Some gaming news WTF: Eternal Light trailer; Duke Nukem Forever not sexist?

Hi, folks. I’m working on a series of posts about Magic that is proving to be more time consuming than I thought. So I thought I’d post a bit of WTF that I stumbled across on various gaming news sites just to tide you folks over while I continue to pull together research for the posts about Magic. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the first Magic post up tomorrow.

WTF the first: Duke Nukem Forever

Okay. I’ll admit that I’ve avoided dealing with Duke Nukem Forever, mostly because it just seemed too easy. I mean, pointing out how DNF is sexist is pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel. I mean, first we have the cover:

Now I have to admit that I do love that we get an angle of Duke that is almost exclusively used with female characters (I tend to think of it as “boob perspective”) – it’s a nice example of sexualization that male characters don’t usually get, even if Duke is pretty covered. But check out the manicured female hand. They are LITERALLY using a female body part to imply sexual gratification. It’s like they thought, well why bother showing the whole woman when all you really need is the hand? Ugh. And then you have the fact that half of the preview screens that are being released are of strippers, or lesbians, or lesbian strippers, or strippers with dildos…

… you get the picture.

Add to all of this the recent kerfuffle about the “Capture the Babe” mode and it seems mind-boggling that anyone could possibly argue against Duke Nukem being blatantly and horrifically sexist. I mean, Christ. In “Capture the Babe”, women are LITERALLY objects to be fought over. They are things, not people. It doesn’t get more clear cut than that.

So it should come as no surprise that Jim Sterling, that bastion of feminist advocacy, is arguing that we shouldn’t care if Duke Nukem Forever is sexist. Because, after all:

Does it really f*cking matter? When it comes to fictional people doing fictional things to each other in a fictional world, does it really affect you? No, it doesn’t, no matter how much you pretend a game like DNF could influence society with the “messages” you’ve projected onto it.

Seriously, how does it send the message that violence against women is normal? What’s normal about spanking women while people shoot at you with a shrink ray?

Oh, Jim Sterling. Thank you for helping me to keep sight of the big picture. Silly me! Why should I care about how women are portrayed in video games? After all, we all know that real people are never influenced by the media they consume. At all. Full stop.

Jim also did another post lampooning an article about DNF on the Fox News website about DNF’s sexism and harmful portrayals of women. And here’s the thing – I loathe Fox with every fiber of my being, but I think it was a pretty good article. I was pretty surprised, especially after the “video games cause rape” story that came out of Fox, that they were capable of producing a piece that limited itself to attacking DNF and not gaming in general. Certainly it was better than Jim’s, who couldn’t resist ending his feature on the Fox article with yet another rape joke. (Because we know how much Jim loves to joke about rape…)

Of course, Jim doesn’t get credit for the ONLY game news fail regarding DNF. I also found this feature on IGN making similar claims that Duke Nukem Forever is not sexist. In the feature, Editor Tristan Ogilvie writes about his experience as being the only gamer on a recent panel about gaming. Naturally the subject of DNF came up as a point against gaming. And here’s the thing, I think Tristan would have made a much better defense of gaming as not being a deviant hobby by coming and saying “sure, Duke Nukem Forever is sexist – but don’t judge all of gaming by one title” than by using weak-sauce arguments like:

…Similarly, if I play Duke Nukem Forever’s ‘Capture the Babe’ mode in all its bottom-slapping glory, I’m not suddenly going to start smacking women on the backside and calling them “sugartits” as though I’ve been thawed out from a state of suspended animation since the 1960s like Austin Powers (or nearing the end of a 12-hour bender like modern day Mel Gibson), because I’m well aware that to commit such acts wouldn’t be acceptable social behaviour by society’s standards…

Not very convincing, Tristan. Not very convincing at all.

Eternal Light Trailer

While browsing through the headlines on the IGN website, I stumbled across this trailer for the upcoming game Eternal Light (a game I’d previously never heard of). What caught my eye was the subtitle: “These monster-slaying, near-naked battle witches enjoy killing dragons. And breathing heavily.”

Curious, I fired up the trailer and discovered they weren’t kidding. Check out these screens:

The first thirty seconds features a slow camera pan around a mostly naked woman wearing a chainmail bikini… while she breathes heavily. Like, having sex heavily. Real subtle, guys. The rest of the trailer features in game combat shots that feature a lot of ridiculous camera angles where you can aaaaaalmost see ladybits but not quite. Frankly, it looks like a fanservice engine to me.

