North Korean IT venture company makes country’s first (maybe) video game

Lord Setar brought this to my attention: the first IT venture company in North Korea, which brags of having internet connectivity, has built the country’s first video game (unless you count these mobile games published under the Fox Mobile banner… which might not actually count, honestly).

I’ve tried a number of times to play the in-browser Flash game, braving their site’s unfortunate overuse of clipart, but it fails to load repeatedly at the G in “Loading”. So I’ve had to settle for checking this out via Youtube.

This is very self-evidently a propaganda piece, to try to sell North Korea’s tourism market, but I have to give them credit for making a fairly good game for their first outing. Sure, it’s rather dull, with static cars as the only obstacle, and the only goal to pick up petrol drums and collectible placards that both show a landmark and a short piece of text chastizing you for your poor driving skills. And that’s not to mention the female traffic cop who appears on occasion to tell you not to look at her. But all in all, there’s a lot that’s laudable from a startup even where there’s a lot that’s laughable. I hope they learn from this and make another attempt. And I certainly hope it brings a little money into their wealth-starved country — from which most of the injustices of their totalitarian government likely flow.

Their about us page indicates, to me, why said government might have been interested in them. I can guarantee that “secrecy” is not a selling point over here, so much as an unfortunate reality.

Anita Sarkeesian’s TED talk and the predictable response

This talk by Anita Sarkeesian at the TEDxWomen 2012 event was posted with its ratings and comments disabled. While ordinarily I would consider that the mark of an attempt to stifle debate, this was done because she is the target of an ongoing hate campaign because she’s a woman talking about sexism in a traditionally male-dominated territory: video games.

The comments and downvotes would wreck this talk’s chances of being seen, normally. In this case, knowing that she’d be censored by the same haters she’s talking about, I’m okay with disabling the ratings and comments. We can post it to our own sites and let her speak, then offer constructive criticism in spaces where we can moderate away the haters. This deprives them of a space to vent, and allows her message to enter the marketplace of ideas to live or die by their own merits.

But the haters found an easy way around this: upload the identical video elsewhere, so they could downrate it to shit and talk about rape all they want. It may not remove the original video from the public discourse, but it sure makes them feel better about their tiny and insignificant lives.

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Gamers For Godlessness 24 Hour Gameathonapalooza!

Starring JT Eberhard and Jason Thibeault, with special guests throughout the show. Join us in raising money for Camp Quest and Women In Secularism. Pledge money, dare us to do video-gamey stunts, and watch us beat the snot out of each other in various classic games! The gaming starts at 12 Noon EST. GET OVER HERE.

We made it 21 hrs and 35 mins before we had to pack it in, and generous viewers donated a total of $1335 which means, after the $300 we’ve allotted to defray our one-time startup costs to get this show on the road, and after Paypal has taken their cut, we’re left with $980.41 to split between Camp Quest and Women In Secularism. But that’s an ugly number, so the widget will remain up for the time being in case any kind souls would like to bump us up to something more reasonable. And if you need incentive, the entire archive of the night is available at my twitch.tv page. That’s plenty of entertainment to merit your further donations.

Thank you all for participating! I’m going to go crash hard now.

Gamers For Godlessness title card

Title card by Glendon Mellow, The Flying Trilobite

Watch live video from lousycanuck on www.twitch.tv

Gamers For Godlessness gameathonapalooza: Challenge us. I dare you.

I’ve got a few blog posts stewing in my brainpan at the moment, but between work and prep for the 24 hour gameathon on Saturday, I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and actually write any of it.

But the gameathon — The First Annual Gamers For Godlessness 24 Hour Gameathonapalooza Starring JT (Eberhard) and J(ason) T(hibeault) With Special Guests — is shaping up to be epic. The live stream will be posted as an embedded twitch.tv stream and chat room right here at this very blog.

With Russell Glasser’s help, and with assists by Aliasalpha, John Lenard and Craig Robertson (cheers, gents!), we managed to get three player MAME working with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles In Time. It took a lot of fiddling, but we’ve managed to work out the kinks and we should be ready to go for Saturday. Meaning me, JT Eberhard, Russell Glasser and Debbie Goddard are definitely going to play four-player Ninja Turtles.

Ninja Turtles screenshot

Russell’s already excited. I know for sure he’ll be there. Though, I have a few people who expressed interest who hasn’t actually gotten back to me with a definitive time yet. I hate leaving scheduling to the last second, so I’m about to go bother them by email now.

JT has suggested that we do gaming stunts and dares for pledges — making the amount you, the viewers, pledge dependent on such things as how many levels we can beat in Contra with only three lives, how fast we can get through Megaman 2 Flash Man’s stage (hell with that! I say Quick Man! Those laser beams are horrendous!), et cetera.

And I think we’re going to cap the gaming at about the N64. Any newer than that, and we’re not really doing the name “classic” justice.

So, what do you want to see us do in exchange for your pledges? And remember, after the first $300 to cover our overhead, half of our pledges will go to Women In Secularism, and half to Camp Quest.
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Gamers For Godlessness gameathon is in 7 days!

Start your countdown. In exactly seven days — minus whatever time delta there was between my posting this and you reading it — the great Gamers For Godlessness 24-hour gameathon, starring JT Eberhard and yours truly, will officially begin. Holy shit. It’s actually happening. It’ll be, say it with me, On Like Donkey Kong.

We’ll be raising funds to split evenly between Camp Quest and Women In Secularism (minus a sadly unavoidable $300 overhead for software and hardware we’ve incurred setting this up).

Among the games we *know* we’ll be playing, are River City Ransom (whose virtues Angry Video Game Nerd thinks are shortcomings!), Super Street Fighter 2 for the SNES (and maybe arcade if we can manage!), Kirby Superstar’s Great Cave Offensive, some Mortal Kombat game or another, and pretty much any co-op or competitive game our guests suggest.

Oh yeah. Did I mention the guests due to phone in by Skype, and maybe even play the games if we can manage? No? Well, I’m mentioning them now. No, now. NOW.

I’ve gotten confirmation that Russell Glasser, Stephanie Zvan, Ashley Miller, Brianne Bilyeu, Kylie Sturgess and Avicenna of FtB will all make appearances, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Debbie Goddard of Skepchick and CFI will be hanging out, and if we can manage, she and Russell will make players 3 and 4 in a round of Ninja Turtles and/or Simpsons (the arcade games). Lux Pickel will be visiting from Teen Skepchick, Glendon Mellow the Flying Trilobite will (I hope) find a chunk of time in his busy schedule to jump on and maybe geek out about comic book video games, and Dr. Dave who co-blogs at WWJTD is also hopefully going to make an appearance.

And in the meantime, I’m dusting off my ten-year-old Street Fighter 2 skillz so I am not a total failure. Which character can do the Falcon Punch again?

I’m going to set up the donation button sometime this weekend, at the same time as JT and I square away the last details prior to the gameathon.

Are you ready for this?

Shame In Your Game

An absolutely pitch perfect rant-slash-analysis from Emily Gordon detailing sexism in the video gaming community. It must be read, especially by those of us who see this shit happening in our community but don’t have any insight into the nearly-identical fight going on in the gaming world.

I’m a female with a podcast about video games, so I am frequently asked tough questions: “How do I get my girlfriend to like video games?” “Are you a ‘real’ nerd?” “How do we fix sexism in the gaming world?”

My answers to those questions are, in order: “Start with two-player platformers,” “What?” and “I wish I knew.”

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