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May 28 2013

New Anita Sarkeesian!

“removed from youtube”? What the ever-lovin’ fuck? I finished watching it, at least, and it is very grim: it points out the new tropes beyond rescuing the damsel. Many games now have you witnessing the grisly death of women to drive revenge stories, or have the woman suffering such extreme abuse that they ask the player to kill them to put them out of their misery.

So it is very violent — but it’s not Sarkeesian’s violence, she’s merely describing the repetitively vicious approach taken by many video games.

219 comments

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  1. 1
    Hank_Says

    “This video has been removed because its content violated Youtube’s terms of service.”

    What the flaming fuck?

    I smell a giant mutant robot rat. From space.

  2. 2
    Hank_Says

    How the hell did that happen in less than an hour?

  3. 3
    Numenaster

    I smell a harassment-inspired false DMCA claim. Someone’s subscribed to Anita’s Youtube channel just so they could get this in.

    In a few days it will be back.

  4. 4
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    How the hell did that happen in less than an hour?

    I’m guessing the Mighty Morphing Misogynists.

    Just a guess.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    WTF?
    I managed to watch it before, I can tell you it is really good

  6. 6
    Denverly

    The feminist frequency website also appears to be down. DOS attack or something?

  7. 7
    ibbica

    Might just be something innocuous… something remarkably similar has happened to her before:

    http://www.feministfrequency.com/2011/02/how-i-fought-against-a-youtube-takedown-and-eventually-won/

    I wouldn’t jump on the malicious conspiracy bandwagon just yet…

  8. 8
    Alex the Pretty Good

    @ Hankstar

    Whatever happened, we certainly can be sure that it wasn’t a false DMCA flagging campaign by the proponents of FREEZE PEACH! because that would be the summum of hypocrisy … Right?

    Right? …

    >chirping crickets<

    Looks like it's time for the Streisand Effect.

  9. 9
    Brian

    I’d agree generally, though you gotta admit this one was awfully fast….

    Just last week I was wondering when the next episode was going to arrive. Hope this gets cleared up soon.

  10. 10
    Tairiman

    It seems the trolls were waiting for this one. What an exciting life they must lead.

  11. 11
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    Man, I was really looking forward to this one too. :(

    I second the motion to Streisand effect it.

  12. 12
    consciousness razor

    Might just be something innocuous… something remarkably similar has happened to her before:

    That makes it less likely to be innocuous. Do you seriously think someone, among the 301 people who got to see it, just so happened to accidentally mark it as inappropriate? Or if they did it intentionally, what the hell kind of innocuous reason could they have?

  13. 13
    Hank_Says

    @ Alex

    I’ll reserve judgement pending evidence, but it wouldn’t surprise me a smidge if a troll or two (or maybe a thundertr0ll?) were hovering over their keyboards waiting for this to appear in their subscription feed so they could CTRL+V their pre-written objections and hit “send” on the DMCA form. In fact it’d be just like the #braveheroes to use such a rank creationist tactic.

  14. 14
    Ichthyic

    there are plenty of other video web-space providers.

    why not post it as a backup on at least one or two of them?

  15. 15
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Troll clean-up on aisle 15…

  16. 16
    rowanvt

    Help! I’m drowning in the flood of cluelessness that Elwaffoe has unleashed!

  17. 17
    PZ Myers

    Elwaffoe is gone.

  18. 18
    ibbica

    That makes it less likely to be innocuous. Do you seriously think someone, among the 301 people who got to see it, just so happened to accidentally mark it as inappropriate? Or if they did it intentionally, what the hell kind of innocuous reason could they have?

    I was thinking more along the lines of it being something automated, or one report of ‘spam’ being enough to automatically remove a video. I’m admittedly, er, a bit ignorant of how YouTube actually works, behind the scenes… I’m working on thinking the best of people these days. It’s… not going so well, actually (and oh look, a great example of why that’s so at 15).

  19. 19
    ibbica

    Elwaffoe is gone.

    For the sake of clarifying any residual confusion, that’s the “15″ I was referring to, Giliell isn’t causing me any problems today ;)

  20. 20
    postman

    I don’t think the number of viewers was 301. It’s the new youtube policy to not show more viewers until it can verify that they are not bots or something. I don’t disagree with you though.

  21. 21
    fabianocaccin

    FREEZE PEACH!

    I love this language.

  22. 22
    sharkjack

    You know, I was going to post on how this event was sad on so many levels, but then I saw post 15. Then I refreshed before posting my response to that and saw PZ had already nipped that in the bud. So scratch that. I hope the video is up again soon.

  23. 23
    John Kruger

    Gah, now all I want are details about the DMCA. Who wants to bet against a misogynist false flag attempt?

    At least I can read the transcript. I found it interesting enough to read the whole thing, even without what I am sure was good video editing (judging by the first episode of the series).

  24. 24
    Skatje Myers

    Are there any mirrors of it around?

  25. 25
    lesofa

    It seem it was a flag abuse. From Anita’s Twitter:
    “Looks like my harassers abused YouTube’s flag function to get my new Tropes vs Women video removed. Not the first time it’s happened.”
    “We are looking into the issue and will update you all as soon as we know the full story and can get the video restored. #tropesvswomen”

  26. 26
    poolboy

    -Fills comment section of videos with death and rape threats in order to coerce the channel and similar channel from not making similar videos – preventing freedom of speech.
    -Comments section closed.
    -”How dare her channel not allow comments on the videos. SHE’S STIFLING MUH FREEDOM OF SPEECH!”
    -Proceeds to falsely flag and report videos in order to get them deleted – preventing freedom of speech.

    Ugh, these people >_>

  27. 27
    Skatje Myers

    Looks like it’s back. (for now?)

  28. 28
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The YT video i playing for me.

  29. 29
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    is

  30. 30
    Scr... Archivist

    postman @20,

    As I recall, YouTube videos get stuck reporting 301 views when they actually have more because of an early piece of code in their counting program. For more see: “Why do YouTube views freeze at 301?” by Numberphile, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIkhgagvrjI

  31. 31
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    It’s back! I just need to wrap up what I’m working on so I can watch it.

  32. 32
    robertwilson

    It’s back. I’m at work, watched some, paused it and ended up reading some comments on sites like Kotaku before going back to it.

    Not surprisingly despite comments complaining about her not addressing counter-examples she not only does, she even mentions that #3 will be about characters that flip the script.

  33. 33
    Sili

    15.
    Giliell, professional cynic

    28 May 2013 at 4:42 pm (UTC -5) Link to this comment

    Troll clean-up on aisle 15…

    This always amuses me for some reason.

    Too much Cantor, I guess.

  34. 34
    robertwilson

    Posted too soon, meant to add: “It’s as if her critics don’t even watch the video!” /feigned surprise.

  35. 35
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Watched it. I thought she was appropriately conservative in her conclusions, and she explicitly said that the relationship between media violence and societal behavior was complicated. All in all, I thought did an excellent job of it.

  36. 36
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    robertwilson: Ha, that’s expecting them to have intellectual honesty. You dreamer, you.

  37. 37
    sharkjack

    It’s back and effective to boot. It’ll probably fly by the heads of those who disagree with her, but she pretty much adressed every single coherent criticism I’ve seen of her video with promise of taking down the whole reversed trope mess on the next episode. I’ve gone back and forth on the effectiveness of the joke, because really, that level of silliness is one of the major things modern gaming is missing. But then again, this is a game that rejected the old classic silly design of it’s protagonist in favour of a ‘gritty and mature’ reboot version. Same goes for the story, so it is sort of facepalm worthy that they put such a silly thing in there. I still feel like I missed the actual point of the joke though.

  38. 38
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    So, I showed this to a friend who’s a game dev. He had heard about it through Reddit and 4chan, where he spouted the same stupid misogynistic crap. I actually told him to “Shut the fuck up and actually watch the video”. He did, and came back with an opinion that it was actually well done, informative, and that 4chan and Reddit are talking out their ass. Progress!

    Now to get him to admit that following a woman like lost puppy when she explicitly asks you to go away is creepy *deep sigh*.

  39. 39
    cpps

    I think my favourite part of the whole clip may have been the long string of “In ____ your wife is brutally murdered and you then have to rescue your daughter.” examples. I think this may be one of the things Sarkeesian does best in this series; highlighting how the problem lies, not with any single instance of these plot devices, but with the way they are used over and over and over and over and over….

  40. 40
    Rob

    That was really good. Nothing else to say that hasn’t been said by others.

  41. 41
    Gregory Greenwood

    A great video series – I would love to see a well made ‘dude in distress’ game that deliberately subverted and lampooned the problematic tropes associated with the bulk of the video game industry.

    As suggested in an earlier thread about this video series, you could have a dude who gets into trouble precisely because he buys into toxic tropes of masculinity, and his ever more annoying exploits serve only to throw extra obstacles in the path of the female protagonist who has to repeatedly save him in spite of himself.

    Incidences of her lengthy struggles to rescue him using her wits and determination over force being undermined at the last moment by his “stand back little lady – I’ll handle this!” bravado resulting in him winding up in a worse situation than he started off in.

    It would be hilariously funny, and would have the added bonus of driving MRAs up the wall.

  42. 42
    Caveman73

    Awwww you mean video games where more often than not MEN play and so, WHAT a fucking shocker, the male is the hero.

    Can woman stop playing the victim card, seriously!

  43. 43
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Can woman stop playing the victim card, seriously!

    Can you stop playing the ignorant card, seriously?

  44. 44
    Denverly

    Holy cow, she found Outlaws from 1997. That was the game that made me a gamer. She made me think about the games I play and how many of them fall into that trope. I’ve played quite a few of them, but I never made it past the intro in Dante’s Inferno. Dude stitched what I am assuming is a red Templar Cross onto his skin in full HD in the very beginning, and that completely “grossed me out”, as we said in the 80s. Intro to Bayonetta as well. Sexist icky intro instead of sewing-crap-on-your-skin icky on that one. I can’t wait to see Anita’s take on that game.

  45. 45
    Ingdigo Jump

    @greenwood

    Ir ecall enjoying PS2 Primal thad had that as a premise

  46. 46
    Caveman73
  47. 47
    lutzifer

    love the new video. Even better than the first one. I guess it will not make any of the haters go away though, sadly…

  48. 48
    PatrickG

    @ cpps: Yeah, I loved that part too. I started watching the video while working on some other stuff, so I was a bit distracted initially. Then, I heard what I thought was a loop in the audio, and got totally caught up. Very effective technique.

    However, does anyone get the impression that Sarkeesian is more pissed off at the complete lack of creative talent than the misogyny? Might just be me, but there was a whole undercurrent of “at least be original in your fucking asshattery” in this video. Much more so than in the previous one. I will note that this is of course the bloody point, but … seriously, story designers. If you really don’t give a shit about women, there are so many other things you could do. And yet you put your name to this shit.

    It’s a common complaint of mine… if you’re going to spend oodles of money on the graphics, please spend at least a moderate fraction of that money to prevent script-related depression in the visual effects department. I’m looking at you, James Cameron.

    P.S. I don’t like this new trend of PZ’s to disappear the comments of banned trolls. Well-crafted comments now appear as non sequiturs… how can I enjoy the carnage without context?

  49. 49
    Ingdigo Jump

    @caveman douche

    Last I checked female game consumers rivaled or surpassed male

    But yeah why would a buisness want toe expand their demographics by a potential 100%?

  50. 50
    lutzifer

    @Caveman73:

    your argument is non-factual and one easily researched via teh googles:

    “Forty-seven percent of all game players are women. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent)”

    the big problem is that game developers are mainly male, so there is where the heterosexual / heterosexist bias comes in

  51. 51
    Ingdigo Jump

    I missed first Troll. ..how similar where they to Cavemaggot?

  52. 52
    PatrickG

    @ Ing: I hope slightly more eloquent. Trolls really need to up their linguistic skills.

  53. 53
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Caveman73:

    Do you have anything substantive to add, or are you just shitting here for giggles?

  54. 54
    Pyra

    People who *think* they know what this series is about without watching it and making comments about it… If I could roll my eyes any more, I would.

  55. 55
    cpps

    @Ing

    It was just someone whining that feminists only get angry when women get killed in video games and not when men get killed. Even though the video explicitly says the problem isn’t just that there is violence directed at women in video games. So I suppose the commonality is that they’ve not watched the video they are criticizing?

  56. 56
    Sastra

    I look forward to the next Anita Sarkeesian video. They have all been incredibly enlightening.

    For me more than most, perhaps. I don’t play video games. Not one game in the entire line up do I even recognize — with the possible exception of Mario Brothers (and I never actually played it, even once.) So a whole new world is opening up before me.

    Yes, it is possible to live like this. And I am disappointed by what I’m learning. Explains some things, though…

  57. 57
    Tethys

    I tried to read the link to feminist frequency, but the site cannot be found. I will assume the trolls are attacking in force. I went to their twitter feed to see if there was any further news. There wasn’t anything about the web-site, just a few tweets about the false TOS violation on youtube.

    Further down in her feed was a link to this short animation, I’m a nice guy alternate title…Feminists stole my ice cream.

    I think it should become a meme.

  58. 58
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Trying too Hard Naming Convention @42

    Ok, let’s take away everything else she said and just focus on what you said. More MEN play, so stories are written about male heroes. And since many stories are lazy, old elements of story telling where women are objects dominate for those male heroes.

    How does that make female gamers feel? Or gay male gamers? Forget that, empathy is not a strong suit for the reflexive sexist brigade.

    Think of this. A world exists where you love to play video games because video games are fun. Except, there’s a problem. In every single game you ever play you have to play as a girl. Which all right, the gameplay is still fun and you enjoy it and maybe you can pretend your hero is in drag. Okay, you are getting into it, but then you notice that your character is a girl, and so is the villain, and most of the support characters and that’s kind of alienating. Where are the characters who look and act like you?

    So, woot, you hit a cutscene and it’s the first dude of the game. Yes! Except he’s immediately kidnapped and made powerless and weak and you have to play the rest of the game as some chick working to save her useless ass man. And when you go to rescue him, he’s wearing some skimpy banana hammock and there’s a long cutscene of your character ogling him and talking about how handsome he is. Imagine that was nearly every form of game you played.

    Now, imagine that that was being updated, but now that male character was allowed to be vaguely useful if he was acting all super fey, but the second he got butch, instant kidnapping or incapacitation. Imagine that the male love interest who is one of the only men in the game is there in the game for about 5 seconds in order to be shot in the face or where they are encountered just so you can enact a bunch of violence on them and move on with the really important story of whether your female character gets her closure with the female villain over some hyperfeminized crap you don’t care about.

    Imagine that that is every game. Imagine how alienating and shitty that would feel.

    Do you think your other male gamers would keep playing these games or would they tease you for playing girly shit? Now imagine that female gamers view you as an aberration, like something that doesn’t belong and is downright offensive to consider. Imagine begging for a game with a real male protagonist. You’ve got a few indie titles with some male protagonists and one even had you interacting with a majority male cast, but most other gamers look down on it. Imagine the girl gamers looking at you with contempt.

    “What do you mean you want a game with a male hero? Games are made for a GIRL audience and so the stories are going to be about girl adventures.”

    How hard would it be to feel welcome?

    And how hard would it be to change things when the idea of a male-centric game or simply a game where men aren’t objects fought over entirely by women is considered unthinkable because there’s slightly more female gamers.

