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Feb 19 2014

Vox Day plans on making a game with Historical Versimilitude(TM) by excluding women

It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything about Jerk-Of-All-Trades Theodore Beale, also known as Vox Day. He’s a creationist, an MRA, and a generally self-satisfied, self-proclaimed polymath. And he’s making a video game that, in his words (Manboobz link!), “does not, and will not, have a single female character in it.”

His reasoning:

This is not because I am misogynistic. This is not because I do not women to play the game. This is because putting women in the game makes no sense, violates the principle of the suspension of disbelief, and will not make the game any better as a game.

I am the lead designer of First Sword, a combat management game. The game has orcs and men, elves and dwarves. It has goblins and trolls. But it has no women.

Why not? Because the game is a gladiator game. Women cannot credibly fight as gladiators. We don’t put women in the game for the same reason we don’t put bunny rabbits or children in the game. Putting women in the game would be an act of brutal sadism, an act of barbarism even by pagan Roman standards. While the Romans did occasionally put female gladiators in the arena, they were there as a comedic act. They were occasionally matched against midgets, which the Romans apparently found hilarious.

We could, of course, throw out historical verisimilitude. But we’re not going to.

Emphasis mine.

Therefore, any time a human character is matched up against an orc or elf or troll, the human stands in an empty ring, swipes the air a few times then the crowd cheers. Because those things don’t exist. Women, on the other hand, exist; and there are definitely examples throughout history of women being absolutely badass at combat. Take, for instance, Joan of Arc, who fought a whole damn country.

Or, say, Jeanne de Clisson, the Lioness of Brittany, who went on a piratical rampage personally beheading French noblemen with an axe, for fifteen years, after her nobleman husband was unfairly executed by King Phillip VI while visiting France during a tournament.

But women in a fighting game? Perish the thought. That wouldn’t be historically accurate! Orcs, on the other hand…

I fully expect a last second change of heart wherein the women are put back into the game, as shadowy puppetmasters of a vast gynocracy and where the last boss spermjacks the main character in act 3 to evoke some pathos.

Hat tip to Stacy.

18 comments

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  1. 1
    Stacy

    He’s a creationist, an MRA, and a generally self-satisfied, self-proclaimed polymath.

    He’s also a racist, a narcissist, and dumber than a bucket of toes. Sort of a Renaissance Asshat…

    .

    Good to know of Jeanne de Clisson–I’d never heard of her before.

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    Given the other big conflagration about ableist terms being thrown around, I’d like to point out that he’s got lots of moral failings to damn him with such that calling him dumb is unnecessary.

    Also, he’s fairly well-spoken for a morally repugnant and philosophically bankrupt human being.

    That said, I like “Renaissance Asshat”.

  3. 3
    ildi

    Well, to be fair, Stacy was making a comparison of his intelligence relative to a bucket of toes. I believe it is you, good sir, who is making ableist assumptions regarding toes in buckets.

  4. 4
    Marcus Ranum

    The game has orcs and men, elves and dwarves. It has goblins and trolls. But it has no women.

    Where do the little orcs and men come from? Do the men hump eachother and produce new men? Has Beale studied the parthenogenesis of trollkin? Fascinating!

  5. 5
    Robert B.

    Who was that pirate-admiral who kicked the ass of the entire Chinese navy?

    *googles that exact sentence*

    Ah, yes, her name was Ching Shih. The admiral sent to catch her literally committed suicide when he saw her coming. She was never beaten, IIRC, the Chinese government was forced to let her retire in peace.

    Also, while I’m googling around, I find that Isabella I of Castile was once faced with a rebellion. (This was a decade or two before they reconquered the peninsula and gave Columbus his ships.) Apparently Ferdinand was off somewhere else with the army, so Isabella went by herself into the rebelling city and told them to stop, and they did. I suppose that’s not technically combat, but damn.

  6. 6
    besomyka

    I’ll just leave this here: http://www.badassoftheweek.com/index.cgi?id=64071327108

  7. 7
    lpetrich

    Weird thing: Vox Day made a video game called “The War in Heaven” back in about 2000. It had some interesting concepts. You could play as an angel and fight your way past a lot of demons from heaven to hell. Or you could play as a demon and fight your way past a lot of angels from hell to heaven. Both the angel and the demon player characters were apparently female.

