IntroComp, and other recommendations

Hi everyone!

Today has been pretty busy here (eaten by wedding plans, etc), so I don’t have a new post for you. But I do have some great recommendations to check out in the meantime.

IntroComp is going on right now! This interactive fiction competition’s twist is that the entries are only the beginnings of games. People vote on which ones they’d most like to see finished. Jacqueline Ashwell runs this yearly competition, and in year thirteen, it’s still going strong. Many IF authors make their debut here, including (back in 2008) me. Needless to say, I have a soft spot for this event.

No girl wins: three ways women unlearn their love of video games – Juliet (@prynnette) interviewed her 17-year-old sister about how gaming culture looks from the outside and what makes her feel that video games are “for boys”. Clearly written, poignant, worth reading.

The Writer Will Do Something – A Twine game by Matthew S Burns about being the writer at a downward-spiraling AAA studio. I’d suggest playing this paired with Gamasutra’s Honest tales from the trenches of AAA game writing.

How to write a sexist character without being sexist – Exactly what it says on the tin, but the advice is good for writing characters with all kinds of horrible views in addition to sexists. By Nicolette Stewart.

Never Alone and the need for American Indian narrative in video games – Never Alone is the debut release from Upper One Games, a joint venture between E-Line and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council, which represents thousands of Alaska Natives. In this article, Daniel Starkey writes about his history as a Native and what this game means to him, both personally and in the greater context. It’s also worth looking at Polygon’s in-depth feature on Never Alone from 2013 that unpacks this game’s history and significance.

never alone together

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. How to write sexist characters without being sexist… this is about a prescriptivist approach to politically balancing all incidences of characters being sexist in one’s writing. This can be as ridiculous as most prescriptivism in writing, and displays zero concern for truth of writing.

    I could tick the good points made about mitigating sexism if the blog hadn’t also been written in the most nauseatingly patronising tone imaginable (*pro tip!* ‘Fucking stick it! Don’t fall asleep at the wheel, Dear Well-Meaning Author!!’). Plus half the content is italicised to make sure the important ideas are shoved into the reader’s apparently moron brain.

    Do you think a prescriptivist polemic written in this tone speaks to or convinces anyone? If one both believes in it and already agrees with it, one can uncharitably fantasise about denouncing all the morons one hates, as the author does.

    If one doesn’t know about these ideas, would one actually listen to a lecture given by this person in this tone with any receptivity at all? No way.

    I know you recommended some other good articles at the same time and thank you for them, but this one is not. Whatever’s good is sunk by the other 95% of it.

    • I can agree that the article’s a little heavy-handed, so let me talk about what I got out of this and why I think it’s valuable.

      The key point is that an author can write sexism without looking like a sexist author by acknowledging within the text that a character/society is sexist.

      If the author doesn’t acknowledge that sexism, then there’s no way to tell the difference between what the author wrote and what the author thinks. Especially if the character is a viewpoint character, or sympathetic in some other way.

      My personal example of this is Andy Weir’s The Martian. It’s a brilliant book, and I recommend it highly – but it’s lightly coated in sexism, and there’s no sign whatsoever that Weir knows that. Which leads me to expect that Weir himself holds some sexist viewpoints, which is regrettable, because I love his book so much.

      I think the article is important because it’s the best article I’ve seen discussing this situation. But if you have a better recommendation, I’ll be happy to read it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *