Mary’s Monday Metazoan: How can you not love an extravagant worm? »« Crusaders against GMOs

Comments

  1. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    ::shudder:: No kidding about the grisliness.

    A lot of the same points about those video games also apply to other media, of course. Sexualized violence against women as background decoration is just par for the course on Game of Thrones (and even gets excused with the same bullshit “it’s realistic!” response) and other “gritty” bits of entertainment.

    We can do better than this. We deserve better than this.

  2. says

    It’s sad to see how badly some games suck. Most of the ones I play don’t seem to have that sort of content — they have other flaws; I was pretty disappointed at the race-baiting in World of Warcraft’s Mists of Pandaria expansion. It doesn’t add anything other than “so and so is a bad guy” The manicheanism of games is pretty sad, really. Why do bad characters do what they do? Because they’re bad! Why are they bad? Because they do that sort of thing. There’s no real explanation or motive other than abstract power or simply “bad guys do what bad guys do..” I always appreciated the Mass Effect game series’ attempt to somewhat explain the motivational structures for the events in the game.

    She is absolutely correct in all respects. I hope there are game developers watching this series.

  3. Adam James says

    This one definitely comes with a MAJOR trigger warning.

    Playing through Watch_Dogs, I’m so disappointed to see it rely on the same tropes: Angry white dude, women in refrigerators, men as the only people with agency, etc. It’s an excellent game otherwise (miserable PC controls aside), but would it have been so hard for the writers to find some new material, stuff that hadn’t been used in every game in recent memory?

    The one developer that does give me hope is Bioware. Anita showed a few clips from Dragon Age: Origins, and it struck me just how much their portrayal of women has evolved even since 2009. I really liked the character of Isabela in Dragon Age 2, she’s the only “sexy” woman I can think of, in any video game, whose sexuality is fully and unapologetically her own. I loved the party banter between her and Aveline, especially her reaction to Aveline’s attempts to slut-shame her.

  4. says

    Well, there’s one thing I don’t think she’s accurate about. She says all of this sexualised violence is mainly meant to code the bad guys as bad and to provide some kind of angst for the POV character or protagonist. I think it’s mainly meant to titillate and arouse the player. It’s providing a way for the targeted demographic (adult men 20-40ish) a forum where it’s okay to get off on the exploitation and abuse of women while telling them they’re morally better than the one-dimensional “bad guys” in the game.

  5. says

    She says all of this sexualised violence is mainly meant to code the bad guys as bad and to provide some kind of angst for the POV character or protagonist. I think it’s mainly meant to titillate and arouse the player. It’s providing a way for the targeted demographic (adult men 20-40ish) a forum where it’s okay to get off on the exploitation and abuse of women while telling them they’re morally better than the one-dimensional “bad guys” in the game.

    There’s definitely some of that, but I also think her point that it’s what passes for “theme” is well-taken. Unfortunately, all too often, we’re expected to kill the bad guys because they’re bad guys and, um… That’s that. I remember my first frustrating encounter with that was when I was expected to commit xenocide on the Kilrathi home planet in Wing Commander – that was the only path to finishing the game. I didn’t finish it (I think it ought to be possible to negotiate with intelligences especially when eradication is an option) .. In the games she was talking about, it’s definitely more an attempt to provide (as she says) background wallpaper consisting of female abuse. It’s a mighty thin substitute for plot or character development. Actually, it’s no substitute at all. I don’t buy the idea that guys are supposed to feel justified in killing the one-dimensional “bad guys” because the justification is so thin it doesn’t wash. I really can’t see killing some pointless NPC for pointless and gratuitous violence against another NPC; why bother? It’s just a flag saying “this game is stupid” and doesn’t make the player feel morally superior at all.

    Unrelated, I also worry about zombie games. They seem to be just what Big Brother ordered for training the janissaries to want to commit genocide against armies of unsaveable others that are incapable of negotiation and which can only be killed. There’s a really nasty underlying moral there…

  6. toska says

    The Mellow Monkey

    A lot of the same points about those video games also apply to other media, of course. Sexualized violence against women as background decoration is just par for the course on Game of Thrones (and even gets excused with the same bullshit “it’s realistic!” response) and other “gritty” bits of entertainment.

    I thought the same thing about GoT. I had to stop watching after the scene where the young king forces a prostitute to abuse another prostitute. The woman who received the abuse was not a character on the show, as far as I remember (though I think the other one had appeared before). She didn’t have a name. There was no follow up to see what happened to her or how she dealt with the violence against her. I don’t see the difference between that scene and the examples from video games, no matter how many times people try to insist that it served an important plot purpose.

  7. congenital cynic says

    Guess I’m too old and totally oblivious to what is out there in the gaming world. I watched the first part of this a few weeks back, and only got half way through this episode before bailing out. I don’t understand the mindset of anyone who plays these games. Even if only males were in these “games”, the violence is just too fucked up to me to be entertainment. But then I live in a country where nobody carries guns to the coffee shop. There’s too much violence and brutality in our world without seeking it out in a game. I get enough of the badness from soulless bureaucrats and heartless government functionaries. Except in those encounters, I’m the victim.

    The prevailing mythos is really insane. It is remarkable to me that kids can find this kind of game “fun”. Water skiing is fun. Downhill skiing is fun. Building something either beautiful or useful is fun. Wild sex with your SO is fun. Brutally killing female characters in a computer game… sorry, I just can’t get there. That these games are so popular and that they make so much money for their creators is a sad statement of where we are.

  8. Ichthyic says

    The manicheanism of games is pretty sad, really. Why do bad characters do what they do?

    as much criticism as the film itself has garnered, I was glad to at least see Disney starting to explore that question in “Maleficent”

    they could have done a better job of it, to be sure. but could disney have even MADE a film like that 30 years ago?

  9. jodyp says

    I’ve been following some other comment threads regarding this around the web, and the prevailing criticism seems to be “she doesn’t list any of the GOOD ones so she’s just cherrypicking”.

    I mean, never mind that she DOES list a good one, and that she’s under no obligation to give gold stars out to game companies that aren’t being completely odious, but somehow these dudes think that undermines her entire point.

  10. ck says

    congenital cynic wrote:

    Brutally killing female characters in a computer game… sorry, I just can’t get there.

    I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with that in works of fiction by itself. The problem is that deaths of women in video games tend to be entirely meaningless props and often extremely sexualized props. There are a lot meaningless deaths of men in most of those same games (not ever NPC can have an elaborate story), but not all of them are and it’s extremely rare for them to be sexualized in-game. The fact that women are often omitted as credible enemies in games makes this trope even worse, reducing virtually all women to a mcguffin for the hero and villain to fight over, a victim prop to motivate the hero, or background wallpaper.

    Very much the same thing can be said for visible minorities that appear in games. 90% of them will be villains, and often very low level villains (i.e. mooks) to make things even worse, and if one is a non-player character that is on your team, there is a much higher chance that they will be the eventual traitor.

  11. says

    It’s just a flag saying “this game is stupid” and doesn’t make the player feel morally superior at all.

    I’m not sure that I was being as clear as I want to be. All the violence and the sexual objectification and verbal abuse against these NPCs (or rather, not even characters–NECs?) is there because the developers think (or know?) that the men playing those games enjoy watching women being abused for their own gratification. However, because it’s almost always the bad guys (or good guys before they become good) doing the abusive stuff, the players get to enjoy it all and at the same time feel okay about enjoying it. They can tell themselves that they’re not causing it or anything, and in fact, they’re avenging it as far as their game play is concerned, so it doesn’t matter that they’re getting off on it. They’re not the monsters that the cartoon villains are after all. But what matters most to both developer and gamer is that there are abused and exploited women in the game to get off on in the first place. It’s not just enough to have them there for visual decoration either. They have to be verbally abused and they have to be heard screaming and begging or being “uppity” and then crying out in pain when they’re put in their place.

  12. says

    These Feminist Frequency videos have really done a great job in pointing out misogynist tropes that were frankly so pervasive as to become almost invisible. My son wants to be a game designer and I’m insisting he watch them so he’ll be aware of the issues.

  13. Matthew Trevor says

    The most depressing thing about the Feminist Frequency videos has been the ongoing overreaction to them. If Sarkeesian allows comments on YouTube, they rapidly degenerate into the usual bullshit of rape & death threats. When she turns them off, she’s stifling debate and how dare she because not all men etc. Her detractors constantly crow that she’s a “fraud” – although she has been producing exactly what she promised in her Kickstarter campaign – and that her comments have been “disproven” – because apparently just saying that often enough makes it true. I’ve been a gamer for 33 years now and I don’t disagree with much pretty anything she’s had to say in the series. At the very least, if people disagree with any of her points, they could discuss why. Instead, it’s the usual tactic of leaping onto any little perceived or actual mistake to undermine the entire project, or whining about how their free speech has been suppressed because the mean lady decided she didn’t want them to spit venom at her.

    It’s tiring.

    This past week, while the rest of us have been horrified by the events transpiring in Ferguson, the gamer community has had its own controversy of apparently equal, if not greater, magnitude: an indie game developer had a sexual relationship with a games journalist, a journalist who once mentioned her game in passing while listing approx. thirty others in a brief news article on upcoming releases. And while the journalist in question has been receiving some pretty godawful online abuse, the bulk of it has been leveled at the female developer. Apparently, gamers have the right to demand she provide evidence of her complete sexual history in order to prove no “ethical abuse of power” occurred. This has lead to some absolutely amazing comments, such as in this article:

    “this individual’s unscrupulousness has uncovered the kind of incestuous depravity and nepotism that hasn’t been seen since the days of the roman empire”

    That’s not even in the top ten of most hyperbolic reactions I’ve seen to this “scandal”.

    The game in question that this developer allegedly slept with press in order to gain favourable reviews? It’s called “Depression Quest”, and it’s free.

  14. Matthew Trevor says

    Just for comparison:

    Here is Anita Sarkeesian’s original Kickstarter for Tropes Vs Women in Video games. She originally asked for US$6k to produce 5 videos, ended up receiving >US$150k and expanded the project to 12 videos plus teaching materials. She was widely derided for being a fraud and a con artist.

    Here is the current Patreon for a nasty little hit piece called “The Sarkeesian Effect”, full of the usual “we’re not MRAs but our rhetoric is indistinguishable” crap that is synonymous with frothy mouthed, closed minded gamers. They’re asking for US$15k-50k per episode because gosh, no one lets the menz speak anymore.

    The only thing that stops me from fully despairing is my belief hope that the louder these assholes get, the more it shows their time is done.

  15. Moggie says

    Matthew Trevor, the abuse Sarkeesian received had one positive effect: it boosted the amount her Kickstarter raised. I only got to hear about the Tropes project because of the publicity around the shitstorm while the Kickstarter was young, and I donated largely in reaction to that. In fact, I’ve become a monthly donor to Feminist Frequency, which would probably never have happened without the haters. So, good job, MRAs!

    As for those cries of “fraud”: I wonder how many of those are from people who gave her money? Very very few, I suspect. I’m very happy with her output.

  16. Matthew Trevor says

    Moggie,

    I totally agree, I think many people donated in response to the reaction against her as any else. But that’s also pretty much the basis for the fraud accusations: the claim is she engineered those attacks which her opponents totes didn’t do despite them using exactly the same tactics and terminology now.

  17. unclefrogy says

    man those games look booooooring to me.
    most action games are mostly trying to remember a 3D maze that may or maybe not follow actual physical reality rules and moving a cursor around and clicking on a particular place on the screen. all the pictures are meant to distract you and confuse you to take your mind of the task at hand.
    uncle frogy

  18. prae says

    I really don’t consider Bioshock 1 to be a good example there. The shown part is an important part of the backstory, she was Ryan’s girlfriend, and it would have been quite difficult for the story if she survived, so…
    Also, regarding Bioshock 2, people actually consider dead splicers as sexy?! I only briefly thought: ah, yes, the corpses and enemies aren’t male only, which makes sense, and continued.

  19. Roy G says

    @Ibis3 12

    All the violence and the sexual objectification and verbal abuse against these NPCs (or rather, not even characters–NECs?) is there because the developers think (or know?) that the men playing those games enjoy watching women being abused for their own gratification.”

    Fuck you. Fuck you again and again and again.

    I enjoy playing games because I love the immersion, the act of following a story, to get to take part in forming that story, even if the forming part of that is an illusion. If the game has action, horror or comedy are part of it, and sometimes I play games just to be entertained, just to relax. But you come here saying that I enjoy watching women being abused for my own gratification? Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.

    “But what matters most to both developer and gamer is that there are abused and exploited women in the game to get off on in the first place. It’s not just enough to have them there for visual decoration either. They have to be verbally abused and they have to be heard screaming and begging or being “uppity” and then crying out in pain when they’re put in their place.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever been demonized in a such a way before. What the fuck do you know about what matters to me in a game? What the fuck do you know about what matters to my gamer friends? Fuck you, Ibis. I hope you burn, and I wish nothing but pain upon you.

  20. samihawkins says

    The most depressing thing about the Feminist Frequency videos has been the ongoing overreaction to them.

    It is rather sad how the same people who claim these videos aren’t necessary and there’s nothing wrong with the gaming community prove over and over again with their reactions that their is something profoundly wrong with the gaming community and this sort of commentary is indeed necessary.

    Apparently, gamers have the right to demand she provide evidence of her complete sexual history in order to prove no “ethical abuse of power” occurred.

    In isolation it would be stupid to demand a women reveal everyone in her industry she’s ever slept with and discount any review they’ve ever given of her work, but it’s far more stupid when you consider that we’re talking about a laughably corrupt industry where the scores given in most professional ‘reviews’ are really just measures of how much money for advertising and/or flat-out bribes the developers have thrown at that media outlet.

    On a curious note what do ya’ll consider to be the most sexist game you’ve ever played? I ask because I’ve been playing GTA Online lately and it’s fun getting to mess around in a huge open world with 15 other players, but I regularly feel ashamed of playing it whenever I see how the game treats women. The excuse is always ‘It’s not misogyny! It’s just satire of misogyny!’, but that’s bull****. Take the latest example in one of the newer updates. They added a police motorcycle you could buy and the loading screen has a ‘joke’ about pulling over female drivers and giving them two ways to pay their tickets. Isn’t that such hilarious satire to joke about an officer abusing their authority to demand sexual favors from a woman? Clearly anyone offended by that sort of thing is just a rabid SJW feminazi killjoy who can’t understand Rockstar’s razor sharp wit.

    The fact that I regularly have guys stalking my female character around lobbies trying to get me to ride in there cars then murdering me over and over when I refuse makes me doubt they’re reading that joke as satire of misogyny.

  21. soogeeoh says

    Fuck you, Ibis. I hope you burn, and I wish nothing but pain upon you.

    What’s the matter with you?

  22. samihawkins says

    What the fuck do you know about what matters to my gamer friends?

    What do we know about your friends? Nothing. For all we know they’re goddamn saints.

    What do we know about the gaming community as a whole? That a disturbingly large number of them do indeed enjoy the idea of abusing and degrading women. Otherwise games that did so wouldn’t be so wildly popular and people pointing out this problem wouldn’t receive mountains of abuse from the gaming community.

    Your kneejerk defensiveness and ‘not all menz!’ dismissal of the problem isn’t helping the situation.

  23. Roy G says

    @soogeeoh 23

    What’s the matter with you?

    What’s the matter with me? Ibis3 claims that I and my friends need women to be abused for us to enjoy a game, I get angry, and you ask what’s the matter with me?

  24. says

    @Roy G:

    If gamers overall objected to the foul treatment of women in video games, then developers who coded that stuff in would have no reason to do so. No one would buy games with sexual violence or sexual objectification against women if they didn’t, in some way, enjoy the game.

    And Ibis wasn’t specifically talking about you, way to get defensive.

  25. samihawkins says

    What’s the matter with me? Ibis3 claims that I and my friends need women to be abused for us to enjoy a game, I get angry, and you ask what’s the matter with me?

    Your kneejerk defensiveness and ‘not all menz!’ dismissal of the problem isn’t helping the situation.

  26. Roy G says

    @samihawkins 24

    Bullshit. Yes, I know that the gaming community has a problem with misogyny, in the same way that the atheist community does, and the Humanist, the Christian and the Muslim communities do.

    There is a “gaming community as a whole” the same way that there are other communities “as wholes”, and from experience we can say that whenever someone talks about a community “as a whole” you need to take what they say with a huge pinch of salt. 30 million people play League of Legends, 60 million people play World of Tanks, World of Warcraft had, what was it, 12 million subscribers? Are those the “gaming community” you talk about? Are all those the same community?

