>Industy artist fail: Wayne Reynolds (at least he’s not as bad as HTK)

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[Preamble and Disclaimer: All of these can be seen at much higher resolution if you click the images. I recommend doing this. And as always, none of this is mine. All of this is copyright Wayne Reynolds and/or whichever company hired him. I don’t own a thing!]

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a while now – it just kept getting put off every time I spotted more egregious stuff I wanted to post about. But Wayne Reynolds has long been a pet peeve of mine when it comes to fantasy tabletop art, and I thought it was important to highlight his artwork because he is a huge name within the fantasy art industry. I will certainly be the first to admit that skill-wise, his artistic chops far exceed my own; however, Mr. Reynolds is a perfect example of an artist using his powers for evil.

Now when I say “using his powers for evil”, let’s be clear. Wayne Reynolds is no HTK. Even if he has a propensity for stupidly cheesecakey women, his cheesecake women are definitely active and strong characters. Also, for the most part the only anatomy distortion that they suffer from is an over-inflation of the breasts, which is also a far cry from HTK’s barely-human-looking crotch-thrusting figures.

In a way, that is actually part of my frustration with Wayne. I know that he’s capable of producing totally epic, non-sexualized female characters that kick huge amounts of ass when an art director puts their foot down and insists on NO CLEAVAGE WAYNE I MEAN IT. I mean check these women out:

Totally epic, right? Any of these women would be completely badass characters for long-term play. Each of them is strong and has a real sense of character. I mean I’ve talked about how much I love Seelah (paladin, far right) before here. But sadly, I had to look pretty hard to find these examples. For the most part, Wayne prefers his women looking like this:

/sigh

Don’t get me wrong. Tiger lady is pretty badass, for sure. But, you know, does she have to have her tiger bits hanging out like that? Now, it wouldn’t be so bad if Wayne had a habit of doing equally sexualized illustrations of male characters. I’ve long said that I wouldn’t mind a line that just sexified everyone equally regardless of gender; it might not be to my personal tastes, but I could at least get behind it’s existence. And Wayne does occasionally do illustrations of sexy male characters like Seltyiel:

But sadly, Seltyiel is pretty well in the minority for male characters in Wayne’s art. Mostly Wayne’s men tend to look like this:
…covered head to toe in armor and in poses that don’t emphasize their sexy bits. (Okay, maybe not with quite that many weapons. I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a bit of visual hyperbole…)

Now this isn’t exactly new, and it certainly puts Wayne in good company with many other fantasy game artists. The male = fully armored & not sexualized / female = chainmail bikini and heaving bosoms paradigm has been pretty dominant in fantasy game art ever since the creation of D&D. And at least Wayne manages to draw women who look competent while thrusting their scantily clad bosoms out for the rest of the world to see, which is certainly a far cry from women in cages.

Still, it’s pretty discouraging when Paizo hires Wayne to design their iconic sorceress and he comes up with this:

Wow! How distinctive from every other female mage ever! A gorgeous woman with big fake boobs and not enough clothing. I mean, come on – she’s practically walking fanservice. Unless she’s using body glue to hold that top in place, there’s no way that top is going to confine those ta-tas once she starts dodging arrows. But then again, I suppose she could use sorcery to the same effect? Still, it seems like a waste of a spell slot…

And Seoni is far from the only example of Wayne’s stereotypically slutty cleavagey mages:

Okay, can the female = mage = slutty cleavagey stereotype please die now and forever please? The female = mage stereotype is bad enough! God knows I get so sick of seeing female characters get railroaded into being magic-users and not being allowed to swing an honest-to-god weapon at people. But it’s DOUBLY frustrating to see the mage = slutty cleavagey stereotype in action, because it just reinforces the “tits or GTFO” that women in gaming get all the time.

The trap that fantasy women fall into is that if all women are mages and all mages show their tits, then clearly all women show their tits! And Wayne certainly isn’t doing much to dispel that notion either. But then I think that stuff like this:

…makes Wayne’s opinions on the importance of breasts in fantasy art pretty clear. Sure, none of these women are in cages, but it doesn’t exactly feel very progressive to say “sure women can be adventurers” when the clear parenthetical is “as long as they show us (male gamers) their tits”.And most of these aren’t even NICE tits, which is kind of bizarre given the fact that these figures are otherwise pretty undistorted. (They’re all Barbie, sure, but not too distorted.) All of these women have bizarrely inflated sphere boobs that in some cases aren’t even that appealing. I mean, the gnome and the hook fighter especially have boobs that just kind of freak me out – it looks like someone taped melons to their chests. How is that in any way appealing?

The only one of these women that I in any way appreciate is the fire mage; her chest is actually quite small. Still, body paint =/ clothing and gee it would be great if she HAD SOME DAMN CLOTHES.

The ones that make me the most frustrated though are the ones where the art direction was pretty obviously for a strong, FULLY-COVERED female character and Wayne gave them cleavage anyway:

I mean, Christ, Wayne. Looking at these, I hate to think of what initial drafts of Seelah might have looked like. Did you honestly think that people wouldn’t notice the random cleavage? It’s especially frustrating on these characters because they come SO CLOSE to being every bit as awesome as the first set and then fall flat on her face. Is there ANY reason for us to see Imrijka’s (far left) hugely inflated sphere boobs? No. Does being able to see Merisiel’s (middle) tits somehow make her a better, more compelling avatar? No. Does being able to see the pirate’s tits AND panties make us more able to believe in her strength? Um… no.The worst part is that I can so clearly see what these characters could have been had they not been gratuitously sexualized. Please – can’t we allow strong female characters to be strong AND female and not have to show their tits to the world? Why do we have to do this? Why do we have to continue to tell women that they can only expect to be strong and competent so long as they agree to dress for the titillation of their male counterparts?

Fuck that. I want women who are badass and not sexualized:

So how about it, Wayne? You’re clearly able. Now are you willing?

69 thoughts on “>Industy artist fail: Wayne Reynolds (at least he’s not as bad as HTK)

  1. >Yes, Mr. Reynold's art is maddening because it feels so close and yet so far (unlike HTK). I think if someone as huge in the industry as him stopped making the sexualized imagery, it could be a turning point. If the much-improved art was still as popular and sold well, people might start to think "Well dang, non-sexualized, awesome women sell well, we should keep doing that!"I guess the worry would be that it wouldn't sell well, but I don't think that's true.. Especially since it would start to appeal to a wider audience in general.

  2. >All the fantasy we have now comes from Tolkien, and Tolkien comes from Scandinavian mythology right? So here's what Scandinavian Mythology has to say about magic:You do it by imbibing semen. Really. That's why most witches were female, and why they're just slightly depicted as skanky. Tolkien, being Catholic and all, kind of left that part out.Here's the funny thing: Odin, the head god, is the greatest wizard.Loki, the trickster god, once tried to call him unmanly for it. Odin retorted that Loki was in no place to talk given that he was the only man who ever give birth. (Loki is a shape-shifter. Birthed Odin's 8-legged horse. Long story)

  3. >…That's rather disturbing. However I hope it's just a joke'n'all, because it doesn't really make sense. Tolkien didn't even have many women in his works, and those that did were generally fully clothed (or in Eowyn's case, fully armored).I think the tendency for women to depicted in scant clothing goes back to the Robert E. Howard-era and the salacious covers of pulp magazines. Howard himself may have been generally more egalitarian with the skin, but when it descended down to fantasy gaming, you got a bunch of socially awkward men controlling the industry.

  4. >Howard knew that Weird Tales paid a higher per-word rate for their cover stories, and that the editors preferred to put scantily clad women on their covers (this was the 1920s Brundage era). He therefore inserted scenes into his stories that would increase the likelihood of his stories being assigned as the cover feature.

  5. >I'd like to know what Hazmat Sam's source for this information is. I have read books about Scandinavian iron age era practise of sejd magic, and have read nothing about sperm, wtf? It's indeed true that the völva/shamans were mostly women – powerful, feared women and not "sexy" ones.

  6. >Well it's like compleltly different story then HTK, I mean sure, random clavages and boobs all over the place, unecessary but still women with sometimes more, sometimes less agency and not "what the hell is that ?" "I've long said that I wouldn't mind a line that just sexified everyone equally regardless of gender; it might not be to my personal tastes, but I could at least get behind it's existence." I don't quite really undesrstand this part, so if he produce even number of sexfied men then what ? – "his art is not my taste, nothing to talk about, let's move on…" ?PS. I disagree about pirate picture, sure puting clevege so much to the front is a bit too blatant, but for me it's ok for pirates (men and women ) to show their sexuall atractivness, while keeping agancy, which i consider mentioned pirate is.

