that person is both a girly girl and a nerd.  But over the past months, I’ve really lost sight of that.  I’ve become worried more about categorizing posts and creating interesting segment progressions.  I’ve been pushing myself to post daily while maintaining a broad cross-section of the nerdaverse.

Things around here are going to change.

I’m hoping that these changes will be good, not only for me, but for all of you as readers of my blog.  I’ve spent the past few days wading through the problems I was having and plotting out proper solutions.  The next two weeks are going to see a lot of changes around Hot Pink Joysticks.  Post categories will remain mostly the same, but some of the HPJ Segments will be changing.  You’ll notice the look of the blog changing as well, and maybe even the tagline, I haven’t decided that yet.

What I hope you can look forward to is a new face behind the super-pink-blog.  I hope that you will find my posts to have an even higher standard of quality than what I’ve previously been putting up.  I also hope to return to my original ideals for this blog — a feminine perspective on the nerdaverse that only a geeky woman can provide.  While the female demographic is on the rise in all areas of geeky pastimes, our voice isn’t yet truly heard.  What’s more, I want to provide a strong link between nerding and the ability to be a girly girl.  But know that I’m not attempting to alienate my male audience.  True, there will be a lot more of a feminine perspective and a lot of more “girly” topics, I’ll still be providing good quality content on news and reviews and other things that matter to geeks and nerds everywhere, regardless of gender.

Thank you for your time, HPJ readers.  I hope you continue to read, even after this mini-crisis.

This Week on HPJ (8/8 – 8/14)

Here’s your look at what’s coming up this week on Hot Pink Joysticks!  Let’s hope you see something to tickle your fancy!

Snapshot Sunday
This Snapshot Sunday I’ll be giving you a look at a board game I’m really enjoying called “Pandemic.”  I’ve roped Ben into playing a game with me!  Let’s see if we can save the world this time!

Fangirl Friday
Cosplay, Cosplay, Cosplay!  I’ve been collecting some more of the best images of amazing costumes out there.  Plus, a really interesting treat that’s *not* a picture but totally amazing!

Video Games 101
The next installment of the Nerding 101 segments, we’ll be discussing the three current generation consoles — the Xbox360, the Playstation 3, and the Nintendo Wii.  You’ll learn the advantages and disadvantages to each!

Anime Laws of Physics – Part 3
This will be the next 10 Anime Laws of Physics!  You can check out the previous two by using the search bar here on HPJ.

The GM Project
My first experiment in the GM Project is under way.  I’ll be introducing non-gaming females to the world of roleplaying through Kobolds Ate My Baby!  We’ll talk about the details of the planning process here!

Piano Squall
Piano Squall is an amazing musician who plays different arrangements of anime and video game music. I’ll be featuring him here because he is absolutely amazing. <3

Bonus Post – Support Your Industry
With the recent news of OneManga shutting down for good, the internet has been in a mild uproar about the entire situation.  I’ll be throwing my hat into the ranting ring and talking about why I feel it’s important to support the industry (namely the gaming and anime industries).

The Upcoming Week

Welcome to what I hope is going to be the easiest way for me to handle getting a good number of posts up each week!  I hope to have one of these up every Saturday/Sunday here on the blog so you know what’s coming up for the week, and that will keep me on track. XP

So for the upcoming week (August 1st – August 7th), we will have the following posts:

Snapshot Sunday – Death and Rebirth
A bookshelf died and an Xbox returned from the dead!  Look forward to seeing pictures of the destruction and (hopefully), the process of rebuilding.

Fangirl Friday – OMG the Kawaii
I’ve discovered a new website full of super adorable things.  Now that I’ve already squee’ed all over Ben, I’ll be turning that fangirling attitude to you!

Rozen Maiden Review
I’ve finished both seasons of Rozen Maiden!  And after crying my eyes out a little (I’m a crier, what can I say?), I’ll be giving you all the first Fresh Twist Review here on HPJ.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy it!

