From the mail bag: Mostly fail, with a little win on the side

Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve been lazy this week. After my fast-and-furious post-GenCon posting spree, I needed a bit of a rest. And sure, posts like this are a bit of a cop-out, but I promise I’ll make it up to you next week with a new gender swap.

Anyhow, during the last week people have been sending me a lot of stuff to look at, and much of it was stuff I thought deserved attention and/or ridicule. So let the mocking commence!

In which entitled gamers put their privilege on display

Now it may have escaped your notice – as it did mine – that there is a video game in development called Lollipop Chainsaw that features a scantily-clad chainsaw-wielding cheerleader named Juliet who kills zombies:

Oh, hey look. It’s a scantily clad nubile young woman who will kill lots of stuff while wearing next to nothing. A thinly veiled platform for a combination of fanservice and violence – how original! Unsurprisingly, some people have taken exception to such a ridiculous character and pointed out that this game concept just might be a little sexist. Which is where gamer entitlement comes in.

Sure, Juliet isn’t exactly the most tasteful portrayal of a woman, but who cares? She’s a character in a video game that boasts an absolutely ridiculous premise. Are the actions of a fictitious girl truly detrimental to the image of females everywhere?

Ah, right. The “it’s just fantasy” argument. Yes, because really – everyone knows that humans are completely independent creatures and are never influenced by any of the media they consume ever. EVAR. End of story.

Perhaps we should focus our attention not on a video game character, but on real men and women that are sending the wrong messages, or even parents that let their children leave the house dressed like Paris Hilton. Turn on the MTV, or just about any channel these days, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Video games are the least of our worries.

Yes, because sexism in video games is such a trivial concern and don’t we have more important things to worry about? There are starving children in Africa, people. Since it is inherently true that people are incapable of caring about more than one kind of injustice simultaneously, being bothered by sexism in gaming reveals what a petty and shallow person I am for taking time away from being sad about starving children, war refugees, and sad puppies. Clearly, I am a terrible person.

Moving on…

Exhibit B begins with this article over on IGN by Emma Boyes asking whether LA Noire is sexist. It’s a pretty thoughtful and objective piece, definitely free of the vitriol and hyperbole that I like to fling around over here. She makes some pretty good points, and if anything understates how sexist the game industry itself is. Overall, it’s a pretty solid piece that is only minimally controversial, in that a woman dared to accuse teh awesome menz at RockStar of being sexist.

But you’d never guess that from the comments, which are a veritable tidal wave of scorn and entitlement:

They should have had a main, woman character in LA Noire. Her duty: to better LA from HQ, the kitchen, one sandwich at a time. LOL

its supposed to be a 50s cop show procedural as a videogame. they were sexist back then so YES… is ign writing articles sheerly for the sake of asking stupid questions?

IGN gets more and more retarded every day

who wrote this article? – a women . . .

…and so on and so forth.

But then, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised since this is IGN, the website that has a dedicated “Babeology” section of their site:

Charming.

Stupid visuals

I’ve raged plenty of times here about the stupidity of “play now” advertisements for free MMOs. Well, this one takes that stupidity to an impressive level.

Nothing too unusual here. We’ve got gravity-defying sphere-boobs the size of her head. Her “corset” must also be made of some very hard metal to contain those titanic breasts of hers, because there’s no way that a construction of mere cloth and leather could contain breasts that large and that gravity-defying. Now I will admit that her anatomy (aside from the ridiculous breasts) looks like it might be physically attainable… by a vanishingly small percentage of the human population. However, the ridiculous bikini is… well… ridiculous. And let’s not overlook that the key phrase of the ad describing the game is RIGHT OVER HER CROTCH.

And now for the win

So first up, a bit of visual win to counter the visual fail:

These are character class designs from the upcoming Namco/Bandai title – Dark Souls. And I feel like I literally cannot express how much I love these designs and want this game to be a good game. I mean, holy shit, people! The women are wearing exactly the same outfits as the men. THE SAME. When does that happen? Never. Or almost never. I’m over the moon.

