Why next gen is about more than the consoles

2013 was all about the release of Sony’s and Microsoft’s next generation consoles. We were all dazzled about the new features and the possibility to share your gaming experience in social media.

But “next gen” is beginning to mean something else too. How about a step closer to gender equality? As the gap between the number of male and female gamers slowly thins, so does gender disparity in games media. Women are joining the game (pun intended) and the female stereotype is changing. But there is still a long way to go.

Of the developers taking this stuff seriously, Bioware is taking leadership. And even then it took them three Mass Effects before Commander Shepard started to be used in the marketing material. They also made the effort to use both male and female protagonists in different trailers at E3 this year. BioWare is well regarded as a gender-friendly company both for offering strong, confident women, like Commander Shepard, as playable characters and for depicting romantic relationships beyond the heterosexual norm as in Dragon Age: Origins. But BioWare’s reputation for their progressive stances on these issues would not loom so large if these sorts of depictions were commonplace in video games.

A study from ESA (Entertainment Software Association) show that nearly half of all gamers are women (45%). Adult male gamers have an average of 17 years of experience playing video games, adult female gamers an average of 13 years. It also shows that women 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (31%) than boys age 17 or younger (19%).

The ESA 2013 report of gaming industry

There clearly is a big group of women playing video games so why aren’t there more female lead characters? It’s not that they are completely missing but let’s face it, there aren’t that many and statistically I bet the number is daunting. I don’t believe mainstream developers have a problem with including women, or racial minorities, in their games but that there’s a deep-seated assumption that the core audience for these sorts of games is mainly white men and boys who won’t accept anything else when it comes to who’s presented as the public face of big franchises. I also believe that many developers at big studios want to start changing that assumption, but don’t really know how to and that they are afraid of the perceived risk.

At GDC (Game Developers Conference) in Mars this year BioWare Montreal designer Manveer Heir gave a speech about stereotypes in gaming. Some say this was the most important moment of the conference. “I want us as an industry to stop being so scared… Let’s create a game that changes the core experience for the player… let’s find a way to challenge the majority and the minority perception of how we deal with race, gender, sexual orientation and all other sources of social injustices we have in our world” said Heir.

Ubisoft is also on to something but they’re struggling to get there. Last year, Assassin’s Creed IV’s ‘Cry Freedom’ DLC cast you as Adéwalé, a freed slave whose story line centered around the brutalities of slavery. But while 12 Years A Slave was winning Oscars, here the same themes were only touched on in the main game and then hived off as downloadable content.

I believe empathy with the protagonist should come from emotional back stories and shared experiences within the game, not from what sex or ethnicity the characters are.

At PAX Prime this year a panel was dedicated to “women surviving and thriving in the gaming industry”. For one hour several women currently working in games journalism talked about their struggles and successes within the industry. Mary Kish [Producer, GameSpot], Neha Tiwari [Executive Producer, GameSpot], Megan Farokhmanesh [Editor, Polygon], Naomi Kyle [Host, IGN], Jessica Chobot [Host, Nerdist], Tara Long [Rev3Games] all shared their experiences and thoughts on stereotypes and a change of the video game culture.

So maybe, just maybe, “Next Gen” will come to mean something more than the consoles. Maybe it’ll mean a more open minded community…

To end this rant I’ll leave you with some great games (in no particular order) with female protagonists:

  1. Beyond: Two Souls (Quantic Dream featuring Ellen Page)
  2. Infamus: First Light (Sucker Punch)
  3. Mirror’s Edge (EA/Dice)
  4. Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics)
  5. Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory)
  6. Assasin’s Creed III: Liberation (Ubisoft)
  7. Gravity Rush (Sony Japan)
  8.  Bayonetta (Platinum Games)

Storytelling in marketing, movies and music

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept, but with the explosive growth of social media and content marketing, the opportunities to tell stories as part of direct and indirect brand marketing initiatives have become a strategic priority. Storytelling is increasingly used in advertising today in order to build customer loyalty. This marketing trend echoes the deeply rooted need of all humans to be entertained. Stories are illustrative, easily memorable, and allow any firm to create stronger emotional bonds with the customers.

This week in school we were given the task to identify and analyze storytelling in a campaign, free of choice, and present it in class next week. I have already chosen mine and perhaps I’ll share my analysis with you when it’s done 😉 In the meantime, here is a small example that I came across in today’s paper (in Swedish):

Storytelling Kungens Kurva

You should also check out my friend Louise’s blog. She has listed an excellent example of storytelling from Chanel (videos)

PIXAR is kind enough to share with the world their 22 rules of storytelling. This is mainly considered for making animated movies but can apply to anything really. I can relate to a lot of the rules both in marketing campaigns and when writing a song or a new album. For our upcoming album we definitely worked with the concept of storytelling. Especially #7 in the list “Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle” We basically wrote the album backwards!

