I blogged about T.L. Taylor's Chapter 1 and 3 in "Play Between Worlds", to help me understand chapters 4 and 5, I looked through the blog links and found Bryan Francis’ blog to be in-depth, informative, and about the chapters I was interested in.
Right away, in Bryan’s blog, he mentions that “women play a much larger role in the online gaming world than many believe, or choose not to believe.” Bryan also goes into detail about how women make up “at least half of the online population” and are considered “oddballs” to the gaming world. The part of the blog that grabbed my attention was the mention of how there is a “growing population of women participating in MMO’s”. This part helped me relate to chapters 1 and 3. Even though Taylor does not go into much detail about the sex of the gamers, I relate this section of the blog to identity of the gamers and how their identity can be lost, gained or created. Also this relates to how T.L. Taylor immediately experienced changes in her feelings of identity and her feelings of “fitting-in” with fellow EverQuest gamers.
The next part of the blog that is enticing to me is the first-hand accounts and personal experience of World of Warcraft that Bryan blogs about. He mentions that he has “come to explore (the) social and cultural aspects of the (gaming) world more and more”. To add to what Taylor mentions about women and their assumptions in feminine gameplay, Bryan talks about how is girlfriend “expresses more of a desire for direct competition with others and the environment rather than the social life appeal that draws many women to MMO’s”. What interested me again in the blog was when Bryan talks about how he observed the curiously abundant number of male characters who showed interest in talking to his girlfriends Night Elf. And mentions that “in my own experience, it has only been a handful of times that someone has willingly come up to my character and spark a conversation…” Another intelligent point brought out in Bryan’s blog is his observations, his girlfriend’s personal experience, and its connection to Taylor’s personal experience in the gaming world. He brings up that indirect combat that Taylor describes is “not a want of my girlfriends’…that desire for exploration is indeed an ever-present desire...it seems to be a collective desire for many women”. The direct competition, exploration of the game and ideas surrounding identity “allows women to be free of the social stereotypes that are looming within social settings within the game”.
Bryan’s talks about how creating a gender-neutral game is complicated and how “developers continue to ask gamers what they want in a game…”. This brings out a connection to the recent reading of Henry Jenkins’ “Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars”. Jenkins mentions Participatory Culture being partly how the average citizen can affect what the outcome of a game might be, as well as archiving, appropriation and transformation of the media content to possibly influence the developers in the future. Using ideas and feedback from the gamers, the developers often get poor results for what the gamers want in a game. Bryan mentions that “this result is often sub-par; over-sexualized female characters, and of races of avatars that are unpopular simply for skin color”. Bryan brings Taylor’s argument of overlooking the gamers that aren’t necessarily the “core” of the gaming world, could potentially bring damage to future design and ultimately can disenfranchise the ones the developer sought to appeal to. In the blog, Bryan’s first-hand and personal experiences help make the reading clear and makes the reader actually feel connected to it as well.