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Author Topic: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?  (Read 13619 times)

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Offline Braioch

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #275 on: November 04, 2014, 01:30:50 AM »
I think the mistake comes in believing that anything related to her as a person alters whether her arguments are true or false. This is a literal ad hominem fallacy. That doesn't mean that she shouldn't be criticized for any inappropriate behaviour, but it just shouldn't be used in determining the validity of her arguments.

It doesn't affect her argument, but it does hurt her position as a proper spokeswoman which is my point...a point I may or may not have forgotten to make in my rambling.

>_>

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I won't quote your full text because it's so long, but yes these are some real problems with her videos and really detracted from the issues she discussed. As I mentioned above, I believe she addressed some of this in her introduction and conclusion but it was just too far removed from the clips she was showing to really prevent it from damaging the credibility of her videos.

It's been a bit since I watched the videos and I don't think I watched all of them completely, so my memory is a bit shaky on some of those things. However I don't remember much about the intro or conclusion making up for the shoddy point making that she did through the videos.

And I just said Im out! >_< I guess I am a liar. Yes, she cherry picked the Guermerta casino (The mobster one within new vegas it'self.) . I will quote what I had to say on some of her cherry picks.

The number one thing that got to me was watch dogs. I didn't like the game, but she made a conscious decision, to instead of bitching about a complaint of hers that would have made sense. (Damsels.) She twisted it into something vile, because it would have been more controversial for her viewers.



I'm amused, despite myself, that she used a bar that made sex slaves of both genders and pushed it as a female issue...

Bayonetta's been a personal favorite of hers, and it's been awhile since I played that game but...one issue I have with your quote is I don't recall Bayonetta being a mother. My thing is, I swear I remember Anita stating that same thing, claiming she was torn about what to think of the character and bringing up the mother thing. Which in fact, if she had played the game, she would have known that the child is mistaken in calling Bayonetta her mother and her identity is later revealed. (Won't spoil it just in case, but the game is well worth picking up and playing) I'll double check, but I swear that Anita herself made that comment, which if true, shows that she again is speaking about things she doesn't know a thing about, and worst, assumes about.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #276 on: November 04, 2014, 01:45:30 AM »
Bayonetta's been a personal favorite of hers, and it's been awhile since I played that game but...one issue I have with your quote is I don't recall Bayonetta being a mother. My thing is, I swear I remember Anita stating that same thing, claiming she was torn about what to think of the character and bringing up the mother thing. Which in fact, if she had played the game, she would have known that the child is mistaken in calling Bayonetta her mother and her identity is later revealed. (Won't spoil it just in case, but the game is well worth picking up and playing) I'll double check, but I swear that Anita herself made that comment, which if true, shows that she again is speaking about things she doesn't know a thing about, and worst, assumes about.

You're correct, that's one instance where Anita is strictly, factually wrong.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #277 on: November 04, 2014, 01:57:00 AM »
It doesn't affect her argument, but it does hurt her position as a proper spokeswoman which is my point...a point I may or may not have forgotten to make in my rambling.

I think her getting treated as a spokesperson is the problem with the discussions at this point. I'd rather see it triggering some independent (and frankly better) discussion of these issues, rather than remaining focused on her. Unfortunately we tend to have a need to put a human face on things and now she's become the embodiment of all things feminist discussion of games is about, which is unfair to both her and feminist discussion of games in my opinion.

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It's been a bit since I watched the videos and I don't think I watched all of them completely, so my memory is a bit shaky on some of those things. However I don't remember much about the intro or conclusion making up for the shoddy point making that she did through the videos.

Honestly I'd have to watch the videos again at this point to really remember it clearly anymore, it's been a while and that's more me remembering thinking that after watching the videos rather than remembering the exact points that she made. Forgive my laziness but I really can't be bothered to watch the videos again to contribute to this debate, so it might be good for me to step out of this discussion soon since I'm not sure I can really offer a solid enough discussion.

However, what I vaguely remember was basically her saying something like the individual uses aren't necessarily negative but through their repeated use leads to a combined effect being perceived rather than the individual elements. That's ridiculously paraphrased and I don't think I'm remembering all the details, but it was something along those lines. Like I said before though, even if this argument is valid, I don't think it was presented in the videos the right way to cover some of the potentially bad examples used.

In short I agree that her presentation didn't really address these issues enough, although I do think she made some mention of it and at least attempted to do so.

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I'm amused, despite myself, that she used a bar that made sex slaves of both genders and pushed it as a female issue...

I agree that this was another one where it felt like she was bringing up examples where there were other big pressing issues that distracted from her discussion of female characters. I still think that it's appropriate for her videos to have a particular focus and only address female issues, but some of her choices of example made this very distracting.

Offline Garuss Vakarian

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #278 on: November 04, 2014, 02:02:12 AM »
Oh, I see. I never played Beyonetta, so with your explanation of the context I understand. So the child mistakes her as mother? Makes sense. Still, a lot of her problems with beyonetta seem wrong to me. (I am right in saying Beyonettas powers come from her hair right?)

Edit: I am amused Brioch thought of the bar. I was talking about a casino on the actual vegas strip. But, now that I think about it I was saying the name wrong. The Gamorah Casino. Not Guermerta. Dope >_< . Any way, in The Gamorah they treat the women there as slaves. Missions mainly freeing them, and killing the mob bosses.

Though she did bitch about the bar, and you are right. It is kind of funny to do so. ^^ Since the strippers/and hookers there, both men and women, were there by choice.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 02:06:03 AM by Garuss Vakarian »

Offline Braioch

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #279 on: November 04, 2014, 02:16:54 AM »
I think her getting treated as a spokesperson is the problem with the discussions at this point. I'd rather see it triggering some independent (and frankly better) discussion of these issues, rather than remaining focused on her. Unfortunately we tend to have a need to put a human face on things and now she's become the embodiment of all things feminist discussion of games is about, which is unfair to both her and feminist discussion of games in my opinion.

