First Person Podcast: Episode 34

Can You Pet the Dog?

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This month on the First Person Podcast, you join Lia Black, Betsy Brey, Sarah Stang, Nicholas Hobin, and Sabrina Sgandurra to discuss their favourite pets in gaming history. We are going to be looking at the autonomy that has been allowed to animals in gaming ranging from the Final Fantasy Series to Pokémon. Through these games we will address themes like friendship, consent, and the proper pronunciation of the word Chocobo. So, tune in for a furreal experience. Continue Reading

The Gendered Mechanics of Pokémon Sword and Shield

I’m Sorry But I Have to Talk About My Force Masc Kink in a Pokémon Game, Oh Gosh

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These possibilities do still exist within frustrating limits on fluid and non-binary expression. When you pick a character, the game won’t say this is what Game Freak thinks a “boy” and “girl” look like, but it will treat them as such. Temtem and Battletech have already shown through a separate pronoun option how gender is not an unspoken aesthetic of bodies, and Sunless Skies provides one of the most sound systems I have seen represent gender. As Ruth Cassidy describes, the unordered presentation of body parts, clothes, and titles that are gendered in our world works for the game that doesn’t comment on gender: “Sunless Skies is a game that cares about telling stories, about people and their temptations and curiosities, and at no point does it need to define the player’s gender to do so.” I’m left wondering why Nintendo thinks they need to have—or rather, why they think they can get away with—a facsimile of inclusion when the boutique in Motostoke only offers my avatar, Ada Lovelace, a fraction of its inventory. Maybe walking while trans has made me hyper-aware, but I notice every time an NPC insists on calling them different pronouns and nouns based off the binary set of bodies I chose from. Continue Reading

“Press A to Shoot”

Pokémon Snap-Shots and Gamespace Ownership

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Drawing from the international popularity of the Pokémon series, Snap repositions gameplay from the role-playing mechanics of earlier games. Due to its in-game mechanics and integrative real-world mechanisms, Snap shifts the definitions of digital subjects and photographers, illustrating the complex relationship of subject and shooter in digital photographic practices. Ultimately, the practices portrayed in Snap prove to be deeply imbalanced experiences in terms of power dynamics, complicated by the popularity of the Pokémon series which encouraged players to “catch ‘em all.” These competitive practices extended beyond digital spaces with the intersections of print and digital photography and the gamification of photographic practices as taught and presented by the game. Continue Reading