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Brilliant! A positive story from the gamer community

This is very nice: a fellow hacked Donkey Kong for his daughter — he swapped the characters so that Pauline is rescuing Mario.

Donkey-Kong-Ellis-Edition

This would have been so easy for Nintendo to have done, it’s rather revealing that they didn’t.

Oh, and the gamer who did this generally got accolades from the community…but don’t read any youtube comments on the topic.

Comments

  1. C Tran says

    What do you mean “revealing?” The game is over 30 years old and hardly anyone was talking about games and gender. I think this is really reaching, Mr Myers.

  2. otrame says

    C Tran

    If you are going to use an honorific to address a person, you should use the correct honorific.

    And to address your criticism, the fact that “hardly anyone was talkin about games and gender” is kind of, you know, the POINT.

  3. says

    “The game is over 30 years old and hardly anyone was talking about games and gender.”

    Wouldn’t that kind of be the point. We have to be talking about games and gender to have any progress made without those discussions we perpetuate stereotypes.

    Then again DonkeyKong was released in 81 and 82 saw the release of Ms Pac man.

  4. A Hermit says

    don’t read any youtube comments on the topic…

    Too late! (Yeah, I should know better…) there’s actually a bad evo-psych style argument being offered up based on the idea that women are weak and vulnerable baby incubators who need to be protected by manly men therefore boys buy more video games. Or something…

    The mind boggles…

  5. says

    They’ve already said. Yes, that is the point. Why is it OK for people 30 years ago to have been tacitly sexist? Was it OK for people a150 years ago to be pro-slavery?

  6. glodson says

    I have had enough of misogyny for one day, being supplied in large doses by a rather stupid person in the Glasgow thread, so I’ll skip the comments on youtube.

    But I love this. I wish companies would do this more. My little girl loves the Wind Waker game, and a dad hacked that so the hero could be a girl. Which is great. I hope game companies take note and allow for the hero to be a man or a woman. This need not be a choice in all games, but hell, giving the world more good female characters would be a bonus. And letting little girls have a chance to play the heroine would be good.

    Even in just self-interest as it would let a little girls have characters to connect with and grow into a larger gaming market.

  7. Snoof says

    Didn’t someone hack Ocarina of Time to make Zelda the player character at one point? That was pretty cool too.

  8. mathema says

    I don’t think it was at all ok to be sexist at any time, but the game really isn’t played anymore thankfully. Now we have games like Mass Effect 3, where depending on your sex, when you preordered the game you’d get either a female Captain Shepard or a male on the cover. And it’s an RPG, so of course you can customize your character to whatever you wish them to be (including any race or gender, or stature, for that matter). So while I agree that games should be called out, we should acknowledge the progress too. Good going BioWare.

  9. rowdy says

    Some of us pre-teens might not have been talking about gender politics and games, but we were grumbling about it. When Ultima 4 came out allowing the player to not only choose a class but a gender, I became Lord British’s biggest fan (until his fall from grace with Pagan). Lots of us out there would have appreciated Nintendo’s efforts to give players a choice, even way back then.

  10. jehk says

    I believe the cover for Mass effect 3 was reversible. You could have either Shepard on the front of the game. Was a nice touch tbh.

  11. says

    The little girl in the story is only three years old. At that age, some of the older, simple games might have quite a bit of appeal.

    You can’t say that nobody plays Donkey Kong, when someone is obviously playing Donkey Kong.

  12. A Hermit says

    You can’t say that nobody plays Donkey Kong, when someone is obviously playing Donkey Kong.

    Yeah, I though that was kind of the whole point…fixing the game for someone who was actually playing it…

  13. deephlat says

    More importantly, the game degrades an entire species. Peaceful gorillas are portrayed as murderous rampaging kidnappers.
    Chauvinism by any other name…

  14. says

    I think C Tran was saying that this doesn’t show anything revealing about Nintendo in particular– having male as your only choice in character to play in video games was par for the course then and it is now, and the damsel in distress trope is pervasive, as we’ve seen. So in those regards, Nintendo was just being a typical video game company. Here’s to changing the typical.

  15. xrod says

    My favorite class in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is the opposite sex as me. Should I be upset about this, or simply be happy if my dad hacks the game for me? It would have been really easy (I’m not a programmer, but I think it would be) for BioWare to have done this. Oh, and does my gender matter? Am I missing something important here?

  16. WharGarbl says

    @glodson
    #10

    http://kotaku.com/5958918/father-hacks-zelda-for-his-daughter-makes-link-a-girl

    It was Wind Waker. He hacked the pronouns, which can be trickier than you might think.

    Wind Waker is an interesting case, IMOP. It’s player character is androgynous enough that you can technically call him a her without too much of a leap.

    @michaeld
    #12

    Honestly I don’t know why more games don’t let you pick player gender

    I would guess resource constraints. Depending on a game, you’ll have…
    1. A gender specific character model (sprite or 3D) – 3D is easier than sprite in certain regards. In sprite, just about every frames needs to have 2 copies (one for male and one for female). There are ways to minimize that, for example, Aquaria have individual body-parts sprite out that’s attached to skeletons. So you just need to create the male/female equivalent of the same body parts and attach them to the skeleton. In 3D models, you “just” have to create a male/female 3D model and both can share identical skeleton for movement. Note, hair animation is still a nightmare to do at real-time, which meant that unless you don’t mind having stiff hairs that clips everywhere, the players would be restricted to short hairs.
    2. Customizing clothing/armor – Unless you make both genders androgynous enough, you’ll have to create two sets of armor/clothing sprites/model for each gender. There are possible ways to mitigate this, automated system could “modify” a base armor/clothing to fit over the male/female body frame without too much additional inputs from the creator.
    3. Dialogue/Storyline – Depending on how much the storyline depends on the character’s gender, the effort involved to have the dialogue and storyline fit the player gender could vary. Worse if you have to voice the main character (think of the number of sound recording that Mass Effect and Skyrim have to do in order to record at least 2 copies of each line).

    1 and 2 is fairly “easy”, since there’s a lot of automation that can be done to “morph” a male/female face/body between each other. Dialogue/Storyline might be more difficult unless you make it simple enough. However, voice acting is a different beast.

    I would go for having game developer consider using woman/girl as their main protagonist in about the same rate as they use man/boy. That way, they can focus their resource on crafting out a storyline instead of worrying having that storyline fit both genders.

  17. thumper1990 says

    Things are getting better in the gaming world (mathema already brought up Mass Effect 3 at #11), but it would be nice to see a choice become standard. I think it will eventually, though possibly for financial reasons rather than moral ones. Making the avatar more relateable for the player is going to make the games more enjoyable and thus drive up sales. But c’est la vie, as long as it happens.

  18. xrod says

    I’ve also heard good things about the new Tomb Raider game. I was thinking about suggesting it to my brother to play, but now I’ll have to think about it.

  19. says

    Xrod wrote:

    My favorite class in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is the opposite sex as me. Should I be upset about this, or simply be happy if my dad hacks the game for me? It would have been really easy (I’m not a programmer, but I think it would be) for BioWare to have done this. Oh, and does my gender matter? Am I missing something important here?

    Are you male? Because it’s easy to miss what’s important when men are overwhelmingly represented in video games. Your favourite class in ME3 multiplayer might be the opposite sex, but unless they’ve updated it since I’ve last played, most of the choices in that same multiplayer are male.

  20. glodson says

    I’ve also heard good things about the new Tomb Raider game. I was thinking about suggesting it to my brother to play, but now I’ll have to think about it.

    What’s your point?

  21. xrod says

    Does it matter? If I am male and my favorite class is female I should deal with it, but if I’m female and my favorite class is male I’ve got a legitimate complaint?

  22. mathema says

    Well sure, at three it makes perfect sense. I shouldn’t have said nobody, I was being hyperbolic. Clearly we have an example right here. What the parent did was cool as crap, I agree.

  23. says

    WharGarbl

    Ok let me expand a little I’m aware of all those reasons but a lot of the time I don`t think they’re terribly significant.
    A lot of games have male and female NPC so there are already male and female models being made. I have no idea why hair length matters (you’re talking to a man who’s ponytail almost reaches navel level).

    Men and women in games wear ridiculously gendered clothing as it is which is a problem in itself. Lots of clothing and armor in particular is a fairly gender neutral look.

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01000/woman-soldier-iraq_1000014c.jpg

    There are plenty of voiceless characters in games for example Fossil fighters is an E rated pokemon type game where all the text is delivered as text. There’s a boy and a girl character of roughly the same age. You get to play the boy the girl is one of two really shallow pointless tacked on romantic plots and despite being a trainer herself often ends in distress that you need to rescue her from. All you’d have to do is a few rewrites and the option to swap the male female sprites and tada. Having seperate voice overs was done for mass effect it was done in older games like star trek elite force (an old FPS that allowed gender choice and a far barer narrative).

    There are certainly games where it would be inappropriate to offer more character selection. However there are plenty of games where the protagonists gender has no effect on the game and the story is fairly bare bones to begin with these are perfect examples of games where this kind of gender choice should be a more basic feature.

  24. says

    Actually a thought that popped into my mind when I was posting. I’d compare selectable gender to the bechdel test. Not every game needs or should have selectable gender but there should be a higher rate of it going on then is currently prevalent.

  25. mathema says

    The fact is, ME3, and RPGs generally, are the minority. Most games have male protagonists, period.

  26. says

    xrod said:

    Does it matter? If I am male and my favorite class is female I should deal with it, but if I’m female and my favorite class is male I’ve got a legitimate complaint?

    Nobody said anything about your favorite class.

    The point is that most video games since their inception have, when you are supposed to play a particular character, forced you to play a male character whether you are one or not. And to add insult to injury, many of these games (such as Donkey Kong above) have included a female character, but made her a non-playable object to be rescued by your character, which is the damsel in distress trope you may have heard about. This is not a good thing because it prevents people who would prefer to play female characters– male and female alike– from doing so for no good reason. Since there is no good reason, the conclusion is that this is a bit of pointless sexism and we’d like to see it change.

    I’m pretty sure you could have sussed this out on your own, but hopefully that helps.

  27. mathema says

    @29 Or just make games that don’t have character customization with female protagonists. Clearly we know that some games can’t have customization, but you could always make more games like Bayonettea, with a female character thought up from the get go. Or even like Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, with main characters who are female who are playable for certain levels, and guys who are playable on others.

  28. Rip Steakface says

    Your favourite class in ME3 multiplayer might be the opposite sex, but unless they’ve updated it since I’ve last played, most of the choices in that same multiplayer are male.

    Pretty sure they’ve updated it since before either of you have played it, since it appears to me (haven’t actually played ME3 multiplayer) that you can customize your character to be whatever class, race and sex you want. Something that should be noted – in Mass Effect, only humans, batarians and quarians have much in the way of secondary sexual characteristics – hips, breasts, so on.

    The turians (birdlike), elcor (elephantine – not sure what sort of animal they are – pretty sure they’re mammalian, but I have no evidence), volus (ammonia-breathing, so always in suits), vorcha (…bizarre), and salarians (amphibian) have no discernible differences between sexes (except for voice for salarians), at least discernible for humans, the asari are all monogender and look like blue human females, krogan (reptilian) have few surviving females at all and the one that is seen looks like all the other krogan, only with a husky woman’s voice.

  29. xrod says

    Is the problem with Donkey Kong (a) Mario is rescuing a princess and not a plate of a magical bananas or (b) the princess doesn’t get to play, too? If (a) then why does the princess rescuing Mario make any difference? Will you continue your appeal until half of all games have a female protagonist, or will you be satisfied when the percentage of gamers who are female are proportionally represented? If (b) then why isn’t she black, why isn’t the princess rescuing another princess, etc? And even if (a) why isn’t the princess black, etc.?

  30. thumper1990 says

    @xrod

    It’s a bit different. Games where you have to play a female character are in the minority; and besides you don’t actually have to play a female character; you choose to because you like that class. It is entirely different to being forced to play a character of the opposite gender on almost every single game you buy.

  31. says

    Is the problem with Donkey Kong (a) Mario is rescuing a princess and not a plate of a magical bananas or (b) the princess doesn’t get to play, too?

    Both, as mentioned.

    Will you continue your appeal until half of all games have a female protagonist, or will you be satisfied when the percentage of gamers who are female are proportionally represented?

    Both of those would be awesome. And, as it happens, functionally equivalent.

    If (b) then why isn’t she black, why isn’t the princess rescuing another princess, etc? And even if (a) why isn’t the princess black, etc.?

    Good question. Hey video game designers, where aren’t there more non-white characters for us to play, too?

  32. says

    mathema

    Indeed that too. There are just a number of games where say having a male and female sprite (or worse character portrait) is about all it would take and it bugs me they don’t. Or worse have the choice between multiple male character models and no female ones(Far cry 2 immediately comes to mind with a choice of different voiceless male protagonists of differing nationalities).

  33. Rip Steakface says

    @32 mathema

    That’s how Resident Evil has done it for YEARS, with the exception of Resident Evil 3 and 4. Even then, RE4 had a segment that featured playing as a female… though she was far weaker and more annoying to play than Leon. There’s a good reason for that though – she’s the president’s highly coddled, pampered daughter, so she’s not weak for being female, she’s weak because she’s weak.

    Resident Evil had you choose between Jill and Chris, Resident Evil 2 had Leon (also in RE4) and Claire, Resident Evil 3 only had Jill, Code Veronica had Claire and Steve, Resident Evil 0 (prequel) had Rebecca and Billy, Resident Evil 5 had Chris and Sheva (though she was a bit hyper-sexualized from what I’ve heard), Revelations had Jill and Chris, and Resident Evil 6 is the only one with nothing but male player characters (it’s also the worst of the series – coincidence?).

  34. janiceintoronto says

    Things seem to be getting better slowly. My wife is a gamer who recently started playing Skyrim. In the game, she married her same-sex partner.

    How cool is that?

  35. glodson says

    The problem with Donkey Kong isn’t that it isn’t just Donkey Kong. The industry has a problem with creating female characters. It has gotten better, but it isn’t there yet. Having selectable gender and race would be a good thing, if it is done in a way that those choices aren’t just cosmetic. But still, giving non-male, and even non-white, players the option of creating an avatar that looks like them would be nice.

    It isn’t that Donkey Kong had Mario rescuing Pauline. The problem with the gaming industry is that there’s a large amount of sexism in the designs, likely resulting from a tradition of rescuing damsels, as that’s an easy excuse plot.

    Look at your questions. If it was a plate of bananas, who would give a shit? The first question you would ask yourself is “why is this guy going through this trouble for bananas? Having it be his girlfriend gives Mario, and thus the player, a reason to deal with all the obstacles. If this was an isolated case, who would care? But it is common.

    Finally, this is a case of a guy making a game more appealing to his daughter. It is a nice and inclusive story, which doesn’t really reflect on the larger medium. For that, we need to do a larger examination of the medium as a whole. Look not only at female leads, but also look at female supporting characters. It isn’t about a percentage. It is about a presentation. When we get to the point that a female lead isn’t a novelty, that will be something.

    There are more female leads, but look at some of the responses this guy got for just hacking the game to switch the genders. We still have a vocal group that rationalize treating women as second class with dubious reasoning at best. At worst, they spit vile at the notion.

    So, what’s your problem with this story?

  36. C Tran says

    Re: #5
    Well I’m sorry if I misunderstood your post, but it reads clearly to me that you are specifically blaming Nintendo for short-sightedness, chauvinism or both. A rather unfair snipe, given that Nintendo pioneered the female game heroine with Samus Aran of Metroid fame (1986). If your point was that the games industry wasn’t thinking about gender 30 years ago, you didn’t say so.

    Re: #2
    Oh please.

  37. mathema says

    @38 Thanks, I’ve been playing games for over two decades, I don’t need the wiki on RE. Also, your comment about ME3 was a misunderstanding of the issue being discussed. They were talking about multiplayer, not single player. If you never played multiplayer, then why comment? You can’t customize your multiplayer character, which was the topic at hand. I already pointed out ME3 (the reason why it’s being discussed now) as being progressive and deserving of praise. And as I said, most other RPGs have customization and have had it for years. So what’s with the non-sequitur comments?

  38. says

    “A rather unfair snipe, given that Nintendo pioneered the female game heroine with Samus Aran of Metroid fame (1986)”

    You mean Namco with Ms Pacman in 1982 right ;p

  39. says

    Rip Steakface – we were talking about ME3 multiplayer, not single player. In MP, the only customization is in colour choices for your armour (and some skin variation in the alien species).

  40. xrod says

    If some dad hacked a game with a female protagonist because he was scared his young son would turn out gay you would be in an uproar. Learn to put yourself in the POV of the character the game was based on, advocate for more female leads, but don’t say a guy rescuing his girlfriend is anymore sexist than the other way around.

  41. glodson says

    Things seem to be getting better slowly. My wife is a gamer who recently started playing Skyrim. In the game, she married her same-sex partner.

    How cool is that?

    Pretty cool. I think the medium, as a whole, is getting better.

  42. glodson says

    If some dad hacked a game with a female protagonist because he was scared his young son would turn out gay you would be in an uproar. Learn to put yourself in the POV of the character the game was based on, advocate for more female leads, but don’t say a guy rescuing his girlfriend is anymore sexist than the other way around.

    Strawman. If this dad had hacked the game because he was afraid that playing as Mario would cause his daughter to turn out to be trans or gay, that would be a problem. Not with his hacking, but his attitude, his bigotry.

    If a parent hacked a game with a female lead so their young son could enjoy seeing himself in the role of the heroine, I wouldn’t care. That would be a pretty cool act by a parent. However, I would be confused given the ubiquitous nature of male heroes in games.

    When kids get older, playing a role is great. But even then, since most of the roles players are expected to take are male, it would be nice to see more female roles. Games can be a great medium to explore other points of view.

    And it can just be about escapist fantasy. For that, allowing a little girl to see herself more fully in the hero is a good thing.

  43. says

    xrod said:

    If some dad hacked a game with a female protagonist because he was scared his young son would turn out gay you would be in an uproar.

    Yes, because as it happens people who are opposed to sexism also tend to be opposed homophobia.

    Learn to put yourself in the POV of the character the game was based on, advocate for more female leads, but don’t say a guy rescuing his girlfriend is anymore sexist than the other way around.

    I don’t think anybody did. What people are saying is sexist is that this is practically the rule. It almost never happens that it is the other way around, and it’s uncommon to be able to play a female in the first place.

  44. C Tran says

    Re: #12 “Honestly I don’t know why more games don’t let you pick player gender.”
    It’s a lot of extra work, especially if your game is highly story driven. But as someone just said, things are slowly getting better as games have evolved. There are more people making games, there is more money in games, and technology is allowing bigger and more immersive games with open-ended storylines that can accommodate customized personal characters.

    Re: #18
    Thanks for backing me up.

  45. says

    Xrod – if seeing people like you represented more frequently and more positively in media doesn’t matter, why do so many minorities struggle to achieve more and better representation? It’s really easy to have your attitude when you’re over-represented.

  46. The Mellow Monkey says

    xrod

    If some dad hacked a game with a female protagonist because he was scared his young son would turn out gay you would be in an uproar.