And of course the comments are pretty predictable:

I’m about as shallow as can be. I see boobs and I’m in. Don’t judge me.

i want to agree with all the haters but, boobs, 6 boobs goddamn
Like RedXIII i see 6 good arguments to buy this game, count me in!
Did someone say something about there being a dragon in this video…? All I saw was boobs.
…they go downhill from there. And people wonder why the stereotype of gamers is mouth-breathing male nerds living in their mom’s basement. Real classy, guys.

Game wallpaper sites: for men only?

[Brief note: Quickie post today. I have an injury that makes sitting at my computer incredibly painful. Sorry for the relative brevity.]

I’m one of those people who compulsively changes their wallpaper; I think the longest I’ve ever kept a wallpaper is maybe two months. Most of the time I wind up changing it when I stumble across something new that I like when I’ve had my current wallpaper for a while. But sometimes I find myself itching to change my wallpaper with nothing new in mind, and then I’ll go looking – which is how I stumbled across

Almost immediately, I had to suppress the urge to facepalm when I saw the boobular banner taking up most of the right side of the page. Even better, the very second category in the navbar is “Cyberbabes”, a link which takes you to the following screen:

…yup. About what I expected. Boobs, boobs, boobs, and more boobs. And, oh hey look – it’s Lara Croft’s cleavage. Because, really, what collection of game wallpaper would be complete without the iconic ta-tas of Lara Croft?

I was also completely unsurprised to note that our friends over at Destructoid are partners with, since Destructoid frequently goes out of its way to assert how important boobs are to games and gaming in general. And I suppose I should be glad that the pornular wallpapers on are at least free of overt misogyny like this infamous gem published on Destructoid a few years ago:

Way to go, guys. You always know how to bring the charm.

Anyhow. I was curious to see how the “Top 100” would compare in boobularity to the Cyberbabes gallery. As it turns out, the results were kind of mixed. Looking at the first screen of the Cyberbabes page, 19 out of 21 featured wallpapers feature boobs. When looking at the Top 100, only 15 of the top 20 feature boobs. However, the boobs featured were more extreme:

And I think it’s especially telling that the top voted wallpaper is the Age of Conan wallpaper (top middle) that features bare breasts and only just baaaarely covers up the poor woman’s bajingo. Also, four of the top 20 are various iterations of Lara Croft, which is yet another discouraging sign.

Lastly, the site features several awful boobular ads that cycle randomly in the sidebar, and none of these ladies would look out of place in an Evony ad.

You know, I love how all of these ladies either have “SIGNING UP” or “ACCESS” either right near or right over their tits. There’s varying degrees of crassness, but the Age of Conan girl is definitely the worst, thanks to strategic cropping. The nipples and the start of her ladybits are juuuust out of frame. And unlike the others, proclaiming that you can get access to a variety of wallpapers, the Age of Conan banner just says “get full access”… Nice and subtle there, guys.

Not that the others are much better. All of them except for Nariko (Heavenly Sword) suffer from outrageous sphere-boob and costumes that they’re on the verge of popping out of. Like, the elf on the far left – what the hell is with those not-pants? And the elf in the middle – did someone seriously photoshop a picture of Liv Tyler? Because that’s what it looks like to me.

Anyhow. I don’t know why any of this should surprise me. After all, this is just yet another example of how our culture assumes that all gamers are (straight) men. Why the hell would a woman be looking for games wallpapers? Everyone knows women gamers don’t count after all.

WTF: The edition

MMOsite is one of many schill MMO “reviews” sites that basically exist as a promotional machine for all the shitty free MMOs and k-MMOs out there. They make their money entirely through advertising and don’t even pretend to be objective. I’ve used MMOsite in the past several times to collect egregious screenshots when lambasting free MMOs like Kabod Online and TERA and had noted just how much boobage there is on that site.

I didn’t have anything specific in mind to blog about today, so I thought I’d head over to MMOsite and see how much boobage I could find in twenty minutes or so by clicking through to random links. It was, unsurprisingly (considering what they cover), a lot. I mean, I found this right on the main page:

Oh look! Another browser-based free MMO… Because the world really needed more of those. Anyway, I love that the logo is right next to the woman’s tits. (And what’s with the outfit? She looks like a cross between a stewardess and a sailor, as portrayed in a porno.)

Clicking through to the news section of their site brought up some interesting headlines. For instance, there was a gallery with designs of the characters in the new Dynasty Warriors game. (I’m a bit confused as to why this would be covered on MMOsite, since Dynasty Warriors 7 is going to be a console release and not an MMO…) Going through the gallery reveals a whole lot of men and very few women. And while there were two female characters who actually are decently covered (even if one of them is a bit cleavagey), there’s also these as well:

Le sigh.