For that matter, I’m delighted that the one class that does run around naked has the male iteration just as naked as the female. Equal opportunity nudity. I love it! So please, Namco/Bandai, for the love of god – I’m begging you! Don’t fuck this up!

Lastly, I’m going to link to my new favorite thing on the internet since Boobs Don’t Work That Way – a new tumblr devoted entirely to pictures of women fighters in reasonable armor. It’s a delightful collection of images of female fighters in totally badass and not sexualized armor. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

[And that’s enough of that. Next time – gender swap!]

82 thoughts on “From the mail bag: Mostly fail, with a little win on the side

  1. I really like that last link! I can’t stand the bog standard chainmail bras and the all-too-literal breastplates… if you’re putting a female character in armour, PUT HER IN ARMOUR, not lingerie with higher than average metal content.. Since the presumed intent of putting her in armour in the first place is to establish her as a competent fighter, you only undercut that by throwing a great honking cleavage window onto the front of her otherwise impenetrable plate armour for all the pointy pieces of metal to zero in on.

    Honestly, I find it all more than a tad condescending. “Not interested in our product? You will if I add more breasts to it! What, that doesn’t make any sense in this context? Why should you care, you’re a man, GO LOOK AT THE BOOBIES.”

  2. That’s funny, I /just/ started following that Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor tumblr too!😄 It was just an instant follow the minute I saw the first page. A friend linked it to me from a io9 post I believe.

  3. Okay, my objection to the character from “Lollipop Chainsaw”? The artists are aware that chainsaws actually y’know, weigh something, right? They’re also unwieldy, they tend to kick back, and they require fuel (which also weighs something). A chainsaw-wielding character is therefore going to require at least some upper body strength – not quite as much as they’d need to be waving an axe around and dismembering the zombies that way, but strength none the less, in order to wield and control the chainsaw (rather than having it chop their own foot or spare hand off, for example). Their little candy-floss cheerleader there doesn’t look like she has the upper body strength required to do so.

    Oh, and the lightweight chainsaw she’s apparently using would probably bend, break, or otherwise be rendered inoperable when confronted by a human body which is exerting any opposing force whatsoever.

    (But hey, fantasy, right? Rule of Cool outscores laws of physics etc).

    • The thing that gets me most is that it’s a banal design. Suda51’s never really made anything good, but at least No More Heroes and Killer7 were interesting until you actually played them, and then they were so bad you were almost awed by the experience. It’s like going from Ed Wood to Michael Bay. (or Bethesda to Obsidian, to put it in the appropriate medium)

    • “But hey, fantasy, right?”

      Uhhh yeah that would be the correct answer. If you’re going to complain about realism, why not complain about the living head of her boyfriend attached to her hip or does that pass your realism test?

      The design is nothing but fan service but complaints like the one you explained are just silly.

  4. Beyond the dumb free MMO add being terrible in unto itself, it’s also pretty much ripping off the already crap costume design of emma frost from x-men with a tiny bit of fantasy dress up.

    • ….Actually, that’s just Emma Frost. Like, that is her comic costume, as drawn in the comics, and that particular image was drawn by a real comic artist, Stanley Lau (aka artgerm).

      See this article: http://osg1.com/2011/04/batheo-art-theft/

      Stanley Lau can totally draw, but I’ll never be able to unassociate him from The Pepper Project, which basically turned into “a bunch of very talented artists draw the most sexualized female character possible, each taking the time to one-up the last one.”

      • (Also, since I cannot for the life of me figure out how else to link wundergeek to this:)

        Saw this (awful, awful) video from IGN linked in a Rock, Paper, Shotgun comments thread. The caption for it was, approximately, “this will disabuse you of your optimism about the games industry.”

        It’s a bit old, but the wtf level is so high that I thought you would want to see it. For certain values of “want”.

