Casual Connect promotes “Girls Aren’t Gamers” paradigm

Editor’s Note: This editorial was written by Omaha Sternberg, Editor-in-Chief here at iGame Radio. She attends Casual Connect every year, since its inception, and is a gamer of all kinds of games, including traditional “core games”.

UPDATE: Jessica Tams, Managing Director for Casual Connect, responded to this article, stating that the separation was about “denoting demographics when creating & marketing content.” She said, “Statistically, girls play some types of games more frequently and boys play some games more frequently. If a game designer does not keep this in mind, their product will suffer.”

She also felt that the term was about promoting a demographic that is not focused on much at Casual Connect. “…we spend so much time talking about mature female gamers at our conferences and in our magazine that when we do talk about games that have a younger male (boys) demographic – we call this out so people will not be confused.”

In my reply I stated that though I understood those issues, the problem I had was that this term was one of only two that actually specified a focus on gaming and games specifically (as opposed to how games are created, published, distributed, or marketed)…the other term being iPhone/Mobile. So separating this phrase out in this way really can only come across in a very limited fashion…that Games for Gamers are games for boys, and girls are left out. And that offends me.

About a week ago, I received an email from one of my favorite gaming conventions, Casual Connect, reminding me to register. I’ve been attending Casual Connect every year since it started in 2006 and was called Casuality, a name few could pronounce correctly. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed not just attending the events, interviewing developers and publishers, and going to the parties, but also watching this great convention of casual games grow over time into something that really understands the game industry as a whole, and the casual game connection within it.

So I was pretty surprised during the registration process to see amongst the choices for “Primary Business” was: Games for Gamers (Boy Games).

Games for Gamers are only games for boys? That didn’t seem right. I knew I had to be interpreting that wrong. The other choices were Development, Destination (retail & portals), Publishing, Tools & Services, Social & Community, and iPhone/Mobile. All pretty generic, with no indication that you had to be a specific gender to participate in that segment.

I contacted Casual Connect about this, asking why “Boy Games” was listed next to “Games for Gamers”, and this is the response I received from Tennille Forsberg, Content Manager of Casual Connect:

“Games for Gamers is the term we’ve always used for casual games that incorporate game mechanics found in core games–games boys play. ;) So, it’s just a clarifier [sic].”

Core games are games boys play. Not girls. This is a paradigm that I and many in the industry have been trying to dispel for a long time, and yet here it has once again raised it’s ugly head…in the casual gaming industry. There are so many paradigms that this statement generates it’s hard to keep track.

Core Games – games boys play: This paradigm states outright that core games, the traditional, triple AAA titles, are a men’s only club. No women allowed. Or if women do come in, expect to be singled out, stared at, even ridiculed. These games are not for you, and you shouldn’t expect anyone here to want to play with you, talk to you about the games, or sell them to you. And we expect that you aren’t interested in playing them. Whether you are or not is irrelevant.

Casual games that incorporate game mechanics found in games boys play: This men’s-only club is now extending to casual games. Once again, these casual games are for boys only…no girls allowed.

Games for Gamers is the term we’ve always used for games boys play: Apparently Casual Connect, and by extension the Casual Gaming industry, has always considered that any games for gamers are only for boys. If you’re a gamer, you’re a boy. If you’re a girl, you’re not a gamer.

So, let’s revisit this in it’s entirety. Games for Gamers are games for boys. Girls are not gamers. They don’t play these games. The casual games that incorporate mechanics from these games, only for gamers, also will be for boys. Because girls aren’t casual gamers either.

And the folks at Casual Connect are happy to cater to and continue this paradigm.

June 29, 2011 · Posted in Casual Connect, General   
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God of War’s Jaffe to keynote PAX Prime

Penny Arcade has announced that David Jaffe of God of War fame will be keynoting PAX Prime 2011. The keynote will kick off three days of demos, speakers, competitions and concerts by some of the biggest names in gaming.

PAX Prime will include some of the hottest new games in the gaming industry including 2K Games, Activision, Bioware, Capcom, NCsoft and Turbine as well as table top/CCG power houses such as Wizards of the Coast and Privateer Press. Microsoft is hosting Halo Fest – the largest and most expansive live Halo experience anyone has ever seen – at the third floor annex of the Washington State Conference Center.

Attendees will also get their fill of nightly nerd concerts, including the return of favorites Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot, Metroid Metal, Minibosses, and Paul and Storm, as well as newcomers Supercommuter and The Video Game Orchestra.

PAX Prime is scheduled at the Seattle Convention Center on August 26 – 28. Passes are sold out, but you might still find one by searching the forums.

June 28, 2011 · Posted in General, PAX   
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iGame Radio looking for Writing Assistant

Have you ever wanted to write for a gaming site? Do you look to see if a game has been released for the Mac before you look at the description? Do you tap on the screen of your iPhone while gaming till your fingers bleed (ewww, hopefully not all over your screen!). Do you drool every time a new iPad game has been released? iGame Radio may have the gig for you!