    Imagine just trying to point out how it makes men feel that every depiction of “important story” is a tired retread where you people who look like you are literally objects.

    Which comes back to what she was pointing out. These myths are here because they are established and because they are established, there is a huge amount of inertia against fixing them.

    So let me go further than her.

    These games are not “for MEN” because there is something inherently masculine about them. They are “for MEN” because of an industry where these tropes make playing video games alienating for girl gamers. Where finding a title that isn’t a tired retread of desperate masculinity “dark and gritty” macho power fantasies is a hard slog.

    Our world is one in which games with female protagonists are few and far between, where studios often decide halfway into making such a game that there is no money in it and instead make the same “damsel in distress” bullshit we’ve seen a thousand times before, where the male gamer community seems literally afraid of titles with female protagonists avoiding them like the plague even if later consideration rates them as underrated gems.

    There’s little for women gamers TO support, to show that they are a worthy audience who can enjoy the works.

    And even if we were to ignore the sexism, there’s still the fact of this:

    These tropes are terrible writing.

    They are bland. They are derivative. They are old. They are well-worn and there is nothing novel to catch one’s attention or separate one narrative from the next. There’s nothing to gain from the story and little reason to progress and no reason for it to exist and interrupt the gameplay if this is what is offered.

    Its familiarity makes its execution desperate. So many works trying to splash the tired formulas with new gimmicks or extra shock which just serves to undermine shock and gimmick. Worse, it trains audiences to expect it and create a system where eventually there will be a narrative crash where the target audience loses interest in the entire medium because there is nothing new to absorb.

    Right now, modern gaming has been exploiting a pathetic form of toxic masculinity, a desperation in certain male gamers to render a leisure activity based on sitting on one’s ass and not being physical as masculine in order to silence their fears of being deemed not masculine by their male peers. Having games perform an exaggerated shallow caricature of masculine behavior by masculine protagonists in similar vein to the desperate exaggerations of 90s comics.

    You know: OMG He’s like built like a house and chainsaws dudes in the face and rescues the girl, but she’s like already dead with like boobs popping out of the blood and then she turns into a naked harpy you have to fuck to death with your manly erection pistol.

    It’s unsustainable and it’s boring to mainline crap like that.

    Our brains crave novelty, especially in our narratives. Something new to hold our attention. Familiar may be familiar and may not stress us out or take risks, but it also doesn’t provide anything new. Do you care about the story in a Mario game? Why would you? It’s always the same, only the locations change.

    It’s like the story equivalent of if every single platformer had the exact same jumps in the exact same positions with the exact same enemies. Even if the story was amazing, it’d be a hard slog of boredom.

    If gaming as a medium wants to survive and not go through a fallow period like the one 90s comics caused, it needs to grow up and accept the diversity that racial minority, women, and queer gamers are begging to see.

  59. 59
    PatrickG

    If I recall correctly, Sarkeesian is planning to tackle MMORPGs in the future. [insert complaint about WAH SHE HASN'T DONE IT YET ZOMG SHE STEALS MONEY here].

    Er, wait, I mean, I’m really looking forward to that. I’m not exactly the most prolific gamer in the world, but I have played some, and the storylines (that I’ve seen) tend to be much less problematic. The culture in trade chat, however…. oof.

  60. 60
    PZ Myers

    I’m feeling the same way, Sastra. I play an occasional game, and there have been a few times I’ve played a single game a lot, but my gaming days were back in the late ’70s/early 80s, and I recognized almost none of the games she showed. It was very eye-opening.

    Nowadays, about all I play is a bit of minecraft now and then. I play games that are relaxing and not too twitchy, so I know my gamer cred is about nil.

  61. 61
    PZ Myers

    The games are terrible writing, but so is most writing. Do we really need another vampire/zombie urban fantasy? Even the fantasy stories that cater to a female audience are repetitive and follow the same pathetic story line just about every time.

  62. 62
    Ichthyic

    slightly OT, but I assume people have noticed this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/may/29/facebook-campaign-violence-against-women

    The company said on Tuesday it would update its policies on hate speech, increase accountability of content creators and train staff to be more responsive to complaints, marking a victory for women’s rights activists. “We need to do better – and we will,” it said in a statement.

  63. 63
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    A little OT, but the video and constructing my last comment made me think of those few and far between main female protagonist games I’ve played.

    Like Beyond Good and Evil, Silent Hill 3, Mirror’s Edge, Jeanne D’Arc, Touch Detective, most of the Adventure Games company adventure games, Bayonetta, Metroid, The Path, Slender: The Arrival, Fatal Frame, Portal, American McGee’s Alice, Cooking Mama, uh… Mighty Jill Off?… I’m running out and I’ve played a far number of games in my life and actively seek out one’s with female protagonists where I can.

    Ooh, and the Parasite Eve series which was awesome enough to have a female protagonist and female villain, which is a heavy rarity.

    Which gets to what I suspect will be an underlying message of her show. When the depictions are so infrequent, both in games and in society at large, the reuse of tired problematic cliches as said only tiny depiction does no one any favors.

  64. 64
    anteprepro

    You know, I had some doubts while watching it, but I think she wrapped everything up nicely at the end. Yeah, I don’t see what people find objectionable about her claims. Aside from The Usual Suspects, who will just complain about nothing in particular as long as their target is Feminism adjacent.

  65. 65
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Gregory @41

    I would play the FUCK out of that game. And it would be a rarity in actually having the “in distress” character’s distress actually serve a purpose beyond “you now have new objective” drama bullshit.

    What? Character consequences being dictated by character actions and actual commentary on the usefulness of assumptive tropes? What spore of madness!

  66. 66
    jodyp

    So I post this to Facebook and one of the first comments I get is “condescending, pretentious gender feminist that ignores the fact that majority of violence in video games is directed toward males”.

    And the guy is an avowed liberal.

    Ugh.

  67. 67
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    To add a few more games to strong female character list: The Longest Journey and TLJ:Dreamfall. YMMV

  68. 68
    Hank_Says

    Gregory @ 41:

    Mansel in distress would be awesome.

    Shit, just rework Aliens for the FPS/3PS market. Outstanding hardware, setting and badguys and the heroine Ellen Ripley does in fact save Hicks, the last remaining elite space marine (while carrying Newt, the little girl who was the only survivor of the initial alien rampage, on her hip), after his entire wisecracking macho unit (including Ms Vasquez, the most macho of them all) gets torn to shreds despite their experience and firepower. Ripley then goes hand-to-hand with the antagonist – another badass female known as the Alien Queen. The whole movie is about females calling the shots and kicking the asses and it’s freaking perfect material for an action game. I doubt anyone in their right mind wouldn’t want to play Ripley on LV-426 – not least because the recent spate of Alien universe games & movies have been half-arsed garbage and the franchise deserves another decent chapter.

    Or maybe Joss Whedon could expand his TV/movie writing repertoire to include games. Who the hell wouldn’t play a Buffyverse 3PS/RPG? That was a teen vampire story with some humour and class – and without sparkly stalkers or blank-slate one-dimensional females for the audience to project themselves onto.

  69. 69
    shoshidge

    I have no opinion as to why the video was taken down, but I do disagree with some of its premises.

    The damsel-in-distress is a tired and lazy plot device, true, but it predates video games, it was common in early cinema when the dashing hero had to untie the damsel from the railroad tracks and it goes back in literature and myth as far back as the Ramayana and possibly further.

    The reason writers of heroic fantasies keep coming back to it is that it works.
    There arent many reasons why a person who is not a sociopath would choose to go on the sort of violent spree that is common in video games and action movies. The ticking bomb, avenging a fallen comrade, saving the damsel, they are all cliches, but they provide needed moral context for the violence, otherwise its just a grotesque turkey shoot.

    If anything, I think the video game industry is due a bit of praise for trying to move beyond this cliche in ways that TV and film have yet to do.
    The last two games Ive played,( Fallout 3 and Mass Effect 3), both give you the option of playing as a female character and there were no damsels in distress to be seen,(although the other cliches were still painfully evident).

    On the question of the proportion of women who play video games that someone brought up, I am aware that it is close to 50 percent, but Ive read that if you omit social games like farmville, word-puzzle games and such, and focus on the violent, hero-fantasy games that the video is criticizing, than the proportion of players is mostly male, but Im happily prepared to be proven wrong on that point.

  70. 70
    Ichthyic

    the fact that majority of violence in video games is directed toward males

    I get why they say that, though it’s a trivial point.

    If the protagonist is male, then of course most of the “violence” will be directed at them, especially in an action/shooter type game.

    but, as I said, this is a trivial observation, and does nothing to change the observations Anita highlighted.

  71. 71
    Sassafras

    “Games are sexist against MEN because almost all the enemies you kill are male!” is the new go-to argument for idiots. They ignore that if gave devs avoid including any women characters at all unless they need someone to be sexy/protected, then of course the enemies will all be men, as are the protagonists, the NPCs, etc.

  72. 72
    Alverant

    I saw the video. It was a bit eye opening. No wonder I don’t play many video games. I left anime pretty much for the same reason. There was an article about how the video was taken down on RawStory. Normally it’s a place I go to for liberal comments but many of the comments there were negative including people calling her a fraud and links to Thunderfoot’s videos.

    @shoshidge she did other videos about TV shows, this is just a series on video games. Video games are different than other kinds of media because of the interaction factor. You control what the characters do and apart from “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories and RPGs, no other media comes close to that. I would not say the video game industry is trying to go beyond the cliche as a whole. Look at the current release of games and it’s still hard to find one that doesn’t treat women as objects in some way. To say it deserves praise is like saying an abuser deserves praise because he “only” smacks his wife with an open hand instead of a closed fist. Being best in a lousy bunch is still being part of a lousy bunch.

    It’s tough to avoid too. I play the MMO Neverwinter and play a female character. Despite having full torso coverings according to her equipment list, she still has half a bare midrift (left half) were you can see her navel.

  73. 73
    microraptor

    Cerberus von Snarkmistress’s post was epic. I have nothing worth contributing to this thread now.

  74. 74
    PatrickG

    @ shoshidge:

    The damsel-in-distress is a tired and lazy plot device, true, but it predates video games, it was common in early cinema when the dashing hero had to untie the damsel from the railroad tracks and it goes back in literature and myth as far back as the Ramayana and possibly further.

    I think you’re slightly missing the point here. The fact that the trope exists elsewhere does not excuse the trope existing here. Sarkeesian is not trying to critique all media here, though she does in fact note that this trope exists outside of video games.

    Here, she’s limiting the conversation to video games. Thus, introducing other forms of media, particularly media that goes “as far back as the Ramayan” is a bit irrelevant here. They didn’t have first-person shooters back then, as far as I’m aware, and thus they didn’t have the necessity to introduce storyline into a genre that I played and enjoyed (QUAKE! Anyone? No? Ah well. Shooting Cthulu’s spawn was fun for me.)

    I do want to note the apparent (to me) contradiction between:

    If anything, I think the video game industry is due a bit of praise for trying to move beyond this cliche in ways that TV and film have yet to do.

    if you omit social games like farmville, word-puzzle games and such, and focus on the violent, hero-fantasy games that the video is criticizing, than the proportion of players is mostly male,

    This is precisely the point. A major portion of the video game industry is catering to the same violent, hero-fantasy audience that the film industry caters to. That’s not to say that every game company everywhere does this, but it is quite startling to take the step back and see how much it is in evidence. You watched the video, right?

    The reason writers of heroic fantasies keep coming back to it is that it works.

    No. The reason writers of these heroic fantasies keep coming back to it is that it’s lazy and rooted in other factors. You’ll note that there are numerous other lazy tropes out there. Saving the world from biblical destruction, stopping the rogue agent determined to betray your secrets, defeating the demons, yadda yadda. You don’t have to put women in an objectified role to do any of these things. It’s just become formulaic to do so.

    With that in mind, I think it’s worth noting that Anita Sarkeesian isn’t trying to tackle the entirety of these tropes in all media everywhere (what a project that would be!). Just video games. This is a new market that’s decided to generate an entire series of games perpetuating the same tropes you see in movies everywhere. Why? Why not do something different? Why perpetuate a harmful trope for no good reason? You can evoke emotional responses in teenage males without showing them half-naked women bound in cords, after all. I should know, I was a teenage male once myself, and damn, that Ultima series… sucked me in, that did! :D

    I can’t speak for Sarkeesian, but I get the sense that she’s pissed that the same tropes that infect Hollywood are overwhelming the media content she loves. So she made some videos about it!

  75. 75
    microraptor

    It’s tough to avoid too. I play the MMO Neverwinter and play a female character. Despite having full torso coverings according to her equipment list, she still has half a bare midrift (left half) were you can see her navel.

    Okay, guess I do have something to add. Yeah, I really hate it when games do this. It’s something that games, comics, anime, and other visual media have been doing for years: male characters get armor massive, heavy armor that provides full body protection, up to and possibly including their head, while the female characters get “armor” that barely covers more than the average bikini, purely for fanservice.

  76. 76
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    So, after reading the umpteenth “BUT THE MENZZ!?!?!?” comment on kotaku:

    Fuck you gamer culture.

    Seriously, if it’s not one fuckwit screaming “BUT MIRROR’S EDGE!?!?”, it’s another screaming “MEN ARE DISPOSABLE OMGWTFANITAISANUGLYC***”. Where the fuck did these assholes lose the beat? Oh wait, the same point that says “If you scream gendered slurs at people, you are being misogynistic, and that is wrong”.

    Addlepated paddle-flipping numbskulls. Let’s not even get into MMOs. (Or if we do, let me know. I have stories. Lots of stories)

  77. 77
    Tethys

    shoshidge

    I have no opinion as to why the video was taken down,

    It was down for 45 minutes due to a false Term of Service complaint. It is back now, and you can watch it by clicking the big red arrow in the middle of the video.

    but I do disagree with some of its premises.

    How can you disagree with its premises, or know what any of its premises are without watching it?
    The damsel in distress was covered in the previous episode. Part 2 explores some different tropes.

    The damsel-in-distress is a tired and lazy plot device, true, but it predates video games, it was common in early cinema when the dashing hero had to untie the damsel from the railroad tracks .

    Did someone claim that this trope is found only in video games? This series is about video games, so of course she is focusing on video games. It’s not supposed to be “The History of Damsels in Distress through all History”. Also, please note that cinema has only been around for 90 years. (rounded off estimate, film started in the 20s IIRC)

    and it goes back in literature and myth as far back as the Ramayana and possibly further

    Really? I don’t remember any myths with token women whose only purpose in the story is to die horribly. . Perhaps you could provide a link or citation for that factoid? I’m not very familiar with the Ramayana.

  78. 78
    shoshidge

    I suppose the question can be reduced to whether or not the damsel in distress taps into an innate male impulse rather than a culturally derived one.
    If a cackling sadist were to kidnap my wife and gloatingly chain her down in skimpy rags on a slab, I can’t imagine a more effective way of emotionally motivating me to storm his fortress and gun down his henchmen.
    I feel very strongly that this is as primal an urge as they get, and a noble one, and a culturally universal one.
    Which is why it turns up so much in stories and other media directed at men all over the world across time.

