Joined: 27 May 2007
Location: Shermer, Illinois
I'm not accusing anything, just playing Devil's Advocate because, why not? All I ever see from industry insiders regarding this are statements from those that agree with, hate to use this term, "Social Justice Warriors" because anyone who disagrees and unknowingly causes a shitstorm of unwanted attention for their company would probably lose their job. These kinds of things are always one sided, you either agree or be labeled a bigot by the vocal minority because you don't.
Gaming has always been a hobby for all ages and sexes, what we're seeing now is a younger generation being raised on it by the ones that grew up playing them. The "majority male" stigma, to be honest, I never bought, as I've known female players throughout my life and I've never heard them talk about slutty characters in stripper outfits without making fun of it. More often than not, they'd select the sluttiest looking of the group (like Cammy in Super Street Fighter 2) because they see it as a joke. The ladies you interviewed in your E3 video shared the same opinion of those I've known. My own sister played Duke, Shadow Warrior, and Tomb Raider and so on without ever complaining about the sexism that seems to be oozing from them. Her favorite fighting games are DOA and Soul Calibur, and those are flooded with scantily clad, boob-bouncing but she doesn't care.
So who gets to decide what an acceptable female character design is? If you were to ask players via polls or questionnaires what they want they could very well end up with an unworkable clusterfuck since what offends one person doesnít offend another. The Japanese certainly don't care what us Westerners think in this regard because their focus is primarily on the Asian market and if they want pretty girls in tight clothing then that's what they'll get. Most Western developers seem to like sticking with what works while claiming to understand what people want. EA/Bioware is all about listening but you can be damn sure that Mass Effect 4 and Dragon Age 3 will still feature overly sexualized females.
You mentioned Jade and usually she's brought up with Chell (Portal) or Alyx (Half-Life 2) and, why they may be wearing sensible clothing, I'd hardly point at them as an example of what to shoot for if you want to tone down sex appeal as each them are designed with very athletic builds and attractive faces. Thing is, it's going to happen no matter what, the design needs to work with the actions the character will have to perform. You wouldn't create a female character that's 75 pounds overweight and have her jumping long gaps and shimmying up walls like Spider-Man. Now Devs can give them an average looking face but, let's be honest, if that became the norm then people would complain that all women in games are ugly, you canít win either way. For clothes, I always liked having the option to change a characters outfit, give everyone a sexy and normal set, which should make everybody happy.
My main problem with the issue is that people (not you, just in general) seem to be ignoring the character itself just because of what they're wearing. Cate Archer (No One Lives Forever) is a fun character but instead of mentioning that, it's "Oh, she's wearing a skintight cat suit, that's sexist!Ē Lara, as a character, is a brilliant self-made millionaire that constantly risks her own life for treasure but "short shorts and huge, fake boobs". To bring up Leisure Suit Larry again, all the girls look like sluts but most of them get the best of Larry often leaving him worse off than before but it's "a bunch of bimbos the player can screw". I honestly think most of these people have never even looked at the games they complain about and are instead reading a TVTropes entry.
Am I against change? Of course not, change is good for any medium but online petitions and snarky comments on developer forums claiming sexism does more harm than good. The first thought in any Devs head about a character should be their personality and purpose in the game. Having someone pop in and say "Oh, that might possibly offend someone, make them fit more in line with this chart we just got." has a good chance of turning the character into something it was never intended to be and could very well change the rest of the game, driving up costs.
A better way to discuss it is to simply write an email to the developers themselves or bring up the topic in the company feedback forums if one's provided. By which I mean a real discussion and not "Oh look, another big titted whore I have to play as." type of thing that's filled with the words "misogyny, sexism and male privilege". Nobody likes to be yelled at in text form but may consider well worded messages about toning down or dressing up a character that seems distasteful if enough rational concern is shown. Instead I see them run towards gaming news sites and those sites themselves publish articles about how evil male developers are sexualizing women left and right not because they care but because they want the ad rev the topic brings. Iíve got zero problems with a gradual, organic shift brought on by back and forth discussions between consumers and game makers but forcing Devs to conform just because a group collects a bunch of signatures doesnít help anything and just makes the rest of the playerbase, the silent majority, angry.
As for Sex, again, I donít care; itís only a big thing if you believe it to be. For some it is, for others, itís not, thatís just the way it is. Thereís really only pointless and meaningful sex, one done because it feels great and the other because you actually care about the other person. The majority of games donít have proper relationship building only ďSheppard reached max affinity with Tali, start sex sequence nowĒ so until that happens; it will always be the pointless kind with no repercussions other than a broken heart dialog line from the other potential conquests.
