Thoughts from a (girl) Gamer

Tara Voelker's thoughts. A lot about video games, a little about life

Tag Archives: Video Games

No More Excuses, Your Guide to Accessible Design – SLIDES

Hi All!

I had a couple people ask me about my slides from my session SO HERE THEY ARE. Update: My talk is now on the vault for free so I’ve added a link to that!

Slides linked as a PDF here – Voelker_Tara_NoMoreExcuses

GDC Vault –

If you’re interested in the notes, you can also open the presentation via this link to view them via Google slides:

I do want to make it clear that I hadn’t ever intended for my notes to be public, so have fun looking at all of the typos.

The panel I was on was also added to the vault for free!

Thanks everyone!


The Silent HD Collection VO

If you’re a fan of Silent Hill at all, you’ve probably heard about what’s going down with Silent Hill and the VO on the title. If you haven’t, here is the quick version:

Konami announced they were re-recording all of the VO for both Silent Hill 2 and 3 for the HD collection. Some hardcore fans got pissed. There was drama. Konami looked at some legal and technical stuff and announced they could put the original in for 2. So now, Silent Hill 3 only comes with re-recorded VO and new voice actors, and Silent Hill 2 has the options for the new VO or the original. Some fans are still pissed and rejecting the new VO.

If you know me (or really, read my blog at all), you’re going to know that I am a super hard core fan of Silent Hill. So, I found myself pondering… should I play the game with the new VO, or the old VO?

I have decided that yes, I am going to use the new VO. And here is the break down of that choice.

The main reason: If a Broadway play is being performed, no one refuses to go because it doesn’t have the original cast. Theater patrons look forward to seeing the new take on characters. I feel like the new voice acting is something very similar. I want to see the new actors take on the characters. Will it be better? I don’t know, but won’t ever know if I don’t try it out. I can’t have a preference if I have only experienced one.

The second reason: The people they brought in to play Mary/Maria and James are heavy hitters in the voice acting world.

So, who’s playing new Maria?

Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. Why does that name sound familiar? Well, it’s because for one, she is pretty much the *voice* of Silent Hill. She does the female vocals on the soundtracks for *every* Silent Hill to date. In addition, she has been involved in tons of other awesome things such as CowBoy BeBop, Princess Mononoke, Tekken, Ghost in a Shell, .hack, and Shadows of the Damned. And that’s just for starters.

How do I feel about this? I’m really excited. Mary has proven time and time again that she is good at being a voice actor, and has always been a very important part of the Silent Hill franchise. She seems like she would hands down have been my first pick for Maria.

So, who’s playing the new James?

Troy Baker. Again, this guy is in everything. I’ve already worked on 2 games in which he plays the main character- Red Faction: Guerrilla and Bioshock Infinite. Additionally, he’s all up in other cool things- like Full Metal Alchemist and Shin Chan. Not to mention he is in practically every video game ever.  From WOW to Saints Row 3, he’s got it covered. Not to mention, I actually got to meet him in person one day at work, so that was cool.

How do I feel about this? I’m looking forward to it. I’m not all “OMG, TROY!” but I’m looking forward to his take on it. I haven’t seen him take on a character who really experiences pain on the same level James does in Silent Hill 2, so I’m interested in seeing how Troy tackles it.

The Final Reason: It’s looking pretty good. If you watch this clip below, you can see some side by side comparisons. Now, warning, the guy who made this video clearly hates the new VO… so skip to 15 seconds in and don’t watch the end.

Now, watching this, I’m not sure I prefer McGlynn’s Mary.  I’m not saying it’s bad, but her voice just seems too…  strong. The original voice acting seems more innocent as well.  But that same thing that makes me unsure of her Mary, makes me LOVE her Maria. Her revision of Maria just oozes seduction. I think it’s great, and I’m looking forward to it.

This video doesn’t show as much of James as I would like. I really don’t have an opinion on Troy’s part yet. I didn’t see enough. I can’t tell from that clip if he can really show the pain and fear James is going through. But, I’m looking forward to finding out.

And anyway, what kind of Silent Hill Fan would I be if I couldn’t boast about playing it will all VO versions, or having some crazy deep opinions on how did it better and why?

Haters Gonna Hate, Revisiting Raychul Moore

So, it’s funny how things come full circle.

Raychul Moore

In one of my original blog posts –  Sex Sells, I ripped on Raychul Moore. I went so far as to say some of her work “sickened” me.  I was pretty harsh. Now, the point of the post wasn’t really about Raychul herself, but about people who have no opinions on topics but use their bodies as a means to get attention.  I was talking about girls flashing their chests while the girls who have interesting things to say get completely over looked.  And that kind of thing still gets me.

So why am I talking about going full circle? Well, I’m  coming to the defense of Raychul Moore. When I made my blog post, my feelings at the time was Raychul knew little about video games and was some horrible person who realized her writing talent was sub par and couldn’t get a job with out some cleavage and took the fact she had ample to her advantage.  Since then, I’ve met Raychul in person. We became Facebook friends,  went out to dinner together and we’re even meeting up at GDC next week. Since taking the time to know the real Raychul, and not the Raychul I thought she was via image search, I’ve learned something. Raychul totally loves video games. And sometimes I think she’s a much bigger nerd than I am.