  7. >Oh, those peeka-boo cleavage shots he sneaks in . . . By the way, some of the art here was from Magic cards, and I remember you saying you were going to write something about Magic art. I'm very interested to see your thoughts. I'm a little biased, since I hold the Magic art design close to my heart for their explicit stance of no passive cheesecake or damsels in distress. I might be giving them too much credit for not doing very much (or consistently, since they have some sub-optimal Reynolds art), but still.

  8. >Anon: I do have plans for some posts about Magic. Unfortunately, I lost the folder with my research for Magic, so I need to start over. I've been putting it off because that stuff was a pain to collect.

  9. >The only thing I worry about here is that we're putting the blame on the wrong people.the industry loves it's glued-on mage costumes and I think we've seen many times that industry heads (eg. the head of Dragon Magazine or Bioware forum mods) don't just accept the cleavage-riddled sphere-boob art, they encourage it.I'm reminded of a comic I saw once (can't find the link)where the artist draws a woman, then a man comes back with his drawing and says "Marketing says she needs more skin or it won't sell".Now I haven't done much research on Reynold's stance on this but I just wonder who is putting in the random cleavage windows. If the industry is so sure that sphere boobs sell like hot cakes, maybe the art director is telling him "NO WAYNE, TITS OR GTFO".Do you know anything about this possiblity?

  10. >At least part of the problem with female mages is that most games require mages to wear "cloth armor" or robes. Since a robe on a woman tends to become a dress, it's not a very far leap to lingerie.

  11. >Mages and similar cloth armour types make the most sense for 'sexualised' armour given that it is one of the few types of armour (cough) that would actually be possible to differentiate female and male body types. Once you get into layers of cloth, cloth+ (modern armours), leather and plate you really shouldn't see any difference in female and male anatomy other than maybe width of shoulders (but then is it a slighter man or a more average woman…).Surely even the full armour is sexualised in that it has sculpted breastforms on the armour, if anything the tiger warrior picture makes the most sense (breasts bound to chest, if rather badly bound).

  12. >I think that WAR's reputation as an excellent illustrator is well founded. His composition is excellent, and I especially love his 'wall of action' scenes (check out his painting for the D&D 3.5 DM's screen that came free with Dragon).Holly might be right. His penchant for adding in cleavage is problematic, but I don't think its anything a strong art director couldn't cure him of. And I really hope someone is listening, because he creates the kinds of larger than life heroes on the covers of books that ignite the imagination and get people into the game (and as you have said before there is a widely untapped female fanbase that I think RPGs would appeal to more with less sexist art).Unfortunately his shot fell well clear of the mark with the 4e Player's Handbook (female = mage = boobs). The Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide are great though (love the tribute to Otus on the DMG).

  13. >"Mages and similar cloth armour types make the most sense for 'sexualised' armour given that it is one of the few types of armour (cough) that would actually be possible to differentiate female and male body types."While I agree that it makes the most logical sense.. I will say that I still do not think it should be done anyway. Mainly because the male mages are barely ever wearing any kind of revealing robes/clothing.It basically makes a dichotomy of 'men = fully clothed profession' and 'women = 'sexy, no need to care about the profession''. I'm sure there are other ways to differentiate between men and women. Cleavage windows, for example, do nothing to further differentiate other than to classify women as the ones who have to wear the 'sexy' clothes. Also, I didn't actually mind the breast cups presented in this one.. they're not huge/blatant or so intensely designed they have nipples or something or look like they're painted on. I tend to like the single bulge/cup but these aren't actually so bad IMO.

  14. >jo: Link here: http://tinyurl.com/4p8kzpgDon't worry about it. There's so many different versions of every myth, everyone's bound to miss a few.And on the subject of R. E. Howard, well, I'll let TVTropes say it:"Howard's stories frequently relied on pulp formulas, much to Howard's chagrin. Howard would try to subvert these formulas wherever possible, especially where they required him to include a perfunctory sex scene. He took great delight in the publication of 'Beyond the Black River', precisely because it left out sex entirely."So yes, it's very likely that the scantily clad witches you see, even when everyone else is dressed sensibly, are there in part because cleavage was mandated somewhere and a witches are the least ridiculous place to put it because they don't depend on armour in the first place.

  15. >@Robert Fisher: This is going to sound odd coming from me but I don't think the realism really matters more than the double standard sexism going on with armor and clothing (though I do sometimes wonder if women made so scantily clad are actually supposed to be taken seriously. It seems like they're not even there to be -insert profession here- but that the focus is more on making them pretty decorations).On the subject of Artist vs Art Director/Higher-Ups: I will say that it /could/ be the higher-ups that push this stuff moreso than the actual artist. But it could just as easily be the artist who encourages right along with them. In the end, while I definitely understand that not just the artists should be focused on for these kinds of things, that kind of art is still contributing to the pile.To respond to Holly I guess I would say it's not always good to focus on one person, sure, but I don't really think that means the artists /shouldn't/ be criticized still along with higher-ups. Because it's uncertain how much influence they really have, one way or the other. It's definitely a difficult subject.

  16. >Im confused is it not possible to be a bad ass and a sexy female, frankly Merisiel would scare the bejesus out of me in a dark alley…or actually a well lit main street but apparently she loses all threat because holy crap I can see some of her cleavage! and I cant see the pirates panties but my monitor's brightness/contrast is twitchy.You seem to waver between "sexualisation of females is bad" (period) and "well it'd be ok if he sexualised males as well", I really get confused as to which it is, too much or not enough?Also, you really seem to like slamming females as sluts* if they are presented in a way you do not approve of, even the ghael of winter (in the slut amges, far right) even though in the full pic if I recall rightly she has quite clearly just kicked a full party's arse (collective).My inner DM wants to point out that tiger lady is a rakshasa Im not trying to troll or drive by comment, I only just stumbled upon this site but I quite like it and I find it easier to say "I dissagree and this is why" than I do to say "yes I agree", so uh as I once saw a guy in a film say "Good job" .*granted they are imaginary females but still I always thought that was half the problem women faced was the other women who wanted to drag 'em down and brand them sluts because they didnt fit *their* view of what a woman should be.

  17. >Well, simple logic dictates that the most efficient method IS to focus on the managers and executives. They're the ones that control the artistic guidelines after all. Changing those would not only redeem a lot of artists that have to include cleavage they don't care for, but would be a lot more expedient than correcting every voluntary cheesecake artist we don't like.

  18. >Keeping comments short – technically on vacation and I want to go to sleeeeeeepHolly: Wayne is a VERY influential artist and is given more latitude than manyVictor: Not arguing that Wayne is very skilled.Also, what Lilith said

  19. >A Couple of Things;Firstly, 'Modern' Fantasy has a huge number of potential influences, and if I here how all modern fantasy is descendant from Tolkien one more time… Tolkien certainly had an influence, though I would say far more in terms of what could be done, rather than in what he actually did.(The conception of generating a self-sufficient, internally consistence world, rather than generating stories with the world coming second certainly had been done before, but seldom with the grip and scope of Tolkien…)On a seperate note though; the 'Slutty' Witch is a trope of western civilization. Where women are magical they inevitable extend the gender tropes of much of western civilization; The Ancient Crone who alternates between dispensing dangerous wisdom and using her dark powers to destroy men. The Virgin Priestess whose powers seem to come from her 'purity' and who is the object of defense, the granter of quests or magical talismans(The Lady of the Lake perhaps the classic example). The Enchantress, whose magical power and sexual allure ensnares men(so many examples… Circe, Morgana Le Fey). Like much, Women's representation with regards magic has been tied to their relationship to reproduction. Okay, sorry for the ramble there.That all being said, the persistent of the 'scantily clad sorceress' trope in modern fantasy has far outlived it's origin points and spiraled into porntastic territory. In a genre that breaks so many of it's own tropes, this is one that doesn't seem to want to die. I enjoyed the Scarred Lands campaign settings conceit that magical energy produced heat, less so for it' justification for women in thongs as spell-casters, but more for the idea of Merlin in a thong.

