January 30th, 2006

Unbeknowst to me, a piece of mine titled “Games That Your Groove On” apparently went up at Wired News a whole five days ago. The piece looks at many different types of video game-related sex toys, and presents sex toys as a possible next generation of video game peripherals. Do check it out, and feel free to share any personal *wink wink* stories.

Also, until I get things straight with the editorial department, please excuse a few small problems with the piece. All will be set right in the end…

Tags: Blog

23 Responses to ““Games That Get Your Groove On””

  1. Brummbar Says:

    The less of ANYTHING credited to that joke Jane Pinckard, the better. Sheesh.

  2. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    What? Someone else sick of the trance vibrator gamegirladvance story? It’s a miracle… -sj

  3. Bonnie Says:

    I am objective. I make no comment.

  4. Brummbar Says:

    The one good – no, downright delicious – aspect to this whole thing is that the most popular article in the history of Pinckard’s “pro-girl gamer” site is one wherein she strips to her undies and poses with her legs open.

    Fight the patriarchy, sister!

  5. FerrousBuller Says:

    “I am objective. I make no comment.”

    You? “Objective?” As in the “unopinionated” sense? Since when? Wow, what an obvious duck-n-cover that was… :-)

    “The one good – no, downright delicious – aspect to this whole thing is that the most popular article in the history of Pinckard's ‘pro-girl gamer’ site is one wherein she strips to her undies and poses with her legs open.”

    But does that say more about the author, the article, or the people who read it?

  6. Brummbar Says:

    [b]But does that say more about the author, the article, or the people who read it?[/b]

    Pretty much in that order, exactly.

    Although, I suppose, those of us who used to read GGA hoping against hope for something interesting should be thankful for at least one eyebrow-raising moment.

  7. Brummbar Says:

    Ah, crap. How do you “bold” things here?

  8. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    HTML does the trick, Brummbar. See?

    Yeah, I don’t want to seem too nasty, but gamegirladvance.com is a huge disappointment. Their content is slim to nil, and almost never has anything to do with the “alternative perspectives” that it claimed to bring to videogame culture. And yet the site repeatedly gets heralded and linked to, if only for that one bit of content where she took her pants off.

    To be fair, I really enjoy the 1UP show. And its catchy theme song. So, well done there. -sj

  9. FerrousBuller Says:

    These days GGA is basically dead: 12 short posts in three months is hardly a stellar record. AFAIK, Jane herself hasn’t had anything to do with the site in over six months, since she started working at 1UP (no surprise); and no one’s taken up the slack.

    In general, I’d say GGA is essentially a communal blog about games: like most such blogs, there were some good entries, some bad ones, and some indifferent. Jane has said she started GGA because no one would pay her to write the sort of pieces about games she wanted to write: three years ago, there weren’t many professional outlets for anything about games which wasn’t a review, preview, or strategy guide. Now, we have publications like the Escapist, which are anything but: call it what you like – critical discourse, New Games Journalism, intellectual self-gratification – but they definitely represent a different kind of games writing than what one could usually find just a few years ago.

    So it is perhaps unfortunate that the only article from GGA which seems to have gained any notice is the one where Jane spreads her legs for the camera. And it is perhaps even more unfortunate that the only thing people mention about that article is the fact that Jane spread her legs for the camera, rather than anything about the actual content of the piece.

    But I like to think that Jane and other writers like her have helped drive gaming journalism in new directions in recent years, creating venues of publication for pieces which are off the norm and help expand the level of discourse on games.

    Including, of course, you, Bonnie. :-)

  10. Brummbar Says:

    “But I like to think that Jane and other writers like her have helped drive gaming journalism in new directions in recent years…”

    As would I, but you can’t drive if you’re not at the wheel.

  11. MD² Says:

    “As would I, but you can't drive if you're not at the wheel.”

    Yup, but when the it just won’t start, the one at the wheel is glad there’s some people left behind pushing the car. -_^

  12. Brummbar Says:

    “Yup, but when it just won't start, the one at the wheel is glad there's some people left behind pushing the car. -_^”

    Sure, but all that pushing won’t help a bit if the tires are flat.

  13. MD² Says:

    “Sure, but all that pushing won't help a bit if the tires are flat”

    You’ve never been driving in the desert, have you ?

    (my apologies to our hostess for time/space wasted, just couldn’t resisit).

  14. Brummbar Says:

    No, but I saw that EEGAH! movie with Richard Kiel and Arch Hall, Jr, and his desert buggy had tires filled with water. So there.

  15. Bonnie Says:

    No worries, Brummbar, I’m enjoying this :-).

    Ah yes, me, objective. Chuckle, chuckle. That’s my professional statement, and I’m sticking to it.

    Seriously though, all thoughts on Jane as a person aside (because, honestly, I can’t claim to know her at all as a person) I think she receives too much credit for her Trance Vibe piece, and for GGA as a whole. The idea behind both is wonderful, but the result… not so much. The Vibe piece may have been revolutionary for its time, as may have been GGA, but the attention it gets is far more centered around Jane herself as a toy than any sort of sexual liberation. First of all, she’s playing with her boyfriend (the one, literally, in control). Secondly, the piece (and especially the photos) draws on male gamer attraction more than constructive rethinking. Lastly, that piece has overshadowed other sexualizations of game peripherals since, simply because of slightly interesting pics. Had that been a man with a vibrator between his legs, this would be a very different story.