[slideshare id=28123780&doc=pixar-22-rules-to-phenomenal-storytelling-powerfulpoint-slideshare-131111112132-phpapp01]

Copyright law, ethics and respect, a touchy subject!

Today I came across this story by a musician being sued by Lady Gaga for $1.4 million dollars for in the the first place having sued Gaga and her team for allegedly plagiarizing her song “Juda”. I haven’t heard the original song and can’t argue for either of their cases but the story she told was both scary and disheartening. The very thought of us “small time” musicians and song writers risking, that if we stand up to a corporation, bankruptcy.  They’ll slam us with a $1.4 million dollar bill if we cry foul. You can, and you should, check out her post here!

And then there’s the story about illegal downloading… Well where should I start? How about an example of my experiences?

Respect the artist, buy the music

A couple of years ago a “fan” contacted me and asked me to check out his Facebook page where he was “promoting” my band. Happy about his invitation I visited the page and found a BitTorrent file for our recently released album. I approached him with the information that not only is it illegal but also highly unethical if you claim to be a fan. Unfortunately he didn’t agree with me.

I believe that if his intentions were to support our band he could just as easily have linked to a site the sold the album, like Amazon or any other. And why not link to the album on Spotify?

You might think you are doing the band a service by “spreading the word” but you’re in fact keeping them from things like going on tour or even recording another album. Because lets face it, if you can’t show for any sold units no one is gonna be willing to give you a budget for a new one, nor can they afford to send you on tour and let me tell you people, that’s expensive!

And that’s why we have the saying “Don’t quit your day job”, not because your not good enough to be a full time musician, but because you won’t be able to pay rent and food and bills with illegal downloads.

Sad but true…

#ThrowBackThursday & Eve’s Apple

About two and a half years ago I joined a world wide community of female singers operating in the rock/metal music business. There I found some of my very best friends and made bonds that will last for a lifetime. We call our little group Eve’s Apple. You who have followed me for years know these amazing women I’m speaking of. My apple sisters <3

Today I miss some of them a little more, and since we are scattered around the globe I think we’ll have to schedule a “skype & wine” session soon!

And since it’s #tbt I thought I’d share my debutante essay with you so you’ll get an idea of what we do and what Eve’s Apple is all about. Enjoy!

Eve's Apple logo Eve's Apple Sisters Angelica Rylin Grace Méridan Linsay Schoolcraft Sabrina Cruz


15 June 2012 at 20:03

Often when giving interviews I get the question “How does it feel to be a woman in this male dominated industry and how have you been accepted?” I always felt like “It’s great! I get to be surrounded by great guys and play the music I love but I don’t have to wear sleazy t-shirts with printing, sunglasses on photo shoots and messy/unwashed hair. I have always felt truly welcomed and accepted and the most important ting, I’ve never had to fake being Me.” However, being a woman among other women in this industry I often get the feeling of competition, like we were to compete for the spot of getting noticed among all the men. Other women smile at you in the backstage area but behind that beautiful red smile is an insecure woman desperately clinging to the opportunity of getting heard and seen. Well, that is what I have experienced anyway.

BUT, since being included in this community of sweet, sweet apples who really love and care and support one another I’m completely blown away, in a good way. Here we are sisters, not competitors. Here we share the joy of making music. Here we listen to each others thoughts and battle the problems as a unit of strong and independent women. It is like the twin sisters you never had. When you reach a certain point of success you sadly and suddenly realize that your old friends are starting to distance them self from you. At first I thought that it was because of jealousy, and perhaps at some point it is, but I have come to the conclusion that it has more to do with them not being able to understand what’s really expected of you and why you’re not able to hang out as much as before and why your sole purpose and focus is entirely on music and every other part that comes with it like promotion and social networking. Being among apples you don’t have to try and explain that because they all already know.

When we released our debut album in 2010 we spent the summer touring and promoting. There were allot of buzz about this new female fronted band and I as a lead singer gave probably more that one hundred interviews in a period of say two and a half months. When fall came and it was time to start working on the new songs I felt totally drained. It was as if I had used up all of the words in my vocabulary and I had no freaking idea on how to get started again. I faced the total terror of writers block and seriously started doubting my self and my capability in being a songwriter. What was I to do now? The deadline was approaching in what to me seemed like in the speed of light. At that time I wasn’t a part of Eve’s Apple and so I had to figure it out for my self.

