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Author Topic: Gamergate  (Read 4517 times)

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Offline Shjade

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #100 on: October 31, 2014, 06:29:44 PM »
She came in talking about how terrible games are to women, and saying how she's been a gamer all her life and how she's seen this first hand since forever. Yet before Kickstarter she was giving speeches in her classes about how she doesn't play games because they're icky and involve shooting people.

She's a liar. She's a crook. She's a cheat. She also has nothing to do with GamerGate or ethics in journalism, but she hopped on the bandwagon the moment something started taking focus away from her Professional Victimhood.

If we assume this is true, that when she mentioned in a class that she doesn't play games because they're icky and violent she meant she never has and never would play games (rather than, say, she doesn't play games right now because the majority of them are games she doesn't like, an assessment that suggests she's been playing games up to this point to notice the trend going in a direction that doesn't appeal to her away from, say, nonviolent platformers or puzzle games), it indicates she's a liar.

Where is your evidence of her being a crook or a cheat? Even if she's lying about being a gamer, you don't have to be a gamer to assess and critique games, which is all she's said she would do and, indeed, is what she has done. What's illegal about that, exactly?

Also, what did she do to you, personally, to get you so upset about this?

Related: how do you feel about Milo, who openly insulted gamers within a couple months of GamerGate starting and then, suddenly, had a change of heart and "sympathizes" with gamers and their cause? Is he also a liar, a crook and a cheat jumping on an opportunity, or is that obviously legit and I shouldn't question him because he "apologized" and clearly is sincere about wanting to help gamers now?

Offline Slywyn

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #101 on: October 31, 2014, 07:25:48 PM »
The comments on anything feminism justify feminism. How apt a quote.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #102 on: October 31, 2014, 08:47:26 PM »
You know what's really sad about this Gamergate thing?  That it took over 20 years to realize that game developers have been getting death threats and that's wrong.  And yes, it's been over 20 years.  And Ms. Quinn and all them have not been the first.  I remember reading about Nintendo's execs getting hate MAIL.  As in SNAIL MAIL.  That's how far back it goes.  And a couple of months ago, I remember reading how another game developer (male, mind you, as if that's less important) talking about internet bullying targeting them and him in particular.

With the huffle and buffle that Gamergate's so-called misogyny that smoke screens everything, and how women are yet again victims and we men (especially us male gamers) must pay for every crime ever committed real or imagined on women for the rest of our lives, and if we protest, claiming that we're not the ones making these threats, we're accused of colluding with these very same perpetrators.  When in reality it's a very small subsection of any community that cry for attention like that.

Here's the thing.  Journalistic Integrity IS at the core here.  Because a lot of us gamers, myself included, go to game reviews to help us with our purchases.  The sad part of it is, is that a lot of reviewers are on a payroll of some sort.  Gamespot's firing of Jeff Gerstmann back in 2007 is proof that bribery in the industry is common (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Gerstmann), and now with Youtube and the instant gratification that comes up makes the relatively poor (as in financially) Youtuber community easy pickings.

There was, recently, a game you may have heard about, Shadows of Mordor?  Well, John Bain AKA TotalBiscuit recently outed what their PR department wanted reviewers to do to get a review copy.  Here's a link to a Forbes article that covers it:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/10/08/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-paid-branding-deals-should-have-gamergate-up-in-arms/

And the issue is that now, we (those of us poor slobs who actually use reviews) can no longer trust any positive review, simply because we don't know which ones are being bribed, and which aren't.  Because Youtube and various gamer sites are 'not professional' they do not have to disclose anything about whatever practices they get/use to get copies of games to review.  This is utter bullpucky, and I for one am mad that Sarkeesian and Friends have co-opted YET AGAIN another discussion and refocused it on the wrong topic.

And worse, a lot of people are buying it.  We gamers are so easily shamed.  We're still that sad, shy bunch of teenagers in older bodies (some older than others) that went to video games because the real world didn't understand us, and still doesn't want to.  And because video games are considered games by most of the public, and hence toys for children not grown adults, we still use it as a badge of defiance or hide it behind closed doors.  We try all sorts of silly things, like trying to make gaming into 'art', because unlike the board games that the video kind are closer related to, Art is taken 'seriously'.  But at the end of the day, make us feel bad about what we do for fun, relaxation and recreation, and we cave.  We always cave.

Sad part of it is, everyone games.  Gaming, whether it's with cards, board games, sports or electronic mediums, we play as we always have, and we should never feel ashamed for it.  I game, and I'm glad I do.  And you know what?  I'm glad you do to!

Offline Shjade

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #103 on: October 31, 2014, 10:39:21 PM »
And the issue is that now, we (those of us poor slobs who actually use reviews) can no longer trust any positive review, simply because we don't know which ones are being bribed, and which aren't.

According to some I've spoken to, you can't trust negative reviews either. See also Polygon's Bayonetta 2 and Tropico 5 reviews.

I'm just wondering why GG is organizing email campaigns against game journalism site advertisers and not, say, WB for that Shadows of Mordor issue. Or major publishers and their PR firms in general, given those are the source of this problem (along with, of course, consumers, who are the reason an 8/10 is a FAILURE score rather than a pretty good score).

To put it another way: game reviewers didn't end up in this position all on their own.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #104 on: October 31, 2014, 10:57:06 PM »
Eh...  Polygon's an odd duck.  Lately they've been allowing their politics to influence their game reviews (It started with the Dragon's Crown bash, and even tainted their GTA5 review.  Like why doesn't the latter have a female protagonist.  GTA5 with a female protagonist that would be seen as a positive move?  Do you have any idea what you DO in a Grand Theft game?  GRAND THEFT, and you want a 'positive' portrayal of a woman who will likely be as big a crook as those the game sets on you?  Really?  Really?) and it makes it hard for me to take them seriously, but you know what?