She inserted herself in the discussion in the first place and accepted the mantle that was handled to her, so I wouldn't say it was unfair to her at all since she's taking to the position with great vigor and pleasure. Same for her particular discussion as it's jettisoned her entire discussion into the limelight and given it plenty of attention which is exactly what she wanted in the first place.

So I'll have to disagree with you on the 'unfair' bit.

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Honestly I'd have to watch the videos again at this point to really remember it clearly anymore, it's been a while and that's more me remembering thinking that after watching the videos rather than remembering the exact points that she made. Forgive my laziness but I really can't be bothered to watch the videos again to contribute to this debate, so it might be good for me to step out of this discussion soon since I'm not sure I can really offer a solid enough discussion.

I'm not watching the videos right this minute either, there at least is enough to pull from from our memories to suffice for the moment.

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However, what I vaguely remember was basically her saying something like the individual uses aren't necessarily negative but through their repeated use leads to a combined effect being perceived rather than the individual elements. That's ridiculously paraphrased and I don't think I'm remembering all the details, but it was something along those lines. Like I said before though, even if this argument is valid, I don't think it was presented in the videos the right way to cover some of the potentially bad examples used.

If being the keyword there.

And using poor and flimsy examples for an argument is what makes a bad argument in the first place. If she's not capable of using proper examples as a means to back up her position, she shouldn't expect that her argument is indeed valid. Even with trying to tie things in together, it still smacks of trying to push a loose argument for some other purpose other than creating awareness or explaining some factual event/pattern.

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In short I agree that her presentation didn't really address these issues enough, although I do think she made some mention of it and at least attempted to do so.

I agree that this was another one where it felt like she was bringing up examples where there were other big pressing issues that distracted from her discussion of female characters. I still think that it's appropriate for her videos to have a particular focus and only address female issues, but some of her choices of example made this very distracting.

The Gomorrah (which I realized a moment ago is the name of the casino in New Vegas) point was just one example of her muddying her own waters.

Though she muddies it pretty well with the Watch Dog bit too.

The rest is that there are cases where she's factually wrong, (Bayonetta) or just plain commenting an excess of logical fallacies. (the cherry picking and strawmen in her discussion about Hitman: Absolution)

In all honesty, her videos/argument is filled with a lot of holes and fallacies, she seems to have sabotaged herself here and what disturbs me is that for whatever reason, people don't seem to be paying attention to that. Her argument, due to her own actions and choices, falls flat when evaluated even casually and it's still getting credence.

Oh, I see. I never played Beyonetta, so with your explanation of the context I understand. So the child mistakes her as mother? Makes sense. Still, a lot of her problems with beyonetta seem wrong to me. (I am right in saying Beyonettas powers come from her hair right?)

Edit: I am amused Brioch thought of the bar. I was talking about a casino on the actual vegas strip. But, now that I think about it I was saying the name wrong. The Gamorah Casino. Not Guermerta. Dope >_< . Any way, in The Gamorah they treat the women there as slaves. Missions mainly freeing them, and killing the mob bosses.

Though she did bitch about the bar, and you are right. It is kind of funny to do so. ^^ Since the strippers/and hookers there, both men and women, were there by choice.



-points up- I just realized the same thing about the casino/bar. That whole setting stuck out to me because I remember being surprised and in a strange way, pleasantly surprised by the presence of male sex slaves. (Okay, not strange but that's due to personal fantasy kinks and I sincerely hope I don't need to explain the difference between fantasy and reality kink preferences, I would never condone sex slavery in real life)

For the Bayonetta bit:
-Yes, the child mistakes her for her mother and calls her that throughout the whole game, though it is not Bayonetta's child at all
-Even I was puzzled by the attack on her considering she's a badass fighter and a strong personality, even with the sexuality mixed in because it was less of the "I'm an object, use me, abuse me" sexuality that gets attacked and more of the "I'm a sexy woman, I know it, use it, abuse it, deal with it" sexuality.
-I vaguely remember the hair being connected to an old custom of a witches power coming through hair or being more potent because of the hair or...something. Essentially, hair was important.
-Incidentally the developer is a woman who described Bayonetta as her own personal power trip fantasy acted out into a video game.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #280 on: November 04, 2014, 02:47:13 AM »
For the Bayonetta bit:
-Yes, the child mistakes her for her mother and calls her that throughout the whole game, though it is not Bayonetta's child at all
-Even I was puzzled by the attack on her considering she's a badass fighter and a strong personality, even with the sexuality mixed in because it was less of the "I'm an object, use me, abuse me" sexuality that gets attacked and more of the "I'm a sexy woman, I know it, use it, abuse it, deal with it" sexuality.
-I vaguely remember the hair being connected to an old custom of a witches power coming through hair or being more potent because of the hair or...something. Essentially, hair was important.
-Incidentally the developer is a woman who described Bayonetta as her own personal power trip fantasy acted out into a video game.

Since I'm in the middle of playing through Bayonetta 2...

Her attacking Bayonetta is very odd, because there are quite a few women, feminists included, that see her as a very positive role model.  There's a bit of a distinction between sex-negative and sex-positive feminism, though, and Bayonetta certainly falls into the latter, so I could see Anita personally not liking her.  Still, it's something that I would expect her to do more research on before critiquing.  (As an aside, Cereza not being Bayonetta's daughter isn't an important point to Anita's criticisms about the game or character as a whole, but it does show that she doesn't know what she's talking about in at least one instance, and casts doubt on the rest of her arguments against the character.)  Though I will note that she hasn't mentioned Bayonetta at all in her Kickstarter-funded Tropes vs Women videos, but instead in a separate video about Bayonetta specifically, which was released the same day her Kickstarter ended.