    The father didn’t hack the game because he was worried his daughter would become a lesbian. He did it so that she could play as a female character. This is an absolutely bizarre mischaracterization of this story.

    From the article:

    Finally, one day after work, she asked to play Donkey Kong, only this time she raised a pretty innocent and simple question: “How can I play as the girl? I want to save Mario!”

    He wanted his daughter to be able to play as the character she liked (Princess Toadstool), after she specifically asked for that option. There’s nothing about sexual orientation in this and I find it disturbing that you projected homophobia onto this story.

  47. mathema says

    @45 But the point is simple equality, that’s it. Make it even, that’s it. It’s also sexist to say that guys are plumbers who’s only care in the world is saving a princess woman, but it’s not a big deal since guys haven’t dealt with the same issues that women have. We don’t have to deal with issues of gender, we haven’t had a reason to care or change things, because the system has always worked for our favor. There is a completely different sociological and historical context and background between men and women. Give an inch, it’s not that painful. It won’t kill you.

    I love games, and I in no way am attacking them. In fact, they’ve been a much better medium than most others with this subject. But it can always get better, and more fair. Why oppose that? What do you have to lose? If games from now on only had female characters, I wouldn’t have a care in the world, because I’ve had my cake already. Give them some cake too. You don’t like sharing cake?

  48. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    If some dad hacked a game with a female protagonist because he was scared his young son would turn out gay you would be in an uproar. Learn to put yourself in the POV of the character the game was based on.

    Well I for one am certainly sorry for poor Mario. I will send him an apology note asap

    As an aside from that blatant pig shit snorkling stupidity: anyone else grow up in the 90s and vaguely remember that the trend started going the other way before boomeraning back in the Xbox era? It seemed briefly that people like Nintendo were starting to look for ways to add more women to get greater appeal to kiddies.

    “Well Donkey Kong Country was a big hit why not do a sequal OH wait great idea! let’s make the new sidekick a girl that does that gliding trick like Toadstool from SMB2 that was so popular!”

    “Well we’re doing a Mario RPG with Square, Bowser and Mario are obvious characters for the player party and Squares got two they like so we think we can squeeze one more in? Luigi? nah too similar, make it Peach that’ll be fun, she can throw hand grenades at monsters”

    “Well Donkey Kong Country 2 was a huge hit, fuck it let’s make Dixie the star of the next one, she was popular enough! Plot? Oh just repeat the damsel in distress one we did with DK2″

    Then somehow it came about that guys didn’t like girl player characters and that girls didn’t play games…so what the hell?

    I mean granted this is just my childhood impression but it sure seemed at the time when video games were seen as kiddie toys that Nintendo and games were seeking to find ways to market to girls.

  49. says

    C Tran

    Now if only there actually were more complex story driven games they are still a minority of the titles released. The more complex story driven games are actually more likely to have character gender selection (see pretty much everything from bioware). As I mentioned in a follow up to that comment I’m aware of the issues and there are still many areas where this could be improved.

  50. Owlglass says

    PZ Myers wrote: This would have been so easy for Nintendo to have done, it’s rather revealing that they didn’t.

    At that time, each pixel on each “sprite” was set by hand. There were no editors to “paint” yet. And you cannot magically transfer animations, unless with three-dimensional objects and separate animation data. They probably soldered their animations onto the circuit. On top of it, the cartridges and the chips also had notoriously limited capacities and they were already pushing the envelope. They really had to make a pick and stick to it.

    It is an adorable story though.

  51. thumper1990 says

    @xrod

    If some dad hacked a game with a female protagonist because he was scared his young son would turn out gay you would be in an uproar. Learn to put yourself in the POV of the character the game was based on, advocate for more female leads, but don’t say a guy rescuing his girlfriend is anymore sexist than the other way around.

    Um, you’re missing the point. What we are advocating here is a situation where the norm in games is a situation where there is a choice for the gamer, so that each gamer can pick an avatar they feel is relateable and thus enjoy the game more. Some people of the female sex may feel more comfortabel playing a male avatar, but some will want a female one. Some people of the male sex may feel more comfortable with a female avatar, but some will want a male one. We want a situation where everyone can choose what they feel most comfortable with.

    That’s what these dads have done. Their little girl was forced to play as a male avatr when they would relate more to a female one, so the dad hacked the game so that their daughter could enjoy the game more. No one is advocating a dad hacking a game in order to force a certain sexuality or gender role upon their offspring. That is quite clearly a completely different situation from what we are advocating, so you can take your false equivalency and stuff it.

    And the “Damsel in Distress” stereotype would not be sexist if it were not the norm. The problem is that it is the norm, hence it being a stereotype. The fact it is the norm reinforces the cultural norms which paint women as weak victims who can’t help themselves and men as the big strong saviours who will swoop in and fix everything for the woman. The only reason you do not see this as a problem is because your group isn’t the one being painted as weaker or inferior.

    Jeebus, after Andy fucking Mansfield I have had more than enough mansplaining for one day.

  52. xrod says

    So we’ve clearly established there are bad reasons to hack a game… I’m just asking what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl. Do you re-write your children’s books, too?

  53. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Owlglass

    well true enough that Mario looks the way he does because of art difficulties (hat easier than hair, moustache easier than face). So yeah not entirely easy back then. No excuse for later though.

  54. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    So we’ve clearly established there are bad reasons to hack a game… I’m just asking what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl. Do you re-write your children’s books, too?

    Why does this bug you so much?

  55. says

    I’m just asking what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl.

    Nothing is “so wrong” with it. What’s better is doing what he did. That is, you know, why everybody is saying how cool this is.

    Do you re-write your children’s books, too?

    Not literally. But here’s an example of one that was re-written, and excellently so.

  56. glodson says

    So we’ve clearly established there are bad reasons to hack a game… I’m just asking what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl. Do you re-write your children’s books, too?

    When almost every story is “boy saves girl,” rewriting the story makes sense. I don’t have a problem with rewriting the story. I have no problem with flipping the script to empower a child. I have no problem with boys playing games where boy heroes save the day, but I want to see girls saving the day too.

    What’s wrong with rewriting the story to make it more appealing to your child?

    Also, there’s no “we’ve established there are bad reasons to hack a game.” You introduced a scenario that had nothing to do with the story, and we dismissed that as stupid. Further, I’m starting to believe you are JAQing off in this thread.

  57. The Mellow Monkey says

    xrod

    Do you re-write your children’s books, too?

    Don’t most caregivers of children?

    “And Goldilocks found three bowls of porridge–”
    “Noooo. Ick. Make it SPAGHETTI!”
    “…and Goldilocks found three bowls of spaghetti…”

    I don’t even have kids and I’ve rewritten more stories than I can count on request. I can’t program, but I’ve downloaded all sorts of skins and add-ons for Minecraft to make my niece happy. I don’t tell her, “NO. DAMN YOU, CHILD. YOU PLAY IT JUST LIKE NOTCH INTENDED.”

    Adults don’t play like that. Why should children?

  58. WharGarbl says

    @Ing
    #59

    well true enough that Mario looks the way he does because of art difficulties (hat easier than hair, moustache easier than face). So yeah not entirely easy back then. No excuse for later though.

    It’s a bit hard to switch Mario’s gender after it was established that he’s a plumber with mustache.

    @xrod
    #58

    I’m just asking what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl. Do you re-write your children’s books, too?

    Because having options are good?
    I would love to be able to pick a female player and have her kick a lot of ass.
    In fact, after playing Prototype 2, I really wanted to see if they let you play as Amaya in Prototype 3. Mutated teenage girl of mass destruction, hell yeah!

  59. xrod says

    Why does this bug you so much?

    Because if I understand correctly, you’d have all my game discs filled up with character customization options and nothing would ever be enough for you. Or you would sacrifice quality in stories to accommodate gender neutrality.

  60. glodson says

    well true enough that Mario looks the way he does because of art difficulties (hat easier than hair, moustache easier than face). So yeah not entirely easy back then. No excuse for later though.

    If I recall correctly, the Donkey Kong game was originally a Popeye game, Popeye being popular in Japan at the time. They couldn’t get the license.

    In their defense, I doubt that anyone had any idea how far Nintendo would go with the game, or even in the gaming industry at the time. They didn’t think about it. Which is a weak defense, I know.

  61. xrod says

    Also, there’s no “we’ve established there are bad reasons to hack a game.” You introduced a scenario that had nothing to do with the story, and we dismissed that as stupid.

    I introduced what we both agree would have been a bad reason… I don’t think you’ll find I was supporting it. Calm down.

  62. says

    xrod said:

    Because if I understand correctly, you’d have all my game discs filled up with character customization options and nothing would ever be enough for you.

    One of my favorite games is City of Heroes. It’s loaded with character customization options, which is one of the reasons why I love it, but I don’t think anyone here is demanding that every game be City of Heroes. It sounds more like you don’t understand correctly.

    Or you would sacrifice quality in stories to accommodate gender neutrality.

    By all means, elaborate on how accommodating gender neutrality would sacrifice quality in stories. I’m not seeing it, unless of course you think the only quality stories have only male heroes, in which case I am concerned about your dreadful lack of imagination.

  63. thumper1990 says

    @xrod

    Because if I understand correctly, you’d have all my game discs filled up with character customization options and nothing would ever be enough for you.

    Ah, see, there’s the problem… you have not understood correctly. I’m shocked.

    Anyway, I personally have had enough of mansplaining douchewads for the day; it’s six o’clock here and I’m going home.

  64. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Xrod

    ok cause you’re an idiot

  65. glodson says

    Because if I understand correctly, you’d have all my game discs filled up with character customization options and nothing would ever be enough for you. Or you would sacrifice quality in stories to accommodate gender neutrality.

    Strawman. Again.

    Many of us would like to see more of the customization option in games. That would be nice. But I don’t want it shoehorned into every game. I want to see a more diverse set of heroes in games, and some games should feature a protagonist that is well defined. Their gender and sex should be a part of that definition. Having a selectable gender in a game like Metal Gear, or Uncharted, or Tomb Raider, doesn’t make as much sense as those games are heavily character driven.

    Few games can pull that off with customizable gender options. Mass Effect did, but most games are not like that.

    Greater diversity, greater options, doesn’t mean all games should be like that. Take the damsel in distress trope. In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong the the trope. But the way in which it is used, and how common it is, is the problem with how the industry uses the trope.

    And it is getting better. Some games invert the trope. Uncharted has Nathan Drake, the main character, rescued by Elena when he gets caught. A pretty cool part of the game. It fleshes out the conflict, introduces a villain, and gives Elena a bit of baddass cred. And Nathan plays an active role in his own rescue.

    Other games have the damsel be a bit more baddass in her own right. Mass Effect as several female characters like that. Final Fantasy X has Yuna, who is even rather baddass when captured, and still quite feminine. Persona 3 & 4 have Fuuka and Rise respectively, who turn out to be rather baddass.

  66. says

    Or you would sacrifice quality in stories to accommodate gender neutrality.

    Yes, because if there’s one thing Donkey Kong is known for, it’s its quality story.

  67. glodson says

    I introduced what we both agree would have been a bad reason… I don’t think you’ll find I was supporting it. Calm down.

    I am calm. I am pointing out that you invented this as a means of derailing this topic. You invented it as to create an argument that no one is making so that you would have an easier argument to beat up on. A strawman.

  68. xrod says

    By all means, elaborate on how accommodating gender neutrality would sacrifice quality in stories. I’m not seeing it, unless of course you think the only quality stories have only male heroes, in which case I am concerned about your dreadful lack of imagination.

    Any game that uses gender as a plot device, let’s say becoming a princess… might conceivably need to be altered to accommodate a male lead. This could sacrifice story. It could cost more to do different animations… voice acting… blah blah blah. But what if the princess wants to marry another princess? You just don’t seem willing to accept that by playing a game you are entering into a story that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) revolve entirely around you.

  69. says

    Xrod:

    Oh, and does my gender matter?

    Must be nice, being society’s default. You never have to ask such questions.

    If (b) then why isn’t she black, why isn’t the princess rescuing another princess, etc?

    Good questions, even if made in bad faith. FWIW there was someone in the Wired comments pondering hacking Donkey Kong to make the characters black.

    Will you continue your appeal until half of all games have a female protagonist

    Any and all attempts to improve equality are perceived by your ilk as “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.” Because the mile actually belongs to you, right?

    If some dad hacked a game with a female protagonist because he was scared his young son would turn out gay you would be in an uproar.

    Power differentials, how do they work?

    I’m just asking

    Indeed.

    what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl.

    “That’s the way this story goes”? Why? Why should it have to be? And why are you getting so testerical about one man who decided to alter the story for his daughter? Because you seem threatened as shit.

    Because if I understand correctly, you’d have all my game discs filled up with character customization options and nothing would ever be enough for you.

    OH NOEZ, THEY BE TAKIN MAH GAMEZ!!!

    Or you would sacrifice quality in stories to accommodate gender neutrality.

    IOW, stories can’t be good if they’re gender-balanced (not “gender-neutral,” which is the wrong term). Shitty assumption.

    Calm down.

    Cupcake, you’re the one who’s flipping your shit at the idea of there being more icky girl hero cooties in your games.

    But what if the princess wants to marry another princess? You just don’t seem willing to accept that by playing a game you are entering into a story that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) revolve entirely around you.

    Stories should revolve entirely around Xrod, because he has teh peen.

  70. xrod says

    Look if you all want to argue that every game should be able to be customized to each and everyone’s every particularity, I think you are crazy. Many games go a great length to allow for this, but I get the impression that you’ve still got an axe to grind and bowing to your demands would bring the gaming industry to a halt.

  71. xrod says

    I hope I’m not the only one who reads Ms. Daisy and sees a couple flaws in her reasoning.

  72. glodson says

    Look if you all want to argue that every game should be able to be customized to each and everyone’s every particularity, I think you are crazy. Many games go a great length to allow for this, but I get the impression that you’ve still got an axe to grind and bowing to your demands would bring the gaming industry to a halt.

    \

    Who exactly are you referring to? Who is saying that no games should ever have a protagonist with a clearly defined gender?

  73. glodson says

    I hope I’m not the only one who reads Ms. Daisy and sees a couple flaws in her reasoning.

    Point them out, skippy.

  74. says

    Look if you all want to argue that every game should be able to be customized to each and everyone’s every particularity, I think you are crazy.

    I’m convinced. Every game should only have a straight white male protagonist, otherwise we can never get quality stories.

  75. xrod says

    Oh, and does my gender matter?
    Must be nice, being society’s default. You never have to ask such questions.

    Just did. What’s my default?

  76. xrod says

    If (b) then why isn’t she black, why isn’t the princess rescuing another princess, etc?
    Good questions, even if made in bad faith. FWIW there was someone in the Wired comments pondering hacking Donkey Kong to make the characters black.

    Bad faith, where? I was referring to the developers, not the modding community.

  77. says

    I’m certainly not going to resort to name calling.

    People have argued in good faith, and you’ve responded with strawmen, slippery slopes, and exaggerated claims of what we’re asking for from games. You’re not leaving us much else to work with.

  78. xrod says

    Your “arguments” are familiar enough that certain assumptions are safe if not ironclad. In addition, you are the one that is erasing social context from your arguments, not me.

    You’re digging your own hole, whether it’s acknowledged or not.

  79. says

    Xrod said:

    Any game that uses gender as a plot device, let’s say becoming a princess… might conceivably need to be altered to accommodate a male lead. This could sacrifice story. It could cost more to do different animations… voice acting… blah blah blah. But what if the princess wants to marry another princess?

    I’m sorry, because this is a story about one parent hacking Donkey Kong, did you think that we’re talking about going back and retro-fitting every video game that has ever been made to make them less sexist?

    No.

    We’re talking about new games. Improvements on these fronts in games to come. Explain how on earth more gender equality would compromise the quality of their stories.

    You just don’t seem willing to accept that by playing a game you are entering into a story that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) revolve entirely around you.

    I’m sorry, my irony meter just exploded. I think pieces of it have landed in Russia and been mistaken for meteorites. Please don’t do that again– it could cause more injury and possibly death.

  80. mathema says

    @74 haha, yeah good ol’ DK.

    @78 Nobody is demanding anything. You’ve clearly come here with a chip on your shoulder. We’re having a light discussion about possibilities, not changing games or demanding that developers do anything. Developers that wish to include female protagonists will, bottom line. RPGs will be exactly the same. How does having female characters hurt story? Have you ever read A Song of Ice and Fire? The female characters are a huge highlight (Arya, c’mon). You’re missing the point and the intent, utterly.

  81. The Mellow Monkey says

    Am I missing something important here?

    don’t say a guy rescuing his girlfriend is anymore sexist than the other way around.

    I’m just asking

    I’m certainly not going to resort to name calling.

    It’s moments like this when I wonder if there is literally a script. Or maybe we’re just arguing against the same bot, over and over again, with a new ‘nym.

  82. C Tran says

    Re: #55 michaeld
    Hi Mike, sorry, wasn’t trying to ignore you, just so much I could respond to in this thread but can’t do em all. Yes, I reckon you’re right. And yah, Ms Pacman, heh.

  83. WharGarbl says

    @xrod
    #78

    Look if you all want to argue that every game should be able to be customized to each and everyone’s every particularity, I think you are crazy.

    Except no one here is arguing that, people are arguing that they just want more game developer to think about giving player that option. Pretty much everyone here know that such customization doesn’t make sense for some game, but people just want to have that option whenever possible.

    @Daisy Cutter
    #77

    IOW, stories can’t be good if they’re gender-balanced (not “gender-neutral,” which is the wrong term). Shitty assumption.

    Unless I get the definition wrong, I think gender neutral applies to our discussion better regarding customization.
    A story can be gender balanced, in that it treats male and female character equally (in terms of both strength and weakness).
    A story’s character can be gender neutral, in that the story works regardless of the gender of the character in question.

    Character customization would necessitate the second requirement (that the story as written be generic enough to cover both).

    The second one is much more difficult to accomplish without sacrificing the story itself. If the story focused a lot on the player character (with detailed background and complex behaviors), it would be extremely difficult, without writing two complete set of stories to cover each gender. It would be even more difficult if the society the writer creates is sexist in nature.

    One interesting solution is in Dark Cloud 2, where they essentially solve the problem by using a variation of the need to have two stories. Both characters (male and female) have their own back stories, who joined up in the story to embark on a common quest. But again, not all story can do this.

  84. xrod says

    Maybe someone can answer this question for me. From the OP:

    “This would have been so easy for Nintendo to have done, it’s rather revealing that they didn’t.”

    What does it reveal?

  85. glodson says

    What does it reveal?

    It reveals that they didn’t think of making the choice.

    Probably justified. They probably didn’t think the game would be of such enduring popularity that it is still played 30 years later. They probably didn’t think that the medium would be centered on males. They probably didn’t think to include the option. Even if they did think of it, they probably lacked the resources to make the changes at the time because the company was struggling.

    At least, that’s what I got form it.

  86. WharGarbl says

    @xrod
    #102

    Maybe someone can answer this question for me. From the OP:

    “This would have been so easy for Nintendo to have done, it’s rather revealing that they didn’t.”