We’re looking for a Writing Assistant to help increase the content on the website and expand the site’s social connections. This position will start as part-time, but may become full-time in the future.

iGame Radio is a video game blog and podcast based on Mac and iOS games. We post news/editorial articles and several weekly podcasts that include industry commentary, game reviews, and interviews with game industry figures.

This will be a great position to get into video game journalism and get your name out onto the internet in a location that is seen by thousands every week.

Requirements:

  • The ability to write quality articles about the Mac and iOS game industry and stories related to such.
  • Be able to work with social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, using it to expand the fan base.
  • Be able to keep to deadlines.
  • Can work remotely, keeping in contact via email, chat tools, and Skype (both audibly and visually).
  • Be able to work a variable schedule (though the majority of the schedule will be a standard one).

The position will start unpaid but it is intended to become a paying position over time. Contact us for more information.

June 24, 2011 · Posted in General   
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PopCap eBay art auction benefits kids’ charities

PopCap Games has launched an auction of cool and unique PopCap art pieces on eBay whose proceeds will support two nonprofit organizations. Launched last week, the auction will continue through July 12 in a series of weekly auctions.

The collection includes a 6 foot-by-6 foot DJing Plants vs. Zombie painting and other sketches, a Zuma-themed ceramic tea set, a Peggle-themed ceramic sake set, original hand-drawn concept art from several PopCap franchises, and more. There will be nearly 40 one-of-a-kind items up for bid, each representing a piece of PopCap history. All of it is for sale with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Starlight Children’s Foundation (U.S.) and SpecialEffect (U.K.) to help children with serious illnesses and their families cope with their challenges.

The items will be auctioned in four waves of nine items each available for just 7 days. The first week’s worth of items will finish bidding in just under an hour, and the amounts show how much fans are interested. The personalized sketch that will be done with input from the buyer post auction opened bidding at $1 and was well over $400 yesterday. The second week’s bidding has already begun, so bid early and often!

June 21, 2011 · Posted in General   
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Should you pay more ’cause your not fun to play with?

Editor’s Note: Our intern Ben Heindel is ending his time with us. But before he goes, we thought we’d post one of the articles that he wrote as a guest column. This is in response to the interview given by Gabe Newell of Valve Software, in which he stated that he was interested in employing a game system where payment was based more on how good players are to each other, rather than the value of the games themselves.

Would you want to pay more for not being fun to play with? Valve Software founder Gabe Newell, in an interview with Develop Online, talked about a concept for how to set up a new purchase system to reward kinder players with discounts and even free games, and hamper annoying players or griefers by forcing them to pay more or even make them pay to use other features of the game that are normally free. Really this sounds great but the chances for problems to crop up are quite numerous.

Would the execution of this system be worth it for Valve to implement it at this time? There are a few ways that this could be executed. It could be an automated process based on how quickly people leave after you showed up in the game or on your profile views or something along those lines. But any automated system can and will be abused after people do the number crunching and find out the conditions. Maybe Valve could go the route of a ranking or point system, allowing the players to decide who is good and who is bad with votes and such. But once again there is the same issue of abuse, but this time it is cranked up to 11 with an overall inability to save customers from being raided by the same trolls that they are trying to avoid.

Will Valve or other companies connected to Steam expect this plan to create a steady form of income compared to the current model? With the possibility of free games on a larger scale, smaller developers will see a falling out in income to support their projects. In the case of larger publishers, they probably won’t be very happy about having their games prices lowered for various people who just happen to be good in their little community. Also, if Valve starts increasing the charge for certain games then gamers will turn their money elsewhere instead of paying through Steam. There will also be the people who do get the benefits being the litmus test for who are Steam’s “best community members” which may make a wider slash in the community then the Marianas Trench. With the added power, some players may get very arrogant, turning them into less likable individuals…all the while, others will keep these players up there regardless of if they are still as likable as they were before for personal reasons. This may cause the general gamer population to look at these players as the kind of person the Steam community likes, making them avoid steam and move to another platform of distribution.

Another issue that could occur might come from personal attacks. There are many kinds of communities that may use this as an excuse to attack people that they don’t like. There is the side of communities that believe in very specific rules, whether its immature communities that think everybody are jerks to uptight communities that don’t believe in that whole “playing the game for fun” business. Then there are the individuals who take many games too seriously; attacking players en-masse would cause a massive chance of collateral damage of people who just want to have fun playing the game.

Overall this seems in the same vein as trying to keep everybody equal; in theory it sounds like a great idea but there will always be someone to make it a pipe dream, only looked upon with positive light by the top leaders and bright eyed teenagers who don’t look at the plan hard enough. At its worst Valve would be playing Teacher to everybody in its community; rewarding good kids and tattle tales with treats and gold stars and giving the bad kids and misunderstood kids time outs and making them stay in from recess. There are times when the conventions of industry need to be challenged, there are places where it requires major overhauls to get it into order. This is neither the time, nor the place, to try.

June 20, 2011 · Posted in Games, General   
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App Store hits 500,000 app mark

As of today, the number of individual apps approved by Apple for its iOS platform has exceeded the 500,000 mark. Though the number of active apps available in the App Store is roughly 400,000, the number of approved apps is a proven milestone for developers and app seekers alike.