    Talking of communities, I’ve been a member of several online gaming groups for the last fifteen years, and I have never met anyone that sets as a demand to a game that women has to be abused. In fact, for every MMO guild I’ve been a member of there has been a non-harassment policy in place, and whenever someone has broken it, they’d been shown the door, and when someone has been close to breaking it, they’ve been told so and asked to get a grip on themselves.

    That a disturbingly large number of them do indeed enjoy the idea of abusing and degrading women.

    Bullshit again. Check the sales figures of games that have the abuse and degradation of women as focus and compare to sales figures of other games like Civilization, Forca Motorsport and Guitar Hero and tell me what you see. What you see is that games that contain violence gets huge media attention, but that they aren’t necessarily the huge successes that the media portrays them to be. Or are we talking about games that but contain violence against women, even if only single ten-second scenes in a six hour game, like Sarkeesian does? Sure, there are more of them amongst the more popular games, but that doesn’t mean, like Ibis3 says, that those sequences are the reason we buy and play those games, that that is something we need for us to enjoy the game.

    Take Metro: Last Light as an example, since that is a game I have played. The sequence shown in Sarkeesian’s video is, as far as I can remember, the only violence in that 15+ hour game aimed specifically at women. There may have been one more that slips my mind. Does that mean that we should call everyone that enjoys that game a woman hating monster that only plays the game because they love the abuse of women? Please. If that’s the name of the game, all people playing an FPS are people that support mass murderers, all people that enjoy playing strategy games are genocidal, and all people playing Duck Hunt are advocating that everyone should carry guns in public. What that sequence did with me was make me angry: It made me so angry that I went out of my way to kill those guys, since the location isn’t one you have to go to.

    Okay, I may be wrong about that last point, and my memory is playing tricks on me and what I’m thinking about happened in Metro: 2033, but the point still stands. One short sequence in a 15+ hour game doesn’t make the game misogynistic.

    Your kneejerk defensiveness and ‘not all menz!’ dismissal of the problem isn’t helping the situation.

    Oh, fuck you too. Read what I wrote again, and you may realise that my reaction wasn’t that there wasn’t any misogyny in games: My reaction was that Ibis3 called every gamer a monster, that he said that I needed the abuse and suffering of women in games, when I spend a lot of my time pointing out that there is misogyny and that we need to speak up when we see it. Did I take it personally? Damn right, I did. What Ibis3 said was thoughtless and cruel, it was a gross mischaracterization of the vast majority of gamers, and it hurt.

    When someone actually says “all gamers”, you actually should say “not all gamers”

  27. Roy G says

    @samihawkins

    Your kneejerk defensiveness and ‘not all menz!’ dismissal of the problem isn’t helping the situation.

    When Ibis3 says that all gamers need the abuse of women to enjoy games, then actually, stating that not all gamers to is the right thing to say.

    See? I can use bold text too.

  28. opposablethumbs says

    Roy G, why do you think the sexual degradation of female NPCs is such a prevalent feature of mainstream games? You don’t like it (we know that, ’cause you told us so). Your pals don’t like it (we know that, ’cause you told us so. You must be quite, quite sure that your pals don’t like it). Why is it there? Why is there so much of this abuse-porn and torture-porn and snuff-porn in big, popular games? Couldn’t possibly be because developers and their marketers are quite, quite sure that lots and lots of young and middle-aged men do like it, and you and your ilk have never done or said anything to disabuse them of this notion?

  29. says

    @Prae 19:

    I really don’t consider Bioshock 1 to be a good example there. The shown part is an important part of the backstory, she was Ryan’s girlfriend, and it would have been quite difficult for the story if she survived, so…
    Also, regarding Bioshock 2, people actually consider dead splicers as sexy?! I only briefly thought: ah, yes, the corpses and enemies aren’t male only, which makes sense, and continued.

    Having not played the second game yet, I can only speak on what was in the video. All the dead women shown there where shown in sexualised clothing and in positions that mirror positions coded as alluring (similar to some “sexy zombie” imagery in other works). Personally, I noticed it most when I realised that the dead men shown were slumped over, looking like they’d collapsed upon being pinned to a wall, while the woman had their limbs spread and front exposed or were lying in a seemingly-intended-to-be-seductive pose on a bed. The man was a clothed person whose corpse had collapsed naturally when the life left him, while the women seemed almost as if someone had posed them.

    @Roy G 25:

    What’s the matter with me? Ibis3 claims that I and my friends need women to be abused for us to enjoy a game, I get angry, and you ask what’s the matter with me?

    But Ibis was talking about what the developers think about the players and spoke entirely in general terms. You and your friends were never even mentioned, nor was it stated that this was the only way for even those it applied to to enjoy a game, just that it was the intended reason for it to be there. It’s no different than saying that game X was designed so that players could enjoy driving recklessly/being Spiderman/having super strength/saving the world. Plenty of people will enjoy game X for the ability to drive normally/the graphics/exploration/looking for Easter eggs instead of those, there is no claim that you have to enjoy a game and every aspect of it exactly the way it’s intended or commonly enjoyed…

    I am confuse DX

  30. says

    @Roy G

    But you come here saying that I enjoy watching women being abused for my own gratification?

    Well, no. I said nothing about you. I was referring the group of men the developers are designing for–the ones who do get off on women being abused. The same ones who buy those games in the millions and resist any thought of change. The ones who respond to fellow players who happen to be women with verbal abuse and sexually objectifying hostility. The ones who respond to any whisper of criticism with threats of violence even unto rape and murder.

    I hope you burn, and I wish nothing but pain upon you.

    Oh.

  31. Roy G says

    @Kevin 26

    And Ibis wasn’t specifically talking about you, way to get defensive.

    Actually…

    All the violence and the sexual objectification and verbal abuse against these NPCs (or rather, not even characters–NECs?) is there because the developers think (or know?) that the men playing those games enjoy watching women being abused for their own gratification.

    … Ibis3 was.

    Ibis3 dismissed any other reason for the violence to be there than because I and gamers like me “enjoy watching women being abused for their own gratification”. Never mind that it may be parts of the game that we dislike and object to, or that we didn’t buy those games, or that, in some cases, the violence is there because of story.

    No. Ibis3 says that men play games that contain violence against women because we enjoy the suffering and pain of women.

    That is what I objected to.

  32. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    Roy G

    Ibis3 dismissed any other reason for the violence to be there than because I and gamers like me “enjoy watching women being abused for their own gratification”. Never mind that it may be parts of the game that we dislike and object to, or that we didn’t buy those games, or that, in some cases, the violence is there because of story.

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    If you don’t play those games, it’s not about you. If you hate those parts of the games, it’s not about you. Your raging #NotAllMen is so goddamn textbook here I think I’ve strained my eyes from rolling them. Ibis3 is talking about the people who do play those games and the people who are the reason those scenes are included. So if you hate those scenes and you don’t play those games?

    It’s not about you.

  33. says

    @Roy G:

    Check the sales figures of games that have the abuse and degradation of women as focus and compare to sales figures of other games like Civilization, Forca Motorsport and Guitar Hero and tell me what you see.

    Games across all platforms that have sold at least 15 million copies
    1. Tetris – 143 million (packaged)
    2. Wii Sports – 82.54 million (packaged)
    3. Minecraft – 54 million
    4. Super Mario Bros. – 40.24 million (packaged)
    5. Mario Kart Wii – 35.53 million
    6. Grand Theft Auto V – 34 million
    7. Wii Sports Resort – 32.58 million (packaged)
    8. New Super Mario Bros. – 30.75 million
    9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – 28.5 million
    10. Wii Play – 28.02 million
    11. New Super Mario Bros. Wii – 27.88 million
    12. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – 27.5 million
    13. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – 26.5 million
    14. Grand Theft Auto IV – 25 million
    15. Call of Duty: Black Ops – 26.2 million
    16. Call of Duty: Black Ops II – 24.2 million
    17. Kinect Adventures! – 24 million (packaged, IIRC)
    18. Nintendogs – 23.94 million
    19. Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green – 23.64 million
    20. Mario Kart DS – 23.56 million

    Gran Turismo 5 – 11 million
    Gran Turismo 5 Prologue – 5.4 million
    Forza Motorsport 2 – 2.5 million
    Forza Motorsport 3 – 2 million
    Guitar Hero III – 3.7 million
    Guitar Hero World Tour – 2.4 million
    Guitar Hero II – 2 million
    Rock Band – 2.75 million
    Rock Band II – 1 million
    Civilization IV – 3 million
    Civilization III – 2 million

  34. says

    @Roy G:

    If you don’t like those parts of the games and you don’t buy the games that use those violent tropes against women – then why the fuck are you being so goddamned defensive!?

  35. says

    I second Marcus Ranum @ 36. Threatening violence against someone who’s avatar looks female undermines your assertion that you abhor violence against women.

  36. doublereed says

    I was rather frustrated by this episode mostly because I didn’t know any of the games and have no real interest in playing them (other than Bioshock). Like the whole dark, gritty Nineties Anti-Hero comic-style is just so boring in of itself that I even find the criticism of it recycled and old. Hell, even parodies of Nineties Anti-Heroes are pretty overdone and uninteresting. But I guess these games are rather popular even if they aren’t my bag.

  37. Matthew Trevor says

    @samihawkins 22

    On a curious note what do ya’ll consider to be the most sexist game you’ve ever played?

    For me, it’s probably The Witcher, which featured collectible sex trophies in the form of “romance” cards. While there’s probably more offensive displays of sexism in other games, this actually featured it as part of the gameplay.

    @Prae 19

    I really don’t consider Bioshock 1 to be a good example there. The shown part is an important part of the backstory, she was Ryan’s girlfriend, and it would have been quite difficult for the story if she survived, so…

    It wasn’t important, it was lazy. What did seeing Ryan’s dead girlfriend’s corpse add to story? It’s not a well-mocked trope for no reason…

  38. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Monitor note

    Roy G,

    I hope you burn, and I wish nothing but pain upon you.

    This is not acceptable here.

  39. Jeff S says

    This is a great video by Anita, and this is coming from someone who thought it was a bit over the top to criticise the Mario series for using a “save the princess” trope in one of her earlier videos. I get that its a trope, and I get that it is sexist, but in comparison to the stuff in this video, its pretty harmless. I don’t think that any kid playing a Mario game is going to have his view of women shaped in any meaningful way, but I digress….

    I think this video really demonstrates a far more severe problem in some games, namely the combination of sexualization AND violence against women as side-plots and background filler. The random NPC man stabbing an NPC woman in Red Dead Redemption while shouting “I’m going to cut you a new hole!” is simply gratuitous and horrible. Having the playable character be able to just stand and watch just makes it even worse.

    Anita is doing some important work here, as I truly didn’t realize how prevalent this has now become in new games.
    This issue does need more sunlight, and I think Anita is presenting the evidence of the issue very fairly in this case.

  40. says

    @Matthew Trevor:

    It wasn’t important, it was lazy.

    That’s my second major gripe with the tropes Sarkeesian has been talking about. It’s not like they’re good writing even. It’s like “shit, we need a motivation for the main character” “kill his wife and kidnap his daughter”

    Can’t we get a bit more interesting than that?

  41. says

    What Kevin’s list @#35 tells me is that bestselling games don’t reach down into that box of cheap tricks – is that why they are bestsellers? It’s probably more complicated than simple cause/effect but it ought to be a hint to game designers. In that sense I am reminded of a certain party’s political strategy – race-baiting followed by complaints that they aren’t being given a fair shake by minorities. Um…. If I were a game designer I’d be asking how I could make my games interesting and exciting for co-op play (get the couples) and both genders (why play half your potential customer base off against the other when you can try to please both?) I’ve been gaming in some form or other since the mid 1970s and what I look for in games is a fully-fledged world, a task that conveys a sense of importance, good artwork and acting, and immersive, consistent, experience. I have always interpreted reliance on shock/gore as intellectual laziness or self-parody (Bruce Campbell style) rather than “edgy” – in fact if I even hear a game designer say the game is “edgy” I avoid it unless it gets consistently great reviews.

    Reading the comment above, by the person whose son wants to design games – that fully justifies what Sarkeesian is doing – as does this discussion, even Roy G’s helpless flailing.

    PS – screw dog@#38 I was just saying the same thing as Ibis3 said @#32 only not being subtle about it.

  42. Oxford Palestine Solidaity Campaign says

    Yes, I remember years ago seeing a scene in the Godfather, a film I generally enjoyed, which really upset me. A guy assassinated by a rival group was machine gunned along with a woman who happened to be sleeping with him. Collateral damage in wars now being played out round the world should always be shocking.

  43. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    So Isis3 if I understand correctly you’re saying that there are sexist scenes in games BECAUSE players and developers like it? I mean, isn’t it possible that the developers thought it was a valid idea for the story, or some other reason? I’m not trying to defend any real or perceived sexism, but are you really going to lump such a large portion of people, most of whom are nerds so insecure about women the worse offense they’ve ever done is stupid jokes in the Internet, with abusers and mysoginists? I’m sure there are bad people who play games and even suport these horrible things, but you’re saying it like people look at a game and say “wow dude, that’s that game with that 30 second scene where a woman gets beaten, I’ve got to get me some of that! “.

    Also can anyone name some female characters that aren’t sexist? Like, at least, what characteristics must a character have, or not have, to not be sexist? Tropes are so extensive that there are no characters that fall under no trope, so what tropes are OK to apply to a female character and which aren’t?
    Is the objective here to end any “clichés”? How can you possibly create a character, male or female, that falls under no cliché?

  44. says

    @Marcus:

    Well my list also shows that the top best selling games of all time are either really old (Tetris) or packaged with consoles for the most part. The best selling game of the modern era that also didn’t come packaged with the console is Minecraft (which is pretty awesome) followed by Grand Theft Auto V (Mario Kart Wii was also packaged with the console, but not until later in the Wii’s lifecycle.)

    GTA:V is also the best selling Xbox 360 title.

  45. says

    @Lucas:

    To your first point I already addressed it earlier: If gamers didn’t somehow like that kind of action in a video game, then why would developers put it in? (And way to play up the “nerdy gamer” trope. Seriously? Insecure about women?)

    Female characters that aren’t sexist are those with agency, those whose stories do not revolve around the need for a man to be a part of their story. They need to have some kind of characterization besides “trophy” or “ball” or “dog-what-is-kicked”. They need to have some role besides a pair of breasts. Jade from Beyond Good and Evil is a good example of a female character that’s not sexist.

    The objective isn’t to necessarily end cliches or tropes overall, since they will always exist. The objective is to end those cliches that are somehow damaging to specific races or genders or sexualities.

    Take the LGBT community in video games for a moment. They’re almost always portrayed as somehow being disturbed mentally, depraved, evil, or fitting the typical stereotype. The Game Theorists have a good video on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdmJXHJLZ6M

  46. doublereed says

    @46 Lucas

    Also can anyone name some female characters that aren’t sexist? Like, at least, what characteristics must a character have, or not have, to not be sexist? Tropes are so extensive that there are no characters that fall under no trope, so what tropes are OK to apply to a female character and which aren’t?

    Sure. GLADOS and Chell from Portal off the top of my head. Mass Effect? Obviously like Magical Girl and Dark Magical Girl tropes aren’t really sexist, for instance. The idea is basically not make women props or defined by their sexuality. Women should be characters. Actually now that I think about it, Borderlands 2 does a pretty good job even though it’s cartoonishly gritty.

  47. Matthew Trevor says

    @Kevin 44

    Can’t we get a bit more interesting than that?

    While it doesn’t excuse it, it’s worth noting that the majority of examples shown in the most recent Sarkeesian video are from “AAA” titles, the gaming industry equivalent of blockbuster action films. They’re lazy and formulaic for the same reason; they cost so damn much to make that their producers are unwilling to take any risks. I find them not only insulting in their belief that pandering like this is appealing to all men, they’re just dull, both narratively and mechanically.

    For the past few years I’ve found that I’m spending far more time playing & enjoying games by indie developers and small studios.

  48. A. Noyd says

    Roy G (#21)

    I don’t think I’ve ever been demonized in a such a way before.

    Oh, you poor, poor thing. Hold on, I’ll wring out a tear just for you.

    Couldn’t manage a tear, but I squeezed a pimple in your honor. Mazel tov!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Lucas Mendes Tavares (#46)

    but are you really going to lump such a large portion of people, most of whom are nerds so insecure about women the worse offense they’ve ever done is stupid jokes in the Internet, with abusers and mysoginists?

    If you think most gamers are nerds, you must either not be a gamer or you must run in some very tiny circles that confirm that completely wrong bias. And are you really classifying the massive volume of rape threats and death threats women like Sarkeesian get from gamers as “stupid jokes in the Internet”?