  20. >@Mirasiel: If it was only women here and there, it'd be different. But it's not, it's everywhere. It's lots of women being painted with this broad brush that seems to constantly put across the implication that women are there to be 'Sexy'(and that tends to even ignore the idea that being half-naked does not automatically equal 'sexy'.), everything else is secondary. It's like a message that women have to be half-naked to even be allowed into a ton of mainstream media. Otherwise why would it need to be there so frequently?On the Sexualization of Males Thing: I don't really agree that if everyone was naked that would everything fair. But normally I point out that the lack of sexualization of the men makes it clear there is an obvious double standard and imbalance going on. 'Men are there to be <insert profession here', Women are there to be… hot and have boobies and crotch floss. Y'know, for men. At least if men were sexualized too it wouldn't be so blatant that women are often made scantily clad it seems just to be masturbation aids for guys. That's one of the problems too I think, they're not made /for women/, they're made for the guys. The girls and women that are fans get entirely ignored and treated as invisible to pander to the lowest common denominator.@Hazmat Sam: If it was really that simple, this site would not exist and we would not really behaving this discussion. I don't really think anything is that simple and taking all blame off the artists seem like a bad idea since it assumes they have no influence whatsoever on anything. In that lies no responsibility.

  21. >would be* fair. Be having this discussion* Gee, typo issues suck.Also, just a small addition to Sam: It's not as if you have to pick one or the other, artist or higher-ups. You could always criticize both or decide on a case-by-case kind of basis, which is what I was saying before. I just don't really think there's a simple solution.

  22. >Lilith: Read again. I did not absolve artists of blame for what they do. In fact, I argued that revised guidelines would help repress artists contrary to our goals, which is an obvious admission that they exist. The problem is that there are many, many artists that we would have to convince, and relatively few executives. Could we do both? Yes, if we have enough time. Now, if you do then go ahead. I'm not telling you to stop.As to the second point, of course the solution is simple. One editor saying "I don't want to ever see Supergirl's panties again" and we never have. That is not to say that it's easy, though. As a general rule executives will not compromise profits for politics or aesthetics, and that is exactly what we are asking them to do.

  23. >Wayne Reynolds:It seems I always end up mentioning his art at least once a week or so, here lately. Usually on RPG blogs. Weird. Not a huge Reynolds fan, but he can draw female anatomy reasonably correctly(and certainly better than I :-)), his ladies can look defiant and furious, even intimidating, and don't tend to have ballooned up titties(they however, do seem like they're smuggling cantaloupes in their tops on occasion). His heroic dudes rarely look like shaved gorillas, so there's that as well. But, the man draws practically all WOTC and Paizo's art(And even for Osprey's military sourcebooks as well)! Could he add a little more variety in his representations, please? And I personally would like to see more action shots that look a bit less polished and posed(we stand facing the viewer and try to look badass, rather than actually engage in actively representing the default assumptions of the game, be it bloody, frenzied combat, the exploration of strange, unknown territories, the interplay of personalities and the building of influence networks, etc…[This is not just a Reynolds 'failing', of course]). I'm pretty sure he's probably the guy who puts the boobs on view unless specifically asked to do otherwise. His notions on the presentation of breastflesh(Pathfinder's Free RPG Adventure had an ad for the Advanced Player's Guide featuring Imrijka's Boob Shelf that particularly made my friends go: "WTF, doesn't she want to armor those?" Not to mention ALL THREE women had their boobs on display!) varying by race/class/circumstance/etc.. were probably influenced by earlier art, which had bazooms on display even for hardened warriors(on 'barbarians' not necessarily wrongly, I'd allow) brandishing three feet of steel, thieves/rogues, priestesses of nature/law/healing/justice/bellydancing, the ever present scantily clad Sorceress, Nymphs, Vampiresses, Succubi, etc…. These tendencies would, of course,(and are!) be re-inforced by contemporaries.

  24. >Part 2:Norse Magic:A lot of sacred workings employed various unsavory(to the modern mind) ingredients, semen among them. It wasn't particularly high-profile or integral from what I've read over the years.(And sperm as regent also appeared in Christian folk magic, Jewish spells, Egyptian curses, etc…) Magic was regarded as 'unmanly' because it didn't require brute strength, or courage in the face of death, instead utilizing cunning and deceit, considered 'women's' prerogatives.(And possibly cultural, due to the assimilation of previous beliefs, i.e. Aesir, Vanir, Lapps, etc…) Hence the taunting of Odinn for employing it. The reproach of Loki for birthing Sleipnir is one of the strangest passages of any religion I'm familiar with, especially as it saved the Gods from losing Freyjja, the Sun, the Moon, and probably the destrucion of the natural cycles of Midgard(!), and the result(Odinn's 8-legged steed, the best Horse among Gods and Men [As Odinn is to Gods, Sleipnir is to Horses!]) was useful personally to the All-Father! IIRC, Tolkien scaled back Norse Paganistic references in LOTR, worrying that it might be seen as promoting non-Christian mythology.'they're not made /for women/, they're made for the guys. The girls and women that are fans get entirely ignored and treated as invisible to pander to the lowest common denominator.':Sometimes even when they're designed by women, unfortunately. Being powerful(through physicality, mastery of otherwordly forces, overwhelming intelligence, what have you…) can symbolize sexiness without running around with ones bits hanging out. Also, for female military personnel whose outfits have regulation garb; it'd be nice to see them dressed in it.(Like Jill used to be in RE *GRRR*! When can we play Jill or Claire again, or even Rebecca, in a REAL RE, not a MG: Solid knockoff.[Sheva should've had a bigger role in 5 as well, I thought.] Meh on Ada, she never really impressed me. Dunno why.) Like say, Cammy; can we have an option for PANTS for a change?(Also, a British accent. IV was a nice start, thanx.)'It's not as if you have to pick one or the other, artist or higher-ups. You could always criticize both or decide on a case-by-case kind of basis, which is what I was saying before. I just don't really think there's a simple solution.':Definitely. All the bases have to be covered or the likelihood of the issues being addressed will be minimal. The guys commissioning the art could be at least call for more egalitarian representations, rather than the (unfortunately, of late) cheesecake/fucktoy depictions of female characters. That, in turn, would lead to artists increasing their range of art, or at least to the hiring of more artists with the desired predilections/willingness to draw varied subjects for cash, I'd say. It, of course, would also help if some fans who enjoy 'suggestive' art wouldn't be so dismissive, or even get pissed, about the request for more character modelling options, and natter on about Tits or GTFO, Political Correctness, Feminazis, etc…. No one is coming to take away their Mai Shiranuis, the entire cast and crew of DOA regulars, Ivys or Bayonettas(seriously, as if Rule 34 could be abrogated anyhow!), people are simply asking for more fully armored Samuses, Jill Valentines in Uniform, Jades, and/or Zoes!'As a general rule executives will not compromise profits for politics or aesthetics':In more recent times, but it still varies. People's ideologies can sway adherence to supposedly 'rational', clear-cut(to other people at least) guidelines.

  25. >velaran: Good on you for elaborating on the norse stuff! You seem to have done your research. Here's the thing though:"People's ideologies can sway adherence to supposedly 'rational', clear-cut(to other people at least) guidelines. "Profit isn't rational, it's tautological. There you do not need a logic or philosophy class to understand that making $20 is better than making $10 by definition of money. There's no more room for ideological blindness in the definition of 'profit' than there is in the definition of 'triangle'.As for ideologies, consider that a corporation that was fully dedicated to it's professed ideals would A) bankroll Libertarian parties and B) not donate money to parties and candidates of opposed ideologies. Now, how many corporations do you know that do that?

  26. >erring on the safe side*trigger warning*hope I got that part right.I guess I just see a lot of these females in a different way from you folks, a lot of those 'slutty' mages look strong and confident, they can dress however they want and its got nothing to do with you-attitude.Maybe I'm looking at them wrong and not switching off my d&d goggles and looking at the images in isolation rather than the context I know they are in. Probably also guilty of playing the 'its fantasy escapism' card and that this is what a lot of people want to play (based in part off of my own player groups which have/had a 50/50 male female split) .If I worry about any imagery its the prevelance of rule34 (if you dont know: rule 34 = if it exists there is porn of it) images that take strong or at least 'not weak' female chars and put them in non-consent scenarios, if they were a minority it wouldnt bother me* but jeez it creeps me the hell out that it seems to be %60 of the stuff produced.Oh also my partner wants to thank Wundergeek for posting that rakshasha pic, she wanted it for a char but lost it and couldnt find it again :)*that might draw me some heat but I dont believe in thought crimes, sorry.

