@BlizzardDevs Where the Black Girls At in Overwatch?

@BlizzardDevs Where the Black Girls At in Overwatch?

Representation matters. And Blizzard Entertainment has made genuine effort to recognize various cultures and ethnicities throughout their games in recent years. But…Black women are still underrepresented.

At Blizzcon 2018, Blizzard unveiled a new Overwatch hero that no one knew they were even working on. Ashe, who leads the Deadlock Gang, is typical of the Western cowgirl villain. Ashe looks to be a fun hero to play who will likely be able to counter Pharah, Widow and Genji. Cool.

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Ready Player One: Can A Girl Get Some Respect?

I've been dwelling on my view of Ready Player One since I saw it in theaters. I cried when I left the theater, impassioned by my own memories and nostalgia. I felt cause to celebrate the gaming community aspects of the film because, as a lifelong gamer, I completely connected with the intention of the heartfelt relationships the characters built in their virtual world. Witnessing the bond and friendships between the gamers that have never met hit me right in the feels.

To Spielberg’s credit, the movie was action packed, entertaining as hell and full of stunning digital creations and effects. But the effects of the source material could not be undone, and the female character problem remains unresolved. Ready Player One, based on the 2011 Ernest Cline novel of the same name, at surface level is a love letter to pop culture and gaming centered around a boy named Wade Watts. But upon closer inspection, it reveals itself to have female characters that are instruments of the protagonist at worst or shallow at best. 

Source: Warner Bros via Wikia

Source: Warner Bros via Wikia

5.  F'Nale Zandor is one of the antagonists in the film. F’nale works for IOI and seems to be in charge of doing the dirty work for her boss, Nolan Sorrento. She exists solely for him to achieve power and complete control over the Oasis. Nolan has her do the dirty work because he's trash. She willingly agrees and actually hunts Wade and his friends in the real world. Chaotic evil? Yes. But even bad girls deserve to be treated with respect! 

4. Wade Watt’s Aunt Alice is blown up for the sake of character development. Like comic book superheroes, Wade’s parents are dead, so his aunt takes him in. Alice seems to have a very trope-y history of dating abusive men. In the film she is in a relationship with a man who abuses her and Wade. In an attempt to destroy Wade Nolan Sorrento blows up the stacks where his Aunt lives. POOF! BOOM! BANG! RIP Wades Aunt; you deserved better.

Source: Warner Bros via Insider

Source: Warner Bros via Insider

3. Aech is Parzivel’s best friend in the Oasis. In the Oasis, her character is male and she often reminds Parzivel that you can’t trust people in the Oasis. People hide their real identities for a multitude of reasons. She ends up saving Wade time and time again in both artificial and actual reality. Aech is clearly the wiser, more skeptical of the two, a capable engineer, mechanic and warrior. She possesses  a self-awareness that Wade does not. So much more could have been done with this character, but instead she was used as just another rung on the ladder to Wade’s goal of being the savior of the Oasis. The fact that the story also “hid” her identity from us robbed us of an opportunity to actually get to know her.

Photo: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros via Vulture

2. Artemis is a famous egg hunter (Gunter) in the Oasis. She’s smart, she's quick and she’s powerful. She seems to be doing fine on her own until the story begins, at which point she becomes completely dependent on Wade’s help every step of the way. The film even seems to go out of its way to show her get a clue completely wrong, which leads to a risky fight and chase. Wade becomes obsessed with her in a MPDG-crush fantasy world way, still treating the Egg hunt like a game. By the end of the movie she’s revealed herself entirely to Wade in a pretty bland “I have typical motivations” type way and let’s Wade do the heavy lifting.

1. Kira - the “key to it all.” James Halliday the Oasis creator had a one true love, her name was Kira. We find out that Kira is the trophy, she is the unifying key to hunting down the hidden easter eggs and winning the Oasis. James was always in love with Kira and because of his extreme anxiety, insecurities and light incel (involuntary celibate) nature he failed to kiss her when he had the chance. Since he failed at love, it’s only... obvious…? that he would make her the center of his Easter Egg hunt. Ya know, a puzzle for everyone else to overcome, belitted to a kiss not taken. We don't know anything about her aside from a few men’s perspectives. Maybe if he chose to shoot his shot the Oasis wouldn't exist? If he had would this movie still exist??

