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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 43

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 43 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is K-K Bracken, the writer of the Game of Thrones Comedy Show in Columbus, Ohio and an attendee of the Ice and Fire Convention each May at Ravenwood Castle in Ohio.  Her personal tumblr is http://zombee.tumblr.com

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 42

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 42 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Alex Smith: co-founder of Tower of the Hand, one of the contributing authors to A Flight of Sorrows, and repeating guest host at A Podcast of Ice and Fire.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sounds about right, True Blood

But despite all these spinning plates, there's been a lack of pace and a cloud of boredom in Bon Temps. There may just be too much scar tissue from seasons past for anyone to get too excited about a show that once promised excess. The show mistook simple for lazy, convoluted for interesting. In trying to tinker with and continually redefine its vampires, the show ended up gumming up its own motor. And along the way, it lost all the excess, and we lost all the fun we were having.
- Vox

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mini-Review: Wanted

Not even characters.
In our last post of the Supreme Court of Westeros, I made a comparison with the comic book of "Wanted", as well as the movie, stating that I actually liked the movie more than the comic. To make this clear: I don't think the movie is a good movie. It's passable, and it has some interesting ideas, but ultimately it isn't really innovative or interesting enough to be remembered. The comics, however, outright suck ass. In my mind, they are only an excuse for a lengthy juvenile fantasy of boundless gore, violence and swearing. There is no deeper message in them, no meaning, no criticism, nothing that gets you engaged or thinking. It's just a violence fantasy. Worse, its violence is also directed at people for the expressed reasons of being ugly, of being annoying, of being female, of being in the way, of being just there when it suits you, of being fat, and a myriad of other reasons bullies usually use for excuses to torture people. Only this time it's put in a comic book. So, fuck "Wanted". I don't know why they even used the licence for the movie, whose convergence with the comic is minimal at best.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 41

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 41 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Jimmy McCullough. He has been heavily interested in “A Song of Ice and Fire” since his sister introduced me to GRRM books. Sadly, she lives in Australia now and they do not get to discuss them often, but hopefully she will return before “The Winds of Winter” is realised. He works for Bupa, a PMI company and is starting an MA in History in October.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 40

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 40 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Remy Verhoeve, who has his own blog "Stormsongs" and wrote several books about "A Song of Ice and Fire", including "Waiting for Dragons"

Friday, August 8, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 39

Thursday is court day! I declare this a Thursday, naysayers!
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 38 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is James Broxton, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He became a huge fan of the series right after the HBO show was announced, at which point he burned through the books and almost got through an entire re-read before the show started. He listens to APOIAF regularly and is a member of many of the popular forums, but hasn’t had much of a chance to be active yet. He is currently waiting patiently for his girlfriend to finish the series so they can talk about it (She’s only on ACOK!). Fun fact: He just started playing the Sims and most of his characters are from ASOIAF. Davos and Arya are dating and both work at the courthouse. Stannis and Margaery are also together and are firefighters.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 38

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 38 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Jim McGeehin, a contributing writer to The War and Politics of Ice and Fire and regular essayist for the Tower of the Hand.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 37

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 37 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is David Getty, who runs his own Game of Thrones inspired site A Game of Thrones Guide.  You can also follow him on Twitter.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Boiled Leather Audio Hour 33

We Want the Dunk: Discussing the Tales of Dunk and Egg

Ser Duncan the Tall gets his turn in the spotlight in an episode nearly as big as the man himself! At long last, Sean and I turn our attention to “The Hedge Knight,” “The Sworn Sword,” and “The Mystery Knight,” the three (and counting) A Song of Ice and Fire prequel novellas starring the inexperienced young hedge knight also known as Dunk the Lunk and his precocious, princely squire Egg. Taken together, these stories contain some of George R.R. Martin’s best writing — and his most tonally varied, too. Sean and I go deep into the secret-strewn stories of Dunk and Egg themselves, the politics of the Blackfyre Rebellion and the aftermath that overshadows the stories’ events, the genre-pastiche elements of each story, the chemistry between the characters, our favorite and least favorite installments of the series, and what it takes to be “a true knight.” It makes for an episode thick as a castle wall, and, we hope, entertaining as a Dornish puppet show. See you at the lists!

Mirror here.
Previous episodes here.
Podcast RSS feed here.
iTunes page here.
Sean’s blog here.
Stefan’s blog here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 36

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 36 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Greg, a member of the Podcast of Ice and Fire forums (claudiusthefool on the forums) and a podcaster with the Vassals of Kingsgrave (VOK Book Club discussion on Neil Gaimain's "Ocean at the End of the Lane" is his next project). He is a bookseller and spends a lot of time at work trying to convince customers who say "I don't like fantasy books" to give ASOIAF a try and they usually thank him for it.