    What does it reveal?

    That they didn’t think about having a version/sequel with female character as lead?

  87. mathema says

    @98 then I simply don’t understand your point or position, I just don’t.

    @102 I agree that sentence probably wasn’t the best choice, but that doesn’t in any way validate what you’re claiming in the comment-section discussion. I don’t think Nintendo did it for explicit reasons, if anything they care only about marketing and making money. It does say something about our culture, but not Nintendo, IMO. But perhaps that’s what PZ meant, how do we know? What is your exact problem with it,… then perhaps we can get somewhere.

    But how does that validate the vector you took in the discourse “down here”?

  88. WharGarbl says

    @glodson
    #103

    Even if they did think of it, they probably lacked the resources to make the changes at the time because the company was struggling.

    That’s a very good point you have there.

  89. xrod says

    @glodson

    This would have been so easy for Nintendo to have done, it’s rather revealing that they didn’t.

    [It reveals that they didn’t think of it.]

    Yeah, I’m calling bullshit on that.

  90. says

    Well, usually it’s nicer not to ascribe to malice what could be attributed to ignorance. But if you’d rather not be nice…

  91. glodson says

    @ WharGarbl

    Thanks.

    I just remembered that Nintendo was struggling at the time, limited resources to begin with.

    In the end, the problem isn’t that Mario(Jumpman) saves Pauline. It is that the game became something of a template. The excuse plot of save person X is easy and quick. Makes sense to use. In these stories, it was common for the rescuer to be male. So games followed this easy template. Hell, Donkey Kong likely wasn’t even the first game to have the “save the damsel” plot.

    But no one thought “hey, this is a bit sexist, why don’t we let the player select if they are Mario or Pauline?” Maybe if they did, we would be having a different conversation now.

    Then again, maybe no one asked that question for a reason. Games are an art. And like any art, we see a reflection of the culture which produced it.

  92. says

    Look if you all want to argue that every game should be able to be customized to each and everyone’s every particularity, I think you are crazy.

    Hmm, so, in order to justify your dumb hypothesis that everyone but you is irrational and disconnected from reality, you had to invent a “fact,” aka “lie,” to wit: that anyone is promoting the idea that EVERY game be customized to each and every person’s every particularity.

    Many games go a great length to allow for this,

    Actually, a more accurate statement would be that SOME games do allow for this, where “this” means customizing, while many games don’t. However, the possibility of customization is just one part of the changes that people here are calling for. Another possibility would be that more non-customizeable video games feature non-male, non-white primary characters. It would do idiots like you some good to be forced to put yourself in the shoes of someone who looks nothing like you, I think. Obviously the lack of this sort of experience has had a detrimental effect on your ability to reason and present honest arguments.

    but I get the impression that you’ve still got an axe to grind

    Axe to grind? I guess, if by “axe to grind,” you mean “passionate commitment to better media representation of non-male, non-white, non-straight people.” Golly, how sinister.

    and bowing to your demands would bring the gaming industry to a halt.

    Making games more customizable and featuring characters with which a larger percentage of the population would find it easy to identify with would “bring the gaming industry to a halt”? So, what you’re saying is that sexism and racism are the sina qua non of gaming, and promoting equality would destroy the entire thing? I don’t believe for a minute that that is the case, but honestly, if it were? The gaming industry SHOULD grind to a halt, then.

    In conclusion, fuck you.

  93. Rip Steakface says

    They were talking about multiplayer, not single player. If you never played multiplayer, then why comment? You can’t customize your multiplayer character, which was the topic at hand.

    Really now?

    It appears to me that you can customize your multiplayer character.

    When creating a multiplayer character, players can choose from six classes and multiple races within each class.

    And in the table below, it shows that you can pick any class as male or female for humans.

  94. glodson says

    Yeah, I’m calling bullshit on that.

    So, thirty years ago, Nintendo thought “hey we could have selectable gender, but fuck it?”

    And that’s better?

    Now, why is it bullshit? It is just conjecture. I don’t know why. I only have the evidence before me. The evidence is that there’s no game in which Pauline saves Mario from Donkey Kong. There’s only one game in which Princess Peach saves Mario. Super Princess Peach involves Peach using her emotions. Yea. They get points for trying, but lose them all in the implementation.

    That game was made in 2005. That’s quite a long time after Donkey Kong.

    If they thought of it, after the success of Donkey Kong, which helped save the company, they could have made the next game with the option. They didn’t.

    They probably didn’t think about it, and I like that option a lot better of considering then rejecting it.

  95. blitzgal says

    Question for our JAQ-er: Which is the more extreme response? The dad who modded a game for a 3 year old child who simply wanted to play the game as a girl, or the YouTube commenters who wished death on that same 3 year old child because she wanted to play the game as a girl?

  96. says

    Rip Steakface,

    If you’d like to quote me as well, I said “In MP, the only customization is in colour choices for your armour (and some skin variation in the alien species)”. In the choices you linked to, except for the choice between basic human female or male characters, what abilities you have access to is affected by your choice. If you like the Project Phoenix vanguard, so sorry if you don’t want your character to be male. Like the N7 Fury adept? Forget about it if you don’t want a female character. There are limits in the choices. I know. I’ve played the game.

  97. glodson says

    Oh, yea….

    xrod:

    Yeah, I’m calling bullshit on that.

    Let’s look at the entire quote that you dishonestly parapharsed as to excise my original meaning.

    It reveals that they didn’t think of making the choice.

    Probably justified. They probably didn’t think the game would be of such enduring popularity that it is still played 30 years later. They probably didn’t think that the medium would be centered on males. They probably didn’t think to include the option. Even if they did think of it, they probably lacked the resources to make the changes at the time because the company was struggling.

    At least, that’s what I got form it.

    I also noted that they were likely justified in not thinking of it, or just not implementing it. I would further cite the fact the game was originally meant to use the Popeye license, which would have cast Olive Oyl as Pauline. Once built in that direction, what do you think the chance is the creators even though of having Pauline save Mario?

  98. xrod says

    @SallyStrange

    Hmm, so, in order to justify your dumb hypothesis that everyone but you is irrational…

    That was not my hypothesis.

    a more accurate statement would be that SOME games do allow for this [as opposed to many]

    Okay so we’re going to quantify the difference between some and many now…

    I guess, if by “axe to grind,” you mean…

    Yep, that’s what I mean. Sinister, indeed.

    The industry could be brought to a halt if every game was as customizable as some people seem to think it should be. If you think people will eventually be satisfied with the available diversity to shut up about it, great!

    Oh and fuck you too.

  99. xrod says

    @Glodson

    I asked you what it was supposed reveal… I quoted your one sentence answer, in context, in brackets.

  100. WharGarbl says

    @blitzgal
    #113
    Not sure what JAQer means, but the dad’s response is pretty extreme. He took a 30 year old game on the NES system, reverse engineered it, and modified it so the player can play as Pauline. An effort that doubtlessly took a lot of time and effort to accomplish. On the other hand, the YouTube commenter just sit on their ass and whine (okay, granted, they do have to move their fingers and click a few icons).

    So, I guess the better question was, which response is the more useless one.

  101. ryanb says

    Xrod I’m really surprised you’re continuing this after Glodson’s excellent response @73. To paraphrase:

    No one is arguing that every game should have fully customisable characters but that it would be good if more did. Mainly people are saying that they’d like to see characters and their relationships be far more diverse accross the industry than they are now. How many games feature male protagonists vs female? How many only have female characters as weak damsels to be saved? How many which have strong female characters at some point turn them into the damsel (a trait I’ve observed in more than just gaming media)?

    Surely you don’t disagree with these points?

  102. glodson says

    I asked you what it was supposed reveal… I quoted your one sentence answer, in context, in brackets.

    No, you didn’t. You tried to take my answer and tried to boil it down to a simple notion that you can handwave as wrong.

    Now, explain what about it is bullshit? What reasons do you have that my answer was bullshit?

  103. mathema says

    @111 Yeah, really, now. There are pre-selected character classes, not customization. Maybe you haven’t been playing RPGs for long, but the customization of a character being discussed above is character creation. We were discussing games which have the feature of creating your character, customizing your character, from a wide array of options. We were not talking about jobs or classes. Is it clearer now? mE3 multiplayer has job classes, consisting of various pre-selected species and genders, something that is not equivalent to character customization as discussed above.

    Furthermore, I never stated that ME3 multiplayer doesn’t have enough options, I think it does. I think it’s great, and I praised the game. Next non-sequitur, please.

  104. xrod says

    Still no one has answered my question. What was PZ implying when he said,

    “This would have been so easy for Nintendo to have done [swap the characters], it’s rather revealing that they didn’t.”

    What does this reveal? I find it hard to come to any other conclusion than an accusation of sexism on the part of Nintendo. Does anyone really want to dispute this?

  105. says

    If you think people will eventually be satisfied with the available diversity to shut up about it, great!

    I don’t know whether they will or not. I sure as hell don’t consider that a reason not to try.

    Generally speaking, people who work against bigoted depictions in media don’t have as their primary objective getting people to shut up about it.

  106. says

    What does this reveal? I find it hard to come to any other conclusion than an accusation of sexism on the part of Nintendo. Does anyone really want to dispute this?

    No. Next question?

  107. blitzgal says

    So, I guess the better question was, which response is the more useless one.

    No. My word choice is entirely accurate. Wishing death on someone because her mere existence has threatened your concept of gender roles and your own masculinity is extreme. Modding a video game is not extreme.

  108. octopod says

    Xrod, I don’t think anyone was arguing that every silly little platformer needs to have a customizable player character — just that more of the non-customizable ones ought to be female (or not white, or not rescuing an opposite sex love interest).

  109. xrod says

    @Gretchen

    No. Next question?

    If a game where a guy rescues a girl is sexist, then isn’t game were a girl rescues a guy is sexist? If both are white (or black), isn’t it racist. If both are of the opposite sex, isn’t it homophobic?

  110. mathema says

    I agree with Tabby that there could be more though, sure. I personally think its a big step in the right direction though, and sometimes time frames and priorities keep devs from doing everything they envision or think of. Your points have been non-sequiturs, sorry. We aren’t discussing ME3 specifically here, it was alluded to in order to touch on the overarching topic.

  111. glodson says

    What does this reveal? I find it hard to come to any other conclusion than an accusation of sexism on the part of Nintendo. Does anyone really want to dispute this?

    Not thinking of the option is sexist. They didn’t think of it because they were blind to the idea. This doesn’t make Nintendo a bad company, or the creators evil misogynists.

    They are just like everyone else. We are all prone to being sexist, or racist, or homophobic. We all have ideas about what men and women should be like, what different races are like, what gay people are like as taught to us by a our shared culture.

    The sexism was expressed by Nintendo not thinking of having the player pick their gender. They simply didn’t think of it. It is a bit sexist, but it isn’t that bad. It is just an example of one game, made by own struggling company.

    Sorry if I expected you to put some thought into anything. I apparently mistakenly had too high of an expectation of you. I won’t make that mistake again. I’ll spell everything out in minute detail for you from now on.

  112. anteprepro says

    What does this reveal? I find it hard to come to any other conclusion than an accusation of sexism on the part of Nintendo. Does anyone really want to dispute this?

    An “accusation of sexism” wouldn’t seem so controversial to you if you actually understood what sexism is and the ways that it commonly pops it. That you have worked yourself into a lather over the mere possibility that the gaming community is considered sexist illustrates either a grave ignorance or the kind of knee-jerk privilege-defending agenda that we find among ‘pitters and their kin.

  113. glodson says

    If a game where a guy rescues a girl is sexist, then isn’t game were a girl rescues a guy is sexist? If both are white (or black), isn’t it racist. If both are of the opposite sex, isn’t it homophobic?

    Strawman.

    JAQing off.

  114. says

    It’s sexist. Obviously.

    I don’t even know why you’re arguing over it. Of course it was sexist — it was a stereotypical choice, and it was poor and unoriginal storytelling. The game implementation might have been great, but it simply echoed a common cultural shortcut.

  115. anteprepro says

    If a game where a guy rescues a girl is sexist, then isn’t game were a girl rescues a guy is sexist?

    No, a game where a girl rescues a guy isn’t sexist because guys being too helpless to save themselves isn’t a gender stereotype in our culture . You don’t have a middle school level of understanding of the issues here, you fucking ignoramus. Could you shut the fuck up for five fucking minutes and stop your constant, oblivious shitting all over this thread?

  116. WharGarbl says

    @xrod
    #128

    If a game where a guy rescues a girl is sexist, then isn’t game were a girl rescues a guy is sexist? If both are white (or black), isn’t it racist. If both are of the opposite sex, isn’t it homophobic?

    Damsel in Distress, by itself, doesn’t make a game sexist (and like-wise Distressed Dude stories).
    However, the pervasive use of Damsel in Distress in video game points to a likely sexist video game culture (whether malicious intent, financial constraints, or unintentional).

  117. glodson says

    Could you shut the fuck up for five fucking minutes and stop your constant, oblivious shitting all over this thread?

    If they would just read the goddamned thread, I’m sure it would be educational. But instead of having a dialogue, I feel like I’m getting commented at rather than commented to.

    Jesus, people should not make me look like a long time and well read feminist. Fuck, this stuff, like you said, aren’t even at the 101 level of gender issues.

  118. octopod says

    Sorry, xrod, I was addressing an earlier point you made, not the “revealing” comment.

    On this topic, I can’t speak for PZ of course, but I would say (with glodson@130) that it does reveal that our notion of the “rescuer/rescued” story type is so gendered that it never occurred to Nintendo to do it any other way. It’s only {sexist, racist, heterocentric} because that is how all the other stories look too; in a cultural environment where that bias was not already present, it’d be just another story, but that’s not the world we live in.

  119. says

    If a game where a guy rescues a girl is sexist, then isn’t game were a girl rescues a guy is sexist? If both are white (or black), isn’t it racist. If both are of the opposite sex, isn’t it homophobic?

    Can you give an exact number of times the concepts of choice and diversity need to be explained to you before you stop acting like a single lack of choice in a single story is the problem? I’m getting tired, and want to know if I should go play a better video game or something instead.

  120. xrod says

    Can you give an exact number of times the concepts of choice and diversity need to be explained to you before you stop acting like a single lack of choice in a single story is the problem?

    I most certainly cannot. I’m just trying to figure out if any game can pass muster around here. Guess I’ll go play some Tomb Raider, I’m sure there’s nothing sexist about that.

  121. says

    Then what isn’t PZ?

    Imagine a Nintendo game that gave you the choice. (And don’t whine at me that that was beyond their capabilities. Double Dragon. You got to choose Billy or Jimmy Lee…but choosing which sprite to use in any other game was too difficult? Come on.) That would not have been sexist. It would have been innovative, even — but Nintendo apparently did not think the girl market was big enough.

    These things aren’t so difficult, unless you’re really dim. If you see a sexist option, you can easily imagine the non-sexist option.

    And why are you so obsessed and irate at this issue? It’s the only thing you’ve ever commented on, and you’re peculiarly upset that a hacker simply changed the stereotype of a crude, blocky 8-bit pixel character.

  122. says

    Tomb Raider? The game with elaborate breast physics that has you staring at a woman’s ass for hours on end?

    No, nothing sexist about that.

  123. anteprepro says

    Damsel in Distress, by itself, doesn’t make a game sexist

    I disagree somewhat. Damsel in Distress isn’t by itself sexist as long as the scenario is mitigated in someway that doesn’t turn the Damsel into a helpless incompetent or glorified prop. Or at very least is a work that doesn’t have The Damsel as its sole representation of women. Playing the Damsel in Distress straight, in a work that doesn’t bother to illustrate that not all women are doomed to be Damsels, is pretty damn sexist. Accidental or intentional, such a work’s message is “a woman is a fragile flower that needs to be protected because they can’t protect themselves”. It’s as sexist as you can get without outright saying “bitches ain’t shit”.

  124. anteprepro says

    I most certainly cannot. I’m just trying to figure out if any game can pass muster around here.

    How far is your head up your ass? Can you really only hear your own Internet Voice, or something? Metroid, Ms. Pac Man, and Mass Effect 3 are all examples that have been brought up favorably in this very fucking thread. You don’t only need Feminism 101, you may need Reading 101 as well.

  125. xrod says

    Obsession, irate, peculiarly upset are all terms that I don’t personally identify with regarding this discussion. I’m intrigued that people take issue with the gender of the role they step into while gaming, and left wondering why other attributes are not more of a concern in a community apparently so concerned with such things. I fail to see how a developer’s decision to include only one gender as a playable character arouses even the slightest indignation on the part of anyone—much less an accusation of sexism—and am genuinely curious how this community would see the future of gaming proceed.

  126. says

    Tomb Raider? The game with elaborate breast physics that has you staring at a woman’s ass for hours on end?

    No, nothing sexist about that.

    Oh dude. That’s the old sexism discussion about the old Tomb Raider. There’s a whole new sexism discussion about the new Tomb Raider….

  127. C Tran says

    I’m backing up xrod on this particular point. PZ Myers appears to be contending that Nintendo is/was sexist, at a time when that kind of sexism was the norm, unconscious, and honestly not that controversial, because let’s face it, not that many girls were playing games. His comment strips Nintendo of the benefit of the historical, cultural context. If Mr Myers meant that Nintendo was only one reflection among many of the 80s gaming/gender zeitgeist, he failed to make that apparent.

    If you want to call it sexist, fine. But do so fairly. This just isn’t fair, and I don’t think it’s completely honest either.

  128. blitzgal says

    How far is your head up your ass? Can you really only hear your own Internet Voice, or something? Metroid, Ms. Pac Man, and Mass Effect 3 are all examples that have been brought up favorably in this very fucking thread. You don’t only need Feminism 101, you may need Reading 101 as well.

    It seems crystal clear that he is purposely ignoring the point in order to continue JAQ-ing off all over the thread. It’s just masturbation at this point.

    The best part of this story is that this little girl is going to count this as a wonderful bonding moment with her dad, and it’s awesome. My dad is who got me into video games, too. He didn’t work in the industry, but he used to take us to the arcade. And my first memory of playing a video game is having him hoist me up with one hand to Centipede. He’d run the control but let me shoot the gun. And I clearly remember thinking that I was TOTALLY AWESOME at the game! It’s a fond memory of my dad that I won’t ever forget. And I’ve been playing video games ever since. I’ve more than earned my stripes as a gamer, and none of these 18 year old punks who are obviously still afraid of girls can say any different.

  129. says

    PZ Myers appears to be contending that Nintendo is/was sexist, at a time when that kind of sexism was the norm, unconscious, and honestly not that controversial

    Yes. So it was sexist.

    Why is this so hard for you to understand?

  130. says

    I don’t think you’re backing Xrod at all, C Tran. Xrod is not saying that Donkey Kong is one example of sexism in a video game from a time when sexism was an unnoticed norm (unnoticed among game designers, that is), but that it’s not sexist, period, and those of us who see it are imagining things.

  131. says

    I’m also amused that it has all but been written in stone that I am male.

