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Awesomewatch (or, Things which are Awesome right now, by Jenni, aged 24 & 3/4)

2011 October 20

Here’s a bunch of geeky, fandom and feminism-relevent things I’ve been enjoying lately. We’re hoping to turn this into a regular feature, and our ed, Miranda, has called it Awesomewatch, presumably knowing of my love of watching Chris Packham and team harass the nation’s wildlife every week on Autumnwatch1

image of stills from Mass Effect showing a blonde, pale-skinned female version of Shepard flanked by a dark-haired white woman and a grey-skinned alien character

Game: Mass Effect

About a hundred years behind the rest of the entire internet, I’m playing Mass Effect 2, and I’m enjoying it so, so much. I want to book a week off work just to complete it, and game all day long.

You play Commander Shepard, who can be a man or woman, and it’s amazingly refreshing to be able to play a female war hero (either way, you’re pretty famous, after saving the galaxy in Mass Effect 1). It’s great to be able to play this female character who inspires so much respect in her colleagues, military and civilian – everywhere she goes, even big scary warlike aliens are afraid of her. My Shepard’s a not-very-physically-intimidating blonde, so it’s kind of fun.

I love the team-building aspects of the game, too. You have to persuade people to join you, and keep them happy and loyal throughout the game. You can play as a good guy or a bad guy, and some of the choices the game gives you (allow genocide to continue for the good of the galaxy?) are brilliant to play through. As writer and fellow Garrus fangirl Jennifer Williams said in her review:

Bioware seem to specialise in making the sort of games where you have to put the controller down for a bit and have a really good think about the consequences of your actions.

Several articles have been written on how feminist-friendly the game can be, some on this blog, so I won’t go into too much detail here except to add my name to the many reviewers recommending it. Even if you don’t play many games, you should try this one. I’m running it on my laptop; you can check here whether you can run it on your computer…

Mass Effect 3, out next summer, looks like it’ll be even better. They’re promising to use a female Shepard in the marketing drive, and although there were lesbian options2 available for Shepard to romance in Mass Effect 1 and 2, in 3 male Shepard will be able to romance some of the guys, too. I’m not sure why these things weren’t done before, but I feel like Bioware is at least a company that listens to what its fans want. I’ll be checking out their Dragon Age II next (another game highly recommended by geeks and feminists!) while I wait impatiently for ME3

Comic: Paul Cornell’s Demon Knights #1

I didn’t buy many of the comics that came out of the DC52, but I did have to pick up Paul Cornell’s Demon Knights, because I’ve enjoyed his Doctor Who episodes and his Captain Britain comics before.

As much as many DC52 comics have been a disappointment, (Harley Quinn loses half her costume! Catwoman wants to show you ALL HER BRAS. ALL OF THEM. Amanda Waller becomes skinny! Disabled character Oracle walks, becomes Batgirl! DC comics manage to become even less diverse!) I still have to say, this one looks promising.

Demon Knights is set in the Middle Ages, and Paul cites Dragon Age II and ‘the medieval Magnificent Seven’ as points of inspiration. Much like my old favourite Secret Six, (sadly, sadly, outrageously cancelled for the DC52,) it seems as though it will star protagonists who range from reluctant antiheroes who’d rather be at the pub, to absolute bastards who are just along for the fun of it, saving the day and arguing and falling in and out of bed with each other while they do it. My favourite kind of heroes.

Promisingly for the fans of this blog, it also looks as though not only will four of the seven ‘knights’ be of the female persuasion, but the main baddie, the Questing Queen, is also very much a lady.

Well, I say four ladies… Sir Ystin, a knight who self-introduces as ‘sir’, may turn out to be more nuanced than that. Earlier versions of the character, the Shining Knight, have been both a cissexual man, and a young girl disguised as a man in pursuit of her true love, Sir Gawain, but neither of those seem to fit here. Hints dropped by Paul, and Ystin’s insistence on the title ‘sir’ in this volume, however, despite the other characters’ doubt, makes me wonder whether we’re actually seeing the first gender variant character of the DC52…

It’s hard to judge an entirely new comic on just twenty pages, but this issue made me laugh, and made me want to know a lot more about all seven of the main characters, which is pretty much what I want in a first issue.

It’s also extremely quotable:

We find the source of the problem, and we throw dragons at it.

Blog: The Mary Sue

The Mary Sue is really awesome. It’s like BoingBoing for fangirls. They always have the news first. Trailers, casting decisions, I don’t know how they get there so fast.

Mary Sue logo showing one of several cartoon women with a raised fist
Battlestar Galactica‘s Starbuck features on the logo above, but you get a different geeky lady character every time you refresh the site. You can read about their logo design and why they picked those characters here.

I’m enjoying the way they’ve named it after Mary Sues, as well. It feels like a challenge. That word that gets thrown at the woman in a fandom work who’s, y’know, not supposed to be there.

There’s slash references and feminism and science and fun things on Etsy and Hipster Harry Potter fanart and the gender-bent Justice League and lists like 10 Things That Could Happen If You Pretend to Be A God, 10 Couples Who Are Badass Together, and 10 Fictional Universes We’d Like to Live in Based on Food Alone

It’s a bit addictive.

And finally, under “also awesome”:

My feminist-inclined friend Hannah, who, when recently invited to a ‘Tarts and Vicars’ party, dressed as a Bakewell Tart. Because, well, what is a ‘tart’ anyway?

  • AwesomeWatch returns next month. Send Jen your own geeky picks – if she agrees with you, they might get a look-in.
  1. Ed: “I may not have been entirely sober when I thought of this, but it’s too late now, we’re GOING WITH IT.” []
  2. I was going to let my Shepard have a lesbian romance, but, well, the Tank Girl lookalike on my team is straight as a very straight thing, and Space Batman alien Garrus has caught my eye. He was on Shepard’s team in Mass Effect 1, and their dialogue’s adorable in a kind of equals-and-comrades-under-fire kind of way. “There’s no one in the galaxy I respect more than you, Shepard.” Bless. []
7 Responses leave one →
  1. Russell permalink
    October 20, 2011

    ‘pon your recommendation, I rushed to my Robot Phone and bought the first issue of Demon Knights. Victory is yours!

    • Jenni permalink
      October 20, 2011

      Cool! What did you think?

      I haven’t got the hang of DC digital, yet.

  2. wererogue permalink
    October 20, 2011

    I recommend choosing Dragon Age over DA2 – it’s a better game overall. The only thing I miss from DA2 in DA is greater racial diversity, and the neat feature where your family look like the character you made.

    • Miranda permalink*
      October 20, 2011

      But… the one-sided conversation thingy in DA1! Nobody has voices!

      • wererogue permalink
        October 20, 2011

        Only you don’t have a voice, and you get to know what you’re *actually* going to say before you say it, instead of something vaguely related to what you picked :P

        • Miranda permalink*
          October 21, 2011

          True… but I like the conversations better two-way somehow – more cinematic? The approximations/vague thing I do see, though.

          Oh, and I like Merrill rather a lot (more than Morrigan from 1 who has a thoroughly annoying costume going on – fabulous for Slimelight, terrible for questing outdoors, surely?!), so she’s my vote in favour of DA2, too.

          • wererogue permalink
            October 21, 2011

            Morrigan is super-annoying in a lot of ways, although if you bother to develop the relationship with her she has a few good lines. Also it’s hilarious to put her into one of the church outfits :v

            I find the fighting in DA2 way less fun, and the story way less interesting. I should put in some more time with it though, tbh.

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