There is already so much in nerd and geek culture that excludes the female perspective. Ready Player One is a beautiful spectacle of nostalgia that, unfortunately, refuses to include women in that narrative as anything more than pawns.

Have you seen Ready Player One? Tell us what you think in the comments.
 

Dear Politicians: Stop Trying to Make Video Games Your Scapegoat

Dear Politicians: Stop Trying to Make Video Games Your Scapegoat

FICTIONAL VIOLENCE IS NOT THE CAUSE OF VIOLENCE IN AMERICA

In the wake of the tragic, Valentine's Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. politicians are trying to pin scapegoat video games. This is the 18th school shooting in the U.S. so far this year and it's only February. Media pundits, politicians, and some psychologists often link violence in video games to increased violent tendencies, bullying, school shootings and violence toward women. Critics like to suggest that video games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty are leading to the increase in violence in the United States and increased aggression in children.

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"Black Lightning" Got Me Hype **SPOILERS**

Black Lightning is more than just a show about a Black superhero.

When I saw the first trailer for Black Lightning, I was excited. Admittedly, I had a crush on Cress Williams ever since he played Scooter on Living Single (yeah, I'm showing my age). Not only does Cress do an amazing job as the title hero, Black Lightning aka Principal Jefferson Pierce, but Salim Akil's writing is on point and the entire cast epitomizes awesome.

Jefferson Pierce is part John Shaft, part, part Joe Clark and part Sgt. Murtaugh. He's suave, intelligent, and gives a damn about his community, looking after former and current students alike, but he's definitely "getting too old for this shit." Sensing a theme?

That's right. The metahuman superhero is older and wiser than his fellow DC heroes. He has a family. There's none of the usual "I'm a hero and therefore, must be alone to keep everyone I care about safe" going on here. He has kids. He has an ex-wife who he gave up Black Lightning for years ago. But now that Black Lightning is back, he's confronting a villain that is very familiar.

Tobias Whale, played by rapper/actor Marvin Jones III aka Krondon is Black Lightning's arch-nemesis. They've been enemies ever since Pierce was a teacher who stood up to him. Whale is a former politician who rose through the ranks of the criminal underground and took over. 

One of Whale's lieutenants, Lala was a student of Pierce's back in the day. Lala now leads The 100 Gang. Lala's young cousin, Will, meets Pierce's youngest daughter while at a club. Will, also a villain, has some business to square away with Lala, but that all goes sour and Black Lightning has to reemerge to rescue his daughter. When Whale finds out that Black Lightning has resurfaced, his obsession with the hero who almost stopped his business resurfaces. It's not just about business; it's definitely personal. Krondon's performance is scary good--reminiscent of the ruthless gangsters of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

And rightly so. Black Lightning was created in 1977 during the Blaxploitation film era that burst onto the scene when drugs were being pumped into Black communities and gangs began to sprout up like weeds being fed plant food. Black communities needed heroes like Shaft, Luke Cage (first comic appearance in 1972) and Black Lightning. Black Lightning, being the family man that he is, instilled his passion for helping onto his daughters Anissa and Jennifer. In the comics, they are also metahumans who go by Thunder (Anissa) and Lightning (Jennifer). The show is only two episodes into the season, but so far, Anissa has only just discovered that she has abilities. Jennifer hasn't. 

Source: Twitter

Source: Twitter

One recurring request from comics fans is that they get to see Static appear in the show. Creator Tony Isabella doesn't want Black Lightning and Static to be in the same show. And for very good reason. Both Black Lightning and Static are powerful heroes. Having them both on the same show would either relegate Static to a type of sidekick or Have Black Lightning taking on a mentor-type of role.

BUT Static Shock will be coming to life. That's right. Dabier, who plays Will in Black Lightning will be playing Static Shock in a standalone show in 2019.

Does this mean that Static Shock will have gotten his superpowers from Black Lightning and not a chemical accident like in the comics? Will there be a funeral for Will where we learn that his name is full name is Virgil Ovid "Will" Hawkins? I mean, what teenage boy wants to walk around being called Virgil? Virgil doesn't exactly say "gangsta" or "thug life." Who knows!

I only know I'm excited for this show and can't wait to see more from DCU and Warner Bros. There's something almost nostalgic and feel-good about Black Lightning. We're rooting for the family man, the principal and the hero. We're rooting for the family to kick ass together. 

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW. Check your local listings for time zones.