    And did you even watch the video?

  49. says

    The argument against cliches is not an argument against sexist cliches. If you want to stake out an extreme position you could say Shakespeare’s plays are full of cliches, which they are. You could say Juliet is a game achievement that Romeo and Tybault are contesting. If you dumb things way down you could say that. The question is how dumb do you have to get?

    How about Ellie in The Last Of Us?

  50. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    The fact that Tetris is the best selling game ever, followed by sports and Mario only reinforces the idea, IMHO, that we’re all taking this the wrong way. We shouldn’t be arguing on how to make games with better story but with LESS story. Games are (or should be) about gameplay, not silly overcomplicated plots. When the story is nice, it adds to the value; but if there’s no story not do you not alienate anyone, but also focus more on the important things.
    Take Gone Home for example, a horrible “game” (read walking simulator) that got insane amounts of praise because it had pseudo-artistic story. Lots of people argue that that’s the kind of thing they expect from future games, like a prime example of what one should try to achieve in a GAME is to have less gameplay! It baffles me to no end.
    Games like DMC (3 not the stupid remake) is what should be an example. Amazing gameplay, nice little background story that can be completely ignored without missing any of the fun the game offers.

    I also fail to understand why so many people who attire so fiercely about this issue have no interest in games.
    It’s like, they come in, convince the designers to make games that concur with their ideas, and they’ll leave, halt that they’ve changed the industry for “better” while completely alienating the people who supported and created the giant industry in the first place.

  51. says

    @Lucas:

    Tetris is as old as I am (it came out in 1984) and has been reproduced and resold on practically every console and handheld device that has ever come out. It’s an outlier. The Wii Sports games and Mario were sold with their consoles, so they had a leg up to start off with.

    Like I said above. The best selling game of the modern era that wasn’t packaged with a console is Minecraft, followed by Grand Theft Auto V.

  52. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    Lucas Mendes Tavares @ 46

    I’m not trying to defend any real or perceived sexism, but are you really going to lump such a large portion of people, most of whom are nerds so insecure about women the worse offense they’ve ever done is stupid jokes in the Internet, with abusers and mysoginists?

    1) Being a “nerd” does not exclude one from being an abusive misogynist. I had a massively nerdy friend who’d bring his desktop computer when he came to spend the weekend, because he needed to play and a laptop didn’t have enough power to satisfy him. Coming and staying with us on the weekends to game was the only in person socializing he did. And he raped me. Nerds are people; people can be shitty. Being a nerd doesn’t mean you can’t be shitty.

    2) 48% of gamers are women. A lot of women also identify as nerds. I suspect that they’re capable of speaking to other women.

    Look, we’re all swimming in a toxic sea of sexism. We’re born into it. We gasp it in on our first breaths. Nobody is immune to it. Looking hard and seeing where there are problems is how we can dismantle some of that. It’s not a matter of demonizing gamers or declaring “nerds” to all be misogynists. Somebody can genuinely think of themselves as a nice person and genuinely never want to hurt anyone and also, without thinking hard about it or examining the issues or being the slightest bit critical about it, play games that rely heavily on hateful, sexist tropes.

    Calling out these tropes and trying to figure out why these tropes appeal to people is not the same as saying “gamers are irredeemable assholes.” I mentioned the horrors of Game of Thrones upthread, but you know what? I still watch that show! I still enjoy many aspects of it! I just wish it wasn’t so hatefully, gratuitously misogynistic. Being able to self-criticize and call out the problematic elements of our entertainment is a good thing. It’s how we ask for better.

  53. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Lucas Mendes Tavares @ 46

    So Isis3 if I understand correctly you’re saying that there are sexist scenes in games BECAUSE players and developers like it? I mean, isn’t it possible that the developers thought it was a valid idea for the story, or some other reason?

    And they decided to use that particular story for what reason? Maybe because they thought it was what their audience wanted? You’re drawing a distinction without a difference.

  54. doublereed says

    @48 Kevin

    To your first point I already addressed it earlier: If gamers didn’t somehow like that kind of action in a video game, then why would developers put it in? (And way to play up the “nerdy gamer” trope. Seriously? Insecure about women?)

    Developers are people in society too. They have also been exposed to pervasive tropes and such things are expected in the genre. You act like it takes effort to continue the status quo and do what is expected, rather than it being the “default.”

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be “I think people who play my game would like that kind of action,” it could also be “I think people who play my game to expect that kind of action” or even “I expect that kind of action in this kind of game I am making.”

  55. says

    Games are (or should be) about gameplay, not silly overcomplicated plots.

    Some of us enjoy a good plot!

    I enjoyed Bioshock Infinite, though I was uncomfortable (as I was supposed to be!) with the themes of exceptionalism, racism, and religiousity that were core to its plot. I enjoyed the Halo series solo plotlines, as well – though the “slaughter little green men” shift is a pretty transparent way to dodge questions of “why?” And I enjoyed the Mass Effect games and genuinely agonized over the fate of Tali and the Quarians.

    Some of us are seeking the early promise that games might be “playable novels” (I was a huge fan of Gabriel Knight!) and I, for one, get rapidly bored by platformers and abstract digital legos. As I mentioned earlier, a sense of purpose is important to any game, and that gets harder if the purpose is based in a plot.

  56. Moggie says

    Jeff S:

    This is a great video by Anita, and this is coming from someone who thought it was a bit over the top to criticise the Mario series for using a “save the princess” trope in one of her earlier videos. I get that its a trope, and I get that it is sexist, but in comparison to the stuff in this video, its pretty harmless. I don’t think that any kid playing a Mario game is going to have his view of women shaped in any meaningful way, but I digress….

    Emphasis added. Can you see why I did that?

  57. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    Noyd(#51), depends on who you call “gamers”. If you mean anyone who play games then you’re right. I’m taking about people who love with games about as much as any fanatic about other forms of media. For example, there’s a difference between people who watch movies once in a while (like me), and people whose lives revolve around movies, get it?
    I never mentioned take threats because those are very serious things. Can you show that the people who send stuck threats are the significant representation of the discussed groups? Because that’s all I’m defending.

  58. opposablethumbs says

    Games are (or should be) about gameplay, not silly overcomplicated plots.

    Yes, because all games should be of exactly the same type and all gamers are looking for exactly the same thing. ::rolleyes::

  59. says

    @doublereed:

    Yea, but the developers also have to take into consideration that their audience has to buy the games they’re selling. If the gaming community wasn’t at all interested in games that prominently featured violence against women or sexist tropes, they wouldn’t sell. The speed and volume at which the community defends sexualized violence or sexist representations of women in the different media tells that the community enjoys media with those kinds of portrayals.

  60. Matthew Trevor says

    @Lucas Mendes Tavares 46

    isn’t it possible that the developers thought it was a valid idea for the story

    If you’ve watched any of the Tropes vs Women videos, you might have noted that this is repeatedly addressed. Anita (sorry, it was beginning to a bit distancing referring to her constantly by her surname) usually always acknowledges the in-game purpose of displays, such as the one linked in the article where she points out that it’s often to establish the evilness of the villains. However, she’s calling the behaviour out as lazy and because it’s rarely if ever balanced by positive portrayals of women, the repetition and consistency of such combines to have an overall negative impact on depicting women.

    Tropes are so extensive that there are no characters that fall under no trope

    That’s not exactly a plus for an industry that regularly self-praises its own innovation and creativity.

    can anyone name some female characters that aren’t sexist?

    Unfortunately, I find that it’s mostly limited to games that let you build your own character and then don’t acknowledge their gender at all, in part because the majority of games which feature a non-abstract playable role revolve around male characters. The only recent example that springs to mind is Gone Home, in which a woman returns home from holiday to find her family missing and explores the house to find out where they’ve gone. Unsurprisingly, it’s drawn a lot of frothy ranting from male gamers for not being “game-y” enough.

  61. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    Marcus (#58) that’s why I went on to say stories aren’t necessarily bad, I just said I think they shouldn’t be the main focus. Rather the main focus should be on making the game fun to play.

  62. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Lucas Mendes Tavares

    Can you show that the people who send stuck threats are the significant representation of the discussed groups? Because that’s all I’m defending.

    Doesn’t matter because, for the most part, the ones not making the threats aren’t condemning the behavior either. They’re doing the Not All Gamers dance at people like Sarkeesian instead.

  63. says

    If gamers didn’t somehow like that kind of action in a video game, then why would developers put it in?

    If movie-goers don’t like endless chase-scenes full of digitally produced explosions and improbable maneuvers why are there James Bond movies? If movie-goers don’t like movies that are product placements and explosions why does Hollywood keep greenlighting Michael Bay movies?

    Bay puts explosions everywhere because it’s what he knows how to do, and has established a culture of fans that will go see a Bay movie and expect explosions. It becomes a self-reinforcing loop. Some might see the endless explosions as laziness and a poor substitute for a plot, whereas others might see the explosions as the plot, and be happy.

    With me so far?

    Now, suppose that the only people who got blown up in Michael Bay movies were women, and that it was almost always sexualized. Well, then, one might conclude that it’s not just about the explosions…

  64. Matthew Trevor says

    Lucas @ 53

    Take Gone Home for example, a horrible “game” (read walking simulator) that got insane amounts of praise because it had pseudo-artistic story. Lots of people argue that that’s the kind of thing they expect from future games, like a prime example of what one should try to achieve in a GAME is to have less gameplay! It baffles me to no end.

    Me @ 63

    Unsurprisingly, it’s drawn a lot of frothy ranting from male gamers for not being “game-y” enough.

    I rest my case.

    A lot of the criticism I’ve seen directed at Gone Home is almost verbatim what I’ve heard said about feminist literature.

  65. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    The problem Kevin (#62) is that ganês aren’t sold BECAUSE they have these scenes. They just have them. I’m not defending the scenes or saying they’re necessary, but they aren’t the rain the games are sold. Games don’t come with “watch a woman get brutally abused for 30 full seconds” in the box. Personally I think those scenes are often unnecessary, but I don’t think there there for any propuser other than that the writer was lazy, or stupid, or uncreative.

  66. carlie says

    Games are (or should be) about gameplay, not silly overcomplicated plots.

    How is not having sexism in it more complicated?

  67. says

    Roy G:

    . I hope you burn, and I wish nothing but pain upon you.

    Do. Not. Do. This.
    You can tell someone to ‘fuck off’ all you want, but wishing harm on someone is not acceptable.

  68. doublereed says

    @62 Kevin

    I was trying to say that sexist tropes are expected in the media, and therefore accepted. I’m saying that if you took out the sexist things in the media, it’s not like it wouldn’t sell. But the sexist stuff is the default. There are also examples of games like Mass Effect which do sell without the sexism.

    Sexism is not necessarily what they’re buying the product for. It’s just what it’s expected to come with.

  69. Matthew Trevor says

    Lucas @ 68

    Everything in game production takes time and money. Anything that isn’t deemed even reasonably worthwhile is ditched for economic reasons.

    Modelling a half-dressed woman and an aggressive man than scripting them so that he beats her as background filler takes time. If they’re not important, then why are they so persistent? If the God of War sex scenes aren’t pushing someone’s buttons, then why are they in every one?

  70. carlie says

    Personally I think those scenes are often unnecessary, but I don’t think there there for any propuser other than that the writer was lazy, or stupid, or uncreative.

    Those scenes don’t just pop out of the head of Zeus, fully formed and inexorably linked within the game.

    Someone hired that writer, based on their previous work, knowing what kinds of things they wrote.

    Someone gave the greenlight for that scene to be animated.

    Someone agreed with that greenlight and had their team animate it.

    Someone went through the draft of the game, and the beta version, and the final edit, who had the power to change it, and didn’t say a word.

    An awful lot of people along the way saw that and thought “yeah, that’s fine”. That’s a big problem.

  71. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    #67 it has no gameplay, no objective, no winning, no losing. You walk from point A to B, read something, repeat a few times and its over. I’ve no problem with people who like it but it’s not a game under any definition, specially in comparison with other games, from any developer and any console.

  72. says

    Jeff S:

    This is a great video by Anita, and this is coming from someone who thought it was a bit over the top to criticise the Mario series for using a “save the princess” trope in one of her earlier videos. I get that its a trope, and I get that it is sexist, but in comparison to the stuff in this video, its pretty harmless.

    It’s important to call out the milder forms of sexism though, as they help create a climate where the more extreme forms are welcomed.

  73. Matthew Trevor says

    Lucas @ 67

    It’s not a game under your definition.

    Roger Ebert commented that video games can never be art, and was howled down by outraged gamers. And yet every time something transgresses from an extremely narrow set of possible game mechanics, it’s met with this same “not a game” bullshit. Every single time. It’s tedious.

    I grew up in the 80s, when the whole video gaming concept was nascent and undefined. Every release was beautiful and broken and horrible and glorious. Now it’s a half-dozen “genres” that are constantly inbreeding, pushing the same damn pleasure buttons in their players.

  74. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    Did anyone know about sec scenes in GoW before it came out? Find me a person who decided to buy the game because of that scene.
    I never said they don’t serve a purpose (for the developers) I said they aren’t the reason why the game sold.

  75. says

    So Isis3[*] if I understand correctly you’re saying that there are sexist scenes in games BECAUSE players and developers like it?

    More accurately, I’m saying that the particular kind of “sexist scenes” discussed by Sarkeesian in this video–in which sexualised violence is ornamental–are in there because developers believe, and have good reason to believe, that there is a market for it among their customers. Likewise with why they employ it in their advertising.

    I mean, isn’t it possible that the developers thought it was a valid idea for the story, or some other reason?

    I think those possible rationales are secondary, when they exist. We’re not talking about damsels in distress or women in refrigerators here–objects placed in the narrative to provide motivation for the (usually male) protagonist–which do have a consequence (albeit lazy) to the plot. We’re talking about violent scenes placed here and there as background texture. Objects for voyeurism.

    I’m not trying to defend any real or perceived sexism, but are you really going to lump such a large portion of people, most of whom are nerds so insecure about women the worse offense they’ve ever done is stupid jokes in the Internet, with abusers and mysoginists?

    First, the idea that gamers are all insecure nerds is rather 1980s isn’t it? Second, “stupid jokes in the Internet” are not exclusive of abuse and misogyny. Rather, harassment and abuse via the Internet is one of the prime channels of misogyny in our society and those who employ it are, not surprisingly, often abusers in their offline lives.

    I’m sure there are bad people who play games and even suport these horrible things, but you’re saying it like people look at a game and say “wow dude, that’s that game with that 30 second scene where a woman gets beaten, I’ve got to get me some of that! “.

    I don’t think it’s as consciously deliberate as that. That was also part of my original point. The developers present the sexualised violence as something that the consumer can both enjoy as voyeurs and vicarious participants, and yet outwardly condemn as protagonists. Because they’re the Nice Guys™ right?

    *Ibis. The 3 is optional (originally added because many places have a 5-character minimum for usernames).

  76. says

    My impression of GTA is that most players ignore the boring storyline and just do freeform mayhem with the vehicles. Not a big gamer, so this may be wrong.

    One other thing that strikes me from the video is how thoroughly these games buy into the “battle evil by killing ‘bad guys'” mindset. This mindset is hardly limited to games, of course; action movies and TV do it too. The problem is that the reflexive recourse to violent confrontation underlies a lot of terrible public policy, i.e. the War on Drugs, the War on Terrorism, various foreign invasions, the massive scale of military spending by the U.S., on down to the militarized response to the Ferguson unrest. (In all these cases, it’s easy to find proponents of violent response using the phrase “bad guys,” as if it were all some white hats/black hats drama.) Sure, games need conflict, but jeeze, look at these things. (Not to detract from the obvious misogyny on display.)

  77. says

    Lucas Mendes Tavares

    So Isis3 if I understand correctly you’re saying that there are sexist scenes in games BECAUSE players and developers like it?

    They don’t include those scenes because players and developers *hate* sexist scenes in video games. Every scene is there for a reason. If developers didn’t want a sexist scene in game, they would not include it.
    I think some of the developers don’t think there is a problem with these scenes in games. They think they’re innocuous. And that’s part of the problem. They need to recognize that these scenes are a problems. They’re yet another example of women experiencing sexualized violence. The fact that they don’t understand how problematic this is speaks to how pervasive the problem is in society.

  78. doublereed says

    @72 Matthew

    Everything in game production takes time and money. Anything that isn’t deemed even reasonably worthwhile is ditched for economic reasons.