I'm tired of this.  Gamergate, Feminism, politics.  I remember a time when games were about having fun.  And you know what's funny?  It wasn't that long ago, I think...  2010, was the turning point, where gaming suddenly got this 'sooper srs' vibe all of a sudden, where big things were meant to be from Gaming.  And frankly, I want it to stop.  Games are meant to be played, not dissected according to some moral compass some of us suddenly sprouted.  If you don't like a game, then don't buy it.  That will, ironically, mean more than screeching about it on forums or at mates.

I just want us all, everyone who plays a game, any game, from Candy Crush Saga to Call of Duty to WoW to any other game you can think of or mention, to just sit down and HAVE FUN playing our games of choice, to not be bothered by those who would bully us again, to not care that the game you love is not my game.  We are all gamers, and we are all here to have fun.

Offline Shjade

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #105 on: October 31, 2014, 11:22:01 PM »
Couldn't you make the same argument for movies? Music? Plays? Dance routines?

"You're just supposed to enjoy it! Stop taking it so seriously!"

Pretty to think so, but doesn't wash.

Offline Slywyn

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #106 on: November 01, 2014, 12:08:02 AM »
"Games are art, respect them!"

"Don't criticize games, they're just for fun!"

You cannot have both. They are incompatible.

You want games to be respected? Okay, cool, awesome.

But don't complain about people caring about 'politics' and 'feminism' and 'critique'.

These things come with respect.

Games have to mature as a medium before people will accept them as a respected hobby, pasttime, even job for the lucky few. This critique comes with that.

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Re: Gamergate
« Reply #107 on: November 01, 2014, 01:56:32 AM »
There is some art that is meant to be critiqued, and some art that is meant just for fun.  Otherwise, there would never be art that is meant to be critiqued, because no one would want to make it.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #108 on: November 01, 2014, 02:24:56 AM »
And frankly, I want it to stop.  Games are meant to be played, not dissected according to some moral compass some of us suddenly sprouted.  If you don't like a game, then don't buy it.  That will, ironically, mean more than screeching about it on forums or at mates.

I'm glad that you can just play games and enjoy them, without having to face characters like yourself being mocked, misrepresented or ignored. We don't all have that luxury however.

I can imagine that being surrounded by negativity when you go on gaming forums would be annoying. This is something that a lot of us have faced a lot longer than since 2010 however, with online gaming sites continually calling unpopular games or players "gay".

Thankfully, the "screeching" that we've been forced to adopt in order to get some attention to these issues has been somewhat successful. Thanks to the change in atmosphere, I've been able to have games like Dragon Age, Skyrim or the Sims offer things like optional gay relationships in games. It makes playing these games much more enjoyable.

Voting with your wallet is all well and good, but you can only buy the games that are released. When even these optional features draw backlash and controversy from other demographics, it's hard to find developers willing to take a risk.

It's easier to take the whole "can we all just relax" stance when it's other people who are being affected, although shows of support from the general public are some of the most effective ways of developers taking those risks it's good when people who aren't affected also lend their voices to the "screeching".

If you want us all to play games instead of complaining, how about joining us? We could use some more support in getting games made for everyone, then we can all just play.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 02:26:43 AM by Caehlim »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #109 on: November 01, 2014, 02:41:27 AM »
"Games are art, respect them!"

"Don't criticize games, they're just for fun!"

You cannot have both. They are incompatible.

You want games to be respected? Okay, cool, awesome.

But don't complain about people caring about 'politics' and 'feminism' and 'critique'.

These things come with respect.

Games have to mature as a medium before people will accept them as a respected hobby, pasttime, even job for the lucky few. This critique comes with that.
Look, I'm not against critiquing a game, in fact I will tear the *Beep* out the hell of several.  What I don't care for is when someone's political agenda starts to infect it.  Video Games are NOT art.  Unless of course, you're willing to put games like Checkers, Chess, Settlers of Catan et al. into the Art argument.  Getting back to the main point, the issue is that some people have unreasonable expectations when it come to some reviews, especially those with (currently) a certain political slant.  And they keep going on and on about it.  But there's a problem, they don't want a discourse or a conversation, they want to hammer you with their agenda, and anything you say against it, you get labeled (lately) a misogynist, among other nice titles.  And because it's such a hot button topic, it effectively shuts the conversation down.  This is not right.  This is not reviewing or sharing an opinion, that's soapboxing of the worst kind.  And it's a tactic long used by those who don't want to talk to you.

Critiquing should be on a game's own merits, gameplay, story, character, looks should all mesh into a fun and cohesive whole.  And sometimes, yeah, a certain character doesn't fit due to their role in the game, fine, call it out.  But at the same time, there are plenty of roles to play in a story, and not everyone is going to be positive or life affirming, and frankly they shouldn't be.

Again, if you don't like how something is portrayed, or tells the story, or whatever, don't buy it.  Screaming at the top of your lungs and then bashing everyone else who dares disagree with you, that's not how to do it.  That's the opposite of critiquing, in my experience.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 02:46:01 AM by Chris Brady »

Offline Kathadon

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #110 on: November 01, 2014, 02:53:01 AM »
Wow this storm in a teacup has even reached here huh?

*sigh*
I would not touch the arguments about who wrote about or fucked who when for what as it is none of my business.


As to critic in games I will give everyone of an old example I was given in college. A professor in a literature studies coarse spent an hour delving into the meaning an author had for describing curtains as blue. How it was a deeper example of the esoteric conflict the author had yadda yadda yadda. Basically it was a line of pseudo intellectual bull. One student actually emailed the author and asked why he described the curtains as blue. The author replied simply because they were when I envisioned the scene. No deeper meaning. No political message. Nadda.

Critics of games lately often delve into this esoteric nonsense. A recent Op-ed on the Shadows of Mordor game was patently ridiculous. http://www.polygon.com/2014/10/1/6880061/shadow-mordor-kissing-design

 There are limits on how much time and resources can be devoted to animations. Making an extra one just for this 30 second tutorial only to be used here is silly and takes away from more important things like gameplay. Yet the author of this piece felt it necessary to devote an entire op-ed to how this delved into a woman in refrigerator trope.