Even more depressing than the Dynasty Warriors designs was this feature on the boss battle that is part of k-MMO Vindictus’ Episode 8, a new content patch recently released. I guess the folks at MMOsite really wanted to make sure that people saw the feature, because there’s a nice eye-catching ad for it right at the top of the news page:

When are game designers going to learn that BOOBS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY? You cannot put a strap around your boobs and expect it to cover up your nipples unless you’re attaching it with superglue, which I don’t suggest. I am SO FUCKING TIRED of the leather nipple-strap school of character design. (I’m looking at you Namco and BioWare!)

It gets worse when you click through to the article, unfortunately. Apparently, this boss features clothing destruction that lets you render her almost nude. Not only that, but she has a “sexy” attack called “suck essence” in which she utilizes her succubus wiles to suck your soul or something. (I bet that’s not all she’s sucking! Amirite? Winkwink nudgenudge?)

At the top of the page, there’s even a video of the attack in which she straddles the hero, writhes around a little (showing off the jiggle physics), presses her boobs against the hero’s chest, and then arches her back while magic effects go off. All of this, of course, while she moans sexily. I guess Vindictus decided to go after the players that they purportedly lost to TERA by giving them a little show, which is just all kinds of disgusting.

Moving on, most of the rest of what I found is your garden variety nudity, like this account creation screen for Perfect World:

Looks like they’re still not willing to go quite as far as TERA. I mean, sure she’s mostly naked, but she’s not greased up and her underwear is actually modest by TERA standards. (Is it a bad sign that I’m getting blase about this level of nudity?)

And of course, what fun would nudity be without costuming double-standards? Because we all know that in k-MMOs, only men get to be fully covered. (Silly wimminz! Clothes are for men!) While poking around, I managed to find these “fashion” screens for a cutesy, anime-styled k-MMO called Dragon Nest:

Ah yes. Because nothing says “master of the arcane elements” like “here are my tits”. But since Dragon Nest is a pretty obscure example, I’ll finish off with an example from a more popular game – Runes of Magic:

Okay. I’m actually not too surprised about the rogue, since the female thief as porn star meme seems to be dominant in all MMOs, not just Korean ones. But the warrior? Are you kidding me? If I ran into that woman, I’d stab her in the boob just on principle. Also, the warrior slogan is a bit unfortunate when considered next to the female warrior image. “Battle isn’t the only thing she’s a wild beast in! Rawr!” (Sarcasm is my way of coping.)

So all in all, not to surprising. Still, even though the results were exactly what I expected, it’s still discouraging. Knowing that sexism is prevalent in MMOs is one thing. The fact that they’re not even trying to hide it is even worse.

Time for another gender-swap! (Fran & Balthier)

Well, folks. It’s that time again! A commenter (I forget who and am feeling too lazy to check, sorry) had previously suggested that I tackle Fran and Balthier as a pair for my next gender-swap, a suggestion which I found delightful. Final Fantasy XII was, in my opinion, one of the weaker entries in the series and while Fran was a pretty decent character, the transparently fetishized design of the viera was irksome, to say the least. Add to that the fact that Fran typifies the “lingerie ninja” school of character design and Balthier is completely covered from head to toe, and they seemed a ripe target for swapping.

So here’s the image that I decided to work from:

Fran and Balthier (Final Fantasy XII)And here’s my version:

Fran & Balthier - gender-swapped(Yes the quality isn’t quite as good as previous entrants. My printer is dead, which meant I had to color digitally. I work a lot slower that way and thus got lazy with stuff like shading, color blending, and background. Whatevs. It gets the point across.)

When I my last gender-swap, there were some people who argued that I shouldn’t have tried to use gender-equivalent garments and that I should have left the outfit unchanged. As an experiment, I decided to change absolutely nothing other than facial structure and anatomy to make them read as opposite gendered. The result, while a bit artistically disappointing, is certainly interesting.

As with previous entrants in the series, the changing of Fran from male to female causes a lot of the sexualization to be lost in translation. Here’s the thing. People like to look at faces – it’s a fundamental human impulse – so any face is going to be a natural focal point. In the original, Fran’s boobs and crotch are right next to Balthier’s face – a natural spot for our eyes to gravitate to. But that gets lost in the gender-swap. The weirdness of the pose does come through nicely, however. We’re so conditioned to seeing scantily-clad women lounging in almost torturous positions that it’s hard to really see how awfully contorted Fran’s pose is until you turn her into a man. So I will give my male Fran a thumbs up.