    I appreciate this must get a little boring,(and suspicious), to many women, and the extra helpings of sadism and voyeurism which are often involved don’t help.
    But it gets me, right in the brain stem, even though I’ve seen it a million times, I still get that rush of panic and rage and adrenaline.
    The ticking bomb still gets the blood pumping too.

  79. 79
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    shosridge @69

    I have no opinion as to why the video was taken down, but I do disagree with some of its premises.

    This statement was made with only the best of faiths, I’m sure.

    The damsel-in-distress is a tired and lazy plot device, true, but it predates video games, it was common in early cinema when the dashing hero had to untie the damsel from the railroad tracks and it goes back in literature and myth as far back as the Ramayana and possibly further.

    The very best!

    Gosh, wouldn’t it have been inconvenient to Msr. Douchetwaddler here if it turned out that was actually a major point of Anita’s Episode 1 which she very clearly notes in this video is a critical prerequisite. It’d just make this crap seem like the unoriginal hack dismissal it is.

    But hey, it’s okay, they’re not being ignorant and worthless, they’re just demonstrating the “classic” nature of overused cliches.

    Also, not to beat a dead horse, but something being common doesn’t make it less worthy of analysis. If anything, it makes it more worthy of being examined because it’s critical to notice that something we turn to reflexively is saying what we want and isn’t carrying a bunch of nasty baggage from an age where say… women were viewed as literal property of their husbands or fathers and if that is being carried into the modern day by “literary tropes”.

    Hey! Someone should do like a show examining that sort of thing. Maybe noting how those tropes affect modern women after the increase of rights and societal personhood they have gained, they could call it something like “Tropes vs Women” or something.

    The reason writers of heroic fantasies keep coming back to it is that it works.

    For whom?

    For writers it reveals the writer as a hack with nothing new or interesting to offer. For target audiences, it serves as a story cue for “stop paying attention, there’s nothing new here” and thus turns them off and if repeated often enough will actually reduce engagement by boring the audience. How many times have you shut off a game for the night at the moment a big cliche occurred? There’s a reason for that.

    And for those audiences for whom the cliche is surrounding or demeaning, it’s worse than that. A giant “fuck off” alarm that grates and annoys and serves as an antiquated throwback to attitudes that directly eject you from narratives.

    All for what? A shortcut? A narrative method of saying “and now the next gameplay section?

    What worth is that compared to something involving even the slightest bit more of effort?

    There arent many reasons why a person who is not a sociopath would choose to go on the sort of violent spree that is common in video games and action movies. The ticking bomb, avenging a fallen comrade, saving the damsel, they are all cliches, but they provide needed moral context for the violence, otherwise its just a grotesque turkey shoot.

    A moral context of treating women as objects who are the rewards for when a hero does “the right thing” in a dramatic battle against another male adversary. Furthermore, an object who needs to be put in her place and given violence if she’s “possessed” by things that would make her turn on the hero. And an object whose internal life is always ancillary to the narrative, who doesn’t really matter except as an accessory to the male hero’s story.

    As you note, violence in media doesn’t make us violent sociopaths in real life. But that’s largely because violence isn’t, for the most part, common and seen as every-day and the method by which we interact with people.

    But in a world where, especially in geek cultures, ideas about women that see them as objects “nice guys” win by being kind and good enough, whose internal wants and desires are secondary to the desires of men, and where violence against women is often seen as a moral good and otherwise normalized?

    It’s not the origin, but it’s a reiteration of the culture that is not helpful and may in fact be harmful to attempts to defuse said toxic culture.

    If one’s movies, tv, other men, and yes video games are all selling X and the few and far between women you pay attention to say y? Well, it becomes easy to assume that the women are making up Y and the world really works by X all evidence to the contrary.

    And that’s pretty much the objection. They aren’t the source, but their laziness isn’t helping and how it’s not helping needs to be consciously addressed by all of us if our medium is every going to have aspirations of being a form of expression that matters.

    If anything, I think the video game industry is due a bit of praise for trying to move beyond this cliche in ways that TV and film have yet to do.

    Um… There have been a comparable number of films and TV shows that have subverted the damsel in distress trope. If anything, video games have been falling behind.

    The last two games Ive played,( Fallout 3 and Mass Effect 3), both give you the option of playing as a female character and there were no damsels in distress to be seen,(although the other cliches were still painfully evident).

    A sample size of two games you played. Games I’ll note you gravitated towards because they promised a reduction of cliches, gave more diverse options for the allowance of a female protagonist (including one who is straight or queer) and otherwise had more diversity in their overall characters than their peers.

    This is an argument against the inclusion of greater diversity, the movement away from cliches, and the examination of how harmful lazy writing tropes are, because…

    Oh right, rectal cranium insertion. My bad.

    On the question of the proportion of women who play video games that someone brought up, I am aware that it is close to 50 percent, but Ive read that if you omit social games like farmville, word-puzzle games and such, and focus on the violent, hero-fantasy games that the video is criticizing, than the proportion of players is mostly male, but Im happily prepared to be proven wrong on that point.

    If you dismiss all the games that women play, then it turns out that men play most of the games.

    Well, la dee da, how convenient is that shit!

    And yeah, that’s been the story of women and gaming for the longest time. Women start getting into a genre and hit around the 50% mark? Boom, suddenly it’s not “real gaming” and “casual” and hardly worth the attention of the “real gaming industry”?

    It happened first with puzzle games. Puzzle games were the hardest of hardcore, requiring amazing intellectual dexterity to solve. Then women got into them and once the magical 50% mark was cleared, men ran away and started claiming that puzzle games were “casual crap” and the real high tide mark of gaming were Adventure games. Adventure games required massive intellect, dedication, and often tireless hours writing down various strategies. And so women got into adventure games. By the time of Myst, more women were playing them than men so once again the exodus occurred and adventure games became “useless easy crap solved by clicking everything on everything else”. Then it was simulation games that were the king. I mean, the dedication to gaming alone! Hours upon hours just to recreate some boring technical thing like running a city or a planet or a theme park. Surely… oh wait, women gamers, The Sims is casual crap and anyone who like simulation games isn’t a real gamer. So then it was RPGs. Surely, nothing could rival them, especially JRPGs. They took over 100 hours to complete and had epic stories. Anyone who plays them MUST be the pinnacle of… oh wait, women again, and now JRPG fans aren’t seen as real gamers anymore.

    For now the king is FPS and action adventures, repetitve brown grunt-fests over in a handful of hours, often cycling over the same handful of skills. And when women become equal consumers of it, it will be abandoned once again and the same dismissals of “well, when you remove the Call of Duties…”

    Women are gamers though a handful of extremely insecure men wish they weren’t. But for all they try and make the medium hostile to their fellow fans, it won’t stop women from enjoying games and craving something that they can play as themselves and not have to suffer through old, tired, and offensive tropes just to get the gameplay and interactive stories they crave as human beings.

    And frankly, it would do our medium some good to grow up, strap on the film criticism, literary review, comics scholar glasses and really pour into our medium in an academic way and really think about how we craft our stories. It will help our medium become a fellow art form, given the respect it deserves.

    We can’t have it both ways, demanding the respect of the other mediums and then running under the blanket and saying “we’re just a toy, ignore us” when we’re asked to think critically.

    And if you care about that, it would behoove you to watch some of the videos trying to do just that, whether it is Extra Credits or yes, Anita Sarkeesian’s Women vs Tropes in Gaming.

  80. 80
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Xavius @76

    Really? Mirror’s Edge?

    I mean, yeah, I love Mirror’s Edge. I think it’s an underrated classic that took a lot of risks and was ill-rewarded for it.

    But the gaming culture at large despised it. Thought it was a rancid pile of shit and took special glee in knocking it down in a way it wouldn’t have been if it had had a white male protagonist. It was seen as a major failure.

    So seeing the sexist gaming community that shot Mirror’s Edge in the kneecaps turn to it like a fucking badge of honour once people start rightfully noting the sexist elements that slip into gaming narrative? Fuck that horseshit.

    Listen up, assorted sexists, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a serious medium of art and be above art criticism and analysis. You can’t be a sexist hothead that takes glee in pissing on any game that has a female protagonist and then retreat behind those games when people note how sexist you are. You can’t claim games that engage wide audiences are “gay” or “casual” and then turn around and point to them to show how big your culture is getting.

    You just don’t.

  81. 81
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Ichthyic @70

    I also love how she pointed out in the video that there was a separation between violence AT characters of either sex and violence AGAINST women. It’s not about some whiny feminist looking at Chie Satonaka getting hit by an enemy attack and crying foul (though they scream their damndest to make it look like that because they have no real answer to the actual charge), it’s about the way violence against women, for being women, in a way that has no real meaningful gameplay reason for it, and which dismisses the woman character in order to make her an object for the male character’s development.

    Yeah, a lot of male protagnoists and side characters have violence thrown at them, but it’s never because they are male.

    And that’s the thing that separates a violent setting from violence against women.

  82. 82
    imkindaokay

    “Forty-seven percent of all game players are women. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent)”

    This statistic IS misleading. That does include games like Angry Birds and blah blah blah, rather than … “proper” games, for want of a better term. I see Cerberus has responded to this point above so I’ll make my passing test clear: a proper game is a game that one would find on a console and not on an app. The other things you’ve said, Cerberus, I’m afraid, are mostly untrue. Gender disparity IS a problem in console games. That is the point.

    I think the big issue with throwing out a statistic like that gives the impression that women don’t mind much that all this shit is happening, when obviously they do. As they should.

    The video game industry needs to make a concerted effort to improve itself in this area in order to appeal to a wider fanbase, and, also, mainly, be less boring and shit. And I agree with everything Sarkeesian says (in this video).

  83. 83
    cotton

    I’m glad the video is back up, it was excellent. These videos are concise, well researched, thoughtfully presented, fair, and most important, NECESSARY. As an avid gamer I can confidently say her series of videos should be a part of the curriculum for any aspiring video game designer. More generally, they would apply to any budding storyteller in any medium, but I can’t complain they are focused on one of my favorites and one that sorely needs it. It’s time for gaming to grow up.

  84. 84
    Ichthyic

    a proper game is a game that one would find on a console PC and not on an app

    FTFY

    ;)

  85. 85
    Ichthyic

    Yeah, a lot of male protagnoists and side characters have violence thrown at them, but it’s never because they are male.

    And that’s the thing that separates a violent setting from violence against women.

    yup.

  86. 86
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    Cerberus von Snarkmistress@80

    Yay! Someone else who liked Mirror’s Edge! :D

    Seriously, I just fully blacklisted the entire comments section of Kotaku on my filter, with a scrambled password to make sure I couldn’t see them. My blood pressure is high enough as it is. On the video, the scene from wreck it ralph involving the bride whipping out a minigun has suddenly made me want to watch the movie.
    @81
    I was rather amused that, despite having a goddamn horrible story (even by fighting game standards), Soul Calibur V does a decent job of deconstructing this a bit with the main protagonist having a bad end involving killing his corrupted sister, regretting this action, and being given a second chance to go back and find a way to save her. Still deeply problematic, but I can appreciate that specific bit of subversion. Also, the fact that said sister is saved, but still disfigured, and that the hero STILL accepts her. so yeah. Now if we can just sort out Itagaki’s idiotic obsession with jiggle physics. (SERIOUSLY)

  87. 87
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    shoshidge @78

    I suppose the question can be reduced to whether or not the damsel in distress taps into an innate male impulse rather than a culturally derived one.
    If a cackling sadist were to kidnap my wife and gloatingly chain her down in skimpy rags on a slab, I can’t imagine a more effective way of emotionally motivating me to storm his fortress and gun down his henchmen.
    I feel very strongly that this is as primal an urge as they get, and a noble one, and a culturally universal one.

    …!

    And the irony is that you don’t even understand how powerfully you just proved her and more importantly, my and other feminists’ expanded point about the trope.

    Here, you are, lapping it up, willing to reduce your wife to an object. A game between you and villain. A prize for you to “win back” through an empowerment fantasy where you aren’t a civilized modern man, but have an excuse to be an idea of a fantasy of a super-powerful badass who would totes be capable.

    You don’t consider that you would fail and die, that the actuality of violence would be traumatic, or that your wife would have her own story if this happened and would try to rescue her own damn self, that it isn’t about “saving” people, but creating a world where that isn’t necessary and appreciating it for not creating massive traumas and unnecessary death.

    The toxic masculinity fantasy of masculinity through violence is powerful and has a large number of real consequences in our society.

    You have here demonstrated the perniciousness of the mythology, how easily it is internalized and justified and translates into real ideas about women in the real world.

    You today, have demonstrated WHY the damsel in distress narrative is harmful to relationships between men and women, cultural ideas about men and women, and what daily narratives we use in our daily lives.

    That you praise it as glorious, that you mix it in with sexual desire (ooh, my wife is near naked, so she is scandalously hot, but grr, another man is partaking of my sexual property, justified killing and then she’ll swoon into my arms), that you see it as moral and natural, is the reason why these tropes must be cast upon the fire and ignited.

    Because that shit affects real people. Those fantasies continue to entrench those wives being viewed as property, to see sexual violence against them as part of a story and not worth paying attention to, that leads to ideas of justifications for violence used to ramp up gun cultures and the murders and suicides those create.

    It’s connected.

    And there are other, much better, ways to increase tension, raise adrenaline, and actually say something.

  88. 88
    Ichthyic

    Cerberus, it’s about time you got invited to do your own segment on FtB I think.

  89. 89
    Amphiox

    Like Beyond Good and Evil, Silent Hill 3, Mirror’s Edge, Jeanne D’Arc, Touch Detective, most of the Adventure Games company adventure games, Bayonetta, Metroid, The Path, Slender: The Arrival, Fatal Frame, Portal, American McGee’s Alice, Cooking Mama, uh… Mighty Jill Off?… I’m running out and I’ve played a far number of games in my life and actively seek out one’s with female protagonists where I can.

    Well, there’s Tomb Raider, Heavenly Sword, Final Fantasy VI, X-2 and XIII, Perfect Dark, and Super Princess Peach, to name a handful I can think of.

  90. 90
    Amphiox

    I feel very strongly that this is as primal an urge as they get, and a noble one, and a culturally universal one.

    Primal it may be, but so is beating the guy from the other tribe to a pulp with a heavy club.

    Are we modern humans or are we not?

    Or should we at least aspire to try to be so?

  91. 91
    Amphiox

    Regarding Mass Effect, it is notable that this one game has been praised for having a strong, well written female protagonist, if the player chooses to play as female Shepard.

    It is notable in that aside from a few romance plot options the game as written for female Shepard is exactly identical to that as written for male Shepard, with perhaps the only striking difference being the general consensus that the voice actress for female Shepard did a better job than the voice actor for male Shepard.

    That alone tells us all we need to know about the state female characters in modern video game writing.

  92. 92
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    imkindaokay @82

    Gender disparity IS a problem in console games.

    I would strongly agree with this.

    Just noting that the way the definition of “real games” jumps around when women start to become the dominant market. A handheld game was totally a “real game” when we were in the Game Boy era, but boom, women start getting into mobile gaming apps and the DS? Whoops, gaming is going through a tunnel and only XBox Live users throwing racial epithets about their skill at a game utilizing the bare minimum of gamer skill sets count.