    Pfff… games have tons of useless weird shit all the time. Not to mention that sometimes time and money is used to trim down a game’s content, rather than beef it up because it makes it tighter experience.

    People put plenty of effort into stupid and worthless ideas that don’t add things to the game. This is an ideal, not a reality.

  79. Matthew Trevor says

    Lucas @ 78

    Did anyone know about sec scenes in GoW before it came out? Find me a person who decided to buy the game because of that scene.

    I’m not talking about the original, I’m talking about the sequels. If they weren’t of appeal to at least some of the game’s fans, why were they there?

    I never said they don’t serve a purpose (for the developers) I said they aren’t the reason why the game sold.

    What purpose exists for the developers other than to sell the game?

  80. says

    Marcus:

    If I were a game designer I’d be asking how I could make my games interesting and exciting for co-op play (get the couples) and both genders (why play half your potential customer base off against the other when you can try to please both?) anyone on the gender spectrum as well as those who are not (why play only some of your potential customer base off against others when you can try to please all of them?)

    If I can tweak this a bit…

  81. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    #76 perhaps. I just fail to understand why it’s improtant at all to try to change “hollywoodian” things like these clichés. I’m sure there are people who don’t like them but I honestly think it’s a futile struggle against an enemy not worth fighting. Too much trouble for not a lot of gain.
    I think as long as people, in their majority are aware of the issues and respectful to one another, clichés are only that, clichés meant to be a characterization of people, not representative of actual people.

  82. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    Lucas Mendes Tavares @ 60

    depends on who you call “gamers”. If you mean anyone who play games then you’re right. I’m taking about people who love with games about as much as any fanatic about other forms of media.

    No True Gamer! And you’ve got your own special definition of what counts as a game, too. I really, really loathe this shit, as it so often is designed to exclude people who don’t fall into a very specific set of stereotypes. If I play MMOs, I’m not a real gamer. If I play a narrative game, I’m not a real gamer. If I have a partner who plays with me, I’m not a real gamer. If I have tits, I’m not a real gamer.

    If somebody plays games and thinks they’re a gamer, they are. You’re not the goddamn pope of gamers.

    Tony! @ 84, beat me to it. Thanks.

  83. says

    Oh, I very much disagree with the idea that games should have less story. Story is actually one of the main reason I play games.

    Like text adventure and interactive fiction, for example Blue Chairs and the Heroes Rise series. And graphical adventures like Gabriel Knight, Discworld Noir and The Marker’s Eden. And Planescape: Torment; I would have been happy with it without the combat. And Analogue: A Hate Story, Hate Plus and other visual novels. And yes, also Gone Home and Depression Quest. I could go on for hours, really.

  84. Matthew Trevor says

    Lucas @ 46

    I’m sure there are bad people who play games and even suport these horrible things, but you’re saying it like people look at a game and say “wow dude, that’s that game with that 30 second scene where a woman gets beaten, I’ve got to get me some of that! “.

    Have you looked at YouTube comments for game previews featuring sexualised content like, say, Hitman Absolution?

    Take a bullet with some dick.

    I wanna fuck them all but too bad I killed them !!

    Wow. You get to kill women? Awesome.

    So yes, people do look at depictions of violence against women and want to get in on that.

  85. says

    @Lucas:

    What should have happened with the GoW sex scene is that someone in development should have said “hey, um, that’s not necessary to establish the character or move the plot in any way, why are you including it at all?”

  86. A. Noyd says

    Not interested in discussing anything further with you, Lucas Mendes Tavares. You’re clearly a denialist playing some faux-Socratic wanking game, not someone looking for an honest discussion.

  87. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    #83 that’s what exactly what I said! For the developers there IS a purpose but just because the developers meant for something to be a selling point didn’t mean it is, or was.
    If they wanted, or consider, sex to be a selling point that’s one thing. For sex to actually be the selling point takes a study of why people bought the game.
    Unless you’re talking about porn games, that’s pretty self explanatory :P

  88. Alverant says

    I enjoy playing games. I focus on a few games instead of playing many of them. I also pay some attention to what’s happening in the industry and it’s seriously fucked up. Sarkeesian is pretty much on the mark and I agree with Isis3 in that developers put some of that stuff into games because they think the players want it. The sad truth is that some of the players do like it and more players don’t object to it. I’m glad I don’t play the games she listed.

    I would like to see her do a video about MMORPGs. Since watching her series, I’ve become more aware about the tropes used. She doesn’t even have to use the actions of the players, just things like the character generation, NPCs, missions, story, etc. For example I play an MMO called WildStar and I noticed that when you generate your characters the female models are in a seductive/demure/submissive pose (nothing too blatant but you notice it) while male models are more neutral or even aggressive pose. There are other such issues with the game but I prefer sci-fi to fantasy and there just aren’t many sci-fi MMOs that I enjoy. (Star Trek got dull after a few months and EVE is full of jerks.)

    I’m tired of the lazy writing in games too. They spend too much of their budgets on graphics and not enough on making it a good game. There are other ways of showing the Bad People are bad without resorting to the same tired tropes of kicking a dog (or woman). Sure it’s happened enough in history, but there are better ways to do it.

  89. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    #90 um sorry. This isn’t a theme I’ve ever discussed before so excuse my ignorance of usual arguments and such. Honestly I don’t even understand what you just said.

  90. Matthew Trevor says

    DrMcCoy @ 87

    I have endless love for Planescape: Torment, possibly the only RPG where wisdom is the most important attribute. Discussing alien philosophy with one of the party members is amongst my all-time favourite experiences in a game.

    I grew up during the golden age of text adventures, when Infocom and Level 9 were rulers of their domain. There are very few games that have had the same amount of impact on me as A Mind Forever Voyaging.

  91. Matthew Trevor says

    Alverant @ 92

    EVE is full of jerks

    In its defense, that’s pretty much its raison d’etre :) I swear the game is designed to be a sociopath simulator.

  92. says

    Lucas Mendes Tavares

    #90 um sorry. This isn’t a theme I’ve ever discussed before so excuse my ignorance of usual arguments and such. Honestly I don’t even understand what you just said.

    If you can’t understand this:

    Not interested in discussing anything further with you, Lucas Mendes Tavares. You’re clearly a denialist playing some faux-Socratic wanking game, not someone looking for an honest discussion.

    are you sure you’re ready for this discussion?

  93. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    #86 my definition of game is the dictionary one. Games have objectives, ways to lose and to win (or to score points), Ganges have an end etc. It really isn’t MY definition.

    About the “gamer” thing what I meant is that is a term too wide, so to not fall under equivocation fallacy, I said what I meant for “gamer”, but you’re free to use whatever definition you like, I was just clearing up my position.

  94. Lucas Mendes Tavares says

    #96 I have no idea what “faux-Socratic wanking game” means. English is a second language to me.

  95. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    Alverant @ 92

    I would like to see her do a video about MMORPGs. Since watching her series, I’ve become more aware about the tropes used. She doesn’t even have to use the actions of the players, just things like the character generation, NPCs, missions, story, etc.

    I know exactly what you mean. In one of my games, any armor you put on a woman suddenly drops in size and has strategic cut-outs. I’m not really sure how my character is being helped by having a breastplate with a V-neck.

    The weird player assumptions are their own separate dynamic which is kind of fascinating at times. I have a guild with 99 members and roughly half of the characters are women, but a lot of vocal players still default to assuming all the other players are men. There’s this flurry of shock and monocle popping when a player identifies herself as a woman.

  96. Matthew Trevor says

    Lucas @ 97

    Let’s see what Wiktionary has to say about “game”

    Pretty much the first definition is:

    A playful activity that may be unstructured; an amusement or pastime

    By that definition, Gone Home (and Proteus, Dear Esther et al) are very much “games”.

    The lack of platforms, skill points, collectibles, or guns to fire doesn’t make it an un-game. That this is a common criticism from gamers when anything transgresses those forms just shows how narrow and ghettoised the industry has become.

  97. says

    Matthew Trevor, #94
    Oh, yes, I heard interesting things about A Mind Forever Voyaging. I really should play it one of these days. :)

  98. says

    Lucas Mendes Tavares

    #96 I have no idea what “faux-Socratic wanking game” means. English is a second language to me.

    You’re online, which means you could look up what those words mean. If you’re interested in having a discussion with people.

  99. doublereed says

    @Lucas

    #76 perhaps. I just fail to understand why it’s improtant at all to try to change “hollywoodian” things like these clichés. I’m sure there are people who don’t like them but I honestly think it’s a futile struggle against an enemy not worth fighting. Too much trouble for not a lot of gain.
    I think as long as people, in their majority are aware of the issues and respectful to one another, clichés are only that, clichés meant to be a characterization of people, not representative of actual people.

    This is hugely incorrect in every possible way.

    -Media and pop culture very much shapes actual expectations and beliefs in society.
    -There’s nothing futile about such a struggle, and people like Anita probably enjoy having such discussions. But I have no idea how you come up with an idea of “futility” here. It’s just fatalistic and cowardly.
    -There’s much to be gained. Getting rid of tired cliches and stereotypes gives way for far more intriguing ideas in media. We get better writing, better gameplay, and better characters.
    -This post makes me think that you are being massively biased because you are not affected by such cliches and stereotypes. However, other people in marginalized groups are. These are real issues that affect them and it’s disrespectful to completely dismiss media depictions of women as not problematic.

  100. Chaos Engineer says

    I have no idea what “faux-Socratic wanking game” means. English is a second language to me.

    Wasting everybody’s time by asking them to explain the obvious to you over and over again.

    For example, if you were to say:

    perhaps. I just fail to understand why it’s improtant at all to try to change “hollywoodian” things like these clichés.

    I’d be engaged in a faux-Socratic wanking game if I responded:

    “Why do you care that you don’t understand it? People enjoy trying to change all sorts of different stuff, and if changing something doesn’t interest you then you’re not required to take part in it. Why don’t you run along and play some video games or something?”

    Now that I think about it, that’s a bad example because IMHO it’s a pretty good question.

  101. Alverant says

    @Matt #95
    I’ve heard some scary stories about EVE. People working months to get a cool ship only to have it destroyed on its first voyage. I considered it after Earth & Beyond got canceled but City of Heroes was coming out and I wanted something different and the PvP didn’t sound that appealing (I didn’t play much and didn’t want to be playing against those who play for hours every day and took the game too seriously). I know you were kidding, but sometimes I think you’re right. At least EVE keeps more jerks busy instead of bothering the casual players and the roleplayers.

    @MM #99
    I hear you. The only currently active game I know about that doesn’t do something like that is Star Trek Online because you have military uniforms. I know you can customize it but it’s your choice. It’s not like your shirt suddenly loses its midrift when a female character wears it.

  102. says

    I wonder how much of this is a result of censorship. As kids, our entertainment is largely stripped of two things – sex, and violence. This makes it natural, as a teenager, to perceive those things as uniquely adult, and therefore as hallmarks of gritty realism. I know I fell into that trap as a teenager, viewing sex, violence, and especially sexualized violence as hallmarks of realism simply because sex and violence were the two things most conspicuously missing from the entertainment marketed to children. And not just missing, but actively advertised as having been removed BECAUSE the material is intended for non-adults. For a person who isn’t particularly reflective, it’s easy to see how those attitudes could persist into adulthood.

  103. says

    Well, I say violence. I should probably have said death, since unrealistic, consequence-less violence is actually pretty common in kids entertainment.

  104. says

    I swear the game is designed to be a sociopath simulator.

    More like a training ground for them.

    I played for about a week. What a beautiful game engine, so full of possibilities!! But a universe full of ruthless assholes – it’s like…. libertarian paradise!

  105. says

    Well, let’s see if I count as a gamer.

    I started playing D&D with the three book set, in 1978. I got my first video console in 1981 or so, when I got an Atari, which my friends and I played constantly.

    My most recent gaming experience was last night, when three friends and I played GTA Online for five hours, while I tried to build up enough money to buy a new super car.

    Oh, and I have tits. So according to a large number of “Twoo Gamers”, I’m not a “real” gamer.

    I say, fuck that noise.

    Yes, the fucking games are sexist. Some of us play them anyway, because we’re fucking GAMERS, and there’s shit else around. But playing Mass Effect 2 & 3, for instance, and being able to be someone who looked and sounded vaguely like me? Was a revelation. I went on to enjoy Skyrim, for the same reason.

    I play GTA because my friends do, and because much of the game play is fun, and because if you don’t want to play it in a misogynist way, you can do so. It’s actually much less awful than it used to be. Not once in the story mode did I have to do anything overtly misogynist, which is a long step up from previous games (like San Andreas, the one where there was an achievement for completing a sufficiency of pimping missions, ffs). But it’s still got the same background anti-woman bullshit as Game of Thrones, or Chuck, or any of a couple of hundred other media properties I could list.

    And I don’t play in public servers. Ever. Because doing so with a woman avatar, as I do, is grounds (as noted above) for being harassed constantly, and murdered incessantly if I refuse to play along, all while being harangued with every misogynist slur in the book by at least a few people every single time that I tried it. So I gave it up, and joined a small crew of my friends offline, and we have a great time together. If someone wants to start a Pharyngula Crew, I’d join that too, in a heartbeat (I’m on PS3).

    I AM A GAMER. HAVE BEEN FOR DECADES, LITERALLY. And I think every single fucking word Ms. Sarkeesian has said in every single video she’s made has been SPOT-FUCKING-ON.

    This shit doesn’t show up in games because magical fucking pixies wished it into existence. Every single instance is there because a development team wanted it there. They wrote it, designed it, coded it, and published it. They don’t get to also disown it. And an effort to making gaming more accessible to ALL gamers will only make the damned industry STRONGER.

    I was thinking last night, for instance, that although one can have an avatar which is a POC in GTAO, you can’t, for instance, choose to wear hijab, or a turban, or a sari, or any of a bunch of other ways actual people present themselves. You can’t be fat, as your avatar. This is also true of Mass Effect and Skyrim: you can be a lot of things, but you can’t be fat, or even large. You can’t be short, either. Would any of those things break the game? No. Would they take a lot of resources to produce? Not as much as, say, strip clubs and lap dances and prostitutes, all of which have massive resources devoted to their development.

    Roy G, the irony of your suggesting the violent end you’d like to see Ibis3 get for her comment that some gamers might actually enjoy the misogyny in gaming, should have blown your brain out your ears in an antimatter-level explosion of inherent contradiction. While you’re shouting NOT ALL GAMERS, maybe you can listen to some of your fellow gamers, who happen to be women and POC, who are telling you that there’s a fucking problem here.

    Or are you going to contend I’m really No True Gamer?

  106. shala says

    Matthew Trevor @ 94

    I have endless love for Planescape: Torment, possibly the only RPG where wisdom is the most important attribute.

    It really is amazing. Very intelligent game and routinely allows non-violent options to resolve situations.

    I hadn’t gotten to watch the Feminist Frequency videos yet aside from this one, but Anita is doing excellent work here. All too often, villains have no actual reasoning behind their own violence. Women are treated as background objects, sometimes with their deaths being portrayed as outright jokes (anyone remember the controversy behind God of War: Ascension’s “bros before hos” trophy?).

    Games should be about good gameplay and, when warranted, a good storyline. Part of that consideration for storyline is developing an incentive for why villains are villains, and why they feel the need to hurt others, including women. Pencil and Paper RPGs such as Pathfinder can manage this, so I know video games can as well.

    As for LGBT portrayals in games, the only ones I can think of being portrayed in a good light are Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Persona 4, and Fallout New Vegas. I’ve heard The Last of Us, Fable, and Gone Home do so as well, though I haven’t gotten to try them.

  107. says

    I wonder how much of this is a result of censorship

    To a certain degree, I bet it is. A lot of the current crop of game producers come from the time when a kid couldn’t just get access to infinite porn on the internet. So it’s still “naughty” to sneak a pixelated breast into a game. And, in some cases, I bet that it was done deliberately in hopes of getting some family values congressperson to stump about how horrible it was, for marketing reasons.

  108. Matrim says

    @Marcus Ranum, 5>

    The Kilrathi are a bad example of “kill them ’cause they’re bad.” The Kilrathi are a highly aggressive expansionist empire who refuse to make peace, but are perfectly willing to feign it and then launch a surprise attack. They’re not “bad because they’re bad,” they’re bad because they do bad things. They’re in many ways similar to the US government during the expansion with the Terrans taking the role of the indigenous peoples of North America. In that the US wasn’t bad because they were bad, they were bad because they didn’t honor treaties, they wanted you and your land, and they weren’t afraid to slaughter whole civilizations to get it. So the humans weren’t going to attack Kilrah just because, it was because the Kilrathi left them no other options.