    People are giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you’re a guy blinkered by privilege rather than having reached adulthood as a female anti-feminist. The former is too common; the latter too depressing.

  132. says

    and am genuinely curious

    I genuinely doubt that.

    how this community would see the future of gaming proceed.

    Not by making every character in every game completely customizable, but attempting to expand their customer base by appealing to a wider range of people and creating more games where the protagonist isn’t a straight white man.

  133. says

    Yes, Nintendo was sexist at a time when the norm was to be sexist. The norm is still to be sexist, though perhaps slightly less so.

    Why is this an “accusation” rather than an observation?

  134. xrod says

    @Gretchen

    Dead on. Almost. Only if it is sexism, and I am wrong, then you have a lot of ground to cover after you fix this problem of sexism. Hey, we need an option for all characters to voice an atheist perspective whenever gods are called into question, right? Just kidding.

  135. WharGarbl says

    @anteprepro
    #144

    I disagree somewhat. Damsel in Distress isn’t by itself sexist as long as the scenario is mitigated in someway that doesn’t turn the Damsel into a helpless incompetent or glorified prop.

    I did say “by itself”, Damsel in Distress isn’t sexist. The work can be sexist based on the way they use that trope.

  136. says

    if it is sexism, and I am wrong, then you have a lot of ground to cover after you fix this problem of sexism.

    Yeah, I’m choosing to try and cover it concurrently rather than sequentially because I’m well aware it won’t end in my lifetime. It’s amazing how many different kinds of bigotry you can oppose at the same time.

  137. xrod says

    People are giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you’re a guy blinkered by privilege rather than having reached adulthood as a female anti-feminist. The former is too common; the latter too depressing.

    Yes, because a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach.

  138. says

    32 comments from a previously unknown user in less than 3 hours, all on one thread? Yeah, you’re obsessed. My troll alert is going off like crazy.

  139. WharGarbl says

    @xrod
    #156

    Hey, we need an option for all characters to voice an atheist perspective whenever gods are called into question, right? Just kidding.

    It would be a nice variety of game to explore that concept, but not mandatory (in fact, no one here is arguing that a video game must or mustn’t have something. Well, except for glorifying rape, no game should glorify rape.)
    Or maltheist, for example Kratos or Asura’s Wrath.
    Asura’s Wrath – God (in this case, the Hindu god) is an asshole. Solution? Punch him in the face, repeatedly.

  140. anteprepro says

    I’m intrigued that people take issue with the gender of the role they step into while gaming, and left wondering why other attributes are not more of a concern in a community apparently so concerned with such things.

    You seem to be under the impression that the gender of the role is the issue, rather than the gender of the role and how it plays into gender stereotypes being the issue. That is either the ultimate basis of your error here, or just another symptom of agenda-driven denialism.

    I did say “by itself”, Damsel in Distress isn’t sexist. The work can be sexist based on the way they use that trope.

    Whereas I was contending that by itself, it is sexist, and you need to add things in order to make it not so. But I suppose that may be a distinction without a difference.

  141. says

    “Not by making every character in every game completely customizable, but attempting to expand their customer base by appealing to a wider range of people and creating more games where the protagonist isn’t a straight white man.” -Tabby Lavalamp

    This. Though since I brought it up earlier I’ll point out having customizable characters especially in games with weaker plots is an easy way to achieve a wider range of protagonists. If the game is a character piece then its better to vary the main character rather then a slew of straight white male protagonists.

  142. WharGarbl says

    @anteprepro
    #162

    Whereas I was contending that by itself, it is sexist, and you need to add things in order to make it not so. But I suppose that may be a distinction without a difference.

    That’s a good point.

  143. C Tran says

    Re: #152
    Gretchen, I know people are saying that xrod is JAQing but I think his last question echoes my original comment (#1) and is a valid question which I wish Mr Myers would answer or clarify.

    And I understand it just fine, Myers. But I think you refuse to grasp the subtlety of the situation. I truly, truly hate to bring this up, but have you ever heard an apologist call Darwin a racist?

  144. mathema says

    As far as Tomb Raider and ass staring, it’s a third person game (it always has been, that shouldn’t be changed). I think it’s good to have a game feature a woman, a big name game. For the large majority of third person games, you’re staring at some dude’s ass. I think it is a-ok to give a woman protagonist a shot in the genre. There is sexist stuff within it, no questions there. At least it’s a start, having a lead character be a woman (and it’s not a game tailored to girls or anything, where it is infantilized, it’s a game for adults, a serious game). I think that in some way shows respect for women, and despite the sexist parts, I think it’s a good start.

    I’m also a new commenter, but I’ve been reading for quite some time (I just never made the leap to commenting until last night, and now my Internet syndrome is kicking in, sorry).

  145. slowdjinn says

    xrod -

    because a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach.

    *blinks*

    the realities of Donkey Kong

    Do you even read what you’re writing?

  146. mathema says

    @166 And I’m not saying girls are infantile, lol, of course I’m referring to what industries usually do to market to women or girls (which is offensive, of course).

  147. anteprepro says

    Gretchen, I know people are saying that xrod is JAQing but I think his last question echoes my original comment (#1)

    Which should really tell you the quality of your original comment. But I suppose “Nintendo wasn’t sexist because everyone was sexist then!” really isn’t much better.

    But I think you refuse to grasp the subtlety of the situation. I truly, truly hate to bring this up, but have you ever heard an apologist call Darwin a racist?

    Yes, I’m sure you really hate to reveal that you are a dumbass. Do you know what they are wrong about? Implying that it actually means Darwin was wrong. IF (see michaeld’s post) Darwin actually said anything racist, he may have been a product of his time, but he would still have been racist. If they settled for criticizing the racism, in that situation, they would be right. If they go onto to say “well, he must have been wrong about everything then”, they are using a blatant ad hominem. I apologize for being so unsubtle, Master of Nuance, but I’m fairly certain that the current situation, which is simply criticizing the “historic” sexism and saying no more than that, is not analogous to the “historic racism, ergo pseudoscience” rhetorical games that creationists play. An excellent try, though. I’m sure you will be able to present more Sophisticated Manology soon enough.

  148. says

    Yes, Darwin was racist. Yes, Nintendo was (and is) sexist.

    Again, I ask: why is this viewed as an “accusation” or character assassination rather than a simple observation?

  149. says

    Yes. Darwin was a racist. He was better than many of his contemporaries, but he actually did have demeaning attitudes towards non-British people. Why do you think Fleeming Jenkin’s criticism hit him relatively hard?

  150. C Tran says

    Mike, thanks for the link.

    But I suppose “Nintendo wasn’t sexist because everyone was sexist then!” really isn’t much better.

    I never said that. What I did say was that if you’re going to call it sexist, you should do it fairly. This wasn’t fair.

    Do you know what they are wrong about? Implying that it actually means Darwin was wrong.

    Not relevant. One may also call Abraham Lincoln a racist (because he was!), despite being the most famous abolitionist in history. One may also call Eratosthenes an ignoramus for thinking the Earth is a sphere (because he was wrong!) rather than pear-shaped. All such statements strip the context away from their subjects and are unfair, misleading, and yet true. But fair and true are not mutually exclusive!

  151. anteprepro says

    Let me guess! Because it was an accusation?

    I love it when people who are so Disinterested are also so quick to take offense. So thin-skinned. So willing to interpret everything as an attack, every critique as the beginning of a mini-Spanish Inquisition. Everything that conforms to the status quo, no matter how hostile or how plainly bigoted, is no big deal. Everything that challenges that status quo, no matter how meek, no matter how mild, is the beginning of a violent revolution. This seems to be a widespread among the various kinds of Very Serious Person who moonlights as someone Unserious.

  152. slowdjinn says

    xrod

    Would it make a difference to you?

    Well, it might embarrass you into going away?

    I mean, seriously, you think The Donkey Kong Story contains truths so important that it shouldn’t be tweaked for a 3 year-old girl to make it more enjoyable?

    Because that’s what you’ve been saying.

  153. C Tran says

    PZ Myers said:

    Yes. Darwin was a racist. He was better than many of his contemporaries, but he actually did have demeaning attitudes towards non-British people. Why do you think Fleeming Jenkin’s criticism hit him relatively hard?

    Okay Dr Myers we are on the same page. So let me ask you, would you or wouldn’t you object to a blog post truthfully discussing Mr Darwin’s ethnocentrism and racism without any mention of his egalitarian views at the same time? If you say you would not object, that you would not even bother to post a comment, then I will say no more.

  154. glodson says

    Or maltheist, for example Kratos or Asura’s Wrath.

    To steal a line from a certain online reviewer: “Kratos is the world’s most determined atheist.”

  155. anteprepro says

    What I did say was that if you’re going to call it sexist, you should do it fairly. This wasn’t fair.

    And you claimed it “wasn’t fair” because sexism was more common in that bygone era known to history scholars as “The 80′s”. Or, in other words, exactly what I said in my paraphrase. Did I miss another vitally important excuse for your dismissing sexism?

    Not relevant. One may also call Abraham Lincoln a racist (because he was!), despite being the most famous abolitionist in history.

    Yes, if you wanted to criticize racist things he actually said or did. You know, like PZ criticizing sexism in a Nintendo game. And not like creationists and how they try to attack Darwin to have an excuse to dismiss evolution. Being acceptable for your time does not make you beyond criticism. I mean, seriously, if your going to play the disingenuous analogy game, your argument makes you send an apologist defending the Old Testament law.

  156. flek says

    While it’s awesome that a dad is doing that for his daughter, I think, as others have said, that it’s more revealing that you’re being angry at a 30 year old arcade game for not conforming to your current values.

  157. xrod says

    I mean, seriously, you think The Donkey Kong Story contains truths so important that it shouldn’t be tweaked for a 3 year-old girl to make it more enjoyable?

    I thought I was crowned king of the strawmen earlier.

  158. glodson says

    I thought I was crowned king of the strawmen earlier.

    And JAQing off. Don’t forget all that, my liege.

  159. says

    it’s more revealing that you’re being angry at a 30 year old arcade game for not conforming to your current values. noting the fact that a 30 year old arcade game was and is sexist.

    FTFY.

    Sorry, pet peeves of mine. Criticizing something does not mean you’re “angry” at it. Being opposed to bigotry is not simply a “current value.” And I don’t think anyone is saying that Nintendo is or was a collection of raging misogynists– just saying they made a sexist game. Not remotely the same thing.

  160. anteprepro says

    While it’s awesome that a dad is doing that for his daughter, I think, as others have said, that it’s more revealing that you’re being angry at a 30 year old arcade game for not conforming to your current values.

    Why are so many of these same fuckwits pretending that the 80′s were a distant, bygone era that was significantly more sexist than the 2010′s? Please, Pharyngulites, I beg of you: Get a troll to sincerely dismiss sexism on the grounds that something happened “waaaaaay back in 2003″. It would bring a bitter joy to my heart.

  161. says

    xrod: Would you like to get a sense of why we’re talking about diversity? Go to a list of games released in 2012 and count the white male protagonists. Then count the male ones. I’ll wait.

    As a woman who was playing Nintendo games in the 1980s (along with an amazing number of other women) and 1st gen computer games (the text ones), I’d like to know how the fuck it is you know that women just weren’t buying or, more importantly, playing games.

    I routinely lost my allowance in the arcade (typically at Centipede and later Altered Beast.) My second Nintendo game was Donkey Kong. My first was Legend of Zelda. I started to create sprites for my own game when I was 10 and you had to apply force to get me off the computer so anyone else could use it. Women may not be what straight white guys think of (thank you, culture) when they look at computers, but we’ve been there since forever.

    Also, your definition of sexism has exactly 0 to do with the actual definition. Your exasperation and desire to maintain the status quo (the all white dude review), with your seemingly proud ignorance of the subject, says a whole fucking bunch about you.

  162. xrod says

    xrod: Would you like to get a sense of why we’re talking about diversity? Go to a list of games released in 2012 and count the white male protagonists. Then count the male ones. I’ll wait.

    As a woman who was playing Nintendo games in the 1980s (along with an amazing number of other women) and 1st gen computer games (the text ones), I’d like to know how the fuck it is you know that women just weren’t buying or, more importantly, playing games.

    I routinely lost my allowance in the arcade (typically at Centipede and later Altered Beast.) My second Nintendo game was Donkey Kong. My first was Legend of Zelda. I started to create sprites for my own game when I was 10 and you had to apply force to get me off the computer so anyone else could use it. Women may not be what straight white guys think of (thank you, culture) when they look at computers, but we’ve been there since forever.

    Also, your definition of sexism has exactly 0 to do with the actual definition. Your exasperation and desire to maintain the status quo (the all white dude review), with your seemingly proud ignorance of the subject, says a whole fucking bunch about you.

    You’ll forgive me if I let you do to the simple subtraction for me. What exactly is the difference between white male protagonists and male protagonists for 2012 games? I might have some trouble determining exactly what qualifies as white, insensitive POS that I am.

    I do believe I encouraged discussion about diversity across more than gender lines, albeit poorly received, but I have a pretty good idea of why we are talking about it, if we are.

    I never made any claim to the proportion of gamers by gender. I asked if a 50/50 split or a proportional division is desired for the gender of the main character, or something to that effect,

    I’m not sure what to make of the rest of it, exasperation might translate differently in text but I haven’t been anywhere near close. I guess Donkey Kong was a dude monkey from the sound of it. Sorry if that upset you…

    If I am ignorant, I am not proud of the fact. Fuck (for good measure).

  163. Jacob Schmidt says

    C Tran,

    So let me ask you, would you or wouldn’t you object to a blog post truthfully discussing Mr Darwin’s ethnocentrism and racism without any mention of his egalitarian views at the same time?

    Darwin’s racism isn’t comparable to Nintendo’s sexism. Darwin was against the status quo of his time. He was better than most, even if most were fucking terrible. Nintendo’s sexism was no different than the status quo at the time. Nintendo’s sexism is still supported by the gaming community at large and the company itself. Nintendo and the gaming community (in so far as such a large group can be called a community) are better than they were, but not by much, and they are still making the same mistakes. Most racists are still fighting for slavery.

  164. slowdjinn says

    xrod

    I’m just asking what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl.

    Yes, because a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach.

    What, then, are these ‘realities of Donkey Kong’ that are more important than the player’s enjoyment of the game?

  165. Jacob Schmidt says

    Dammit. Most racist are not still fighting for slavery.

    Sorry for the wasted post.

  166. xrod says

    What, then, are these ‘realities of Donkey Kong’ that are more important than the player’s enjoyment of the game?

    The realities of Donkey Kong are the blocks that show up on your screen as designed by the developer. Sorry to disappoint, but I never meant anything more than that.

  167. la tricoteuse says

    xrod:

    I do believe I encouraged discussion about diversity across more than gender lines, albeit poorly received, but I have a pretty good idea of why we are talking about it, if we are.

    Liar. Your mention of other types of diversity to consider was not received poorly. It was, in fact, greeted with agreement, and more politely than I think it deserved as it was a derailing tactic. Sure, race is an important issue in games as well, but it isn’t what we’re talking about in this thread.

    I never made any claim to the proportion of gamers by gender. I asked if a 50/50 split or a proportional division is desired for the gender of the main character, or something to that effect

    You know that a 50/50 spread is not actually that far from a proportional division, right? And in any case I don’t understand why “we need more female leads in games” has to be met with “AAAAH HOW MANY DO YOU WANT GAH YOU WON”T BE HAPPY UNTIL YOU”VE CHANGED ALL MY GAMES” which is how you were coming across. More does not mean all. It doesn’t even necessarily mean half, though half would be nice, don’t get me wrong. It just. means. more. Because right now it’s massively skewed in the opposite direction. More positive female role models in games cannot in any way be construed as a negative.

  168. xrod says

    Liar. Your mention of other types of diversity to consider was not received poorly. It was, in fact, greeted with agreement, and more politely than I think it deserved as it was a derailing tactic. Sure, race is an important issue in games as well, but it isn’t what we’re talking about in this thread.

    I’m sorry, I truly did not mean to lie or besmirch the kindheartedness of the fine people here upon which my derailing tactics were greeted with agreement and more politely than was deserved….. I wasn’t even going to bring it up again, until I was asked.

    Lots of stuff to sort through, you’ll understand.

  169. flek says

    FTFY.

    Sorry, pet peeves of mine. Criticizing something does not mean you’re “angry” at it. Being opposed to bigotry is not simply a “current value.” And I don’t think anyone is saying that Nintendo is or was a collection of raging misogynists– just saying they made a sexist game. Not remotely the same thing.

    I am so sorry that Nintendo failed you by not providing you a female protagonist in Donkey Kong thirty years ago. I’m so sorry that product of its time is product of its time.

  170. says

    The idea, which I see you aren’t doing, is for you to take a look at prevalence and think about representation. White male characters are seriously over-represented, and represented as the default hero/adventurer (I’m looking at you, Far Cry 3). I was actually going to ask you to start thinking about what it would be like, as others have asked you, if you were consistently forced to play characters with which you had nothing in common, as the only time anyone who looked like you showed up in the game was as weak, foolish and an object which you and the character who looks and acts nothing like you are supposed to save.

    That may be stretching your ability at empathy, at least so far as I’ve seen it manifest in this discussion, but hey, I could be wrong.

    And yes, actually you have advocated for a less equitable split. You’ve insulted and misrepresented the attempts suggested in make the split more equitable, as well as the responses of many people trying to HELP YOU on this thread. And they were trying to help you, as exasperated as they may seem.

    No one owes you, stranger, patience or conciliatory concessions.

    You don’t get to claim that this has been your goal the whole time when your statements are here, on the thread, for everyone else to read.

    If you can admit you are ignorant, why are you not motivated (as in trying to find a definition on your own) to cease being ignorant? But then, as you have suggested throughout the thread, you think the concern for equity is too much trouble/cannot be satisfied/will ruin story-telling/is not important because the character (which presumably looks more like you than me) is not supposed to resemble the player, etc.

    Hell, I’ll even do you a favor: sexism is a quality of cultures or systems that is shared by individuals inside that culture or system that makes a series of judgements based on gender that do not permit equality of participation in the system for persons sharing that gender.

    I’ll do you even better solid, since I don’t think you’ll bother with actually trying to look anything up. Sexism is expressed most obviously in issues of representation, since representation is a major vector for the recreation of culture. Representation becomes short-hand in the culture for a system of deficiencies in the class of persons being represented.

    In this case, the representation of women in video games is short-hand for a series of personality and cultural defects women are supposed to have, like physical weakness, the inability to defend themselves, decision paralysis, lack of strategic or tactical skills, lack of survival skills, etc. ALL of these things are seen as major personality defects in US culture.

  171. says

    I must be too dumb for you, Xrod. Pretend like I’m 7 years old and explain why answering the question, “Why is this considered an accusation rather than an observation” with “Because it’s an accusation!” actually elucidates any part of the discussion at hand.

  172. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The realities of Donkey Kong are the blocks that show up on your screen as designed by the developer. Sorry to disappoint, but I never meant anything more than that.

    Why should developers intent override what one does to the game, if the only changes are in the shape tables and sound bites? Keep in mind this is for personal use. So, where’s your real problem, other than between your ears?