    It’s a frustrating cycle to witness. Though interesting to look back at all the abandoned genres and realize that that constant being alone feeling that women gamers are made to feel is mostly an artifact of abuse and far more than anyone wants to admit play a lot of games for a large amount of their waking hours and that’s pretty cool.

  93. 93
    Amphiox

    But it gets me, right in the brain stem, even though I’ve seen it a million times, I still get that rush of panic and rage and adrenaline.

    Your brainstem constitutes maybe, like, 5% of your whole brain, by weight and volume. So maybe if said tropes constitute 5% of games, or 5% of most game storylines, one could say it is appropriately used.

    And don’t you think that games ought to aspire to engage more than just one’s vegetative functions?

  94. 94
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    Amphiox@last3

    A note: Final Fantasy V has the distinction of having more female protagonists than male. Also, I noted that Anita pointed out that while we’re seeing more women as protagonists, it still stands in stark contrast of almost 30 years of the exact opposite. Not that I mind this trend, but a series of outliers does not constitute a trend (until it affects your confidence ratio)

  95. 95
    lymie

    And the penny dropped and I thought of NCIS – “GIBBS!” Quintessential plot line of wife and daughter killed. I realized what has specifically annoyed me about the show, among a long list. And yet I still like it.

  96. 96
    lymie

    Oh, and she is really great!

  97. 97
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Amphiox @91

    THIS.

  98. 98
    shoshidge

    Amphiox, that’s a fair point, I’m all for being a modern human.
    But for me, that means recognizing the primal urges and funneling them in constructive, or at least, non-destructive ways, rather than denying they exist, or assuming they are culturally imposed.
    Our urge to beat each other with clubs has been mostly satisfied with sports and violent fantasy.
    My primal urge to be a hero is similarly satisfied by heroic sagas, video game, film, literary, etc..

    But to be a hero I have to save something, or rescue something, cherry picking DiD moments in video games doesn’t mean anything unless you can show that those events make up an undue proportion of video game crises.

    I’m all for modernizing the damsel in distress, let’s get rid of the whimpering, the skimpy armor and sadomasochistic undertones, all the better, but it’s not going away entirely.

    thanks, bedtime for me, goodnight.

  99. 99
    consciousness razor

    But for me, that means recognizing the primal urges and funneling them in constructive, or at least, non-destructive ways, rather than denying they exist, or assuming they are culturally imposed.

    You called it “noble” to gun down a bunch of fucking henchmen.

    First, fuck the nobility.

    Second, this idea, as an idea, is not even close to “constructive, or at least, non-destructive.”

    Sure, for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s your brainstem doing all the work here (not how it works, but whatever). And sure, people everywhere have these feelings no matter what cultures they’re in. And yes, people like these kinds of games. Why the fuck should any of that matter? Why should cultures or subcultures like gaming promote it? Why should you take it as a given that it’s fucking “noble”?

  100. 100
    anteprepro

    But for me, that means recognizing the primal urges and funneling them in constructive, or at least, non-destructive ways, rather than denying they exist, or assuming they are culturally imposed.

    Way to assume that “primal urge” and “culturally imposed” are mutually exclusive. Way to assume that we are trying to deny that “primal urges” exist rather than saying “Hey fucker, why don’t you start trying to control your primal urges better so that we don’t have to deal with your shit?”. I mean, really, what is the constructive or non-destructive way of channeling your “primal urge” to infantilize women?

    cherry picking DiD moments in video games doesn’t mean anything unless you can show that those events make up an undue proportion of video game crises.

    Are you really this fucking ignorant? Watch the first fucking video. There are a fucking ton of “DiD moments”. What, exactly, do we need to show in order to start criticizing them? Is there a set number? A percentage of all moments? Percentage of all crises? Does it need to be a majority of all crises or do you just “know an undue proportion when you see it”, you fucking arbiter of significance, you? I mean, fuck all of us if someone proves that Damsel in Distress is the most common of all cliche “video game crises” or plot hooks, because then you and your ilk will start your stamping your feet when Anita finally moves onto another subject.

    “Damsel in Distress was the most common video game crisis, ergo this one is insignificant, ergo it is irrelevant, ergo your criticism is unwarranted, ergo I can continue my self-satisfied, uncritical stupor”

    I’m all for modernizing the damsel in distress, let’s get rid of the whimpering, the skimpy armor and sadomasochistic undertones, all the better, but it’s not going away entirely.

    Defeatism and Strawpeople: Like chocolate and peanut butter.

  101. 101
    robertwilson

    I work in gaming and I can’t think of one co-worker who doesn’t play some casual games. The people who make your hardcore games are casual gamers. Some are casual and hardcore, some are just casual. Some may be just hardcore but I can’t pick one out in my immediate surroundings.

    The problem is that the perpetuation of stereotypes persists even when that stereotype is far from reality. Sadly the make-up of the industry is still largely male and sometimes hostile to women, so that stereotype is still clinging to a sort of reality, but the idea that there’s some wall between casual and real games is nonsense.

  102. 102
    rowanvt

    I suppose the question can be reduced to whether or not the damsel in distress taps into an innate male impulse rather than a culturally derived one.
    If a cackling sadist were to kidnap my wife and gloatingly chain her down in skimpy rags on a slab, I can’t imagine a more effective way of emotionally motivating me to storm his fortress and gun down his henchmen.
    I feel very strongly that this is as primal an urge as they get, and a noble one, and a culturally universal one.

    Pardon me a moment, but I’d like to focus on the bolded parts here.

    A primal male impulse? What, do you think a woman isn’t going to want to defend her husband if he were kidnapped as much a man would? I’m sorry, but if someone hurt my boyfriend I know that would desire to rip their throats out with my teeth. I’m a woman, but I’m often aggressive and fiercely protective of those I love and I will do whatever I can to prevent or deal with harm to them. But I guess that means that, to you, I’m not a woman. Because, this is a primal male urge.

    Fuck that.

  103. 103
    rowanvt

    And… magically missing a bunch of words. My offering to Tpyos today has been large.

    … as much AS a man would?

    … I know that *I* would desire…

  104. 104
    Amphiox

    A note: Final Fantasy V has the distinction of having more female protagonists than male.

    True. But the main character, and generally accepted to be leader of the group, was male.

    I thought the character of Lenna was also a somewhat interesting early subversion of the DiD trope. She was quite frequently in distress, and the rest of your party had to save her, but almost all the time she was in distress because she deliberately put herself in danger to rescue something else that was in distress, and almost every time she succeeds in saving that thing that was in distress that she wanted to save (at the expense of her own safety). Of course that also plays into the “self-sacrifice is a feminine attribute” stereotype.

    (The context here is that this immediately follows Final Fantasy IV, wherein the character of Rosa played the DiD trope painfully, painfully, painfully straight.)

  105. 105
    electrojosh

    Just wanted to say (since I can’t comment on her video via youtube) that this is a great clip. I wasn’t that into Part 1 – it was fine but, imo, labored the point a bit much and didn’t get very deep. But because it was an introduction I thought I’d watch part two before passing judgement.

    Glad I did – this one was better in every way. Not only were there more game examples (recent too) but the tropes she dealt with (and why they are problematic) were more specific to gaming as a medium and not just entertainment in general. I also recall at least two occasions where she anticipated a complaint and dealt with it. Bring on part 3!

  106. 106
    Amphiox

    If we’re really going to go down there and talk about primal urges to protect, let us at least make a distinction between the “primal” urge to protect by protecting, and the “primal” urge to “protect” by aggressively seeking out that which is perceived to be the source of the threat and then attacking and destroying it with extreme and violent prejudice.

    In real life that is the difference between setting up effective border security and sending out a drone to drop a missile into someone’s living room in a foreign country.

  107. 107
    Amphiox

    Which brings up another point: there is a price to pay in the hard cold realm of real life for reinforcing these so-called “primal” urges in our entertainment and other cultural zeitgeist expressions.

    What IS a targeted drone strike program, or a pre-emptive invasion of a foreign country, or a covert ops mission to assassinate an enemy leader, BUT an expression of this so-called “primal” urge to “protect” with aggressive violence?

  108. 108
    imkindaokay

    it seems that a lot of pharyngulites would get rid of the action/adventure/fantasy games entirely.

    i don’t think violence in video games is necessarily a problem

    obviously there is great pleasure to be derived from slaying countless mortal enemies and saving the world/your love/the world some more

  109. 109
    SallyStrange

    Yeah, um, MALE primal urge? Like, gay men don’t exist and women never ever get primal protective urges, because only straight men are descended from obligate gregarious social apes and the rest of us are just props.

    Fuck you.

  110. 110
    Hank_Says

    This “what about all those male characters you gun down” whinge is a bit tiresome – and frankly a bit of a hollow wank.

    If gunning down countless thousands of badguys was honestly in any way troubling to the people who now bring it up in response to the Damsel/female as expendable massacre-motivation trope, you’d think the issue would have come up once or twice during the last decade or so. During that time, approximately four hundred billion Call of HonourField™ chapters have been released, all where the entire point of each one is to exterminate the all-male enemy legions all by yourself. Has any noble Answerer of Duty™ contacted the developers to ask if they can either be a female super-soldier or gun down thousands of Nazi frauleins (I know the last Wolfenstein had elite Nazi women to exterminate – they of course were in skin-tight leather, not anything resembling a soldier’s uniform)? And couldn’t the uncountable trail of dead male soldiers/terrorists you leave behind in all of these games be considered another data point that supports the general male-centredness of the games industry in general? Even if you leave out the ones set during our real bygone wars, the speculative ones still insist on all-male goodguys and all-male badguys. Despite the body count which must be in the trillions by now, this constant focus on male-dominated stories in gaming speaks to a male-dominated (and, much of the time, not that inventive) industry.

    And hey, let’s not forget the online FPS world, where to simply have a female handle inspires instant demands to show your breasts and where racist, rapey, misogynist slurs are more or less considered standard patter, and where female players are almost universally considered sad n00bs despite their skill or experience. Because of this no female FPS player I’ve ever known has used a mic during online play or used a female username.

    My point? Dudes complaining that all they do is shoot other dudes is asinine bullshit. Spend a little time playing online and it soon becomes clear that that’s exactly how they like it.

  111. 111
    Eristae

    I keep watching these videos and wondering, “If you replaced the woman in that cutscene with a pet–say, a dog–would people still be okay with it? Or would they flip the freak out and boycott the game?” Because I would not buy a game that did to animals what was done to women in some of those games. Fuck, even thinking about some of them make me feel rather weepy (example: thinking about my cat being in enough torment to beg me to kill him in his catish way). Playing such a game would in no way be fun. So what’s going on that is making this stuff enjoyable enough that it’s happening in game after game after game with women? I mean, sure, I can give a nod to a certain level of suspension of disbelief (someone put my cat in suspended animation to take over the world because my cat was standing in the way of that? Er, maybe this is taking the analogy to far . . . ), but holy fuckity fuck, some of that shit just beyond the pale.

  112. 112
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Amphiox @91

    YES. THIS.

  113. 113
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Whoops, double post.

  114. 114
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Skatje-have you reconsidered your unreconstructed views on abortion yet?

  115. 115
    Ingdigo Jump

    @108

    Ok just going to call you an idiot now

  116. 116
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    @amphiox 91 and Cerb@112

    I am confuse due to my dudebrowhitemaleness.

    There’s a male shepard? /snark

    On a (more) serious note, my priors/privilege seem to be getting in the way: In an ideal world, wouldn’t this be the norm? One’s interactions with others wouldn’t be gender specific except where it was very specifically relevant (in the plumbing/mating sense, ie a “genderblind society”)? Please (for the love of FSM!) let me know if this is not the case!

  117. 117
    tajparis

    The whole “yeah, but women play casual games and those aren’t real games” line of argument is just absurd to me. I’ve been gaming for thirty years, gaming is a serious hobby for me. Yet I have just as much fun playing a supposed casual game like Angry Birds or Plants vs Zombies as I do playing Skyrim or Fallout. They may be games with simple rules, simple interactions, designed to be quick and easy to jump into and of. But how does that invalidate their status as real games for real gamers?

    It seems pretty clear to me that it is, in this instance, just a rationalization to marginalize women gamers. That way, if they aren’t real gamers, then their criticisms of gaming aren’t legitimate. They aren’t real failings, so we’re still totes awesum, no worries, no need to actually acknowledge anything uncomfortable.

    Of course the True Gamers have been harping on that “casual games aren’t real games” nonsense in general for years now. All, it appears, in a pitiful attempt to manufacture some criteria wherein they can feel superior to all those other people.

  118. 118
    tajparis

    As to the “primal urge” motivation: why the everlovingfuck must it constantly be über-macho manly man must save the receptacle for his penis?

    There are all sorts of motivations that can tap into this mental state that don’t have to fall into the above trope. It’s just stupidly lazy writing. I mean, it is so trivially easy to just sidestep this incredibly overused tripe, and not even have to really alter the structure of your typical action game. Just have your Hero Protagonist going after the people who took their child, or their sibling, or their partner/sidekick. There have been a few games that have done this, and it not like nobody ever played those games because “why would you play a game if there isn’t some fictional sex object as the prize at the end for your fictional hero.”

  119. 119
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    imkindaokay @108: What is it with people and the inability to do subtle points? The point is not all video games go bye-bye, something Sarkeesian says up front: “It’s possible to appreciate and medium and to critique it.” The point is not even all violence in media bad.

    The point is violence against women is a problem in society, and using it consistently in games as a way to affirm and/or reify masculinity as expressed in violence echoes what we know via social research to be the stated justification for real life violence against women. Sarkeesian even says, explicitly, that the mechanism that relates behavior to media is complicated, not simple nor easy to tie together.

    Seriously, what is fucking wrong with people and the inability to pay attention to nuance? I swear, all you have to do is mention well known and established facts about women and at least half the potential audience starts hooting and flinging shit.

  120. 120
    Eristae

    If simple games aren’t Real Games, does that mean that PacMan isn’t a real game? Are basically any games made before, what, the SNES, not real games? The NES? Where do arcade games fall in this? Just how simple or complicated are we talking about here?

    Sure, some types of games tend to be more misogynistic than others (compare first person shooters to puzzle games), but I don’t see why the first would be more legitimate than the other.

  121. 121
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Eristae: Don’t you know anything which does not involve manly pummeling or guns is not a real game? If you can’t drag your balls on the ground while playing, it not real game.

    *grunt*

  122. 122
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Xavius @116

    True Female Characters

    Well, that’s the issue. In an ideal world, yes.

    But that is because in an ideal world, there would be no such thing as sexism, societal expectations of gender and every person would be free to present themselves in a wide variety of manners without commentary. In such a world, the ideal character thus would be dramatically similar whether male or female and there would be little to be gained to approaching it differently in any way.

    But in the society we live in today. there are benefits in writing a specifically female character that acknowledges the role social pressure, institutional sexism, and the differing pressures placed on women versus men.

    A character who is just a good character who happens to be female is awesome, not denying that. But a female character who uses those elements without devolving into sexism, but rather comments on sexism or female societal expectations can be pure joy. The moments in Portal 2 where GlaDos uses specifically female societal pressures on Chelle or all of Heather in Silent Hill 3 (so many moments where specifically female fears born from a sexist society are used brilliantly such as the stalking elements).

    Given the effect that living in a sexist society has on all of us, a character or story that ignores this when it would come up feels a little more hallow even if it is otherwise solid and amazing.

