Nope, Still Censorship, Batgirl

Batgirlvariant

“Hmm, is this image perhaps inappropriate for the Batgirl comic?” Maybe ask these questions BEFORE soliciting your product, DC.

I wasn’t going to blog about the decision to pull a variant cover for Batgirl #41. I’m not a reader of the comic, and Twitter user @JennOfHardwire has already done a good job going over it from the perspective of a fan of the franchise. 

But then I started seeing comments about how the decision to pull a controversial variant cover after internet outrage wasn’t *really* censorship, because: The cover was off-brand. It’s a bad choice for a youth-targeted book like Batgirl. The artist himself agreed to pull it, etc. etc. etc.

This…really bothers me. I think all of the above can be true, yet refusing to publish a piece of art due to complaints is still censorship.

Continue reading Nope, Still Censorship, Batgirl

The Problematic Launch of Offworld.com

Regular readers of this blog may be scratching their heads at the title. “But Karen, don’t you hate the world problematic?” Well yes, I do. However, the launch of Offworld— a new gaming site that claims to be “an unequivocal home for women and minorities”— reminds me of Girlamatic.com, a now-defunct site that was meant to be for webcomics “(mostly!) by and (mostly!) for” women. For some reason, the title of an article critical of the site* from vaguely 2001-ish, titled “The Problematic Launch of Girlamatic.com,” has stuck in my mind, some fourteen years later. That was about the last time you could use problematic before it just got silly, I think. In any case, Offworld reminds me of my thoughts at that time, so it just felt like an apt title, out-of-character as it may be. Continue reading The Problematic Launch of Offworld.com

Games and the Value of Comfort Zones

Game designer Jonathan Blow is getting people riled up today with this quote:

“If every movie were a porn movie, most people wouldn’t see movies. The majority of games are basically porn—the onus is on us to make more things that are worth a reasonable person’s time.”

To give Blow’s view proper consideration, he’s not saying that “porn,” or games as they are now, shouldn’t exist– just that they shouldn’t make up such a large percentage of the gaming landscape. I can agree with that much, certainly. The idea that gaming as a medium could be offering a much wider variety of experiences than it does currently is hardly a new or radical idea; in fact, I remember the staff of Electronic Gaming Monthly writing sundry editorials about that all the way back in the ’90s.

Where I part ways with Blow is the supposition that games as they are now aren’t “worth a reasonable person’s time”– implying (or I guess, outright stating, really), that people who enjoy today’s games are unreasonable people. Putting aside the fact that that’s just begging for a George Bernard Shaw-inspired burn, as one of the so-called unreasonable people, I would like to make a case for the value of unreasonability. Continue reading Games and the Value of Comfort Zones