  173. says

    And, for bonus points, all those qualities are associated prima facie with being female and encouraged in women, making their expression in the representation of women in video games both a part of the larger culture and a part of sexism.

  174. skmc says

    C Tran writes of the Donkey Kong days (not they they’re over):

    let’s face it, not that many girls were playing games.

    This does not square with my experience at all. My sisters, friends, and I were all playing those games. I only speak from my own childhood experience (which was in silicon valley to boot), but still, I suspect the perception that girls didn’t or don’t play video games is highly exaggerated. My niece and nephew both play video games about the same amount, and they play the same games for the most part. Perhaps this really is unusual, but like most stereotypes, I think reality is more complex than the received wisdom.

  175. says

    Jebus.

    Look, Nintendo committed casual, ordinary, unexceptional, tired, common, bog-standard sexism. That’s just the way it was. Yes, it certainly was run-of-the-mill for its time…but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t sexism.

    It also doesn’t mean we’re preparing to riot and throw gasoline on old nintendo game consoles. It was noted, and then the indignant male asshole brigade showed up to whine that we dared criticize sexist attitudes in 30 year old games.

    And that’s why these attitudes persist, dumbfucks.

  176. says

    flek said:

    I am so sorry that Nintendo failed you by not providing you a female protagonist in Donkey Kong thirty years ago. I’m so sorry that product of its time is product of its time.

    1. No apology was requested, and
    2. Nobody said it wasn’t.

    Are you by chance one of Donkey Kong’s designers? Because you seem to be taking this very personally.

  177. says

    skmc: That was my experience, as well. It was easier to send a male person in to buy the game, because of creepers and/or being ignored, but the person playing the game was fairly likely to be female.

  178. xrod says

    And yes, actually you have advocated for a less equitable split.

    When? Keyphrases: advocated, less than equitable

    You’ve insulted and misrepresented the attempts suggested in make the split more equitable, as well as the responses of many people trying to HELP YOU on this thread.

    When?

    If you can admit you are ignorant…

    Didn’t say I was… said I wouldn’t be proud of the fact, in a direct response to someone ascribing my pride to my ignorance.

    Can you even begin to see how tiresome correcting all the comments taken out of context and unfounded assumptions can be. There’s something about debating theists regarding spitting out falsities in sentences that take paragraphs to correct, I’d caution that you and others seem to be adopting a similar tact.

  179. says

    Again:

    I must be too dumb for you, Xrod. Pretend like I’m 7 years old and explain why answering the question, “Why is this considered an accusation rather than an observation” with “Because it’s an accusation!” actually elucidates any part of the discussion at hand.

  180. omnicrom says

    xrod you are not nearly as clever as you seem to think you are.

    And yes, you did advocate for a less then equitable split when you freaked out that some strawman of making all characters able to be customized to all races and genders would freeze the gaming industry. You provided a hypothetical strawman nightmare scenario to try and discard the argument that there should be broader representation of gender and race in gaming. By pulling out that strawman scenario of “YOU WANT TO DESTROY GAMING!” you are advocating against a more equitable split.

    And yes you did repeatedly misrepresent attempts to explain people this. People repeatedly pointed out your reasoning was full of shit in this thread and you continued to JAQ off and erect strawmen. And now that you are lying about what you said and did in this thread you continue to misrepresent yourself and others.

    Your statements were not taken out of context. Our assumptions of your ignorance are not unfounded unless are are claiming you INTENTIONALLY misrepresented what others were saying and what our position on more equitable gaming are. I find it tremendously ironic that after racing after strawman and fearmongering about a completely unrealistic slippery slope you have the gall to say that the Pharyngulites are acting like goddist apologists which incidentally is another strawman.

  181. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Can you even begin to see how tiresome correcting all the comments taken out of context and unfounded assumptions can be.

    You’re the one taking comments out of context. You’re the one having trouble with concepts. Gee, what next, accuse of pandering to feminists while we applaud a father making his daughter happy? Not much of person, are you?

  182. Lindwurm says

    While it is good that more games are allowing you to choose your character’s sex, I hope that this does not become the absolute rule in the gaming industry. By which I mean, I hope there will still be room for games that tell a story about a protagonist that has a name (that the player doesn’t choose) and a specific identity/background, where you can’t just plop in a completely customized avatar. While developers could make two different storylines for both a male and female protagonist, most of them would probably choose the cheaper option of making the main character generic and vague enough to allow for a simple model and pronoun swap depending on the player’s choice.

  183. says

    I’m pretty sure no one is advocating for that Lindwurm. It’s been stated multiple times that in the case of character driven game plots the need is for them not to all be about white dudes. We need more choice in less plot-y games, and more diversity in the plot-y ones.

    8^)

  184. supersysscvi says

    All you regulars are awesome. ^^ Reading the comments here is… o.o I don’t quite know how to describe it accurately. :x Would “comforting” be a bad way to put it?

    And the article in the OP is awesome. One of the reasons I love fiction, and why I’d love to be in a gaming company someday. Questions like the one posed by the game developer’s daughter, “How can I play as the girl? I want to save Mario!”, can be answered positively by just making them. It does involve vast amounts of time to do (as my expertise tends to fall flat with 3D engines), but the endeavour is always possible.

    (But that’s enough from me; I do spend large amounts of my life thinking about video games. :x )

  185. xrod says

    PZ thinks Donkey Kong is sexist because a guy rescues a girl. I don’t think it is. I have no problem with women and minorities filling more major roles in games. I just think that a lot of you don’t know what you actually want in that respect.

  186. says

    XROD @ 214, you talking to me? Because I’ve been lurking here since I first commented at #6, and your inability to grasp that no one is talking about gutting all games for gender equality, or making all games a choose your gender game, is exactly what’s making you sound like a jerk.

    8^/

  187. says

    PZ thinks Donkey Kong is sexist because a guy rescues a girl. I don’t think it is.

    A guy rescues a girl, and there is no equivalent opportunity for the girl to play, let alone rescue anyone, and this occurs in a context of many games that follow the exact same pattern and none which subvert it. That’s why it’s sexist, as has been explained repeatedly.

    I have no problem with women and minorities filling more major roles in games. I just think that a lot of you don’t know what you actually want in that respect.

    The fact that this follows in the direct wake of a very specific post about what we actually want, following dozens of similar posts, suggests that the problem is not our failure to know what we want but yours to comprehend it.

    Besides, why is it necessary to know exactly what we want? Must we be literally able to design a game ourselves in order to have general expectations that aren’t being met?

  188. says

    216. Yeah no. It’s not sexist alone. It’s sexist as part of a pattern of ALL the games being like that. You have to take the game in context, and the context in this case is, women are relegated to object roles in the majority of video games. That’s why it’s sexist for a guy to rescue a girl, and not for a girl to rescue a guy, because the scales, so to speak are soooo off balance on the guy rescues girl side, that the dish is on the table.

    8^/

  189. says

    xrod: Here you go, buddy.

    #58 So we’ve clearly established there are bad reasons to hack a game… I’m just asking what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl. Do you re-write your children’s books, too?”

    Belittling. Implies that the concern for diversity makes the person concerned unable to enjoy what are considered ‘simple’ acts or ‘categorically good’ acts.

    #66 “Because if I understand correctly, you’d have all my game discs filled up with character customization options and nothing would ever be enough for you. Or you would sacrifice quality in stories to accommodate gender neutrality.”

    Also belittling. States that concerns like this are both impractical and unable to be satisfied. Tries to ask loaded question.

    #76 “Any game that uses gender as a plot device, let’s say becoming a princess… might conceivably need to be altered to accommodate a male lead. This could sacrifice story. It could cost more to do different animations… voice acting… blah blah blah. But what if the princess wants to marry another princess? You just don’t seem willing to accept that by playing a game you are entering into a story that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) revolve entirely around you.”

    Continuing belittlement of idea of seeking equality, belittlement of persons concerned with this.

    #78 “Look if you all want to argue that every game should be able to be customized to each and everyone’s every particularity, I think you are crazy. Many games go a great length to allow for this, but I get the impression that you’ve still got an axe to grind and bowing to your demands would bring the gaming industry to a halt.”

    Continuing belittlement of equity concerns and people who have those concerns, calling them crazy for protesting and stating that the just have an axe to grind and want to prevent the creation of games.

    #95 “I’ve played your game. You are the ones moving to personal attacks.”

    Continuing belittlement of the conversation as a ‘game’, despite being told repeatedly that the results of inequity have real world results. Characterization of attempts to help you understand as personal attacks.

    #116 “The industry could be brought to a halt if every game was as customizable as some people seem to think it should be. If you think people will eventually be satisfied with the available diversity to shut up about it, great!

    Oh and fuck you too.”

    Continued belittlement of diversity concerns both as a waste of time (unsatisfiable) and mischaracterization of those efforts as the attempt to ‘shut up’ complainers.

    #128 “If a game where a guy rescues a girl is sexist, then isn’t game were a girl rescues a guy is sexist? If both are white (or black), isn’t it racist. If both are of the opposite sex, isn’t it homophobic?”

    Red herring, serious mischaracterization of sexism, homophobia and racism in order to distract from inability to sustain an argument.

    #146 “Obsession, irate, peculiarly upset are all terms that I don’t personally identify with regarding this discussion. I’m intrigued that people take issue with the gender of the role they step into while gaming, and left wondering why other attributes are not more of a concern in a community apparently so concerned with such things. I fail to see how a developer’s decision to include only one gender as a playable character arouses even the slightest indignation on the part of anyone—much less an accusation of sexism—and am genuinely curious how this community would see the future of gaming proceed.”

    Characterization of self as having intent that is innocent. Characterization of community as misguided, pursuit of equity as misguided and concerned with trivial details.

    #158 “Yes, because a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach.”

    Insult to the 3 year old in the original argument.

    #188 “You’ll forgive me if I let you do to the simple subtraction for me. What exactly is the difference between white male protagonists and male protagonists for 2012 games? I might have some trouble determining exactly what qualifies as white, insensitive POS that I am.

    I do believe I encouraged discussion about diversity across more than gender lines, albeit poorly received, but I have a pretty good idea of why we are talking about it, if we are.

    I never made any claim to the proportion of gamers by gender. I asked if a 50/50 split or a proportional division is desired for the gender of the main character, or something to that effect,

    I’m not sure what to make of the rest of it, exasperation might translate differently in text but I haven’t been anywhere near close. I guess Donkey Kong was a dude monkey from the sound of it. Sorry if that upset you…

    If I am ignorant, I am not proud of the fact. Fuck (for good measure).”

    I’ll just sum that sucker up with defensive reframing of previous statements.

    #195: “I’m sorry, I truly did not mean to lie or besmirch the kindheartedness of the fine people here upon which my derailing tactics were greeted with agreement and more politely than was deserved….. I wasn’t even going to bring it up again, until I was asked.

    Lots of stuff to sort through, you’ll understand.”

    Attempt to reframe responses as the fault of community members.

    I can read, fucker. Can you?

  190. xrod says

    A guy rescues a girl, and there is no equivalent opportunity for the girl to play, let alone rescue anyone, and this occurs in a context of many games that follow the exact same pattern and none which subvert it. That’s why it’s sexist, as has been explained repeatedly.

    Forget about multiple games. Donkey Kong is either sexist or it isn’t. Is Tomb Raider sexist? Why or why not? If her attire or posterior is in question, imagine a modest version. Same question. Trying to create a benchmark here. If a double-standard should exist, why?

  191. says

    …. I didn’t answer that question with that answer …

    An honest interlocutor, i.e. a non-troll, would courteously explain what the actual answer was.

    Since you cannot, I will assume that you are lying here and that you did indeed engage in circular reasoning previously.

    I will continue to hold this assumption until you provide an alternative explanation.

    The 7-year-old in me wants to kick you in the shins for being so rude and obtuse, by the way. Not that you have shown any signs of caring.

  192. says

    You CAN’T forget about multiple games dude! CONTEXT is critical to what is and is not sexist. You can’t tell if a group is being favored over another via only one datapoint.

    Oh, and xrod just so you don’t play the “You’re silent, so I win” card while I’m away, I’m on my way home from work now, by way of the supermarket. I’ll be back when I get home. This is a nice thread to cut my lurker teeth sniney on.

    8^)

  193. omnicrom says

    I just think that a lot of you don’t know what you actually want in that respect.

    So xrod, you wanted an instance of you misrepresenting us? Okay, here you go. Right here. I and others have explained in detail what we want and why we want it. You have either ignored or outright dismisses posts by me or others to say about us that “a lot of you don’t know what you actually want”. Again: People have explained in this thread what the issue is and what people want.

    Mayonnaise Jane said it absolutely perfectly in 213 in response to Lindwurm’s actually genuinely valid comment. Gretchen in 218 explained why it was sexist in 2 sentences. Done. We have explained what we want and why. Now stop misrepresenting us.

  194. xrod says

    Nope don’t care about virtual kicks from a 7-year-old. Also don’t care that you don’t get it, not my problem. My conscience is clear on that one.

  195. Jacob Schmidt says

    If a double-standard should exist, why?

    The double standard already exists: Men are to save. Women are to be saved.

    We just want that double standard to, you know, not be standard.

  196. says

    No, I won’t forget about context, sorry. Context matters.

    Is Tomb Raider sexist? Why or why not? If her attire or posterior is in question, imagine a modest version. Same question.

    I’ve never played it– any incarnation– so I can’t say for sure, but the fact that in the original version she had breasts about 150% the size of the average woman leads me to say that in that case, yes. Making the playable female character in a video game look like an overly inflated lingerie model = sexist.

    Trying to create a benchmark here. If a double-standard should exist, why?

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing a video game that sexualizes male characters to the extent that Lara Croft is, but I sure wouldn’t be as bothered about it. Why? Because men don’t go about their daily existence with their very worth judged by their fuckability. That’s why.

    Again, context matters.

  197. xrod says

    “It’s been stated multiple times that in the case of character driven game plots the need is for them not to all be about white dudes.”

    Okay. Found one not about a white dude. Check.

  198. omnicrom says

    Your conscience is clear. How nice for you xrod. After lying and misrepresenting numerous people, ignoring sexism as an endemic problem, and intentionally and aggressively staying ignorant I’m so glad that you can rest easy.

    I’m so sorry that we didn’t get your point that sexist things aren’t a big deal or whatever your point actually was. I said it above xrod but you are not nearly as clever as you think you are. Either your point really IS that sexism isn’t a big deal (which it totally is by the way) or you totally failed in making your point. Either way, you are not as clever as you think you are. BTW if your point really IS NOT that sexism isn’t a big deal (because sexism is a big deal), then I suggest you slow down and take Sally Strange’s advice and pretend like you are explaining your grand thesis to a 7-year-old.

  199. xrod says

    @Gretchen

    So we need more females and they must conform to a stricter standard. You ignored my question about a modest Tomb Raider game.

  200. omnicrom says

    Was that wit at 231 xrod? If so I suggest you quit while you’re behind. Also you are once again misrepresenting what is being said. After you made the totally disingenuous claim that you were being taken out of context you really need to cut your losses and leave.

  201. says

    I meant to say this earlier, xrod, but if you weren’t damn proud of your ignorance, you wouldn’t still be here, showing it to everyone on the thread. I’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it.

    Really, it’s nothing to be proud of. Promise.

  202. xrod says

    No… why don’t you read omnicrom?

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing a video game that sexualizes male characters to the extent that Lara Croft is, but I sure wouldn’t be as bothered about it. Why? Because men don’t go about their daily existence with their very worth judged by their fuckability.

  203. daniellavine says

    @xrod:

    You need to calm down and step away from the computer for a bit.

    I really don’t understand why people criticizing sexist attitudes in video games is such a huge deal to you but it’s clear that it is and that your emotions are inhibiting your ability to read and understand what people are trying to explain to you.

    Can you even begin to see how tiresome correcting all the comments taken out of context and unfounded assumptions can be. There’s something about debating theists regarding spitting out falsities in sentences that take paragraphs to correct, I’d caution that you and others seem to be adopting a similar tact.

    You are the one taking comments out of context and making unfounded assumptions. Yes, I’ve read the thread from the beginning and have all the context.

    If you want to have a serious discussion you need to be able to concede when people make points and you need to be able to concede when you make mistakes. You’ve misinterpreted so many people on this thread that it looks like you’re doing so intentionally — which makes you look like a troll. Are you trolling? If you are then good job. If not then…not such a good job.

  204. xrod says

    I’ve said it before, but assumptions seem to be a requirement for membership here.

  205. says

    So we need more females and they must conform to a stricter standard.

    Stricter? I don’t know what you mean by that. I mean it would be nice if they didn’t appear to be designed specifically to give male players erections.

    You ignored my question about a modest Tomb Raider game.

    No, I didn’t. I said I won’t comment on the game in general because I haven’t played it. Do try to read.

  206. daniellavine says

    @xrod:

    1. You’re making at least as many assumptions as anyone else.
    2. Given the frequency and tenor of your comments so far it is a safe assumption that you are getting way too emotional about this. If you’re not it should be easy to step away from the computer and do something you find more enjoyable.

  207. xrod says

    If her attire or posterior is in question, imagine a modest version.

    Will anyone comment on whether such a Tomb Raider game would be sexist or not?

  208. Jacob Schmidt says

    xrod, what false “assumptions” has anyone but you made?

    The closest thing to an assumption I see is that many of us think you are a man. That’s not an assumption, that’s simple probability.

  209. catballou says

    OK, I have to admit upfront that I have never been, and probably never will be, a gamer. But I was around in the ’80s, and the concept of sexism as a negative was most definitely around too. Nintendo gets a pass for not being a leader in the fight to combat sexism, but management couldn’t have been completely ignorant of the issue. Nor was gaming such a “man’s world” at that point. But I digress…
    It was obvious from xrod’s first disingenuous comment that he was a troll. Not worth debating. I’m still getting to my point…
    “You just don’t seem willing to accept that by playing a game you are entering into a story that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) revolve entirely around you.” If I were to start gaming, bygod the story had BETTER revolve around me! Who plays to be a bystander??

  210. daniellavine says

    @xrod:

    After your utter failure to engage with anyone here no one is the least bit obligated to engage with you. You get what you give. If you want people to respond to your questions then you need to acknowledge when you’re mischaracterizing or misinterpreting people’s arguments. You’ve done so many times in this thread and haven’t acknowledged it once.

  211. omnicrom says

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing a video game that sexualizes male characters to the extent that Lara Croft is, but I sure wouldn’t be as bothered about it. Why? Because men don’t go about their daily existence with their very worth judged by their fuckability.

    What am I reading here xrod? Gretchen here is doing a good job explaining about context of video games which they are using to explain why Lara Croft who is strongly designed around her sex appeal represents a sexist attitude. Gretchen is correct BTW, Lara Croft even apart from being very unpleasant in the original Tomb Raider games is incredibly sexualized and just on the other side of the line where sexy meets sexist.