    I hear tell that the Walking Dead Telltale games are a great example of writing a minority character where the character’s minority status informs other character’s interactions and their interactions back, but not in a shallow caricaturish sort of way.

    If so, that is the sort of ideal for the society we have now. But if you can’t reach that, it’s WAY better to just do a character where sex doesn’t matter than to epically fail at -ism informed character writing … Metroid: Other M, shudder…

  123. 123
    ChasCPeterson

    Josh, how bored are you, picking a completely off-topic grudge-fight with somebody who last commented 6 hours ago?

  124. 124
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I dunno, Chas. How bored are you?

  125. 125
    Ichthyic

    Josh, how bored are you, picking a completely off-topic grudge-fight with somebody who last commented 6 hours ago?

    so… Josh couldn’t have:

    -recently read the thread
    -saw Skatje’s comment
    -been curious if there had been any change in thinking

    no, it has to be an “off topic grudge fight”

    again, I find it interesting to see your mind make conclusions so different than the ones I make.

    viva la diversity!

  126. 126
    imkindaokay

    Seriously, what is fucking wrong with people and the inability to pay attention to nuance? I swear, all you have to do is mention well known and established facts about women and at least half the potential audience starts hooting and flinging shit.

    i’ve said i agree with everything sarkeesian says in the video; my comment was directed more to some commenters here who think violence in video games is inherently bad. you didn’t read my other comment i imaaaaaaagine

    It seems pretty clear to me that it is, in this instance, just a rationalization to marginalize women gamers. That way, if they aren’t real gamers, then their criticisms of gaming aren’t legitimate. They aren’t real failings, so we’re still totes awesum, no worries, no need to actually acknowledge anything uncomfortable.

    I would argue that the fact that there aren’t as many women games who do play the more hardcore games is a damning indictment of the gaming industry as being heavily offputting to them/an often misogynist turdpit.

  127. 127
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    Cerb@122

    There are a lot of words I could use here, but I’ll suffice with: I learned something! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D (Also yay for Extra Credits episode I somehow missed!)

    also: Other M ruined what image I had gleaned of Samus from Benimaru Itoh’s short comic for Super Metroid in Nintendo Power. This is unforgivable. (I believe he stated that she was 6’1″ and 180lbs at the time, which is rather uncommon for the time)

  128. 128
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    imkindaokay: I read both comments, thank you. I was responding to the comment I cited, hence the comment about people unable to tell the difference in between “here’s a problem” and “let’s make all the games like this go away”. If you’ll go back and read your comment on 108, that would be your first sentence.

  129. 129
    cactusren

    I’ve only gotten to post #81, and I have to get some sleep now, but I just want to say to Cerberus von Snarkmistress: you are fucking awesome, and you win this thread. +1 sniny internet for you (I only wish there was more than one for you to win).

  130. 130
    imkindaokay

    @128 read amphiox’s comments directly before mine.

    also why did you say this:

    The point is violence against women is a problem in society, and using it consistently in games as a way to affirm and/or reify masculinity as expressed in violence echoes what we know via social research to be the stated justification for real life violence against women.

    if you knew that i agreed with that exact sentiment?

    And I agree with everything Sarkeesian says (in this video).

  131. 131
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    imkindaokay: But, you know, let’s talk about the first comment for a second. By your criteria, none of the Nintendo games are “proper” games, none of the SNES games, nor the Playstation games, nor the PS2 games, nor anything that has been on a console.

    This would be a great shock to several generations of gamers. Since I belong to the first generation to have consoles, I’m quite shocked myself to find that the giant collection in my closet is not actually games.

    Oh, and hey, apparently the apps on my phone aren’t games. I mean, they only feature goals with rewards at the end, puzzle solving and/or timing exercises, story lines and characters. Also games on the Gameboy, the PS Touch and the Nintendo 3DS. Good to know they aren’t really games.

    Right, if it’s potentially played by a non-serious gamer (you know, someone female and typically older than their teens), it doesn’t count as proper gaming.

    But, you know, here’s a source for you: http://www.theesa.com/facts/gameplayer.asp

  132. 132
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    imkindaokay: Because one of the consistent responses to criticism of tropes in video games is both of the things you’ve said: people just want to take away video games with any sort of violent content because they’re critiquing them. The second is that it’s not like female gamers are real gamers, so they aren’t a substantial part of gamers (or at least not substantial enough to pay attention to the complaints of).

    The reason I am responding this strongly is that despite saying you agree, you’re using those two defenses.

  133. 133
    imkindaokay

    But, you know, let’s talk about the first comment for a second. By your criteria, none of the Nintendo games are “proper” games, none of the SNES games, nor the Playstation games, nor the PS2 games, nor anything that has been on a console.

    how is this even true?

    i don’t know how people cannot distinguish between a game like “angry birds” and a game like legend of zelda, or a game like “fruit ninja” and a game like WoW, say.

    Right, if it’s potentially played by a non-serious gamer (you know, someone female and typically older than their teens), it doesn’t count as proper gaming.

    yeah i’m so sure that no girls play games that i’ve defined as proper games! none!

    Also games on the Gameboy, the PS Touch and the Nintendo 3DS. Good to know they aren’t really games.

    i didn’t even imply this…

    if you’re determined to think that little apps are the same as full-length video games, fine, i’m over it, it’s a trivial point.

    the main point is sexism in video games does tend to exist and that’s bad. i personally think it might put women off and that we can actively see that being the case, that’s all

  134. 134
    imkindaokay

    “The second is that it’s not like female gamers are real gamers, so they aren’t a substantial part of gamers (or at least not substantial enough to pay attention to the complaints of).”

    please, please, PLEASE read what i’m saying.

    i think it is a massive massive massive problem that women don’t take up a more significant proportion of what i think is real gaming, and i think it should change! i’ve not for one second said we shouldn’t listen to the complaints!

  135. 135
    rowanvt

    How exactly do you define a ‘real’ game? I raid in WoW *and* play Bejeweled Blitz and used to play farmville and a couple others. Heck, WoW now even includes pokemon and farming. Even farmville can be challenging, if you want to maximize efficiency.

  136. 136
    SallyStrange

    i’ve not for one second said we shouldn’t listen to the complaints!

    Perhaps, but you have been agreeing with a couple of the bogus arguments put forward by those who maintain that sexism in video games is not a problem worth worrying about.

  137. 137
    echidna

    Do android gamers dream of Nethack?

  138. 138
    imkindaokay

    Perhaps, but you have been agreeing with a couple of the bogus arguments put forward by those who maintain that sexism in video games is not a problem worth worrying about.

    and:

    How exactly do you define a ‘real’ game? I raid in WoW *and* play Bejeweled Blitz and used to play farmville and a couple others. Heck, WoW now even includes pokemon and farming. Even farmville can be challenging, if you want to maximize efficiency. </blockquote

    Yeah i spoke too rashly i realise; it's not easy to draw a hard and fast line. regardless, there are games that are more "real" or "hardcore" or whatever word you want to use.

    A lot of the more "real"/"hardcore" games tend to have defined protagonists etc, and these are often male. I think a much more even balance of boy/girl gamers would be achieved if this wasn't the case. e.g., if zelda often took a more active role; if peach often took a more active role; if all the starter pokémon had a 50/50 chance of being either sex rather than 87.5/12.5.

    i think sexism in video games would be less of a problem if it was shown that women just didn’t care; but i think it looks like they do, and are disenfranchised and not as willing to play etc because of all the sexist stuff like the above and extreme sexualisation …etc.

  139. 139
    imkindaokay

    cannot blockquote today, i’m so sorry :(

  140. 140
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    imkindaokay: Okay, let’s try this another way. Is it not clear to you that casual gamers are thought to be primarily female in the gaming community? Is it not clear that if casual gamers are thought to be female, there might be something weird about the statement:

    “This statistic IS misleading. That does include games like Angry Birds and blah blah blah, rather than … “proper” games, for want of a better term.”

    You did give your personal criteria just after that statement:

    “I see Cerberus has responded to this point above so I’ll make my passing test clear: a proper game is a game that one would find on a console and not on an app.”

    If it makes this more clear: App games are considered casual games. Gamers who play casual games are seen as female. App gamers are considered to be primarily female. Casual games are widely, in the gaming community, seen as not real. Part of the reason they are seen as not real is because women play them. Women are not thought to be real gamers.

    As for the other, it is common for people to confuse critique with the attempt to physically remove something from them. And for those people who are not serious, and do not actually believe that their games will be removed, it is not uncommon for them to confuse the issue so that it seems likely to others that something they like will somehow disappear. This statement muddies the waters so the following discussions will be more likely, instead of being focused on issues pertinent to the critique, to be focused on things which are unlikely to happen. In short: it derails the discussion.

  141. 141
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    imkindaokay @108

    I’m pretty sure for most of the comments, it’s also about the ubiquity of the fantasy.

    It’s always about solving problems with violence, dealing with loss with revenge. Or as Anita pointed out, “reclaiming the lost masculinity of expected duties by performing violence against others”. It’s an unfortunate trope because the idea that violence is the best way to reclaim lost masculinity has a lot of… painful and deadly consequences for women, queer, racial minority… etc… individuals. Even for straight white cis men.

    There’s a lot of direct social, political, and societal problems largely created by male anxieties about reclaiming masculinity through violence.

    Which the ubiquity of the problem and what it’s tied to socially allows great opportunities for subversion. Metal Gear Solid 3 and The Sorrow’s river, all of Spec Ops: The Line, the ending of Shadow of the Collosus, all used this gaming trope of violence as the first best solution to comment on the realities of violence and the use of it to reclaim masculinity, make up for mistakes, make one’s life easier, or get what you want.

    Other games have used awareness of the trope to consider gameplay that is inherently non-violent but still engaging, intense, and moving. Works like the Portal games work with these elements to make their gameplay deeper and thus more interesting and of course, novel.

    I think however one can enjoy works where problems are solved with violence or where violence is a main aspect of the game or even games where violence is encouraged and exaggerated (I’ve personally found great stress relief in the Twisted Metal series), while still recognizing that elements of it and its ubiquity can be problematic.

    And I think that position is far closer to what most people are saying about violence in games compared to the impression you got.

  142. 142
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    imkindaokay: I’m willing to buy that you may not have realized that you were going to get this response. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, but please pay attention to why we’re saying what we have about your statements.

  143. 143
    Eristae

    i don’t know how people cannot distinguish between a game like “angry birds” and a game like legend of zelda, or a game like “fruit ninja” and a game like WoW, say.

    And I’m going to reiterate (perhaps more clearly) that I don’t see how PacMan is substantively different from Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja (had to look that up) reminds me rather strongly of Dance Dance Revolutions.

    No one is saying that Fruit Ninja and/or or Dance Dance revolutions is identical to the Legend of Zelda. No one is saying that Angry Birds/PacMan is identical to WoW. However, the differences lies not in that one is on an app rather than a console or that one isn’t a proper game but in that they belong to different categories of games.

    In short, Tetris is not Metroid, but that isn’t because one of them somehow isn’t a proper game.

  144. 144
    imkindaokay

    Okay, let’s try this another way. Is it not clear to you that casual gamers are thought to be primarily female in the gaming community? Is it not clear that if casual gamers are thought to be female, there might be something weird about the statement:

    Yeah i accept that; but casual games aren’t the problem are they? angry birds and fruit ninja hardly even have the potential to be sexist.

    where games are sexist or very similar in genre to sexist games,, as in most of the more “hardcore” games, you will almost certainly find less women playing

  145. 145
    Eristae

    Oh, and PS: I think the issue may have been your phrasing (“proper” game) rather than your intentions (which I am guessing are relatively in line with what has been expressed by many of us previously, although guessing about the intentions of others sometimes gets me into trouble)

  146. 146
    echidna

    I’mkindaok,
    I know my #137 was cryptic, so I will be explicit:
    Would you consider Nethack to be a real game? It’s as complex and as gender-neutral a game as I’ve ever found.

    As for which games I choose to play, I deal with enough sexist crap IRL, I don’t need it in my escapist fantasies as well.

  147. 147
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Casual games are equally able to be a problem. Check Wikipedia’s definition of casual games. Some story-telling games are also listed.

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

  148. 148
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    echidna: I dream of nethack, and sometimes of rogue. :D

  149. 149
    imkindaokay

    Would you consider Nethack to be a real game? It’s as complex and as gender-neutral a game as I’ve ever found.

    i’ve never played it i’m afraid, so i can’t say D:

    rather than your intentions

    my only intention is to state the idea that i think there is a direct causal link between a game being sexist, and a genre of games generally being sexist (and these games generally being the more “hardcore” ones) and less women playing those games. maybe/probably my phrasing was poor

  150. 150
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Apps vs full length games…

    Yeah, there’s definitely an element of the “women like this” so therefore casual thing I’ve noted has happened with every single genre women have been equally or more into than men. It happened with arcade titles, puzzle games, adventure games, JRPGs, simulation games, handheld games, even MMORPGs to a degree.

    I mean, why is a quick game on Xbox Arcade “retro”, whereas Angry Birds is casual? What separates Pocket Planes from a rom of Aerobiz in “hardcore-ness”?

    The thing about apps is that they aren’t trying to be Triple A titles (might I humbly suggest that this phrasing might reduce the amount of people getting their hackles up over the implications of your word choice), they are trying to be like the pocket retro experiences of yesterday. Capturing the pick-up and play elements of an old SNES game or an arcade title.

    And honestly, the current state of “teh hardcore” has just been baffling of late. Ah dudes, the truest hardcore is a game that takes less than 10 hours to beat, has repetitive action, little meaningful story, cliched characters and some waving flags, whereas games where people regularly sink upwards of 50 hours into it over days and weeks are complete casual wastes of space.

    Or rather it would if I wasn’t aware that a lot of how “real” and “hardcore” gaming is defined is similar to the way “real” or “hard” science is defined (those disciplines that haven’t yet reached an equal representation of women).

    I don’t think you necessarily are trying to mean anything by it. It just carries that element in most common uses of the phrase (which is why people are grumbling over your word choice).

  151. 151
    Eristae

    @imkindaokay

    I think most (if not all) people here would agree that misogyny in a given area tends to drive out women. I also think that people would agree that some genres of games are more misogynistic than others.

    Sidenote: I kept reading “casual link” where you wrote “causal link” and going, “WTF does that mean?” Letter order in reading is important, it seems.

  152. 152
    echidna

    echidna: I dream of nethack, and sometimes of rogue. :D

    I get a bout of nostalgia whenever I hit the Rogue level in nethack.

  153. 153
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Ancedata: I’m rather fond of shooters, myself. I LOVE shooting down waves of bad guys, finding new and better guns, beating bosses, etc. I’ll sink hours into TF2, just for the pleasure of killing other people online, even though there is no story worth speaking of.

    I’m also very aware of the fact that if the character has a vagina, they tend to be useless, a trophy or dead. It’s like a little slap in the face every fucking time.

  154. 154
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    echidna: I had hours and hours of random fun with those games, trying to see how deep I could go. (And then playing with the program itself.) You never really had time to get attached to those characters, it was more about how long this one survived and beating your last best.

    Well, and exploration. And moments of supreme weirdness with those altars in Nethack.