The New Cross Stitch
I’ve started a new cross stitch project — one that I hope to give Ben as a wedding gift when it’s completed (though I’m starting to think I won’t finish it by then).  I’ll provide you with pictures of my progress as well as the pattern if you’d like to give it a try yourself.

Summer 2010 Season Impressions
The anime season for Summer 2010 is underway!  Nearly four weeks in or so now, I’ve had a chance to get some good impressions on the shows I’m watching.  I’ll have a first look at Amagami SS, Shukufuku no Campanella, High School of the Dead, Mitsudomoe, Digimon – Xros Wars, Shiki, Legend of the Legendary Heroes, and Occult Academy.

The 3D Craze Is Ruining Cinema
“NOW SHOWING IN IMAX 3D” is my new, least favorite phrase.  Why?  Because 3D belongs back in the 80’s.

I hope you see something you like that you’ll return for this week. ^-^

“Spring” Cleaning

So tonight I did some reorganizing around the blog.  I’ve redone all the categories in hopes that you, the reader, will find things more streamlined and easy to work with.  I tried to keep things broad enough to be easy to work with, but focused enough to provide easy pin-pointing of the posts you’re looking for.

This is what I’m looking at in terms of the category break-down now.

Anime

  • AMV (Anime Music Video)
  • News
  • Review

Board Games

  • News
  • Review

Books

  • Fantasy
  • Science-Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • News

Cosplay

  • My Creations
  • The Best Of

Tabletop RPGs

  • Original Character
  • News
  • Review

Video Games

  • News
  • Review

Swag

  • Clothing
  • Collectibles

Those pretty much cover everything on the “nerdy” end in a broad way. Those, however, don’t include the bits of randomness I’m prone to or the Hot Pink Joysticks segments I’ve used in the past. So, for the randomness, I’ve introduced “Out-of-Character” posts. They break down as follows:

Out of Character

  • Celebrations
  • HPJ Housekeeping (what this post is, essentially)
  • Japan
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Television
  • Random Rantings

Then, for the Hot Pink Joysticks segments, I’ve done some renaming and rearranging. You’ll notice that some of the past posts in the archives are not on the right “days” anymore because of it. I apologize for that.

Hot Pink Joysticks Segments

  • Fangirl FridayOn Friday, I’ll be letting my inner Fangirl flag wave.  For those of you that remember Squee-me Monday, this is basically a revamp of that.  I’ll find something online that really gets me excited, or something that I can’t help but squee all over and post it up here so you all can share in my fangirling.
  • Fresh-Look ReviewsEvery time I review something, it’ll turn up here.  These reviews will also be cross-categorized in their respective broader topics.  So a Fresh-Look Review on the anime Kiddy Grade would show up here, but also under Anime – Review.  I hope to present an interesting and easy-to-follow review pattern to keep you interested!
  • GeekformationsThis segment has been slightly revamped.  Any time I find something that is usually NOT nerdy (such as a wedding cake topper) and find a way that it has been transformed into a wonderfully geeky form, I’ll put up one of these.
  • Nerding 101This is a new segment I’ve been prepping for some time.  Each time one of these segments pops up, I’ll be breaking down an aspect of the nerding world into simple, plain terms.  I might explain different anime genres in one segment and then talk about video game tropes in another.
  • Snap-Shot SundayThis segment hasn’t changed.  Sundays (more regularly now) I’ll be bringing you a post of something nerdy that’s happened in my real, every day life.  Hopefully it’ll show you how I am in my every-day world.
  • Strings and ThingsPreviously called “Shred and Thread”, I changed up the name to something a little more… pleasant sounding.  These segments will revolve around everything nerdy and crafty.  I might post up patterns, I might post up crafts other people have done, I might update on crafting projects I’m working on.  You never know~
  • The GM ProjectThis is where I’ll update you all on the big GM project I’m currently undertaking.  Every time I have new notes, new ideas, or interesting feedback, I’ll post it in one of these segments.

I hope all of this makes sense and that you find your way around the blog here a little easier from now on. ^_^

A Big “THANK YOU”

So, I just wanted to throw something up as a thank you to my readers.  I came to my blog this evening after a tough day at work and a hyperactive dog who decided he needed to chew up one of my flip flops, and I assumed it would be a pretty crappy evening.

