Trixieland

words about words

Archive for the category “Games”

It’s a Mammothon!

My friends and scholars at Not Your Mama’s Gamer are streaming Video games on Twitch and taking donations for the National Breast Cancer Foundation which provides mammogram, education and support for women in need. 80% of donations goes directly to help patients–compare that to some other breast cancer charities!

Click here to learn more and donate! Right here!!

If you’re a long- time reader, I think you’ll enjoy the stream and feel good about giving. If you’re a new reader, this cause is probably as close to your heart as it is mine. Plus, you might learn something new about video games! Hint: it’s not just teenagers in basements. 

Heck, if you don’t give a poop about gaming, you can throw five bucks at NBCF so someone less fortunate can get a potentially life-saving boobsquish.

Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my cancer free boobs! 

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Schooled is free this week

Have you been waiting for the perfect opportunity to try the Lexy Cooper mystery series? There’s no time like the…present.

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From December 7 through 11 the digital version of Schooled (Lexy Cooper 1) is absolutely FREE!

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What’s Schooled about?

Lexy Cooper is a Community Manager at Xenon Corporation, maker of the Xenon24/7 videogame console and Xenonline gaming service. When a young woman’s nude body is discovered on the Xenon corporate campus, Lexy’s uncle, homicide detective Mike Malick, catches the case. As Malick investigates the crime, Lexy works the case from inside Xenon and discovers more about the seedy underbelly of the games industry than she ever wanted to know.

What do readers say?

“Filled with great characters, and a twisty-turney perfect murder mystery plot.”
“Witty, empowering, and deeper than you think.”
“Lexy is a character I find myself thinking about even weeks after finishing the novel.”
“A captivating thriller that introduces you to the inside of a big company that sells widely-loved entertainment products.”
“An awesome mix of humor, action, sex and more.”

Download your copy and tell your mystery-lover friends!

 

9 years, 900 posts – Adventures in Blogging

When I made my most recent blog post, I saw this:

900th Blog Post

Yeah, NINE HUNDRED posts. Crazy, right? I guess not so crazy when you consider that I started blogging on Windows Live Spaces on December 2, 2004. Back then I started the blog for one reason: Windows Live Spaces was about to get Xbox Live integration and somebody on the team had to start a public blog to show off the capabilities. That someone was me.

This is what my Space looked like way back then:

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I realize this image looks like shit, but I was sort of shocked to find it in my old old OLD files so we’re *ahem* lucky to have even this. The text is unreadable–don’t even bother.

Here is the entirety of my inaugural blog post:

Dec 2, 2004

Gamers write in about their Halo 2 launch parties

When we published our fourth and final Halo 2 Readiness Guide, we asked gamers to tell us about their own Halo 2 launch parties. We got great responses and awesome photos. Look for the article on Xbox.com next week. I’ll post a link when it’s live.

If you sent me your party info and I sent you email requesting your mailing address–you’ll be getting a copy of the Halo 2 soundtrack, courtesy of our buddy Chuck B.

Yes, I wrote a series of Halo 2 Readiness Guides. During the course of writing the series I got an angry email from the Bungie studio boss pissed off at me for ‘bothering’ his team. Lulz.

My blog has had its share of highlights and lowlights. A highlight was my post from May 6, 2005 when I attended the taping of the MTV reveal of the Xbox 360 starring Elijah Wood. Apparently, I was the first ‘outlet’ to post red carpet photos, and my blog got 80,000 hits in less than 24 hours. FYI I missed the reveal because I couldn’t tear my eyes away from CC DeVille’s attempt to fellate Major Nelson in the lobby of the Spider Club. Sadly, the photos have been lost, but the post with my snarktastic celeb observations remains. Here.