As for Bayonetta's design, the creator of the series as a whole is male, but the designer of Bayonetta's character (including personality, appearance, clothing, etc) is female.  She mentions conferring with the creator on what guys like in a girl, but from a few interview snippets that were in another thread (the GamerGate one on this board), it was pretty clear to me that she was given quite a bit of freedom in making Bayonetta, as long as she was made to be a sexy, confident character.

Finally, her hair is the source of her power, more or less.  Normally, she uses it to create her clothing, but when doing a special attack, the clothing falls away so she can use the hair as the attack.   In the first game, when doing her big summon finishers, usually she'd pose, streams of hair-power would circle her as her clothing falls away, and then the camera would cut to whatever creature she summoned as it kills the giant monster.  Bayonetta without clothing would be shown for probably around two seconds at most each time this happened.  Her clothing can fall away during normal gameplay as well, but usually the camera's zoomed too far back for it to be very titillating (barring players purposefully getting the camera stuck in a corner so it can't be zoomed out, of course).

Offline Caehlim

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #281 on: November 04, 2014, 02:48:53 AM »
She inserted herself in the discussion in the first place and accepted the mantle that was handled to her, so I wouldn't say it was unfair to her at all since she's taking to the position with great vigor and pleasure. Same for her particular discussion as it's jettisoned her entire discussion into the limelight and given it plenty of attention which is exactly what she wanted in the first place.

So I'll have to disagree with you on the 'unfair' bit.

I don't know enough about her attitudes to say one way or the other. Even if it's not unfair to her though, it's certainly unfair to feminist discussion of video games to have her and her videos be the only thing considered.

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And using poor and flimsy examples for an argument is what makes a bad argument in the first place. If she's not capable of using proper examples as a means to back up her position, she shouldn't expect that her argument is indeed valid. Even with trying to tie things in together, it still smacks of trying to push a loose argument for some other purpose other than creating awareness or explaining some factual event/pattern.

I'm not sure that her argument is valid honestly. Although I agree with the conclusion, I think she failed to set up the premises sufficiently or to demonstrate that the conclusion logically followed from the premises.

I'm just uncomfortable with the equally illogical argument (which let me just stress, I'm not saying that you're making just something other people have done online) that because her argument was invalid that the conclusion was necessarily false.

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Though she muddies it pretty well with the Watch Dog bit too.

I agree but I really liked one bit from the Watch Dog segment that she brought up. She mentioned that in the vigilante missions pursuing the perpetrator of the crime was the only option, with the victim fading away into nothingness their role in the story having been done. Frankly this happened to men as well, so it's not really a good argument about the treatment of women but it was an interesting point that I had never considered before.

Doesn't add anything to her argument, but I just found it a really interesting thing to consider.

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In all honesty, her videos/argument is filled with a lot of holes and fallacies, she seems to have sabotaged herself here and what disturbs me is that for whatever reason, people don't seem to be paying attention to that.

I can't comment for others, but for myself I guess I just had lower expectations of the videos. I didn't expect them to be persuasive (which is good because they really weren't), I just wanted them to talk about some issues so that I could consider them for myself and come up with my own arguments and ideas. I think in many ways people's reactions are like when a hollywood film gets a huge publicity campaign and turns out to be a flop, it's the hype that makes them really get the hatred.

Honestly I just expected a youtube video with someone sharing their opinion which is basically what I got, so I was happy.

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That whole setting stuck out to me because I remember being surprised and in a strange way, pleasantly surprised by the presence of male sex slaves.

I was pleasantly surprised as well by at least the acknowledgement of either male homosexuality or female sexuality. All too often these are just ignored completely in most media.

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(Okay, not strange but that's due to personal fantasy kinks and I sincerely hope I don't need to explain the difference between fantasy and reality kink preferences, I would never condone sex slavery in real life)

Absolutely. My RP preferences include a lot of things that I think are completely abhorrent IRL. This happens in computer games as well. I hate violence IRL but I'll play violent video games.

This is actually an interesting point, and one that I think Sarkeesian's videos handled badly. There was too much conflating of fantasy desires with RL desires in video games I think.

Offline Braioch

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #282 on: November 04, 2014, 03:01:51 AM »
I don't know enough about her attitudes to say one way or the other. Even if it's not unfair to her though, it's certainly unfair to feminist discussion of video games to have her and her videos be the only thing considered.

On that it seems, we can both agree.
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I'm not sure that her argument is valid honestly. Although I agree with the conclusion, I think she failed to set up the premises sufficiently or to demonstrate that the conclusion logically followed from the premises.

I'm just uncomfortable with the equally illogical argument (which let me just stress, I'm not saying that you're making just something other people have done online) that because her argument was invalid that the conclusion was necessarily false.

I'm well aware of that fallacy as well  ;)

However, without a proper argument with proper fact to back it up, the conclusion lacks any credibility. She's making a claim and failing to back it up, which keeps the conclusion unproven.

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I agree but I really liked one bit from the Watch Dog segment that she brought up. She mentioned that in the vigilante missions pursuing the perpetrator of the crime was the only option, with the victim fading away into nothingness their role in the story having been done. Frankly this happened to men as well, so it's not really a good argument about the treatment of women but it was an interesting point that I had never considered before.

Doesn't add anything to her argument, but I just found it a really interesting thing to consider.

That's what she was bothered by?
The story was about...err...I tolerated like...4 hours of that game before I got rid of it and I can't remember his name. Anyways, it was about the protagonist and his journey for freaking revenge, which I believe there's some segueing into something else along the way. Nevertheless, the game isn't about what happened to every little person that was affected by the events around the character, how could she possibly think that that was a possible venue of discussion?

I...what?