Until I checked my stats.

SEVEN THOUSAND VIEWS!

I never thought the blog would come this far.  I know I’m not a big blog yet, and I’m not super well-known or anything.  But I know there must be some of you reading, and not a day goes by anymore that I don’t get at least a couple views.  None of this would be possible without you all.  It is of course possible for me to babble on and on with no audience, but the reason I do this is because I want to share my thoughts, ideas, opinions, and ramblings with you.

So let me just say — THANK YOU! <3
HAPPY

Answers from the Gamer Chick

So, one week ago, I posted a Blog Post asking for questions from my readers.  I said I’d answer any (tasteful and non-derogatory) question that they had about being a girl gamer, my experiences, or anything in general, really.  So, the following are all the questions I got and the answers I’ve come up with for them.

Before we get into all of that, though, I would like to send out a very heartfelt thank-you to everyone who asked a question and viewed the blog.  After that post went up, I had two record-breaking days on the blog in a row.  A very special thank-you goes out to all of my friends at The Pallet Tribune.  Without all of you, none of this would have been nearly as successful.

This first question came from Jacob.

Out of the big three (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft), which one do you feel treats girl gamers as equals the most? Which is the most non-sexist?

This is a thorny question to start with.  I think each company has done a lot of things wrong and a few things right.  There seems to be the idea that Sony and Microsoft have largely ignored the female gaming populous, but that can be taken to mean that they’re not trying to single us out and demean us with “girl games” like Nintendo.  Then again, a lot of those “girl games” that Nintendo puts out are very popular with younger girl gamers.  I suppose to answer the question, however, I would have to say that I don’t feel any company has yet been able to embrace female gamers are equals.

Next, we have a question from ThunderBringer.

Would you agree with the stereotype that girls aren’t good at video games?

Absolutely not.  Now, while there are studies to prove that boys are better at some things and girls are better at others, I do not think video games fall under that category.  I think a more accurate thought would be that girls just don’t play video games as much as boys.  This is honestly due to a few things, perhaps the most prominent being that girls aren’t supposed to play video games. While that idea has fallen out of popular thought in some areas, in lots of small towns and even larger cities, that feeling still runs free.  It’s a challenge for girls like me, who really want to play video games, to even get started.  It’s even harder to find friends who play video games, especially at a young age when boys are not at all interested in you.

I firmly believe that women can play any video game just as well as men.  It takes practice.  If you were to set a man and a woman down in front of any video game at the exact same time for the first time (providing they were both interested in the game), I don’t think you would see a lot of difference in initial proficiency with the game, thus proving that men are not any better at video games than women inherently.

Here’s a question from Straw.

What do you think about girls-specific games, or games that are “obviously meant for girls”? I, myself, enjoy a small dosage of dating sims every now and then. Do you think the game should be labeled “just for girls?”

Games that are “obviously meant for girls” can seem rather demeaning at first glance.  But what is important to remember is that these games are geared more toward the younger gaming audience as opposed to gamers in my age group.  Games like the Imagination series where you can play as a Fashion Designer or a Ballerina are great for little girls who are into that sort of thing.  And it’s a great way to let them start playing in a world that was formerly a “boys only” club.  But when you start getting into my age group, I’m still finding an extreme lack of games that cater specifically to my wants as a female gamer.

I’m not sure why you mentioned dating sims in the idea of “girl games.”  Dating Sims are not at all geared toward women.  As far as I’m aware, most dating sims have you playing as a man attempting to get with one of a host of women, not playing as a women trying to get with one of a host of men.  The idea of a Dating Sim does have some feminine qualities, though.  It’s focused on creating relationships as opposed to shooting someone through the temple.  It’s just a shame I suppose.

Next, a question from “lol”

What’s your cup size?

8 ounces.