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The lowlight was a post that I was forced to delete. See, I got in pretty big trouble back in the early days of Xbox Live microtransactions. First there was the Oblivion Horse Armor. And then there was some shit where EA was charging for some Need For Speed Carbon content that pissed people off in some way that I can’t remember. ANYWAY the gaming community was shitting their pants and saying EA was raping gamers etc. Cause you know how they like to throw the “R” word around. So…I made some joke likening a news story about a man that admitted to raping his mother to…EA. Not very funny, but whatevs. No one read my blog, right? Except that Aeropause picked it up and went with this headline: “Trixie to EA: You’re Raping Gamers

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Well, I was fucked. The kind of fucked where the Microsoft dude who handles the EA relationship had a closed-door meeting with my boss. The kind of fucked where you bookmark Monster.com because you might not have a job the next day. Anyway, I kept my job, but I had to delete the post and apologize to EA etc etc.  The only upside was that suddenly I was on the radar. Trixie tells it like it is. Trixie isn’t some corporate shill that blows MS kool-aid flavored smoke up your ass. I’d link to that post, but…  you know, it’s gone. (I think)

When I discovered Twitter I stopped blogging for a very long time and lost my readers. That was the lowest of the low. Eventually I picked it back up and when Spaces went the way of the Wooly Mammoth, I migrated to WordPress, where I’m very happy.

Thanks to those of you have stuck around the whole time and thanks even more to the new folks who are reading for me, and not for my employer. Who, now, is also me 🙂

Gaming with Kids: Crawl, Walk, Game

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Last week marked the debut of my new column at TheMarriedGamers.net. It’s called Crawl, Walk, Game, and it’s all about my experiences gaming with my youngest child. I’ve had great feedback so far, so give it a read, won’t you? Next week I’ll be writing about educational apps from Duck, Duck, Moose, and in June we’re going to investigate “screentime.” How much is my kid really getting, how much is too much, and how–if necessary–to cut back.

Check out the first article, “Backstory” and let me know what you think!

Bad as I Wanna Be – Character or Heroine?

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Lexy Cooper is the protagonist of my mystery series set in the videogame business. You’ll notice I didn’t use the word “heroine.” There’s a reason for that. She’s not heroic. She’s not a role model. I don’t want Lexy to be a good girl. To always do the right thing. To know all the answers. That’s boring as hell.

Remember Gone with the Wind? Author Margaret Mitchell said that Melanie was the true hero of her book–genteel and loyal and long-suffering. Not Scarlett. Seriously? Who the hell ever gave a crap about Melanie except maybe to wish she’d hurry up and die so Scarlett could have Ashley and realize he was a dumbass? But, I digress.

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Scarlett O’Hara is about to throw down.

Scarlett is more interesting than Melanie, and much more fun to read about. Even when when she’s doing stupid, obnoxious things. Even though you think, “Ohhhh Scarlett, stay away from your sister’s boyfriend…” you can’t help but root for her and be fascinated.

Lexy’s a Scarlett. Not a Melanie. Lexy’s not quiet and shy. She won’t do the right thing even if it hurts. She’s going to do what she wants. What feels good. What’s easy.

When I was about a third of the way through writing Schooled, a friend of mine read it and his feedback surprised me. He said “Lexy’s a character and I want her to be the heroine. She does not require the same flaws and foibles we possess. Characters need to be better than us.”

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“Lexy Cooper makes you love her because of her flaws, not in spite of them.”

I disagree. I write the kind of stories and characters that I’d like to read. And I don’t want to read about perfect people. Perfection is dull. Flaws are what make people interesting, and Lexy’s got a whole host of flaws. Not one gimmick flaw like she’s an alcoholic or illiterate or narcoleptic. She’s just a normal-ish woman who is a bit immature, rather selfish, frequently tardy, and almost always up for a good fuck.

When she does bad things she doesn’t do them because she’s dumb, and doesn’t know better but because she wants to do them. She chooses the bad thing.

Here’s what some readers have to say about Lexy–good and bad:

  • Lexy’s the chick girls want to be and the chick every guy wants to do.
  • A character that isn’t afraid of her sexuality and wields it well is quite refreshing.
  • Smart, tough, mean in a good way, sexy, fearless.
  • Lexy’s sex life is just as interesting as the murder she is trying to help solve
  • the main character is, at times, hard to like
  • Lexy is the epitome of strong female who knows what she wants and gets it by any means possible.
  • She’s able to use her femininity and sexuality without losing her dignity
  • Lexy Cooper is a smart, sexy, but very human heroine
  • Lexy is a flawed and irreverent heroine that you can’t help but like.
  • Lexy Cooper is highly intelligent, unabashedly irreverent and charmingly flawed
  • Lexy is a bit like a latter-day femme fatale turned gumshoe, something the old hard-boiled detective stories never imagined.
  • she’s perfectly willing to use her sexuality to get what she wants, and she participates in the cliche of falling for “bad boys.”
  • Lexy is a character I find myself thinking about even weeks after finishing the novel

Readers have a love-hate relationship with Lexy. Which I think is awesome. And it’s a challenge, too. How far down can I take Lexy and keep readers willing to follow? I guess we’ll find out. In closing, I think this reviewer summed up best what I’m trying to do with Lexy Cooper as a character:

“You’ll cheer Lexy on and you’ll say ‘WTF are you doing, Lexy?,’ because Lexy doesn’t read like a character, she really feels like a three-dimensional person.”