" Itís even worse when a designer actually conflates the two contexts as Shadow of Mordor does, saying that a sneaky kiss and a stealth kill are the same, that one is training for the other. In doing so, it throws away any possibility of real emotional relation to your in-game-characterís wife.We donít kiss our loved ones in the same way we kill our enemies, games should know that."

Then he goes on about how cinema does things and how games should do it that way. And I want to throw my hands up in frustration. Cinema and literature are two very different mediums from video games. Using the same judgment metric on them is doing a disservice to video games. In cinema and literature you see only what the author wants you to see. Every actor does as the writer has written every time. Every scene in a movie the camera pans just as the director said it should every time. If you want to critic the cutscenes based on cinema, fine. But gameplay is different. The player is why.

In my opinion video games are closer to music than cinema. As in music the composer writes down his score on paper just as a developer writes down their code into a program. Is the sheet music art? Yes it is, but do we think of it that way? No. Just as we do not think of the game's code as art. But it is. And just like music when one sits down and begins to play that score or that game you become both the performer and the audience. Just like in music a player can adjust his performance to his own skill, his own desires, even his own mood. If I want to play a song loudly and angrily it will show in my performance. Just as if I want to play Skyrim and murder everyone I see. If I want to relax and take it easy it will show in how I play a song. It would even show in how I play Super Mario Bros. or Call of Duty. If I suck at piano I will miss chords. The same as if I suck in LoL I will lose lives.

 It becomes even more true when you think of an orchestra and a MMO. What happens if a violinist is having a bad day in an orchestra? Could they carry the performance with her missing a chord? Yes you could hear it, but it could be done. The same as when you have to carry a newbie through a raid.

Criticing games is too subjective for the typical style I have seen over the past few years. It needs to include bits of cinema, literature, and music. But somewhere along the way the professionals have forgotten that. They insist on criticizing the story or art style often through a lense of identity politics as well. Ignoring the performance and ludonarrative. The gameplay. I feel we need to get back to judging a game on all three.


Offline Caehlim

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #111 on: November 01, 2014, 03:22:15 AM »
A professor in a literature studies coarse spent an hour delving into the meaning an author had for describing curtains as blue. How it was a deeper example of the esoteric conflict the author had yadda yadda yadda. Basically it was a line of pseudo intellectual bull. One student actually emailed the author and asked why he described the curtains as blue. The author replied simply because they were when I envisioned the scene. No deeper meaning. No political message. Nadda.

Oh god yes, as an English minor I've suffered through that exact scene. (Although the story you're quoting is older than you suggest, it wasn't an email back when that story first started.)

Quote
Critics of games lately often delve into this esoteric nonsense.

I call this the "getting paid by the word" effect. The best part is, you write an article like this and then when someone else writes an argument against it you get to write a rebuttal. It's how literature courses continue to run from year to year. It's like the old joke that a small town has no work for one lawyer, but plenty of work for two. Applies just as well to academics and freelance writers.

Quote
They insist on criticizing the story or art style often through a lense of identity politics as well.

The story is hardly everything in a game, and focusing on it to the exclusion of gameplay or not addressing it as an interactive story is clearly not doing the unique elements of gaming credit. However if a game has included a story, then it's a valid target for informed criticism. Much like one could address a problem that existed solely with the gameplay. Dealing with the synthesis of story and game is obviously superior, but a fault in either is worth mentioning. Nor do I see why a lens of identity politics is an inappropriate critical view.

Quote
Ignoring the performance and ludonarrative.

I love the word ludonarrative. I need to find an excuse to use this term more often.

Offline Kathadon

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #112 on: November 01, 2014, 04:40:30 AM »
Oh god yes, as an English minor I've suffered through that exact scene. (Although the story you're quoting is older than you suggest, it wasn't an email back when that story first started.)

True, but I did not want to show my age by saying letter. Playing to a younger audience and all. ;D
I call this the "getting paid by the word" effect. The best part is, you write an article like this and then when someone else writes an argument against it you get to write a rebuttal. It's how literature courses continue to run from year to year. It's like the old joke that a small town has no work for one lawyer, but plenty of work for two. Applies just as well to academics and freelance writers.

See now for some of the recent controversy I think it is more click bait. These young writers, many of which do not have degrees in journalism, are mainly freelance. Putting up stuff like this in a review of a game instead of an op-ed for instance:http://www.polygon.com/2014/10/13/6957677/bayonetta-2-review-wii-u

" Less positive is the same exaggerated sexualization that hung heavy around the last game's neck. I'll forgive the high heels and the exaggerated proportions, if only because there's so many other things to criticize. Bayonetta's new outfit delivers bold new developments in revealing clothing with the introduction of diamond cutouts on the ass of her jumpsuit, creating what I can only refer to as "under-butt" cleavage. When standing in place her shoulders are bent back to point her chest at ... whatever."

Is it okay? Sure in an op-ed. In a review the ludonarrative of the game means far more than the art style of the character, right? I would say yes, or else we should have a real discussion about Minecraft. She is a female power fantasy killing angels and demons. Could you imagine what a Christian reviewer might take away from that?

"You are a witch serving hell, so much of the violence in this game takes place against god's angels! Yes, you heard this reviewer correctly: In Bayonetta, you murder and torture angels. The torture comes in when you perform special moves, and (NOTICE: Please do not allow any children to read the following description, as it is extremely graphic!) at points she will become nude and cause a guillotine or other medieval torture implement such as a boulder or spinning wheel to appear and brutally murder the angel while laughing, causing blood, urine, and excrement to spray everywhere (even dripping down the screen at points). Even more shocking...she also spanks the angels with a paddle before murdering them.
 
This is one of the most horrible displays this reviewer has ever seen."

I (hope)  that is from a satirical site. Yet it could be a valid criticism in a review also. Would you click on it? Not your thing, right? But if I say a game is sexist? Or even more strongly misogynistic? Well it draws in clicks from folks like there is no tomorrow, especially right now. My point being in the current environment how much of this outrage is real, and how much is manufactured to generate more clicks (and more money) for those involved?