My swap of Balthier, however, was more disappointing. I wanted to keep as much as possible, including the hairstyles – since Fran’s hair style is so ridiculous. However, I’m not sure that the changes I made are enough for Balthier to read as female at first glance. (Thoughts?) The only thing that saves Balthier for me is that I think this is a great pose for a self-assured, not half-naked and not stereotyped female character. It makes me think of the maxim for writing great female characters – write a male character and then switch genders – and wonder if maybe that shouldn’t apply to making game art as well? Something to ponder.

So there we are. Not my most successful swap so far, but certainly not the worst either. If anyone has suggestions for a character I should tackle down the line, I’m all ears.

Fetishizing actual gamers is yucky. Please stop.

Okay. So this ad for Top Spin – a tennis game by 2K Games – was brought to my attention via a thread on the Escapist forums appropriately titled: “Serena Williams’ Butt Stars in Mind-Boggling Top Spin 4 Ad“. It features Serena Williams and pro gamer Rileah Vanderbilt playing Top Spin while showing off their bits in outfits that look a lot more like something out of the Single Ladies video than tennis outfits. I mean, check out these screens:

"The World's Sexiest Tennis Gamer"

Outthrust butt from behind

Bouncing cleavage

Now the original post in the Escapist forum thread is very much on the side of “what the fuck, 2K Games?”, and a fair number of respondents are on board with that sentiment. However, some respondents didn’t really see anything wrong with the ad:

Aaaaaaand sold. Marketing successful.

I’d hit it. Far as the ad itself, who cares? Just another ass on the screen which is fine by me.

She has a great ass and you got your head all up in it-Al pacino

…disheartening. I mean, here we have the packaging of an honest-to-god real woman, who happens to play games, for the sexual gratification of the male gaming audience. THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Here’s the thing. I bitch a lot here about the awful design of fictional game women and how they get fetishized. Even then, there are very few female game characters that I will point to and say shouldn’t exist. As much as I loathe Bayonetta and characters like her, I’m not going to say people shouldn’t be allowed to play the game. But there’s a huge difference between sexualizing women who don’t actually exist and encouraging the sexualization of women who actually do.

“But, wundergeek!” you say. “Rileah was consenting! She wants to be sexualized!”

That’s not the point. The point is that gaming women are being packaged as yet another sexual commodity to promote games. Rileah may not care, but I sure as hell do. I am a woman who games and who also happens to have larger-than-average breasts. So I hate it when I see shit like this that takes a female gamer and reduces her to a collection of bits the same way that game companies do with the female characters in their games, because it only furthers the fetishization of real, three-dimensional gaming women. Which is yucky.

And shit like this is rampant. Before the release of the newest Halo game, Microsoft “found” a hot “Halo fan” and took pictures of her playing Halo in “her bedroom”. The promo shots are patently fake, the worst of them being this one:

Yeah. Way to make me believe that you really play Halo, there. There’s no fucking way this wasn’t shot in a studio. Look at that perfect lightning. More importantly, follow the link and notice the complete lack of anything personal in any of the shots. Next time you try and create a fake gamer girl, please at least try a little harder to make the studio look “lived in”, Microsoft.

Of course, the situation gets a bit murky when women start participating in their own sexualization. Take, for instance, the Miss Video Game pageant of 2007. Sadly, the domain is now defunct, but you can read this promo written at the time by female gamer Faith Naked on her blog. Note that one of the first requirements is a photo. If it’s really about skills and “creativity”, why the photo requirement then, hmmmm? Unsurprisingly, in the end, it did turn out to be little more than a beauty pageant after all…

Then you have female “gaming personalities” (I’m really not even sure what to call them) like Raychul Moore, self described gamer and model whose ass is shown right in the header of her site. Furthermore, the category icon for the “gaming” section of her site is her holding a controller over a partially bare ass:



Perhaps the most discouraging is when you stumble across things like the Nerdcore gallery over at Destructoid that features pictures of naked women with strategically placed controllers to cover their naughty bits.

The problem with all of this is that a good number of gamer men have just gotten used to the idea that any woman who professes to game is 1) not a real gamer and 2) should not object to being asked to show off their tits. I mean, look what happened with this interview of Michele Boyd of The Guild fame. The interview itself is a good one and sticks to her gaming preferences and habits. But, of course, a few of the commenters can’t resist talking about how much they want to have sex with Michele:

She needs to be at the top of the list once they perfect cloning….

She can ride my Spectral tiger anytime!

Seriously? What is WRONG with you people? Isn’t it enough that there are legions of fictional game women packaged for the sexual titillation of male gamers? Why is it that you have to force REAL women to fit into that role as well? How hard is it to accept that you are not entitled to have every woman who expresses an interest in your hobby strive to satisfy your sexual desires?

