Playing Through Your Own Story: The Catharsis of Kate Marsh

Life Is Strange

[Trigger Warning: Mentions of anxiety, depression, drugs, self-harm, & suicide.]

Like many of the staff here at FemHype, I am a big fan of Life Is Strange. I jumped on the bandwagon quite late—just before Episode 4 was released in July—but better later than never. Life Is Strange has been praised for its character development and narrative. Articles (including many on this site) have talked about LGBTQIA+ and feminist perspectives within the game, too. It’s safe to suggest Life Is Strange has affected many people on a deeply personal level for multiple reasons. But whereas gamers have praised the depiction of Max, Chloe, their relationship, and others, one character stood out to me: Kate Marsh.

Kate Marsh is a sweet young girl described as modest and a “goody-two shoes.” She is also the victim of bullying. Ultimately, the player discovers that Kate was drugged at a party, and that a viral video of her in a compromising position is making the rounds at school. The player spends most of Episode 2 making choices on how to interact with Kate—from deciding to erase the link to the video off a bathroom wall, whether to contact the police, and to answer a phone call from her (much to Chloe’s chagrin). Regardless of your choices, however, Kate is still left upset, and is last seen crying after talking with Mr. Jefferson. This eventually leads to what was the most disturbing scene in the game for me: Kate’s suicide attempt from the top of the girl’s dorm.

In Life Is Strange, the player is able to stop time long enough to make it to the roof to try and persuade Kate. Based on the choices you make, Kate either steps down (thus saving her) or she jumps to her death. Since you used so much of your power to stop time, you are unable to rewind in order to save her.

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A Cheesy Horror Interlude: The Major Loopholes in ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’

Five Nights at Freddy’s

The following is a humorous essay of the franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s written by the author with help from her geek friend Hannah (not affiliated with FemHype). It should not be taken as serious critique of the game. In fact, we highly recommend it!

In August 2014, the indie horror hit Five Nights at Freddy’s was released, and the world has slept soundly since. The game is set in a fictional pizza restaurant called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza (similar to a Chuck E. Cheese), which features animatronic characters. Hold up: that’s not the scary part. The player is a night security guard who must defend himself from the animatronic animal characters by tracking their movements using security cameras. The animatronics roam freely so that they don’t lock up, however, the establishment cannot afford enough power for the security doors to stay locked all night. The player must rely on a finite energy source to shut the doors and fend off the animatronics. Failure to evade the animatronics leads to you being attacked, stuffed into an animatronic suit (killing you in the process), and the player lying in the fetal position in real life, crying.

Five Nights at Freddy’s has received high praise—and rightfully so. The imagery is on-point and its gameplay is simplistic (just shut the doors and evade the animatronics), which leaves players with a heightened sense of paranoia similar to the Slender Man series. It’s been so successful that it has spawned two more sequels with a fourth and final chapter to be released. The story weaved throughout the game is the stuff nightmares are made of, leaving me so freaked out that if Five Nights at Freddy’s pops into my head before bed, I actively attempt to think of something else just so I don’t dream about it. 

However, in the very few times I have played the game and the many times I have read the story of Five Nights at Freddy’s, I cannot help but consider the major loopholes. Some of them have already been addressed, like the kitchen not existing in Five Nights at Freddy’s 2. However, there are still some unanswered questions that I must ask. In case you didn’t realize it? Spoilers ahead.

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#GamesSoWhite: Our Rec List of Diverse Games You Need to Play NOW

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation

Last week, another incredible piece by Tauriq Moosa was featured on Polygon. In it, he describes the inherent race problem that has all but saturated the games industry—and popular culture—for some time. He makes a wonderful point, which is summed up rather neatly below. It’s something I feel needs to be addressed by us as we move forward in carving a space out for our own voices here at FemHype:

“Just as major media and consumers have been vocal about gender representation—with Call of Duty and now FIFA including playable female characters in upcoming games—we should want such discussion about race as well. Diversity of voices should be key and we should actively want and demand voices of color alongside white men.”

Tauriq’s honest efforts for discussion were met with an absolute firestorm, as detailed by Offword, where the hashtag #GamesSoWhite was coopted by the usual suspects. In an effort to celebrate the incredible games that do, in fact, feature characters who aren’t white, I turned to our writers for their personal recommendations. These are the games that truly gripped us, particularly defined by the diverse characters whose stories are absolutely necessary to be shared in this ever-changing industry landscape.