        • The fact that there were two women in that room with those creeps – one of whom was expected to smile for the camera – just made it even more cringeworthy. And it would have been pretty damned cringeworthy even without them. Spine-chillingly awful. Brr!

        • Wowww. I almost didn’t watch the video because I thought that surely it wouldn’t surprise me, but that was some pretty knee-deep awfulness going on. The one bit of consolation I have is that the maker of the video itself seemed aware of how terrible those dudes were, since the video emphasized the worst parts.

  5. I don’t know if my reply belongs in this post or somewhere else, I just need to point out something in this video here (only mildly related to the original post): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4euUIPrpSs

    This is some montage from GamesCon, posted by a guy who does regular WoW videos and is sponsored by Razer. Clearly Razer had their own booth there, with some events and whatnot. What really stung me starts at around 1:47 in the video. There are some girls dressed in low cleavage vests and hotpants dancing and rubbing the behinds up against some guys playing videogames…
    What. The. Fuck. Razer, are you even aware that you have female customers too? I feel like throwing my Razer Naga mouse in the trash now.

    • Jesus, that would just annoy the shit out of me….

      yes Honey, you have a nice body but you know, trying to get a head shot here.

      That female armour tumblr just got bookmarked, about half my current NPC’s are in there though which is cool😀

  6. Yay! Glad you found the Women in Reasonable Armour tumblr to be great! I go there sometimes whenever I get depressed seeing the fail representations of women in games.

  7. Two things. On Lollipop Chainsaw is a Suda51 game. His games are known for their extreme representations, and just general insanity. Now, I’m not defending the portrayal, and haven’t really played any of his games, but based on the Lollipop Trailer (which looks as extreme as his other games) and his previous games, most recently Shadows of the Damned (A game where the main character was an extreme macho male stereotype who uses a talking phallic extension of a gun called the Boner and would grow to become stronger to ridiculous lengths, somewhere around 5 – 10 feet long), I would think, or at least hope, that these games are heavily satirical, parodying elements of game cultures and their extremes, especially from the japanese gaming culture. Again, I would at least hope it is. Point being, I think that’s one that deserves a bit more exploration beyond just a character image who may or may not be sexist fanservice or a parody of it. For all our sakes I hope its more latter, rather than the former.

    I wouldn’t worry about Dark Souls quality, its a spiritual sequel to 2009’s From Software’s Demon’s Souls, so if you want to see more armor used that way, and get a test of how Dark Souls will play, I’d recommend it. Demon’s Souls is a brilliant, but very difficult game. So much so that that is the main characteristic its known by, and From Software has promised more of the same, but harder. So play it, and buy extra replacement controllers for when you inevitable smash yours in frustration.

  8. Thank you so much for the link to “women fighters in reasonable armor”. It’s important to rail against fail, but in the end, I think win does the job best; they’re actual examples we can point to and say, “See? Do it *this* way.”

  9. When I played LA Noire, I was not bothered by the portrayals of women- it seemed like a very accurate period piece. But as that article points out, it could have been more- a female P.I. would have been a great foil or love interest for Cole.

    I wouldn’t call it sexist, but it’s certainly not feminist. (In ways that say, Mass Effect or Dragon Age are.)

    • Feminist? Wait, aren’t those the games where the only way to fix your team’s mental problems is to fuck some sense into them? The games with characters like Merril, Miranda, Jack, Isabella, Tali, Morrigan, and the entire Asari species? I’m trying to understand the logic here.

      • And I’m not seeing the whole mental problems thing. In the various Bioware universes, women are easily the equals of the men. If it means anything for a game to be feminist, that should be it.

        • Blech. The problem is Jack. She is clearly depicted as being unhinged And having sex with her makes her okay. It’s unpleasant: she cries in happiness that all her trauma is now whisked away in her post-coital bliss.

          Other ME2 characters are edge cases, to a greater or lesser extent. Shepard is the only one who definitively escapes unscathed by BioWare’s sexist portrayals of major female characters.