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I can't comment for others, but for myself I guess I just had lower expectations of the videos. I didn't expect them to be persuasive (which is good because they really weren't), I just wanted them to talk about some issues so that I could consider them for myself and come up with my own arguments and ideas. I think in many ways people's reactions are like when a hollywood film gets a huge publicity campaign and turns out to be a flop, it's the hype that makes them really get the hatred.

Honestly I just expected a youtube video with someone sharing their opinion which is basically what I got, so I was happy.

I dismissed the videos when I first saw them, because even without thinking hard about it, I thought them flimsy and reaching at best. It's only with how much attention she and her videos have been getting that I've started becoming annoyed and saying something about it to be honest. Otherwise I wouldn't have anything to say about them.

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I was pleasantly surprised as well by at least the acknowledgement of either male homosexuality or female sexuality. All too often these are just ignored completely in most media.

They were anyways, but games over the past few years have been making a lot of great strides to include these things. Which is another thing that annoyed me about the videos, they seem dated because by the time she started making them, developers were already getting on top of the issues of exclusion and objectification.

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Absolutely. My RP preferences include a lot of things that I think are completely abhorrent IRL. This happens in computer games as well. I hate violence IRL but I'll play violent video games.

This is actually an interesting point, and one that I think Sarkeesian's videos handled badly. There was too much conflating of fantasy desires with RL desires in video games I think.

Another thing we can agree on, something that often times gets left behind in the discussion. Discussion of catharsis aside, (of which I feel personally has merit, nothing quite relieves a bad day like raising hell in GTA) there's a very big difference between the fantasy of games where you have the power to do so much without consequence and what you do in real life. To say that it influences someone that intently, even with claims of it 'being more subtle' is reaching in my opinion. They haven't even found a positive correlation between real life violence and games, (actually, youth violence has gone down as video game sales have gone up in recent years) and she seems to be unable to even provide the foundation for others to build on that they are sexist or push for a sexist mindset.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #283 on: November 05, 2014, 04:02:31 AM »
So. Here's the thing about Anita Sarkeesian.

She's doing a pretty good job of explaining overarching problems that exist in the portrayal of videogames. Some of her examples are iffy, others aren't. Watchdogs, though, are actually spot on.

The reason it's a bigger deal when female characters exist only to be victimized before the player goes after the abuser than when it's a male character that exists only to be victimized before the player goes after the abuser is that men have a wide variety of great roles in games.

Male characters are heroes and villains and NPC guards and NPCs you talk to and NPCs you kill and NPCs who provide quests or... there's really a lot of variety when you get into it. Female characters tend to fall into the Victim category far more than any other category when they even exist in a game.

Sure, at this point most every guy in a game is a grizzled mid 30s white dude with a scruffy beard and brown hair, but they're still provided with a wider variety of roles and attitudes and presentations to the player.

If you want to argue why it's okay "In this example" or "In that example" you're missing the bigger picture: That it's all over the place. And it's common enough that game developers and producers are starting to take notice.

Wildstar, for example, decided to go with generically sexualized wasp-waist female PC models for every race. The beta forums were hit by complaints, requests to change things up, for more variety, etc. And the devs looked at that feedback, buried under anti-feminist and misogynistic flame wars designed specifically to get the thread deleted, entirely, and came to understand the wider problem is made up of individual cases where it's "Okay"

Hell, my Boss just came to understand, thanks to the Gamergate debacle and Anita's videos, that games are not apolitical entities floating in the void of geek culture but are instead a reflection of the ideas and ideologies held by those creating them. We're even going to have a subforum specifically set aside for political discussion of the game, both in it's minority representation and to discuss the in-game political landscape and messages, where it will be a "Safe Space" for political feedback, with bigoted messages quickly pruned away.

The reason for this subforum? The conversation is going to happen, no matter what rules we put on our forums, and it's better to read the criticism and make the game better and more accepting than shut down and ignore forward movement. And in an MMO Environment that is a HUGE change. Especially since my boss is a fairly conservative "Anti-PC" person, himself.

As far as using other people's in-game video... so what? Makes it easier on her and it's fair use, which is the only reason those people doing Let's Play videos are allowed to use in-game footage to make Youtube videos in the first place. That's like complaining when the Nostalgia Critic shows footage of other reviewers reviews before stating his own opinion on a matter, whether in assent or disagreement with the other people who have reviewed the material.

As far as the whole "Oh it was a scam!" line of reasoning: No it wasn't. Stop saying it was. Repetition does not make it true.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #284 on: November 05, 2014, 10:21:42 AM »
From YouTube's own page on 'Fair Use':
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In the United States, fair use is determined by a judge, who analyzes how each of the four factors of fair use applies to a specific case.

 1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

Courts typically focus on whether the use is “transformative.” That is, whether it adds new expression or meaning to the original, or whether it merely copies from the original. Commercial uses are less likely to be considered fair, though it’s possible to monetize a video and still take advantage of the fair use defense.

2. The nature of the copyrighted work

Using material from primarily factual works is more likely to be fair than using purely fictional works.

3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

Borrowing small bits of material from an original work is more likely to be considered fair use than borrowing large portions. However, even a small taking may weigh against fair use in some situations if it constitutes the “heart” of the work.

4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

Uses that harm the copyright owner’s ability to profit from his or her original work are less likely to be fair uses. Courts have sometimes made an exception under this factor in cases involving parodies.

I've bolded the portions that may be relevant to Ms. Sarkeesian's videos.  If the gameplay that she has used constitutes the 'heart' of her work - that may weigh against her.  In number 4, I'm using the term 'copyright holder' to refer to the game company, not the YouTuber.  When most Let's Play 'Tubers record a game, it is with the intent of showing off their favorite game, which would potentially drive up sales (this, in fact, is one of the reasons that Mojang has so far whole-heartedly embraced LPs and even monetization of LP videos of their product.)  It could be argued that Ms. Sarkeesian's videos are intended to have the opposite effect - that is to say, driving down sales of these games.