This is when I started my soul searching for real. I took time to listen to my heart and started to figure out what I wanted to do and how. I went to the movies, I read allot of books, I actually even moved out of my old apartment and eventually it all became so clear to me. I had to reboot and start over fresh. I had to say goodbye to the little girl I once was and who had inspired me to write the past songs. I had to look at the world through new eyes and for the first time I felt the block was slowly vanishing. “Bye bye lullaby” was finally born.

I got back in the studio with my new found eagerness and decided to use my recent experience as a source of inspiration for the new lyrics. I came up with a song called “Unbreakable”, witch later became our first single, where I wanted to reach out to everyone out there doubting them self or even worse being told that they’re not god enough. The purpose of the song is to tell those people that they are not weak, encourage them to listen to their heart and find their own path regardless of what. Believing in your self is the greatest medicine of all and it’s there just within your reach.

I grew so much in this process and came out stronger and more self confident than ever. I have a clear view of my goal and know what I have to do to reach it. But this time I also know that should this apple fall from its branch again I’ll have the divine assistance of my sisters in this beautiful apple orchard to pull myself together and climb right up again. Should one of my sisters fall I know I’ll have the strength to help her because I’ve been there and I know how she feels.

I want to finish by showing you the video for “Unbreakable” and hopefully leave you with a feeling of being unstoppable and invincible.

Love/ Angelica*

Music, music, music!

When I was still in pigtails I found the love of my life, MUSIC! Back then MTV actually showed music videos and although I was too young to remember it today I have been told MTV was the perfect babysitter. All you had to do was put me in front of the television and I was hooked. My parents were also very much into music and the walls in our living room were covered with classic vinyl records. Music was everywhere and I was in heaven!

Just recently it occurred to me that I have (professionally) been in the music business for ten years! My first published work was backing vocals on a Christmas album by a group called Play. The album was released by Columbia Records in 2004. Happy ten year celebration to me! Yay!

Since 2007 I have been very active writing both for my band The Murder of My Sweet, for other artists (both in Europe and in Asia) and more recently for my self, or my solo album Thrive to be more precise. And I couldn’t have done it without my partner in crime, and as I like to call him; my musical mentor, Daniel Flores. This past year, and especially this summer, has been amazing. Daniel and I wrote a new album for tmoms that is going to blow your socks off! I will tell you more about it another time so stay tuned 😉

Angelica Rylin Sound vs Science studio

Smile to the world and the world smiles back!

Jag har en liten ovana som jag egentligen tycker är ganska så bra. När jag möter folk på gatan, köper en kaffe på ett café, handlar mat i affären eller liknande och blir bemött av en uttråkad eller otrevlig människa så måste jag helt enkelt fyra av världens största leende. Det är liksom lite provocerande att försöka få ett leende tillbaka. Lyckas jag inte i första taget så brukar jag slänga in ett “Ha en fin dag” också. Det brukar få de flesta att värma upp.

Jag brukar tänka att ett leende kan ge så mycket men också ta dig långt. Det är ju roligare att hjälpa någon som verkar glad och visar uppskattning. Idag på väg hem ifrån skolan cyklade jag förbi en mobil cykelverkstad. Ett litet tält de ställt upp på gatan som man kan stanna till vid och få hjälp med service av sin cykel. Ett superbra initiativ tycker jag och eftersom mitt styre har blivit lite löst så svängde jag in där. Killen som jobbade var supertrevlig och släppte cykeln han jobbade med för att komma till min undsättning. När jag erbjöd mig att betala för tjänsten så var det inte aktuellt tyckte han. Stora leenden bytte ägare och så var det klart med den saken. Tänk att det kan vara så enkelt!

Fotografen Moa Karlberg skapade ett projekt som hon kallar Watching you watch me där hon genom en envägsspegel fotograferat människor som passerar på gatan och betraktar sig själva i vad de tror är en vanlig spegel. Resultatet blev mycket intressant och i mina ögon även skrämmande. Rekommenderar starkt att kolla in dessa bilder!

Det är ju ingen myt att ett leende smittar av sig så min utmaning till dig är att börja dagen med att blända av ett stort leende mot dig själv i spegeln. Och sen fortsätter du med det. Kom gärna och berätta sedan hur resten av dagen blev!

Simple as that! 😉

Smile for the camera, Angelica Rylin

Skämskudde åt folket!

