From Faeryia to GamerBitch

Watch out, trolls, I got you in my scope!

Okay, so this morning I went on Facebook to set up our FEMGAMER-group. Having that done it was displayed all over my Facebook-timeline in true Facebook-fashion. A couple of minutes later, a guy sent me a message asking what kind of group it was. So I explained that we were into gaming and wanted to create a forum where games and the gaming community could be discussed from a female perspective, and the guy actually replies with: “Yeah, you might want to tone down the whole feminism a little unless you want people to troll you.”

This is exactly the reason why I feel that starting FEMGAMERS is important. The internet is an open forum. Everyone should be able to join in and speak their minds. We shouldn’t impose some kind of self-censorship because of a handful of idiots. But that is exactly what is happening. Instead of being encouraged to speak our minds and stand up for our opinions, we are being told to keep quiet unless we want to be harassed.

I told the guy as much and as you might suspect things went downhill from there. Since I didn’t agree with him it was obvious that I had to be a lesbian man-hater who needed to get some cock… Yeah, I know, there is a huge lack of logic in that statement, but trolls aren’t the brightest bulbs, are they.

Anyway, I used the magical weapon of rhetoric against him and as he crawled off, battered and broken, his last words were: “You’re not a gamer girl. You’re a gamer bitch and I’m gonna tell all my friends about you!”

And I stared at the screen and realised that he was right. I AM a gamer bitch. I will never shut up or hide from the trolls. In fact I welcome them. So, hence forth I AM GAMERBITCH! HEAR ME ROAR!!

The 5 Most Emotional Moments in Gaming

For the tears…

It’s always an awkward moment when your mom/roommate/girlfriend/boyfriend walks in on you in a dark room to find you clutching a controller, sobbing like an X Factor finalist. They’ll never understand. They’ll never get why you’re so upset, or why the death or sacrifice of a video game character can have any emotional impact; especially when you express your pain by going on an in-game revenge-fuelled rampage as a result. But forget about them.

We understand. We know what it’s like to lose someone you’ve spent hours fighting with, or for. So this is our round up of the biggest tear-jerker moments. The I’ve-just-got-something-in-my-eye highlights that you simply can’t forget.

* * * S P O I L E R W A R N I N G ! * * *

Dragon Age Origin – Morrigan Leaving

Why did you leave me Morrigan? Why??

Ok, to a lot of people this isn’t exactly a sad scene but it had a big impact on me. Dragon Age is one of my favourite RPGs and brought Bioware into a shining light for me. I got fiercely attached to my character as well as support characters and the romance merely added to this attachment. There were of course quite a few sad moments during the game, the one that hit close to the heart was Morrigan leaving my party just before the end. To have invested so much into the romance between the warden and Morrigan only to have her leave just before the final battle was nothing short of sad. It wasn’t just the fact she was leaving though, it was the fact that she genuinely didn’t want to go. As soon as the final battle came the next day and my character had to sacrifice himself, I was just numb. Even though the character I had spent hours playing with was dead and the kingdom was safe and happy, I felt hollow that he’d died alone.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – Farah’s Death

A moment of tenderness in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

It was a truly harrowing moment to see the one human that was left in the game falling to her death. It wasn’t just that she was your ally, but that she and the Prince had bonded throughout the game. Sure she ended up abandoning him and stealing the dagger of time, but can you blame her? The Prince had already had one chance to end it all and ended up flaking out. That just adds to the sadness of the moment though, the Prince knew that he could have prevented this had he just listened to her the first time and plunged the dagger into the hourglass. I remember playing the game and just feeling hollow straight after Farah’s death, I didn’t even register defeating the enemies afterwards I was just going through the moments. Throw in the fact that Prince grasped the dagger by the blade to try and save her, blend in the battle scene after her death and the cut-scene where the Prince is crying over her body and you have one of the most heart-breaking moments ever in the history of gaming.

Shadow of the Colossus – Agro Falling

Agro, your only friend in SotC.

