Tag Archives: Gamer

Science Fiction Today – Prisons

PThere were a couple of good topics to cover today for the letter P, but I think I’ll save the other for a longer post. It was also waiting to see what we talked about in regards to the Justice System. There we talked about what could happen if the law, the police, could act upon justice at a moment’s notice – or in advance of a crime!

Today is more a discussion of if the police stay kind of like they do today – they capture people, they have normal sorts of trials, and then they go to prison. Overflowing prisons, perhaps. Privatized prisons, run by corporations that are there to make money from the prisoners – not rehabilitate them. Private prisons already exist, so these are perhaps realistic fears for the future. And the history exists for prisoners to do more than just be prisoners – but to entertain us as well, like gladiators. So let’s look at these possibilities!

Private Prisons

So we recently watch the movie Escape Plan with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and we were expecting it to be a ridiculous cheese-fest like The Expendables. As it turned out, not really. It was a near-future or alternate-present sort of story, with a professional prison-breaker who helps build better prisons. Someone stole all his best ideas, and built a floating fortress – and trapped him in it. The prisoners were all held basically as long as someone kept paying for them to be in there. Held in international waters, with no jurisdiction over them. And with no escape.

You also see prisons like this existing in full-fledged Science Fiction space societies. Often an entire planet or space station exists for the sole purpose of being a prison, like Crematoria in the Chronicles of Riddick. Or in Mass Effect 2, where you go to get Jack from a prison, where you pay to have her released – until they decide that they can make far more money by keeping Shepard prisoner instead!

Prisoners as Gladiators

Often this is seen as an extension of Reality Television, the idea that competition shows aren’t enough – and eventually Reality TV turns into blood sports. And who better to participate in a blood sport, with everything on the line, than prisoners? Generally something like a shortened sentence or outright freedom is dangled in front of them, and they compete for that.

There are many ideas for what the competition might look like, with those details updating over time even if the basic plot remains the same – like with Running Man and Gamer. Hey look, Arnold Schwarzenegger again… Still, it’s pretty much the use of prisoners as gladiators to entertain the rest of us. And sometimes, freedom isn’t really guaranteed, like for Duncan Idaho in the Dune prequels – where it really is just for the amusement of it.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Is Gamer Girl and Fem Shep Helping or Hurting?

Mass Effect 3 Shepherd Wallpaper

I have seen the term Gamer Girl or Gamer Gurl used in a couple different articles and it got me thinking. Why do we need to use the term Gamer Girl to define a woman who games? After seeing it referenced in one occasion I actually got a little mad. I consider myself a gamer, the fact that I am a woman is just another aspect of who I am, but it does not define me as a gamer. By calling out the gender, are we at the same time calling out that we are different? When really a gamer should be a gamer no matter what. By adding girl to the end of gamer, it could be argued that we are making a subtle statement that there is a difference between being a Gamer and being a Gamer Girl.

Now I do understand the reason that these terms have arisen. How do we denote the rise in women calling themselves Gamers if we do not distinguish that there is a difference. It is a fine line that has to be walked to try and confront gender norms and highlight that both men and women participate in the variety of activities. At the same time culturally the default is to think of certain things as activities for men and therefore we need to confront that. How do we do that without emphasizing that there are women participating in these tasks? Continue reading

Movies That Surprised Us

After seeing Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Warm Bodies these past couple of weeks, I started thinking about movies that have taken me by surprise. Now, I saw Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Warm Bodies in theaters so I at least thought I would enjoy them, but there are other movies that I see the preview for and I think, meh. Down the line I will sometimes end up renting these movies just to see what they are about, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised at what I find.

This does not mean that suddenly these movies are fabulous creations of cinema, but rather that they were good in ways I was not expecting. So here are 5 movies that took me by surprise. (No spoiler warning: I want you to maybe check these movies out, so I am avoiding spoilers). Continue reading