  10. Initially, I was really excited about Lollipop Chainsaw. Then we got Juliette and I didn’t really care. When one commenter and myself pointed out how tacky going with a cheerleader was (for the obvious purpose of excusing fanservice), some people were incredibly ignorant. But I was glad to see some people get the issue.

    It was all just so ironic though, because about a month or two before the reveal, I was on the NMH LJ comm and watching the interview with Suda on SotD and how Garcia is his mancrush (and in his view, a perfect guy, so to speak), and brought up how I wonder what his first female protag would be like and if I ever really wanted one by him… Because if it isn’t Shinobu, I don’t know how well it could go…

    Another weird pattern I notice is that all of his main female protags so far have been some kind of Caucasian or European descended blonde (blue-eyed usually, if I recall right). It was Sylvia I thought of first, but then realized Paula fit and now Juliette. The weird part is that they’re all portrayed with this… Awkward (I don’t know if I’d call it meta at all) layer of sexuality and are usually… Crazy, I guess. Sylvia, Paula and now Juliette are shown to be violent, and both Sylvia and Juliette are shown to be fairly crude. I just wonder if Juliette is going to be as… Extreme as Sylvia and Paula. It’s a shame too, really, because Suda has had some bamf female characters, and not all were scantily clad or even had sexy, stereotypical figures. I can’t say I care for the game anymore, but I am very interested in what he’ll have to say about the title and Juliette once the game is released.

    …Well, I do also want him to say whether or not we’ll ever get a game with Shinobu as the lead. But after this, I still don’t know if even that would go over well.

    • Seems kind of shallow to judge the entire game based on the fact that the lead character is a cheerleader. I mean we still have no idea of the direction of the game. At least wait til more is known of it. Though its been my experience that Suda isn’t great with female characters I am still going to give the game a go and see whats been done.

      Anyone know how hes involved anyway? Is he just art direction or story or everything?

      • I’m not judging it on the fact that the lead character is a cheerleader. x’D But I did see that as a cop-out and excuse to include fanservice (what’s more, because they could cover her more as a cheerleader but obviously chose not to). I mean, his other (male) protags didn’t have real occupations/hobbies associated with them that dictated that their attire would be, so why does a girl obviously have to be a cheerleader which obviously implies fanservice?

        And we do, actually. There’s quite a bit of news that’s been released so far. I’m judging the game on EVERYTHING that Suda has said and so far shown in screencaps, art and video.

        I actually think Suda does an overall fair job with female characters. If you’re an absolute background female character, good luck, but if you have any presence or relevance, they may have some fanservice to them, but he makes them interesting characters (and sometimes more fleshed out than their male counterparts). But that’s also why I feel so utterly disappointed in him at times, and especially lately.

        Suda is director in the way he is with every GHM (only) title. Director. As in, director-director. (He’s never been the art director of any game. Only director and/or writer, or the producer spot for a few.) And specifically, he’s creative director here.

  11. One thing that gets me thinking is that I can’t tell which characters are male and which are female in that Dark Souls picture (except the loincloth people, obviously). The cleric in particular had me going “Is the one in the back the woman? She has a ponytail, but does this fantasy culture even work that way?”

    Which makes me think that fashions (clothing and otherwise) are not normally given much thought in many fantasy series. As a scholar, I can’t help but notice that, compared to the range from history, the aesthetics of our imaginary worlds are suspiciously… unimaginative. I mean, compare a real culture with your average WoW clone (or WoW itself). Even if you correct for the sex levels in modern game art by using a culture like Minoan Crete or something, the game would still look less fantastic, in both the literal and metaphorical senses. Maybe it’s just that this “middle ages kitsch” thing is beaten into the ground.

    God, we spent four centuries from the renaissance ignoring the Medieval era. I hope we don’t spend another four fixating on it in penance. It’s getting excruciatingly boring.