    Sorry for the long OT.

    Pertaining to the conversation with/about Roy G, I’m always vaguely confused about how angry people get about statements that (ostensibly) don’t pertain to them.

  109. says

    This is also true of Mass Effect and Skyrim: you can be a lot of things, but you can’t be fat, or even large.

    I had to pause and hang my head a bit when I read that. Because it’s so true and I totally hadn’t noticed.

    I do most of my online gaming in World of Warcraft, where the body options are – interesting. If you want to be round and large, there’s the pandaren. If you enjoy being huge, play a Tauren (US Venture Co. Ironbadger, say “hi” if you ever see me go stomping by!) If you like being short and green with big ears, there are goblins… Etc. There are a lot of options. And, could it be coincidence, that it’s been – by far – the most popular MMORPG in history?

    Because of the blurring of who plays what in WoW, most of the griefers I’ve encountered don’t make any attempt to assume your gender. They just kill indiscriminately. I know several guilds that are all-female players, and in the various guilds I’ve bounced in and out of, the gender breakdowns are pretty even. One statistic I’ve been happy about is that apparently there are now more women gamers than there are teenaged boy gamers. On some games (say: Eve) that’s probably not balanced, but on others (e.g.: WoW) it is. I know anecdotes aren’t evidence but I had a great raiding session sunday with a pick up group (15 of us) and when we all got into vent for voice command/control, I was surprised to discover I was the only man on the raid. You simply can’t tell, and among serious WoW raiders your gender is much less important than your understanding of the boss mechanics or how much damage per second you can put out…

    I’ve also been heartened to see people who make racist/homophobic/gendered slurs get slammed for it, and have seen a couple times where players get booted off a raid group (if it’s a pickup group) or thrown out of guilds for racist/sexist language. When I joined my old guild the first thing I did was petition the chieftain to update our honor code to include “using sexist, racist, or lgbt-phobic slurs” alongside ganking, camping and teabagging on the list of no-nos. Unlike on the internet, when that change was made, nobody complained – though there was some head-slapping, “oh, yeah, we should have had that in all along.”

    There are a few bright spots in gaming, in other words. I see Sarkeesian’s videos as one of those bright spots. Since gaming is mainstream now, it’s time to civilize a bit.

    (PS – my 1st edition 3 book D&D set sits right next to me on my bookshelf as I type this…)

  110. says

    @Matrim –
    they’re bad because they do bad things

    Which totally justifies using the temblor bomb on their home planet?
    Here’s the problem: you have a kilrathi friend (I forget his name) who you trust enough to fly wing man with. Obviously they aren’t all bad. Therefore it’s bad to genocide them because – obviously – it is possible to know and trust at least one of them.

  111. says

    Neverwinter Nights still had the “large phenotype” (as it’s called ingame). Later BioWare didn’t, for some reason.

    I remember that some community-made tilesets had doors and passages large characters couldn’t move through. Always seemed to me that not many people tested (or played) large characters.

  112. toska says

    @Lucas,
    I realize this is going back a ways in the conversation, but I just read the thread and had an issue with this:

    I also fail to understand why so many people who attire so fiercely about this issue have no interest in games.
    It’s like, they come in, convince the designers to make games that concur with their ideas, and they’ll leave, halt that they’ve changed the industry for “better” while completely alienating the people who supported and created the giant industry in the first place.

    First, I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that the people who argue against sexism in video games are people who have no interest in the games. But more importantly, why should non-gamers not have the right to criticize sexism in video games? The attitudes these games play into are not in a vacuum, and they affect real people every day. Even non-gamers. I don’t think you can just tell people to shut up because they don’t play the games anyway.

    For example, can I be critical of sexism and sexual assault in the military, even though I’m not in the military and do not intend to ever join the military? If so, why is sexism in video games off limits to non-gamers?

  113. Alverant says

    @Marcus #114
    I tried WoW and I don’t think the character customization is so great. What if I wanted to be a tall goblin? How about a Tauren to be part of the Alliance? You can’t adjust the height or other factors apart from a narrow subset of predefined values and if you wanted a particular body type you were restricted to your class. Now if you want customization, you have City of Heroes/Villains. You could adjust nearly everything and had hundreds of options for your appearance and colors. All of which was independent of what archtype you played. You could make a 4 foot skinny person with a huge cranium and make him/her super-strength. It’s still considered one of the best customization systems even though it was announced it would end nearly two years ago. So clearly customization doesn’t really mean success.

  114. Jeff S says

    toska

    For example, can I be critical of sexism and sexual assault in the military, even though I’m not in the military and do not intend to ever join the military? If so, why is sexism in video games off limits to non-gamers?

    It’s a nice way of blocking out opinions you don’t like to simply state “You are not a gamer, you cannot criticize any game for any reason”.

    The same for those who state “You are not a parent, you cannot criticise a parent for any reason. Don’t tell parents how to raise their kids!”

    And the same for those who state “You are not a woman, you cannot criticise a woman for any reason or voice an opinion on women’s issues.”

    What is true in all of these cases is that if a person is not a gamer, a parent, or a woman, it is known that their opinion on the matter is coming from at least some level of ignorance. That is not to say that their opinion is always wrong, but that there may be some information that they are missing which, if they had, would alter their opinion. In many cases, you don’t need to have the full experience of being a member of the group in order to fairly criticise something within that group.

    I don’t believe that you need to be a gamer in order point out some problematic sexist themes and tropes in video games. Anita makes a number of perfectly fair points in this video, and while I’m not 100% agreed with her on some stuff, I certainly respect her clearly well informed opinion, This particular video in her series has made me rethink the seriousness of the issue.

  115. hyrax says

    I’m a 30-year-old woman, and I’ve been a gamer my whole life. When I was around 10, my favorite genre was the first person shooter– this was the age of Wolfenstein (killing nazis), Doom (killing aliens), and Hexen (killing demons or witches I think? I didn’t actually have Hexen). Running around a 2-dimensional level shooting baddies. Then, I got Wolfenstein 3D for my 11th birthday, and it’s the first game that really captured my imagination, because of its rather revolutionary (for the time) interactive environments. Not only was there a jetpack, adding a whole new dimension (literally :P) to the experience, it was my first time encountering this attention to detail in a video game, and I was captivated. If you shot a gun, bullet holes appeared in the wall! If you kicked a mirror, the glass would break! If you shot a prostitute, she would die! If you walked on a pool table, the balls would scatter!

    At that age, the fact that ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER didn’t occur to me. I just took the use of women as decoration– and remember, this is the game where you can hand them money and they will show you pixelated tassled breasts– completely in stride. Of course I first played the game before puberty, before I had years of strangers treating me as decoration… still, the saturation and unquestioned acceptance (by young me) of this trope is really horrifying to realize.

  116. toska says

    Jeff S

    What is true in all of these cases is that if a person is not a gamer, a parent, or a woman, it is known that their opinion on the matter is coming from at least some level of ignorance.

    I agree with you in this point to an extent, but on the subject of problematic depictions of women in video games, a gamer may have a level of ignorance on women’s issues, which creates a further problem. The sexism in video games is not very different from the sexism in other forms of media, so someone who has a broad knowledge of sexism in the media may have a more comprehensive and educated view of the issue than an average gamer.
    Just like, in your example of a parent, a child psychologist who is childless may be able to offer parenting critiques that the average parent may be ignorant to.

    None of this is to say that gamers and developers should not be listened to if they offer a defense of graphic sexual violence or any other form of sexism in games. But I haven’t heard a decent justification for any of it.

  117. Leo T. says

    As far as sexism in MMOs, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn seems to do a great job of avoiding most of the pitfalls. Armor that looks protective on male characters will also look protective on female characters (amusingly, this is also true for armor that doesn’t look protective), and all three of the nations which your character can be from are led by women.

    I’m not saying it’s perfect, but apparently it’s a lot better than Wildstar.

  118. Leo T. says

    Also, on the topic of hilarious and/or stupid reactions to the video, check out Tim Schafer’s Twitter. He posted the video saying “all game developers should watch this”, and has been responding to idiots going “fuck you, blocked” by replying with Steam codes for his games.

  119. Jeff S says

    toska

    I agree with you in this point to an extent, but on the subject of problematic depictions of women in video games, a gamer may have a level of ignorance on women’s issues, which creates a further problem.

    Very true.

    Discussing these issues is one way of reducing ignorance on both sides.
    What’s important is that it is certainly an issue worthy of discussion.

    It’s a fact that their ARE depictions of women in video games that many would find offensive. To what extent do these depictions harm beyond offense, real women, and society as a whole?

    The extent to which a person’s real world behaviour and values are influenced by playing video games is not fully understood.

    I’d suggest that the impact on real world behaviour is probably not as great as Anita is suggesting. However, it is certainly a non-zero impact, and given the subject matter involved, even a small impact would be worthy of trying to minimize.

  120. hyrax says

    122 @Kevin
    Erp. You’re right of course. That’s what I get for shuffling clauses around. (I swear I typed “Duke Nukem” at some point…)

  121. toska says

    Jeff S

    To what extent do these depictions harm beyond offense, real women, and society as a whole?

    There actually has been research into the way sexualized images of women (granted, outside of a video game context) affect the way that one sees women in general:

    In terms of the second question – “do sexualized images of women impact how other women are perceived?” – the answer is again a resounding “yes,” at least for men. Specifically, in one study researchers randomly assigned men to view sexualized or nuetral images of women. They were then told that they would have to rate the female experimenter for a task unrelated to the images. When the men had just viewed sexualized images of different women, they rated the experimenter, even though she was modestly dressed, as less competent and intelligent.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-big-questions/201106/the-sexual-objectification-spillover-effect

  122. knowknot says

    @120 JeffS

    What is true in all of these cases is that if [the commenter is] a person is not a gamer, a parent, or a woman, it is known that their opinion on the matter is coming from at least some level of ignorance. That is not to say that their opinion is always wrong, but that there may be some information that they are missing which, if they had, would alter their opinion.

    Fixed! For maximum truth, egalitarianism and applicability!

  123. knowknot says

    @126 JeffS

    It’s a fact that their ARE depictions of women in video games that many would find offensive. To what extent do these depictions harm beyond offense, real women, and society as a whole?
    The extent to which a person’s real world behaviour and values are influenced by playing video games is not fully understood.

    First, see @128, Toska.
    Second, consider propoganda. Seriously and historically consider propoganda. Then consider that propoganda is passive in a way that gaming is not.

  124. Chie Satonaka says

    @CaitieCat, 110

    Yes, the fucking games are sexist. Some of us play them anyway, because we’re fucking GAMERS, and there’s shit else around. But playing Mass Effect 2 & 3, for instance, and being able to be someone who looked and sounded vaguely like me? Was a revelation. I went on to enjoy Skyrim, for the same reason.

    THIS. My gaming career started in the arcades in the 80’s. My father hoisted me up to the Centipede machine so I could run the ball while he shot. My first console was a Colecovision (Qbert, Burger Time), then I moved on to the original Game Boy (and completed my first game, Final Fantasy II). It’s laughable being told by 20 year old men that I’m not a “real gamer” when I’ve been playing longer than they’ve been alive.

    Also, Skyrim shoutout. I’m still playing that game several years later. Waiting for the next Dragon Age to come out.

  125. carlie says

    To what extent do these depictions harm beyond offense, real women, and society as a whole?

    Read Toska’s link at 128 for actual hard evidence. For anecdotal, consider this: both of my boys, by the time they were old enough to go to school, had entirely internalized that girls like pink princessy things and pink and boys like trucks and get to wear blue and boys have jobs as scientists and girls are not scientists even though I, their mother, am a scientist and they had gone to work with me several times and I wear blue a lot and never pink. I sure as hell didn’t teach them that. Where do you think they learned it from? Their environment. From dozens to hundreds of depictions of girls in a very highly stereotypical way, on tv, in videos, in advertisements, in magazines, in newspapers, and in video games. That stuff fucking sinks in. So if the background noise is women getting beaten and treated like sex objects and shit? That’s going to sink in.

  126. says

    It’s a fact that their ARE depictions of women in video games that many would find offensive. To what extent do these depictions harm beyond offense, real women, and society as a whole?

    It’s not mere offensiveness.* It’s part of a system of subjugation, oppression, and dehumanizing objectification that women are immersed in every day.

    *OT: It occurs to me that perhaps “offence” as it is most often understood is really something only the privileged are in a position to feel. I’ll have to think on this some more.

  127. carlie says

    *OT: It occurs to me that perhaps “offence” as it is most often understood is really something only the privileged are in a position to feel. I’ll have to think on this some more.

    That is interesting – when I hear “offence”, my first thought is of someone saying “Well, I NEVER!” in a haughty way. It’s the idea that someone is doing something contrary to how you know things Ought To Be Done. And people in the perennial position of being unprivileged don’t have that preconceived idea that everything ought to be going their way to begin with.

  128. Jeff S says

    toska

    There actually has been research into the way sexualized images of women (granted, outside of a video game context) affect the way that one sees women in general

    Thank you for the link to the study. For the record, I was simply stating what the question up for debate is, not stating my opinion on the matter. I do believe that it causes significant harm.

    The question is to what extent does it cause harm. I’m not well versed in psychology to really judge for myself, outside of saying that I highly doubt that playing a video game would consciously influence my opinions or actions in the real world in any significant way, but I cannot speak for others, or even my own subconscious.

    As is the case with many issues of psychology and causation/correlation, a quick Google search yields articles that cite scholarly studies that present completely conflicting results.

    Violent video games don’t cause aggressive behaviour
    Yes, they do.
    No, they don’t.
    O RLY?

    The point is the causal relationship between playing a video game and altered real world behaviour is not FULLY understood. It may never be.

    knowknot

    Second, consider propoganda. Seriously and historically consider propoganda. Then consider that propoganda is passive in a way that gaming is not.

    Propoganda implies an intent to manipulate. I think its a bridge to far to suggest that is what is going on here. The issues are more tied to ignorance, recklessness, and a lack of respect.
    I don’t think video game designers are conspiring to suppress women, some are just oblivious to the fact that their content may have that effect.

  129. says

    Jeff S:

    I’m not well versed in psychology to really judge for myself, outside of saying that I highly doubt that playing a video game would consciously influence my opinions or actions in the real world in any significant way, but I cannot speak for others, or even my own subconscious.

    While you might be inclined to think that, we are all affected in different ways by the sexism that permeates society and we often don’t realize how much of that crap we internalize.
    Case in point, from upthread:

    Moggie

    Jeff S:
    This is a great video by Anita, and this is coming from someone who thought it was a bit over the top to criticise the Mario series for using a “save the princess” trope in one of her earlier videos. I get that its a trope, and I get that it is sexist, but in comparison to the stuff in this video, its pretty harmless. I don’t think that any kid playing a Mario game is going to have his view of women shaped in any meaningful way, but I digress….

    Emphasis added. Can you see why I did that?

  130. knowknot says

    Ditto to 134 & 135 re “offense.”
    – I can’t imediately think of a time when I’ve heard anything referred to as “offensive” but that it’s been in either a belittling (“Sorry I offended you”) or privileged manner.
    – It seems to me to indicate little more than the tresspassing of “proper standards,” and is completely lacking ability to convey any sense of current or potential harm, threat, malice or injustice (except to the status of privilege, aka “private law”).

  131. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    Roy G

    But you come here saying that I enjoy watching women being abused for my own gratification?
    Followed by
    I hope you burn, and I wish nothing but pain upon you.

    Well, that sums it up nicely.

  132. says

    @Jeff S

    No one is saying that someone playing one of these games is going to decide that it would be fun to emulate it and go out to find a prostitute to stab. Your scope is too narrow. Let me repeat

    It’s part of a system of subjugation, oppression, and dehumanizing objectification that women are immersed in every day.

    Each game is not an isolated piece of entertainment. It’s all the games together. Plus all the movies. Plus all the television shows. Plus all the advertising. Plus all the workplaces. Plus all the schools. Plus all the Internets. Plus all the conventions and conferences. Plus all the sidewalks. Everywhere, men are told the narrative that abusing women is expected and normal, that treating them as sexual objects is fun and normal, and that women who complain against this status quo deserve to be degraded, threatened, raped, and even murdered.

    I don’t think video game designers are conspiring to suppress women, some are just oblivious to the fact that their content may have that effect.

    They are not conspiring. But they aren’t oblivious either. They’re following the script because they know it sells and they don’t care that it has cultural effects. It’s just a game and we ought to get over it and shut up.

