Study finds low skilled gamers are more likely to be sexist

According to a new study, male gamers who are low or unskilled at playing online are more likely to demonstrate sexist behavior towards female gamers.

The study was conducted by Michael M. Kasumovic and Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff from the University of New South Wales, who observed over 163 matches of Halo 3 and coded the behavior of the players. The purpose of the study was to examine if the presence of a skilled female would be disruptive to the ego of an unskilled male, who may feel their sense of hierarchy is threatened (be it in a game or work environment).

The research team used Halo 3 because its a game that relies on skills and fast thinking, hence everyone starts on an equal footing. Plus all the subjects are anonymous and may not have a personal history with the research team or other players. Another reason is that because everyone plays as a SPARTAN soldier that has the appearance of being gender neutral.

Based on the data collected, male gamers who performed poorly were more likely to act hostile towards a female player. It was also noted that the unskilled player was less likely to act hostile towards a male player who was more skilled.The theory is that the unskilled male gamers would try to compensate for their failure by trying to act more masculine towards their female counterpart.

Meanwhile the study also found that male gamers who performed better were more likely to be respectful towards female players. This was because they didn’t fear that their hierarchy was being threatened while trying to get the attention of the female player.

All of the data was collected by observing and recording the actions of other players through Xbox Live, no consent was made and the team made no interactions with the observed subjects.

This has been the second major study done by Michael M. Kasumovic on the effects of video games on gender roles. It was reported over the weekend of July 10, that a study by him and Thomas F. Denson found that violent video games boosted the self-esteem of women gamers.

Looks like this may explain the behavior of those affiliated with the GamerGate movements, a legion of noobs that wants to protect their masculinity by lashing out at women gamers.

Written for Digital Journal 
7/19/2015
Original Article: Study finds low skilled gamers are more likely to be sexist

Op-Ed: Grand Theft Auto V removed from retailer due to guilt and slander

Sexual violence is an ugly aspect of our society that has a lasting impact on the victims. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed in society and taken seriously by the criminal justice system.

Alleging one of the greatest cultural works encourages sexual violence and then strong-arming retailers with guilt isn’t one way to bring better awareness. Unfortunately a victim of domestic violence (going by the pseudonym of Nicole) chose to take this path by circulating a petition that slandered Grand Theft Auto V than bullied Kmart and Target Australia to remove it from their shelves.

It’s important to know that at no point in Grand Theft Auto V are players asked or required to participate in acts of sexual violence. There are also no moments in the game that features the player perpetrating such a criminal act on a female non-playable character (NPC).

The petition that circulated on Change.org claimed that Grand Theft Auto Vencourages and rewards players for sexually assaulting women. Her only evidence is a YouTube video that demonstrates a players encounter with a prostitute, a trivial feature that has been available since Grand Theft Auto III.

This is has not been the first time the game has been denounced for allowing players to have interactions with prostitutes. However most critics who have denounced the content have been taken seriously in resent years. This is due to a story influenced by Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson that presents an in-depth analysis of the American Dream in a post-2008 crash society. Bickering over an insignificant content to the game gives the impression that they are too stupid to understand its literary content.

Unlike the few irrelevant critics, this petition has fooled 40,000 users and convinced many that the game “encourages kids” to participate in some acts of sexual violence. The result has been two major retailers having pulled the game and reignite a controversy that should have been dead. Worse is that Nicole has had the audacity to brag about her action while demonizing gamers.

So it should not be surprising that the gaming community has come to Rockstar’s defense by circulating another petition while denouncing Nicole’s unfounded and damaging accusation.

Many have felt that Nicole’s petition was based on her not being informed of the game’s content and story, but that is just sugar coating it.The content of the petition was not based on misinformation or a response to Gamergate but the intent to damage. This was all about Nicole wanting to advance her own political ambitions by leaching on a social issue that matters to many.

Following in the footsteps of Jack Thompson, anti-video game activist and disbarred lawyer, this has been a moral crusade based on lies to deceive the public. Adding more insult, she is constantly referring to the game as a product targeted to kids while assuming gamers are kids. This despite the fact that the average gamer is in their late 20s and the game was made for adults.