    Despite that rather interesting concept, the game had some awkward features. Its controls seemed rather stiff to me, and one could not save one’s game in the middle of a level – only between levels. That made it difficult for me to pay some parts – parts which required some jumping.

    Heaven, hell, the angels, and the demons all seemed like they had come out of pseudo-medieval sword and sorcery.

  8. 8
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    The creator of Deep Down, a game being developed by Capcom, has been quoted as saying he’s not including playable female characters in the game.

    Vox Day isn’t doing anything different from the majority of the video game industry, sadly.

  9. 9
    reident_alien

    The German city of Cologne used to be called “Colonia Claudia Ara Aggrippinensis” when it was still a Roman colony. Why? Because when Germanic tribesmen came to raze the new settlement, the Big Man in Charge jumped on his horse and rode off, so his wife (whom he had left behind) donned her husband’s armour, got into his chariot and rode to battle the barbarians.And won. Her name was Aggrippina, niece to emperor Claudius. Her city stands to this day and will still stand when Vox Day will be dead and forgotten.

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    Kevin, Vox is going further than that — he’s not including a single female character period. And from what I can tell from his discussion, it’s just one of those crappy freemium strategy-ish games for iOS like Clash of the Clans. The reports on Deep Down are wrong in that they’re claiming there’s multiple protagonists, none of them female — there’s only one protagonist. He is of course male. But that’s only equally damning of 90% of the games on the market.

  11. 11
    jefrir

    The reports on Deep Down are wrong in that they’re claiming there’s multiple protagonists, none of them female — there’s only one protagonist.

    Capcom have claimed this, but Deep Down is apparently a multiplayer game, so I have no idea how that is supposed to work.

  12. 12
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Jason:

    For the treatment most games have of female characters, they’d probably be better off without them in the long run. But yes, fewer games have no females.

  13. 13
    stephenyeats

    Resident Alien (#9): Wow how about a game that matches Aggrippina against Boadicae!
    I am pretty sure Boadicae’s name will outlast Vox Day also.

  14. 14
    Pen

    You don’t even want to know all that the Romans did with women in the arena. or with anyone else for that matter. The only way such a game can be acceptable is if we suspend all disbelief and sense of realism and pretend none of it ever happened really. Otherwise it’s like making a video game based on the Holocaust or the witch hunts. Think about it for a minute.

  15. 15
    Sean Sherman

    100 ad – Juvenal recorded a gladiator named Eppia who left her husband and children to pursue an affair with a fellow gladiator

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_women_in_ancient_warfare

  16. 16
    Jeff

    Good grief. How about Boudica, who slaughtered Romans in revenge for killing her husband and raping her daughters? Catherine of Aragon, who led an army against the Moors in full armor while pregnant. Norse shieldmaidens? Aisha, Muhammad’s widow? Saint Olga? Eleanor of Aquitaine? Sikhs? Mulan? Mongols? Any of the many soldiers throughout history found to lack penises and possess breasts when they were wounded and shucked of their armor?

  17. 17
    Nick Gotts

    resident_alien@9,

    You have the wrong Agrippina I think. The one with the military reputation was Agrippina the Elder, aka Vipsania Agrippina. She was Claudius’s sister-in-law, not his niece. Claudius married Agrippina the Younger – his niece, and daughter of Agrippina the Elder, as his fourth wife (he was her third husband), and she is credited with persuading him to name Cologne after her family as well as himself, because that was where she was born.

  18. 18
    Eric Saveau

    Grace O’Malley, the “pirate queen” of Ireland. Her dad ran a shipping company so she grew up on ships and was an accomplished sailor. As an adult she married a guy who also had a shipping company and married he in order to have a route to her father’s assets; but she managed to retain control because she was better at running things and he knew it. She personally led ships and their crews into battle against the English, had her pick of lovers and raised her sons to follow her lead. She later married another guy with ships and kicked him out after a year and kept the company. She led the life of a rogue of action into her early fifties, only pausing when England captured one of her sons and she had to offer meek surrender to the court of Queen Elizabeth I, and then resuming after getting back home. She died at 73, having led a life that made Xena the Warrior Princess look like an amateur.

  1. 19
    When Are Orcs More Plausible than Women? | Cryptic Philosopher

    […] David Futrelle (linked above), Ophelia Benson, Jason Thibeault, and PZ Myers have all pointed out, women have in fact served in combat throughout human history, […]

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