  133. yazikus says

    Each game is not an isolated piece of entertainment. It’s all the games together. Plus all the movies. Plus all the television shows. Plus all the advertising. Plus all the workplaces. Plus all the schools. Plus all the Internets. Plus all the conventions and conferences. Plus all the sidewalks. Everywhere, men are told the narrative that abusing women is expected and normal, that treating them as sexual objects is fun and normal, and that women who complain against this status quo deserve to be degraded, threatened, raped, and even murdered.

    Q.F.T. Can I borrow this sometime, Ibis3?

  134. knowknot says

    @136 JeffS

    Propoganda implies an intent to manipulate. I think its a bridge to far to suggest that is what is going on here. The issues are more tied to ignorance, recklessness, and a lack of respect.

    – And the issues of propoganda – and its cultural resonance & spread – are not?
    – You big literal sillyhat.
    – The question is effect, not the famously non-magical orb of intent. If you believe that propoganda doesn’t work (and never has worked), well… um. But if it has, then perhaps it’s worth considering whether similar vectors and methods might have similar effects, regardless of intent.
     
    Italics following are mine, and mine alone:

    For the record, I was simply stating what the question up for debate is, not stating my opinion on the matter. I do believe that it causes significant harm.
    The question is to what extent does it cause harm. I’m not well versed in psychology to really judge for myself, outside of saying that I highly doubt that playing a video game would consciously influence my opinions or actions in the real world in any significant way, but I cannot speak for others, or even my own subconscious.

    Hwat?
    “I do believe it causes significant harm, for some ephemeral value of significance (!?)”
    – I’m pretty sure you are no troll, and have no tendencies to be such. But, well… damn.

  135. carlie says

    Everywhere, men are told the narrative that abusing women is expected and normal, that treating them as sexual objects is fun and normal, and that women who complain against this status quo deserve to be degraded, threatened, raped, and even murdered.

    And also, that women who complain against this status quo are too sensitive, that they can’t take a joke.

  136. knowknot says

    @145 Carlie

    And also, that women who complain against this status quo are too sensitive, that they can’t take a joke.

    Just like that. Can’t count how many times…
    And equally distressing (if not more so, in a way) are the times when I’ve seen the buy in from women in the curent position of safety (or protection via buy in).
    Virulence.

  137. toddsweeney says

    I don’t think Lucas, up thread, ever got it.

    Developer time is money. Nothing in a game from a major studio is placed there randomly. It is placed there because they can support their assertion that this will help sell the game. And it is left out when they don’t think it will help sales (like the recent claim that there’s no reason to bother with female avatars in a recent game…!)

    Or the next game. Lucas forgets that companies make more than one game, and many of these titles are series. So if the gamer either was turned off, or was even simply bored, by some element in the game, they’d look to purchase something different next year.

    This is not to ignore meta-story influences. I work in theater, and I’m very aware that far too often what looks like an artistic choice is in reality “we had the prop already” or “MTI wouldn’t let us change it,” or “the guy we’d cast dropped out at the last moment.”

    So, yeah, this late in the day, these scenes are showing up at least in part because they already know how to write them, they leverage mostly existing assets (trivial animation and scripting), they don’t require new gameplay or tweaks to the game engine, etc. “Prostitute gets beaten up” can be pencilled right into the Gannt chart as a well-parameterized task, just like a railing kill or some other bit of scripted background event.

    But that’s no excuse. We complain about QTEs and the trade press is still harping on developers to finally get rid of them. We should also be complaining about the pervasive anti-woman violence, as well as the distorted and grossly incomplete presentation of anything resembling the experience of real women.

  138. says

    Lucas Mendes Tavares #85

    I just fail to understand why it’s improtant at all to try to change “hollywoodian” things like these clichés. I’m sure there are people who don’t like them but I honestly think it’s a futile struggle against an enemy not worth fighting. Too much trouble for not a lot of gain.

    So why are you actively fighting against those who do think it’s worth the trouble? Because you are, you know. If you really didn’t give a shit, you wouldn’t be in here. You’re actually spending time and energy trying to convince people not to try to change anything. I think it would be a good idea to spend some time thinking about why that is.

    In case you haven’t noticed (which is a genuine possibility, but one that can be remedied), our entire culture has a severe problem with degradation of and violence against women. Games aren’t the cause of that, but they are a manifestation of the same attitudes. By pushing back against these specific cliches, we’re pushing back against the general culture. That’s exactly why so many people shit their pants the moment we voice these opinions.

    Having absorbed the demeaning attitudes of our society doesn’t make you a bad person. What matters is what you do once you realize it.

  139. says

    Here’s one part of this that always bugs me: defenders of this crap will say “well, it is only a game, the sexism isn’t a big deal so why are you making such a big deal out of it?” My question is “if it is ONLY A GAME, then why do you care if we change it?” Seriously, if you aren’t attracted to the sexism and violence against women then why would you miss it if we take it away? Maybe you’re sexist and you love violence against women, or maybe you’re sexist and you automatically object to anything that you can label “feminist”… but there’s no getting around the sexism.

    I’ve been having a similar conversation with people over comic books too. More complex, more realistic and varied representations of women only means that the stories can go in different and more interesting directions. I don’t see the point in making everything the same year after year and pretending that the sameness isn’t crippling creativity.

  140. Julie says

    I hope in the final episode of this series she can give us a nudge towards games that are doing it right or at least trying.

    I’ve been playing off and on since I bought my first ColecoVision with babysitting money, Nintendo, Sega, N64 and the PS systems followed so I consider myself a gamer, part of that invisible 48% of gamers. I like adventure games but I am a terrible shooter and not much for gratuitous violence, gore or sexism either for that matter. I bought the first 2 Uncharted games for PS3 thinking they were going to be adventure games but they are really shooters. I’ll admit to being over the lego games they weren’t gross I’ll admit kind of tedious for an adult (IMHO). Where are the games like Myst, Zork? They managed to be excellent without being nasty (or is my memory faulty?)

    Frankly I can’t afford to buy everything that comes out hoping to find a gem.

  141. carlie says

    defenders of this crap will say “well, it is only a game, the sexism isn’t a big deal so why are you making such a big deal out of it?” My question is “if it is ONLY A GAME, then why do you care if we change it?”

    EXACTLY. If it’s so insignificant, then why are you spending so much energy defending it?

  142. Roy G says

    @Ibis

    I was out of line in my wish of pain on you, and for that I apologize: I am sorry.

    I still think you are wrong in your reasoning about the reasons behind violence against women in video games. That there is sexism and misogynism is true, but that the motivation behind every instance of it is because of men wanting to see women suffer is false. It may occur, but I think there are also other reasons, like storytelling. It is better to call out the cases were there actually is misogynism in play, or where the scenes are unnecessary, than saying that all cases where women are involved is misogynism.

    @dogeared 141

    Well, that sums it up nicely.

    Excuse me? When I (stupidly) made that statement, I had no idea if Ibis was a woman or not; I still don’t, so would you care to elaborate?

  143. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #153 Roy G

    That there is sexism and misogynism is true, but that the motivation behind every instance of it is because of men wanting to see women suffer is false.It may occur, but I think there are also other reasons, like storytelling. It is better to call out the cases were there actually is misogynism in play, or where the scenes are unnecessary, than saying that all cases where women are involved is misogynism.

    Uh, what? Ohhhhh, I see…
    It’s not like men feeling entitled to women’s bodies is the default state. They have to actually say they hate women for it to be misogyny and it’s all good unless it’s “unnecessary” by male standard. Intent is *magical*. But just throwing it in there lazily to make the bad guy bad is all good since obviously that’s necessary. Plus, clearly she’s saying every time a woman in a game is hurt it’s misogyny. It’s not like it’s just overwhelming sexualized with the only purpose of titillation, which is problematic. Nope, she’s all about stopping all violence and nudity put upon virtual women. Women are special, weaklings that need protection.

    /snort

  144. A. Noyd says

    Roy G

    It is better to call out the cases were there actually is misogynism in play, or where the scenes are unnecessary, than saying that all cases where women are involved is misogynism.

    Oh, is that so? And what is “actual” misogyny, and why should we care what a hyper-literalistic, ignorant, mansplaining taint hair like you thinks about what’s “better” for us?

  145. says

    Roy G:

    It may occur, but I think there are also other reasons, like storytelling.

    Right. Storytelling where women are background noise, to be used and abused by men. That’s serious necessary storytelling, right?

  146. ck says

    Alverant wrote:

    I’ve heard some scary stories about EVE. People working months to get a cool ship only to have it destroyed on its first voyage.

    As Marcus points out, it really is libertarianism in practice. There’s effectively no law or rules to keep anything in check so fraud is rampant, the strong prey upon the weak, and justice is only available to those who can afford to pay for it or are well connected. Those without connections are basically relegated to the tedium of mining low value ores in the relatively safer places.

  147. carlie says

    That there is sexism and misogynism is true, but that the motivation behind every instance of it is because of men wanting to see women suffer is false.It may occur, but I think there are also other reasons, like storytelling.

    Have you heard the trope of women in refrigerators? If the woman is only there to get hurt to further the story, it’s a pretty lazy story.

  148. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    ck

    Alverant wrote:
    I’ve heard some scary stories about EVE. People working months to get a cool ship only to have it destroyed on its first voyage.

    As Marcus points out, it really is libertarianism in practice. There’s effectively no law or rules to keep anything in check so fraud is rampant, the strong prey upon the weak, and justice is only available to those who can afford to pay for it or are well connected. Those without connections are basically relegated to the tedium of mining low value ores in the relatively safer places.

    Is there a way to study it scientifically? I think that would be fascinating if done.

    I’ve played Final Fantasy 14 with a free month. I really liked it and don’t remember running into typical MMOs problems like in WoW.

  149. toddsweeney says

    How is this even an argument? If no-one cares about the digital woman suffering, then how on earth does that serve to advance a story? “Oh, look, random background event that totally wasted two minutes of my shoot-em-up time. Can’t imagine why that was in the game.”

    No, it is in there for the (cheap) emotional support for the hero’s (trivial) journey or the game’s (uncreative) background. There’s an emotional reaction by the gamer, and they express approval of having that emotional reaction by buying more of the same product. Whether they specifically “enjoy watching the hurting” or whether their reaction is a more bathetic “I enjoy being the big man that (sometimes) stops the hurting,” it is provided as part of the candy.

  150. Matthew Trevor says

    Improbable Joe @ 141

    Here’s one part of this that always bugs me: defenders of this crap will say “well, it is only a game, the sexism isn’t a big deal so why are you making such a big deal out of it?” My question is “if it is ONLY A GAME, then why do you care if we change it?”

    This is related to something Anita touched on briefly in the most recent video, the whole “it’s more realistic” argument. They’re fine with magic and dragons and talking animals, but not having violence against women suddenly makes it feel “less real”?

    carlie @ 133

    For anecdotal, consider this: both of my boys, by the time they were old enough to go to school, had entirely internalized that girls like pink princessy things and pink and boys like trucks and get to wear blue

    This is the aspect of this whole situation that angers, saddens and frustrates me the most. My daughter has loved sitting on my knee and playing games with me since she was two. Her favourite game of all time is Sleeping Dogs, a GTA-clone set in an amazingly realised Hong Kong analogue (a close second is Minecraft). When she’s watching, I avoid all of the violent encounters, and we drive or walk around the city, shopping for clothes and cars, doing funny tricks on motorbikes etc. I think what she loves most about the game was the way the main character could urinate in toilets, there’s nothing quite like potty humour when you’re young :)

    But now she’s 4.5 and ever since talking to other children in her child care group, she’s seriously concerned about whether a game is a “boy game” or a “girl game”. My partner and I keep stressing to her that there’s no such thing, there’s just games, and anyone can playing anything if they enjoy doing so. But horizontal pressure is fierce, and I can see it gravely concerns her.

    Roy G @ 153

    That there is sexism and misogynism is true, but that the motivation behind every instance of it is because of men wanting to see women suffer is false. It may occur, but I think there are also other reasons, like storytelling.

    They may not want to see sexualised violence, but they don’t seem to protest if it’s there. That’s a problem. The prevalence of it’s inclusion in major game releases shows that while it’s may not be something everybody wants, including it certainly appeals to at least some subset of people buying them.

    And I’m so tired of the “but storytelling!” excuse, as if the creators are slaves to some cosmic signal injecting a platonic story ideal into their brains. It’s entirely possible to tell other stories. Telling new stories would actually revitalise the gaming industry in far more interesting ways than repeating and refining the same damn tropes.

  151. Amphiox says

    It is better to call out the cases were there actually is misogynism in play, or where the scenes are unnecessary, than saying that all cases where women are involved is misogynism.

    Well, if you actually watched the video, you will see that virtually ALL the examples given are ones where the scenes ARE unnecessary.

    You may notice that there was no criticism of games where violence against a female character was indeed a critically important part of the plot, and necessary for the advancement of the storyline. There was no critique of say the murder of Aerith in Final Fantasy VII, or the various plot-relevant violence faced by Lara Croft in the most recent Tomb Raider, or Elizabeth getting for finger amputated in Bioshock Infinite, or the various violent events that could befall Ellie in Last of Us.

  152. Matthew Trevor says

    Jal @ 159

    Is there a way to study [EVE] scientifically? I think that would be fascinating if done.

    There is certainly at least some academic research into EVE, primarily because it’s so different from pretty much every other MMO out there. CCP, the makers of EVE, also have an economist on staff, who effectively has his own little petrie dish to analyse and prod at.

  153. Amphiox says

    That there is sexism and misogynism is true, but that the motivation behind every instance of it is because of men wanting to see women suffer is false. It may occur, but I think there are also other reasons, like storytelling.

    Why do games tell a story that includes women suffering?

    Because they want to make a profit and there are people out there, some, probably most, of them men, who want to see women suffer and will pay for a game that provides that to them.

    Whether the reason is that they enjoy the “gritty” atmosphere that scenes of violence against women produce (and what is atmosphere other than the background environment of the story that the audience WANTS TO SEE?), or that they want to play out “rescue” fantasies of saving these women (if you want a rescue fantasy you must first have, and therefore must want, that violence to exist in the first place), or that they are titillated by the sight of it (ie they want to see it) or they actually want to outright see it, it all still boils down to these elements put into game worlds because the storytellers think that their audience (mostly straight males) WANTS TO SEE IT.

  154. says

    Roy G #153

    Excuse me? When I (stupidly) made that statement, I had no idea if Ibis was a woman or not; I still don’t, so would you care to elaborate?

    Umm. You said “I hope you burn, and I wish nothing but pain upon you.” Does the gender of the person addressed really matter? You told a human being that seeing them tortured would make you glad. The adjective you’re looking for isn’t “stupidly.” It’s “sadistically.”

  155. ck says

    Julie wrote:

    Where are the games like Myst, Zork?

    They’re still around, but a little harder to find. Here’s one that’s vaguely Myst like named Violett in that it is surreal and involves puzzle solving:

    Dragged by her parents, a young and rebellious teenage girl – Violett, moves to an old spooky house in the middle of nowhere. Forced away from her friends and life in the city; she imagines how boring life in countryside will be: spending day after day, bored in her room with absolutely nothing to do.

    Or there’s Broken Age, which is a more conventional point-n-click adventure gaame:

    Broken Age is a timeless coming-of-age story of barfing trees and talking spoons. Vella Tartine and Shay Volta are two teenagers in strangely similar situations, but radically different worlds. The player can freely switch between their stories, helping them take control of their own lives, and dealing with the unexpected adventures that follow.

    They’re both games that certain people (i.e. Lucas Mendes Tavares) look down on as “not games”, though.

  156. toddsweeney says

    Tomb Raider 2013. Yeesh. I think Sarkeesian could spend an entire video just trying to unpack that one.

    My two-second take? It isn’t necessarily better, or worse, but it IS different.

  157. ck says

    Amphiox wrote:

    There was no critique of say [...] the various plot-relevant violence faced by Lara Croft in the most recent Tomb Raider [snip]

    There was some. A lot of people found the story rape scene of the first episode of the Tomb Raider game reboot gratuitous and unnecessary.

    Whether the reason is that they enjoy the “gritty” atmosphere that scenes of violence against women produce (and what is atmosphere other than the background environment of the story that the audience WANTS TO SEE?), or that they want to play out “rescue” fantasies of saving these women (if you want a rescue fantasy you must first have, and therefore must want, that violence to exist in the first place), [snip]

    Want to know something just as horrifying: Even if you are the type of person who wants to try and help these NPCs, the way these games are structured, eventually it wears you down, and you start walking past them because they’re not worth your time…

  158. toddsweeney says

    Heh. Sluggy Freelance made a big point with that during the “Years of Yarncraft” arc. It didn’t matter if you stopped the bad guy from drowning the puppies; he’d just respawn a few minutes later and do it again.