The story is hardly everything in a game, and focusing on it to the exclusion of gameplay or not addressing it as an interactive story is clearly not doing the unique elements of gaming credit. However if a game has included a story, then it's a valid target for informed criticism. Much like one could address a problem that existed solely with the gameplay. Dealing with the synthesis of story and game is obviously superior, but a fault in either is worth mentioning. Nor do I see why a lens of identity politics is an inappropriate critical view.

I love the word ludonarrative. I need to find an excuse to use this term more often.

On this we agree, and I would wonder how do you feel about generic sandbox games protagonist storytelling? Take Dragon Age or Skyrim for example. You pick your character's gender, sexuality, class, race to which that world defines those available anyway. Now which of those choices actually affects the ludonarrative? Should all games have this option to cover all the potential player's bias? Do you feel a generic character's story to be as compelling as one written for a set protagonist?
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 05:04:48 AM by Kathadon »

Offline Caehlim

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #113 on: November 01, 2014, 06:10:44 AM »
Is it okay? Sure in an op-ed.

I'm honestly not sure how a review can really be more objective than an op-ed piece. By it's very nature it's a subjective medium, about the only way we get useful information from it is either through meta-analysis and averaging a large number of sources or through selectively choosing reviewers whose taste we have come to trust or by sticking to a publication that endorses our own political and aesthetic values. Some gaming magazines attempt a more structured format, with specific scores for gameplay, art, whatever other elements they feel are worthy of discussion. These categories are still rather arbitrary, but at least in that case we can definitively say whether a review fits the format.

Quote
In a review the ludonarrative of the game means far more than the art style of the character, right? I would say yes, or else we should have a real discussion about Minecraft.


The artstyle is one of the mediums through which the game expresses its narrative. Comic book writers who have sufficient discretion over their publication are careful to select an artist whose style compliments the story that they've written (Neil Gaiman in particularly did this quite frequently). If the art is irrelevant to the game, then there's no reason that Bayonetta needs to be depicted in such a manner and it could as easily be changed to something less offensive. I would actually argue myself though that the style of Bayonetta is deliberately provocative and has artistic merit as part of its exploration of the nature of power fantasies. (Not 100% sure of this because I haven't actually played Bayonetta, but this is the impression I've picked up from the snippets of the game I've seen). I think it does the art designers of a game a disservice though to act as though their work doesn't carry an important part of the game.

Judging Minecraft for its art I think is mistaking production value with communicated message. Also one could argue that Minecraft (in addition to conserving computer resources and the work schedule of what was originally a solo designer) uses a stylistic choice to express the game's theme of building complexity from simple things.

Quote
She is a female power fantasy killing angels and demons. Could you imagine what a Christian reviewer might take away from that?

Their opinion would probably be quite valid to a reasonably sized area of the public, although perhaps one not traditionally associated with video games as a key demographic. If I read a review written from a hardcore Christian perspective then I would probably avoid further reviews from the same source/reviewer because it's not useful to me, however I'm sure it would be useful information to other Christians considering the game's suitability to their value system.

Quote
My point being in the current environment how much of this outrage is real, and how much is manufactured to generate more clicks (and more money) for those involved?

People wouldn't be clicking on it if there wasn't at least some interest, if not necessarily on the part of the media producer then perhaps on the audience. I've no doubt that for many writers, financial concerns are dominant but this is true for any form of media. However this couldn't continue if the audience didn't have some interest in the discussion, especially when it's motivated financially. Of course it's a self-perpetuating cycle with the media also working to create an interest and it spins out in complex ways.

However I think it would likely be some form of fallacy to judge whether a claim is correct or not based on the motives of its creator. The idea can be judged on its own merits.

Quote
On this we agree, and I would wonder how do you feel about generic sandbox games protagonist storytelling? Take Dragon Age or Skyrim for example. You pick your character's gender, sexuality, class, race to which that world defines those available anyway. Now which of those choices actually affects the ludonarrative? Should all games have this option to cover all the potential player's bias? Do you feel a generic character's story to be as compelling as one written for a set protagonist?

I could go on at length on this one, it's a very interesting question with a lot to cover. However I'll try to keep it simple for the sake of the thread.

I particularly enjoy games in the open sandbox style because they offer a very self-motivated and directed play-style with an ability to create your own story. However unless they put a disproportionate amount of effort into the programming and design it will never be able to compete with the story for a set protagonist in a different game. As such I play a bit of a mix. I certainly don't think all games should have this option, that would really diminish the storytelling potential of games. However if you are going to go with this option, then you should go all out and cater to as diverse a range of possibilities as possible (within limits of programming, writing dialogue, art design, etc).

What I would really like to see is a proportional representation of set protagonist games with characters who... to put it simply aren't straight white males (let alone the other cliches). I do understand the difficulties of this, if the general population won't buy it then you can't afford the developing costs and games are made and sold on their own, not as part of a set. However it's frustrating that gay people are 10% of the population (let's say for sake of argument, I don't have the exact numbers) and are only represented as the set protagonist in... one game? (Persona 4). It would be nicer to see 90% of games tailored to straight content and 10% toward gay to achieve equal representation.

Without serious changes to our economic system that's unlikely to happen any time soon, although I would like to see some work going into achieving this. Either through designing games that can appeal to mass audiences while still achieving representation or through changing the social zeitgeist so that straight people feel comfortable exploring a world through a gay avatar without fearing about their sexuality. This will require talking about the issue to figure out how to do this. Possibly in a game like GTA V, you could include a single gay character amongst multiple set protagonists so that it's less confronting since it lacks that concentration.

To be honest I'm not sure how this would be achieved, but I think it's something that we should try to achieve. However I doubt that the gaming industry will spearhead this development, it's more likely to happen slowly through television and other more developed and less interactive medias and then gradually enter into the gaming world.

Offline Melusine

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #114 on: November 01, 2014, 07:31:04 AM »
Eh...  Polygon's an odd duck.  Lately they've been allowing their politics to influence their game reviews (It started with the Dragon's Crown bash, and even tainted their GTA5 review.  Like why doesn't the latter have a female protagonist.  GTA5 with a female protagonist that would be seen as a positive move?  Do you have any idea what you DO in a Grand Theft game?  GRAND THEFT, and you want a 'positive' portrayal of a woman who will likely be as big a crook as those the game sets on you?  Really?  Really?) and it makes it hard for me to take them seriously, but you know what?