Nicole is no hero looking out for those who been the victims of sexual violence. The real heroes are those who refuse to accept what happen to them while working not only to seek justice for themselves but for others. They are also the ones who are fighting to have the law take the crime seriously while pushing for stronger punishments against rapists.

It should also be noted that Change.org needs to to be held accountable for allowing such a petition to be passed around without checking its accuracy of its claim. Was the petition actually fact checked by an admin or does any social justice warrior gets a free pass?

Sexual violence is a problem that could only be addressed by fighting for the rights of the victims to seek justice, not slandering a work of art. In the end Nicole is no hero, she is just another opportunist pushing her own political agenda on the backs of those who have been the victims of sexual violence.

Written for Digital Journal 
12/11/2014
Original ArticleOp-Ed: Grand Theft Auto V removed from retailer due to guilt and slander

‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ mod allows players to rape others

‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ may have been developed to allow gamers to build their own criminal empire online, but some may have take it too far by developing a mod that allows players to rape others.

This mod was developed and used by a few players trying to “troll” the games online community and is not connected or endorsed by Rockstar Games.

The mod allows the player to manipulate their character and the environment to allow them to force themselves onto other innocent players in a very sexual manner. To develop such a mod would require a player to tamper with the game engine, which could get a player banned from the servers if caught.

News of the mod was first reported by players on Reddit with the username, mrerikmattila, who reported having such an encounter with a player named DEEPER_IN_DA_ASS. The user further elaborated the encounter with Patrica Hernandez of Kotaku.

Hernandez elaborates that while such encounter are rare, there have been videos found on YouTube showing hackers sexually assaulting other players in the game. She also hints that Rockstar may need to do another round of house cleaning to crackdown on hackers who tamper with the game engine.

News of the mod has repulsed many gamers who find it to be distasteful and disturbed by the fact some one took the time to make such a program. One user stated on Kotaku, “What the hell kind of person starts playing GTA and thinks, “I wonder how I can make these characters rape each other?” Worse, what kind of person then dedicates actual time and effort to making this a reality?”

Grand Theft Auto V was released on September 17 and it has been highly praised by critics as one of the greatest games developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Grand Theft Auto: Online is the multiplayer feature and it went live two weeks after the games launch.

Written for Digital Journal 
08/12/2014
Original Article: ‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ mod allows players to rape others

Alien: Isolation still haunted by the failure of Colonial Marines

Sega and Creative Assembly are attempting to redefine the horror-survival genre with Alien: Isolation, but every attempt to demonstrate the games uniqueness has been overshadowed by the failure of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Recently OXM reported on the struggle Creative Assembly is having in promoting the game while trying to escape the shadow of Colonial Marines. The article noted that many gamers who sampled the demo at E3 2014, tried to play the game like a shooter rather than a horror survival.

The games presentation and demo at E3 2014 had been praised by critics but gamers are still bringing up comparisons with Colonial Marines.

When the game was first unveiled on January 7, gamers were a little weary of the announcement with most of them expecting the it to be a failure. Since then; any news or preview about Alien: Isolation has always been meet with remarks that bring up the failure of Colonial Marines.

The moment an article about Alien: Isolation is published on a news site or posted on a aggravator site like N4G, the discussion will quickly be dominated by expectations of failure while citing Colonial Marines as an example of what to expect.

In response to the negative backlash, several game pundits were trying to assure their readers that Alien: Isolation will not be a disaster while encouraging them to give it a chance. Many were quick to point out that the game is influenced by Ridley Scott vision and not the James Cameron film.

However gamers had been quick to dismisses the pleas of giving the game a chance.

Alien: Isolation will be released on October 7, 2014 for all major consoles and the PC. With so much bad publicity, the development team will be under a lot of pressure to avoid another disaster like Colonial Marines

Written for The Gamers Progress
06/15/2014

Glenn Beck illogical opinion about ‘Watch Dogs’ ridiculed by gaming community

Glenn Beck has created a firestorm of laughter and backlash among the gaming community after denouncing Watch Dogs for teaching kids how to hack.

During a segment about the effects of video games on children, Beck claims that Watch Dogs teaches the player how to hack into other peoples smartphones and computers to collect personal data for their own personal use.

