Weekend Reading: Catch Up on Some of the Best Responses to Gaming's Recent Anti-Feminist Drama

Tropes vs Women Background Decoration Part 2
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

It's safe to say that August 2014 has been an absolute nightmare, and I'll be glad to see the whole thing end. The past couple weeks in particular have been bad in the gaming corner of the internet, and the only consolation I can draw from it is that 1) compared to everything else that's happened around the world this month it could really be so much worse, and 2) at least some absolutely outstanding articles have come out of it all. Too many to share individually, in fact.

If you want to catch up on what's been going with August's lesser calamities in the world of video games (or just get a fresh perspective on the subject), here's your weekend reading list:

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Pantone Problems: Here's Why Seasonal Color Trends Matter in Virtual & RL Fashion

Color palettes pantone
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

SL fashion blog Juicybomb is typically a one-woman show, but this week Sehra Kauffman stepped up to share a pretty enlightening post about seasonal colors that applies just as much to our offline fashion choices as it does our online ones. If you've ever wondered why Pantone exists or why constantly shifting color palettes and "Forecasts" are an important part of fashion (and fashion marketing) Sehra's got your back. She explains:

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I Love Games, But I'll Never Be a "Gamer"

Controller
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

When I talk about my childhood spent in the back seat of a minivan playing an imported Japanese copy of Tails Adventure on my Game Gear, or on the living room floor meandering through the levels of Gauntlet Legends, or scouring anything resembling an arcade with my fingers crossed for a Hydro Thunder machine, you might mistake me for a Gamer. When I talk about slightly more recent events -- eliminating challengers in one hit with my overtrained Absol in Pokemon X/Y, almost miraculously sniping enemies off with a shotgun in Fallout: New Vegas, completing the entirety of an Assassin's Creed game without ever using anything but the wristblades -- you could be forgiven for again thinking that I'm a Gamer.

But I wasn't, and I'm not.

I'm not trying to prove my gaming cred here, nor am I trying to make a point about how easily my interests can be dismissed by someone with an agenda. The fact is that I've been playing video games regularly for as long as I can remember, but I've never called or even considered myself a Gamer... And I'm not about to start any time soon. 

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Does The DMCA Do More Harm Than Good in Second Life? Here's What A Group of SL Designers Told Me...

DMCA header
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

In the wake of the DMCA drama that's been stirring up the Second Life fashion world, I recently surveyed a group of SL content creators about their thoughts on and experiences with the DMCA process. I wanted to know how often their businesses and hobbies are affected by DMCA claims, and whther or not they think it's a good fit in Second Life.

Some of the results were surprising, while some of them weren't at all. Take a look for yourself:

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Here's What it Takes to Build a 1KB Hard Drive in Minecraft

Cody Littley's 1 KB Minecraft Hard Drive
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Polygon's Charlie Hall recently posted a video tour of one of the most mind-blowing Minecraft builds I've ever seen. As Hall floats through and around an ingeniously made 1 KB hard drive that exists entirely within Minecraft, its creator Cory Littley walks both him and the viewer through its meticulous construction.

Littley's hard drive (like the Minecraft calculators and such that have come before it) relies on redstone, an item in the game that conducts a current used to power various devices. In my experience, redstone's simplest applications are easy enough to wrap your head around. If all you need are a few lamps, powered rail cars, or maybe an automatic door it's not hard to get a handle on how to use it, but things get exponentially more complicated the larger and more intricate your project is. That's what makes Littley's hard drive so incredibly impressive, even if it's barely big enough to hold the text of this post.

Don't just take my word for it: Watch the tour for yourself on Polygon.

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Enjoy All the Charm of a Summer Sunset in This Stunning (and Unedited) Second Life Snapshot

Nivaya Barbosa Persephone Paine
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I'm a sucker for great, unprocessed screenshots, and this happy little accident shared by Nivaya Barbosa on Plurk and Flickr takes the cake. The contrast, the lighting, the depth of field, the lush colors of the environment against the muted tones of the dress -- it all just feels so natural even though typically (as most SL artists and virtual photographers know) that natural feeling is one of the most difficult elements to capture.

I will admit that I find myself wishing that her subject, Persephone Paine, was wearing a mesh head purely because they tend to look a little more realistic under indirect lighting compared to the Second Life avatar's vanilla face (like her hands and dress for example.) Then again, even the imperfections lend themselves to the overall effectiveness of this shot. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn't change a thing.

Check out Nivaya's Flickr stream for more.

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The Newest Episode of Tropes vs Women in Video Games is Hard to Watch, but it's Well Worth Your Time

Tropes vs Women Background Decoration Part 2
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

The latest episode of Feminist Frequency's ongoing Tropes vs Women in Video Games series is out today, presenting part two of the women as background decoration trope. This episode also comes with a pretty strong content warning, as it depicts a lot of very graphic violence against female characters. It's absolutely brutal and some viewers may want to skip this particular episode as a result, but it offers some very important critical commentary on the ways that violence against women is used in games.

Watch the full episode for yourself:

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Check Out This Tutorial for Setting Up Real-Time Second Life Avatar Movement With a Kinect

Rinions
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you happen to have a Kinect, Microsoft's body-tracking camera peripheral for the Xbox, laying around nearby, you might be surprised by what you can do with it in Second Life. Jessica Pixel posted a quick tutorial on her site yesterday for how to connect your Kinect to Second Life and animate your avatar in real time. It all boils down to Rinions and a special SL viewer that allow you to temporarily replace an avatar animation with animation data provided by the Kinect. The end result isn't seamless, but it's still pretty darn cool.

And while you have your Kinect hooked up, here's something else you may want to try...

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Coming Soon: You Won't Be Able to Resist the Soft, Sleepy Charms of this Second Life Pup

ISPACHI Arcade Sept Preview
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

No, this adorable gif I've posted is not taken from a viral video and no, it's not from some sort of beautiful HD version of Nintendogs. That precious pup is 100% Second Life mesh, and if you don't believe me all you need to do is wait for the name tag to pop up briefly in the lower lefthand corner.

See?

But where can you get your hands on this warm little bundle of polygons? Well...

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Celebrity Second Life User Drew Carey Tweets His Appreciation for One of Our Favorite Metaverse Designers

Drew Carey Nylon Pinkney SL
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Drew Carey loves Second Life, and Second Life loves artist and designer Nylon Pinkney, so it's only natural that Drew Carey loves Nylon Pinkney too, right?

Carey is one of SL's most vocal celebrity fans, and this week he made a couple tweets that caught a lot of Second Life users' attention... Including Nylon herself. Take a look:

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