I don't see why having a female character who is a criminal would be such a bad move. Women are people, after all, and they can be law-abiding, crooks, good, or evil. They did it in Saints Row, and nobody complained.

I'm tired of this.  Gamergate, Feminism, politics.  I remember a time when games were about having fun.  And you know what's funny?  It wasn't that long ago, I think...  2010, was the turning point, where gaming suddenly got this 'sooper srs' vibe all of a sudden, where big things were meant to be from Gaming.  And frankly, I want it to stop.  Games are meant to be played, not dissected according to some moral compass some of us suddenly sprouted.  If you don't like a game, then don't buy it.  That will, ironically, mean more than screeching about it on forums or at mates.

I just want us all, everyone who plays a game, any game, from Candy Crush Saga to Call of Duty to WoW to any other game you can think of or mention, to just sit down and HAVE FUN playing our games of choice, to not be bothered by those who would bully us again, to not care that the game you love is not my game.  We are all gamers, and we are all here to have fun.

Oh wow. You're tired of this? Really? Let me tell you what I'm tired of. I'm tired of games where I have nobody to identify with. I'm tired of games where instead of the hero, I'm the love interest who either dies to give the actual hero a motivation, or gets handed to him as a consolation prize in the end. I'm tired of games where the only reflection of my self is a scantily-clad, posing woman who's just there as masturbation fodder. And God, I'm so damn glad for this turning point that you mention, when games stopped catering to A SINGLE DEMOGRAPHIC and started expanding. Things are still far from perfect, though.

It's amazingly easy to "have fun" when you're on top of the fucking food chain and everything caters to YOU. Listen, when people ask for more queer or female or non-white protagonists, they're not doing it out of some arbitrary "political" sense. These politics that you mention, since you have the luxury to be so abstract about them, are our LIVES and EXPERIENCES. If you don't like how games are changing, I direct you to your own advice. If you don't like a game, don't buy it. And if you don't like how games are growing up and becoming art, what can I say? Tough fucking shit.

"We're all gamers"? Stop waving this around like some grand argument that's going to convince me. I'm a gamer too, and what I want is the opposite of what you want. You're not speaking for me. I suffer more from the bullying coming from my "fellow players", than I do from these clueless articles declaring "gamers are dead". If I'm paying for the games I play, I want to be fucking represented in them. I want to be the fucking hero and have my power fantasy, because I deserve it. End of story.

« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 07:33:29 AM by Melusine »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Gamergate
« Reply #115 on: November 01, 2014, 09:04:13 AM »
Edit: Fuck.  Ill judged rant deleted.  I'm civil, Staff, I am.



« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 09:05:43 AM by Kythia »

Offline Kathadon

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #116 on: November 01, 2014, 11:20:52 AM »
I'm honestly not sure how a review can really be more objective than an op-ed piece. By it's very nature it's a subjective medium, about the only way we get useful information from it is either through meta-analysis and averaging a large number of sources or through selectively choosing reviewers whose taste we have come to trust or by sticking to a publication that endorses our own political and aesthetic values. Some gaming magazines attempt a more structured format, with specific scores for gameplay, art, whatever other elements they feel are worthy of discussion. These categories are still rather arbitrary, but at least in that case we can definitively say whether a review fits the format.

Bravo. You hit the nail on the head very well here. Reviews are subjective, but for an entirely different reason than an op-ed. A review is not to tell me if the reviewer sees something as a problem, but whether I as the consumer will. They in essence have to be objective not to the medium, but to their audience. That is my major takeaway between the two different formats.

 Personally I believe we should do away with the rating system for games entirely as the metrics are too subjective to quantify into numbers or stars or whatever. Including the ESRB but that will never happen.
 
The artstyle is one of the mediums through which the game expresses its narrative. Comic book writers who have sufficient discretion over their publication are careful to select an artist whose style compliments the story that they've written (Neil Gaiman in particularly did this quite frequently). If the art is irrelevant to the game, then there's no reason that Bayonetta needs to be depicted in such a manner and it could as easily be changed to something less offensive. I would actually argue myself though that the style of Bayonetta is deliberately provocative and has artistic merit as part of its exploration of the nature of power fantasies. (Not 100% sure of this because I haven't actually played Bayonetta, but this is the impression I've picked up from the snippets of the game I've seen). I think it does the art designers of a game a disservice though to act as though their work doesn't carry an important part of the game.

Judging Minecraft for its art I think is mistaking production value with communicated message. Also one could argue that Minecraft (in addition to conserving computer resources and the work schedule of what was originally a solo designer) uses a stylistic choice to express the game's theme of building complexity from simple things.

Well in your critic of Bayonetta we are completely in agreement. I too see the character as a deliberately provocative in an attempt to show a woman's sexuality as empowering. Which I feel is lacking from many of the current arguments around the subject currently in games. Power fantasies go both ways after all, and a heavily sexualised male figure is little different than a heavily sexualized female one. This point is often brought up in MMO's especially when it comes to options for clothing on female avatars. Everyone likes their PC to "look cool." Just as I feel Mount Your Friends, a campy game that I have never seen anyone shave points from a review off for its art style, is meant to invert the male empowerment fantasy by lampooning the typical tropes with humor.  http://www.giantbomb.com/mount-your-friends/3030-43242/

Which bring my argument full circle. What makes one "problematic" and the other not an issue is the current environment. Many critics have decided that female sexuality is only for the male audience's titillation. When in the same breath they will go out of their way to remind us that half of the video game player base is now women. Am I the only one that finds that juxtaposition troubling? I would have assumed that they would have been praising a strong female lead protagonist to high heaven. Instead some have  for lack of a better term "slut shamed" the character.
Their opinion would probably be quite valid to a reasonably sized area of the public, although perhaps one not traditionally associated with video games as a key demographic. If I read a review written from a hardcore Christian perspective then I would probably avoid further reviews from the same source/reviewer because it's not useful to me, however I'm sure it would be useful information to other Christians considering the game's suitability to their value system.