Idag är jag uppriktigt skakad. 16,7% av röstberättigade svenskar valde att inte gå och rösta igår. De hade kunnat göra skillnad. Hade de röstat så hade kanske Sverigedemokraterna inte lyckats få nästan 13% (49 mandat!) av rösterna och vi svenskar hade kanske sluppit sitta med skämskudden i knät. Eller så hade dom lyckats med det ändå… Något har i alla fall gått riktigt fel när nästan 800’000 svenskar är för främlingsfientlighet och ställer sig bakom ett parti med så klara nazistiska och rasistiska värderingar.

Nej, idag är skämskuddens dag. Europa och resten av världen måste titta på oss med stor förvåning och förskräckelse och jag törs knappt gå ut på stan. I mitt lilla område var det strax under 1100 personer som röstade och av dessa röstade 81 personer på SD. Jag kan inte hålla under stolen med att jag kommer att titta och undra när jag möter folk på ICA eller på gymmet eller när jag möter någon granne i trappuppgången. Var du delaktig till deras framgång? Mona Sahlin sammanfattade valresultatet klockrent igår “Vi måste lyssna på SD:s väljare och inte deras företrädare” och utmaningen blir nog just att försöka närma sig Sd:s väljare utan att närma sig deras politik. Hur ska det gå?

Jag ska nog försöka ta mig ner till gymmet iallafall. Har ett plötsligt behov av att göra mig av med lite frustration och aggression!


Until next time!

Att vara eller inte vara…

…Ja hur var det nu? För femton månader sedan tog jag beslutet att lägga all min energi på att uppfylla mina egna drömmar istället för att uppfylla någon annans. Jag sade rätt och slätt upp mig efter tio år inom samma företag och hade en fem veckor lång semester planerad efter tre dagar så någon vidare uppsägningstid behövde jag aldrig känna av. Det passade mig utmärkt med tanke på att jag avskyr att vänta. När jag väl har bestämt mig för något så vill jag göra det med en gång.

Efter den där dagen i juni 2013 följde en sommar där jag antingen sov, kollade på serier eller låg ute på bryggan och solade. Jag tog avstånd ifrån det mesta och spenderade inte särskilt många timmar på sociala medier. Hela mitt väsen försökte behärska den ädla konsten av att slappna av. Något som är lättare sagt än gjort när man har en historia av att hålla igång 24/7 och försöka balansera två heltidskarriärer på det… Ja jag vet, det är galet men vad ska man göra när man har lyckats skaffa sig en karriär som man verkligen brinner för men tyvärr inte tjänar så mycket pengar på? Jag talar förstås om musikbranschen och konsekvenserna av illegal nedladdning men det tror jag att vi får ta i ett annat blogginlägg för det kan bli ett lååång utlägg och då orkar du nog inte läsa vidare.

Under hösten som kom tog jag tag i det där som jag har skjutit och skjutit på under flera år – KÖRKORTET! Jag bokade in en två veckors intensivkurs i Västerås och kan med glädje och stolthet meddela att jag kom hem med det eftertraktade kortet. Det går tydligen att plugga och fortsätta lära tretton år efter studenten och den insikten ledde kanske till varför jag är här idag. Och bloggar alltså.

Jag har nämligen tagit ännu ett stort beslut. Jag har satt mig i skolbänken igen. Min vision är att skaffa ett nytt jobb som harmonierar mer med mitt musikskapande. Ett jobb där kreativiteten föds istället för att strypas. Jag vill omge mig med kreativa människor i en kreativ och levande arbetsmiljö och jag vill ha kul på jobbet! Jag har beslutat mig för att studera till webbkommunikatör inom sociala medier. Jag är superintresserad av att lära mig mer om konsten att kombinera text, bild, ljud och video och att förstå hur vi använder dessa verktyg på bästa sätt i kommunikationen på sociala medier. Jag tror att det ligger en stor framtid inom detta yrkesområde och det ska bli sjukt spännande att se vart vi är på väg.

Och på tal om framtid så ska jag alltså göra min medborgerliga plikt och förtidsrösta idag. Det är både spännande och skrämmande att se hur valet avgörs och det får vi veta först på söndag (jag som avskyr att vänta!). Jag har tidigare inte varit särskilt intresserad av politik men nu känns det ju så otroligt viktigt att vara det. Hur vi har kunnat låta ett parti med så tydliga rasistiska och nazistiska ideologier få slå rot i Sverige är för mig ofattbart. Jag kommer att göra det som står i min makt i alla fall och ta ställning genom att rösta. Jag hoppas att alla gör det för är det något historien har lärt oss så är det att mångfald berikar vårt samhälle. Ingen borde kunna påstå något annat.

Over and out!

Då hade jag inte funnits här. Kampanj inför valet 2014.

Ps. Var med i Fredrik Marcus kampanj Då hade jag inte funnits här du med!