Sexism in Games – A Mea Culpa

If Meaghan Marie’s recent post about the sexism she’s encountered in the games industry was at all shocking to you, you either don’t work in the games industry or you’ve had your head up your ass. I applaud her for writing it—it took guts. But she’s just shedding light on attitudes and practices that are business as usual in the industry.

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Lots of people read and commented on the post. It created a bubble of discussion that seemed to be beneficial. Then I saw this picture from one of the parties at the Game Developers Conference.

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A woman posted it and defended it in comments. This is not to call out this prominent female in the industry because I like her and her involvement in games has done far more good than harm for women. I was taken aback because her caption wasn’t one of disbelief or disgust it was just “oh look.” As if she doesn’t even see the sexism anymore.

Here’s the thing. If you want to survive or thrive in the industry as a woman you could fight this shit every day of your life and never make a dent in it. All you’d do is destroy your own career. If you want to get along you either stop seeing it or you become complicit.

Sexism is rampant in the games industry. How it compares to other industries I couldn’t say. I’ve only ever been in games, and I’ve been in it for 18 years. The sexism I want to talk about is that within the industry itself. Not the fan communities and not the in-game experience though those are without doubt unfriendly places for women.

How can I begin to tell you what it’s like to work in a business that treats you like a curiosity and a plaything? Which anecdotal nuggets can I bust out to illustrate my point? I have 18 years of incidents to draw from. Should I go for shock value and tell you about the time a coworker asked me into his office to proofread a document and whipped his dick out? Naw, that was a one-off. Except that he showed his dick to me on several subsequent occasions. He thought it was funny. I didn’t report him to HR or do anything about it. I told a couple female coworkers and they thought it was funny. Weird, but nothing to get worked up about.

Or how about the time my manager thought it would be amusing to close out one of my Inside Xbox videos with audio of me pretending to have sex in the shower with a video game character? Did I feel uncomfortable? Yes. Did I protest? No.

Other things that barely even made a ripple on the radar: I wore a pendant with a “D” on it (My husband’s first initial). First co-worker “What’s the D for?” Second co-worker “Cup size.” And I laughed.

I laughed when I caught game studio executives taking pictures down my shirt. I laughed when I caught a co-worker at my company looking up my skirt on the stairs. I laughed and found an excuse to change the subject when co-workers instant messaged me with detailed accounts of the kind of sex they wanted to have with me.

I don’t go to GDC anymore, but I confess that when I did, one of my roles there was to get women to attend the party that my employer threw. To try to skew the sausage-fest male female ratio to more attractive (for male developers and publishers) levels. They wanted me to bring hot chicks. Eye candy. So the devs would have something pretty to look at and flirt with. And I did it. Year after year. No, I wasn’t Heidi Fleiss, but I participated in making those women objects.

Why did I do that? For my personal gain. I liked going to GDC. And if I kept bringing boobs to the party, I kept getting to go.

Why did I laugh off the upskirt pics, the ‘nice tits, can I touch them’ comments, the random ‘suck my cock’ text messages from industry dudes I barely knew? I’m not entirely sure. Part of it was the attention. Everyone likes attention. And maybe the gross stuff was the price to pay for the nice stuff. And yes there was nice stuff. Lots of flattery and free drinks and dinners and tickets to stuff and trips. My end of it was to bring the chicks, wear short skirts, smile a lot, and laugh it off when some drunk got grabby or, in one instance, shouted across a party at the top of his lungs “Trixie! I’m going to have sex with you tonight!” Note: He did not.

Why didn’t I report the dick dangler, the coworker who took upskirt photos of me on a business trip, or the exec who hinted I’d be safe from the next round of layoffs if I put out? Why didn’t I have a partner developer thrown out of a party when he shoved his tongue down my throat? Why didn’t I call out every ass-grabbing, talk to my tits, sexist shithead?