If you want to be the type of gamer who drools over nude mod releases, plays Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball, and seeks out games with clothing destruction… okay, whatever. But for fuck’s sake, leave us three-dimensional gaming women out of it.

Google Results: a little context

Okay, now that I’ve finally got things set up properly, time to get back to business.

So last time I expanded my list by one to include “fag”. I realize good arguments can be made for other words, but it’s a pain in the ass searching these words across multiple sites and I’m drawing the line at 8 search terms just to preserve my sanity. Also, for this post I’m only looking at the first page of search results for each site. Partly because reading all the quotes to find what I wanted to use is time-consuming, and partly because reading the results that came up gets a little soul-destroying when you get to the third day.

The interesting thing that happens when you start reading the excerpt text for these terms is that you realize they fall into two groups: terms used exclusively as slurs for the purpose of shaming and/or silencing and terms with alternative usages. So let’s look at the two groups separately.

Terms with alternative usages: whore, cunt, and rape

Now before I go any further, I want to just say for the record that just because I’m making a distinction in usage does not mean that I support the use of these words in any way in a gaming context. As I said previously, I think the fact that there are 150,000-odd instances of the word rape on Destructoid alone is horrendous. However, as it has been pointed out by many, looking at numbers alone doesn’t provide a clear enough picture. So…

“Whore” is interesting, since it’s commonly used to denote someone who obsessively collects or goes after certain things, often self-directed. For example – on the first page of results for “whore” on Joystiq, I come up with the following phrases: two instances of “loot whore”, one instance of “gamer score whore”, two instances of “achievement whore”, and three instances of “graphics whore”. That leaves only two out of the first ten results being an actual traditional usage of “whore”:

“I thought she was a whore with a heart of gold and instead she turned out to be a whore with a regular old whore heart.” [comment]

“Production company ready to whore out Castlevania” [feature headline]

Of course, usage varies by site. Certainly other gaming sites aren’t as “moderate” with their use of the word whore. Some of the lowlights include:

If you’ve ever had your dick sucked then you’ve paid a whore to suck it. You might not have given her cash directly but she still got paid [IGN]

When i was reading Hasley’s journal i suspected that….she must have been a whore [IGN]

YTMND Thursday: Kerrigan is a whore, edition [Destructoid]

Were supposed to be talking about whores here [Destructoid]

all i know is it is about a whore who is your mom [Team Liquid]

TeamLiquid: Where all the women are attention whores, all the men are trolls [Team Liquid]

and #1 sure as shit aint moping around ‘awwwwwww shucks, everyone knows i slept with a whore‘. [Team Liquid]

I know I keep going on and on about how Kasumi is a giant whore, but I can’t help it, because she’s a giant whore. The latest proof? [Kotaku]

And of course, it bears mentioning that a few usages of the word “whore” were in reference to characters in games who are actual prostitutes. (I’ll save the rant about game companies’ obsessions with putting brothels in their games for another day…)

Moving on, the usages of “cunt” and “rape” aren’t nearly as complex. “Rape” has, unfortunately, become popular as a term describing a shameful loss by a huge margin. This is especially true in StarCraft II, where it’s not uncommon for a major victory is described as a “rape” of the loser, and where there are actual tactics with “rape” in the name like: “sugarbear’s Thor Rape technique” and “ZvP Protoss, Ramp Block, Turtle and rape”.

More than half of the instances of “rape” that come up on the first page for Destructoid, TL, Kotaku, Joystiq, and IGN are actually discussions of current events, like the the horrific coverage of that poor girl in Texas, or about the perpetual controversy surrounding rape games like RapeLay. And you can find thoughtful pieces about the use of the word “rape” in the gaming community, like here on Team Liquid and here on WoW Insider (hosted on Joystiq). Only two out of fifty results, but they’re there!

But sometimes, as Freud said, a cigar is just a cigar. Destructoid, and Jim Sterling especially, has a bad habit of making rape jokes about, ya know, actual rape. Like using “Games cause rape psychologist’s book gets raped” as the title of a feature, or saying that Kirby told him to go rape a bunch of vaginas. So when it comes to making tasteless jokes about “rape rape”, Jim Sterling gets a gold star. (Or something.)

The least complex word is “cunt”. It gets several hits as being a shooter by the creator of Super Meat Boy, but other than that it’s used pretty exclusively as an insult. However, the reason I put it in the first category is because it seems to be directed as men just as much as women. See:

George Steinbrenner, devoted father, owner, and beloved cunt. [IGN]

Although Az is being a complete cunt like normal he does bring up a good point [IGN]

You know who one of the biggest cunts on the site is? Some guy named Jack of All trades. [Destructoid]

Fuck off destructoid. I refuse to pay you any respect or visit your site until you get rid of that cunt Jim Sterling [Destructoid]

Seriously, that guy is a cunt. [Joystiq]

Oh, gamers. Now I remember why I’m often ashamed to admit that I’m one of you to my non-gaming peers.