However, in a slightly less snarky response, I almost just deleted this question when I noticed it sitting in my comment queue.  But when I thought about it a little more in depth, I thought it might be good to respond to it anyway.  It’s questions like these that make girl gamers nervous.  And let me promise you, stupid comments like that are bound to get you a knee to the groin and a lifetime of being single.  If you ever want a women who shares your gaming hobbies, you’d best change that attitude and learn how to treat women properly.

This is a question from Ryan B.

As a child what was your reaction to finding out that Samus Aran was a woman?

Being totally honest, this discovery was a little before my time.  Due to my parents initial desire to keep video games away from my younger sister and I, I missed out on the retro consoles.  The only time I played an SNES was over at a friend’s house, and we mostly played Duck Hunt and Super Mario.

As I got older and more into video games, however, I rapidly became aware of Samus.  My first exposure to Samus was actually in Super Smash Brothers for the Gamecube, and I just assumed the character was male.  When I got into college, I discovered that Samus was a woman.  At first, it didn’t really have a whole lot of an effect on me until I realized how mind-boggling the discovery was for a lot of young boys playing video games.

Samus now holds a special place in my heart of challenging the way video game players (who are still, at least in the non-casual market, vastly male) looked at the heroes they took the roles of during their gameplay.  Samus also challenges the stereotypical view of women, both in appearance and personality.  (I actually covered Samus in an earlier blog post, which can be viewed here.)

Next, I received two questions from twilightcook.

Will you be reviewing any trading card games in the future?

I’ve actually been meaning to do this for quite some time.  I play Magic: The Gathering rather frequently, and I have more Pokemon cards than I know what to do with.  I also have a lot of the Harry Potter trading card game that I collected during my high school years.  So I guess the short answer is — Why yes, I would love to review TCGs in the future~

What is your opinion of the book Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the D&D Game ?

I actually bought this book and read it in nearly a single sitting.  The author has a very conversational tone and speaks in a way that doesn’t demean female gamers, especially in the tabletop world.  Her story is a great one for the girl in your life whom you think would rather enjoy playing a game or two if you could just get her started.  While I had already been gaming for some time when I read this book, it was still a good read for me.  I tried to get my mother to read it as well (as I don’t think she really understands my gaming), but she wasn’t interested at the time.  Maybe I’ll try again soon. ^.^;

Here’s a question from Frosted.

Which video game console did you start with?

When I was in elementary school, I always wanted to have a video game console.  However, my parents weren’t too thrilled with the idea of video games, so it took me until I was in middle school to get started playing video games.  One year, for Christmas, all I wanted was a Gameboy.  All of my favorite cousins had Gameboys, and they got to play Mario and Donkey Kong and all sorts of fun games.  So my mother finally broke down and bought me my Gameboy Pocket.  It was like a dream come true until we opened the box and Mom realized that she didn’t get my any games.  So I had to wait for three days before I could play anything.  That same year, I got Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow for Christmas from my older half-sisters.

A few years later, I got my first console.  I was in high school and got an N64.  It was amazing.  Suddenly I had access to Mario Kart and Mario Party and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  While my Gameboy still held a very special place in my heart, the N64 was different and amazing as well.  So my start into video games was really focused on Nintendo, but that was mostly due to the fact that my parents didn’t want anything to do with video games, and thus didn’t really know anything about Microsoft of Sony at the time.  Growing up in a small town meant that all my friends (who were girls) also had no idea what a Playstation was, and were honestly less-than-amazed at my Nintendo.

This question I received from MrDudle.

Do you ever play any of the more violent/masculine games? If so do you ever just really get into it? You know like continuing to shoot the body of a player you have already killed?

Actually, I play these pretty often.  I’ve played Halo and Dead or Alive, even Mortal Kombat.  I honestly really enjoy them.  (To be honest, I’m pretty terrible at Halo, but I’m getting better.)  When I’m playing video games, I’m almost always extremely competitive.  Especially when I’m playing fighting games like DoA or Mortal Kombat.  It’s during these games that I usually show a little of the behavior you asked about.