Whether or not convincing someone not to buy GTA is something to aspire to, I'm dubious about whether her use of footage fits the 'fair use' clause.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #285 on: November 05, 2014, 10:44:32 AM »
Commentary and Criticism is covered under Fair Use.

Even if Siskel and Ebert pan your movie and go over how absolutely horrible it is in every way, using images from that movie to illustrate their points is fair use. Even if it means less moviegoers frequent your film.

Same goes for games, plays, music... so much more.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 10:51:21 AM by Steampunkette »

Offline consortium11

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #286 on: November 05, 2014, 11:10:20 AM »
Commentary and Criticism is covered under Fair Use.

Even if Siskel and Ebert pan your movie and go over how absolutely horrible it is in every way, using images from that movie to illustrate their points is fair use. Even if it means less moviegoers frequent your film.

Same goes for games, plays, music... so much more.

Slightly delving into the legal aspects of this:

The Let's Play thing is somewhat of new ground when it comes to IP laws and fair use when it comes to video games. Unlike a movie, music or a book where the observer has no direct impact on what happens in a LetsPlay the player is, fairly self-evidently, directly involved in a finished product. If 200 people all watch the same movie in different places at different times then the movie footage stays the same. If 200 people play the same game then the game footage doesn't. It's on this basis that Let's Plays are generally seen as being protected under fair use; to use the legal terminology it's transformative, even if one excludes voice-over or commentary and just plays the game.

Where does that leave Sarkeesian?

She's using the footage from Let's Plays and, as a general rule, the creator of a Let's Play keeps the copyright to that Let's Play (they use to game to create something transformative and thus are granted fair use etc etc). But she's not criticising the videos or the Let's Players themselves, she's criticising the game they're based on. She's not actually criticising or commenting on the video or copyright holder she' actually showing. There's no easy comparison to make with other forms of media but perhaps the closest would be this; if I want to criticise or comment on the Nine Inch Nails version of Hurt would it be fair use to use Johnny Cash's version in a video without actually commenting on or criticizing the Johnny Cash version but arguing it's fair use because it's the same basic song?

It's a question that doesn't have an answer yet and is in a still emerging area of law. Until someone has the money and willingness to really push the issue into the courts we're unlikely to have an answer.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #287 on: November 05, 2014, 11:20:39 AM »
Slightly delving into the legal aspects of this:

The Let's Play thing is somewhat of new ground when it comes to IP laws and fair use when it comes to video games. Unlike a movie, music or a book where the observer has no direct impact on what happens in a LetsPlay the player is, fairly self-evidently, directly involved in a finished product. If 200 people all watch the same movie in different places at different times then the movie footage stays the same. If 200 people play the same game then the game footage doesn't. It's on this basis that Let's Plays are generally seen as being protected under fair use; to use the legal terminology it's transformative, even if one excludes voice-over or commentary and just plays the game.

Where does that leave Sarkeesian?

She's using the footage from Let's Plays and, as a general rule, the creator of a Let's Play keeps the copyright to that Let's Play (they use to game to create something transformative and thus are granted fair use etc etc). But she's not criticising the videos or the Let's Players themselves, she's criticising the game they're based on. She's not actually criticising or commenting on the video or copyright holder she' actually showing. There's no easy comparison to make with other forms of media but perhaps the closest would be this; if I want to criticise or comment on the Nine Inch Nails version of Hurt would it be fair use to use Johnny Cash's version in a video without actually commenting on or criticizing the Johnny Cash version but arguing it's fair use because it's the same basic song?

It's a question that doesn't have an answer yet and is in a still emerging area of law. Until someone has the money and willingness to really push the issue into the courts we're unlikely to have an answer.

Even if using footage without the LPer's permission is allowed, I'm pretty sure there would need to be some kind of acknowledgement or credit given to the LPer.  In your example, if you make it clear that you're using the Johnny Cash version of the song and not the original, that would be, if not quite "fine", at least more acceptable than using the Johnny Cash version and not mentioning where the song came from at all.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #288 on: November 05, 2014, 11:37:12 AM »
So. Here's the thing about Anita Sarkeesian.

She's doing a pretty good job of explaining overarching problems that exist in the portrayal of videogames. Some of her examples are iffy, others aren't. Watchdogs, though, are actually spot on.

The reason it's a bigger deal when female characters exist only to be victimized before the player goes after the abuser than when it's a male character that exists only to be victimized before the player goes after the abuser is that men have a wide variety of great roles in games.

Male characters are heroes and villains and NPC guards and NPCs you talk to and NPCs you kill and NPCs who provide quests or... there's really a lot of variety when you get into it. Female characters tend to fall into the Victim category far more than any other category when they even exist in a game.

Sure, at this point most every guy in a game is a grizzled mid 30s white dude with a scruffy beard and brown hair, but they're still provided with a wider variety of roles and attitudes and presentations to the player.

If you want to argue why it's okay "In this example" or "In that example" you're missing the bigger picture: That it's all over the place. And it's common enough that game developers and producers are starting to take notice.

Wildstar, for example, decided to go with generically sexualized wasp-waist female PC models for every race. The beta forums were hit by complaints, requests to change things up, for more variety, etc. And the devs looked at that feedback, buried under anti-feminist and misogynistic flame wars designed specifically to get the thread deleted, entirely, and came to understand the wider problem is made up of individual cases where it's "Okay"

Hell, my Boss just came to understand, thanks to the Gamergate debacle and Anita's videos, that games are not apolitical entities floating in the void of geek culture but are instead a reflection of the ideas and ideologies held by those creating them. We're even going to have a subforum specifically set aside for political discussion of the game, both in it's minority representation and to discuss the in-game political landscape and messages, where it will be a "Safe Space" for political feedback, with bigoted messages quickly pruned away.