100% awful: slut, fat slut/whore, feminazi, feminist/feminazi bitch, fag

(Okay, I’m going to be a bit more abbreviated here because this post is getting long, and I’m getting depressed. The fact that “fat slut/whore” and “feminist/feminazi bitch” are 100% awful should surprise no one, so I’m going to skip those. I invite you to Google gaming sites for these terms and cry if you feel like doing extra credit.)

Slut only ever means one thing, and – depressingly – gamers have no problem slinging around “slut” like it’s going out of style:

[IGN] lol this slut on okcupid … [IGN] Cassandra was a slut … [IGN] Holy ****, Alison Brie was a slut in college … [Destructoid] Kaidan is such a slut. … [Destructoid] the developers decided to increase her slut factor by ten … [Team Liquid] is it ok to like a slut? … [Team Liquid] being a stud is good but being a slut is bad … [Kotaku] without having to be a virtual slut … [Joystiq] I’m pretty sure Suzu is the guild slut … [Joystiq] if she wants to slut it out it’s really her problem … [Joystiq] Unlike that Hannah Montana slut …

…you get the picture, I’m sure.

Feminazi is a bit more mixed. There is at least some discussion of the term – especially considering the recent twitter dustup involving Jim Sterling. However, the vast majority of uses are either to tar feminism or to slam any woman who dares to stand up for herself:

[IGN] If a woman decides to be a man-hating-femi-Nazi … [IGN] Whichever Femi-nazi wrote that needs to go back to grade school … [IGN] What a feminazi thing to say … [Team Liquid] /me waits for some feminazi to make a retort … [Team Liquid] Your feminazi ways are clearly evident … [Team Liquid] That’s probably why you came off as feminazi or something … [Kotaku] God I hate feminazi’s … [Kotaku] I’m not a misogynist but these feminazi double standards are ridiculous … [Joystiq] I’m willing to bet some femi-nazi mother who didn’t do her research … [Joystiq] Thats something you Feminazi’s fail to understand … [Joystiq] Also, most of the feminazi’s I’ve seen are usually tiny prissy little things. They’re like the yippy rat dogs of the human world …

While “feminazi” doesn’t get hurled around as often as “slut”, in every instance the intent is clear: “tits or gtfo, bitches”. (Because clearly, any woman who objects to SHOW ME UR TITS BITCH is an ugly feminazi who hates men. /eyeroll)

Lastly, fag is interesting because it seems to be the most… well… immature in it’s usage. A good half of the results boil down to [Person] IS A FAG LOL or UR A FAG LOL. Often this devolves into a fight of NO UR THE FAG NO YOU NO YOOOOOUUUUU… which reminds me why I don’t encounter “fag” often in my gaming life since I avoid any place on the internet where illiteracy is predominant.

In closing

So what can we conclude from this collection of filth? Well, as I said with my previous post – ultimately not a whole lot. However, I think the fact that only a bare handful of the hits for these search terms were critiques of the terms themselves says something about how acceptable it is for gamers to use hate speech, especially misogynist hate speech without real fear of contradiction or reprisal from the gaming community as a whole. Even the alternate usages of words like “whore” and “cunt” are still awful because they support the stereotype that comes with those words.

Gamers like to get up in arms about how mainstream society judges gaming as a deviant hobby, but it seems to me that if gamers don’t want to be seen as deviants, then maybe they should consider just why it is that the gaming community is so tolerant of hate speech. It certainly doesn’t help any argument that we’re not as socially maladjusted as the stereotype.

Goodbye, Blogger. Hello, WordPress.

Hi, folks. I got tired of having to constantly watch Blogger’s spam filter and the drama that it sometimes created, so I decided to migrate over here to WordPress. Comment threads have been imported too, so please update your bookmarks accordingly! Comments will stay open on Blogger through the weekend and will close on Monday, just so people don’t have to change their bookmarks for current conversations. After that, I’ll be closing things down completely and this will be GMMaS’s new home.

The comment policy will stay the same. Namely, I don’t delete posts by humans, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to listen to you.

Things might be ugly for a bit, but I’m worrying about functionality before I waste time on making it pretty.

>Google Search Results: Revised

>First, a Disclaimer:

As always, not a professional academic or researcher. Also, not a statistician. I’m just a fine art major who happens to really, really like spreadsheets.