If you haven’t played Dead or Alive, you play as one of a host of characters and fight another character, played either by the computer or another player.  When your character has defeated its opponent, the opponent gets knocked-out, and there’s a period of about five seconds before the screen changes.  During that time, the victor can continue attacking the knocked-out foe.  And to be completely honest, I love to attack an opponent when they’re down, especially if the match was difficult to win.  >.>

Here’s one from KLB.

Are your multi-player experiences against/with boys different than what you would expect from a boys point of view?

Definitely.  Definitely, definitely definitely.  When men go online and play multi-player games, there’s almost a sense of comradeship and healthy rivalry.  They play together and get angry and have fun.  It all seems very… communal.  This is a great thing, that’s what’s supposed to happen.  However, the very few times I have gone online to play multi-player games and have been outed as a female have not been so pleasant.  I find myself being degraded and not taken seriously.  I get comments like “Is this your brother’s/boyfriend’s Xbox?”  “Are you really a girl?”  “Only ugly girls play video games.”  And after I start doing well, I get worse comments.  “You’re cheating.”  “This is hax.”  “I can’t believe I lost to a chick.”  “I’m lagging.”

The unfortunate thing is that my experiences aren’t unique.  Female gamers everywhere share my struggle in the online community.  I can avoid these things by not using the headset when I’m playing online games.  If my opponents don’t hear my voice, then they don’t know I’m a woman.  That stops the stupid comments cold.  They might still be swearing when they lose, but at least it’s not directed at my possessing ovaries.

Even when I’m playing against a guy who does have respect for me as a person, I feel the stakes are higher.  Because I’m a girl, I have to be good at what I’m doing.  Otherwise, it’s like the stereotype of girls being lesser games is furthered by example.  It’s a lot of pressure, which I think can turn a lot of girls off the competitive side of gaming.

Next, a question from Pwnemon.

So, as a girl gamer, are you ever offended by the “For girls” games? You know, stuff like Fashion Boutique Owner. Does it make you feel like companies are putting their crippled foot forward in inviting girls into video gaming?

To be honest, I used to be offended by them.  I used to hate the idea that companies thought some sparkles, pink and purple script writing, and the words “fashion” and “puppy” would get me to buy a video game.  It used to drive me crazy.  I used to shudder every time I passed that section of the DS games.

However, that’s not so much the case anymore.  I’ve come to realize that these sorts of games are more geared toward a young audience — elementary school students and the like.  Honestly, I think these games are a great way to open doors into the world that used to be almost completely populated by boys.  It lets little girls who like typical little girl things play video games and potentially move out of the “casual gamer” market into more “hardcore” games, like JRPGs and such.  That in and of itself makes me think that companies are trying to include girls in their markets.

Unfortunately, I’m not an elementary schoolgirl, and companies have yet to approach my personal demographic.

And here’s one from bubman.

Do you in anyway find games that over-accentuate females or use the visuals of women to sell games distasteful in anyway?

Sex sells.  To be completely blunt.  Because the gaming market is still vastly populated by men, putting sexy women on the covers and in the games themselves helps to sell more copies, which in turn keeps the companies in business so they can produce more games for consumers to buy and play.  It’s a symbiotic process.  So I understand why the companies do what they do.

That being said, I’m not a fan of every overly sexualized female character in video games.  I don’t like video games where the women are objectified or made to appear as “lesser” players than the men.  This isn’t always the case, though.  There are plenty of video games wherein the women are good role models.  I actually did a post on this a number of months ago that can be viewed here.

Thanks for all the questions, guys!  And keep your eyes peeled for the next edition of “Ask a Gamer Chick.”

Ask A Gamer Chick

I see you there.  Lurking.  Reading this pink blog and hoping your friends don’t see.

Well, maybe you can do me a favor.  I would love to get some questions from people reading my blog.  I think it would be really interesting to see what you all, as readers, want to know about me, about being a female gamer, about my experiences, or about the female gaming experience in general.  Consider this your invitation to ask me a question.  Any question (read: any tasteful and non-derogatory question) is fair game.

Please leave your questions for me in the form of a comment on this post (or any other post, I suppose, though it would make the most sense to post them right here).  I’m giving you a week before I start answering the questions~

Come on, now, this will be fun!