Thursday, October 23, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 50

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 50 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! As a surprise feature for our 50th anniversary, we have two guest judges this week. John Spinella is a member of the community. Travis A. is a fan of A Podcast of Ice and Fire and contributor to the offshoot Vassals and Bastards of Kingsgrave podcasts.  You can follow him at @travisotraviso for random musings on Game of Thrones, beer, and Destiny.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 49

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 49 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Paul. He is known as Pod's Plight on the APOIAF forums where he enjoys dabbling in artistic pursuits via MS Paint drawings. He is also an occasional contributor to Vassals of Kingsgrave.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 48

Thursday is court day! This week, however, problems arose. Sorry for that.
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 48 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Calvin (aka KCenturion), he is the copy editor for encyclopedia entries on Tower of the Hand. He lives in the UK and is one of the regular members of the APOIAF CockneyMoots. You can also follow him on Twitter @CassiusGren.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

#Gamergate is not one debate, but two. Plus, it's a culture war.

In my latest post linking to Sarkeesian's latest video, I talked about her and the other "Social Justice Warriors" winning the fight. One reader then asked me the following: 
Stefan, i'm wondering where you're getting your sources on GamerGate because i've seen lots of one sided pieces on each side of the aisle and as someone without a dog in this fight I have to say that a lot of the feminists sites like some of the posts you've linked to don't talk about any of the negative things there side are doing. There supporters have done plenty of doxxing, threatening and throwing there weight around as well. I'm not even a video game player anymore but i've found this whole saga interesting. Anyway, read this interview today with developer Brad Wardell and I think it's one of the few examples of someone able to talk about the plusses and minuses of each side.
I initially wrote a comment, but my argument grew longer, and so I'm making a blog post about it. Advantage if you're the owner of the damn thing, I know. ;) So, on to the argument.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Video: Anita Sarkeesian at XOXO

Don't know, but from my vantage point, her communication strategy seems pretty clever to me and, above all, working. I can't see her as finished, and despite the partial success of the #Gamergate crowd in their boycotting of critical media by bullying Intel into withdrawing ad money (shame on you, Intel) I also don't see the backlashreaching any point (yet) at which the industry as a whole would disavow her. Despite Intel's appalling behavior, and of course the not even debatable degeneration of the Gamergaters, the paradigm shift Sarkeesian talks about is happening, and the elites that matter (as in popculture critics and developers) have flocked to the cause in droves. They are notably absent on the #Gamergate side of things, which consists mostly of the fanbase itself and many of the traditional video games review sites and magazines. The irony of this is, of course, that the #Gamergate people, who claim to attack corruption in the video game industry, have thrown their lot in hook, line and sinker with exactly those elements of the business that are known to be the most susceptible to corruption and getting influences by the industry they maintain way too close ties with. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 47

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 47 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Alix C, a show-watcher turned book-reader, forum member of Podcast of Ice and Fire and occasional speaker on Vassals of Kingsgrave. You can find her on tumblr at brownwizardofwesteros.tumblr.com.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review: Noah

Warning: Spoilers for "Noah" ahead. Seriously, I'll spoil the whole movie. 

I finally got around to watch "Noah". I have found this to be a really, really disturbing experience. "Noah" is the weirdest piece of movie I saw since "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", and it left me deeply unsettled. The imagery, the story and the characters all align into something that doesn't fit any category, and the movie switches with ease between different genres, watching first some post-apocalyptic flic, then reenacting the battle of Helm's Deep before we get "The Shining 2" aboard the Ark. So why is this, and does it work?
This! Is! Noah!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Video: Laci Green about Sam Pepper

Laci Green, who I think I never recommended on the blog until now but have been watching quite some time, made a video about the Sam Pepper prank stuff (she explains it, don't worry) which I can only recommend to y'all. Watch it after the break.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 46

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 46 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Michal H, a Show-watcher turned book reader, forum member of Podcast of Ice and Fire and speaker on Vassals of Kingsgrave.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Discussing Sarkeesian with 16-year-olds

Today, I used Anita Sarkeesian's "Women as Background Decoration" in class. The pupils are 10th graders, which in Germany means they're about 16 to 17 years old. The class is small, consisting of ten boys and one girl. Much testosterone to fly around, I can tell you. Since I know that all of the ten boys are playing video games, asking them whether they heard of #Gamergate, I expected some positive answers. In fact, two people had heard of it, and two others joined in once they understood what I meant. The term itself was new to them. We watched the aforementioned video together, with me pausing several times to explain some of the heavier vocabulary, but refraining from taking sides. During watching, they constantly shouted out their disapproval, citing that men get beaten and killed in these games, too, and that it's just "normal", and that if Sarkeesian didn't like it she should stop playing. Two pupils grew a bit more thoughtful after a while, pondering the arguments, but didn't get on Sarkeesian's side. All pupils stated how dismayed they were at the fact that Sarkeesian countered all their own arguments in advance, calling it unfair.

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 45

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 45 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is J Alex Keene, a member of the community.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The connection between Open-World-Games and misogyny [UPDATE]

When I talked about my relation to Anita Sarkeesian's videos last week, I found something curious: the "Women as Background Decoration" trope that she talks about and that so infuriates gamers is especially prevalent in open-world-games. GTA, Red Dead Redemption, Kane&Lynch, Hitman, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry 3, Watch_Dogs and others popped up with alarming regularity (and yes, I know they're not all technically open-world, but they give players more freedom than your average Call of Duty). I think there's a connection between this fact and the sexist scenes that Sarkeesian dissected in her video, and it has to do with the mechanics of open-world games. 
Yay, freedom for the player!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 44

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 44 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Thomas Fichtenmayer, who has the tumblr Stannisifthefury and covers Game of Thrones for esquire.com. He was already a guest judge in ruling 15.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No country for Old Gamers

Bringing feminism to a gaming console near you.
I have never liked feminism. Then I watched Anita Sarkeesian. This may sound melodramatic, but in the light of the developments that loosely run under the tag of "#Gamergate" these days, melodrama is called for. I won't bore you with the details of the conflict, for which you can turn to the trusted explainers over at vox.com. The reactions from the community of people calling themselves "gamers" has been so much out of proportion that "melodrama" isn't beginning to cover it. When people are forced to ask the police for protection and flee their homes, you know that something has gone terribly wrong. The hatred that Sarkeesian, Quinn and others are receiving bars no relation to the quote on quote "provocation" they are posing to the gamer community at large. I guess I'm too old to ever have named myself a "gamer" (the term didn't exist in my really active days), but I certainly would've. Now, I can only try to make a firm stand, rebuking the stupid attitudes of my teenage years and agree with the many who came before me in renouncing the term.