Revisions explained

Okay, so I got some helpful feedback yesterday that included improvements to my search methods. So I thought I’d write a quick post updating my data as well as providing some information about traffic and such. I may or may not get to the post about the context of these terms since I went a little crazy making spreadsheets. (Call me a nerd, but I love spreadsheets. They can fix anything.)

I made a major blunder in my original post, I realized. In my searches yesterday, I was only searching and not all of its various gaming subdomains. As such, I revised my search to and this substantially affected the results. Now has subdomains for tv, movies, and comics that get much less traffic than its gaming subdomains, but I still searched those subdomains and subtracted those results from the overall total. With the numbers for all of the subdomains and forums included, this wound up altering the final outcome.

I also had some requests to add some additional terms – specifically homophobic or male-gendered slurs. I did wind up adding “fag” to my list, but “dyke” did not make the cut because of the fact that “dyke” is also a name. Specifically, Gordon Van Dyke, who is one of the big figures behind the Battlefield series, skewed the results too heavily. I also did contemplate adding “prick” to the list of terms, but I made an entirely subjective judgement that “prick” is not “as bad” as “cunt”. Entirely my opinion, but I’m also trying to keep the list of terms short so I don’t go completely insane running them all through Google. For the same reason, I also did not search for racial slurs, since that would cause the list to balloon beyond the point that I can gather data in an hour or two.

Lastly, my problem with Kotaku was that instead of running “” through Google, I was using “site:”. That’s what I get for not copying and pasting, I suppose.

The Results

So here are the raw results. (No pretty charts today. I like spreadsheets, but charts are a pain in the ass.)

Interestingly, adding Kotaku to the list didn’t have any effect on the final outcome. Adding all of IGN’s subdomains, however, did. In terms of raw results, IGN now comes out on top with 18 points, just barely edging out Destructoid at 17. Team Liquid’s showing isn’t quite as impressive, but is still pretty solid at 11.It’s worth noting that Joystiq only scored 3 points, and that Kotaku actually managed to score 0. Something I found almost as interesting is the fact that there are absolutely no results for “feminist/feminazi bitch” on Kotaku.

Now none of this gives us more than a very sketchy general picture without at least having some information about traffic patterns and context. Context we’ll save for my next post. As for traffic patterns, I was able to find some super-basic traffic information for Destructoid, Kotaku, IGN, Joystiq, and Team Liquid by using Compete’s free traffic search features. (It doesn’t let you search subdomains.) The monthly normalized data for February for the five sites is as follows:

Sadly, data about page views is not available for free, so I can’t provide that data. But unique visitors and monthly visits will still give us a pretty good picture.In an attempt to at least half-assedly normalize the raw results, I decided to divide the unique visitors by the number of search results for each term. It doesn’t really mean much in terms of where the words are coming from – staff writers? Users? Anonymous commenters? But it at least provides some sort of context as to traffic versus usage of each term. It seems counter-intuitive, but lower numbers are “bad” and higher numbers are “good”:

I decided to go through these results and award points again, this time going from lowest to highest. When looking at unique visitors, this time Team Liquid came in first with 20 points, barely edging out Destructoid with 19 points. IGN, by comparison, came in a distant third with a meager 6 points.When you divide monthly visitors by numbers of search results, results change again – but the overall picture stays the same:

By this metric, Destructoid wins with 20 points, Team Liquid places second with 16 points, and IGN once again comes in third with 6 points.What does any of this mean?

Well, not a whole lot really. We can make sort of general statements saying that Destructoid and Team Liquid seem to have a higher per capita usage of these terms than other sites, but it’s not possible to make any definitive statements about just what any of this means. Another important factor that was not possible for me to examine is the source of the comments. With the exception of Team Liquid, all of these sites employ paid writers, but they also host user blogs. As mentioned before, it’s not really possible for me to discern the frequency of use by the writers versus the frequency of use by users or anonymous commenters.

So, overall these numbers aren’t that useful from an academic standpoint. However, they provide a useful illustration of the fact that misogynist (as well as other forms of hate speech) language is pervasive across all major gaming sites, and that some sites are consistently more guilty of using this language than others.

>Google Results – misogynist language used on major gaming sites

>Rather than diving back into things here with something easy, I decided to try something I haven’t done before. While browsing my Google Alerts for Jim Sterling, I had an idea inspired by the awesome troll data analysis done by blogger kirbybits in the wake of the whole dickwolves fiasco. I decided to see how many search results for common misogynist language I could get for major gaming sites. I was curious – is my growing hate for Destructoid simply because of Jim Sterling? Or is it really more misogynist than other major gaming sites?