Because I was afraid of being “that woman.” The once that the internet jumps all over. I knew my career was fucked the minute I went through that door, so I chose silence and the status quo. I was a coward and I didn’t even attempt to make things better for myself or any other woman trying to do their thing in the games industry.

I was absolutely complicit in the way I was treated because I kept holding up my end of the bargain. I got to hang out in the boy’s clubhouse because I showed some skin, laughed at their jokes and didn’t get too worked up if they pinched my ass.

So I’m sorry for that. I apologize to every woman who comes after me that finds shit like this still happening.

To women who actually have the ovaries to stand up and do something about it, like Brenda Romero: You have my utmost respect and admiration.

It’s heeeeere!

This post is a bit tardy. After all my new mystery novel “Schooled” has been available for a smidge over a week now and I’m just getting around to posting about it. However, the up-side is that I have a week’s worth of  stuff to talk about other than a link to the Amazon page.

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I want to thank what I’ve come to think of as “Team Lexy,” namely editor Marti McKenna, proofreader Stacie Magelssen, and cover artist Brett Parson.

I’ve been blown away by how many people bought and read the entire book on the day it released. You people are hardcore and I love you!

The feedback has been great so far. I’m hearing a lot of “I stayed up all night to finish it,” “Can’t wait for the next one,” and a handful of readers have admitted to crushing on the characters Lexy Cooper and Detective Mike Malick. (Upcoming post about this added responsibility for subsequent books).

Here are some excerpts from the Amazon.com reviews. The bold bits are mine.

“There are few books that will make you go from cover to cover in one sitting. This book is one of those rare gems. With the type of pace and characters you’d find in a good television show I found myself drawn into this universe and didn’t want to leave.”

Lexy Cooper is THE sexy heroine for the gaming generation. She not only has an amazing job at a video game company, but she has a hot uncle who is a cop. Together, they use their valuable traits and very different methods to track down a killer.”

“Charter’s characterization is excellent. I feel as though I know Lexy, Mike, The Barbies… I feel like if I met them at a party, we would need no introduction. I think it is the characterization that makes the book so entrancing. We’ve all read books where the supporting cast is two dimensional. Charter’s characters breathe.

“Schooled is a fast paced & raunchy whodunnit set in the gaming world. For gamers it is a fascinating a peak behind the scenes, but you don’t have to like video games to enjoy this murder mystery.”

“This is a straight up page turner.”

So, to sum up: Whew! It’s done and out there. Also Woohoo! People like it!

Happy Birthday Xbox LIVE!

You’re getting to be a big boy now, XBL. Nine years old! Next year you’ll be in the double digits and that’s a big deal! I remember when you were a tiny little baby not yet born into the world. You held the hopes and dreams of all your mommies and daddies and aunts and uncles. We worked very hard to make sure you were born healthy and happy.You took your first tentative breaths at a small office park in Redmond. There was much worrying when you had your first sniffles and we hoped you would be able to meet your adoring public on time.  And then the day finally arrived, November 15 2002.

And there was much rejoicing!

 

 

I would like to thank you, Xbox LIVE, for being so important in my life. You’ve fed my children, took me around the world, introduced me to actors, musicians and athletes, but more importantly because of you I’ve made many wonderful friends and met the love of my life.

Happy Birthday!

PAX Prime: What Me Do

Some of my very best gaming memories are PAX-related. From my first encounter with gamerstench back at PAX #2, to my Freedom Fest/Re-Bachelorette/Bad Behavior I Don’t Remember Party in 2007 to showing off my hawt Marine fiance in 2008, a good time was had by me.  After bringing an infant to ’09 and skipping  ’10, I am back in PAX action this weekend. If you’re hitting up the Penny Arcade Expo (that little descriptor is for my 3 non-gaming readers) I’ll be taking part in three panels. Herewith:

Friday 6-7pm Raven Theatre

Can Mommy And Daddy Come Over to Play? The Truth About Being a Gamer Parent

On the panel besides me: Jessica Shea @bsangel [Community Manager, 343i], Justin Korthof @sixokay [Community Manager, Robot Entertainment], Jeff Green @greenspeak  [Director of Editorial & Social Media, PopCap Games], Stephanie Bayer @NSSteph [Customer Engagement Lead, PopCap Games], Jamileh Delcambre @jamileh Community Manager, AT&T.