  27. >@Hazmat Sam: It can't be simple if it's been years later and we're still more or less in the same exact position as years before. If it was simple, it'd be done by now. Again, things will not go over as simply as you present them to be. It's not always about profit, no matter how many times people use that excuse, sometimes it's about ingrained ideas about the value of certain customers over others and a ton of other stuff.Also, you're misrepresenting my argument by implying it'd actually be 'going after every artist', no one ever suggested that extreme. It's not an either/or situation, there is in fact such a thing as multi-tasking, so I'm not sure why you keep acting like it has to be. And again, it ignores the fact that artists themselves may have plenty of influence and much bigger pull than the people you assume are on a higher rung than they are. Also, your ideas of who the executives are seem to be pretty vague.@Mirasiel: The 'strength and confidence' is undermined by the fact that they're half-naked. You could be that strong with all your clothes on, the men sure get to be all the damn time. Why are women the only ones who don't get to be? The characters are fictional, they're not 'dressing how they want', they're dressing how they're being designed. And it's for cheesecake purposes.It only seems like a escapism for the dudes in the audience the majority of the time, in which all women are apparently scantily clad and constantly having their sexual attributes emphasized. I'm kind of tired of that fantasy and wonder why it has to be so male-centric. Do women /want/ to play it or do they just settle with it? There's not really much variety in case you have not noticed. I don't think it should be normalized that men = fully clothed and women = barely at all. And obviously there are bunch of people who are bothered by this since there are sites like this in the first place.

  28. >One more thing."Profit isn't rational, it's tautological. There you do not need a logic or philosophy class to understand that making $20 is better than making $10 by definition of money. There's no more room for ideological blindness in the definition of 'profit' than there is in the definition of 'triangle'."Tell that to all the women you could be marketing to that would easily replace the lowest common denominators that are currently being pandered too. There is nothing logical about alienting half a potential market (and this doesn't just happen in games). That it's solely about profit is, often, a lie. Plenty of companies continue to carry around sexist ideology that men are more valuable than women, or that women are only good for a few stereotypical things and so trying to appeal to them would be 'risky', and blah blah blah etc. People cling to their stereotypes and traditions, even when it would make more sense to let them go. Clearly they do need a class for it.

  29. >@HazmatSam'Now, how many corporations do you know that do that?':As corporations are staffed and administered by people, adherence to ideals, beliefs, and notions in seeming contradiction to the profit motive are not unknown. As to corporate political giving, some distribute donations between the two main parties, others(and many small to medium businesses) to only one of the two. Then there are those businesses that seem to exist to support some fringe group, allying themselves to whichever patron of the moment that can further their goals. @LilithXIV:'There is nothing logical about alienting half a potential market (and this doesn't just happen in games).':Sacred prognisticators(Marketing execs) tell them they're just zeroing in on their 'target demographic', which guarantees certain sales at the expense of possible ones. Couple that with Risk Theory, and a the knife edge of the ROI on many supposedly profitable markets(advertising budgets are often insane on many items), and execs become reluctant to spread the risk. Also, creative inertia and prejudice!(Not in the the least insignificant, I'd say!) NEVER discount cognitive dissonance, it is a cruel and omnipresent influence on practically everyone!'Clearly they do need a class for it.':Anti-discrimination classes/seminars(even corporate retreats) are, of course, engaged in from time to time, with seemingly little result.(I'd maintain it probably reaches SOMEONE, though. So better than nothing.) It's probably because this is attempting to change adult behavior, and therefore fighting years(decades?) of ingrained beliefs and uncritical mannerisms, as opposed to say, educating children on non-prejudicial behavior. Obviously, both are needed, and it'll take time to change attitudes.(Women have only been allowed to vote in America for 91 years now, for example. A blink of an eye in 'historical time', but strides of progress have been made, and they are noticeable, and many more remain before the journey ends, obviously. Acceptability of female leadership without qualifiers such as 'bitchy' and 'unfeminine' (where a male would simply be considered 'steely' and 'assertive') regarding conviction and doubts about competence based solely off gender would be a needed milestone in societal development, imo. How about a female pres. in the U. S. for starters? :-))

  30. >Holding up molded armour breasts as a symbol of badassery? Epic fail.Breast-shaped armour creates critical points of weakness in the metal and is only done in order to give the design a 'breast'. IMHO this is just swapping one set of idealised breasts for another. That's why realism in armour design is important, because it's the baseline from which we can see how deviant any given depiction is.

  31. >@zhu bajieeDifferent people have different standards of what they consider to be acceptable…especially when it comes to fantasy representations.Maybe the breast moulds do bother WG but she takes what she can get (doesnt seem likely given her..vocality*) or she doesnt mind them but hates cleavage windows for their lack of realism.*is that a word?

  32. >Yes, most of us here are aware of this Zhu Bajiee. But, in comparison with the others, the molded armor breasts were actually pretty tame and pretty downplayed in this instance. So in the end I really don't think there's anything 'epic fail' about saying 'yeah, actually those look pretty fine' in this case. In other words, it could be much worse.Realism is not more important than sexualization that serves to only degrade/pander. I don't really see how the armor breast cups shown in the first four pictures or the last picture of this post are degrading at all. Now if they had nipples on them (Yes, I've seen armor like this) or showed some random cleavage or were blown up to be so big they were hard to ignore then I might agree with you. These are mainly the reasons I tend to normally dislike the breast bulges, because they are often used to emphasize and bring focus on their breasts in various ways. But in this case, they're not.

  33. >Lilith: Here's the thing: they aren't alienating their entire female audience. That might be hard to believe, but there's always a significant minority of women that don't care about the fetish stuff. (like, for exmample, all the women that went on line to tell us that they enjoy playing Bayonetta.) In general, women are much more willing to put up with companies using women's bodies to sell to men than vice versa, and that creates a net gain in customers for the corporation in question in the way that sexualized men would not (well, at least here in North America). I know people in marketing programs on our campus. They are mandated to psychology courses. These people know what they're doing. They aren't ignoring anything.zhu bajiee: In addition to what Lilith said on this subject, keep in mind the practical reason for moulded breastplates: It is very hard to tell women from men in actual armour. If our goal is showing women doing anything, we have to convey that they're actually women. Sure, if they're actual characters then you'd hear the women talk eventually, but what about those faceless minions the heroes fight and faceless soldiers the heroes command in fantasy games and movies? You have to show that some of them are women somehow, and this can be one of the least sketchy ways to do it.

  34. >@Hazmat Sam:'That might be hard to believe, but there's always a significant minority of women that don't care about the fetish stuff.':Absolutely. Not so hard to believe, ime. And of course, an even smaller group that LIKES these depictions and thinks they're an 'Ideal'(usually only within 'fantastic' realms, and not in actuality, for the most part…) or something. As is their right, of course. Different strokes, and all that.'I know people in marketing programs on our campus. They are mandated to psychology courses.':Psychology classes have been added to the curriculum of varying degrees from marketing to graphic design to telecommunications, from what I've seen(and experienced, for my degrees). That doesn't change the fundamental reality that people can have beliefs that override what they've learned elsewhere, 'convincing evidence or no'. It might be a good start for some, but it doesn't seem to have affected corporate policies overmuch, but it might be too early to tell.'a significant minority of women that don't care about the fetish stuff. (like, for exmample, all the women that went on line to tell us that they enjoy playing Bayonetta.) In general, women are much more willing to put up with companies using women's bodies to sell to men than vice versa, and that creates a net gain in customers for the corporation':'Guaranteed sales' on females with varying levels of provocative attire/behavior as opposed to 'potential sales'(and supposed losses if say, Mai Shiranui were to put a little more on, right? Would something like this really cause a T&A boycott? No one wants to find out. The Lara Croft 'redesign' seems to have sparked a debate, we'll see, I guess….) if a female figure appealing to females(and possibly many males!) is used.(As if there weren't guys who would sexualise it anyway[Zoe from L4D springs to mind immediately.]; Rule 34. Any internet-savvy marketing dept. surely knows it exists.) They're not willing to take the chance with the current budgets and expectations of ROI on products, especially video games/MMOs(which are now starting to be funded by venture capitalists, who tend to be as conservative as the corps. themselves. But mavericks do appear from time to time.) And females(and males) seemingly are getting more vocal about offensive/inspiring imagery, so change is inevitable, I believe. How much is the question. 'You have to show that some of them are women somehow, and this can be one of the least sketchy ways to do it.':True. Though Boob Plate is, as mentioned, actually flawed design(and imho, silly as fuck!🙂 like Transformers with boobs, but I digress…), but I find myself ambivalent on it. Many people, male and female, seem to like/want it. Gendering inanimates is strange to me and I think it contributes to a dichotomous male/female view of the world. It should be an option for characters the players create, imo.(And perhaps NPCs/Monsters/whatever may vary, as well.)The gender of opponents could be mentioned in backstories(possibly in the as of late, vanishing/truncated video game manuals. *sigh*),lead-ups to battles with the thugs/henches, and if set on an Earth-like world, names would be suggestive.