  155. 155
    ChasCPeterson

    Josh couldn’t have:
    -recently read the thread
    -saw Skatje’s comment
    -been curious if there had been any change in thinking

    I’m sure that’s exactly what happened.
    My problem is with the next step in the chronology, where he chose to express his curiosity by posting a wildly off-topic comment, addressed to someone who has been absent from the thread for hours, that certainly looks to me like an attempt to pick a fight, or resume one from the past. At best it’s a pretty flagrant violation of PZ’s reset rule.

  156. 156
    consciousness razor

    Yeah i accept that; but casual games aren’t the problem are they? angry birds and fruit ninja hardly even have the potential to be sexist.

    You’re guessing, and those are specific games anyway so it’s a meaningless claim. (It won’t be “Angry Birds” if it’s a different a game.) Some variation on them certainly does have potential. And if you actually check, you’ll know that people make all sorts of free/cheap, casual, disposable, do-it-on-your-lunch-break kind of games (often modeled after retail games) that can have practically any kind of content they want. Google “free game online” and see for yourself. Maybe look for categories like “girl,” “adult,” “funny,” “naughty,” etc., just to start with. Those are the ones that popped out to me (whole categories of games with a very definite potential for sexism), but it won’t be hard to find some mixed in with lots of other genres. Because these “casual games” don’t lack stories or protagonists or fighting or whatever criterion you pick: there are RPGs, strategy, shooters, action/adventure, and so on.

  157. 157
    ibyea

    I never liked the distinction between casual and “harcore”. Those two terms apply better to behavior of players than the games themselves. Someone who plays tetris just to relax once in a while would be more casual. Those who play it to get the super high score and stuff would be more “hardcore”.

  158. 158
    throwaway

    What ibyea said. ‘Hardcore’ usually revolved around time investment when referring to WoW players. I’m not sure the terms started there, but they were a major sticking point for a lot of players. ‘Hardcore’ players wanted to feel accomplished by having massive hurdles to jump while ‘casual’ players want to be playing the same game as the hardcore players without a monumental time investment to do so. An example of the same game yet two types of players being represented (and sometimes battling over the same piece of the risk/reward pie.)

    Is it even possible to define ‘hardcore’ and ‘casual’ accurately without referring to the players themselves?

  159. 159
    echidna

    Mouthyb,

    I, too, spent hours of fun exploring, and even ascended once. I’ve picked it up again in the last few years, and it’s still just as much fun.

  160. 160
    consciousness razor

    I never liked the distinction between casual and “harcore”. Those two terms apply better to behavior of players than the games themselves. Someone who plays tetris just to relax once in a while would be more casual. Those who play it to get the super high score and stuff would be more “hardcore”.

    Yeah, I agree. I was sticking with the (assumed) psychological definition, so I wouldn’t have to argue that point at the same time. But like you’re saying, it’s not defining a kind of game at all, just what is supposed to be the “right” way to play or how much time/thought/whatever that you’re supposed to commit to it. Any kind of game could be played with whatever degree of “casualness” or “hardcore-dude-bro-serious-ballsiness” that you want.

  161. 161
    Goblinman

    @shoshidge

    One of the problems with any media type tapping into primal (straight) male urges in order to help the audience empathize with the protagonist is that, if the audience is not a straight guy, it backfires and has the opposite effect.

    F’rinstance, as a gay guy, when this trope comes up in games, I feel like I’m being forced to be the ultimate wingman for the protagonist. Sure, I’ll help him rescue her because she’s a nice girl (if kinda bland–I have no idea what he sees in her), and I’m a little worried he’s going to do something crazy soon if someone doesn’t look out for him. But when they catch up and start making out I’m just gonna roll my eyes and skip the cutscene.

    Now, if I was playing as a gruff space marine whose husband got kidnapped, I would be all “hell no” and grab the nearest chainsaw-gun. I’d expect him to meet me halfway, though. My gay space marine didn’t marry no slacker.

  162. 162
    rq

    My gay space marine didn’t marry no slacker.

    What an awesome statement to read as the (currently) last comment here. :D

    +++

    Learned a lot here, even though I’m no gamer (casual or hardcore), esp. from Cerberus. You are awesome, and I’m too lazy to scroll back up to see who said it, but I also think you need more space than just the comment section hereabouts.

  163. 163
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    It’s an interesting (to me, at least) aside to note that (I’m guessing due to YT rules) Sarkeesian shows scenes of graphic violence but needs to blank out the evil boobies, lest they corrupt us…

    Another indicator of the intrinsic sexism of the plotting is the repeated appearance of the “murdered wife / kidnapped daughter” motif. Would it be too much to ask for even the tiny step of having the character’s kidnapped child be his son? Do our expectations of masculinity extend so far that it’s unpalatable to portray a young boy as a helpless victim? FFS, there is even a hugely exploitable trope of the mother becoming superhuman to protect her kids, one far stronger than tropes of paternal protectiveness, can we not have a game where a mother mows down countless bad guys to rescue her child (of either gender)?

  164. 164
    thetalkingstove

    The bit with ‘your wife is brutally murdered, and you must save your daughter’ repeated over and over is extremely effective.

    And I’m not a big gamer particularly, so it was interesting to see some of the other tropes like ‘you must now kill your wife/girlfriend/princess because she’s corrupted in some way’. That’s just super creepy. Especially with the begging, too. Please, big strong man, kill me?

    Yikes.

  165. 165
    cartomancer

    I guess I’m not as devoted a gamer as some, but I do have a considerable fondness for the medium, and grew up playing games an awful lot in the 90s and early 2000s. As an individual of the homosexual persuasion I have often felt frustrated at the complete lack of same-sex relationship stories in games, given the ubiquity of mixed-sex relationships in the same.

    The few that do show up tend, almost exclusively, to be the result of games which allow romance options but are constructed to allow for player characters of either (I should really say “any”, but in these games it always is “either”) gender. Which is fine, perhaps even better, but since the majority of game characters are pre-scripted and not of optional-gender, it is a problem that when they do have romance options, none of them are anything but straight. There probably is an exception somewhere, but I have never found it. And let us not get started on the stereotypical portrayals that the few scripted gay or bisexual characters tend to get (Zevran Aranei from Dragon Age I’m looking squarely at you).

    Now, I don’t want to derail this into “what about us gays” when the topic is primarily presentations of women (though they are intimately connected themes). I bring this up because I had always treated the issue of gay characters in games, closer to my heart, with an exasperated sigh and the knowledge that as only about 5% of the population we would never be considered anything but niche. With women being about half the population, I would not have thought the same situation applies. But clearly it does. Which suggests it’s not really about audience share at all.

    My brother, a much more dedicated gamer and someone actually working in the industry, says it’s because people choose to play characters who embody things they either are or want to be themselves. And so I think, well hang on a minute, I play games where I have to be a straight man or a woman or an American or an alien or a plumber all the time, and I’m fine with those, although I am none of those things and have no desire to be. Except maybe the alien. In fact I often find female characters in games to be more relatable, because they aren’t larded through with all the hackneyed macho stereotypes I find so ridiculous. It’s the same with books and films. I suppose this might expose two differing approaches to engaging with game characters – to me it’s about watching a character’s story unfold and going on a journey with them, not pretending to be that character myself. Even in open RPGs (both tabletop and electronic) I create a character to watch and examine, a part to play in a story, not an alter-ego. But people like my brother really seem to project themselves into the game. They’re not playing someone else, they’re playing them but in a different skin. Which must, necessarily, result in a different appreciation of the characteristics of the persona on the screen.

    I wonder if this goes further? The same brother of mine (my identical twin, no less) seems to find female characters very boring and unrelatable even in books, where I simply don’t. There’s a series of fantasy adventure books we both love, which a few years ago got its own spin-off trilogy featuring a female incidental character promoted to main protagonist, exploring her coping with life as a vampire after an incident where she left the main series. The spin-offs have the same author, the same world, and the same levels of violence, humour, backstabbing and horror that the main series does, as well as bucketloads of extra vampires (and boy does he love vampires), but he is completely uninterested in reading them. And he says it’s all because the main character and much of the supporting cast are female, even though it was perfectly fine when she was an incidental love-interest in the main run, and many of the others turned up as villains.

    I’m not trying to extrapolate solely from this one case to a general sociological point, but is the most pressing problem simply that large numbers of male consumers of popular culture have a habituated response like this to engaging with female characters on anything more than a superficial level? And, I suspect, there is probably a similar response among women to male characters in some media too. Once people stop seeing gender as a barrier to character engagement, surely only then can we begin to create media wherein these harmful tropes and stereotypes are diminished – because only then will large numbers of people stop using gender expectations as the default lens through which to appreciate culture?

  166. 166
    anchor

    “When violence is the only game=playing mechanic, and therefore the primary way the player engages with the game world, its a [verily? - pardon, unintelligible to me- "limited"?] options for problem solving. The player is then forced to use violence to deal with almost all situations, because that’s the only meaningful mechanic available – even if that means beating up or killing the women they’re meant to love or care about.”

    Having sloppily observed my nephews and cousins work (heh) through their games over the years, I have strongly suspected that their games are indeed infested with the dysfunct dominant male = hero+female-in-distress-in-dire-need-of-rescue-trope, but I had not fully appreciated just how pervasive if not complete this crap is in the gaming world. Not that I am particularly surprised at the incidence, but to actually SEE it as Anita so ably documents it absolutely positively gives me a deep and horrible pain in the pit of my stomach.

    I be a man. Anita is my hero for making me a hell of a lot smarter…

    I’m afraid to say that this information is so rich and dense in its rapid-fire exposition that I found it difficult to keep up. Which I might venture, is something of a shame, since the very people (gamers and their Most Wealthy Providers) who most need to heed what she is demonstrating with such refreshing clarity are the very ones who most need to listen to this despite their obvious attention deficit.

    I’m sick to death of the fetish fantasy crap. I want to see a truly decent “game” that builds workable worlds…if one is sufficiently knowledgeable and savvy enough to take on the responsibility involved in designing and maintaining a civilized structure within which people enjoy an optimum of individual freedom within an infrastructure of arbitrary complexity which can handle random acts of natural entropy (catastrophic weather, climate change, quakes, volcanism, meteor impacts, economic variability, environmental degradation, war between idiot nations…and dare I say it, cultural/political currents.

    Yeah, and throw in that factor that creates more sustained turbulence than anything else in an otherwise peaceful and productive society: religion.

    Just to see what happens.

    Show me a game like THAT, with those SERIOUS challenges (certainly not beyond the scope of the current state of the gaming art — this is not beyond the reach of current computational wherewithal) and the kids who eagerly excel at keeping such model civilizations afloat and healthy — AS A MATTER OF COMPETITION, SINCE THAT SEEMS TO BE SO FUCKING IMPORTANT — and I might just be encouraged to imagine an actual USEFULNESS and DECENT PURPOSE in such games from which real-world society can tap potential expertise that may be brought to bear upon real and necessary positions of leadership (from alderman to congressman to president) who actually have a good idea how to keep a country from devolving into Detroit.

    The challenge is to construct the best of all possible worlds in spite of insults from natural and human causes. Its the hardest game in the fucking world. If you do well, you may get to demonstrate your particular prowess in the real world, and everyone depending on your skill at knowing how to deal with situations will adore you for knowing how things fucking work in the real fucking world

    /end rant

  167. 167
    methuseus

    I haven’t played most of the games she mentions in the video, but I was interested in some of them before. I didn’t like parts of her first video (I can’t remember exactly and am not going to rewatch right this second), but that’s likely because I didn’t really understand what she was saying until watching this video. I am going to avoid these games in the future. Of course, I may play one or two, but I don’t know that I could play some of these games that use violence towards women (or anyone) so seemingly randomly.

    So, all in all, while I’m not the target market for most of these games, I will be more likely to see the issues mentioned now, and not play the games that have these issues. Once my son is old enough to play games like these, I hope to be able to play with him to explain some of these things.

  168. 168
    Chie Satonaka

    a proper game is a game that one would find on a console and not on an app.

    So all those years I spent at the arcade in the ’80′s don’t count. Gotcha.

  169. 169
    Chie Satonaka

    i don’t know how people cannot distinguish between a game like “angry birds” and a game like legend of zelda, or a game like “fruit ninja” and a game like WoW, say.

    And how do YOU not understand that erasing the majority of female video-gaming by arbitrarily deciding that what they tend to play aren’t “real video games” is the standard stance of the misogynist gamer contingent? That survey showed that the majority of male gamers are playing casual games, too, BTW.

    You keep ignoring the arcade age. Those games were as simplistic as any app game that you can name today. This makes me guess that you are probably around 20 and you simply weren’t present when arcades were the only way to play video games.

  170. 170
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Goblinman @161

    You know what I’d love to see and would be damn easy to make work with any game mechanics?

    A set up where the romantic partner is kidnapped and the hero has to save them, where half the game is the romantic partner engineering their own escape from the inside and the other half is the hero finding a way to break in from the outside. Then they meet somewhere in the middle to celebrate their victory.

    Or they link up early on in the narrative and the rest of the game is them proceeding to stop X plan to destroy/rule the world, blah blah blah in the type of co-op play that’s been the fad lately.

  171. 171
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    cartomancer @165

    Yeah, it’s the “default” problem. A white male is seen as “default”. So white men will be seen as identifying with a white male, because it resembles them and so on. A hero they can relate to. But racial minorities and women are also seen as identifying with them simply because that’s all on offer. If you completely reject white male alter egos, then you have nearly nothing in the medium to consume and so everyone settles and tries to get into it as best they can.

    Which also makes it really hard to fix. White men go into a tantrum when the main character is black or a woman and definitely when they are an black woman, because “IT’S NOT FOR ME!” and they are used to a world where the default character will resemble them in some way.

    So, for those designing a character, there’s often an implied cost for not making them a white male. The audience who actually will resemble the character will be deeply appreciative, but a large portion of the white men who expect that every character will look like them will stay away and refuse to give the character the same chance that marginalized groups give their characters.

    But at the same time, the only way to fix that problem and train white men to appreciate non-white-male characters is to create those characters and remind those white men that they aren’t actually the only people on the planet though the media and society has always seen them as default and catered to them.

  172. 172
    David Marjanović

    P.S. I don’t like this new trend of PZ’s to disappear the comments of banned trolls. Well-crafted comments now appear as non sequiturs… how can I enjoy the carnage without context?

    I thought he only deletes comments by people who were already banned and have successfully morphed to get around the ban?

    The reason writers of heroic fantasies keep coming back to it is that it works.

    Isn’t that a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy? Isn’t it circular, too?

    I suppose the question can be reduced to whether or not the damsel in distress taps into an innate male impulse rather than a culturally derived one.
    If a cackling sadist were to kidnap my wife

    …Apart from comments 87 and 88…

    …to be honest, I’m not in love with a character in a game. I’ve never played Super Mario to get at the princess. o_O For adrenaline, try this kind of game.

    rip their throats out with my teeth

    That’s probably a lot easier than using one’s hands instead.

    What IS a targeted drone strike program, or a pre-emptive invasion of a foreign country, or a covert ops mission to assassinate an enemy leader, BUT an expression of this so-called “primal” urge to “protect” with aggressive violence?

    Thread won.

    (Cerberus wins an Internet instead. Handmade from hand-baked lavender cookies. Again.)

