Hags of Lag – Jimquisition gets it

If you aren’t aware about the controversy regarding the game Remember Me, then here is a summary. Apparently the creator had to fight a lot to get his game released because there was the notion that you cannot sell a “Female Protagonist” in a game. It won’t sell. Dudes don’t like Kissing Dudes.

Never mind the fact that a lot of male gamers preferred the Female Shepard and indeed Fem Shepard + Garrus Vakarian is ridiculously popular amongst the fans of the series. Yes, we can whine about the ending but to claim that it ruined the journey is madness. And I played a fem-Shepard who ended up with Garrus because it was quite romantic. I had no qualms about it.

The point is, guys don’t feel awkward while playing a female character. Don’t insult us. We don’t feel awkward while playing a female character who has agency and who loves a man and who exists for the game rather than “for the man”.

Someone said that when you fear a transexual using the “wrong” bathroom then that isn’t the fault of the transexual. That is your insecurities playing up a frankly mundane and universal bodily function to such a massive issue. I can’t remember but I am going to use that argument here.

If you have an issue playing a female character who happens to like men (Surprised? Don’t be. Most women are surprisingly pro-man loving. Although you wouldn’t think it reading the Internets) then it’s not the fault of the game. The problem is with your homophobia that you cannot even relate to a woman beyond “Tee Hee! Boobs and Bums!”. If playing such a game makes you uncomfortable then think why it does.

Hell we did that while playing Spec Ops: The Line, we didn’t mind feeling uncomfortable as we played that game to it’s epic and indeed bitter conclusion. We didn’t mind when that game stopped being fun and started being a demonstration of how badly games like Call of Duty have made us “Suck” at thinking of our actions. And suddenly we can’t show the same level of introspection towards women in games?

We cannot let our hobby and the games we so love be dominated by homophobes.

Let Jim put it in a better way than I can…

Oh yes. There is so much win in this video. Now if you excuse me, I have some calibrations to do.


  1. Alverant says

    Jimquisition just had its 100th episode and it has gotten a lot better compared to the first few episodes. There’s still a bit too much “reproductive organ names as insults” IMHO but when it comes to the games industry, he’s on target. Like yesterday’s episode about how EA is trying to claim SimCity is an MMO to avoid saying its requirements for a constant internet connection is DRM. Well if we have to be online all the time to play SimCity then the servers should be up all the time. I’ve stopped pre-ordering game titles (which I rarely do anyway) because I don’t need to be the first one on my block to get a game. Unless I really want a game, I can wait for reviews and/or a sale to be sure it’s worth my money.

  2. says

    I’ve seen the damage that a lot of marketing assumptions can do to businesses and their customers. For example, it used to be accepted wisdom that in the software market, you did one major release of your product every year and the focus of each release was new features and user interface. There were a few of us saying, “how about software that works, instead of features?” but it took 15 years for the industry to come around and now the entire model of software sales and marketing has changed completely to app-store model — which is customer focused, release cycles are irrelevant, and expansion of content has trumped pointless features.

    Someone with an imagination, who is playing a game, is not going to sit there going “EEEEEUW!” over the idea of a female protagonist! The trick of storytelling is to have a compelling protagonist that the reader/viewer identifies with. You have a protagonist that’s compelling and interesting things happen to them, and the reader/viewer feels like they’re part of the other person’s adventures. That’s all.

    Here’s what I think is going on (by analogy): imagine if Hollywood was totally addicted to Michael Bay movies. Lots of pointless F/X, heavy marketing, cardboard cut-out characters, and plot-lines that were bashed together by a committee of hacks that only know how to write chase-scenes. And it works. People go see these movies because movies are cool and that’s all the movies that there are. The movie-makers establish the “wisdom” that it’s not simply that this is how it is but this is how it ought to be. A few decades later, when the technological barriers to production disappear as HD video cameras become affordable, and internet distribution breaks the control of the channel to the customer, we discover that there are actually people interested and capable of making movies with plots and purpose and characters that we identify with dealing with socially relevant experiences (consider: how many socially relevant experiences happen to James Bond?) A decade or two later, Hollywood is horrified to discover that they can’t sell seats to the big Michael Bay movies because theaters are dead. Here’s the thing: it’s not the studios that killed them, and it’s not the customers that killed them. It’s not even Michael Bay. It’s the interactions of all three.

    I am guessing that kickstarter plus app-store distribution is about to make a big difference to the gaming industry. It’s not (unfortunately) because of gender issues, it’s because of a correction to the current (and rapidly crumbling) monopoly on production and marketing that the game companies used to enjoy. The main trend-line is this: if you make a kick-ass, interesting game, it has a better chance of getting out there than ever before. The big gaming companies that stick with the Michael Bay model will be footnotes in the history of gaming. Meanwhile we see that unusual games like Dishonored can do very well. The problem with the industry is not that it’s misogynistic (it is! but that’s not the problem… it’s a problem) it’s that it’s about to discover that “more realistic graphics in your pointless shooter” still produces a pointless shooter.

    Sure, we could do with less misogynistic objectification of females in games (no question about that) but I think that the problem is the gaming industry needs better producers and, if we get them, it’ll start to correct.

    The way to train a whole industry is to loudly (and frequently) say, “I will not buy your game if it sucks, and this is what I mean by ‘suck’ (list)” and then to actually do it. 5 years ago I decided that I am not buying any games that are locked to a specific platform through external negotiations intended to serve the platform vendor rather than the customer. So games that are exclusive to Xbox: I won’t buy ‘em. Games exclusive to playstation: I won’t buy ‘em. I won’t even buy a platform that does that. So what do I do? I loudly explain why, and then I buy used games and used consoles – thereby denying the vendor their money, and recirculating my cash in the customer-pool. In that sense I have opted out of the industry (except for the “loud complaining” part) until it either dies, bends to my will, or flourishes without me. It’s the same thing I do with Michael Bay movies – I get them on Netflix: Netflix gets my money and the big studios can sit there and wonder why their theater is empty.

    It’s simple: make better games.

  3. says

    I was just thinking – and here’s something I don’t get:
    why is it that so many media representations of women are violent, weird, guys with breasts (basically) yet MRAs complain that feminists want to be like men?
    If that bothers them why is it that you see so many movie characters like aeon flux, milla jovovich in resident evil, lara croft, etc?
    It’s like it’s a dichotomy between “psychotic violentized badass” or “stripper”

  4. ronjaaddams-moring says

    (BTW, I liked this video, and Sarkeesian’s DiD part 1 too, just so we are clear about that)

    Jim Sterling says many of the same things that Anita Sarkeesian has said before him and ends his video with a sinister and over-the-top creepy “gay” imitation of Jabba The Hut.

    Jim’s video has 440+ comments thus far, and if I searched and read correctly, only a handful of “fuck off”s, one fat-shaming, a few homophobic reactions, no rape threats, no death threats… Yes, a lot of cluelessness (some of it triggering – beware if you go there!), but next to no personal, threatening attacks on Jim.

    Why am I not surprised at the difference? *sigh*

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