  16. Brummbar Says:

    “Had that been a man with a vibrator between his legs, this would be a very different story.”

    Exactly; we’re BORN with game controllers, so to speak.

  17. Brummbar Says:

    That’s not entirely a joke. Perhaps I’m just a pervert – ok, I am – but I can’t be the only person who’s noticed how similar holding a joystick is to, well, holding that other thing.

  18. Bonnie Says:

    Hey, I’m not going to argue with you on the joystick/penis thing. It’s just one more thing that, if I had said it, someone would have called me a man-hating weirdo for :-)

  19. FerrousBuller Says:

    “The Vibe piece may have been revolutionary for its time, as may have been GGA, but the attention it gets is far more centered around Jane herself as a toy than any sort of sexual liberation.”

    Right, and my point was: whose fault is that? Jane’s, for writing the piece in the first place? Or the community as a whole, for fixating on it for so long?

    I tend to blame the community more, for focusing on the most superficial elements of that article – “0MG T3H CR0TCH!!1!!” – rather than discussing other elements of the piece. Granted, I doubt Jane was naive enough not to guess how the community would react to photos of her own crotch. But should she then self-censor her piece just to avoid that extra attention and controversy? The piece is frank and playful and revealing on more than one level; and the photos, while perhaps not necessary, fit in with that tone IMHO and aren’t simply gratuitous.

    Your off-the-cuff comments – e.g., about Jane being “played” by her boyfriend – are more interesting than 95% of the comments I’ve seen in the 3+ years since Jane published it. I wish it had sparked more discussion along those lines.

    Oh, and BTW, according to Mizuguchi, the Trance Vibrator wasn’t intended as a sex toy. So your quip, “If the vibe’s creators had purer intentions, the world will never know,” while amusing, is a little inaccurate, because he does claim to have had purer intentions. :-)

  20. Bonnie Says:

    Ferrous, I think it’s both her fault and the community’s, though mostly the latter. But those photos… She had to know, to some extent, what sort of reaction she would get.

    As for intentions on the Trance Vibe – thanks for the link. That line, for better or for worse, wasn’t originally mine, but Wired is actually planning on reprinting the piece, so I’ll be sure the correction gets made. Thanks!

  21. FerrousBuller Says:

    Disclaimer: obviously, I feel weird “lecturing” a woman about this sort of thing. It feels extra-weird to try to second-guess someone’s intentions when I don’t really know him or her personally. [Couple of polite e-mails, that’s about it.] Nevertheless, let’s give this a shot.

    What I find interesting about all this is how it reveals the inherent tension in American culture between the prudish and the prurient. As you’re well aware, sex is generally treated as something sinful and shameful in this country, which is part of what makes it so appealing. Call it Original Sin Residue, if you like: the notion that our bodies are to be covered up and that sexuality is a big taboo – so naturally, we’re all drawn to it, like Eve to the apple, like moths to the flame. It’s bad for us, so it must be fun, right? Fun in a way we’re not supposed to be having. What’s the point of virtue if vice has no appeal? So sex is always made to seem…well, sexy: passionate couplings between fabulous-looking people – be they actors or porn stars. Rarely if ever do we deal with the mundane realities of sex.

    Jane’s piece subverts all that, by being frank without being titillating; she’s sharing an intimate moment with readers, but not in a way that’s meant to be arousing, IMHO. The vibe I get from Jane’s piece is: yeah, this is my crotch, this is what I’m doing with it – what’s the big deal? There’s something almost clinical about those pictures: it’s not like she takes pictures of herself in self-consciously “sexy” poses or anything; it might as well be from a how-to manual. She’s being forthright about something we normally treat as private, as shameful, as “oh, good girls don’t talk about that!”

    And predictably, a lot of people focus on those photos: commenting on whether she’s hot or not, scolding her for being so “shameful,” clucking their tongues disapprovingly, or just rolling their eyes. But there are a certain number of readers who get the point: who look past that element and understand what she’s trying to accomplish. I hope I’m one of them.

    Not that I think she was trying to set the gaming world on fire or anything. I think she was just trying to open the floor to open discussion about such things. She wasn’t being shameful so much as shameless – in the “this is nothing to be ashamed of” sense, not in the “I have no moral values” sense.

    So I return to my original question: is it Jane’s fault we live in a country where we can’t have a frank discussion about such matters without it turning puerile? Is it her fault an article like that takes on a life of its own because of a couple of photos? Is it her fault we still bring it up after three years, precisely because it remains unique? Sure, there’s plenty of sex in games these days, but they’ve almost all focused on the “naughty titillation / sex fantasy” factor; few if any people have plumbed that particularly frank, unglamorous, straight-forward “sex + games” avenue since.

    I can only guess at what Jane’s original intentions were. But I know I wish it would’ve catalyzed more interesting discussions on the subject; and I’m disappointed – though hardly surprised -that it didn’t.

  22. Bonnie Says:

    I think, for better or for worse, that by this point the community reaction has all but enveloped Jane’s original intentions – whatever they may have been. They’ve become what’s real in the situation, especially since (to the best of my knowledge) she hasn’t come out with a further comment on the topic since.

  23. FerrousBuller Says:

    After 3+ years, I’m pretty sure Jane’s said all she has to say on the matter; so yes, this discussion is largely academic…except insofar as it serves as further proof that article hasn’t left the mass gamer consciousness yet. :-)

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