    My problem is with the next step in the chronology, where he chose to express his curiosity by posting a wildly off-topic comment, addressed to someone who has been absent from the thread for hours, that certainly looks to me like an attempt to pick a fight, or resume one from the past. At best it’s a pretty flagrant violation of PZ’s reset rule.

    Exactly. Take it to the [Thunderdome], Josh.

    the nearest chainsaw-gun

    + 1

    some of the other tropes like ‘you must now kill your wife/girlfriend/princess because she’s corrupted in some way’. That’s just super creepy.

    WTF, that’s a good old-fashioned honor murder. :-O Girl/woman might be perceived as slut, father or eldest brother has duty to murder her to restore family honor. *headdesk*

  173. 173
    crocodoc

    I liked Anita’s first DiD video though many games she mentiones there were games I loved (but then, she did, too, as she says near the end of the video). Given the shit that was poured on her after her rather humorous first video (The straw men presented in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJeX6F-Q63I finally convinced me that our friend thunderf00t has become a hallucinating hatemonger) I dont’ even want to think about what she will get to hear after the new one that is dealing with the really disgusting content. But nevertheless I don’t think disabling comments and ratings is a good idea. Her videos are just too good at exposing whining, self-pitying males and the way they make their arguments.

  174. 174
    mattwatkins

    It’s been great to read the commentary here. I was a Kickstarter backer for this project, so it’s awesome to see the videos coming to fruition, and I’ve been very pleased at their quality. The earlier Feminist Frequency critiques seemed a little off-the-cuff, but these are clearly very well researched and also very cautious. I noticed, for instance, that Diablo 3 wasn’t included in the woman-companion-gets-corrupted-into-evil-monster-who-you-must-kill trope likely because Leah’s transformation was wrought by Adria (another woman) and because you, the protagonist, can be either gender, which makes the point ambiguous (though, I’d argue, still apropos.)

    I DO play lots of video games, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see this kind of critique becoming more commonplace. Rihanna Pratchett, Leigh Alexander, Brenda Romero and many other women and the #1ReasonToBe hashtag and panel at the Game Developer’s Conference are making their voices heard. David Gaider’s attempts to both assemble writing teams that include women, and highlight gay and female and minority viewpoints in the (blockbuster) games he writes. PC gaming blog Rock, Paper Shotgun and their uncompromising stance on continuing to push against sexism in games. These are all signs that geek culture (like the atheist culture with which it overlaps) is changing for the better. The trolls and MRAs are there, as here, simply a very loud minority. Most gamers want this.

    And on a more specific note, I’m curious to see what Anita has to say about the recent Tomb Raider reboot. I was skeptical of it at first because it includes a scene of threatened sexual violence against its female protagonist. BUT, I have read reviews and interviews by women who say it was both realistic (a woman in her situation would have to fear sexual violence) and empowering. I’ve played the game and thought it was quite good.

  175. 175
    doublereed

    I must say, that simply avoiding these tropes would instantly give a feeling of freshness and interest to the narratives of video games. And I don’t really mean subverting or inverting them, I just mean avoiding these kinds of stock narratives from the start.

    She brought up the possibility of nonviolent gameplay and things like that, and that’s in my opinion far more intriguing. Video games have far more potential than game developers are really giving us.

  176. 176
    doublereed

    And games that do massive innovation do sell. A good example is Portal. Nonviolent gameplay, female characters, good writing, and fun characters. There’s not actually that much “stock” in it.

  177. 177
    lpetrich

    The way that she talked about “violence against women”, it was more like “violence against non-hostile women and violence related to their femininity”. Like an example she mentioned in GTA III about a woman who does some griping about stereotypically feminine things, only to be shot.

    She states that she didn’t have in mind violence against hostile female characters. Like in the Tomb Raider series, Jacqueline Natla (TR1) or Sophia Leigh (TR3). I may add that both women were rather appropriately dressed.

  178. 178
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Xavius:

    Umm, just a warning about that character in Wreck-it Ralph.

    She doesn’t have a name until the very end of the movie. It’s mentioned once in the entire thing. She’s basically got no character, and then there’s the whole thing that bugs me about her which I won’t mention because of spoilers, but anyone who’s seen the movie probably can figure it out.

    That stated, the movie is incredibly funny and heartwarming besides Calhoun’s character being extraordinarily shallow.

  179. 179
    mattwatkins

    @175

    She brought up the possibility of nonviolent gameplay and things like that, and that’s in my opinion far more intriguing. Video games have far more potential than game developers are really giving us.

    There are actually many many games of this type. The analogy is that you’re looking at this year’s crop of summer blockbusters and lamenting that all movies are spectacle laden superhero sequels. The indie gaming scene is absolutely thriving and is packed with all sorts of innovative and interesting gameplay ideas. Two of my recent favorites are SpaceChem, which is a puzzle game ostensibly about chemistry, but actually about programming, and Kerbal Space Program, which is a space program simulator that has you calculating thrust/weight ratios for the rockets you build, establishing relay and refueling stations around moons, and calculating time and delta-V characteristic for Hohmann transfers to other planetary orbits.

  180. 180
    microraptor

    And I’m not a big gamer particularly, so it was interesting to see some of the other tropes like ‘you must now kill your wife/girlfriend/princess because she’s corrupted in some way’. That’s just super creepy. Especially with the begging, too. Please, big strong man, kill me?

    I was just thinking about this and there’s one other thing about it that I realized: how often do you ever see a male character begging the protagonist to kill them? Almost never- if they want to die they usually kill themselves instead of begging for someone else to do it. Or, if they’ve been turned into a monster they’ll exact their revenge on the villain who did it to them or something. You almost never see that with a female character, there’s no “yes, I know your torso is now fused with a giant, flesh eating lizard bug thing, but I’m sure that as we are both mature adults we can work out the problems this presents to our relationship in a manner that doesn’t involve gunshots to the head.”

  181. 181
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    MattWatkins@179

    Spacechem is an amazing game, and having met the creator at PAX Prime last year, I can say with all honesty that he needs to make more games like this. My programming skills improved a bit with the way he created that game!

    Katherine Lorraine, Tortue du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon@178

    Well. Fuck.At least Merida was a damn good character (fuck the princessization of her though.)

  182. 182
    methuseus

    Having read all the comments, I seriously didn’t know that anyone actually completely identified with the characters in games, i.e. “it’s you in another skin” as someone put it (sorry I can’t remember where that was). I’ve read books from the viewpoint of millions of different characters, male, female, straight, gay, and other genders/orientations. I “identified” with each main character, and some minor, in a different way, though I never felt like a drop-in replacement. I’m the same way with games. I can identify with just about any character in the game. That doesn’t mean I become them while playing.

  183. 183
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    Cerberus von Snarkmistress@171

    Welp. Hope you have space for all these internets. There’s quite a few pallets here.

    I agree, though, in that more white men need to step outside of their comfort zone. I really enjoyed games from chunsoft (Reccetear, Fortune Summoners) precisely because they feature unusual character situations, such as a girl running an item shop to pay off a huge debt after her dad bails on it.

  184. 184
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Xavius:

    Don’t get me wrong. I love Wreck-It Ralph, it’s probably my second favorite movie of all time.

    Calhoun is just the shallowest character in the movie, and there’s no reason for them to have done that to her. It serves only to establish a somewhat lazy trope.

  185. 185
    rq

    You know what kind of a game I would like to see? Where the male protagonist’s girlfriend appears to be kidnapped, but by the end of the narrative, it turns out that she left on her own, and was transformed into a demon of some kind, and when the protagonist goes to save her, she tells him, No, I don’t want to be saved! or some such other fuck-off text, and then kills him with her powers. And that’s how it ends.

  186. 186
    Amphiox

    You know what kind of a game I would like to see? Where the male protagonist’s girlfriend appears to be kidnapped, but by the end of the narrative, it turns out that she left on her own, and was transformed into a demon of some kind, and when the protagonist goes to save her, she tells him, No, I don’t want to be saved! or some such other fuck-off text, and then kills him with her powers. And that’s how it ends.

    Isn’t that sort of close to Kerrigan’s story-arc in the latest StarCraft expansion (Heart of the Swarm)? Or, at least, how it begins.

    I was just thinking about this and there’s one other thing about it that I realized: how often do you ever see a male character begging the protagonist to kill them?

    In Final Fantasy VI, in Shadow’s backstory there is a scene that has exactly this, where his wounded partner begs him to kill him so he won’t be captured alive by their enemies and tortured. The protagonist (secondary in this case) chickens out and abandons his partner to his fate, and working out his guilt over this is a major part of the character’s development in the main game’s plot, or at least that part of the multi-threaded plot that is devoted to that character.

  187. 187
    WharGarbl

    @doublereed
    #176

    And games that do massive innovation do sell. A good example is Portal. Nonviolent gameplay, female characters, good writing, and fun characters. There’s not actually that much “stock” in it.

    And it was originally created as a sort of “bonus” game to accompany Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2 with a fairly small development budget (compared to other Valve games).
    The issue with the AAA game industry is that very few wanted to take risk. If you want innovative story-telling, go for indie games. My favorites in no particular orders.
    On that topic… SuperGiantGame’s upcoming game Transistor seems to “buck” a trend a bit. From what I tell from the story.
    1. Some man closed to the female protagonist (Red) was killed off and stuffed in a powerful digital artifact.
    2. Said man in artifact tried to help her by leading Red away from the people trying to kill them.
    3. Red want to get herself some vengeance (and her voice back) and head toward the people trying to kill them.
    So, the male is the fridged damsels (plus a few other fridged dame/damsels, all of whom acted somewhat like special abilities).

    @rq
    #185

    You know what kind of a game I would like to see? Where the male protagonist’s girlfriend appears to be kidnapped, but by the end of the narrative, it turns out that she left on her own, and was transformed into a demon of some kind, and when the protagonist goes to save her, she tells him, No, I don’t want to be saved! or some such other fuck-off text, and then kills him with her powers. And that’s how it ends.

    Excluding the demon and the killing of protagonist, you basically have Braid.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braid_(video_game)
    For upending traditional video game genre, try Spec-Op: The Line.
    SPOILER: You’re NOT the American who’s going to save the day.

  188. 188
    Amphiox

    And on a more specific note, I’m curious to see what Anita has to say about the recent Tomb Raider reboot. I was skeptical of it at first because it includes a scene of threatened sexual violence against its female protagonist. BUT, I have read reviews and interviews by women who say it was both realistic (a woman in her situation would have to fear sexual violence) and empowering.

    The new Tomb Raider uses the DiD trope in innovative and subversive ways. As has been often said, Tropes aren’t bad in and of themselves. What matters is how they are used.

  189. 189
    Amphiox

    The jRPG Chrono Cross, and its prequel Chrono Trigger (in the updated release with bonus content released after Chrono Cross came out) subverts the mercy kill trope.

    In the first game a female character is forcibly captured and merged into an eldritch abomination with space-time warping powers (as part of that entity’s batman gambit to thwart your time-traveling party’s attempts to eliminate it). Her brother (your party member) swears to save her. He fights his way through time and space to confront the abomination, and then fails. Your party gets a shot to save her in bonus content, and they too fail. You are told explicitly that you cannot beat your way out of this problem, and that you cannot use violence to solve it.

    In the second game, the time warping abomination with the damsel still trapped inside is the final boss. The player can kill it and her, but doing so gets the bad ending. And it is bad all round, not just story-line bad, but bad for the player too, as in the player gets no reward, no gratuitous violent cutscene, no special ending music, nothing. The screen fades to black in silence and the credits roll. The implication being that by trying to violently kill her, you’ve just pissed off this damsel (who is actually very powerful) enough that she gives up her last shred of humanity, and joins the abomination willingly to obliterate all space and time. (Nice job, hero!)

    To save her and get the good ending the player actually has to avoid playing in the usual jRPG style (pound bad guy with uber magic and souped up physical attacks until it breaks) and solve a puzzle.

    And in the game’s storyline you find out that the whole game’s plot was actually set in motion by the damsel herself, because even after her entrapment she retained some measure of independent action, so she actually exercised agency in triggering the chain of events that lead to her own release.

  190. 190
    Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam

    Tethys @77

    and it goes back in literature and myth as far back as the Ramayana and possibly further.

    Really? I don’t remember any myths with token women whose only purpose in the story is to die horribly. . Perhaps you could provide a link or citation for that factoid?

    Not the Ramayana, but off the top of my head,
    ♦ In Greek mythology, Orpheus goes to the underworld to try and revive his beloved Eurydice, who died of a snakebite at their wedding.
    ♦ In the OT book of Genesis, Lot flees Sodom with his family, and his wife (no name!) looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt.
    ♦ In the OT book of Judges, Jephthah returns home victorious from battle against the Ammonites and sacrifices his daughter (no name! noticing a trend?) to YHVH in thanks.

    ________

    Goblinman @ 161

    My gay space marine didn’t marry no slacker.

    I’m neither gay nor much of a gamer and I still want this on a t-shirt.

  191. 191
    Harry Tuttle

    The basic plot of the Ramayana is a DiD. Sita is nabbed by Ravana and Rama, her husband, goes on an epic rampage of revenge to rescue her.

    It should also be pointed out that this trope was already being subverted in classical mythology. See: Of Troy, Helen.

  192. 192
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    I dl’d a copy in case it disappears again before I get to watch it. Gotta love gigabit.

  193. 193
    Jadehawk

    what I learned from reading this thread:

    1)Only straight men have a “primal” protective instinct
    2)The only thing that apparently triggers that instinct is abuse of a female character assigned as “yours” by the game
    3)Triggering that instinct is essential to game development, because without it no one (not enough someones?) would play videogames.

  194. 194
    Moggie

    Jadehawk, people would still play those games, but those wouldn’t be proper games, because reasons.

  195. 195
    Jadehawk

    Jadehawk, people would still play those games, but those wouldn’t be proper games, because reasons.

    lol

    which reminds me: what kind of “primal urge” is angry birds tapping into? hatred for pigs? bacon?

  196. 196
    David Marjanović

    what I learned from reading this thread:

    It’s quite impressive, isn’t it.

    Also, brainstem. *nodnod*

    and joins the abomination willingly to obliterate all space and time. (Nice job, hero!)

    Nice Job Breaking It, Hero

    (Deliberately not linking to TV Tropes. :-) )

  197. 197
    David Marjanović

    Jadehawk, people would still play those games, but those wouldn’t be proper games, because reasons.

    + 1

    which reminds me: what kind of “primal urge” is angry birds tapping into? hatred for pigs? bacon?

    Bacon. Bacon is totally a primal urge. Almost like chocolate.

    *munches chocolate*

  198. 198
    Moggie

    which reminds me: what kind of “primal urge” is angry birds tapping into? hatred for pigs? bacon?

    The creative driving force of dielectics, of course. Mikhail Bakunin totally anticipated Angry Birds when he wrote: “Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life. The urge to destroy is also a creative urge”. It’s clearly a crypto-anarchist game.

  199. 199
    Moggie

    cartomancer:

    I suppose this might expose two differing approaches to engaging with game characters – to me it’s about watching a character’s story unfold and going on a journey with them, not pretending to be that character myself. Even in open RPGs (both tabletop and electronic) I create a character to watch and examine, a part to play in a story, not an alter-ego. But people like my brother really seem to project themselves into the game. They’re not playing someone else, they’re playing them but in a different skin. Which must, necessarily, result in a different appreciation of the characteristics of the persona on the screen.