People wouldn't be clicking on it if there wasn't at least some interest, if not necessarily on the part of the media producer then perhaps on the audience. I've no doubt that for many writers, financial concerns are dominant but this is true for any form of media. However this couldn't continue if the audience didn't have some interest in the discussion, especially when it's motivated financially. Of course it's a self-perpetuating cycle with the media also working to create an interest and it spins out in complex ways.

However I think it would likely be some form of fallacy to judge whether a claim is correct or not based on the motives of its creator. The idea can be judged on its own merits.

You are correct that this could not continue if it was not of some interest to the audience of these sites. Which I believe is Gamergate's point in boycotting them. Say what you will about their "tactics", but I see all of this as a market correction. A particularly loud,  ugly, and dangerous market correction from a lot of  people with limited social skills. Their theory is sound. If there are more of them then the sites will fold or change to cater to their desires. If not then they will have to move on and find new sites.

I could go on at length on this one, it's a very interesting question with a lot to cover. However I'll try to keep it simple for the sake of the thread.

Perhaps a discussion on game theory should be saved for PM's or  in it's own thread. As it is off topic and this current debate is full of highly emotionally charged issues.

Offline Melusine

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #117 on: November 01, 2014, 11:40:43 AM »
Well in your critic of Bayonetta we are completely in agreement. I too see the character as a deliberately provocative in an attempt to show a woman's sexuality as empowering. Which I feel is lacking from many of the current arguments around the subject currently in games. Power fantasies go both ways after all, and a heavily sexualised male figure is little different than a heavily sexualized female one. This point is often brought up in MMO's especially when it comes to options for clothing on female avatars. Everyone likes their PC to "look cool." Just as I feel Mount Your Friends, a campy game that I have never seen anyone shave points from a review off for its art style, is meant to invert the male empowerment fantasy by lampooning the typical tropes with humor.  http://www.giantbomb.com/mount-your-friends/3030-43242/

Which bring my argument full circle. What makes one "problematic" and the other not an issue is the current environment. Many critics have decided that female sexuality is only for the male audience's titillation. When in the same breath they will go out of their way to remind us that half of the video game player base is now women. Am I the only one that finds that juxtaposition troubling? I would have assumed that they would have been praising a strong female lead protagonist to high heaven. Instead some have  for lack of a better term "slut shamed" the character.

Something I feel should be pointed out: there's a difference between pointing out how a female character is sexualized, and slut shaming them. The thing is, the character is not an actual woman. She doesn't have agency, or independent thought. She has a creator and she's targeted to a demographic, and very often (though not always) these two are both male. When people criticize Bayonetta's (or any other character's) clothes, they're not calling her a slut, they're critiquing how she's being made to pander to male gamers. In Bayonetta's case, her designer is a woman, but the game's creator is a man, so he must have some input on the character design.

There is room for female characters whose design (and provocative clothing) can be taken as a cue for them being sexually empowered, but it's a difficult thing to do in my opinion, especially when the sexy clothes go hand to hand with upskirts and zoom-ins on the woman's sexy bits. Sexualisation is more than sexy clothing.

Also, sexy clothing doesn't equal sexual empowerment. Is the female character in question assured and confident with her sexuality? Is she in control in her interactions with romantic/sexual partners? Is she aware of her body and her desires? These are more important signs of empowerment, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 11:42:00 AM by Melusine »

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Re: Gamergate
« Reply #118 on: November 01, 2014, 11:46:31 AM »
I don't see why having a female character who is a criminal would be such a bad move. Women are people, after all, and they can be law-abiding, crooks, good, or evil. They did it in Saints Row, and nobody complained.

Oh wow. You're tired of this? Really? Let me tell you what I'm tired of. I'm tired of games where I have nobody to identify with. I'm tired of games where instead of the hero, I'm the love interest who either dies to give the actual hero a motivation, or gets handed to him as a consolation prize in the end. I'm tired of games where the only reflection of my self is a scantily-clad, posing woman who's just there as masturbation fodder. And God, I'm so damn glad for this turning point that you mention, when games stopped catering to A SINGLE DEMOGRAPHIC and started expanding. Things are still far from perfect, though.

It's amazingly easy to "have fun" when you're on top of the fucking food chain and everything caters to YOU. Listen, when people ask for more queer or female or non-white protagonists, they're not doing it out of some arbitrary "political" sense. These politics that you mention, since you have the luxury to be so abstract about them, are our LIVES and EXPERIENCES. If you don't like how games are changing, I direct you to your own advice. If you don't like a game, don't buy it. And if you don't like how games are growing up and becoming art, what can I say? Tough fucking shit.

"We're all gamers"? Stop waving this around like some grand argument that's going to convince me. I'm a gamer too, and what I want is the opposite of what you want. You're not speaking for me. I suffer more from the bullying coming from my "fellow players", than I do from these clueless articles declaring "gamers are dead". If I'm paying for the games I play, I want to be fucking represented in them. I want to be the fucking hero and have my power fantasy, because I deserve it. End of story.

I think what Chris Brady is saying is that a lot of us male gamers just love playing games, and love others who enjoy games (male or female).  For example, here on E, I have met a good handful of female friends I play co-op with on Steam and various MMOs, and I used to have a female friend on here that I played CoD with on PS3.  At least in my case, I was friends with these women, and I'd wager that many other male gamers have good female friends they also play with.  The idea that any decent person (male or female) would bully someone over games is literally beyond comprehension to many of us.  Rather than it being a gender issue, I think this bullying is more emblematic of a lack of maturity, and a lack of respect for others. 

The conversations I have had while playing were about the game itself.  We joked about stuff, had a good time - setting aside these volatile issues for the time being.  There is a lot of fun to be had with video games, and constantly bringing up these topics in situations where it can't even make a difference (like creating divisions between male and female gamers), achieves little in the way of male and female gamers being able to laugh together and have a good time.  Things need to change in video games, no doubt, but there's no sense in fighting.