Beck further stated during the segment, “The idea here is they are teaching you to hack and then become the ultimate voyeur in other people’s lives, including their bedrooms, by hacking into their phones and everything.

To no surprise; the gaming community has denounced his ignorant remarks while he has become a laughing stock among members of the game and tech media. Many have been quick point out the fallacy in his statement while others have just called him out on his ignorant remarks.

Erik Kain of Forbes.com pointed out that Beck rhetoric has always been about Americans cultural decline while further stating, “So it’s really not surprising that he’s latched onto video games. Video games, to those who don’t play them, have a mysterious and threatening aura. They’re violent, decadent things.

Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku stated in her article, “Listening to him talk about Watch Dogs is kind of funny, since he’s convinced it’ll teach kids how to hack into his iPad.

Machinima official Twitter page stated, “Oh come on. Political commentator Glenn Beck believes #WatchDogs is teaching children how to hack

Watch Dogs creative director, Jonathan Morin, was quick to denounce Beck remarks via Twitter. Morin even responded to the remarks of his Twitter followers who mocked Beck’s misinformed opinion of the game.

Meanwhile most gamers have mocked Beck’s illogical connection to hacking or just say some offensive remarks about him on social media.

Despite Becks misinformed comments, many academic studies have shown that playing video games improves a subjects ability to make quick decisions along with overcome complex challenges. Meanwhile criticism of violence in video games has declined while the few that are published often lack any real credibility to support its argument.

This is also not the first time a political pundit ignorant remarks about a game has met with a backlash among the community. Most infamous was when Kevin McCullough of TownHall.com wrote an article that described Mass Effect as a rape simulator targeted at children.

Watch Dogs is an open world game that has players take on the role Aiden Pearce, a vigilante hacker, who is trying to avenge the murder of his niece. The game was released on May 27 for the PC and all major consoles.

Written for The Gamers Progress
05/31/2014

Criticism of violent video games has lost credibility

Despite advancements in technology along with the inclusion of mature content and themes, criticism of violent video games in the media has been on the decline according to the research of Greg Perreault.

The research attributed the decline to the core demographic became older (average gamer is 30 years old and has been playing for 13 years) and violence in video games having become accepted.

Giving credit to where credit is due; kudos to Perreault for conducting the first study on a trend many old-school gamers have started to notice, that is the controversy regarding violence in video games has died.

Perreault is correct that the core audience has matured and with it has video games as a media while the culture has grown to become a major element of pop-culture. In the 90’s it was just an expensive toy but today they are generating more revenue the movies at the box-office while attracting the talents of Hollywood icons.

During the progression; real scientific studies were done on the effects of video games on the audience and they have killed the myth that it “breeds killers”. Meanwhile studies have unveiled the positive effects video games have on the player such as rapid decision making, better overcoming complex problems, helping to develop effective organization skills.

The end result has been that any outrage about violence in video games can no longer be taken seriously while anyone who brings up the junk science is dismissed.

Such an example to look at would be Cassie Rodenberg and her in-depth critic about allowing gamers to have interactions with prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto. According to her observation of students who played the game; such a feature mentally justifies violence against women while recanting the struggles of a real women who are forced into such a life.

Rodenberg would have made a strong case were it not for one minor problem, she wrote her critical analysis in 2013 about Grand Theft Auto V. In no time readers began to pick apart and destroy her entire argument based on a naive approach to an outdated troupe of moral outrage.

Given how critics have praised the game for its thought provoking story that presents an in-depth analysis of the American Dream in a post-2008 crash society in a style influenced Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, Rodenberg decision to focus on a controversy that is a decade old and very insignificant to the story gave the impression that she was too stupid to understand the games significance.

However; Rodenberg has not been the only person to debate the subject using an outdated mindset. Nobody could forget about the fake gamers at Salon.com and this example of a childish banter that tries to denounce the violence in video games using junk science and the writers own political outlook.

The very few times a video game has been criticized for its violent content was because of some very disturbing element that should always concern audiences. The content in question have been the obvious issues of rape and gruesome torture. No matter how mature the audience becomes; rape and torture will always be something disturbing while its presence in video games will never be tolerated.

The most resent example was the attention that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes received after the ESRB listed “Sexual Violence” and “Intense Violence” as a listed content. This of course is referring to audio recordings of Paz being raped along with the open surgery she undergoes after being rescued. Despite the act not visually featured; the context of rape in any media is always going to be disturbing to the audience.

Several months earlier; Grand Theft Auto V was criticized for a plot point that required the player to torture a suspect. While some accused it of glorifying torture, many gamers found the moment to be very disturbing and hard to play.

Finally who could forget the controversy regarding Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the option of playing “No Russian”.  What made this level disturbing was not the fact the player participates in a terrorist attack against civilians but the atmosphere of the environment with screams of terror in background while people are being butchered as they flee or begging for their lives.

These examples attracted controversy because the content was a subject that the general audience will always find disturbing. It was not a game of simple blood and violence but a moment that the player would never forget.

As video games continue to the advance the story will explore darker and more mature themes that is going to attract controversy. However bickering about the simple of violence is an outrage that nobody is going to take seriously as the culture has moved pass that point.

Written for The Gamers Progress
04/5/2014

Why is gaming culture misogynistic?

The question was brought up recently in the Mother Jones article “Why It Sucks to Be a Woman in the Video Game Industry” by Interactive Editor Tasneem Raja.

Raja’s article examines the sexism women deal with in the gaming industry from sexual harassment and disparity in the compensation structure to having female developers go unacknowledged for their accomplishments.

One could just brush all that off as some liberal publication trying to preach about feminist ideology. Unfortunately, Raja is not the first writer to bring up the misogynistic aspect of video game culture.

Back in 2010, David Wong, Senior Editor of Cracked.com, examined the gaming culture’s attitude toward women and the industry’s depiction of them in “5 Reasons It’s Still Not Cool to Admit You’re a Gamer”.

Most notably, Wong cites an article from The Guardian about the sexual harassment women gamers are subjected to online. The best example of this is when females play with male avatars just to avoid the “Tits or GTFO” remarks.

Several months after Wong’s article, Seanbaby (iconic humor writer and avid gamer) wrote in his column about the misogynistic undertones of Red Dead Redemption. He even explores the obvious sexism in the “Dastardly” achievement/trophy, which is unlocked after the player sets a hogtied woman on the train tracks and witnesses her death.

Flash forward to July of 2012 when Cracked writer J.F. Sargent wrote “5 Prejudices That Video Games Can’t Seem to Get Over“, which had a section dedicated to games that degraded strong female characters. The article gave a lot of attention to the feminine traits displayed by Samus Aran in Metroid: Other M (a lot of it based on Abbie Heppe’s review for G4).

Why is gaming culture so misogynistic?

The best answer regards the upbringing many gamers had during the ’90s up until the mid ’00s. During this era, gaming was part of geek subculture and so was often ridiculed by mainstream culture.

Gamers were more likely to be outcasts in high school, which made them the victims of taunting and teasing. It’s likely that many had bad experiences with women or relationships in their youth while being stereotyped as “virgin for life.”

Later in life, these gamers became adults and entered this industry just as video games became accepted by mainstream culture. Unfortunately, these gamers still harbor the old animosity toward women.

Their life experience has conditioned them to see women as nothing more than useless sources of pain and pleasure.

Another perspective is the influence of pop culture on the narratives of video games. Cinema and comics of the mid ’70s to late ’80s has had a major impact on the development of video game stories; however, most of these films often placed women into the “useless chick role” or had strong but overly sexualized female characters.

Sure, there’s exceptions to the rule that gaming culture is misogynistic. But trying to write up a list of “strong video game heroines (not overly sexualized)” tends to be limited when all you have is:

· Jill Valentine (Resident Evil & Resident Evil 3)
· Rebecca Chambers (Resident Evil 0)
· Claire Redfield (Resident Evil 2)
· Samus Aran (Metroid)

End of list!

Gaming is supposed to be a fun way for people to escape their boring and mediocre life for a few hours (or more). Video game culture has recently become part of pop culture, but it won’t become socially progressive if it continues to have such a demeaning outlook toward women.

Written for GameBeats
12/3/2012
Original Article: Why is gaming culture misogynistic?