Unlike other games Shadow of the Colossus doesn’t build up to a depressing end or throw a sad moment at you in the middle of the game. SotC pretty much drops you in it from the start. It convinces you that you really are alone in this world. Your only companion in this huge, open and desolate world is your horse Agro. The story alone is pretty sad, a young man travelling to the edge of the world, to a secret ancient temple to bring the woman he loved back to life. Whereas with other games you bond with characters in the game such as your allies or love interests, in SotC the only thing you can bond with is your horse. You may not use him in every battle against the Colossi but he’s always there for you. When he’s taken from you it’s a moment that has stuck with me, despite how long ago it was i played the game. As you’re travelling across a bridge it begins to collapse and in a bid to save you, Agro throws you to safety on the other side. As Wander rushes to the edge, Agro is seen falling towards the water below as you cry out his name. Wander takes one last look down the ravine before continuing his climb to the last colossus, the rage at losing his beloved companion and friend fuelling his every step. Although Agro is shown to have survived during the ending scene, it still doesn’t take away the sting of the scene that I’ve ranked as one of the most heart breaking moment in video gaming.

Mass Effect 3 – Anderson’s Death

Friend, mentor and father figure…

Although many had a problem with Mass Effect 3’s ending, none can dispute that the game was full of heart-breaking moments. The music throughout the game merely multiplied this sadness whether it was when Shepard was leaving Earth or when he/she failed to secure the artefact on Thessia. One moment that hit me strongest though was the death of Admiral Anderson aboard the citadel. A bullet hole in his chest, blood and bruises all over his body; you can tell Anderson is reaching his breaking point. When both Shepard and Anderson are sitting down looking out over Earth, you think it’s all over you think that they finally succeeded. However Bioware decided that they hadn’t thrown enough curveballs your way and quickly snatch Anderson way from you. His last words telling you how proud he is of you made me choke up. It doesn’t end there though. After having watched the death of a major character, Admiral Hackett tell you that nothing’s happened. You then proceed to watch Shepard crawl towards the control module not knowing what to do, close to giving up before collapsing on the ground and being taken up towards the…well special magical child thing where you are faced with three choices that all means the end of Shepard.

And the most emotional, heart-wrenching moment in gaming history is…

Mass Effect 3 – Mordin’s Sacrifice

Good night sweet prince…

No matter your choices, Mordin dies a hero. Either he sacrifices himself to finish his work on the genophage modification project. Or if you decided in the last moment to stop the spreading of the cure, you are forced to shoot him. In the back. The emotional impact is brutal either way. Shepard loses her/his best friend. It was a moment that lingered with me for the longest time. And the scene afterwards (if you opted to spread the cure), with Shepard meeting up with the krogans and those snowflake-particles softly falling over them was one of the sweetest and most soothing moments in the entire game. It left me with a sense of joy mixed with sadness. Mordin was gone, but he left an awesome legacy behind. I am not ashamed to admit it that I shed a solitary tear at the thought of my old friend running tests on seashells in the Salarian version of the afterlife.

This is just some of the moments that has hit me in the feelers over the years, there are many others and hopefully many more to come. Please share some of your most tear drenched gaming moments with us. We love to hear about them and we have paper tissues for everyone!

Troll Talk – How to defeat and deflate trolls

Picture by Game Salute

Have you ever hesitated to join a discussion online because you just know that you’ll be swarmed by trolls?

Fear not FEMGAMER is here to guide you through the process of dealing with them. Follow these easy steps and you will soon be able to avoid the troll’s traps and simply blow them out of the water.

Okay, first step to dealing with the trolls is to recognize what tactics they are using.


Whataboutism – the art of changing the subject

Used successfully by Russia during the Cold War (for real, I kid you not), Whataboutism is a way for the trolls to dismiss critic with a “What about…” Simply put, the trolls use this technique to change the focus of the subject and forces you into a defensive position if you fall in the trap of trying to reply to them.