As part of the milestone announcement, 148Apps, the independent mobile app blog, along with Chomp, the leaders in app search technology, and Chillingo, a top app game developer, have released an infographic, celebrating the milestone and highlighting others since the Apple App Store launched on July 10, 2008.

Featured data includes top apps of all time, number of developers contributing to the 500,000 number, a timeline of approved apps, growth projections and more. Some of the more interesting statistics from this infographic include that the most popular category of app is Games (at 58699 active) followed closely behind by books (at 54448 active). Also, while the current average non-game app price is $2.27, the current average game price is only $1.06, bringing the overall app price for the App store down to $2.11. And the most expensive game? A whopping $299.99!

In comparison, the Android Marketplace, the closest competitor to the iOS App Store launched 8 months after the Apple App Store in March 2009, currently contains roughly 294,000 apps and 3 billion app downloads. In fact, recently mobile research specialist Research2Guidance claimed that the Android Marketplace would overtake the Apple App Store in app by August of this year with 425,000 apps. Considering that the App store has already reached the 400,000 active apps number in May, that hardly seems likely now.

The infographic is available via the 500k apps Facebook fan page. For more app data, visit 148Apps. To access Chomp’s monthly proprietary metrics report, go to their App Search Analytics page.

May 24, 2011 · Posted in General   
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[UPDATE] The ECA and Red Bull Gaming bring free memberships

UPDATE: Jason of the ECA pointed out the Flash ECA ad on the right hand side. If you click on the lower bar that says “Click Here”, a drop down menu will appear allowing you to sign up.

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has announced a cooperation with Red Bull Gaming to offer a one year free ECA membership to those who sign up through the Red Bull Gaming homepage.

The ECA says no credit card will be required for activation. Members who sign up in this manner will be able to enjoy the numerous ECA benefits, including educational resources, advocacy efforts, and affinity benefits instantly. Also, the ECA and Red Bull Gaming will continue to introduce more programs and events that will be announced in the coming months.

We checked out the Red Bull Gaming site, but couldn’t find a link or page that was specifically for signing up for ECA membership, however and if you click on the Flash ECA ad on the right hand side, on the lower bar that says “Click Here”, a drop down menu will appear allowing you to sign up. We’ve emailed the ECA asking for clarification regarding these procedures, and will update when we get a response and they updated us right quick!

Meantime, go to the ECA website for a full list of ECA partnerships and membership benefits, to learn how to become a member, or to find out more about the organization.

May 24, 2011 · Posted in General   
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Behind the scenes of Portal 2

Portal 2: The Final HoursValve Software has released Portal 2: The Final Hours, a “digital book” that takes you behind the scenes within Valve for an unvarnished look at the creative process behind Portal 2.

Journalist Geoff Keighley was granted unprecedented “fly on the wall” access to Valve to create a 15,000 word multimedia experience, including exclusive photos, videos, interviews, interactive experiences, and more. The Final Hours includes a lot of previously unknown information, such as the fact that Portal 2 actually began as a prequel to the first game without portals or GLaDOS. A video of a never-before-disclosed project, Two Bots, One Wrench, shows examples of Directed Design Experiments created after Half-Life 2: Episode 2. You’ll also see images and read details regarding the evolution of the Portal 2 story as the game was developed.

Interactive highlights include:

  • Play with portals in an interactive diagram where you learn how portals work.
  • 360 degree panorama photos of the Valve office and design labs.
  • Listen to the songs that inspired the Portal 2 development team.
  • Hear Jonathan Coulton’s Portal 2 song in various stages of development.
  • Puppet Wheatley in an interactive experience.
  • Destroy Aperture Science by wiping your fingers over the screen.
  • Interact with fans and voice your opinion via polls and a feedback form.

The cost for his multimedia experience is $1.99, and SteamPlay is required.

May 20, 2011 · Posted in Games, General   
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Valve not showing anything at E3

iGame Radio received an email from Valve this week that stated that they would not be showing anything at E3 this year:

Lots of folks have mailed asking about appointment times, etc., with Valve.

Well, we are not showing any titles at this year’s show. So no appointment is needed.

This has set tongues wagging, as we know of at least one title that Valve is actively working on (DOTA 2), and the hopes have been with many that they are also working on Half-life 2: Episode 3, though there is no absolute evidence of that. But that statement leaves many to wonder whether DOTA 2 is further off than many thought, or whether Valve does not want to show any work at E3.

A disappointment indeed, as we all would have liked to see more of DOTA 2 and any other Valve work.

May 18, 2011 · Posted in General   
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[Podcast] iGame Chat: Mike Gnade chats Indie Game Mag and Game Tunnel



What’s inside this episode:

  • Omaha Sternberg interviews Mike Gnade of Indie Game Magazine. Gnade recently ran a Kickstarter Campaign to restart Game Tunnel which Indie Game Magazine had purchased. Omaha talks with Mike about the history of the magazine, the reason why they purchased Game Tunnel, and what the future holds in store for that venerable indie game site.
May 16, 2011 · Posted in General, Podcasts   
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