I think game developer's perspective provides a perspective I agree with on this issue. 


Offline Kushiel

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #119 on: November 01, 2014, 11:59:05 AM »
I don't think you understood Melusine's arguments, Valthazar. What you're saying isn't really relevant to what you've quoted.

Offline Melusine

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #120 on: November 01, 2014, 12:10:56 PM »
I think what Chris Brady is saying is that a lot of us male gamers just love playing games, and love others who enjoy games (male or female).  For example, here on E, I have met a good handful of female friends I play co-op with on Steam and various MMOs, and I used to have a female friend on here that I played CoD with on PS3.  At least in my case, I was friends with these women, and I'd wager that many other male gamers have good female friends they also play with.  The idea that any decent person (male or female) would bully someone over games is literally beyond comprehension to many of us.  Rather than it being a gender issue, I think this bullying is more emblematic of a lack of maturity, and a lack of respect for others. 

The conversations I have had while playing were about the game itself.  We joked about stuff, had a good time - setting aside these volatile issues for the time being.  There is a lot of fun to be had with video games, and constantly bringing up these topics in situations where it can't even make a difference (like creating divisions between male and female gamers), achieves little in the way of male and female gamers being able to laugh together and have a good time.  Things need to change in video games, no doubt, but there's no sense in fighting.

I think game developer's perspective provides a perspective I agree with on this issue. 



What Chris Brady is saying is that he doesn't care about politics, and he'd rather play a game without having to think about shit like equal representation, or discrimination, or stuff like that. That's his prerogative, and he most likely has the luxury to do that, because he'd seen people like him being the heroes in games all his life.

I don't have that luxury. I don't get to "not care" because when I see sexism in games, it fucking hurts my soul. And believe me, I don't talk about these issues all the time. I play games with male and female friends, and I'm having a good time, and I'm not constantly bringing up such issues. But this is a thread where we talk about this issue. Am I not supposed to talk about it, not even now? When the fuck am I supposed to talk about it then?

There's no sense in fighting? Fighting is sadly inevitable in my opinion. You read what Chris Brady said - he's tired of feminism and politics in games. I want more feminism and more politics in games. Our goals are completely opposite, and each view has tons of supporters. There's going to be some ideological conflict about that, don't you think? There already is.

Offline Kathadon

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #121 on: November 01, 2014, 12:21:46 PM »
Something I feel should be pointed out: there's a difference between pointing out how a female character is sexualized, and slut shaming them. The thing is, the character is not an actual woman. She doesn't have agency, or independent thought. She has a creator and she's targeted to a demographic, and very often (though not always) these two are both male. When people criticize Bayonetta's (or any other character's) clothes, they're not calling her a slut, they're critiquing how she's being made to pander to male gamers. In Bayonetta's case, her designer is a woman, but the game's creator is a man, so he must have some input on the character design.

As opposed to how she might be pandering to female gamer's power fantasies? Why the current focus on how a protagonist panders to one half of the audience compared to another, other than as I theorise to generate controversy? On average I do not see, granted as a man, the difference between Bayonetta and Dante from DMC.


There is room for female characters whose design (and provocative clothing) can be taken as a cue for them being sexually empowered, but it's a difficult thing to do in my opinion, especially when the sexy clothes go hand to hand with upskirts and zoom-ins on the woman's sexy bits. Sexualisation is more than sexy clothing.

If I may say men have a habit of showing off their sexy bits a lot less in general attire both in real life and video games. We can all admire a handsome man in a suit, but it does cover everything. Same as we can admire a handsome man going shirtless. There has been a concerted effort to provide for the "female gaze" like the above image in video games recently. I in particularly remember a scene in one of the Metal Gear games playing as a naked ninja trying to cover his dangly bits as he snuck through an enemy base. He even did flips and cartwheels. :o

And I agree sexualization is far more than sexy clothing. A bimbo is a bimbo no matter if she is in power armor or an evening dress. Yet I cannot think for the life of me of a stereotypical bimbo in a game outside of background NPC's. Could you provide an example?

Also, sexy clothing doesn't equal sexual empowerment. Is the female character in question assured and confident with her sexuality? Is she in control in her interactions with romantic/sexual partners? Is she aware of her body and her desires? These are more important signs of empowerment, in my opinion.

All very true and thank you for that input. I answer your last few questions with your own words. "The thing is, the character is not an actual woman. She doesn't have agency, or independent thought. "

Judge for yourself how she is portrayed in the game?


Offline Melusine

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #122 on: November 01, 2014, 12:44:55 PM »
As opposed to how she might be pandering to female gamer's power fantasies? Why the current focus on how a protagonist panders to one half of the audience compared to another, other than as I theorise to generate controversy? On average I do not see, granted as a man, the difference between Bayonetta and Dante from DMC.

This is probably not the same for every woman, but I personally don't find it empowering to have a "sexy" PC. However, some women probably do. Still, my problem isn't with the sexiness, it's with the extreme sexualisation. People focus on that because being presented as a sexual object happens more often to female characters than male ones.

About Dante...I found him to be such a huge asshole he repulsed me, so...no.

If I may say men have a habit of showing off their sexy bits a lot less in general attire both in real life and video games. We can all admire a handsome man in a suit, but it does cover everything. Same as we can admire a handsome man going shirtless. There has been a concerted effort to provide for the "female gaze" like the above image in video games recently. I in particularly remember a scene in one of the Metal Gear games playing as a naked ninja trying to cover his dangly bits as he snuck through an enemy base. He even did flips and cartwheels. :o

Since Metal Gear's demographic is mostly male, I suspect Raiden's naked cartwheels were meant to be funny, not sexy. Doesn't mean I didn't appreciate them, though.  ;D Remember though, that Raiden got quite a bit of backlash for these antics, as well as for his "pretty boy" appearance.

And I agree sexualization is far more than sexy clothing. A bimbo is a bimbo no matter if she is in power armor or an evening dress. Yet I cannot think for the life of me of a stereotypical bimbo in a game outside of background NPC's. Could you provide an example?