Here’s an example of Whataboutism:

As mentioned, one of the most common examples of this type of bad rhetoric was Soviet responses to criticism by pointing out the United State’s own failings, such as the mob lynching of blacks. “And you are hanging blacks”, used when Americans accused the Soviets of violating human rights. Instead of attempting to justify the behavior of the Soviet Union, this argument is an easy way to deflect blame onto America by implying they’re hypocrites.

Modern day trolls use Whataboutism in the exact same way as their Cold War counterparts did. It might seem silly, but it is a very effective way of kidnapping a conversation and shift the focus away from the subject.


The Gish Gallop

Duane Gish – he used the Gish Gallop so much it was named after him. (img source: Wikipedia)

In a Gish Gallop many bullshit points are stacked on top of each other creating a mountain of well… poo. It is a tactic named after creationist Duane Gish and has been used by several speakers and politicians, including Donald Trump.

In a Gish Gallop the troll drowns you in an overwhelming amount of “proof” that is suppose to show just how wrong you are. One at the time, these often very weak arguments are easy to deal with, but when presented in a virtual tidal-wave they are almost impossible to defeat, especially during discussions on Twitter or Facebook.

If the Whataboutism or the Gish Gallop doesn’t get to you, maybe the next weapon in the trolls’ armory will:


Ad Hominem – making it personal

Frodo hiding from the cave troll in Lord of the Rings.

As a last resort, a troll will almost always rely on attacking you personally. Name-calling, even threats are not unusual, and though they can be hard to dismiss, and even get to you on a personal level you should try to not let it. If the troll pisses you off, it has won, and we don’t want that, do we.

A tactic that is included in Ad Hominem is The Straw Man:

Also known as the Straw Dog or the Wooden Dummy, the Straw Man is used by the trolls to basically argue against a made-up opponent – someone who doesn’t fight back or counter their attacks. In online discussions it isn’t unusual that they turn YOU into their Wooden Dummy. This is done by assigning you, or the group you identify with with, opinions you probably don’t have.

An example of this can look something like this:

“Console Gamers hate the PC gamer community.”
“Console Gamers hate Facebook and Twitter.”
“Console Gamers reject all things PC specifically”
“Why aren’t you Console Gamers getting mad at people using their Cellphones for gaming?”

Okay, so it’s a lame example but I hope you see my point. What this does is that instead of you being able to present your argument or point of view, you have to spend time on rebuking statements you’ve never made and most likely doesn’t agree with. And as soon as you’ve started defending yourself, you’ve lost and the trolls have won.

So, how do we win against the trolls, you may ask. Well, FEMGAMER will show you how to beat them and come out shiny at the other end of it.


Defeating the trolls

Fierce by Miguel Coimbra.

Firstly, never let the trolls lure you into replying to the content of their comments or posts. You don’t want to waste your time by responding to their badly made arguments, their Whataboutism, or try to prove your point against their Gish Gallop. Instead you point out that you are aware of what they are doing, what tactic they are using. By letting them know that you are on to them, you take away their power. They can’t argue with you unless you argue back.

This might enrage some trolls and can make them resort to name-calling and threats. If they do, and if you feel the threats are serious, you should take a screenshot of their message/post and report them to the site Admin, and possibly even contact your local police.

To summarize…

Morrigan suffers no trolls, and neither should you! (img source: dragonage wikia)

DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS – It’s a cliche, but it works. It is the hands down single best way to defeat trolls.

Instead of engaging with the troll, or throwing an insult back at them, reply to their post/comment by informing them that you are aware of what they are doing and point out that you recognize the bad form of rhetoric they are using. This let them know that you see through their blustering, and that takes away their power.

It is not easy, sitting there staring at the screen, getting insults and threats thrown at you, but remember, you have every right to speak your mind, to make your opinions known. The net belongs to YOU not to the trolls. So, head out there, be brave, and of course, be respectful, and make your voice heard!

Happy troll hunting!