Unless one of these people has MORE than three kids, I believe Hawty McBloggy and I are tied for Most Fruitful.

Saturday 10:30 – 11:30 Serpent Theatre
Infinite Respawn: How Gaming Can Keep & Save Your Relationship

Panelists include: Chris Brown @leftybrown [Site Owner & Host, The Married Gamers], Aubrey Norris [Deep Silver], Dan Amrich @oneofswords  [Activision], Elizabeth Parmeter [Editor-In-Chief, GamingAngels], Zachary Snell

I have a lot more to say about this subject now that I can sex up my husband in Sims Social.

Sunday 11:30 – 12:30 Kraken Theatre
What Women Really Want

I’m a last-minute replacement for Trina Schwimmer of Gaming Angels, but I will do my best to both make her proud and to cause shock and awe. Besides me, you will be treated to the delights of: Susan Arendt [Senior Editor, The Escapist],  Kathleen De Vere [Actor, LoadingReadyRun], AJ Glasser [Journalist, Inside Social Games], Brittany Aubert [Associate Producer, 5th Cell]

Warning: I don’t work for a corporate behemoth anymore; gloves off, baby!

If you’d like to actually know what these panels are about or peruse the weaksauce shit that will be happening the rest of the weekend, I urge you to visit the full PAX Schedule.

See you there!

A Drinking Problem

No, I don’t have one. Not drinking is my problem. Abstaining from alcohol or not being fully committed to gettin slizzard seems to be less socially acceptable than being a raging alcoholic.  Why is that?

The last time I drank a lot of alcohol was three years ago about a month before I met my husband. This is what it looked like:

At a Tarts and Vicars party. Hence the schoolgirl prostitute outfit and the bewildered priest.

Shortly after the tragedy of my lollipop’s stick going limp I basically passed out in a beanbag chair and a Frag Doll and a Cavegirl put me to bed. There was vomiting. I had a great time at that party, and in this rare instance the fun I had was greater than the pain that ensued.

I don’t have any family history of alcoholism. I have CERTAINLY done some drinking in my life (as many of you who have met me at E3, GDC and PAX can attest to) and don’t discourage those around me from drinking. I just don’t do it any more, and I’ll tell you why:

  1. I have three children. Someone needs to be responsible for them and that someone should not be drunk.
  2. I have a perfect driving record. I have had parking tickets and have been pulled over for expired tabs or a bad taillight, but I have never done anything sketchy behind the wheel. I don’t think a DUI would be a good way to pop the cherry on my record.
  3. The pros and cons don’t balance out. I don’t enjoy the feeling of being tipsy or ‘relaxed’ enough to cancel out the hangover.
  4. Alcohol doesn’t like me. I don’t know if it’s being out of practice, getting older, or maybe a mild allergy, but I go from buzzed to hungover in about 30 minutes. Not worth it.

Logical, yeah?  So why am I, and other people who just aren’t into drinking social pariahs? It has held me back in my social life and especially my career. If you enjoy imbibing I’m sure you’ve had the sort of conversation like this: “Yeah it turns out s/he doesn’t really drink. So *that’s* a lot of fun [sarcasm]”. So, coworkers or clients that don’t fully commit to drinking are less desirable than the ones who like to knock a few back at happy hour and REALLY tie one on during business trips, trade shows etc.?  Why is that? Do the drinkers fear the light or non-drinkers will judge them? In my experience it’s the other way around. Drinking is the acceptable norm, and not drinking is the anomaly. You can get away with it if you’re a recovering alcoholic, Mormon, Muslim, or pregnant. Otherwise… there is something wrong with you (and in three of those four cases, people don’t want to party with you anyway. Unfair, but true).

I understand the need to socialize with colleagues. It shows you’re a good sport and a team player and can cut loose. But if you don’t have a ‘good reason’ to order a Diet Coke instead of a beer you are suspect. A spy, a stick in the mud, or just plain weird.

This seems fucked up to me. Does a person have to drink to be successful? It appears that way. Is it just in the quasi-entertainment industry in which I’ve found myself? Is it worse in music and film? Do you have to do coke (or be a recovering addict) to get ahead? Should I and other abstainers have to drink to advance our careers? Is this high school?

So, drinkers who mistrust non-drinkers: what’s the deal with that? Abstainers: Does this ring true for you too?

 

 

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