  35. >Zhu: Pretty much I'm willing to let the lack of realism slide because she's not objectified and she's FUCKING BADASS. I mean, she's riding a dragon. That's just fucking cool.

  36. >"and supposed losses if say, Mai Shiranui were to put a little more on, right? Would something like this really cause a T&A boycott?"AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Have you ever been in the gamer community at all? In fact, THAT EXACT ISSUE came up. The answer: Yes. Yes it would. Before anyone even knew KoF XII was shit, they were boycotting the lack of bouncing tits. Google:"NO MAI NO BUY!"and cry yourself to sleep.You hold the belief that most people would play a good game even if it didn't conform to their sexual aesthetics despite the fact that no one here will play a good game that didn't conform to their sexual aesthetics. That's what this entire blog is about! I nearly got banned for advocating that aesthetics remain secondary to play, for the love of Pete! Your ideology itself does exactly what you say can't happen, but it is happening, will happen, and has already happened before said ideology even existed. I find that absurd.

  37. >@Hazmat Sam:'Have you ever been in the gamer community at all?':?????Re-read the statement.:'"and supposed losses if say, Mai Shiranui were to put a little more on, right? Would something like this really cause a T&A boycott?"'and tell me what you think I was getting at here, and why I used this example!🙂 As to KOFXII's woes(tepid 'boycott' notwithstanding), Mai(who has even been OUT of the games[counting spinoffs] on occasion even before this) was the least of it's troubles. She'll always return(socks or no) in some way or the other anyhow. XIII isn't likely to improve the tottering SNK Playmore's fortunes, imo. They should produce more sequals of their classic fighters.(Besides the inevitable XBLA,PSN downloads of past games.) More Samurai Showdown, pls!'You hold the belief that most people would play a good game even if it didn't conform to their sexual aesthetics despite the fact that no one here will play a good game that didn't conform to their sexual aesthetics.':Nope. It varies from person to person. I'm sure people here HAVE played games(that they may have considered 'good' otherwise') that doesn't conform to their 'sexual aesthetics', just that they want more games that have more varied gender imagery and storylines. 'Your ideology itself does exactly what you say can't happen, but it is happening, will happen, and has already happened before said ideology even existed. I find that absurd.':Um, What? I'm fully aware that people make compromises daily. I don't say that CAN'T happen.

  38. >velaran: "She'll always return(socks or no) in some way or the other anyhow."Why do you think that is? Be honest."More Samurai Showdown, pls!"On this we are in full agreement.". I'm sure people here HAVE played games(that they may have considered 'good' otherwise') that doesn't conform to their 'sexual aesthetics', just that they want more games that have more varied gender imagery and storylines. "Okay, the Samurai Shodown thing made me like you, so I'll try to help you get this. Let me explain:Sexual, (adj.): "occurring between or involving the sexes"combined with:Aesthetic, (n): "a philosophical theory or idea of what is aesthetically valid at a given time and place"which leads to:Aesthetic, (adj): "relating to pure beauty rather than to other considerations"and finally:Beauty, (n): "the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest). ""more varied gender imagery and storylines." ARE sexual aesthetics by definition. They do not change how the game is played. (unless you advocate gender-specific stats or mechanics?) Their only purpose is to be beautiful to people that have that taste like you and ugly to people that do not. When you argue against sexism in games, you are arguing over the artistic validity of particular artistic sexualities instead of conventional advocacy because there are no people, let alone women, in conventional video games (I'll grant you MMOs). There are only only pixels and numbers. Do you understand now? "I'm fully aware that people make compromises daily. I don't say that CAN'T happen."Ah, fair enough then. It's just, like I said, a ton of people here and elsewhere have abstained from brilliant games entirely because of the art design. I'm afraid I mistook you for one of them, and you have my apology.

  39. >@Hazmat Sam: Oh, so sorry, they're alienting /most/ of their female audience. That's So Much Better. The thing is, women tolerate that shit no because they're totally super cool okay with it, but mostly because it's Everywhere. That doesn't mean those different women don't get up and criticize it plenty. And that majority of women are just as significant, you don't get to treat them as invisible because hey, some people are okay with it. Sexism actually isn't okay, you would think a commenter on this blog would Get That and not keep making excuses for it as you continue to. Nothing will ever change that way, you cannot excuse blatant bigotry by claiming it's all 'just business' or that hey 'that one woman liked it so it Must be okay'. Did you look at a derailing for dummies manual before you got here?And really, while you're so quick to bow down to the genius of marketing people, I'm going to have to disagree. Plenty of marketing teams clearly do not know what they're doing when they continue to turn away a sizeable portion of the female audience because 'hey, men are more valuable' (and not just them). They clearly do not know what they're doing when they adhere to stereotypes that push more than women away but plenty of other marginalized groups as well. And it's foolish to pretend it's all about business, when a lot of it is about the conditioned ideas floating around in our head about how value groups of people are compared to others.And obviously they're ignoring the many female fans who are criticizing the heinous stuff that cycles over and over. Get a clue.I am growing quite tired of your 'this is the way things are so deal' line of thinking. It's the least productive thing I've ever seen. Also, throwing out the dictionary definitions is fuck all condescending and incredibly insulting. So shove that back up your ass."When you argue against sexism in games, you are arguing over the artistic validity of particular artistic sexualities instead of conventional advocacy because there are no people, let alone women, in conventional video games (I'll grant you MMOs). There are only only pixels and numbers. Do you understand now?"You seem to be the only one clearly lacking an understanding in many things. When I argue over sexism in games I am arguing against the idea that women exist as your fap material to appease men and that alone. You can call it art if you want but that's just an excuse you're using to hide behind so you can objectify women as you please and never change. I'm challenging it because it's degrading and because women deserve to be treated like human beings who get to be there without having to pay some stupid price of admission of tits or gtfo. Your 'artistic vision' doesn't negate the people you harm. Stop pretending as if it does. Stop minimalizing the horrid messages these things send. And no, they're not Just pixels, it's not Just a game or a comic or a tv show, Just anything. It affects actual women in actual reality and how they're treated in the gaming culture and how they're treated in our larger culture. You are missing the entire big picture with your ignorance. If your game can't be inclusive to women and a bunch of other people, if they can only exist as cariacatures and stereotypes, sex objects, invisible non-entities, and plot devices.. then it's not brilliant. It's not a work of art, it's not anything but continued reinforcement of bigotry and discrimination. It's got a long way to go and a lot of things to fix. You're not some great objective arbiter, and I wish you would stop acting like you are. Frankly, you can't even see the forest for the trees. Blind ideology? That's all yours, buddy.

  40. >One More Thing -'You hold the belief that most people would play a good game even if it didn't conform to their sexual aesthetics despite the fact that no one here will play a good game that didn't conform to their sexual aesthetics.'Your definition of a good game and my definition of a good game seem to differ greatly. Mainly because your definition seems to be one that clings to your privileged idea that women should exist as your blow-up dolls and that's A.OK because you're horny, Sam.Gee, I wonder which is a worse. A game that dehumanizes and stereotypes women around the clock or one that Doesn't. Yeah, I can see how they're the same exact thing. Oh wait, no they're not, you're just ignorantly framing it as equivalent when it isn't. When your 'sexual aesthetics' amount you wanting the privilege of women being considered little but sex toys as their primary purpose.. your position might just be a /little/ less defensible. One More Time: It's not a good game if it continues to give the message that women are mostly only worthwhile as sexual parts by making them the primary purpose and not much else. Can we just get down to your real message here? 'I don't care about how many women it hurts and disrespects, they should just suck it up and get over it because my sexual needs are more important'.