The reason for this subforum? The conversation is going to happen, no matter what rules we put on our forums, and it's better to read the criticism and make the game better and more accepting than shut down and ignore forward movement. And in an MMO Environment that is a HUGE change. Especially since my boss is a fairly conservative "Anti-PC" person, himself.

Would it be fair for me to summarize your argument here as something along the lines of "These tropes in a vacuum aren't a problem, the problem is that they're overly prevalent while more positive tropes are mostly absent when it comes to female characters"?  If not, let me know so I don't accidentally misrepresent you, but I generally agree to your statement here, with perhaps one or two caveats.

So, here's my issue with the whole matter.  I am fine with encouraging game devs to do things differently, to be more inclusive, less sexist, or whatever you want them to change.  I'm also fine with educating the general populace about tropes, pointing out things that other people might find unacceptable, and so on.  I'm slightly more iffy on comments on how politically correct a game is showing up in things like reviews for a game, although that generally has more to do with the industry's over-reliance on aggregate review scores from Metacritic, and I'm fine with reviews discussing these things as long as they don't take up a disproportionate amount of space in the review.

What I am not fine with is censorship, either enforced or "strongly encouraged".  A few examples: one of the artists for Divinity: Original Sin came out a while back saying that his boss got a lot of... I think threats is too strong of a word here, but I can't think of another one that fits, so I'll say he got a lot of threats - saying that major gaming sites would completely ignore and blacklist his game, if he didn't have the artist change the game's art to get rid of the midriff-bearing bresatplate the female character was wearing on the cover art.  Because of that, the art was changed, even though the artist tried to object.  Another example is that Senran Kagura, a game that is definitely about fanservice, nearly didn't make it over to the US because the Japanese company was concerned that most media would completely slam it because of how "sexy" it is.  Note that (assuming I take what you said at face value) there is a difference between these examples and your Wildstar one, because with Wildstar, the company looked at the responses, considered things, and replied with "I think you're right, we'll fix things because we agree with you", while the Divinity: Original Sin example was more along the lines of "I don't think you're right, but I'll change it because that's the only way I can get proper exposure".

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Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #289 on: November 05, 2014, 12:02:38 PM »
Problem for any legal discussion of whether or not she's okay using the LPers' footage: Any argument against this? Also applies to the LPers themselves, whose works are pretty plainly derivative and created without the permission or consent of the copyright holder.

But no, that's totes cool, it's just when someone says something we don't like with that footage that it's a problem.

Sethala, do... do you know what censorship is? Refusing to engage with a work you find objectionable isn't it. Doing absolutely nothing, but being perceived by someone else as likely to disagree, definitely isn't it.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #290 on: November 05, 2014, 02:56:30 PM »
Problem for any legal discussion of whether or not she's okay using the LPers' footage: Any argument against this? Also applies to the LPers themselves, whose works are pretty plainly derivative and created without the permission or consent of the copyright holder.

But no, that's totes cool, it's just when someone says something we don't like with that footage that it's a problem.

Note that the LPers will perfectly disclose what game they're playing and often what studio it's from, and the credits of everyone who worked to make the game they're playing are publicly available in the game's credits, and it's generally obvious that they did not make the game itself if it's not outright stated.  Anita's videos do disclose the name of the game when footage is shown, but she does not give any credit at all to the LPer making said footage, and there's a not-unreasonable implication that she's making the footage herself.  So at least on that level, there is a difference between an LPer using a game's footage, and Anita using an LPer's footage.

Quote
Sethala, do... do you know what censorship is? Refusing to engage with a work you find objectionable isn't it. Doing absolutely nothing, but being perceived by someone else as likely to disagree, definitely isn't it.

"Censorship" may have been a misleading term.  "Bullied into self-censorship" would definitely apply to the first (assuming, at least, that the only reason they changed the art was because it was the only way to get major media to stop threatening to not cover it), and at least the fear of bullying applies to the second, from what I've heard about the game's release.

Offline ofDelusions

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #291 on: November 05, 2014, 03:51:42 PM »
Having seen the both versions of the Divinity: Original Sin art in question: I didn't end up playing the game, because I had no need to buy another single player game at this moment, but out the two, the first version would have made me less likely to buy the game. It was downright silly. It sent the message that their focus when designing the character in question was how sexy she was which I find very boring approach when it comes to character design.

I tried looking to find sources for major media outlets threatening the company about it, but by most that I can find it was the community that complained. And isn't that what consumers are supposed to do in capitalism?

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #292 on: November 05, 2014, 04:46:13 PM »
Having seen the both versions of the Divinity: Original Sin art in question: I didn't end up playing the game, because I had no need to buy another single player game at this moment, but out the two, the first version would have made me less likely to buy the game. It was downright silly. It sent the message that their focus when designing the character in question was how sexy she was which I find very boring approach when it comes to character design.

I tried looking to find sources for major media outlets threatening the company about it, but by most that I can find it was the community that complained. And isn't that what consumers are supposed to do in capitalism?

There's a difference between changing your art because you need it to appeal to a wider audience to get paid for it, and changing it because a few specific people will only market it if their demands are met, however.  I'm fine with the former (although I think most game companies sometimes put too much emphasis on the complaints and not enough on the silent majority), but not the latter.

However, in trying to re-research the issue, I found a few comments in various places saying that they were threatened with a lack of coverage, but nothing with actual specifics, so this may be an issue of me listening to rumors and misremembering what was fact and what was speculation.  Though I believe there was a general lack of coverage when the game first started on Kickstarter, so I may look into that more when I have more time.

Regardless, the point I'm getting at can be more or less summed up as, saying "I won't buy this game unless you change it" is fine, saying "I don't like this game so I won't buy it" is fine, saying "I don't like this game so I'm going to try and keep it from existing" is not.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #293 on: November 05, 2014, 06:01:37 PM »
Okay. Some good comments, I'd like to pop back in and address!

