In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.
Fruzsina Eördögh is a Chicago-based journalist who recently joined the technology blog ReadWriteWeb as a YouTube reporter. She previously wrote about the video sharing megasite for The Daily Dot.
The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?
Eördögh: Diablo III or Team Fortress 2. Team Fortress 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. It’s the more artistic, creative, intelligent form of Call Of Duty. A lot of the artwork is nostalgic and it’s inspired by Norman Rockwell, so even though it’s a very violent game where you’re blowing each other up, it’s also very charming and a throwback to a more naïve time.
Gameological: I’ve seen internet quizzes like “Which TF2 character are you?” Can you accurately judge someone’s personality based on what character they choose?
Eördögh: Kind of. I mean, I like playing as the medic, but that’s because I like winning, and you need a good support character to win a lot. It’s interesting, though, because a lot of medics can be quite bitchy, and yelling at team members to do this, do that, do this.
Gameological: So you’re saying medics can act like football coaches.
Eördögh: Yeah, exactly. They’re in the game, but they’re not on the front lines in the main battle. So, because you’re behind the action, you usually have a better ability to assess your team and what challenges your team is facing. It’s a great game because when you do win, it’s usually with this random group of strangers who’ve managed to work well with and accomplished this goal in 15 minutes. You get this big endorphin high from it.
Gameological: You’re a YouTube reporter—that’s an actual job?
Eördögh: Yes, I am, believe it or not.
Gameological: Have you learned much about gaming culture through YouTube?
Eördögh: I’m always surprised at how many gaming commentators there are and how popular some of them have become. There are hundreds of YouTubers now who make six figures a month off the site and many of them are gaming-related. But yeah, it’s difficult because I’ve only been covering YouTube for about a year, and it’s impossible to stay up to date on everything because there is 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute. There’s no way for one human to see it all. As a YouTube reporter, I sometimes feel like I’ve been sent to cover Beijing in China, and I’m just one reporter sent to cover the entire city.
Gameological: Your article for The Daily Dot on YouTube’s “Reply Girls” made quite a stir.
Eördögh: Yeah, Fox News even did their own take on my article, and it looks like they may have read it but didn’t digest it very well, because I embedded a clip of a girl who is actually making fun of the reply girls, but Fox presented her as a real reply girl herself.
Gameological: Fair and balanced.
Gameological: It seemed like this Reply Girl story resonated with a lot of people, though.
Eördögh: You had this group of women gaming Google’s algorithms for months, some of them making 15 grand, even 30 grand a month, an insane amount of money, on these silly videos shot in their bedroom where they were simply relying on their cleavage and preying on men’s weakness for sex. People got really mad at the women and the community outrage got pretty insane. They were bullying these women, making petitions. But it’s interesting to me because men have been making money on women’s cleavage for the longest time on YouTube. Some of YouTube’s first millionaires only got where they are because they used misleading thumbnails of women with scandalous outfits. Just click candy. But when you have women doing it, it’s an outrage.
Gameological: There was a part of you that appreciates the fact that women were self-exploiting and gaining from it.
Eördögh: Exactly. Women can’t for some reason be in charge of their own exploitation.
Gameological: It’s interesting because in the games industry, it’s still mostly men making profits off digitized versions of boobs.
Eördögh: Yeah, but at the end of the day, I don’t understand why people are so bent out of shape at the idea of people sexualizing each other. We’re all animals, and that’s something we all do. There’s a reason why [reply girls] were getting the attention they were getting, and you can’t tell me a girl wouldn’t check out a thumbnail of a guy with a nice body. People just like looking at sexy things, so it’s hard to get too mad at men and women for succumbing to their animalistic impulses.
Gameological: So you’re not offended by the way a lot of women are portrayed in modern games?
Eördögh: I only get mad, like in Batman: Arkham City, when nothing nice was said about a woman. It was all, bitch, bitch, slut, whore. There was no normal female character, and that’s a problem. It seemed like a game made for men who didn’t think highly of women.
I actually wrote a blog post about the rape scenario in that new Lara Croft game recently because they said they were going to remove the scene. So they basically silenced these video game creators talking about rape. But number one, this is what happens to rape victims all the time, and number two, bullying a company to not portray rape is silly because we don’t talk about it enough. It needs to happen in games. One in five women will be raped in their lifetime, it’s a very common problem. Plus, there wasn’t anything wrong with that sequence in Tomb Raider. She’s defending herself, it’s very empowering. If it was trivializing rape, that would be an issue. I mean an attractive person like Lara Croft is kidnapped by horny pirates, you think they aren’t going to make a pass on her after weeks? Denying that as a possibility is silly. Pretending it’s not a possibility is part of the issue.
Gameological: Then you have games like Call Of Duty: Black Ops with a segment where your job is to physically torture someone with a sharp piece of glass. Yet when it comes to something with sexual content, it becomes taboo.
Eördögh: Yeah, it’s a conversation we need to be having. Part of the problem is that we’re afraid to talk about it.
Gameological: Speaking of conversations, I’ve always felt like YouTube comments are some of the lowest form of communication.
Eördögh: The great thing about YouTube comments is that it’s a pretty good spectrum of everyone on the internet. It depends on the videos you’re watching. If you have a video about gender inequality, you might have death threats from guys but then you’ll also have people trying to have a serious conversation. For any trending video, you definitely have a share of ridiculous comments because people like trolling. So I feel like people mocking YouTube comments are mocking society in general. It’s a video hub of society, a lens of what’s going on. Video games are a huge industry and that’s why it’s huge on YouTube too.
And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.