  41. >@Hazmat Sam:'Why do you think that is? Be honest.':It's a confluence of factors, I'd say. According to what I've seen, the main reasons for Mai's persistence are: loyalty to the character by the fanbase(inspired by the character's 'story' as it's unfolded across the games) and game designers(who designed her to be an 'idol'-type character from the beginning, a fact not everyone familiar with Fatal Fury is aware of, strangely), after all she's been there from virtually the beginning of the series(Fatal Fury 2), and just as importantly, Mai fills a niche for players who enjoy a speedy, medium impact fighter. Additionally, there are women who look like Mai, and enjoy seeing their bodytype represented. Of course, then you have group of fans who obsess on the character's endowments(though sometimes her feet are fetishized as well), and get upset about their fav. sexpot's garb design(Strange in the age of Rule 34, where all their fantasies and more are catered to in more explicit fashion than any game company is likely to offer.). The character's pulchritude could be considered free advertising for SNK, of a sort, as her legendary chest is often mentioned on gaming sites and magazines.(Though I doubt anyone just learning of the curvy ninja's existence is necessarily going to go rush out and buy a copy of the latest game she stars in.) This all contributes to Mai's continuing popularity as a Kof/Fatal Fury combatant. '"more varied gender imagery and storylines." ARE sexual aesthetics by definition.':Yes. '". I'm sure people here HAVE played games(that they may have considered 'good' otherwise') that doesn't conform to their 'sexual aesthetics', just that they want more games that have more varied gender imagery and storylines. "' should've read more like:"I'm sure many people here have played games that they would've considered 'good', even 'excellent', had they not problematic aspects(such as certain 'sexual aesthetics'), and dissatisfied with these negative experiences, are pushing for more options in character creation and less gender stereotyping.(And dare I say, more good games in general!)"I was a bit tired when I wrote the initial response. My apologies for being unclear.'When you argue against sexism in games, you are arguing over the artistic validity of particular artistic sexualities instead of conventional advocacy because there are no people, let alone women, in conventional video games (I'll grant you MMOs). There are only only pixels and numbers. Do you understand now?': Um, what? I'm quite aware that mathematical constructs of light and sound aren't 'persons'. 🙂'I'm afraid I mistook you for one of them, and you have my apology.':No problem.Thanx for the response.

  42. >First thing: that quote was not an insult aimed at anyone here. There are games that you are justified to ignore entirely on aesthetics. I was arguing for your position. Lilith, I like you, so I'm going to take the time to give you actual corrective criticism instead of laughing at you. "Your definition of a good game and my definition of a good game seem to differ greatly."Yes, they do. Check the Final Fantasy blog, because you seem to have forgotten everything I ever posted there. Nutshell for those that missed it: a good game is a game that is fun to play. A good story is one that is fun to watch/read. Someone that desires an interactive story is better off reading visual novels because they can dedicate all their resources to character and plot whereas game designers must put the majority of mechanics, interface, and control.Note how none of that had any goddamn thing to do with wanting sexay ladies? Can you truly not conceive of a person that disagrees with you without them being a misogynist?More significantly, Wundergeek threatened me with banning because I was insulting people that didn't agree with my standards, remember? So you should probably stop this. "Mainly because your definition seems to be one that clings to your privileged idea that women should exist as your blow-up dolls and that's A.OK because you're horny, Sam."Hey Lilith, do you know my sex? Gender? Anything? No? Well, then stop speculating. Also, remember when I said I wasn't biosexual? That kinda rules out women there, buddy.

  43. >Now, here's where you make your fatal mistake: You assume that I have sexual interests in the game and you don't, when the opposite is true. First, you have an absolute obsession for art of powerful, non mainstream-sexualized women, to the point where you will not play a game without them. Second, you find it morally offensive that I compare this obsession (favourably, for fuck's sake!) to the average neckbeard's desire for coy, mainstream-sexualized women. This is because you believe, wrongly, that your sexual tastes aren't sexual at all because you are a minority. You are, ito use a metaphor, arguing that the Violet Beauregarde inflation scene in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory wasn't sexual because only majority sexuality 'counts'. This is deeply stupid. Everything is sexual because humans are sexual beings. There is nothing that isn't a blow-up doll for someone. Case in point: Wundergeek loves old-school Samus for being non-sexualized. Guess what? There are people that lust after armoured-Samus and are completely bored by the Zero suit. Some people just get off on the armour itself. That means Super Metroid was appealing to the technosexual, whose sex drive is identical in function to those dudes that play DOA. Deal with it.

  44. >"Gee, I wonder which is a worse. A game that dehumanizes and stereotypes women around the clock or one that Doesn't. Oh wait, no they're not, you're just ignorantly framing it as equivalent when it isn't. "Games cannot dehumanize people because there are no people in games, only machine code and television pixels. What you are talking about is art design that represents human beings, and I have been entirely behind you and Wundergeek on laughing at terrible art. Now, you don't seem to make this distinction, so I'll make it for you with this analogy: Say we're talking about Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider is a game about shooting things and pushing blocks. The art gives us a story about an woman with a suspicious lack of muscle tone and clothing appropriate to her work environment. The protagonist is entirely arbitrary, and indeed, was originally planned as man for it was changed into a woman to stand out. So here we are, critiquing the utter unlikability of Ms. Croft and complaining that she never wears actual pants while climbing jagged rocks, and you say "That's so sexist, what a terrible game!" What you have just done is say that puzzles and shooting things are sexist. This is stupid, and entirely avoidable. All you'd have to do to correct your semantics is rephrase that as "Tomb Raider has a terrible story!" We don't even disagree. I try to tell you all this, and you call me a misogynist, though you are never so brave as to just come out and say so. You have conflated every part of the game into some mystical ideal through your cavalier semantics.That is what is happening, and because there is no critical thought involved, you cannot even state what the problem with my philosophy is, just start with a witch-hunt. (and you being so feminist! This blog is a gold mine of irony lately)

  45. >"When your 'sexual aesthetics' amount you wanting the privilege of women being considered little but sex toys as their primary purpose.. your position might just be a /little/ less defensible. "Oh, that's a relief, considering that my sexual aesthetics do not prioritize human beings. Oh, and do note I have never disagreed with you or your pack on anything other than the definition of "game," and whether corporations have higher values than profit. (for those curious, I'm on the "no" side) Can you bring up any time that I've defended mainstream sexuality? Did you forget the fifty scornful references to "helium tits?" Fuck, I even mocked mainstream-women's sexuality in the FF blog. Women are not the centre of my universe, as much as you want it to be true."One More Time: It's not a good game if it continues to give the message that women are mostly only worthwhile as sexual parts"A good game is one that is fun. Bad art makes the experience of playing games less fun, and thus should be avoided. We agree on these things. Your only problem is that you simply cannot conceive that a game with bad character design or art could be fun to play for anyone except asshole dudebros. Guess what? That is a very shallow position."by making them the primary purpose and not much else."Okay, here's where we finally disagree on art design, happy? If your game has a female protagonist, then her primary purpose is to fulfill the genre of the game. to use the Tomb Raider example, Lara Croft's primary purpose is to solve puzzles, gunfight, and climb things. We complain because her lack of clothing makes the climbing and gunfighting immersion-breaking. It doesn't contribute to the game and in fact works against it. In fact, if sex-appeal were her primary purpose, there would be nothing to complain about because her game would be a porn game and she would be the perfect character for that genre.

  46. >"Can we just get down to your real message here?"Okay: Complaints about how women are 'drawn,' so to speak, in game art is an artistic complaint, and thus a matter of taste. Insofar as they are both questions of taste, your preference of women is analogous to /their/ preference of women. This is only a problem if you don't believe that some tastes are better than others and that our tastes are the best, which we both obviously do. I am here because the blogger is a brilliant artist with a refined aesthetic, and I stay here becuse she has a sharp enough wit to realize that game characters are simulacra and not people, and that one can still criticize them anyway, something that eludes almost the entire internet, including yourself." 'I don't care about how many women it hurts and disrespects, they should just suck it up and get over it because my sexual needs are more important'. "Oh yes, the one that plays games primarily for the mechanics is more sexually invested than a cultural feminist. (I assume. You know, since we're obviously fucking around with baseless speculation here)Oh, by the way, no woman or man or child or corpse could engage my sexual needs. Sorry.To finish: "no one here will play a good game that didn't conform to their sexual aesthetics" is not an attack on you, it simply the acknowledgement that you not playing a game because it has bouncing breasts is the same kind of action as some asshole not playing a game because it doesn't. You ignore that I think the quality of your action is superior or that quality is even possible. You are wrong.

  47. >Holy God, that took like an hour to type up. We clear now, Lilith? Because, just to let you know, you ignore this and make the same ad homs and equivocations, I'm just going to ignore you. Don't take it personally, I have to deal with enough of this shit in my dayjob.

  48. >velaran: Okay, wow, so it turns out that we agree on almost everything, and just misunderstood each other in an incredibly dumb way. The only difference is that me being an anime fan in a world where Ikki Tousen both exists and has multiple seasons has demonstrated false to me the idea that men (and women, just sub in "Twilight" for "Ikki Tousen") will give up 'titillating X' in favour of 'non-titillating X and unrelated porn.' It's like getting someone to buy a good phone and a good mp3 player instead of a single shitty iphone for twice the price, you know? Can't be done.My main goal with men nowadays is to point out how terribly hideous these supposed "sexy" things are and try to get them to have some fucking standards for the women they lust at. (A quest which Tomonobu Itagaki seems to exist entirely to thwart).