    • Isn’t that the point really though Hazmat? In armour it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a male figure and a female figure.

  12. I think someone said it right when they said Lollipop Chainsaw is just a bit of satire. It’s silly for the sake of silly. I mean her chainsaw is pink with love hearts on it for crying out loud!

    The MMO is pretty much a “click here for boobs” thing. Kinda like most crappy advertisements on the internet with boobs on them. This is desperate pandering, sadly.

    I don’t understand your argument against the IGN comments. It seems you think they used the 50’s era as an excuse to be sexist. That’s silly. People are allowed to make games or movies about social or political unrest. Otherwise we wouldn’t have things like To Kill a Mockingbird or Mona Lisa Smile. Is L.A. Noire sexist?
    “No, it’s not. The character’s may be, and that’s ok because it’s within the context of the story.
    If the story itself was a glorification or promotion of sexism then this author may have point.”

    • The problem with the satire excuse is that satirising something for being *ist doesn’t mean that it’s not *ist at the same time. (For example: the book version of American Psycho is a satire of, amongst other things, misogyny that is in itself misogynist. There’s no contradiction)

      Furthermore, a successful satire in a game is something like Metal Wolf Chaos, which is a hilarious farce of militarism and executive power, but also makes is very fun to engage in that exact behaviour. A work of parody or satire must be enjoyable, otherwise you end up with a Setzer and Friedberg style failure. This is crucial and why game satires are much much harder to create. If he were making movies, then yes, Suda 51 would qualify for at least David Lynch level artistry, but nothing that Suda51 ever made, regardless of how clever or funny the plot, has ever been actually fun to play. (Compare to a better satire game like Metal Wolf Chaos, which people are still replaying to this day)

      • “A work of parody or satire must be enjoyable, otherwise you end up with a Setzer and Friedberg style failure.”

        I disagree with that sentiment if you are saying that satire has to be extreme like Metal Wolf Chaos. I agree that that game is good satire, but some of the best satire is played completely straight. That, however, runs into its own set of problems (like your audience not realizing it is satire), but that’s kinda a whole other thing.

        Regardless, I just want to throw my hat in the ring of “I think Suda’s doing it on purpose to make a point”. I could be wrong, of course, but I’ll have to wait for the game to make that final judgement.

        • “I disagree with that sentiment if you are saying that satire has to be extreme like Metal Wolf Chaos.”

          Whoa, hold on there! I said nothing about being “extreme,” whatever that means. Not everything benefits from going all-out Robocop on the subject (example: Sucker Punch). What is important, though, is that your satire is exaggerated in some way, otherwise Poe’s Law kicks in.

          ” I agree that that game is good satire, but some of the best satire is played completely straight. That, however, runs into its own set of problems (like your audience not realizing it is satire), but that’s kinda a whole other thing.”

          No, that’s exactly my point: the best satire is something like Starship Troopers because it makes you cheer for the fascists whilst also forcing you to realize that you are a terrible person for doing so. Likewise, A Modest Proposal has you half-nodding your head along with it as you read it, and Metal Wolf Chaos has you taking delight in going maximum Bush on everyone. Now, compare this to something like No More Heroes. The game is never enjoyable in the first place. If you never set something up then how can you knock it down?

          I don’t think that Lolipop Chainsaw is meant to be serious, hell, there might even be a valid statement in there, but the thing with bad satire is that, as you noted above, it ends up being serious. Dave Chapelle quit his show because racists thought he was being genuine, for instance. I can easily see the same thing occurring here: A cheerleader with a chainsaw killing monsters would, even if perfectly executed, be yet another poke at slasher movies that everything from feminists to slasher movies themselves have been doing for decades now. I strongly doubt it will say anything that we haven’t heard before, and. judging by his track record, this will probably not be fun to play either. The only thing I could imagine people getting out of it would be the fanservice, which makes this a problem.