    Maybe, maybe it would be possible to always react to these events. I suspect the designers are so determined to be grim and gritty this would be all but impossible; they are pushing you to walk past. In any case, after hours of game play it just turns into background noise. You’d stop trying to help. But you’d still feel the pernicious effects.

  159. Roy G says

    @JAL

    They have to actually say they hate women for it to be misogyny

    No, they don’t, in the same way that not all violence against women is because a man enjoys her suffering. The gender of the person isn’t always the reason for the violence.

    But just throwing it in there lazily to make the bad guy bad is all good since obviously that’s necessary

    No is isn’t, but sometimes it is part of the story.

    @A. Noyd

    And what is “actual” misogyny, and why should we care what a hyper-literalistic, ignorant, mansplaining taint hair like you thinks about what’s “better” for us?

    I don’t know that I can give you an answer to “what is “actual” misogyny”, but I can say that it isn’t necessarily misogyny every time a woman is hurt. I know it would have been easier if it was so, in the same way that explaining all violence with mental illness is, but it isn’t.

    @Inaji

    Storytelling where women are background noise, to be used and abused by men. That’s serious necessary storytelling, right?

    Nowhere did I say that. I said that in some stories, the violence against women is part of the story, and that doesn’t necessarily make the story misogynistic.

    @Matthew Trevor

    including it certainly appeals to at least some subset of people buying them.

    Yes! So much this, which is what my first comment to this post was about. Some subset, not all.

    And I’m so tired of the “but storytelling!” excuse, as if the creators are slaves to some cosmic signal
    injecting a platonic story ideal into their brains. It’s entirely possible to tell other stories.

    Yes, it is very possible. I don’t disagree with that. I disagree with the notion that every time a woman is hurt in any way in a video game it is because male gamers love the abuse and pain of women.

    @Daz

    Does the gender of the person addressed really matter?

    The quotes and the comment made it appear so. I may be mistaken, which is why I asked.

    You told a human being that seeing them tortured would make you glad. The adjective you’re looking for isn’t “stupidly.” It’s “sadistically.”

    Have you ever made a statement in anger, a statement that doesn’t necessarily reflect your wishes? I have. I did, right there. Yes, it was a stupid, sadistic comment, but that doesn’t mean I actually wished a person to be tortured, nor that it would make me glad.

  160. ceesays says

    well, except for the part where you not only wished it, you wrote it down so that multiple people could read it. but I guess that’s just a technicality.

  161. Matthew Trevor says

    Julie @ 130

    Where are the games like Myst, Zork?

    There’s an annual interactive fiction competition, which continues to produce some really stand out examples of the form. There’s even a web-based Z-code interpreter, which a lot of the entries are written in, so you should be able to check them out online with no installations required. Z-code was the format used by Infocom (the Z stands for Zork), so there’s pretty much an unbroken lineage from that golden age :)

    Myst-likes seem to be going through a new renaissance at the moment too. The upcoming Witness will be one to check out, I believe, while existing titles like Kairo and Anti-Chamber are well worth the time. One of my favourites is Miasmata, in which you play a scientist trying to find a cure for his illness by studying and combining plant life on an unknown island. Navigation is done via triangulation and is one of the more unique handlings of mapping I’ve seen.

    Physics-based puzzlers are also quietly popular after the success of Portal. Quantum Conundrum is a great example of a kid-friendly, non-violent one, while Magrunner is Portal with magnets and Cthulhu, so win-win there.

    There are some incredibly innovative titles out there right now, I think this is the closest to the untamed days of the mid-80s that we’ve been for some time. But as I’ve said before, that’s almost entirely due to the indie scene rather than the large publishers, who are primarily responsible for the godawful trends we’re criticising here.

  162. A. Noyd says

    Roy G (#170)

    I don’t know that I can give you an answer to “what is “actual” misogyny”

    Look, you unsanitized speculum, it’s not your place to lecture anyone about misogyny, but the fact that you can’t even define what you’re talking about just makes you all the more ridiculous. You need to sit down, shut the fuck up and listen.

    And we can all see you’re not listening because:

    but I can say that it isn’t necessarily misogyny every time a woman is hurt.

    NO ONE IS SAYING THAT IT IS.

  163. Matthew Trevor says

    A. Noyd @ 173

    I believe Roy G is using a variant on the classic “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.” argument.

  164. Roy G says

    @ceesays

    except for the part where you not only wished it

    You need to re-read what I said: I said that it was a comment made in anger, not something I wished for. If the “just a technicality” here is what I actually said, then that is what it is.

    @A. Noyd

    but the fact that you can’t even define what you’re talking about just makes you all the more ridiculous.

    Okay, enlighten me. What is “actual” misogyny (your words), versus misogyny? I didn’t start talking about “actual” misogyny, that was you. I said that we should speak up when misogyny was actually happening, like some of the examples in Sarkeesian’s video show, but that we shouldn’t shout “MISOGYNY!” every time a woman is hurt in any way. The racism and anti-Semitism shouts have been used for every perceived slight against a differently coloured or Jewish person so much that the expressions are starting to lose their value, the same way that “Christian persecution” is losing its value because of being used for every perceived slight against someone who happens to be Christian. I do not want the word misogynism to have the same fate.

    NO ONE IS SAYING THAT IT IS.

    Well…

    All the violence and the sexual objectification and verbal abuse against these NPCs (or rather, not even characters–NECs?) is there because the developers think (or know?) that the men playing those games enjoy watching women being abused for their own gratification.

    After Ibis’ clarification, I know now that the target to this comment was a specific subset of gamers, but at the time it read as if the claim was that the only reason for any violence against women in video games was because of the misogynism of the male gamer audience.

  165. toddsweeney says

    Not all about you, Roy. You proving (or failing) to support whatever it was you first posted doesn’t advance the actual discussion.

    There is a thing, the thing is a pervasive sexist representation of women in a significant sample of game titles, one that both reflects and sometimes distills trends in the larger culture. This representation can include elements of sexualized violence. Sarkeesian has had to spend a great deal of effort and experienced a great deal of pushback merely to present this fact. Not to make value judgements about it. Not to prescribe or proscribe. Just to define and describe.

    How you personally interact with games, what you chose to include within your own label of “game,” and what you may or may not have meant to say originally, has little to do with this.

  166. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #175 Roy G

    The gender of the person isn’t always the reason for the violence.

    No shit. How they’re portrayed (splayed, naked, etc.) and how often it happens (all the fucking time) is different because they’re women. They are used as sexual tools and disregarded like trash all for the male gaze. That makes it sexist too. It’s not that there’s too many bad guys killing women because they hate women. You’re being too narrow. Have you even watched the video? Done any reading on the subject at all?

    Okay, enlighten me. What is “actual” misogyny (your words), versus misogyny? I didn’t start talking about “actual” misogyny, that was you. I said that we should speak up when misogyny was actually happening, like some of the examples in Sarkeesian’s video show, but that we shouldn’t shout “MISOGYNY!” every time a woman is hurt in any way. The racism and anti-Semitism shouts have been used for every perceived slight against a differently coloured or Jewish person so much that the expressions are starting to lose their value, the same way that “Christian persecution” is losing its value because of being used for every perceived slight against someone who happens to be Christian. I do not want the word misogynism to have the same fate.

    “I care so much but it’s not a real case of misogyny! Stop overreacting! No, I can’t define what misogyny is but still, it’s not!” Ugh. Go fuck yourself.

    All the violence and the sexual objectification and verbal abuse against these NPCs (or rather, not even characters–NECs?) is there because the developers think (or know?) that the men playing those games enjoy watching women being abused for their own gratification.

    After Ibis’ clarification, I know now that the target to this comment was a specific subset of gamers, but at the time it read as if the claim was that the only reason for any violence against women in video games was because of the misogynism of the male gamer audience.

    Context, motherfucker. CONTEXT. She’s said these NPCs on a thread about this Feminist Frequency video. Obviously, she was referring to the ones in the video, which are all sexist, unnecessary decoration for titilating straight male gamers. You already pulled this “But it’s not all gamers!” bullshit, don’t twist the argument. No one has said every time a woman in a game gets hurt it’s misogyny.

  167. says

    Wow, the “non-games” mentioned in this thread sound great! I don’t like games which have some story — all or nothing for me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like a few story games, but I would much rather own (for example) the Mario games in their mostly-storyless profusion than any single series — or even all the series — of MMOs. And RPGs just aren’t a good compromise. Because at some point in the game, you just know you’re going to run into this: you’ve established that the world is going to end unless someone manages to A the B in C with D. Furthermore, you’ve amply demonstrated that you (and, possibly, your band of misfit/rebel/ethnically-diverse companions) are the only people in the whole world who know how to A reliably, and you’re the only one who has the necessary skills to use D. Things are getting serious, now — every so often, the ground is shaking as the B in C begins the process of blowing the world to bits. People are panicking — or, at least, recurring NPCs have new dialog about how they’re scared and some areas have new NPCs to say similar things. You’re gearing up to head off to C to confront B, and…

    …the fucking merchants are still charging you full price. Seriously. You’re the only thing standing between them and fucking disintegration and they can’t give you a 50% discount. Or credit, hell, it’s not like you couldn’t pay them later if you’re successful. And if you aren’t successful, it’s not like they’ll notice that they weren’t paid back; they’ll be too busy being vaporized.

    …and then you go towards the city gates and there’s some bullshit half-wit in your way who either insists on fighting a duel with you (and you indulge them, rather than calling the police, because that is totally more important than saving the world) or else won’t let you through until you give him some stupid item you have to run around and find, because it’s not like you have anything better to do.

    …you finally make it past the half-wit, and standing by the gate, there’s some loser NPC who has a collection quest. He wasn’t there earlier; you checked. He wants you to bring him a fish from each of the wells you passed in the first part of the game, it won’t take long, just a few hours. If you give him those fish, then he’ll give you this amazing weapon/armor/gizmo which isn’t available any other way. Because the whole notion of having the characters traipse around on a sidequest, at this point in the game, totally made sense to the developers.

    …and then you finally go to C, confront B, and manage to A with D. And you get this totally awesome weapon/spell/whatever which is really fun to use/visually interesting/humorous. Only, of course, you’ve already beaten the game, so there’s no reason whatsoever to come back and use it. (Or, even worse, the only thing it’s good for is to do something you already did in order to beat the game.)

    (Sorry, I got a bit carried away. Didn’t mean to interrupt.)

  168. A. Noyd says

    Roy G (#175)

    I didn’t start talking about “actual” misogyny, that was you. I said that we should speak up when misogyny was actually happening

    Hahahahahahahaha!

    Wait, you really think there’s some meaningful distinction there?

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Well, then again, you also think this:

    The racism and anti-Semitism shouts have been used for every perceived slight against a differently coloured or Jewish person so much that the expressions are starting to lose their value

    Are you here because you got lost on your way to the RNC (or a BNP rally or whatever)?

    I do not want the word misogynism to have the same fate.

    It’s not your place to police how that word is used. But of course you’d want to because you fear how any sensible definition of the word would apply to your own behavior what with your failure to listen to women, your constant attempts to direct how we talk about our own oppression (including that initial derail about your all-important man-feels), and the way you esteem your own ignorance above everyone else’s experience.

    (I’d predict you’d stop listening to me at this point, but you never actually started.)

    Well…

    [Ibis3:] All the violence and the sexual objectification and verbal abuse against these NPCs [...]

    After Ibis’ clarification, I know now that the target to this comment was a specific subset of gamers, but at the time it read as if the claim was that the only reason for any violence against women in video games was because of the misogynism of the male gamer audience.

    Do you legitimately have some sort or reading disability? Or are you just a white guy?

  169. A. Noyd says

    Matthew Trevor (#174)

    I believe Roy G is using a variant on the classic “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.” argument.

    I don’t think the fly turd is even half that clever.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    @The Vicar (#178)
    Well, never play Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, then. It’s got all that, but if you happen to do the numerous side quests, you outlevel the later areas really quickly, making an already easy game even more trivial to play. A pity, because the combat system had potential. (Actually, that kind of happened to my mage in Skyrim, too, because scaling in that game is shit and I specced her to summon two dremora lords at a time, which is the ultimate in faceroll.)

    Personally, I love games with a focus on PvE combat (like Diablo III and Bayonetta) and to hell with the story. So it’s a pity that so many of them insist on sticking mindless sexism¹ everywhere. It’s like trying to eat cheap sesame candy: delicious until you hit one of the inevitable moldy seeds.

    ……….
    ¹ And racism and homophobia, etc. Diablo III is terrible with racism.

  170. jodyp says

    As a gamer myself, I was somehow able to read Ibis’ comment and understand xe was not talking about me. But that’s because I read the whole thing and wasn’t looking for an excuse to fly off the handle.

    Oh, and “I hope you burn, and I wish nothing but pain upon you” isn’t wishing anything? Really?

    Seriously dude, just apologize and go away. Or go away. Whichever. You won’t be missed.

  171. knowknot says

    Simply, and more bluntly than I’m even comfortable with:
    – Have you ever drawn a naked woman? (Gender here is in cis male context, because I that, please adjust as necessary.) I have. And I can tell you from my experience as well as other cis male type to my knowledge that she does not get on the paper without at least some sexual context. Getting the curve of the breast or the inner thigh right causes something to happen. You can’t draw anything without feel. Fact is, when I did this it was a little disconcerting.
    – Given that, I have A WHOLE LOT of trouble imagining that the folks who work hours on these games for a living take overtly sexualized women AND MANGLE THEM and then test the effect aren’t aware of what’s going on, and why. So the objective “just story” thing doesn’t work, at least for me.
    – And if that’s the only way you can convey a visceral threat, then maybe straight out adventure porn is more your thing.
    – And further, regarding it being anything like just any other form of violence, stuff that just happens, let’s present a overtly sexualized male for the mangle. Can’t do bare breasts… leg doesn’t do it… perhaps a sliced penis? Let’s see what kind of noise we get from that, from any number of vectors.

  172. ceesays says

    RoyG:

    except for the part where you not only wished it (you wrote that motherfucker down so dozens of people saw you do what you’re trying to claim you didn’t do and how do you expect THAT tactic to work, exactly?)

    You need to re-read what I said: I said that it was a comment made in anger, not something I wished for. If the “just a technicality” here is what I actually said, then that is what it is.

    I read what you wrote. If you didn’t fucking mean every single character, WHY THE FUCK DID YOU WRITE IT DOWN? let that rattle through the negative space in your braincase. If you didn’t MEAN it, why did you SAY it? and commit it to record, where dozens if not hundreds of people will see your wish for someone to suffer, because you took a pretty careful statement in a personal and absolutist fashion?

    No, really. Why did you say something you didn’t mean? because you’re used to being able to excrete whatever the fuck you wantt? And not get called on it? Well welcome to the horde, manbaby. grow up, don’t say anything you don’t mean, understand that you’re expected to SAY what you MEAN here because you will be held to account for it.

    If you don’t really mean to reveal your childishly sadistic fantasies then don’t fucking share them. If you’re the sort of asshole who flies straight to verbal abuse and expressing your desire to see another person suffer terribly, well I don’t care how old you are. you could be a particularly bright seven year old. That was unacceptable. Quit trying to say you didn’t mean it, because you said it. If it really was just an honest mistake and you didn’t actually mean to spew your torture fantasies then grow up right the fuck now, and look up Dream Hampton’s anatomy of an apology, learn it, and apply it.

    (And reflect on the fucking irony, for a moment, of you detailing your lurid desire for another person’s suffering in a thread about the trope of torture/violence visited on un-personed female bodies in video games. Really reflect on how fucking tasteless that was, because it was. you fucked up, lad. you fucked up.)

    or just take this hint and go. bye.

  173. knowknot says

    Oh… and BTW.
    – Before we get to the “but you guys talk like that” thing or any of its variations, know that all the varieties of “fuck you,” “asshole,” “idiot,” “creep,” etc etc etc are distinctly different from “I hope you burn.”
    – If you don’t get this off the top, imagine hearing each of them in a dark alley, alone.
    – If imagination fails in that, it should then be obvious why you can’t see the natures of various in any format.