Yes, Sethala. It's all about the overall context. In a vacuum a given example might be upsetting or annoying or hurtful but you can always excuse it with "It was a mistake" or "It's not that bad since it's just this one" but when it's viewed in a larger context it becomes a widespread pattern of the same set of issues.

As for the censorship and political discourse in reviews... I disagree.

Firstly on political discourse and wider social impact. Games are art. We've spent decades struggling to be recognized as artists and enjoyers of art. They're a -unique- form of interactive storytelling and visual interaction. It's amazing and we need to fight to maintain that position. Part of being art, of having a story and interactions and so much more, is that the game is going to have politics in it. They're not apolitical, as much as people would love to shout otherwise. They're based on societal expectations of what is or isn't acceptable and often personify political concepts into antagonistic viewpoints. Magic vs. Tech, Religion vs. Science, The Native American Metaphor battling against the American Military Metaphor. You get the idea. These things have political meaning that deserves to be explored.

But so do the issues of representation and social presentation, as they also reflect the artist's political views on such matters. Again: Nothing occurs in a vacuum.

Also "Political Correctness" is a dog whistle. Please don't blow it.

As for Censorship: Would you say it's fair to say that all American Media Outlets have censored Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner by not doing reviews of the centerfolds in their magazines? While you could certainly make that argument it's a very difficult position to stand on. If a gaming site doesn't want a particular type of content on their website and your game contains that content you're screwed with that site. Whether that content is "Casual Baby Games on the Wii" or "Tits and Ass". They are a reporting outlet and should be free to pick and choose which games they review or not.

The problem is the incestuous relationship with the gaming industry that makes reviewers the primary source of promotion for games themselves. And, really, that's something the industry needs to deal with. They've given reviewers a lot of power over them and should probably take it back in some way: It's just so fucking EXPENSIVE.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #294 on: November 05, 2014, 10:22:21 PM »
Would it be fair for me to summarize your argument here as something along the lines of "These tropes in a vacuum aren't a problem, the problem is that they're overly prevalent while more positive tropes are mostly absent when it comes to female characters"?

I can't speak for anyone else, but that would largely describe my personal stance, or at least the biggest issue I have with games and their representation of women (there are others, but those would mostly come down to a discussion of a problem specifically with game X and not the gaming industry at large).

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #295 on: November 06, 2014, 12:11:06 AM »
Okay. Some good comments, I'd like to pop back in and address!

Yes, Sethala. It's all about the overall context. In a vacuum a given example might be upsetting or annoying or hurtful but you can always excuse it with "It was a mistake" or "It's not that bad since it's just this one" but when it's viewed in a larger context it becomes a widespread pattern of the same set of issues.

As for the censorship and political discourse in reviews... I disagree.

Firstly on political discourse and wider social impact. Games are art. We've spent decades struggling to be recognized as artists and enjoyers of art. They're a -unique- form of interactive storytelling and visual interaction. It's amazing and we need to fight to maintain that position. Part of being art, of having a story and interactions and so much more, is that the game is going to have politics in it. They're not apolitical, as much as people would love to shout otherwise. They're based on societal expectations of what is or isn't acceptable and often personify political concepts into antagonistic viewpoints. Magic vs. Tech, Religion vs. Science, The Native American Metaphor battling against the American Military Metaphor. You get the idea. These things have political meaning that deserves to be explored.

But so do the issues of representation and social presentation, as they also reflect the artist's political views on such matters. Again: Nothing occurs in a vacuum.

Actually, for the most part, I agree, and I think I wasn't clear enough with my point the first time around so I'd like to elaborate.  Specifically, I'm fine with taking games and dissecting them, analyzing mechanics, pacing, and yes, social and political factors in them.  What I have an issue with is when some of those factors end up in a review of a game that doesn't try to focus them.  If you want to write an editorial of how racism is handled in GTA 5, go ahead, it might be an interesting read.  But if you end up taking what should be a review of the gameplay of GTA 5 (since it's a pretty gameplay-heavy game) and then spend a significant chunk of that review writing about the game being racist, I might get a bit annoyed, especially if it's clear that this bias affected the review's overall score.

Now, I'll admit that I'm a bit less accepting of such things in reviews because of the industry's reliance on scored reviews and on Metacritic.  It's not too uncommon for a publisher to require that a game get a high enough Metacritic score in order for the employees making the game to get a bonus.  There was a case not too long ago, I think it was Fallout New Vegas but I could be wrong, where the game missed this target score bonus by one point.  The developers are literally worse off now because one or two major reviewers didn't like something enough to dock the game a point, and if that "something" was their bias on some political aspect of the game, it means that adding this discussion in a review indirectly made someone's life measurably worse.

Quote
Also "Political Correctness" is a dog whistle. Please don't blow it.

Noted.  I was unaware, and apologize.  Is there a more appropriate term I could use?

Quote
As for Censorship: Would you say it's fair to say that all American Media Outlets have censored Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner by not doing reviews of the centerfolds in their magazines? While you could certainly make that argument it's a very difficult position to stand on. If a gaming site doesn't want a particular type of content on their website and your game contains that content you're screwed with that site. Whether that content is "Casual Baby Games on the Wii" or "Tits and Ass". They are a reporting outlet and should be free to pick and choose which games they review or not.

The problem is the incestuous relationship with the gaming industry that makes reviewers the primary source of promotion for games themselves. And, really, that's something the industry needs to deal with. They've given reviewers a lot of power over them and should probably take it back in some way: It's just so fucking EXPENSIVE.

Well, I also won't complain if game websites don't review porn games, but that's because such things are generally outside of public acceptance enough to say that mainstream sites won't touch them.

My main concern is that if this kind of thing happens more often, but yes, I realize this is a slippery slope fallacy.

