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Because I need a break from studying Buddhism non-stop (test on Thursday, yipes). Though to be fair it's pretty dang fascinating and Buddhism is still one of the faiths that I highly respect and draw personal philosophy from (the others being Quakerism and, of course, Judaism). I got really pissy though, when I came across some tract that said a woman cannot become a buddha and that being a woman means one made a mistake in their past life and didn't have enough merit to become a dude. There are also several stories in which women are explicitly regarded commodities: in a common example, an earlier incarnation of the Buddha is offered a woman among other "prizes" such as money and jewels. He refuses her, not to object to the practice of a person being exchanged in such a way, but because he is celibate. (Though to be fair, she was pretty keen on marrying him, and actually did in a future life.)

These are stories of the Buddha's past lives that were created later and probably not told by the Buddha himself, who I still tend to think was a pretty rad dude (this reminds me of the different views of Mary Magdalene over the centuries in Christianity). And yeah, I am incapable of not noticing gender in my interpretation. I wouldn't notice it so much if it weren't so ubiquitous.

I've never considered myself a "gamer" but I definitely enjoy games from time to time. Probably part of the reason I'm not a gamer is that there aren't enough games like this: The Path. It's a psychological horror interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood that explores the vulnerability and danger of girlhood. Remind's me a lot of American McGee's Alice personally. It looks beyond awesome and unfortunately my version of Mac OSX isn't recent enough to play it but there's a free trial and it's available for Windows and Mac so you should all try it out (plus it's only $10!). Though be aware the it seems to be very scary and is not for everyone.

So of course I haven't played it yet but it got me ruminating on gaming culture and how insulated it is from mainstream culture and how all that works. I think it's something that goes both ways, that people who consider themselves more mainstream tend to shy away from games from fear of seeming nerdy, while at the same time gamers are so conscious of being seen as weird that they jealously guard their own subculture and can sometimes get clannish and narrow-minded about the whole thing. It just makes me sad because I wish there were more games like The Path but the industry (as well as other media industries) are so intent on churning out different takes on the same thing. There's of course the male-centered aspect of the gaming world too, another thing which makes female-centered games like The Path rare. This article examines similar themes with more game-savvy than me.

Tale of Tales, the folks that created The Path also have a beautiful Furcadia-meets-Princess Mononoke chat client (or something like that? Windows only, unfortunately), and, oddly the only one I've been able to play despite my fannish ranting: The Graveyard, essentially a sad poem in 3D.

Here's some stereotypical gamer boys talking about The Path. The part where they talked about how it "made them think" is adorable. For the record, they enjoyed the experience.

Off to study more with Tharaga, whee!
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