  174. yana566 says

    Yeah, see, hasn’t Anita been massively exposed as incredibly dishonest? I mean, to quote from the biggest issues raised as mentioned in TV Tropes:

    “Feminist Frequency started its “Tropes vs. Women” videos with the Damsel in Distress, referring to Double Dragon Neon as “regressive crap” that pandered to the trope. You know, the game that ends with Marian punching the final boss in the balls. ◦ The video goes on to dismiss Damsel in Distress as objectifying women because it “turns them into an object to be acted upon”. This is akin to saying that anyone who worries about their loved ones when they’re hurt or in danger is being misogynistic. Willingness to sacrifice yourself for a loved one isn’t a sign you want to use and possess them – it’s a sign you care for them and don’t want them to be hurt.
    ◦ The first target of Anita’s rage is Star Fox Adventures, originally a standalone game called “Dinosaur Planet”. She claims that Fox replaced the character Krystal, implying that a female hero was replaced with a male and downgraded to the love interest. Fox replaced a male character named Sabre! (Also, despite her claims to the contrary, turning non-franchise games into franchise titles happens all the time – consider Kirby’s Epic Yarn or, most famously, Super Mario Bros. 2.)
    ◦ In one of her most recent videos, Anita denounces Watch_Dogs and Hitman. Just one massive problem: she has to completely misrepresent the games to do so. Watch Dogs is bashed for a mission where women are “set dressing”, to use her words – but the footage is from a mission where you bust a sex-trafficking ring. As for Hitman, she declares that the game encourages you to kill and desecrate women, using footage from a mission in Absolution where you take out a target in a strip club. Several problems here: ◾ Problem the first: Hitman actively punishes you for killing – or even hurting – anyone who isn’t your specific target. You have to slip past them and avoid being noticed.
    ◾ Problem the second: the mission in question has you murdering the club’s owner, a complete asshole who forces his strippers to make porn videos and sells them into white slavery. If anything, the mission is female-positive.
    ◾ Problem the third: YouTube video maker Thunderfoot scoured numerous walkthroughs of the mission. The majority of them didn’t go through the dressing rooms at all, and the ones that did all advised not attacking the girls. (There was one exception, a rampage-style playthrough, but they left the corpses where they were.) This raises the question of where Anita got her footage, as well as the possibility that she recorded it herself – which means she would have to have committed all the acts she’s complaining about, the very definition of actively trying to be offended. ”

    So if these kinds of quite clearly unscientific and highly dishonest arguments are existent in her videos, why precisely should anything she says be trusted, especially when she doesn’t even provide any academic sources to back up her arguments?

  175. knowknot says

    There is just too much stupid here.
    Will someone please send up a flare when it’s over? I can’t handle it anymore.

  176. Amphiox says

    So if these kinds of quite clearly unscientific and highly dishonest arguments are existent in her videos, why precisely should anything she says be trusted, especially when she doesn’t even provide any academic sources to back up her arguments?

    Because absolutely none of those points demonstrate “unscientific” or “dishonest” arguments whatsoever. The portrayals are still there for titillation for the player/audience.

    In the case of Watch Dogs, as just one example, it was entirely unnecessary and gratuitous to even have a mission requiring the busting up of a sex trafficking ring, and if one were to do it, it is entirely unnecessary to have the female NPCs in sexually exploitative positions and poses at all.

    Because in REAL LIFE, when sex trafficking rings are broken up, the women involved are very rarely seen in sexually exploitative positions at all. They are most commonly found by the authorities huddled up miserably in prison-like quarters, fully clothed.

    The game could EASILY have portrayed the mission like that, but it did not.

    THAT is the point.

  177. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Shorter yana566: Anita Sarkeesian is dishonest and wrong because I completely missed the point of her criticisms.

  178. Amphiox says

    Have you ever made a statement in anger, a statement that doesn’t necessarily reflect your wishes? I have. I did, right there. Yes, it was a stupid, sadistic comment, but that doesn’t mean I actually wished a person to be tortured, nor that it would make me glad.

    It is the statements made in anger that most accurately reflect was is really inside a person’s psyche, because in those moments the self-censorship is reduced and the masks come off.

    A decent person making a statement in anger most certainly does not imply a wish for sadistic torture.

    But YOU are not a decent person. That much is clear from your commentary, including all the ones NOT made in anger.

  179. A. Noyd says

    chigau (#190)

    I missed the “rage”.
    Where was that?

    Some game in the “gritty and mature” genre should offer a randomly triggered event called “Finding Sarkeesian’s Rage” where you go around literally busting open the fevered minds of misogynists until you gather enough grey matter to reconstruct the neurobiology of their paranoid delusions.

  180. toddsweeney says

    Shorter yana;

    “But those girls aren’t in there as eye candy because your avatar is supposed to try to protect them — or at least get a lower score if you accidentally shoot a few.”

    Did he actually watch the video? Or does he find it easier to stomach the pre-digested pap from Thundershothhimselfinthef00t?

  181. says

    The video goes on to dismiss Damsel in Distress as objectifying women because it “turns them into an object to be acted upon”. This is akin to saying that anyone who worries about their loved ones when they’re hurt or in danger is being misogynistic.

    No, it’s not. Not remotely. The problem doesn’t come from one person acting to save another. It comes from how the person being saved is portrayed and the general pattern across many games.

    Of course, in any story you’ll have a main character and other minor characters. Not everyone can be fully fleshed out. Not everyone can be the one that takes charge and sets the wheels in motion. Not everyone can be the center of attention. And there’s nothing wrong with a main character being male and the supporting cast being female. That in itself doesn’t cause any problem.

    The problem occurs when the main character is routinely male and the passive characters are routinely female. The problem occurs when you see the overall pattern and consider what this reveals about our cultural assumptions about gender.

    Finally, the whole “it was part of the story, so it doesn’t count” bit is just idiotic. The stories don’t fall out of the sky. They’re a product of human minds and are molded by our ideas.

  182. Matthew Trevor says

    yana566 @ 186

    “Feminist Frequency started its “Tropes vs. Women” videos with the Damsel in Distress, referring to Double Dragon Neon as “regressive crap” that pandered to the trope. You know, the game that ends with Marian punching the final boss in the balls.

    A climactic nut shot in no way negates the fact that she was the trophy being fought over for the entire game.

    From Wikipedia: “[I]f two players manage to complete the game together, they are then forced to fight each other in order to determine who will win Marian’s affections.”

    Yeah, there’s totally no treating her as a trophy to be won there.

    This is akin to saying that anyone who worries about their loved ones when they’re hurt or in danger is being misogynistic.

    Oh fuck off. Disingenuous much?

    The point is that while each game in isolation using the damsel in distress is fine in and of itself, the overwhelming reliance of it as a lazy form of motivation across so many games indicates an entrenched view of women as rewards. If it wasn’t so persistent a view, it wouldn’t occur so often!

    She spelled this out in really easy to comprehend words…did you actually watch the video or couldn’t you see it past your hate on?

    She claims that Fox replaced the character Krystal, implying that a female hero was replaced with a male and downgraded to the love interest. Fox replaced a male character named Sabre!

    Dinosaur Planet had both male and female protagonists, both of which Fox replaced. Krystal went from being a main character fighting with her own agency to a far less interesting trope. Male character getting replaced by male character is no major change, unlike a strong female character being turned into a helpless motivator.

    As for Hitman, she declares that the game encourages you to kill and desecrate women, using footage from a mission in Absolution where you take out a target in a strip club. Hitman actively punishes you for killing – or even hurting – anyone who isn’t your specific target. You have to slip past them and avoid being noticed.

    And the sexed up nuns which are your target in another mission? Are they not women?

    the mission in question has you murdering the club’s owner, a complete asshole who forces his strippers to make porn videos and sells them into white slavery. If anything, the mission is female-positive.

    Yes, depicting women as slaves who need to rely on the strong man to save them is so positive. I must remember to show that to my daughter sometime.

    Problem the third: YouTube video maker Thunderfoot scoured numerous walkthroughs of the mission.

    Because he’s totally objective and agenda-free and absolutely didn’t cherry pick his results to support his facts in the same way he’s accusing Anita of doing. He said so, so it must be true.

    This raises the question of where Anita got her footage, as well as the possibility that she recorded it herself – which means she would have to have committed all the acts she’s complaining about, the very definition of actively trying to be offended.

    She probably had a modded build of Hitman that allowed her to kill background female characters. Because we know no one without an agenda ever breaks the win conditions of a game for their own amusement, so in the unmodded version the women would have been unkillable and not dressed in skimpy clothing.

    So if these kinds of quite clearly unscientific and highly dishonest arguments are existent in her videos, why precisely should anything she says be trusted, especially when she doesn’t even provide any academic sources to back up her arguments?

    Oh, the irony of accusing someone of not providing citations when you’ve neglected to provide any of your own.

    Your knee jerked so hard you’ve missed the entire point of those videos.

  183. azhael says

    So if these kinds of quite clearly unscientific purple and highly dishonest arguments are existent in her videos

    Really, just substitute it for ANY word…it’s kind of fun.
    A sure sign of someone who doesn’t know what the fuck science is is that they will accuse others of being unscientific for things that have fuck all to do with science.

  184. Matthew Trevor says

    Both Joss Whedon and William Gibson have retweeted Anita’s most recent video along with words of support. You can almost hear the sound of all the men-children crying over their battered copies of Buffy & Neuromancer.

  185. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Matthew Trevor

    Both Joss Whedon and William Gibson have retweeted Anita’s most recent video along with words of support. You can almost hear the sound of all the men-children crying over their battered copies of Buffy & Neuromancer.

    Hahahahaha
    Awesome.

  186. Matthew Trevor says

    For fuck’s sake, from Anita’s twitter feed:

    Some very scary threats have just been made against me and my family. Contacting authorities now.

    I’m safe. Authorities have been notified. Staying with friends tonight. I’m not giving up. But this harassment of women in tech must stop!

    It takes a particular sort of idiocy to react to claims that video games promote violence against women by sending a death threat to a woman.

  187. says

    @soogeeoh:

    It’s a discussion about Hidden Object games. They’re a genre that doesn’t have the hype behind it of the mass media market, and so they can get away with things that aren’t necessarily as marketable. They have female characters who are more than just a pretty face, they’re usually involving mother-daughter type storylines.

  188. chigau (違う) says

    Kevin
    I’ve tried dozens of Hidden Object games.
    It’s true that there are plenty of strong female protagonists.
    In the “App Store” they are all white.

  189. says

    When I was little, my parents often bought my sister and me puzzle books. Those Hidden Object games remind me of some of the puzzles contained within. :)

    Still, nowadays, I for one don’t really find Hidden Object games engaging enough to hold my interest for longer than a few minutes (as opposed to, say, number puzzles like Hexcells).
    But that’s okay. Not everything has to carter to my tastes.

  190. Commentor says

    This raises the question of where Anita got her footage, as well as the possibility that she recorded it herself – which means she would have to have committed all the acts she’s complaining about, the very definition of actively trying to be offended.

    Hold it. Wasn’t one of the common criticisms of her that she used gameplay footage recorded by others, “demonstrating” that she did not play the games she’s commenting on and in turn “demonstrating” that her videos were poorly researched?

  191. A. Noyd says

    Matthew Trevor (#197)

    Oh, the irony of accusing someone of not providing citations when you’ve neglected to provide any of your own.

    Well, that would be a little hard since it wasn’t yana566 who wrote most of that. They got the bulk of their comment from here. At least they did say they were quoting, even if they didn’t provide a link.

  192. gog says

    @CaitieCat #110

    You can’t be short, either.

    In Skyrim you can modify the character’s height with console commands. It’s not as easy as a slider in the UI (which would be trivial to add; I think there might be one in a UI mod). If you play on XBox or Playstation, though, the command console isn’t available.

  193. says

    Thanks, but as noted above, I’m on PS3. My only PC these days is this laptop, and it struggles mightily to play Football Manager from two years ago, with all the 3D turned off. Tried to load a copy of GTAIV on it once, and it couldn’t even play the opening cutscenes, let alone the game. :/

    So no console commands for me.

  194. ck says

    @211,

    If it’s in a console command, then there was probably the intention of making it available to the player, but it got cut. I get the feeling that customizations that change the bounding box of the character are the ones that end up requiring the most testing, and get cut most frequently as a result. Too big and you might not fit through story-necessary doors and passageways. Too small, and you might fit through gaps that result in you falling through the map, or may provide you with some advantage by being harder (or impossible) to hit in some cases.

  195. gog says

    @CaitieCat #212

    My bad, I somehow missed that part in your post.

    @ck #213

    That’s solved earlier in the design phase by having reasonable restrictions on size. Of course, it’s easy to change a decision like this and not impact the experience too severely.

    Enough of my OT, though.

  196. knowknot says

    @202 Matthew Trevor
     
     

    It takes a particular sort of idiocy to react to claims that video games promote violence against women by sending a death threat to a woman.

     
     
    THIS!
    THIS ONE!
    LOOK!

  197. Roy G says

    I was wrong.

    I fucked up, and I’m sorry.

    I misread at the beginning, what I thought I read made me angry, and in my anger I lashed out at someone who should have been an ally. For that, I apologize.

    When the justified backlash came, I got stubbornly defensive, and I tried defending the indefensible, and for that, too, I apologize.

    There is no-one to blame but me: I got angry and I fucked up.

    I am sorry.

  198. Krasnaya Koshka says

    Roy G, that was an awesome apology.

    I’m always a day late. Or two days.

    I thought Anita Sarkeesian’s video this time around was the most powerful one yet. It was awful to watch. It was very triggering (my childhood was full of my dad hitting my mom and him threatening to kill her, gun in hand–later he threatened to kill me) but very important to watch. She was very even-handed and not accusatory at all.

    I consider myself a fairly hardcore gamer. I’ve been gaming since I got my Atari 2600 (I bought with my babysitting money) in 1981. And I’ve always had every platform and all the games. My home in San Francisco was a play haven for dudes because I had a huge TV and all the latest (I worked near the industry and got a lot of perks ).

    Anyway, when I first heard criticism of Gone Home I was wondering WTH? It’s an awesome game. And then I read the reviews. “I can’t get into this at all. The protagonist is someone I can’t relate to.” Really? If I dissed on games where I didn’t relate to the protagonist? 98% of the games would be gone. I mean, how very nice to ever be able to relate to the straight, white dude running around. I can’t.

    In my life, I absolutely must relate to someone else to play a game. I rarely have the privilege as playing somewhat like myself.

    And I have to put up with people like me either not existing or being pummeled.

  199. says

    Krasnaya Koshka @ 218:

    In my life, I absolutely must relate to someone else to play a game. I rarely have the privilege as playing somewhat like myself.

    And I have to put up with people like me either not existing or being pummeled.

    That’s an incredibly important point. We all like to see ourselves reflected in our culture. For decades, POC never saw themselves in shows or ads (or only in negative ways). As a half blood Oglala Lakota, I still don’t see Indians (of any nation) being positively represented as a matter of course. Then, there’s us women…

  200. Amphiox says

    This raises the question of where Anita got her footage, as well as the possibility that she recorded it herself – which means she would have to have committed all the acts she’s complaining about, the very definition of actively trying to be offended.

    This complaint is as asinine as it is dishonest. When one examines a work of artistic fiction for the sake of analysis, rather than enjoyment, one deliberately explores ALL features of the work. In the case of a game that means playing several times to explore all player choices, option, endings, and so forth.

    Because everything that is in the game was put there deliberately for a reason.

    And it is utterly impossible for a gamer to play the mission the “wrong” way, experience the titillation, then reload a saved game and play the mission again to avoid the point penalty, amirite?

  201. says

    Amphiox #222
    It’s just yet another attempt to set up a catch-22. If you haven’t played the games, your critique is invalid because you’re ignorant of the subject. If you have played the games, your critique is invalid because you’re a hypocrite.

    Interestingly, this exact strategy is one that we often see on this topic. Note thunderfuck’s recent dismissal of Sarkeesian’s death threats. If you mention the fact that you’ve received death threats, you’re just doing it for the publicity. If you don’t, they get to claim that nobody receives any death threats.

    When someone makes an argument like this, it’s a clear sign that they don’t give a crap about equality. They just want to pretend that the status quo is perfect and nothing ever needs to change.

  202. knowknot says

    @223 LykeX

    If you haven’t played the games, your critique is invalid because you’re ignorant of the subject. If you have played the games, your critique is invalid because you’re a hypocrite.

    – PREEE-cisely.
    – There are many lovely variations of this, some of which are outright rhetorical tricks. And I know for a fact I’ve done similar, along the (unstated as such) lines of “you only disagree because you don’t yet understand what I’m saying.” So, grain of salt… but…
    It’s a common Christian variation that is most persistent in my craw.
    – Goes something like this: If you’ve heard the witness of the Holy Spirit in the name of Christ and have not accepted it, either you actually haven’t truly heard it OR you are a child of darkness. End of diagnosis.
    – For me, that’s probably why all of this stuff sounds so terribly religious.

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