If you feel we missed your favorite diverse game on this list, please drop it in the comments! Granted, there are a few duplicates here, as many of these games are beloved by players. But it’s the discussion that’s important to foster as we embark on this journey to be more inclusive. Let’s work together to generate more awareness for the games that fight against the status quo and actually represent the world we live in!

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#INeedDiverseConventions: HavenCon Is What Gaming Culture Needs

HavenCon

In 2014, gaming culture came under attack. Not from social justice warriors. Not from persons of color, women, or LGBTQIA. Gaming culture came under attack from a group of individuals who thought they owned the gaming culture. Their issue: gaming was being overrun with people who didn’t worship the ground they walked on. It would be easy to associate this group of individuals with the whole of their hashtag, but in reality these cowards are hiding behind a movement that was supposed to be about ethics in journalism, in order to pursue their own agenda. 

In a lot of ways, it should be easy enough to ignore such a small group of individuals, but while we praise the internet for amplifying the unheard voices of decent people, so too can it amplify the voice of others. These individuals have harassed, degraded, and terrorized anyone who stood in the way of their happiness, or who was a threat to their place in the hierarchical structure of their own making. Brianna Wu has repeated talked about a folder on her desktop filled with letters from women who are terrified to go into the tech and gaming industry because of what has transpired in 2014. Needless to say, damage is being done, and if not rectified soon, what makes gaming so fun and fantastic will be destroyed thanks to despicable, narcissistic trolls.

This year, I had a chance to attend PAX South, and though small in comparison to PAX Prime and East, it is still one of the biggest gaming conventions. Only a few weeks ago, I attended AggieCon and got a chance to meet with gamers and geeks in my area. Both are excellent, well-run, and organized. But at the risk of sounding too cliché, if PAX South and AggieCon is what gaming culture wants and deserves, the new convention HavenCon is what gaming culture needs. 2015 is the inaugural year of HavenCon, the first LGBTQIA+ geek and gamer convention in Texas, and one of the very few that exist in the United States. Conceived by Shane Brown, HavenCon was introduced as a safe haven for LGBTQIA+ geeks and gamers. In a state that is not exactly revered for its queer-friendly policies, it was big endeavor.

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AggieCon Recap: 4 Reasons Why You Should Attend Smaller Conventions

aggiecon

If you have read my previous piece regarding my experience at PAX South, you’ll know that I am a convention newbie. It’s only until this year that I have really started to attend conventions, and being a baby blogger and contributor, it has opened up a whole new world of possibilities in what to look for and consider. So when I found out that a regional convention was in my own backyard, I was excited to attend.

Let me give y’all a little background of AggieCon. Started in 1969 by the Texas A&M University student organization Cepheid Variable, AggieCon is the oldest and largest student-run geek genre convention in the United States. Originally focused on science fiction, it has since grown to accommodate many facets of geek culture, including anime, gaming, fantasy, comic, and even a Rocky Horror showing during the evening hours. Typically, it was hosted out of Texas A&M University’s Student Union, but the convention has gotten so big that it now holds the convention at a large hotel in College Station. Over it’s 46 years, numerous prestigious guests have attended and spoke as Guests of Honor, including Harlan Ellison, Walter Koenig, George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman. 

Finally, AggieCon is a philanthropic organization, donating $1,500 every year to Scotty’s House Child Advocacy Center, a local non-profit center, which provides support for abused children and families. I had students who were members of Cepheid Variable, and a good friend who sat next door from my office working tirelessly to make sure the schedule and program were ready. So naturally, I had to put on my TARDIS convention top hat and see what this was all about!

Attending AggieCon was another first for me in that it was smaller in size than I was used to. Tekko was a giant convention (which has grown since I attended in 2006), and PAX South was so overwhelming, at some points I had no idea what to do (and apparently, it was significantly smaller compared to East and Prime). Moreover, many of the panels presented were not necessarily what I was interested in, so I was a little worried that I would be done with AggieCon before I got started. However, by the end of the convention, my fear was assuaged and I really got to appreciate what AggieCon had to offer in ways that a big convention like PAX South couldn’t. So instead of doing a review of AggieCon itself, this post will hopefully persuade you into attending smaller, regional geek and gaming conferences versus waiting for PAX or Comic-Con to come around.

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