    I’ve said it before, but assumptions seem to be a requirement for membership here.

    xrod you have the bad and trollish tendency to say things without saying enough to explain what you mean. What assumptions are you referring to? Because if the assumptions you are bemoaning are that sexism exists and is a problem and must be pointed and accounted for then I suggest you leave. Pharyngula cares quite a bit about fighting sexism and as long as you are incoherently exasperated about us feminists I’m truly not sure why you popped up here posting up a storm.

  212. daniellavine says

    Incidentally, this “girls weren’t playing video games back then” stuff is bullshit. First person to get an NES in my 1st grade class in 1989 or 1990 was a girl. Everyone was totes jelly.

  213. omnicrom says

    xrod @ 242 please stop fishing.

    You are clearly hoping to hook an answer so you can deliver an imagined rhetorical masterstroke. Stop JAQing off, if you have a point to make then make it.

  214. xrod says

    @omicron
    So I’m supposed to read, but not for too long cause that would be cheating…

  215. omnicrom says

    @xrod

    Next time can you avoid descending into complete incoherence when trying to make your points whatever they are?

  216. Eristae says

    I don’t understand why some people are freaking out that many video games are sexist, and that this is especially true of older games. I remember feeling sad that overwhelming majority of the games that I played only had the option to play as male, but I still played them. I recognized that there was an issue, but I still loved the games.

    Video games are the product of humans, and humans are flawed. It is not shocking that this would make video games flawed. This doesn’t mean that we can’t love video games. It just means we should try to improve them.

    I, for one, would absolutely love to see a game with Zelda as the protagonist. It would thrill me. Does that mean I think that the games made with Link as the protagonist are evil? Of course not. The Legend of Zelda was the first game I ever finished, and it was wonderful. But it would have been nice if I could have played it as a girl.

  217. says

    @mathema: “the game really isn’t played anymore thankfully”

    Really? In a story in which a Dad hacked it for his daughter? Who is she, nobody at all? Haven’t you noticed the popularity of console emulators and retro gaming? And I just saw that Final Fantasy III and IV are now available on iTunes (updated graphics, but same game). Twenty year old games still have a big audience. It’s like books and movies, the good old ones are still around.

    (No comment on xrod. His idiocy is being well dismantled by everyone else.)

  218. Lofty says

    xrod

    I’ve said it before, but assumptions seem to be a requirement for membership here.

    Yes, the ability to value women as equals deserving of respect.

  219. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PZ thinks Donkey Kong is sexist because a guy rescues a girl. I don’t think it is.

    Show me why your OPINION trumps anybody else’s. Or let us keep our opinions. Especiall the one where you are trolling. And show how your posts differ from typical trolls doing inane trolling.

  220. Ichthyic says

    I’ve said it before, but assumptions seem to be a requirement for membership here.

    no decoder ring for you.

  221. crocodoc says

    When can I eventually shoot women in Doom? Or at least get my male version of Great Giana Sisters? (Yes I know it was a Super Mario clone)

    Anyway, modding a game for your daughter so she can be the hero is unbelievably cool.

  222. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Anyway, modding a game for your daughter so she can be the hero is unbelievably cool.

    That is the whole point. Anything else is somebody trying to rain on that parade, playing the meanie.

  223. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    so I see everyone is enjoying playing X-Rod: Enemy Piss and Moan?

  224. says

    I don’t understand why some people are freaking out that many video games are sexist, and that this is especially true of older games. I remember feeling sad that overwhelming majority of the games that I played only had the option to play as male, but I still played them. I recognized that there was an issue, but I still loved the games.

    Video games are the product of humans, and humans are flawed. It is not shocking that this would make video games flawed. This doesn’t mean that we can’t love video games. It just means we should try to improve them.

    I, for one, would absolutely love to see a game with Zelda as the protagonist. It would thrill me. Does that mean I think that the games made with Link as the protagonist are evil? Of course not. The Legend of Zelda was the first game I ever finished, and it was wonderful. But it would have been nice if I could have played it as a girl.

    Congratulations, you disagree with……nobody here. Not even Xrod.

  225. Ichthyic says

    so I see everyone is enjoying playing X-Rod: Enemy Piss and Moan?

    ROFLMAO

    yeah, but can we get someone to reprogram it into a female persona?

  226. jackiepaper says

    I just want to say that I am amazed at how patient people are being with the shrieking shitweasels that have infested this thread. You each deserve a round of ice cream and beer.

    Oh, and if women as heroes ruin your games for you, then you deserve to have those games ruined. Ditto if non-white or LGBTQ heroes ruin your fun. Yours is a parade I’d love to see rained on.

  227. Ichthyic says

    I think she’s trying to say you took all sides on all points.

    It wasn’t an easy thing to do, so she’s congratulating you on the effort that took, instead of the content of the reply.

    I could be wrong, or right.

  228. says

    “It’s been stated multiple times that in the case of character driven game plots the need is for them not to all be about white dudes.”

    Okay. Found one not about a white dude. Check.

    Seriously? I go offline for nearly 3 hours and come back, and all you have is a grammatical loophole?
    Seriously that answer is on par with answering “Can I go to the bathroom?” with “You CAN, but you MAY NOT.”

    Seriously I’m not going to even honor that with a rephrase.

    And thanks for the Welcome SallyStrange. I’ve been lurking since ScienceBlogs, but never felt like I had anything new worth contributing… this thread just seemed like the right time to pop in. I’ll have to make my way over to the lounge later.

    8^)

  229. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    A beautifully caring act by the father of the 3-year-old girl, without a doubt.

    As for the only general question worth merit, I believe, inspired by xrod (whose posts have inspired me to build a perpetual motion facepalming machine), as to what will be the equitable outcome: an end to delineating roles based upon stereotypes. When the importance and capacity to effect the realm they exist within is not predictable beyond chance simply by knowing the sex of the character. When simple titillation (Lara Croft) is not a compensation for inserting women in horribly written weak lead roles as a false gesture to cater to both male and female gamers. When things truly are equitable. Not equality in representation numbers. But in the quality of their representation. Women as formidable, robust and nuanced characters.

    Essentially, I want to see better games. I see the equitable aspect as engaging the audience on an adult level. How can this equity possibly be a loss for gaming? If anything it would enhance it.

  230. echidna says

    I’m just baffled by the way xrod seems to think that the world is as it is, and that no-one should attempt to change anything, ever.
    xrod:

    The realities of Donkey Kong are the blocks that show up on your screen as designed by the developer. Sorry to disappoint, but I never meant anything more than that.

    Really? When our kids were younger, we hacked a game to include a monster drawn by our then 5-yo. As any computer person knows, computing is all about the ability to create things, do things, change how things are done.

    Why are you advocating passivity, xrod?

  231. The Mellow Monkey says

    xrod

    The realities of Donkey Kong are the blocks that show up on your screen as designed by the developer. Sorry to disappoint, but I never meant anything more than that.

    I have never in my life known any gamer to say such a thing. What’s with this weird purity for games?

    We hack. If we can’t hack, we download someone else’s hack. If the game is already set for it, we download patches and skins and all kinds of user created material. Games aren’t static. They’re a huge dynamic community effort.

    Do you even play games?

  232. skmc says

    I’m just baffled by the way xrod seems to think that the world is as it is, and that no-one should attempt to change anything, ever.–echidna, #272

    But but, Perpetual Panglossian Privilege is truly the Best of all Possible Worlds! Why change it? And above all NOT MAH GAMEZ!

  233. mathema says

    Lol, I drove an hour to Rutgers, stayed a while, came back, and the argument rages on. He’s not done yet I guess, no offense xrod.

  234. says

    I meant, Eristae, that you were arguing with nobody. Nobody thinks Donkey Kong is evil. Nobody thinks Nintendo is evil. Nobody is throwing a fit and claiming they will never play video games again. Nobody has said they no longer love them. Nobody thinks humans aren’t flawed, and nobody thinks that sexism isn’t part of the general culture which seeps into video games like it seeps into other kinds of media.

    So, you agree with everyone, and oppose a phantom. Otherwise known as a strawman.

  235. xrod says

    All right. Thought I’d throw you guys a bone. And exemplify my being taken out of context. Read up:

    People are giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you’re a guy blinkered by privilege rather than having reached adulthood as a female anti-feminist. The former is too common; the latter too depressing.

    Yes, because a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach.

    Cheers!

  236. Eristae says

    @Gretchen

    Er, I never claimed that people were doing that*? However, people are acting like the feminist side is saying those things (“grr grr, you think video games are evil/you want to destroy video games/you want to ruin a classic icon/blah blah”); just looking at the comments section of basically anywhere that has this article up will reveal comments to that effect.

    And I wasn’t arguing with anyone; I was commenting on the furor that seems to be surrounding this issue. If I have somehow misunderstood the original blog post in a way that has lead me to post in a manner that is inappropriate, I apologize, but I’m afraid I don’t see in what way my post was inappropriate.

    *except the “sexism isn’t part of the general culture which seeps into video games like it seeps into other kinds of media.” I think it’s pretty clear that many believe that sexism isn’t seeping into video games, or are at least dedicated to declaring such at the very top of their lungs. Hence the massive flipping out at Anita Sarkeesian

  237. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, xrod still not getting it. Xe keeps thinking xis inane opinion is meaningful to us. Not until it shows us xe can think with empathy for a three year old girl.

  238. mathema says

    @253 I’ve addressed that as hyperbole above, but I agree, it wasn’t a thought out statement. I don’t want to argue over the popularity of retro gaming, as that wasn’t absolutely central to my post. What I meant, and I think most people saw it, is that retro gaming is not as popular as modern platform gaming. Hence why I said ‘thankfully’, as my entire point was simply to share some hope about the gaming world, and to bring attention to a game like ME3 that some people may not have heard about. Just like the title says, “a positive story from the gamer community”. I love video games, it’s hard not to defend them.

    My point was not to diminish the point made about sexism in DK or gaming overall, although I know you guys get a lot of undercover trolls and it could’ve easily been taken that way. There is no question whether or not sexism exists in modern games.

  239. mathema says

    And that goes for retro games even more so, but I think that goes without “saying”. It’s writing, really, if we’re being honest.

  240. says

    xrod: It still doesn’t make sense.

    I mean, unless you are trying to pull out the ‘I have a female friend who disagrees so neener-neener” argument. And in that case, you transition straight to pitiful.

  241. xrod says

    Yawn, xrod still not getting it. Xe keeps thinking xis inane opinion is meaningful to us. Not until it shows us xe can think with empathy for a three year old girl.

    I fail to see how my last post was opinionated in any way. I have never expressed any feelings toward the three-year-old in question, and I don’t recall anyone asking me about it. I don’t “think” with “empathy”, but I certainly don’t fault her for wanting to be a princess and could understand how she might want to be, if that’s what you mean. I’ve also never voiced any opposition to her father hacking the game for her. He sounds like a great father.

  242. Ichthyic says

    you transition straight to pitiful.

    transition?

    thought it started off that way myself.

  243. says

    Re: 279:

    What? That wasn’t even an example of what you claimed it was an example of. It was you responding to someone responding to you complaining about people assuming you were male. In order for it to be an example of your remarks being taken out of context, you have to show the original remark, then show how it was quoted or paraphrased, and explain the difference between the two.

  244. xrod says

    xrod: It still doesn’t make sense.

    I mean, unless you are trying to pull out the ‘I have a female friend who disagrees so neener-neener” argument. And in that case, you transition straight to pitiful

    thought it started off that way myself.

    It’s really not my job to explain the context to you, but I wasn’t talking about a “female friend.”

  245. xrod says

    @SallyStrange
    That was the original quote about “realities”. It has been taken out of context for pages now. If you need more original context go find it, but what should be immediately evident is that my quote about “realities” does not in the manner it was being it was being used in.

  246. says

    It’s really not my job to explain the context to you

    It is if you’re trying to demonstrate how you were taken out of context. Can you even remember what you said/typed ten minutes ago? Are you okay? Should someone call a doctor for you?

  247. Ichthyic says

    It’s really not my job to explain the context to you

    It’s obviously not your job to explain anything you say, regardless of how little sense it makes, nor how many ask you to do so.

    It’s just as obvious you are little more than a buzzing troll.

    run along.

  248. says

    That was the original quote about “realities”. It has been taken out of context for pages now.

    What original quote? What realities? What context did you intend, and how did the context in which it was used differ from the context you intended?

  249. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What original quote? What realities? What context did you intend, and how did the context in which it was used differ from the context you intended?

    Since xrod has been semi-incoherent during his stay, I suspect the real answers won’t be forthcoming. Evidence is the bane of trolls. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, “they can’t handle the truth about themselves”.

  250. says

    Well, I sometimes hold out hope for no reason ‘tall. Teach me to entertain optimism in the face of mediocrity and awful argumentation skills.

    xrod, if you are female (which I doubt from the style of defense you’re using and a few lexical clues in your posts), then it does you good to have more diversity for many reasons, among them stereotype threat.

    If you are male, you appear to be lazy as shit.

    Either way, you can lead an ass to water, but you cannot make it drink to save its life (or in this case, precious little wit).

  251. omnicrom says

    xrod just because you say something doesn’t make it so.

    Just because you say you were taken out of context doesn’t mean you were taken out of context. I suggest next time that you should provide context: explain what you meant in one of those quotes you claim we’ve taken out of context and show who and when and how you were taken out of context. That you have not done so at all merely serves to demonstrate you are incoherent and ignorant.

    I will say again: You are not nearly as clever as you seem to think you are. Take the SallyStrange challenge, explain like you would to a 7-year-old what point you are trying to get across. I’m pretty damn sure that nothing you have to say is of any value, but please go ahead and prove me wrong xrod if you feel you actually do have a point to make.

  252. xrod says

    @mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Now you’ve got me really curious. I don’t want to put words in your mouth (I’m not a Pharyngulite yet) But you seem to suggest that if I am male I am more lazy than if I am female. Care to elaborate?

  253. consciousness razor says

    A guy rescues a girl, and there is no equivalent opportunity for the girl to play, let alone rescue anyone, and this occurs in a context of many games that follow the exact same pattern and none which subvert it. That’s why it’s sexist, as has been explained repeatedly.

    Forget about multiple games.

    Pbffftt… I gotta know. Do you really believe everyone else is as oblivious as you, or do you think we should be?

    Donkey Kong is either sexist or it isn’t. Is Tomb Raider sexist? Why or why not? If her attire or posterior is in question, imagine a modest version. Same question. Trying to create a benchmark here. If a double-standard should exist, why?

    What would be the point of any of this, if we’re forgetting (for some bizarre reason) that it’s about a pattern found in lots and lots of different games? The benchmark would be for what, comparing a game or character role or depiction or storyline to itself?

  254. omnicrom says

    xrod if you think so little of the Pharyngulites for accurately pointing out that you’re full of crap when you are quoted in context and your semi-illegible posts are examined then I suggest you leave.

  255. says

    xrod: In order to understand, you’d have to understand cultural context. As you’ve not only exhibited shocking ignorance on the subject and the absolute refusal to understand, I shan’t hold my breath.

  256. xrod says

    This was said in the context of me not agreeing with the existence of sexism in Donkey Kong. It really hadn’t gone past that at the time. I asked why I was certainly male. I was answered as quoted:

    People are giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you’re a guy blinkered by privilege rather than having reached adulthood as a female anti-feminist. The former is too common; the latter too depressing.

    Yes, because a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach.

    By saying “a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach,” I was sarcastically supporting the assumption that I am male. The gag was that the only evidence was my opposition to DK sexism, hence the “realities” of it which would apparently be too depressing to believe. Then it turned into, “What are the realities of Donkey Kong?” I hastily answered that they are what is on the screen.

  257. xrod says

    @consciousness razor

    The purpose of a benchmark is to establish what is actually sexist. Something either is or it isn’t, correct? Or is it entirely subjective?

  258. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    Right. In principle there is nothing inherently wrong with white people painting themselves another color to play a person of a different race. But it’s fucking racist as shit to do it because of the actual history and context of blackface(and redface, etc.) The same with sexist tropes in video games, they are sexist because of the context, not merely on their own (mostly, I mean there is no way (trigger warning before looking this up: )Custer’s Revenge could ever not be racist and sexist as fuck).

    I mean, if I thought Xrod were arguing in anything akin to good faith, I would talk about how when I first was exposed to feminism having someone explain to me that it wasn’t about me personally, and didn’t make me a despicable person that sexism existed and I probably had sexist beliefs and liked sexist things. It would make me a bad person to learn this and then not care, perhaps, but on its own so long as I worked to improve myself and other people, I could still be good.

    I feel similarly about any art and literature. I mean, I enjoy plenty of works that I think are terribly racist, sexist, etc. I love Lovecraft, but I will be the first to admit that he portrays nearly no women characters well, and is abominably racist. I think it’s ok to enjoy Lovecraft in spite of that, so long as I recognize where it is problematic, don’t expect other people to necessarily be able to overlook it, and criticize and accept criticism where it is due.

    (Even moreso: I love the Brothers Karmazov, Les Miserables, and David Hume. But I recognize how the lack of empowered women in the first, the utterly objectifying treatment of Cosette in the second, and the general lack of consideration for women’s and minority rights in Hume’s ethics are all sexist. It doesn’t mean I can’t take the good parts I like out of them, just that I see where there are problems. I don’t get angry or upset, but I do try to seek out other works that might provide a better example and counterpoint(Lahiri or Allende, say.)

    The same is true in video games. I mean, it’s very hard not to find a lot of sexism in Kingdom Hearts, where nearly every woman character is bascially an object to be rescued, and mostly devoid of personality(I include Square original and Disney characters here). But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the game and even rank it among my favourites, it just means I recognize the flaws and seek out to enjoy and encourage games with better representation of women and minorities that I might overlook.

    It’s neither infuriating or upsetting, it’s just based on two motives, one selfless and one selfish.

    The selfless reason is harm minimization. I find sexism, racism, etc. bad because they hurt women and people of color and other minorities. I recognize that having no or poor role models, ways to express oneself, and representation must be very frustrating and upsetting, and I would like people to not feel that way. I mean I know a young black woman who cried with joy when she saw the Princess and the Frog because it meant so much to her that she could, in a sense, be a Disney princess as much as white women could. I want more people to have that level of happiness, and moreso, to not have the annoyance, frustration, and ill effects that come from a lack of representation.

    The selfish reason is: I like to consider myself curious! It’s interesting and exciting to see how people different from me live, it’s why fiction is so fun and why it can be so amazing to see the perspective of an Sengalese housewife, or a Chinese woman professor, or a Dominican-American man. I mean, seeing myself in everything would be dull and unexciting after a while, and how could I learn anything new about the human experience?(Why would I bother with friends or romance even?) Sure, maybe changing around Peach and Mario doesn’t do that, but in the upcoming crop of video games, maybe I’ll get to play a woman character with great character development- and whose femininity is neither downplayed nor toxic-, or a gay character who has real and compelling same sex relationships, or a black man whose blackness is neither a trope nor ignored. It would be, I think, really cool and healthy.

    Or at least, these are the things I would say if I thought xrod was arguing in good faith.

