I’m a book snob!

A few months back I got an email from Amazon reminding me that the book I pre-ordered is now coming out. I was kind of surprised. I don’t generally pre-order anything. But I looked up the book and discovered it was the XKCD hard copy of “What If?“, and thought I probably ordered it for my son (since he’s very sciency) so I kept the order.

I love the book and I’m glad I bought it. Every so often I pick it up and just read a few of the questions for those bite sized chunks of science in a slightly funny tone.

Then there was “Choose Your Own Auto Biography” by Neil Patrick Harris, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet” by Felicia Day, and “ASAP Science; Answers to the Worlds Weirdest Questions” by the guys over at ASAP Science. “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer. All of which are books I would love to read. All of which are books I don’t necessarily want to buy. At least not now at their price.

Most of these individuals made their name famous by doing things on their own. Felicia Day made a web series that is highly acclaimed on her own. ASAP Science is a well known youtube channel that they did on their own. Amanda Palmer has a fantastic music career that she became famous for ON HER OWN. And each of them went to a traditional publisher (or they were probably approached by the publisher) to do their book. Each time I heard this I was slightly disappointed. These well known figures who lead the “do it yourself” community … I guess I wouldn’t say they sold out, but they didn’t stick with the indie vibe that got them where they are today.

And I can’t say I fault the various authors for going with traditional publications. They get an advance, they don’t have to deal with editors, illustrators, formatters, etc, they don’t have to pay for everything up front. They just have to write it and hand it over and maybe go on some book tours. I get it, and I might even do it if I got a good enough advance (and liked the contract enough).

Besides the fact of losing their indie feel, there is the price of the books. $18 for print, $13 for ebook, and that’s with amazon’s discounts. “What If?” is a little older so there are used copies, but still… really? $13 for an ebook?

I think I’ve been spoiled having $2.99 to $5.99 ebooks. I look at those prices and think “If I buy that book that means I can’t buy the three other books on my wish list.” So they are sitting on my wishlist till the day they either go on sale, or I convince myself it’s alright to spend that much on a book. (Or maybe someone buys it for me for Christmas.)

Here’s the thing… I don’t even spend $15 on my video games very often. With Humble Bundles and Steam sales there really just isn’t a reason to pay more then $5 for most games. The few that I do get that are over $5 I wait till they’ve been out a while so I can see some game play, and hear some honest reviews about what the game is really like. I want to KNOW I will like the game before I ever spend the money on it. And the few AAA titles that were close to $60 when I bought them I had some hands on game time with before I ever purchased them. (Thank Star Wars Old Republic for that one. Bought it, hated it, and wasted $60 better spent elsewhere. Not doing that again.)

In an age where people increasingly have less and less money to spend on entertainment it makes no sense to keep pricing things at a premium all the time. (Especially things that are sometimes broken in the case of video games.) But as long as there are people willing to buy them at that price I guess it’s going to keep happening. I guess if I had more disposable income I would to.

Feminism in Video Games

578253Anyone who knows me knows that I have an addiction. I spend far too much on video games, humble bundles, and steam sales. I play far too many video games when I should be writing. In general… Hi. My name is Crissy, and I’m a game addict.

I own 281 games on Steam. I have a binder FILLED with more games like Baulders Gate, Settlers, and Might and Magic. Games that I love, and sometimes install just for the nostalgia. That isn’t even considering the consoles I own, and all the games for each of them.

I don’t finish a lot of games. Most of the time it’s because the game looses my interest and I go off to the next shiny thing. Sometimes it’s because the game is too difficult for me and I’d rather just watch someone else play it on a let’s play. Sometimes it’s just not my type of game and I never get past the first few levels. But I’ve been playing games since I was a teenager, and own a lot of consoles to prove it, so I’ve also had my share of completions.

Why am I talking about video games? Because this week there has been a HUGE upsurge in interest regarding Anita Sarkeesian and her “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” series. Most of it started because of the controversy around Zoe Quinn and the accusations that her ex boyfriend leveled on her.

Now, let’s reflect for a second that Zoe’s EX BOYFRIEND accused her of things and tons of people just jumped onto it without even considering where the source came from. I don’t presume to know if it happened or not, I honestly don’t care at this point. What I do know is that it is a suspicious situation, and people on both sides of the Quinn debate have been assholes to each other, and especially to Miss Quinn herself.

Then there is Sarkeesian, the controversy surrounding her kickstarter and where the funds went. The rumors about her statements that she didn’t even like video games. Reports that she stole art images and let’s play footage. Then her portrayal of games as “sexist” without even really looking into all the information about the particular game she called sexist. All of that, but she still didn’t deserve the threats and late night calls that she received. So many that she left her home to take refuge elsewhere.

Regardless of what is in video games, neither of these women deserved to be treated like that. No one, man or woman, deserves to be treated like that.

On the video game side: Yes, video games could use a little more dimension in the way they portray women. Yes, video games can sometimes seem sexists to some people. Yes, there is a conversation to be had. But let’s be honest about the portrayal of women in games vs. reality, shall we?  Continue reading