The reason I bring up the older games is because it's the very thing that's not being brought up. All of the stuff that gaming news sites and SJW's are applauding companies for now are things that were done almost 20 years ago. The ones leading their tumblr crusades and such don't care enough to look at the history of gaming and see that we've actually regressed on several things.
You really should play Fallout 2 if you havenít, even if you have to use a character editor to get through it. The game isnít perfect, but it covers a lot of "new" issues like sex, violence, drugs and racism.
And, yes, Phantasmagoria was terrible. Marcia Balesí Shivers was developed and released around the same time and was superior in every way but Roberta Williams got all the press and glory for her 7 disc pile of shit.
I don't think you're just playing Devil's Advocate as you seem to have personal qualms with some of this stuff, such as people throwing the term "sexist" around without consideration, which is something I'm also bothered by in certain cases.
I'm not sure how many people get fired for giving a company attention for being sexist or bigoted or whatever. Deep Silver's still selling that Dead Island bust. If anybody lost their job over that thing, we certainly didn't hear about it. And when you fire someone over that kind of thing, I think you tend to make it public to show that you're "taking action" over the issue.
Okay, I guess there are loads of female gamers out there who don't worry about the boobs. But, as you've said, they make jokes about them or they don't take them seriously. And my problem is that they're exactly that: games featuring characters not meant to be taken seriously. I want better games with deeper characters and a good starting point would be less blow-up dolls.
Furthermore, fuck gamers. If you've grown up on gaming and if you're the kind of person eager to attend E3 then, yeah, there's a good chance you do just excuse all the bullshit gaming has been feeding you all your life. I want games that function as art as to make non-gamers think they're worth taking a look at. I just don't see non-gamers seeing DOA and thinking "oh, what a unique artistic medium full of possibilities. Why have I been ignoring gaming all this time?!"
You also still seem to think I'm asking for gaming to be populated with ugly women. I'm not saying that. Characters are more than welcome to be aesthetically pleasing. I'm just saying there's an oversaturation in gaming of women with cartoonishly amplified sexual features and ridiculously revealing getups. And, yes, sorry, but a lot of people ARE going to ignore a character beyond what she's wearing, not necessarily because it's "sexist" (though I acknowledge some people might lob a nebulous usage of the term at it) but because character design has a lot to do with what makes up a character and, furthermore, there are so many women in skin-tight suits in gaming that Cate Archer gets lost in the shuffle. I am, perhaps unfairly, likely to dismiss her as another gaming bimbo because of her design, yes. If there were a wide variety of different types of female characters and they didn't all wear revealing outfits, Cate Archer might seem more interesting.
And, yes, Lara's design matters. It makes her harder to take seriously and when I see her walking up snowy mountains wearing short-shorts and a coat she barely even has on, I see a silly cartoon image. Because it's stupid. Who dresses like that to climb a snowy mountain? So, yeah, if I'm meant to take her seriously she needs to be designed less stupidly. And beyond that needs to be written better. She's not interesting. She's just not that deep. She's got lots of money, she's hot, and likes stealing shit. Whatever. I know the new game tried to make her more interesting. I haven't played it yet so I'm not going to comment much on it beyond the shitty trailer.
Also, as I said before, aesthetically appealing doesn't necessarily mean sexual. Mario is aesthetically appealing (and just so happens to also have a roundish belly and yet runs and jumps all over the place and shimmies up pipes). I can think of other male protagonists who aren't sexualized (by their games) at all: Sonic, Ratchet, Donkey Kong, Link, Mega Man, Rayman... There are loads (often platformer characters, clearly). I don't particularly understand why we can't have more female characters like this, as well. Again, just for variety. I know there are examples (I have a lot of them written down) but the regularity in which they are the game's focus is rare. I mean, one telling thing is that we just plain do not have a non-sexy iconic female gaming character, ala Mario or Sonic. I'd say all we have as Samus and that's been fucked up as time has gone on. Maybe Zelda but she doesn't do a lot in most of the games she's in.
I have no idea if claiming games are sexist in message boards or petitions does more harm than good and I don't think you do either. This is all conjecture. I do find it upsetting when people just dub things sexist without considering them more deeply and I've come up against annoying people who seem to make a point of having their toes stepped on regardless of how open-minded one tries to be. These people suck and are frequently as inconsiderate as those they criticize, not willing to actually reflect upon the opinions they've formed once they've formed them.
Yes, you can e-mail devs and all that, fine, sure. That's one form of voicing opinion but I don't think it means that being critical in public forums is useless. Part of the issue is trying to get the public to understand and see the points you're making because, as discussed, much of the gaming public just accepts that games have sexy characters and that's fine because why take games seriously anyway? Because if you get more people on your side then maybe loads of them will e-mail the company instead of just one or two because if it's just one or two, why would any company give these people any credence? Also, as I recall in the beginning of this very thread you told me you don't think consumers have much influence. If you were just playing Devil's Advocate then as well, then your previous Devil's Advocate seems to be at odds with your current one who suggests e-mailing companies to affect change.