  259. omnicrom says

    By saying “a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach,” I was sarcastically supporting the assumption that I am male. The gag was that the only evidence was my opposition to DK sexism, hence the “realities” of it which would apparently be too depressing to believe. Then it turned into, “What are the realities of Donkey Kong?” I hastily answered that they are what is on the screen.

    Ah, there’s the problem, your incoherence got in the way of the idiocy you were spouting.

    xrod, considering how incredibly incoherent you are it is thoroughly unsurprising that no one figured out what that comment was supposed to mean. And it really really helped us figure out what you were saying when you occluded your meanings and utterly failed to clarify yourself when someone asked you what you meant when you talked about “realities”. I say again: You are not nearly as clever as you seem to think you are, and certainly not nearly as witty either. The fact that no one had any clue what the hell you were saying is entirely on you, your incoherence has been noted repeatedly so bad wit and sarcasm do you no favors because of how hard it is to understand you.

    Oh and bonus points xrod for misrepresenting what Gretchen said! When Gretchen said that it was too depressing for you to be a woman that was a reference to the fact that you have a stereotypically blinkered male perspective of sexism and that it’s really depressing when a woman buys into the sexist party line.

  260. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    I just want to say that I am amazed at how patient people are being with the shrieking shitweasels that have infested this thread. You each deserve a round of ice cream and beer.

    Well, I’m not one of those who deserve it, but anyways that’s exactly what I’m having for dinner tonight.

    Red Hook. Ben and Jerry’s.

  261. says

    Am I getting this right? Context is vitally important when discussing xrod’s posts, but context is totally irrelevant when discussing the use of a sexist trope in Donkey Kong?
     

     
    I don’t get it.

  262. xrod says

    I might be convinced of everything you’re saying, save the bonus points. I can’t parse your interpretation into her statement after “rather” try as I might.

  263. echidna says

    xrod:

    By saying “a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach,” I was sarcastically supporting the assumption that I am male.

    Irony, including sarcasm, really only work if the people you are communicating with understand what your actual position is.

    This is why some British people tend to think that people from the USA don’t understand irony, and similarly some people from the USA seem to think the British have no humour. Neither is true, it’s just that there are enough language and cultural differences that use of irony acts as a shibboleth.
    xrod,
    there are people who do not share your culture or background on this forum, and you really aren’t communicating well enough to expect sarcasm to be recognised as such.

  264. says

    Um, well done, I guess, for TRYING to explain, but seriously, this still makes very little sense.

    By saying “a girl who can’t get her head around the realities of Donkey Kong would be too much to stomach,” I was sarcastically supporting the assumption that I am male.

    The very notion of “getting one’s head around the realities of Donkey Kong” is just weird. I’m still not clear on what it means, nor how you made the connection between that and your gender. Nor how you arrived at the conclusion that this would be a good way to sarcastically support the idea that you are male. Does sarcastically supporting mean agreeing? I’m going to go with yes, but I’m not confident even about that basic fact. Yeah. Incoherent is a good word to describe Xrod.

    The gag was that the only evidence was my opposition to DK sexism, hence the “realities” of it which would apparently be too depressing to believe.

    This doesn’t explain any gags at all. Also, you’re not opposing Donkey Kong sexism, we are. You’re opposing the notion that DK’s use of the damsel in distress trope was sexist. See? More incoherence. No wonder nobody has any clue what you’re talking about. Apparently you seriously misunderstood the remark you were responding too, and of course, being the lazy fool you are, you just shot off your mouth rather than taking the time to clarify.

    Then it turned into, “What are the realities of Donkey Kong?” I hastily answered that they are what is on the screen.

    Hastily… lazily… stupidly. It’s another example of circular reasoning, something which you appear to be inordinately fond of. What are the realities of Donkey Kong? The realities of Donkey Kong are the pixels and programming that make up Donkey Kong. Wow, gee. Never would have thought of that myself (actually true because I would have taken the question as a question about the cultural, metaphorical realities of DK).

    Have you yet figured out a way to explain to your intellectual inferiors (me and the others who Just Don’t Understand) why “Because it’s an accusation!” is an enlightening response to the question, “Why do you regard this as an accusation rather than an observation?”

  265. mathema says

    Just let it go xrod, this isn’t going anywhere. I know you realize that. What’s your end game? The questions you asked we’re answered to the best of everyone’s ability, and we’ve explained that your claim about us spouting hard core game reform (or even game reform period, rather we were just pushing notions of equality) wasn’t the case. So what’s the deal? Let it go. If you’re that bothered by what people said, don’t be, it’s the Internet.

  266. xrod says

    I would like to point out, however trivial you all might find it, that it’s a lot easier to have an argument with one person at a time than several dozen joining in at random times and attempting to tackle what was said at different times. I fully admit I’m not used to your collective method of interrogation on this blog, and while inherent incoherent tendencies seem likely to multiply, I won’t dispute any that are inherent. Unfortunately for the meat seekers, I’m not embarrassed, and I do feel I have a valid position. I’m also not sure where you’ve found this ego you ascribe to me, but if it makes you feel good about something, go for it. I’m with you about equality, I love to see it. But I doubt I’ll ever be convinced that Donkey Kong is sexist. Good night.

  267. says

    Speaking of pixels, apparently a 3-year-old girl was able to see that some of the pixels represented a man, and some other pixels represented a woman, and had no problem making the connection that one of those blobs of pixels was standing in for the player while the other blob was just a thing that the gorilla blob carried around sometimes, and it made perfect sense to her that the game could be played with the woman as the player stand-in.
     
    Sadly, it turns out that this seemingly simple change was such a herculean effort that it took one of her parents like a whole day or two to make the necessary changes, starting from scratch with no knowledge of the game.
     
    Jeez.

  268. Ichthyic says

    I fully admit I’m not used to your collective method of interrogation on this blog

    nope, it’s really just one individual with a lot of sock-puppets.

    really.

  269. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m not embarrassed, and I do feel I have a valid position.

    More incoherence. Since everybody is still unclear on your position. Go away, collect your thoughts, and come back with a straight forward “this is what I think, and this (link to evidence) is why I think this way”. If you can’t evidence your opinion, don’t bother with it.

  270. says

    If you don’t like the collective interrogation, you could always go talk about how not-sexist DK is with a bunch of sexist gamers. They NEVER think any games are sexist, because sexism is bad and they’re not bad therefore sexism doesn’t exist. I’m sure you’d get along great with them. Try Kotaku. It’s only slightly feminist over there.

  271. omnicrom says

    I would like to point out, however trivial you all might find it, that it’s a lot easier to have an argument with one person at a time than several dozen joining in at random times and attempting to tackle what was said at different times.

    Boo-fucking-hoo. My heart bleeds for you cupcake.

    I fully admit I’m not used to your collective method of interrogation on this blog, and while inherent incoherent tendencies seem likely to multiply, I won’t dispute any that are inherent.

    So are you admitting that you recognize you are being incoherent? If so cut it out. Having your positions attacked by numerous people is not a good enough reason to excuse how garbled you were in this thread. There have been plenty of other trolls who didn’t have a problem communicating even when dogpiled.

    Unfortunately for the meat seekers, I’m not embarrassed, and I do feel I have a valid position. I’m also not sure where you’ve found this ego you ascribe to me, but if it makes you feel good about something, go for it. I’m with you about equality, I love to see it. But I doubt I’ll ever be convinced that Donkey Kong is sexist. Good night.

    You’re not sure where we came to the conclusion you were full of yourself? How about the part of your post where you martyr yourself and talk proudly and with pride about how you aren’t embarrassed by your limited views? How about the part where after people have explained in detail why Donkey Kong represents a sexist trope you stand your ground and remain ignorant through sheer determination? It funny how you demonstrate your ego in the same couple of sentences where you dismiss all those people who take issue with your ego. That’s your ignorant pride in a nutshell though I think, xrod.

  272. Azuma Hazuki says

    Why is this getting so blown out of proportion by the MRAs? There’s nothing huge here, just a cool dad doing something nice for his daughter.

    And given that Pauline is Peach’s original, and given Peach can canonically surrounded herself in a 3-meter-wide ball of psychic hellfire (see Super Princess Peach…yikes!), it’s not inconceivable that she could rescue Mario if needed.

  273. says

    It’s being blown out of proportion because like all lovers-of-the-status-quo, their exterior bravado masks the fact that they live in trembling fear that it’s all going to be taken away, very soon, by the BAD PEOPLE!!!

  274. echidna says

    I would like to point out, however trivial you all might find it, that it’s a lot easier to have an argument with one person at a time than several dozen joining in at random times and attempting to tackle what was said at different times.

    Then stop thinking of it as an argument that you are trying to win. Think of it instead as persuading a group of people of the value of your views, whatever they actually are, it’s really not clear. At the moment, you haven’t even tried to rise to Sally Strange’s challenge of explaining your view to a hypothetical 7-yo. Try it.

  275. consciousness razor says

    The purpose of a benchmark is to establish what is actually sexist. Something either is or it isn’t, correct? Or is it entirely subjective?

    How would it imply anything about subjectivity to look at it from a wider, cultural perspective? Did you forget what you were responding to?

    Maybe I shouldn’t really ask. Wouldn’t want to risk you being incoherent about even more things. Yeah, that’s probably for the best. Forget I said anything. Pretend that this is a game, and that your role is to be a mindless jackass with nothing useful to say.

    Unfortunately for the meat seekers, I’m not embarrassed, and I do feel I have a valid position. I’m also not sure where you’ve found this ego you ascribe to me, but if it makes you feel good about something, go for it.

    You had me fooled. I thought you were bullshitting this whole time. If it’s a valid position, couldn’t you let us know what it is, rather than just telling us you have a feeling about it?

    But I believe you’re not embarrassed. That comes fairly naturally with cluelessness, as does being a condescending shithead.

    I’m not even going to ask what the fuck the “meat seeker” shit is supposed to be about or what the fuck is supposed to be unfortunate. Again, I’m just trying to do my part, to reduce the amount of incoherence in case you come back.

  276. heliobates says

    Then it turned into, “What are the realities of Donkey Kong?” I hastily answered that they are what is on the screen.

    Well that’s settled. The entire meaning of any video game is the pixels on the screen.

    I know you think the problem is “out there”, xrod, but after reading this entire thread, I’m pretty sure that in your case it’s PEBKAC.

  277. glodson says

    xrod, as much fun as it was to read all your posts that amounted to JAQing off in our collective faces as you mentally masturbate your way through this thread, let’s try something new.

    Just say what your point is exactly. What the fuck are you actually trying to say to us?

  278. drxym says

    I don’t think it “rather revealing” that Nintendo didn’t bother to modify a 30 year old game. Why should they?

  279. v0idation says

    Don’t you just know some gorilla is going to do a version in which Mario rescues Kong from Pauline?

  280. Joe says

    I don’t think it “rather revealing” that Nintendo didn’t bother to modify a 30 year old game. Why should they?

    I think PZ meant that they could have included the option to play as Pauline from the very start, when the game was originally released. Even if he didn’t, Donkey Kong was released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2006, so it could have been modified then.

  281. Joe says

    Also, because I learnt about this after posting:

    Don’t you just know some gorilla is going to do a version in which Mario rescues Kong from Pauline?

    The sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., pretty much had this, with Junior rescuing his dad fom Mario.

  282. thumper1990 says

    @drxym

    I don’t think it “rather revealing” that Nintendo didn’t bother to modify a 30 year old game. Why should they?

    That’s not what PZ said. He said it’s revealing that they didn’t bother to include a female character in the first place; i.e. it is revealing of the endemic sexism of the time; a sexism which, while it has gotten a lot better, is still not entirely gone since most games these days still have male (mostly white) protagonists. No one is suggesting that every games company should go back and modify all their past games to include a female protagonist.

    *crosses fingers* Please, please do not turn out to be another xrod!

  283. skmc says

    xrod writes regarding the 3-year-old girl in question,

    I certainly don’t fault her for wanting to be a princess and could understand how she might want to be

    That’s very generous of course, not faulting a toddler and all, but what the girl actually said, according to her dad, was the following:

    My 3-year-old daughter and I play a lot of old games. Her favorite is Donkey Kong. Two days ago, she asked me if she could play as the girl and save Mario.”

    She wanted to save Mario, and do so as a character that resembled herself–a girl– as much as possible in an 8-bit environment. xrod’s perspective turns this into, basically, “Daddy! Daddy I want to be a Princess!” This is what happens when you think in stereotypes, folks.

  284. Anri says

    To recap:

    What is revealing about this situation is that there are people who argued that video games were not sexist.

    Or that maybe they were, but that’s ok, because the target demographic was one gender. (Or if it wasn’t entirely, the others didn’t matter much).

    Or that they were, but that correcting things would be too hard.

    Or that correcting things would make the game experience worse.

    Or that things can’t get any better.

    Or that, if we tried to get better going forward, it would mandate jackbooted revisionist game design, in which every game with a straight male protagonist had to be decried as evil.

    Or that video games don’t reflect the general attitudes of the time/place/etc.

    It reveals that there are people who will argue that even today. What’s truly awesome about this thread is that we had an example right here, real-time, of exactly this, as if summoned forth as an object lesson.

  285. slowdjinn says

    xrod:
    #289

    I’ve also never voiced any opposition to her father hacking the game for her. He sounds like a great father.

    #58

    I’m just asking what’s so wrong with telling his daughter that’s the way this story goes: guy saves girl. Do you re-write your children’s books, too?

    If you’re not opposed to it, why ask the question?

  286. says

    zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait @306 and Anri @336, those were two brilliant posts. I certainly appreciated them even if Xrod didn’t.

    The problem of sexism in video games is, as 306 pointed out, a problem of representation. And representation, as 336 pointed out, is something which those who are represented, and represented well– that is, those with privilege– will deny is an important issue again and again, with every justification they can come up with, because they like the way things are and don’t want any changes. Even for the betterment of others, and at no cost to themselves.

    That’s how privilege always works. It’s tiring to have to keep explaining it, but until it becomes possible to literally beam the understanding into people’s heads I don’t know of any better ways!

  287. Roberto Aguirre Maturana says

    Because hacking a game in order to remove the privileges of the latin working class character and give them to a white blond rich girl is not controversial at all ;-)

  288. apucalypso says

    Thanks for pointing out 306…After reading a lot of the “discussion” I started skimming when it became a repetitive fire hazard thanks to all the strawmen..

  289. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @ROBERT
    Take your ; from your smiley…go to a 3d printer. Make a model at least 4 inches long and shove it up your ass

  290. WharGarbl says

    @Ing
    #341
    I think Roberto is joking on that regard.
    At least I think it’s a joke.
    It is a pretty funny explanation.
    Although…
    @Roberto
    #339
    I would like to point out that Mario is an Italian plumber, Italian isn’t Latin American and isn’t exactly under-privileged.

  291. Chris Tygesen says

    Don’t you just know some gorilla is going to do a version in which Mario rescues Kong from Pauline?

    That’s the version Peter Singer wants to play.

  292. says

    @mathema
    On Mass Effect 3 you can also choose who (if anyone at all) to get romantically involved, and homosexual relations are as normal as heterosexual relations. In fact you can even get involved with a female* alien, even if you play a female character, and that’s seen as normal too.

    Also, Fallout always had the possibility to choose gender and general physical attributes. Even the orginal Fallout.

    * Errm… Are all asarians female? With the Citadel DLC a new character eventualy shows up in the bar where T’Loki usually hangs out that says she’s matriarch and is T’Loki’s father. And confuses the hell out of Cmdr. Sheppard :)

  293. la tricoteuse says

    Italian isn’t Latin American and isn’t exactly under-privileged.

    Don’t I know it. :D When I lived in the US I was always jealous of students of Spanish or Portuguese speaking European descent because, due to sharing a common language with Latin American countries, they snuck through a loophole to be counted as “Latin American” (and therefore qualify for scholarships) despite being descended from the European oppressors rather than the New World oppressed. Not so for the Italians, sadly.
    If only my people had had their empire a bit LATER. ;)

    /privileged whine :D

  294. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    assari are all female and reproduce asexually. The father provides a psychic temp,late not a genetic one. Anyone who does that is “father” regardless of species or gender

    Yes this is stupid

  295. jackiepaper says

    #280,
    I was just thinking about that!

    I don’t remember anybody freaking out over that hack. So why all the blubbering over this one?

  296. Maximus Decimus says

    On the same note, there is no mention in the post, and very little in the comments, to the fact that there are almost no black protagonists in video game (The Walking Dead being the sole example that came to mind). Even moreso black women (Sheeva from resident evil 5 is the only one that have any relevant role that I remember)

    This would have been so easy for PZ to have done, it’s rather revealing that he didn’t.

    See what I did here?

  297. apucalypso says

    @347 It’s been a while since I’ve played any of the Mass Effect games (haven’t played ME3 at all), but since this is partly about privilege anyway, wasn’t Asari mating with other Asari frowned upon and associated with a certain social stigma for both the parents and children ?

  298. la tricoteuse says

    Maximus Decimus:

    On the same note, there is no mention in the post, and very little in the comments, to the fact that there are almost no black protagonists in video game (The Walking Dead being the sole example that came to mind). Even moreso black women (Sheeva from resident evil 5 is the only one that have any relevant role that I remember)

    This would have been so easy for PZ to have done, it’s rather revealing that he didn’t.

    See what I did here?

    Yeah. What you did was akin to commenting on a post which is specifically about Catholic child abuse with “why don’t you ever talk about Muslim abuse of young girls?”

    Racial portrayals (or lack thereof) in video games are a problem. But this post is about the dearth of strong female characters, or rather one father’s attempt to at least temporarily fix that for his daughter.

    Not every post can be about everything at once.

  299. la tricoteuse says

    *Portrayals of racial minorities, that should say. I am trying to research/write an essay at the same time as commenting to avoid doing it. This results in confusion in the brainmeats. Bleh.

  300. jackiepaper says

    For the lactose intolerant I will send delicious Rice Cream and Tofu Cuties with the internet beers.

  301. Roberto Aguirre Maturana says

    I’m aware that Mario Mario is italian. Sorry for my poor english, by “latin” I was trying to imply something like “a non-caucasian who speaks a language derived from latin”.

    I was kinda joking. The point that I was trying to raise is that maybe, just maybe, by trying to fix a gender issue on this game it was generated a socioeconomic/ethinc one. Who knows, maybe the stereotype issue of bigger concern on this game is the fact that the princess is portrayed as a white blond girl while the plumber resembles a Sicilian immigrant. Just sayin’

  302. jackiepaper says

    Yeah Maximus, we see what you did. You did the same derail that is always done when anyone tries to discuss sexism.
    PS, Some women aren’t white.
    *shooting star*
    The more you know….

  303. says

    354
    Dare I point out Pauline is a brunette :P

    Other then that I have no problem with dads changing the game to darken the skin of the characters for their children. Go nuts dads of the world! Modding has a long tradition in games. But this post is about a dad who made a mod for his daughter and that’s awesome! Not everypost has to address every problem (like the racist subtexts to gorillas stealing women).

  304. la tricoteuse says

    Roberto:

    Who knows, maybe the stereotype issue of bigger concern on this game is the fact that the princess is portrayed as a white blond girl while the plumber resembles a Sicilian immigrant. Just sayin’

    Racial stereotypes in games are also a problem. It’s a discussion worth having, but the discussion being had in this thread is the one about gender.