Tara, former Hater

I no longer think she’s out there just slutting it up for fame or money.  She likes gaming, she likes cosplay, and likes having her picture taken. It gets a lot of attention from gamer guys. And girls are caddy. So, people like me, who assumed she was just some bimbo looking for attention, attacked her.  Not cool. And Raychul knows that I think it wasn’t cool of me to be so judgemental.

Do I always agree with her reviews? No. Do I always like her writing? No. Does she rock a Cami costume well? Of course. If  Raychul and I lived in the same place would we be like BFF? Probably not. Does this make her some bitch who is trying to use her boobs for fame and power? No.

So, why bring this up now? This was all sort of resolved a while ago for me and Raychul. Well, because Raychul was going to be going on a podcast, and was excited about it. I saw her post it on her Facebook and everything. Then, I saw her post made today:

“Haters gotta hate. Just wish they would stop hating on me.”

The link goes to the show she was going to be on. They did a preview of her. Or really, went her her website and made all the same assumptions I did, but did it worse.

How did they do it worse you say?

  • I was only one person, they had four.
  • She was going to be a guest on their show.
  • When they asked her to be on, they did not mention ripping apart her resume as part of the program.
  • I spent one page complaining about Raychul. They spent over 10 minutes.

It’s really just bad form. There isn’t another way to put it. When someone is asked to go on the o’Reilly Factor, they know what they’re in for. When you ask someone who makes their living by talking about video games to talk with you about video games on their show, they don’t expect to have the person who invited them make an entire segment where the host pretty much call them stupid. That just breeds bad vibes. So boo on them.

I guess I’m just saying this was really unnecessary. I feel if they had brought all of this up while Raychul was there, it would have been one thing. But they didn’t. They pretty much just made their audience biased against her by calling her stupid before coming on. Maybe these guys are just taking queues from Fox News.

Anyway, I think I wanted to post this because the girl on the show, Candice, very much made it seem like any *real* girl gamer would totally be appalled by Raychul. And I’m here to say I’m not. I’m having dinner with her next week.

Because Everyone Loves Portal

by Tara

An awesome typography to “Still Alive.”

Being a Girl Gamer – FAQ

by Tara

Alright, this is simply me answering the questions that I get asked most as a girl gamer.

What is it like being a girl in the game industry? Normal? I get asked this a lot and honestly I’m not sure what people expect to hear. It’s not too different than being a guy in the industy I would suppose. I mean, I was told that my shorts were “distracting” once and was requested to change… but other that that, there is no difference that I can see. I don’t have any special perks or anything Ii do the same work that guys do, have most of the same opinions they do… I say “your mom” and “That’s what she said,” at inappropriate times like men do. I don’t feel like I’m being held down by “the man” or like I don’t have the same opportunities if that’s what you mean.

What’s it like playing on Xbox Live since your a girl? I normally don’t have too many things on Xbox Live occur that are related to/ because of my gender. There are the occasional “Are you hot?” or “Dude awesome ! There is a girl, OMG!” but it’s not too bad. There was one time when I was hit on while playing Left 4 Dead… I think I might just start telling everyone that I weigh 225. The only thing that can bother me as a girl playing online is the pressure do well. It’s not pressure I have from my friends, but people I am randomly matched with. These people aren’t saying that I must be super l33t and have all head shots or something, but the first time I make a mistake (that anyone could make) it tends to be… “Awe dude, I knew having a girl on our team would hurt us…” or something like that.

Are you hot? Not really, but thanks for asking.

Do you have a Facebook/Myspace?
Dude, can we just play? Xbox Live is not a dating site. I weigh 225 anyway… you don’t want to see pictures of me.

Do you have an advantage being a girl in the game industry? Well, there hasn’t been for me yet, but my counselor at school said that it could come in handy. He said that I would be more memorable because I would be the odd ball. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Is it ever overwhelming to be in such a male dominated industry? No. I always had a lot of friends that were guys. Plus, I went to school for biochem which a very male dominated area, too. It’s just something I have grown accustomed to.

Are you taken? Yeah, thanks.

How would you describe the the typical gamer girl? Gamer girl… girl being the noun and gamer being the adjective….

*Takes a deep breath*

Well, the self proclaimed “gamer girl” is a attention whore who will do anything to have her next boyfriend prospect think she’s cool. She will write poorly written articles on some shitty review site that has the letter ‘Z’ in the site name. In addition, she will be sure to mention she is a girl CONSTANTLY and post pictures of herself in pig tails on her bio page.

One the other hand there are girl gamers, gamer being the noun and the adjective being girl which describes the gamer. The typical girl gamer is a gamer …who happens to be a girl. We’re normal people who have jobs and go to school and don’t use our sex to get attention of 15 minutes of fame.

How did you get into video games? I always had a console, as long as I can remember. I spent most of my childhood playing Zelda or Sonic. I don’t really count that as being into games though… I never wanted more games or anything.. I was fine with the few that I had. I was pretty young anyway. I really became hooked on video games when… okay, this may sound funny… when pizza hut demo disks for Playstation came out. I was able to try a little of everything and loved it. I stayed active in video games because of one of my brothers. He was the closest to in me in age so I spent most of my time hanging out with him. He liked video games, so we played them together and I grew to love them 🙂