You've also suggested this notion of devs following some sort of chart that allows them to remain within politically correct parameters. For one, such a thing is so massively far off from where we are with gaming now where someone goes "your character looks like a teenager drew it" and the developer replies "haha you like gays" and then keeps making the game. Secondly, such chart-driven development is effectively what IS happening now anyway except it's more just like "what do straight young males like? Make sure you keep making that." Gaming IS already affected by this kind of census-taking bullshit version of public opinion. It's already a part of the problem. It's the reason Elizabeth was moved from the front to the back of the Bioshock: Infinite box. Because market research shows guys might not wanna buy a game with a girl on the front even though she's a massive part of the actual game. I would never want creativity to filtered through his kind of nonsense, but it already is. So if this PC chart concept you're describing is a genuine worry, it's one that's massively far away anyhow because right now market research says boys like shooting and grizzled white men and if there are girls in the game consider giving them big boobs, maybe.
Also, is there a silent majority? I always get the sense that the majority is a bunch of very vocal (at least on the internet) dickheads.
With regards to sex, it's fine if you personally lump sex into two bland categories but it's a topic with a lot more facets to it, in my opinion and why not explore it meaningfully to appeal to people who don't think about it in binary? There's all kinds of weird shit to discuss. Fetishes, bondage, rape, sex as love, sex as power, sexual orientation. There's a lot of shit. I'm happy to see it explored in any medium.
I do think it's probably likely older games did a lot more interesting stuff because that was the period in which the industry was full of the only people who knew how to do the technical bits and they were largely allowed to just run wild with new ideas because, hey, they were like the only ones who knew how to program this shit. I do think the advent of huge publishers and AAA titles are a big reason gaming has grown stagnant. We probably have regressed to some extent, yes.
I used to love Shivers a lot. This is my favorite ridiculous song from it:
I liked Shivers too. Remember a more innocent time when games didn't drag you by the hand and told you exactly which button to press at the right time? If today's teenagers were handed Shivers their brains would literally implode and they would run and hide under their beds shivering in fear at a game which actually gave you a world to explore and didn't tell you what to do.
I do have to say Fallout New Vegas beats the pants off of Fallout 2. It may not have the same level of sex-involved freedom but at least you can move freely without only getting two moves per turn. I may sound ignorant here but I could never get into Fallout 2 because of that annoying movement system.
The '90's were a time when JRPG's were at their peak and something like Fallout 2 struck me as being clunky and obtuse by comparison. That was when JRPG's were still concerned about gameplay instead of presenting you with an absolutely senseless story concerning a black man and his love of baby chocobos chasing around a white teenage girl and yet never getting any tail as a pathetic excuse for a narrative with an obsessive focus on in-game movies and pretty scenery.
Nowadays I just say, fuck the Gaystation, fuck Japan, fuck the Xbone None, fuck the Pee U, fuck Battlefield 3. I just want a big world to explore without being dragged around and some real gameplay. Is that really too much to ask? One of the few PS3 games I've really enjoyed is White Knight Chronicles because it reminds me of what JRPG's used to be. And Kingdoms of Amalur as that Italian dude co-wrote it. Yeah, that guy, I've read some of his books and I'm a fan. Italians know about that kind of fantasy shit like they know about lesbo sex scenes.
And I want a 3D update of Darklands. And a Western RPG which is not like Dragon Age. And some Shivers.
_________________ I always order food in a restaurant.
By the way, it is possible that the direction of gaming has changed as now 40% of gamers are now female, at least according to some studies. And many male gamers are now effeminate faggots who enjoy masturbating to manly Gears of War characters, unlike real manly gamers who like a girl with big ol' titties doing kung fu moves on armies of Asian men.
My point is that women enjoy being TOLD what to do as they enjoy being told to make a sandwich. If she fails to comply, she needs a beating she will never even remember as games nowadays never even punish you for dying anymore. You can simply retry the same save point ad infinitum. The last thing any (blonde) woman ever wants is to figure shit out on her own. Like changing a light bulb. Unless it was the woman who designed Phantasy Star or Jane Jensen.
I've since changed my views on the Xbox One and Wii U. Both would make worthy additions to any living room and/or gaming studio, attic, bathroom, hospital ward, prison cell, foxhole, office, portable toilet, what have you. But the PS4 is still going straight down the portable toilet where some Sony fanboy can dig through my shit in retrieving it.
_________________ I always order food in a restaurant.
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