    That said, I think Pauline is a brunette? Or ginger? She doesn’t look blonde to me, though of course Princess Peach is blonde.

    Lots of Italians are also blonde, btw.

  305. la tricoteuse says

    Is there an echo in this place or are we being forced to repeat ourselves because people aren’t reading?

  306. Maximus Decimus says

    Yeah. What you did was akin to commenting on a post which is specifically about Catholic child abuse with “why don’t you ever talk about Muslim abuse of young girls?”

    I was just trying to exemplify what PZ was doing, i.e., picking a single point and stating it is “revealing”, and trying to show why it is not a good argument, albeit a good flamebait. I am not implying that PZ is racist, just that his argument could be applied to almost all situations. Going further, why did Nintendo not include a Jewish version of its hero? What does it reveal about it?

    It is especially dishonest when talking about a company that would soon revert said trope in Metroid and allowing peach as a playable character in Super Mario Bros. 2

  307. Maximus Decimus says

    @jackiepaper

    Have you missed the part where I specifically talk about black women?

  308. Rey Fox says

    I am not implying that PZ is racist, just that his argument could be applied to almost all situations.

    So?

  309. jackiepaper says

    #354,
    Yeah and there are definitely racist overtones in Donkey Kong as well, as it is based on King Kong which is rife with racism. Please see the Tropes Vs Women link and the comments that follow.

    Also, as the original game was designed to feature Popeye (a cartoon that is about a man saving “his woman” from rape in every episode) the game is problematic in a few ways.
    But, every online discussion of sexism seems to inevitably be derailed by people (usually men) telling everyone that they should be talking about something else. You have a good point, but please, don’t derail.
    Believe it or not, talking about sexism does not mean that we can’t also talk about other -isms too. It isn’t an either or thing. But in this case, the dad changed the character from male to female so that his daughter could see a hero of her own gender.

  310. Matt Penfold says

    Is there an echo in this place or are we being forced to repeat ourselves because people aren’t reading?

    There’s a lot of not being able to read (or possibly able to read but unable to understand) going around. The thread about Reddit has a similar infestation of people being thick.

  311. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    say how does Nintendo’s cock taste anyway?

  312. la tricoteuse says

    Maximus Decimus:

    I was just trying to exemplify what PZ was doing, i.e., picking a single point and stating it is “revealing”, and trying to show why it is not a good argument

    You weren’t successful.

    I am not implying that PZ is racist, just that his argument could be applied to almost all situations. Going further, why did Nintendo not include a Jewish version of its hero? What does it reveal about it?

    These are also good questions, but once more they aren’t what this thread is about.

    It is especially dishonest when talking about a company that would soon revert said trope in Metroid and allowing peach as a playable character in Super Mario Bros. 2

    Hey guys! We gave this one black guy a job, so we’re totally not racist! What do you mean “yeah but all the rest of your hundreds of employees are white?”

  313. Rey Fox says

    But, every online discussion of sexism seems to inevitably be derailed by people (usually men) telling everyone that they should be talking about something else.

    QFT

  314. Maximus Decimus says

    @364: Wasn’t that homophobic? What does that reveal about you?

    @362: I am not trying to derail the conversation. I was doing an analogy.

    My sole point (and as I saw, the point of some others here) is that: “This would have been so easy for Nintendo to have done, it’s rather revealing that they didn’t.” was flamebait from PZ, and a shitty argument.

  315. says

    Oh boy lets do this…..

    Nintendo gets way more praise then it deserves. They created Samus but she might as well have been a robot she has no personality, character development etc in the games until fusion and then the next game to do it was other M which killed most of her agency where she has to ask a man to use her equipment. While making this laughable paper thin character they continued to write the 2 main female characters Zelda and peach as little more then macguffins to be fought over by men. They use the same fight over a woman plot for game after game not changing or expanding the narrative. Peach in super Mario brothers 2 is a rare exception and heavily tied to the fact that it was a re skinning of doki doki panic and not a dedicated mario game from the start. Not to mention similar female characters in other Nintendo games (Pauline would later appear in other mario games).

    Meanwhile other companies were actually put fleshed out female characters into the lead role in games (the longest journey for example) while any credit Nintendo deserves stagnates. Nintendo doesn’t deserve a cookie cause it made a female character years ago it needs to actually earn continued praise.

  316. says

    Ummm, this is a blog post on a specific topic. It’s not somehow prejudiced or discriminatory for it not to talk about other topics, however deserving those topics might be, because that would be impossible and that’s not what blog posts are about. This blog post did not misrepresent any minority in the process of making its point.

    Donkey Kong is a game. A game doesn’t have to include representatives of every minority or statements opposing discrimination against every minority, however deserving, because that would be impossible and that’s not what games are about. However the game could avoid misrepresenting minorities in the process of being a game, and this one did not.

    Hopefully that clears things up a bit.

  317. Matt Penfold says

    My sole point (and as I saw, the point of some others here) is that: “This would have been so easy for Nintendo to have done, it’s rather revealing that they didn’t.” was flamebait from PZ, and a shitty argument.

    It was easy to do, so it would have been easy for Nintendo to do. Why say such crap, when it is so obviously wrong ?

  318. thumper1990 says

    @apucolypso #350

    Not exactly. The Asari believe it is preferable to mate with non-Asari as it leads to greater genetic diversity among the population. All Asari children come out looking Asari anyway. They do have a specific word for children of Asari-Asari unions, and from what I agthered such unions are seen as somewhat irresponsible due to the genetic diveristy issue, but I wouldn’t say stigma is the right word.

  319. Ganner says

    Maximus, this is why CONTEXT is necessary. In the context of video games, the VAST majority feature white male protagonists, and women when present are predominantly featured as objects. When playable, women often still feature as stereotypes – being the emotional one or being portrayed as overt eye candy. In the context of PZ’s blog posts, he regularly demonstrates a concern for equality and diversity when it comes to gender, race, sexuality, etc.

  320. thumper1990 says

    Actually, genetic is the wrong word. They don’t mix genetic material, just “psyches” (basically a load of woo, but hey it’s a sci-fi game).

  321. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    no there is stigma for being pure blood assari. Possibly comming from good reason as pure blood may inheret a condition that makes them vampires

  322. Maximus Decimus says

    @371 Thank you for your insight, Point Judge.

    @370 About Other M, it was not developed by Nintendo, but by Team Ninja, which is not exactly known for its forward thinking about womens role (which for them is playing beach volleyball in very small bikinis)

    About the paper thin character of Samus, Peach or Zelda? You mean, in comparison with the very complex complex personalities of Mario and Link? Really?

  323. jackiepaper says

    Maximus, it has been explained to you in detail why you are wrong. You don’t need to take my word for it.

  324. Maximus Decimus says

    @373 Maximus Decimus is the name of the main character from Gladiator, which was a man (and before people start associating this with MRA or something like that, it was just a stupid nickname from college times). Anyway, if Ing did not assume I was either male or female, his comment can be considered either homophobic or sexist. Take your pick.

    I will be away for a while from this conversation, and will pick up later

  325. Richard Smith says

    @v0idation (#330):

    Don’t you just know some gorilla is going to do a version in which Mario rescues Kong from Pauline?

    Well, going by the rules of role reversal, if some gorilla is doing the game, wouldn’t Kong be replaced by a computer programmer?

  326. says

    Maximus Decimus

    A common mistake about other M. The game play was done by team ninja but the plot was written by Yoshio Sakamoto (Samus’s creator) not team ninja.

  327. Duckbilled Platypus says

    I agree Donkey Kong is illustrative of the sexism raging about a few decades ago. I’m sure Nintendo, like their peers, never for once thought considered gender inequality issues when they ported King Kong to a computer screen. A shame they didn’t dare to, or thought of, turning around the roles of a (sadly) iconic movie.

    Just a minor remark about character selection, though – it’s a feature that simply might never have occurred to the developers for a few reasons. One is that having actual characters was a novelty to begin with, let alone having more than one – and that character selection was, as far as I can recall, not “invented” until years after Donkey Kong. Another possibility is technical limitations – those early arcade machines weren’t exactly rich in memory banks and it could very well be that the technology they had available to develop on didn’t have enough space to include character data for both animated characters, had they ever considered it in the first place (but they probably didn’t).

  328. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    oh is that the sound of faux outrage? Yes yes it’s sexist or homophobic, which is now important bc of reasons k?

  329. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    eeveryone is it so hard to read before you comment? After the 5th time of hearing the same pipe chewing scholarly musing it’s annoying

  330. says

    Well, going by the rules of role reversal, if some gorilla is doing the game, wouldn’t Kong be replaced by a computer programmer?

    Then it becomes suspiciously like the Jonathan Coulton song “Code Monkey,” which is itself a little bit sexist considering it’s about a computer programmer avoiding working by hitting on the receptionist who (being a receptionist, and hence chained to her desk) can’t get away from him, but whom he dreams of “rescuing” and taking off somewhere without any apparent willingness from her.

    (Don’t kill me, I enjoy the song anyway…)

  331. thumper1990 says

    @Ing #379

    no there is stigma for being pure blood assari. Possibly comming from good reason as pure blood may inheret a condition that makes them vampires

    The Ardat Y’akshi? (Phoenetic spelling). Do they only come from Asari-Asari bondings? I don’t remember that detail. And I’m still playing ME3 (I’m not a massive gamer so tend to be waaaaay behind releases).

  332. glodson says

    By the way – using Metroid as an example of why Nintendo isn’t sexist is a bad idea after they shat out M:OM.

    I don’t know what you are talking about. I heard that Nintendo was going to do a game with Team Ninja, but it was canceled, and never released so that Samus’ character was never derailed by an ill-thought out attempt to flesh her out.

  333. glodson says

    The Ardat Y’akshi? (Phoenetic spelling). Do they only come from Asari-Asari bondings? I don’t remember that detail. And I’m still playing ME3 (I’m not a massive gamer so tend to be waaaaay behind releases).

    That was introduced in the second game. But there was another reason. Talking to Liara on the Normandy during the first game, she’ll tell you that she’s a pureblood too. The scorn comes form that since the Asari began contacting other life, there was a a cultural push for greater diversity in the genetic code. So having a child a with another Asari is seen as holding the Asari back. It is an odd reversal of the biracial prejudice many have(which has been evaporating in the mainstream culture, but we still have a nasty group of racist assholes.)

    The Ardat-Yakshi was an added layer to that. But it was also a very, very, very rare condition. It seems it is more the social pressure to seek out mates in other species that put the stigma on being a pureblood.

    However, since the asari began encountering other sentient species, non-asari mates have become preferred for the diversity they provide. This reproductive process can lead to some confusion among non-asari, who might expect offspring with “mixed” genes. However, the offspring is always 100% asari as no DNA is taken from the partner, but is rather used as a “map” to randomize the genes of the offspring.

    Source.

  334. says

    Also for the sake of argument say that Yoshio Sakamoto didn’t write other M (which he totally did go look it up) it’s not like Other M was an unlicensed game stealing characters and assets from Nintendo. Nintendo decided to bring that Team Ninja in to work on their game. In fact it was (guess who?)Yoshio Sakamoto who approached Team Ninja to work on the game after he was impressed by Ninja Gaiden. So at the end of the day Nintendo, being the publisher, and Yoshio Sakamoto, for approaching team ninja and writing the story, is responsible for Metroid other M.

  335. glodson says

    Just a minor remark about character selection, though – it’s a feature that simply might never have occurred to the developers for a few reasons.

    And those reasons have been commented on. Everything from the lack of resources to be able to implement, or seeing no reason to provide the option from a cost point of view, or simply not thinking of it.

    Considering that no game has Pauline rescuing Mario, and only one features Peach using her emotions, it seems they didn’t think of it.

    It is an example of causal and thoughtless sexism. It isn’t a big deal by itself. Nintendo need not be vilified for the choice. We know it is a feedback loop where choices are made and get reinforced by the culture which the choice impacted. This isn’t Nintendo is bad for not having the option, it is that Nintendo with its portfolio of choices largely creating male leads is a symptom of a sexist culture.

    Really, this all has be explained in great detail, in this thread. Before posting, read the thread. You won’t have irritated people snapping at you if you are seeking a dialogue, since the said irritated people spent a great deal of time already examining these ideas.

  336. Richard Smith says

    All this talk about Mass Effect is making me consider playing it again. Well, at least playing it. I landed on the first planet and promptly kept getting killed. I’m inclined to just start over, but there’s all that talking before the first mission that I’d have to go through again…

  337. says

    I’m betting Nintendo could make a pretty easy profit simply taking the old DK game, adding a half-dozen more characters (Luigi, Peach, other people, other animals) and giving you the choice of who was the abductor, the rescuer, and the rescuee. Hell, just being able to have Mario getting kidnapped by Pauline or Luigi would make me want to own it.

  338. thumper1990 says

    @Glodson

    Yeah, that’s what I thought, I was just nit-picking about the word “stigma”, since it implies pure-bloods are looked down on and I’m not sure they are. It’s just that mixed.race is preferred de to, as you said, better diversity being seen as advancement for the Asari race.

    Maybe I just shouldn’t nit-pick, it’s inconsequential really :) especially about fictional games!

  339. Maximus Decimus says

    @400 I did not use “his” by assuming that Ing is a male. My first language is Portuguese, and the default case for mixed groups is to use the masculine pronoun (there is no “it” as used in english ). I was trying very hard not to use any words that would lead to people to point that I was assuming someone is male or female (some people here do love their “gotcha” moments, it is kinda silly), but this “his” slipped (I specifically used Ing in the previous sentence to avoid using “He” or “She”, but forgot that in the next).

    Now a true doubt regarding english. What pronoun should I use? Is calling someone It when you do not know the gender offensive?

  340. glodson says

    @ thumper1990

    According to Liara, they are. Liara makes note of that in the original when discussing her mother, Benzia.

    It isn’t really a major plot point, just a part of Liara’s character. And not really important, as you note. But the implication might be that the stigma is more on the two Asari that produced the child rather than directly on the child herself. However, it is easy to see how some of that stigma gets transferred to the child. It is a social dynamic many of us in the states are familiar with, if not elsewhere easily, when a mixed race couple deals with prejudice. If they have children, some of that prejudice and bigotry gets put on the child.

  341. glodson says

    Now a true doubt regarding english. What pronoun should I use? Is calling someone It when you do not know the gender offensive?

    Misgendering someone can be slightly insulting. By itself, people are often able to overlook it. But in a conversation over feminism, and sexism, misgendering someone can take on a different tone, even if that’s not your intent.

    If you don’t know someone’s gender in this community, use Xe, or hir. These are the gender neutral pronouns for this community. It doesn’t always apply to others, as they might not know what you mean. But those who read this blog will know.

  342. says

    What pronoun should I use?

    Good on you for asking. I’m sure Ing will respond to this, but as for myself I tend to use “they”/”their” if I don’t already know and finding out would mean waiting an unknown amount of time for a user to respond, if they do at all. Some might nitpick and claim that you shouldn’t use “they” as a singular pronoun, but they’re full of crap because that’s been an acceptable use for hundreds of years.

  343. glodson says

    As far as I know, Xe and hir are common gender neutral usage.

    I just added the note for this community in my response so that I wouldn’t give non-native English speakers the impression that this is a universal standard. I wouldn’t call them the community standard, but rather ones commonly used here by some regulars. Mostly, I didn’t want to give the impression that one could use Xe anywhere and expect people to understand it.

  344. vaiyt says

    Just a minor remark about character selection, though – it’s a feature that simply might never have occurred to the developers for a few reasons.

    Yeah, and since having multiple characters didn’t occur to them, they defaulted to a man.

    THAT IS THE FUCKING POINT.

  345. la tricoteuse says

    Sally:

    WHY do people continue to think that bigotry must be deliberate? That it never results from thoughtlessness?

    Because if it’s deliberate they don’t have to worry they might be guilty of it.

  346. glodson says

    WHY do people continue to think that bigotry must be deliberate? That it never results from thoughtlessness?

    Because they think that bigotry must be done with the intent being bigoted.

    Part of it is like la tricoteuse said, they don’t want to be guilty of it.

    I would go as far to say that they are seeing our calling the lack of the option sexist as an attempt to smear the game, and other games with male leads.

    I’m not trying to do that. It is just a thoughtless and sexist design choice. I don’t care that this one game had this one choice made in it. It is a bit sexist, but I recongize it for what it is. The problem is that this same choice is made repeatedly in the industry, and sometimes with even worse implications.

    To say it was sexist, as most of us understand, is a critique. We understand that if we pick up any piece of a medium that we might see sexism, racism and other bigotry done out of a bit of thoughtlessness. It happens. Just as if we pick up any piece of a medium, we can always find faults. In gaming, we can find problems with controls, with graphics, with design choices, with the music, with the plot and so on. Critiquing it doesn’t mean we don’t like it, or that it has no value.

    It just could have done a little better.

    If I post enough, there’s a chance I will trip up and say something sexist. There’s a good chance that we could all do that. The problem is that we do it, the problem is when we ignore the issue when it has been brought to light.

    And those who think that sexism must be deliberate don’t seem to understand that we notice when it was likely an innocent mistake and we differentiate between that and a worldview that is misogynistic.

    Maybe this will help the people having a knee-jerk reaction to the story.

  347. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    FWIW, Ing I think you were out of line with the “cock” comment, as well as the comment about shoving a 3D semicolon up someone’s ass @341. Those sorts of sexualized insults wouldn’t be acceptable from a newbie and they shouldn’t be acceptable from regulars either. I know that these repetitious trolls are upsetting, but–as a person who respects your opinion–I really think you need to take a step back here.

  348. says

    This story is very sweet. I really don’t understand why the MRA’s are so horrified by it… unless the very idea of something as minor as a person switching who the protagonist of a 30 year old video game is threatens their self-worth somehow.

    I wonder why it would do that, am I right? Hmm.

    Related to the games themselves: An individual game like Donkey Kong, where the guy rescues the girl, isn’t bad. There’s nothing in and of itself wrong with the set-up.

    But the problem isn’t an individual game. In a perfect world, there would absolutely still be a place for games like this, and assuming an imperfect world like the memory constraints of an NES cartridge, there almost certainly would be.

    This isn’t a perfect world, though. And as the Tropes vs. Women video pointed out… well, it was always saving the damsel in distress. And you were always playing the dude. Metroid being noteworthy for having a female protagonist (whose identity is hidden throughout the game until the end!) is a symptom of that. It shouldn’t ever have needed to be noteworthy to start, anymore than Mario being a man is noteworthy.

    I’m not saying anything new here… I just wanted to vent about what I saw in the comments of other places of assholes talking like this is some horrible thing.

    Actually… you know, I would love to see more NES-style games with female protagonists. If I had coding abilities, I’d be inspired to pump out of a few NES-style rpgs and platformers and adventures starring women myself.

  349. says

    As far as I know, Xe and hir are common gender neutral usage.

    Handy not only for referring to persons who’s gender you don’t know, but also to persons identifying as gender neutral.

    8^)