Offline Slywyn

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #296 on: November 06, 2014, 12:14:19 AM »
I dunno I'm pretty interested if the game has heavy racist themes that run rampant through it's story. That's something I'm going to want to know about that will affect whether or not I buy the game.

I'm already not going to see Boxtrolls because of the anti-trans message in it, and I would have otherwise paid to see the movie, or seen it with friends or family. I'm really glad the review DID mention something about it.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #297 on: November 06, 2014, 12:30:40 AM »
Now, I'll admit that I'm a bit less accepting of such things in reviews because of the industry's reliance on scored reviews and on Metacritic.  It's not too uncommon for a publisher to require that a game get a high enough Metacritic score in order for the employees making the game to get a bonus.  There was a case not too long ago, I think it was Fallout New Vegas but I could be wrong, where the game missed this target score bonus by one point.  The developers are literally worse off now because one or two major reviewers didn't like something enough to dock the game a point, and if that "something" was their bias on some political aspect of the game, it means that adding this discussion in a review indirectly made someone's life measurably worse.

I can't agree. Reviewers are not responsible for how the games industry chooses to treat its employees. They're in the business of providing reviews, not editing their content to assist programmers in receiving a bonus.


Offline Steampunkette

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #298 on: November 06, 2014, 02:52:22 AM »
I'm against the idea that reviews should be about gameplay and nothing else, or that story and presentation are somehow exempt from critique in a review.

To give some background on the Boxtrolls thing:

The movie is about a little boy whose main antagonist is Archibald Snatcher (Villainname McBadguy!). He wants to join a high society gentleman's club called the White Hats. So he takes on the identity of Madame Frou Frou for... no real or discernable reason, the writers just wanted to retell a bunch of transmisogynistic jokes. He fulfills the "Dude in a Dress" trope to a T all the way to the point where the White Hats are constantly sexually harassing the Frou Frou character.

Like groping her ass and stuff. All the while alluding to the fact that they want to "Dance" with her. Insert eyebrow wiggle and lewd grin here.

At one point the protagonist rips off the villain's wig and none of the White Hats are willing to accept that he's a guy. Snatcher leaves the White Hat Party and attacks the Box Troll village in smeared makeup and eyes full of rage in a "Crazed Tranny" stereotype.

Then when it's all said and done, Frou Frou is revealed to be Snatcher and the White Hats fall all over themselves about how they were deceived and regret what they "Did" with him and... basically it's the Ace Ventura transmisogyny sequence where everyone spits and vomits and screams because "Einhorn is a Man!"

If I had walked into that theatre and been exposed to that in a kids movie I would have been devastated. I would have been crying and angry and very likely stormed the desk to give the theatre a piece of my mind for displaying that kind of rampant anti-trans sentiment... A sentiment that exists in games I have played and thrown out when I got to that point.

Had the review included that I never would have purchased the game and supported a development team who espoused such hateful rhetoric as a "Joke" wherein my existence is the punchline.

And yeah. Blame the Producers for tying bonuses to scores, not the people choosing the scores based on the quality of the game in total... including it's story.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian's videos?
« Reply #299 on: November 06, 2014, 03:23:30 AM »
I'm against the idea that reviews should be about gameplay and nothing else, or that story and presentation are somehow exempt from critique in a review.

To give some background on the Boxtrolls thing:

The movie is about a little boy whose main antagonist is Archibald Snatcher (Villainname McBadguy!). He wants to join a high society gentleman's club called the White Hats. So he takes on the identity of Madame Frou Frou for... no real or discernable reason, the writers just wanted to retell a bunch of transmisogynistic jokes. He fulfills the "Dude in a Dress" trope to a T all the way to the point where the White Hats are constantly sexually harassing the Frou Frou character.

Like groping her ass and stuff. All the while alluding to the fact that they want to "Dance" with her. Insert eyebrow wiggle and lewd grin here.

At one point the protagonist rips off the villain's wig and none of the White Hats are willing to accept that he's a guy. Snatcher leaves the White Hat Party and attacks the Box Troll village in smeared makeup and eyes full of rage in a "Crazed Tranny" stereotype.

Then when it's all said and done, Frou Frou is revealed to be Snatcher and the White Hats fall all over themselves about how they were deceived and regret what they "Did" with him and... basically it's the Ace Ventura transmisogyny sequence where everyone spits and vomits and screams because "Einhorn is a Man!"

If I had walked into that theatre and been exposed to that in a kids movie I would have been devastated. I would have been crying and angry and very likely stormed the desk to give the theatre a piece of my mind for displaying that kind of rampant anti-trans sentiment... A sentiment that exists in games I have played and thrown out when I got to that point.

Had the review included that I never would have purchased the game and supported a development team who espoused such hateful rhetoric as a "Joke" wherein my existence is the punchline.

And yeah. Blame the Producers for tying bonuses to scores, not the people choosing the scores based on the quality of the game in total... including it's story.

Noted, and I didn't say that it shouldn't be mentioned in a review, just that it shouldn't be the dominant portion of the review.  For an example, look at Polygon's review of Dragon's Crown.  The review talks about what the game is mostly about - the gameplay and mechanics.  However, it still has a box calling out the game for having quite a few sexist tropes and character designs, which put the writer off.  Essentially, it lets the reader get a good view of what the game is like, and then puts the things that are likely controversial and very subjective - moreso than a normal review, at least - in a place where it's not constantly in the reader's face, but the reader can take a look and see if it's something that would put them off of the game because it's something they care about, or something that they can ignore if it's not relevant to their interests.  Contrast that to the site's Bayonetta 2 review, which has so many references to the character's sexual nature that there's no way to avoid or ignore it while reading the review, and the constant negative tone towards one aspect of the game makes the review as a whole hard to read without getting a negative impression of the game, even though the rest of the review and the score itself are rather positive.