Weekly Roundup is the feature where I gather up all the interesting articles pertaining to gender and gaming from the previous week. This week I look at the game “Dungeons of Dreadmoor” and the kick-ass people who created it, and moderate the forums.
Last week a friend posted a link on my wall. The blurb said
“I’m about to tell you a story about videogames, kitchens, and internet forums that has a happy ending. Stop laughing, I’m serious.”
When I read those two sentences, I cautiously clicked on the link, fully expecting something terrible and misogynistic despite the intro. It’s hard for me to imagine any story about videogames, kitchens, and forums that has any sort of ending that doesn’t end in tragedy for a woman participating. However, cakepie relates an astounding story sans tragedy. After participating on the Dungeons of Dredmoor forums for less than 24 hours, cakepie encountered the “make me a sanwhich” comment. If you’re a woman on the internet/gaming community, you know what I mean. The instant someone identifies you as a woman, it takes maybe thirty seconds for someone to tell you to “go make me a sandwhich” (“like a good woman” is typically implied) The first time I ever played Halo online when I was 12, I immediately got told to go back to the kitchen the minute the players heard my voice (As I learned later in life, I was lucky that the comment was so mild). On forums you’ll often encounter images like this one:
If you type in the phrase “Make me a sandwich” into a Google search, the third suggested search is “Make me a sandwhich comeback”. There are many good comebacks, and cakepie makes good use of these in her response to the troll (Read her full article for a good discussion on how moderators should respond to these comments). Here is one of my favorite images for combating the sandwich comment:
Amazingly, another forum member joins the fray: the freakin’ GAME DEVELOPER David Baumgart. He says:
I won’t stand for this bloody stupid sandwhich “jokes” that marginalizes female players involvement in this community (and like, life in general). It’s precisely the opposite of the kind of environment that we here at Gaslamp want to create.
I’m honestly not sure of the last time I read something so awesome on an internet forum. But wait! It gets even better:
Now that I’ve, weirdly, been part of making a game and it’s got a forum, I’m not going to tolerate a tone that alienates anyone traditionally disempowered by gaming communities, be it women, GLBT folk, etc, – even unconsciously. Hence my insta-rage and banning
If you want to see Baumgart’s full response: click here. It’s worth reading. Really. Like, go read it now. It is the first thing I’ve read in awhile that has give me hope that a bit of humanity and decency is finally making its way into the gaming community.
This isn’t the first time that Dungeons of Dredmoor has done something awesome for gamers! In this article from the Borderhouse, rho describes how Gaslamp added a female playable character to Dungeons of Dredmoor. Even better? One of the game’s developers joins in the discussion of the need to include both sexes and more races as playable options in games. So, in this spirit of putting money where my mouth is, this game is definitely now in my Steam library. I can’t wait to play it, and I’m totally stoked that I can play as a woman, be part of the forums, and have developer/moderator support throughout!