Tag Archives: content

What I Learned from OWbN Girls

Permission to use granted by OWbN Girls and Meredith Gerber

No, it’s not a game. It’s an organization. But I still learned a lot about game design from OWbN Girls.

Over the past few days, I’ve been getting a trickle of drama in my various social networks around the group. For those not in the know, OWbN Girls is an advocacy group within the organization One World by Night that strives “to play fair in the gaming community, educate those that believe in the stereotype [of unempowered female gamers], and engage non-gamers in joining the community.” I admit that I’m not entirely sure what the drama is,1 but it brought me back to a particular thing I keep picking at: sexism (and really, many different “isms”) in gaming.

The conflict for me is that the extremes are disagreeable. It seems like whenever things like sexism comes up, the two options float to “suck it up and deal with it” or “turn into a politically correct wasteland.” I don’t agree with either option, so I keep picking at it because it’s important to me as an artist and a game designer. It’s a more complex problem than it appears on the surface, which is true of any important problem, and there isn’t a simple, tweet-sized answer. In talking on Twitter to the OWbN Girls account and admitting that it’s a bigger problem, I came up with some ideas on how to extract some of these threads.

Continue reading What I Learned from OWbN Girls

  1. Nor do I want to dig into it — I’ve had too many years of LARP drama in my past to actively look for it, thanks.

The Past is The Future

EphemeralLast Friday, when I was bitching about repeating myself, Ryan Macklin brought this up:

To be fair, I often find myself revisiting old topics months or years later, with a new perspective. And because they’re old, either people have forgotten about it or new readers haven’t seen it. [E]ven when I tread the same ground as in past years, something will be new and new eyes will be on it.

This has stuck in my head, and I’ve been serious kicking around the repercussions of that idea.

You see, I’ve been on this here Internet for a very long time.1 At first, the Internet was barely a “network” – more a collection of nodes that were available at random intervals. Once things collected into the World Wide Web, data (and the ability to access that data) became more permanent. You could put something on the Internet, and it would stay there. This was an amazing idea – anything in the world could be found, accessed, and referenced. It was the world’s biggest library, and you could always go to a place and find that information waiting for you.

Now, there’s so much data and information on the Internet that it’s become ephemeral. Instead of storing static data, it’s extremely dynamic, showing the latest of a particular thing. Twitter is a perfect example of this – blink, and an entire conversation can pass you by. You can go back and read posts, of course, but much of Twitter (for me, at least) is the crawl, watching the world go by in posts of 140 characters or less. It’s a social stock ticker, a whirlpool of quips, links, and thoughts that is always something new.

But for some reason, I still haven’t completely internalized the idea that other parts of the Internet work this way. The value of hyperlinks are that you can point to a previous page to provide context, but nowadays the page I point to today might be gone in a year, or radically changed. There’s a churn of content everywhere.

From a writing perspective, that’s good. This means that there’s always something to write about, even if you’ve written about it before. Content is moving to bite-sized and episodic – what once would have been a novel might now be a story in several parts. What would have been a movie becomes a web video series. And what would have been a dense manuscript of critical analysis becomes a series of irregular essays.

Again, on an intellectual level I understand this, but I’m still wrapping my head around the idea that past content can be future content. That’s the part that’s still odd to me.