  49. >Hazmat Sam:I'm only going to respond to a few things, because I don't have time to respond to everything I think is wrong about your wall of posts.Someone that desires an interactive story is better off reading visual novels because they can dedicate all their resources to character and plot whereas game designers must put the majority of mechanics, interface, and control.I have to disagree there. Discussing resources in comparative terms is inherently misleading outside of discussions of equality — the percent of resources that go into character and plot often has very little to do with the amount of resources actually used. If you had Pixar's screenwriters write the script for a Flash cartoon, the percent of resources that went to story and character would be much, much higher, but that wouldn't make it superior in any way in narrative terms to a full-length Pixar movie. (And, in any case, narrative is one of the things that's least helped by throwing more money at it)Videogames have some huge advantages over visual novels in terms of scope. I'd much rather play a story that looks like Final Fantasy Versus XIII than one that looks like Phoenix Wrignt, all other things aside (and I like Phoenix Wright, don't get me wrong — I just find visual splendor to be a plus)So here we are, critiquing the utter unlikability of Ms. Croft and complaining that she never wears actual pants while climbing jagged rocks, and you say "That's so sexist, what a terrible game!" What you have just done is say that puzzles and shooting things are sexist. This is stupid, and entirely avoidable. All you'd have to do to correct your semantics is rephrase that as "Tomb Raider has a terrible story!" Semantically, "that's a terrible game" is perfectly fine — it's a shortened version of "that's a terrible videogame," which refers to the piece of software as a whole rather than just its ludic elements. And if we're just going by semantics, there's little reason to devalue criticism of any particular element of that piece of software — you'd have to argue the case for the superiority of ludic criticism separately, and most of the readership here are going to disagree with you.

  50. >Okay. I only made it through about half of your wall of posts before I started skimming, but I picked out something from the beginning:Lilith, I like you, so I'm going to take the time to give you actual corrective criticism instead of laughing at you.Holy shit. Do you NOT have any idea of how patronizing that sounds? Here's the thing Sam, a lot of the stuff in your comments DO read straight out of Derailing for Dummies. God knows not many of us have the mental energy to keep up with walls of text being thrown at us. And a lot of your comments do read as being apologist for sexism in gaming, which is infuriating to women who fucking want it to stop.And please, for the love of god, don't continually reference how I almost "banned" you, because that is so not what happened. Read my post about comments. I don't "ban" anyone here. What I threatened to do is completely ignore – which is completely different. I won't forbid you from speaking, but you have to prove that the words coming out of your (virtual) mouth are WORTH MY TIME.

  51. >Ikkun: "you'd have to argue the case for the superiority of ludic criticism separately, and most of the readership here are going to disagree with you."Believe me, I'm aware that most people in general prefer the flashy stuff. My entire misunderstanding with velaran here was because I thought he was arguing otherwise.Wundergeek: "Holy shit. Do you NOT have any idea of how patronizing that sounds?"Did you not notice how patronizing Lilith sounded? Half those posts were parodies of her arguments."Here's the thing Sam, a lot of the stuff in your comments DO read straight out of Derailing for Dummies."There's like 50 sections on that site, multiple ones which are the exact opposite complaints. Please be specific."God knows not many of us have the mental energy to keep up with walls of text being thrown at us."Okay, so that's why you missed the humour. Well, I assure you that I put more effort into typing than it took you to read it. (unless it took an hour to read) I do not say anything lightly. If people don't want to read it, they don't have to."And a lot of your comments do read as being apologist for sexism in gaming, which is infuriating to women who fucking want it to stop."All I've said is that sexist art design does not impact actually playing a game, but that the total experience IS effected. That's why I'm complaining about it, after all. Anyone that thinks categorical distinctions in criticism is 'being soft' on sexism, so to speak, is free to do so.Another issue I think we have here is that I frequently attempt to posit and hypothesize the geneology of certain loathsome phenomena, and you take that for an apology. I admit, that's an easy mistake, especially since I just realized that I've been subconciously operating on the assumption that "any point I don't argue against I am assumed to agree to." I don't think that's been made clear, and I will apologize for THAT."And please, for the love of god, don't continually reference how I almost "banned" you, because that is so not what happened. Read my post about comments. I don't "ban" anyone here. "Okay, really? I'm just used to all that being polite euphemism. It did not cross my mind at any time that you could actually be serious about not banning people you think are disruptive. That's a lot more patience than anyone I've ever known, and you have my deepest respect for it."What I threatened to do is completely ignore – which is completely different. I won't forbid you from speaking, but you have to prove that the words coming out of your (virtual) mouth are WORTH MY TIME. "Oh, I'd never demand that anyone listen to me. (even in my lectures, I'm getting paid whether they slack off or not😉 )I obviously feel I can contribute to the conversation, but I'm not going to spam you or eStalk if you ignore me or anything. Hell, just say the word and I will voluntarily leave. I'm not a narcissist, you know.

  52. >@Hazmat Sam: To the first series of many many posts I don't really think I feel like going through each and every one. I usually try to only post twice in a row, even if they're really long ones. It's a lot more manageable that way.So I'll just reply to this most recent post here. Yes, I was plenty patronizing and angry, but only because for all things presented.. Wundergeek pretty much hit it on the nose. It looked like you were taking part in some classic apologist behavior for sexism. It gets more than a little frustrating, and I'm sure just not for me, you run into this stuff countless times over the net and it can make some people get a short fuse sometimes. I didn't expect a polite reply. I don't really care much for humor in scenarios where it sounds like people are arguing against the idea that women are human beings who should be valued and treated with just as much respect as men are often given. It's just rather tiring to continue seeing the idea that because men are the 'valuable' demographic this somehow gives a free pass to entitle them to walk all over women as they please. Whether in fiction or reality (and, honestly, if you can't even do it in a fictional world.. that sort of reflects how bad the current reality really is).If you didn't mean it to come out as apologism or a 'this is the way it is, suck it up and deal ladies and stop criticizing it' way then okay. Though I think you should try phrasing it better in the future, it was difficult to interpret it any other way. Saying that art doesn't affect the way the game is played in such a specific way feels a bit like splitting hairs but I kind of see your point.

  53. >Okay, you're right, Lilith. I'm probably being a bit pedantic. That's literally in my job description, okay? I'll try to be a bit more loose from hereon out.One last thing: "I didn't expect a polite reply. I don't really care much for humor in scenarios where it sounds like people are arguing against the idea that women are human beings who should be valued and treated with just as much respect as men are often given."What I've been saying is not that women cannot be treated with respect, but that game characters cannot be treated with respect because they aren't women. Convincing simulacra, to be sure, but not actual women. I'm not saying you can't complain about them anymore than I'd say you couldn't complain about a statue because it's not a real person. It just doesn't have will or volition. It can still be criticized for being ugly, vulgar, poorly crafted, in bad taste, pandering, etc. I'm not denying your experiences. If you say that the sight of all these terrible characters is something that causes you pain, then not only will I believe you, but I will say that you have an obligation to yourself to obliterate them. You're a hundred times the Stendhal that I am, and should be commended for it. The only tragedy is the lack of Florence."It's just rather tiring to continue seeing the idea that because men are the 'valuable' demographic this somehow gives a free pass to entitle them to walk all over women as they please."You think I'm giving dudes a free pass here? I believe I got reprimanded for calling one of them 'subhuman'. All you've done is merely /insinuate/ that I'm a misogynist. But sure, I'd love to see games a bit more woman focused make it out of books and onto the screen. Aquaria is awesome, and that's all I've got off the top of my head. If you're into the tabletop scene, Houses of the Blooded, Tekumel, and REIGN are amazing. If you're like Wundergeek and don't mind sexy women when there's sexy men too (and I actually mean that. Melissa Uran draws hot dudes everywhere and put Yaoi for the April fools supplement) then Exalted is pretty good.Saying that art doesn't affect the way the game is played in such a specific way feels a bit like splitting hairs" Not really. If you say that a jiggly nudist placed instead of a soldier intrinsically changes the way the game is played, then a million wretches will point you to all the brilliant games that had jiggly nudists and tell you that, by your own logic, you could not remove the nudist without changing the way the game is played. Taking nudity out of mechanics gives them no red herring save "Well, I liked it," and we can deal with those the same way we deal with Michael Bay fans and Twihards."but I kind of see your point."Hour well spent!😀