The first thing I did was draw up a list of sites to search from: Destructoid, Kotaku, Joystiq, Team Liquid, 4chan/v/, Reddit/r/gaming, the official WoW forums, and the official StarCraft II forums. (Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Kotaku doesn’t allow Google searches. I don’t know if there’s a way around it, but I was feeling too lazy to find out.)

The next thing I did was draw up a list of search terms. I did this mainly using the word maps in kirbybits’ troll data analysis. The searches I ran were: slut, whore, fat slut/whore, feminazi, feminist/feminazi bitch, cunt, and rape. For the two word phrases, I searched for both with “or” (eg: “fat slut” OR fat whore”). I had initially planned on including “bitch” as its own search term, but I discovered that bitch by itself was a problematic term because of it’s varying uses – it wasn’t possible to easily separate the verb from the noun, and so I dropped it from my list.

The results were… well…. not too surprising, but I went to the effort of making them pretty anyway using IBM’s ManyEyes. Unfortunately, while ManyEyes makes things pretty, it doesn’t make them terribly readable at smaller sizes – so I wound up making ugly charts in Excel. (If you’d like, you can click this link to see the visualization itself.)

Just to amuse myself, I’ve decided on a tournament style ranking to determine which gaming site “wins” the prize of using the most misogynist language. The “winner” will get three points for each top result, second gets two, third gets one. The site with the highest total “wins”.

The search terms:

The results: 

Although Destructoid didn’t win every search term, they still managed to completely dominate the competition with a whopping 19 points, winning in five of the seven categories. Team Liquid, though, put in a solid showing as well with a solid 14 points – proving once again that their reputation for sexual harassment has at least some basis in reality. Joystiq managed to come in third with 5 points, just barely edging out Reddit/r/gaming/’s 4 points. And 4chan, a supposed hotbed of anonymous internet fuckwittery, barely even managed to make the list with 1 point. Better luck next time, guys.Now to be fair, I do imagine the terms feminazi and cunt were edged in Destructoid’s favor, given the recent Jim Sterling twitter fiasco in which he called twitter user Daphny a “feminazi cunt” – something for which he received a lot of backlash. But given the huge gulf between Destructoid and its nearest competitors, I feel confident in saying that Destructoid uses the most misogynist language of the group. (Which makes me regret being unable to get search data for Kotaku. Now I really want to know how they compare.)

None of this, of course, considers the context of the usages, so I’ll look at that next time.

>WTF: the "not enough hours in the day" edition

>Okay, folks. Sorry for the radio silence. (I’ve been trying to check in with the comment threads since things have been pretty busy…) I got a MASSIVE video-editing project with a crazily short deadline dumped in my lap, and it’s consuming almost every waking moment of my existence. Literally.

But I was feeling guilty, so here are some things that are WTF and some things that are not so WTF.

WTF the first

(images taken from this post from Spinksville)

So it seems like a lot of the new MMOs are feeling threatened by TERAs effort to have the least-clothed women in MMO Land, because I’m seeing a lot of pornular women that really up the ante from other MMO companies. Case in point, here are male and female guards from the same area in the upcoming MMO Rift. Looks like their uniforms aren’t all that… um… uniform.

WTF the second

Someone was kind enough to email me this ad that they spotted for Rappelz. I was intrigued because Rappelz was the very first game I ever lambasted, and this woman is even LESS clothed than the Rappelz women of six months ago! I think I’m going to have to hunt up a bunch of new Rappelz ads and see how they compare to the old ones…

WTF the third

Lastly, I wanted to link to an article about the upcoming Tomb Raider game. A lot of people have lauded the redesign of Lara, but perhaps there is a cause for trepidation. The feature on IGN seemed very enthusiastic about the realistic death animations and describes several ways in which Lara can die, including the gem:

All of which should keep you happy if you enjoy watching bad things happening to pretty ladies.

And this is why female gamers hate IGN. Still, I’m a bit nervous now for how the new and improved Lara will fare. Here’s hoping she doesn’t meet with the same fate as Samus in Other M.

Thankfully, I have something to get rid of the bad taste…

Awesome the first

(Image from the Tumblr of Michael Pawlak)

I stumbled across this on Ben Paddon’s blog and thought it was amazing. I think the ladies at Fat, Ugly or Slutty could probably identify with this pretty well.

Awesome the second

Last but not least, I’ll link to a video that a friend sent me the link to: an episode of Extra Credits by the Escapist about female video game characters. It’s long, but it’s well worth watching. Also, it makes fun of Other M and Ivy, which I support.

That’s it for this week folks. Things will return to normal next week.