You misunderstood. I never implied that sexualization = bimbo. Sexualization can happen to a female characters regardless of her intelligence or personality. Red Sonja for example is not a bimbo, but she's definitely sexualized.
About a PC bimbo...first one that comes to mind is Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw.

All very true and thank you for that input. I answer your last few questions with your own words. "The thing is, the character is not an actual woman. She doesn't have agency, or independent thought. "

Judge for yourself how she is portrayed in the game?



Yes, she's portrayed as an independent, tough and intelligent woman. But what does this have to do with what I said? Fictional characters don't have agency or independent thought because they're fictional. They're puppets moving on strings by their creators. I'm not undermining the empowering potential Bayonetta has as a character, but we must remember that when we're talking about how a character's clothing is their "choice".

Offline Shjade

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #123 on: November 01, 2014, 02:07:54 PM »
Look, I'm not against critiquing a game, in fact I will tear the *Beep* out the hell of several.  What I don't care for is when someone's political agenda starts to infect it.  Video Games are NOT art.  Unless of course, you're willing to put games like Checkers, Chess, Settlers of Catan et al. into the Art argument.  Getting back to the main point, the issue is that some people have unreasonable expectations when it come to some reviews, especially those with (currently) a certain political slant.  And they keep going on and on about it.  But there's a problem, they don't want a discourse or a conversation, they want to hammer you with their agenda, and anything you say against it, you get labeled (lately) a misogynist, among other nice titles.  And because it's such a hot button topic, it effectively shuts the conversation down.  This is not right.  This is not reviewing or sharing an opinion, that's soapboxing of the worst kind.  And it's a tactic long used by those who don't want to talk to you.

Again, if you don't like how something is portrayed, or tells the story, or whatever, don't buy it.  Screaming at the top of your lungs and then bashing everyone else who dares disagree with you, that's not how to do it.  That's the opposite of critiquing, in my experience.

"Video games are NOT art." Followed by three examples that...weren't designed as video games. Yeah that, uh. That's totally relevant. >.>

Chess barely has characters, no plot, no characterization. You could make a politically-based critique of it around the power differential between the King and Queen if you wanted, maybe consider why Black has to go after White, but it has FAR less material to analyze than most video games. This is not an even comparison. It's a pretty big stretch.

Second, when you started saying "some people have unreasonable expectations when it come to some reviews," I honestly thought you were talking about GG supporters. Since they're the ones shouting things like "GET POLITICS OUT OF GAMES," which is, indeed, completely unreasonable. It's also not a position that encourages discussion. There's no room for debate around "completely remove this." That's not "tone it down" or "I'd like less of this," it's a flat GTFO, which is about as open to discussion as calling someone a misogynist for disagreeing with you.

Disapproving of a game's grossly oversexualized portrayal of its main character is your right as a person and a reviewer; it's not "screaming at the top of your lungs" and it certainly isn't an insult to people who like that in their games. Portraying such a reviewer as a screaming, unreasonable person certainly doesn't do much to make you seem open to discussion on the topic, though.

As opposed to how she might be pandering to female gamer's power fantasies? Why the current focus on how a protagonist panders to one half of the audience compared to another, other than as I theorise to generate controversy? On average I do not see, granted as a man, the difference between Bayonetta and Dante from DMC.

I didn't play DMC: did Dante strip nearly naked every time he made a major attack in that game? Did the camera zoom in on his crotch, ass and pecs multiple times in every cutscene? If the answer is no, I'd say there are some pretty significant differences just from that much, and that's not even getting into looking at their personalities/posturing in combat.

"We're all gamers"? Stop waving this around like some grand argument that's going to convince me. I'm a gamer too, and what I want is the opposite of what you want. You're not speaking for me. I suffer more from the bullying coming from my "fellow players", than I do from these clueless articles declaring "gamers are dead". If I'm paying for the games I play, I want to be fucking represented in them. I want to be the fucking hero and have my power fantasy, because I deserve it. End of story.

This is easily the most obnoxious thing about GamerGate from my perspective. Even if I were so blind as to believe GG is entirely unrelated to the harassment and threats flying around the topic (I think their direct connections are less concrete than some stories make out, but come the fuck on, it's naive to say "those aren't about GG" because someone doesn't happen to use the tag the moment they're harassing someone about the same things they supported while using the tag earlier/after the fact), I'd still want GG to stop acting like they're the authority on who gamers are and what gamers want. If they were, this argument wouldn't exist. Utter bullshit.

Offline Kathadon

Re: Gamergate
« Reply #124 on: November 01, 2014, 03:07:34 PM »
I didn't play DMC: did Dante strip nearly naked every time he made a major attack in that game? Did the camera zoom in on his crotch, ass and pecs multiple times in every cutscene? If the answer is no, I'd say there are some pretty significant differences just from that much, and that's not even getting into looking at their personalities/posturing in combat.

Did he strip naked in every fight? No not at all. That is a unique ludonarrative element to Bayonetta that does tie in to sexism if you want to make the argument that it is entirely for a male(or lesbian or bisexual) audience's titillation. Did the camera zoom in on his ass and pecs multiple time in every cut scene? Yes. It made a point of showing off Dante's assets just as most games show off the physique of the PC. Even Halo did this and Master Chief was clad head to toe in power armor and never removed his helmet.

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Powerful characters are meant to be idolized versions of the norm and that is often portrayed in a sexual manner in media. The spectator of any media desires to look at the screen and derive visual pleasure from what he or she sees. Part of that pleasure is also derived from the narcissistic identification she or he feels with the person on the screen. But there is more; the spectator also has the illusion of controlling that image. This has been a common psychological theory in cinema for decades. Now suddenly it is being wielded like a club in video game critics.  Is there a reason that Dante should be wearing tight pants and a tight tank top? No. That is just what his creators dressed him in.

Is there anything "wrong" with any of this? Nope. Just what some have chosen to take offense to.

 Here is a powerful female character that has deliberately provocative sexuality shown to the world and what is the consensus with a few critics? Nope she is a bad character because teenage boys might rub one off thinking of her.