  54. >Hazmat Sam:What I've been saying is not that women cannot be treated with respect, but that game characters cannot be treated with respect because they aren't women. Convincing simulacra, to be sure, but not actual women. I'm not saying you can't complain about them anymore than I'd say you couldn't complain about a statue because it's not a real person. It just doesn't have will or volition. It can still be criticized for being ugly, vulgar, poorly crafted, in bad taste, pandering, etc.Female characters might not be women, but they do reflect and encourage attitudes about women in their creators and audience.What's being criticized isn't the mistreatment of the character, because, as you say, the character isn't real. What's being criticized is the attitude encouraged by an industry that only allows female characters when they're eyecandy for the male audience.Not really. If you say that a jiggly nudist placed instead of a soldier intrinsically changes the way the game is played, then a million wretches will point you to all the brilliant games that had jiggly nudists and tell you that, by your own logic, you could not remove the nudist without changing the way the game is played. It doesn't affect the way the game is played, necessarily, but it has a significant effect on the experience of playing the game. I wouldn't be able to enjoy a game if my avatar was a jiggly nudist, even if the game mechanics themselves were flawless — but if a mod was released to turn the nudist into a soldier, I'd probably enjoy that.And that's the important thing, I think: when most people say "X is a bad game," they're talking about the experience offered by the game as a whole, not their judgement of the game qua game.

  55. >Ikkin: "It doesn't affect the way the game is played, necessarily, but it has a significant effect on the experience of playing the game."I love you. You get it. This is exactly what I've been saying (I think that's ever an uninentional paraphrase!) forever now."I wouldn't be able to enjoy a game if my avatar was a jiggly nudist, even if the game mechanics themselves were flawless"Well, fair enough. Nothing I can say there except that English classes and anime fandom have somewhat inured me personally to most of this stuff at an emotional level. (because seriously, try reading or watching a performance of the Taming of the Shrew without pretending it's ironic like a pomo circlejerker. Takes skills.) That doesn't excuse it, and I'd be more than willing to help mod that sort of thing if it happened. (Well, I would if I actually knew how to mod textures and models, but I'm pretty sure there's code needed somewhere)"And that's the important thing, I think: when most people say "X is a bad game," they're talking about the experience offered by the game as a whole, not their judgement of the game qua game."Now, see, I know that's what they want to mean, but several people on this blog (not naming names) have unconsciously equivocation between my definition and theirs. This is because when you define "Game" as "the total experience of playing a game" then the word itself becomes recursive and meaningless. It's just not good semantics. I mena, sure, we could change the definition of 'theory' to 'wild ass guess' because most people already believe it, but it wouldn't be very useful.I'm totally fine with talking about the experience of the game, as long as people specify which experience. (because there are multiple: auditory, tactile, visual, etc.) I agree with those things being important.

  56. >Here's the thing, Sam. We've diverged a lot, so I want to bring it back to Wayne.Cheesecake art matters because it influences the attitudes that male players have toward women and it creates a very gendered space where it is very hard for women to feel safe and valued. If the cheesecake art is bad enough and widespread enough, the space can become so gendered as to become openly tolerant of sexual harassment. Men really CAN get used to looking at women as a collection of body parts. That's why it matters!Sure none of these women exist. But that doesn't make them less horrific, because they still affect real people.

  57. >Hazmat Sam:Now, see, I know that's what they want to mean, but several people on this blog (not naming names) have unconsciously equivocation between my definition and theirs. This is because when you define "Game" as "the total experience of playing a game" then the word itself becomes recursive and meaningless. It's just not good semantics. I mena, sure, we could change the definition of 'theory' to 'wild ass guess' because most people already believe it, but it wouldn't be very useful.I'm totally fine with talking about the experience of the game, as long as people specify which experience. (because there are multiple: auditory, tactile, visual, etc.) I agree with those things being important. I'd argue that the use of "game" in this manner is really quite natural, though, and does nowhere near the type of violence to the language that redefining "theory" as "wild guess" would. The standard way of referring to the overall experience of a piece of media involves the use of the medium name — "that was a bad movie," "that was a good book," "that was a mediocre television show," "that was an interesting play," etc. It'd be weird if the videogame equivalent wasn't "that was an awesome videogame" — and, from there, it's just a matter of convenience to get to "that was a terrible game," because the "video" bit makes the phrase rather unwieldy.As for specifying which experience… the point of making a statement of this sort is to avoid talking about any particular element of the experience. It's the overall experience that we're engaging with, not just the visual/auditory/tactile/etc. experience.

  58. >Wundergeek: "Here's the thing, Sam. We've diverged a lot, so I want to bring it back to Wayne."Sure. The main problem that I have with his art, to the point that it bothers me more than even standard game art, is that those breasts look entirely out of place on his drawings, like a poor photoshop or a cut-and-paste. The bodies are going for a realistic style instead of artistic distortion, and that just makes those characters look even more lopsided. I can kinda deal with the Liefeldian "muscles and weapons everywhere!" fixation, but that incongruity (the Alucard-knockoff especially) is the dealbreaker, like, it would have to be for Arc Dream or TAO Games before I would consider a book that was mostly him illustrating."Cheesecake art matters because it influences the attitudes that male players have toward women and it creates a very gendered space where it is very hard for women to feel safe and valued."Okay? Art can inspire certain people to do certain things. I get that. It's called propaganda, and I understand it. Not in any conflict with what I said."If the cheesecake art is bad enough and widespread enough, the space can become so gendered as to become openly tolerant of sexual harassment. Men really CAN get used to looking at women as a collection of body parts. That's why it matters!"I'm not saying it doesn't. If this issue was irrelevant, I wouldn't be here. "Sure none of these women exist. But that doesn't make them less horrific, because they still affect real people. "Art can make people feel bad. That doesn't mean that it's suddenly jumped from text to reality, and I feel that's a mistake a lot of people here are making. (And don't try to say that that's a a strawman argument. The recent outbursts here have come entirely because you "attacked" the autonomy of things that aren't even alive, while a major developed country just tried to redefine art as "fictional persons," like drawings are a fucking oppressed minority. This hallucination is everywhere)Ikkin: "the point of making a statement of this sort is to avoid talking about any particular element of the experience."Okay, that's where we're going wrong. I'm an analytical philosopher, so those sort of statements register as "equivocation" at best, and "non-cognitive" at worst. IF you can find something worth saying in murky generalities, good, because I don't see how that's even possible. I think we'll have to agree to disagree here.

  59. >Hazmat Sam:Okay, that's where we're going wrong. I'm an analytical philosopher, so those sort of statements register as "equivocation" at best, and "non-cognitive" at worst. IF you can find something worth saying in murky generalities, good, because I don't see how that's even possible. I think we'll have to agree to disagree here.Here's the thing — not everyone is an analytical philosopher (and not everyone who is a philosopher feels the need to be so specific when talking to non-philosophers).Sure, it might be a lot less accurate to give an opinion of a thing as a whole than it is to give an opinion of each of its parts. But that doesn't mean it isn't valuable in ordinary, every day conversation, where it's dead useful to be able to truthfully tell a host "the meal you made was good" even if you didn't particularly like the lima beans or to say "Rapelay is a terrible game" regardless of what you think of the game mechanics — it really helps to keep your conversation partner from getting distracted by things that are likely to derail the conversation at little to no benefit to the conversation you're actually trying to have (unless, I suppose, she's an analytical philosopher 😉 ).

    • You know what sam, i like you. You seem like you’ve been gaming for a long while(as have i) so you don’t end up throwing…less than logical reasonings as what is and isn’t a game.
      For example(@Ikkin)Visual Novels for example, are interactive(loosely) storybooks. They have more time and effort placed into a story than graphics. Most of a time a videogame story IS subpar because the focus is on story, gameplay, and graphics, instead of just story and characters! Now there are games with VN elements thrown in, but they are not VNs. Such as Persona 3 Portable or those Ecchi games which are VN/dating sims with a battle system like Utawarerumono. The term in the gaming world for those folks who prefer ‘graphix’ over plot is Graphix whore(and it is applied equally to both men and women). Its used to describe those who will shell out money for a good looking game, placing that above anything else.

      And i agree with you that just because you may not like a character in a game, doesn’t make the game bad in any way. I hated Yuna in FFX, but i overall liked FFX. In fact there are a number of games i feel about like that. I don’t condemn it because ‘oh lawd this character totally sucks!’, and base the entire experience or game on that aspect, for that would be rather silly. C:

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