Video games are an excellent medium for storytelling. While modern games often guide players through fantasy worlds, unfolding complex stories about mythological pasts and alien legends, few video games have thoroughly explored the possibilities of telling strong stories about specific, real-life cultures. In 2012, a group of Native Alaskans decided to do just that.
In many video games, the bad guys are villains hellbent on global domination or zombies hungry for human flesh. In game designer and programmer Nina Freeman’s new video game, Freshman Year, the antagonist is much more realistic: a guy who tries to sexually assault a college girl.
I realize this mixtape is a little over-the-top nerdy. It all started when I read the news about the return of the X-Files last week and got the hankering to listen to the X-Files theme song. This led me to the weird world of theme song remixes on Soundcloud. After spending several hours in this internet rabbit-hole, I emerged with this mixtape in hand.
Almost half of Black and Latina women working as scientists have been mistaken for a janitor or administrator at their offices, reveals a new report on the experiences of women of color working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
Wizards of the Coast, the company behind card game Magic: the Gathering, revealed last week that one of the characters in the newest set of cards is a trans woman. Say hello to Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, the game’s first canon trans character.
If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, you know that the last few months have been a hard time to be a geek girl. Media critics and gamers who have spoken up about sexism in the video game industry have been subjected to online harassment that has escalated into death threats. People who care about pop culture and video games—as well as other geeky pursuits like comics and tabletop games—have devoted a ton of emotional energy to dealing with these aggressive haters. So for today’s show, we’re flipping the script. Instead of giving all this nastiness any more of our time and energy, we’re focusing on six women who are doing awesome work to make geek culture better.
We take a trip to a Magic: The Gathering tournament, get a download from hip-hop artist Sammus about how to turning classic video game soundtracks into brand-new beats, hear game designer Elizabeth Sampat break down sexist myths about women in the video game industry, listen to a Destination DIY profile of an artist who lasercuts mobiles of internet memes, and sit down with nerd-rock sister duo The Doubleclicks to talk about making bad news into heart-warming songs.
This episode of Popaganda is sponsored by If Only Cats Could Talk, an experimental film documenting the true story of two all-American cats eager to explore the world beyond domesticated life.
Individual show segments and more ways to listen are below the cut!
Despite all the recent harassment, many people and groups are successfully changing the image of geek culture—including these "punk senshi" cosplayers at Geek Girl Con. (photo by Sarah Mirk)
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... geeks and nerds were relentlessly mocked and bullied. So they found communities through zines and the early internet and congregated in comic book stores and arcades—spaces where they could feel sheltered from the cruel taunts of jocks and buoyed by like-minded obsessives.