    Out of interest, do you find that you prefer Japanese RPGs, while your brother is mostly into western RPGs? It’s been observed (for example by Extra Credits) that JRPGs make the player a puppet-master controlling a fleshed-out character, while western RPGs tend to invite the player to live out a fantasy by inhabiting the main character. Not being a big RPG fan myself, I can’t say how accurate this is, though I recognise it from the few JRPGs I’ve played.

  200. 200
    erik333

    @146 echidna

    Woot roguelikes! There exists multiplayer roguelikes (TomeNET for example) these days, so awsome.

  201. 201
    vaiyt

    Seafood is my primal urge. Shrimp and octopus, hmm. I’m the terror of PZ’s kin!

    Obviously, YHWH tried to keep his people from eating both bacon and seafood because He’s an asshole.

  202. 202
    Jadehawk

    But people like my brother really seem to project themselves into the game. They’re not playing someone else, they’re playing them but in a different skin.

    playing e.g. Call of Cthulhu that way must be… um… interesting.

  203. 203
    Alex the Pretty Good

    @ Cerberus, 170

    You know what I’d love to see and would be damn easy to make work with any game mechanics?

    A set up where the romantic partner is kidnapped and the hero has to save them, where half the game is the romantic partner engineering their own escape from the inside and the other half is the hero finding a way to break in from the outside. Then they meet somewhere in the middle to celebrate their victory.

    I was thinking exactly the same as soon as I read that “marine” comment ;)

    It’d even make for a great 2-player game. Both players choose one of the characters (abductee or recuer) and the goal is to get as far ahead towards the other player before meeting up and facing the final boss.

    And both characters can be either gender!

    (Hmmm … I guess I now know what to invest in when I win the Euromillions next friday :D )

  204. 204
    Ichthyic

    My problem is with the next step in the chronology, where he chose to express his curiosity by posting a wildly off-topic comment, addressed to someone who has been absent from the thread for hours, that certainly looks to me like an attempt to pick a fight, or resume one from the past. At best it’s a pretty flagrant violation of PZ’s reset rule.

    Chas, you repeatedly fail at self analysis.

  205. 205
    Amphiox

    A set up where the romantic partner is kidnapped and the hero has to save them, where half the game is the romantic partner engineering their own escape from the inside and the other half is the hero finding a way to break in from the outside. Then they meet somewhere in the middle to celebrate their victory.

    I would love this kind of set-up for a game plot as well, but I would like it even more if the meeting point is not the end of the game, but just the mid-point. The second half of the game will be the two characters cooperating together against their common enemy.

    I would love to see this done within a series that had already previously established a well-defined DiD mechanic, to increase the subversion value. Imagine such a plot in a future Legend of Zelda game.

  206. 206
    Moggie

    Slightly ashamed to admit that, despite having contributed to Anita Sarkeesian’s kickstarter, I’ve only just got around to watching the first video, though it’s been out since March. I’m impressed so far!

    I do have to slightly come to the defence of one game which appeared in the visuals, though: Ico. Granted, Yorda is a damsel in distress, but you play a weedy outcast twelve-year-old boy armed with a stick, only slightly less helpless than her – and you can’t progress without her help. I agree that the portrayal of Yorda could have been better – and it’s a game which could so easily have allowed the player to choose the genders of the two main characters – but the emotional bond I recall from my first play through feels much less problematic than the dynamic in many other DiD game situations.

  207. 207
    Amphiox

    In Final Fantasy VI, in Shadow’s backstory there is a scene that has exactly this, where his wounded partner begs him to kill him so he won’t be captured alive by their enemies and tortured.

    I must say though, a male being mercy killed by another male may exist and be rare, but I must confess I’ve never heard of any example of a canonical male being mercy killed by a canonical female (not one of those where the player can choose the character’s gender). Unless Metroid did it somewhere…. (I haven’t played Metroid).

  208. 208
    cartomancer

    Out of interest, do you find that you prefer Japanese RPGs, while your brother is mostly into western RPGs? It’s been observed (for example by Extra Credits) that JRPGs make the player a puppet-master controlling a fleshed-out character, while western RPGs tend to invite the player to live out a fantasy by inhabiting the main character.

    That would be a reasonable assumption, but given that he a) is an obsessive and inveterate Japanophile and b) works as a translator for Square Enix, the picture is a little more complicated. He likes both genres, and as someone responsible for localisation is very aware of the differences. When he picks a character-driven Japanese game to play, though, he invariably picks one with a main protagonist who is tailored to his exaggeratedly macho tastes – Yakuza games are among his favourites – and apparently there is no shortage of those. Were the Japanese games market lacking in titles where you get to play a swaggering martial artist in a suit that was last fashionable in the 70s then I suspect my brother would be less fond of them.

    For my part I find that the more open-style “western” RPG can be enjoyed in a similar way to the more heavily scripted Japanese type, it’s just that you have to do more of the stage direction yourself! Again, to me it seems more like creating a fun and interesting character to watch, rather than inhabiting one. Which probably explains my preference for the third-person viewing mode where it is available in these things.

  209. 209
    cartomancer

    On the “meeting halfway during the rescue” theme, there is always the classic Chrono Trigger.

    A few hours into the game the main character, Crono, is arrested and thrown in gaol, framed by a shadowy antagonist for the kidnapping of Princess Marle (actually she was never kidnapped, she just went off time-travelling with Crono by accident). The execution is a couple of days away, and the player has a choice of either helping Crono to escape on his own or waiting out the time patiently until he is dragged off to the executioner’s block. In either eventuality it turns out that Crono’s best friend Lucca, with Marle’s help, is staging a rescue attempt. If you choose to escape yourself then Crono bumps into Lucca at the entrance to the gaol complex, just as she’s battling her way through the guards. But if you decide to wait out the time in the cell then Lucca actually does rescue Crono and break him free as he’s being led out in chains to his execution.

  210. 210
    Amphiox

    (It actually makes more gameplay sense to let Lucca rescue Crono in that part of Chrono Trigger, because it lets you win experience for both characters in the subsequent dungeon level).

    But what I’d like to see is the game developers go beyond that and let the player play both Crono’s scenario and Lucca’s scenario, or at least allow a choice between the two. And have that be a major part of the game plot, and not just a small part of one section of a subplot.

  211. 211
    Amphiox

    Don’t forget that jRPGs and western RPGs share an evolutionary relationship. The earliest jRPGs were directly inspired by the first western RPGs. Final Fantasy I and Dragon Quest I were both heavily inspired by Ultima I, for example.

    The distinct, narrative and character driven jRPG evolved from there, and did not fully become the established norm until Final Fantasy IV. Western RPGs went the other way, widening the worlds while keeping the player characters more generic.

    And then, lately, there has been some convergence between the two subgenres as well.

  212. 212
    Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)

    Don’t forget that jRPGs and western RPGs share an evolutionary relationship. The earliest jRPGs were directly inspired by the first western RPGs. Final Fantasy I and Dragon Quest I were both heavily inspired by Ultima I, for example.

    The distinct, narrative and character driven jRPG evolved from there, and did not fully become the established norm until Final Fantasy IV. Western RPGs went the other way, widening the worlds while keeping the player characters more generic.

    And then, lately, there has been some convergence between the two subgenres as well.
    Amphiox@211

    This is very true. What is interesting is where this point really diverged was in the creation of several ‘mega-franchises’ within the genre, and the resulting singular writers that were assigned to each project. Western-Style projects tended towards a more open-ended adventure with an Avatar, largely with the influence of Garriot and his Ultima series, as well as the legacy created by Gygax and Arneson’s forays with D&D. Conversely, Sakaguchi and his design team began crossing the budding visual novel genre and now rising anime subculture with their franchises, creating an experience more inline with a novel, with set protagonists and story.

    On Sarkeesian: One point she makes, REPEATEDLY, is that there are several problems with the way the player is empowered, and the Hammer/nail issue. Spec-ops: the Line (Which is pretty damn amazing) covers this with a scene where you and your dudebro soldiers are completely surrounded by an angry mob. They’re explicitly civilians, and they’re not happy with you for some specific spoilerific reasons, but things are getting tense. Many people simply started firing into the crowd, which feels like the only option. I was AMAZED when I found that one could fire into the air, and the crowd would hurriedly disperse. Not optimal, but it was an option, which is important.
    It’s also stated that the main issue with the damsel inna fridge (Sausage inna bun? nah, too crude) or mercy kill is the percieved power imbalance. It’s one thing when Chie Satonaka is beating the hell out of her evil clone, and another when your character’s wife begs you to murder her for her own good. One is violent, but in a nonexploitive manner. The other is catering to a straight up power-fetish that is a ham-handed attempt at creating grim-dark emotional conflict. The scene from, I think the Darkness II, with the woman being executed point blank turned my stomach hard, and moreso because I just watched this happen 8 times, and it’s showing a disturbing trend outside of narrative laziness.

    In short: Tropes ruin everything.

  213. 213
    laurentweppe

    Ooh, and the Parasite Eve series which was awesome enough to have a female protagonist and female villain, which is a heavy rarity.

    And then was fucked up by Squeenix to the point where it devolved into a fanservicy magical girl game. Squeenix: ruining interesting female characters since March 2003

    ***

    It happened first with puzzle games. Puzzle games were the hardest of hardcore, requiring amazing intellectual dexterity to solve. Then women got into them and once the magical 50% mark was cleared, men ran away and started claiming that puzzle games were “casual crap”

    Reminds me how people reacted regarding race and sports.
    Blacks can’t be good at sport
    -> Black athletes start winning competitions
    Well, sure, but noble sports which demand to channel the gentelmanly virility of the old world’s nobility like boxing shall remain above and beyond negros capacity
    -> Black boxers start winning matches
    Well, sure, but when it comes to team sports like Basketball and baseball, sports which demand teamwork and strategy, and intellectual effort, these shall remain forevermore the province of the white man
    -> Teams with black athletes start winning championships
    Well, they’re all stupid half-monkeys who play ball because they’re not intelligent enough to have a real jo anyway

    Recently I started to ear that crap about the Fire Emblem series. According to some dudebros out there, what was not so long ago the One True Hardcore Strategy RPG to Rule Them All in nox mere matchmaking and romance fanfiction fodder.
    To them, as a man, I say: “Fuck you all: I finished the fourth episode before there was even a translation for it and Noishe is the only man for Ayra”

    ***

    In real life that is the difference between setting up effective border security and sending out a drone to drop a missile into someone’s living room in a foreign country.

    And apparently, a majority of people who are granted the choice prefer the second option
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/161474/support-drone-attacks-terrorists-abroad.aspx

    ***

    If you replaced the woman in that cutscene with a pet–say, a dog–would people still be okay with it? Or would they flip the freak out and boycott the game?

    You would commit blasphemy against They Who Give Us Puppies, Hallowed be Their Name? Have you no shame? No sense of decency?

    ***

    My gay space marine didn’t marry no slacker.

    I’m neither gay nor much of a gamer and I still want this on a t-shirt.

    For now you will have to make do with the poster
    http://bighugelabs.com/output/motivator363890d0fe542956fd4f05ec74bd5275f7d75bfd.jpg

    ***

    I’ve never heard of any example of a canonical male being mercy killed by a canonical female

    It almost happened recently

    Big, big, BIG Xenoblade Spoilers
    •••••••
    According to an interview given by the producers of the game, in their original intent, instead of Zanza jumping off Shulk’s body at the beginning of the second act, he would have stayed inside Shulk’s body and possessed him, which would have forced his girlfriend to first assume the role of the team’s leader And to eventually kill him alongside the bad guy during the final confrontation.
    It got canned when Nintendo’s higher ups vetoed the idea as “too dark”.
    Instead we got the usual hero-who-stay-comatose-for-ten-minutes-only-to-come-ack-stronger-than-ever
    Personnally, I feel that they wasted a golden opportunity to give the game a very memorable conclusion.
    •••••••
    End of spoiler

  214. 214
    microraptor

    I do have to slightly come to the defence of one game which appeared in the visuals, though: Ico. Granted, Yorda is a damsel in distress, but you play a weedy outcast twelve-year-old boy armed with a stick, only slightly less helpless than her – and you can’t progress without her help. I agree that the portrayal of Yorda could have been better – and it’s a game which could so easily have allowed the player to choose the genders of the two main characters – but the emotional bond I recall from my first play through feels much less problematic than the dynamic in many other DiD game situations.

    I don’t know, I tried Ico and felt like Yorda wasn’t a character so much as an inanimate object that I had to carry around and prevent the villains from stealing all the time. Her “usefulness” at occasionally helping you solve puzzles didn’t come close to balancing out that she couldn’t go for more than about a minute without something trying to kidnap her. I could never figure out how the game became so highly rated despite being essentially one big Escort Mission, ordinarily the most hated type of mission in video games.

  215. 215
    ChasCPeterson

    you repeatedly fail at self analysis.

    The fuck are you even talking about, Ichthyic?

    Try it this way, OK?: ‘X used a thread about depictions of violence against women in games to rekindle an old argument with Y about abortion.”
    I don’t give a shit who X is*, nor who Y is*; that’s not cool. IMO.

    *not me, therefore not “self analysis”.

  216. 216
    WharGarbl

    @erik333
    #200

    Woot roguelikes! There exists multiplayer roguelikes (TomeNET for example) these days, so awsome.

    Or city building roguelike, like Dwarf Fortress.
    On one hand, it is fairly gender neutral outside of modding.

    On the other hand, it is very moddable, to the point that you CAN create a race where the two genders that are VERY different (both in physical and mental attributes).

    Also a game that seems to inadvertently promote… scary behaviors in players due to somewhat unforeseen mechanisms. Case in point, merpeople.

    Basically, merpeople are sentient (dwarfs cannot butcher them nor domesticate them), and benign (avoid confrontation). Unfortunately, maybe Toady One fancies them, early on he gave them a value that’s the same as demon/dragon/hydra (250% times the value of the second highest set). That means bones/skull/leather made from them are 250% more valuable than the next highest animal you can get. Furthermore, merpeople breed, and demon/dragon/hydra don’t.

    Want to take a guess what happened?

  217. 217
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    For now you will have to make do with the poster
    http://bighugelabs.com/output/motivator363890d0fe542956fd4f05ec74bd5275f7d75bfd.jpg

    It’s not a t-shirt, but you’ve made me a happy Horde-ling anyways. I was waiting for someone to bring up Mr. Cortez.

  218. 218
    ck

    I realized: how often do you ever see a male character begging the protagonist to kill them? Almost never- if they want to die they usually kill themselves instead of begging for someone else to do it.

    Well, it’s a huge spoiler, but Bioshock: Infinite. Your daughter (and alternate universe daughters) kills you after she explains you’re the big bad from an alternate universe, and the only way to prevent the dystopian future is if you die before you can make the decision that starts off the chain of events.

    The game sets some of the usual tropes on end in a lot of ways. You’re told you have to kidnap a girl from Columbia, which is an odd version of the DiD trope. The plucky rebels you help turn out to be bloodthirsty assholes. It gives you some ethical choices throughout the game, and then tells you at the end that it doesn’t matter what choices you make, that the outcome does not change.

  219. 219
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    “removed from youtube”? What the ever-lovin’ fuck?

    Anita Sarkeesian’s clip here is up again now & very well done. Just watched it.

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