          • I think we just ultimately disagree on whether satire played straight is good or not. I personally think it can be genius if done right. For example, Stephen Colbert is quite obvious in most of his satire, but every now and then he plays something straight, and it is glorious. Also, there’s a theory that Machiavelli’s “The Prince” was a satire actually meant to poke fun at the Medici and Borgias instead of being serious. If that’s ultimately true, then I would argue that “The Prince” was some of the best satire of all, especially since it was hard to detect.

            I have yet to play No More Heroes, so I can’t say if it’s fun or not, but I can tell you just from reading about it that it is decent satire for my tastes. The character of Travis Touchdown himself is a commentary on the extremes of geek/otaku culture.

          • I would have thought that Suda was making a point on video games such as Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad as opposed to slasher flicks, considering they’re the same genre and all, in which case he might have something more fresh to say since I don’t think a satire of a video game that was made for pure sexploitation with poor mechanics etc. was made before. Though I may be wrong there.

            Also I enjoyed the two No more heroes games, thought they were funny and poked fun at a lot of the negative attributes of the stereotypical video game nerd. I liked the everything except the tedious mini games and mandatory grinding.

            • To be honest, I don’t see it as making a point about them since so far, Lollipop Chainsaw basically is them. If anything, Bayonetta ends up making a better point about them and her game doesn’t even have her taking out zombies. Suda is basically playing into the same fanservice and sexuality (almost pandering) that Onechanbara did, and I actually he’s doing it intentionally. But not to deliver a message, but because he can. Did you see any of the cutscenes for Shadows of the Damned? Even the boxart shows Paula as scantily clad as possible, looking vulnerable, etc. We could say he’s satirizing things or playing with tropes, but since there’s no real message there and it does boil down to being fanservice, it really doesn’t apply. I personally don’t actually care if Suda is just making a bunch of fanservice or whatever, I just want and expect more from him and wish people would stop defending it and acting as though it isn’t fanservice (and not get their panties in a bunch when I suggest fanservice of his male characters first before we get all this crap).

            • Personally, the Oneechanbara (Yes, I know they were called Onechanbara in their US release — this isn’t very good Japanese) games (at least the two that came to the US and I’ve thus played), are underrated in my view. Yes, they are excessively fanservicey… but as actual games, they’re better than they usually get credit for. The gameplay has a lot more depth to it than most people realize — I blame the fact that D3 gave them barely-usable manuals with the full instructions in online guides that most people didn’t even know existed — and the story, although not a great tale by any stretch, is surprisingly interesting and more than engaging enough to hold up such an action-y game.

              Of course, I’m a fan of the Musou/Warriors series, which may make me more inclined to find things to favor in the games.

      • “The problem with the satire excuse is that satirising something for being *ist doesn’t mean that it’s not *ist at the same time.”

        But doesn’t that mean we can’t have satire because of who it offends? Isn’t that the point of satire?

        I can’t judge the merit of the game from one picture. If it’s a good game and plays on the satire like I imagine it would, it would be rather successful. If it’s a poor game then I imagine that the cheerleader image was just used to draw in… I don’t know… people with a cheerleader fetish? That’s pretty niche considering America (as far as I’m aware) is the only country that have cheerleaders in sports. That’s pretty poor marketing. Really poor marketing. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt here, but like I said, it’s hard to call from just one picture.

        • “But doesn’t that mean we can’t have satire because of who it offends? Isn’t that the point of satire?”

          Uh, no? I feel people misuse the words satire and irony, like, a lot.

          “satire: a literary term used to ridicule or make fun of human vice or weakness, often with the intent of correcting, or changing, the subject of the satiric attack.”

          Sexy (sexy because youth is itself sexualized all the time. The whole cheerleader/schoolgirl fetish stretches /much/ farther than America) blonde cheerleader doing violent things… that’s not new or subversive, sex and violence gets used together all the time in the game industry. Satire doesn’t mean ‘just being blatantly sexist’, it means bringing about critical thought, usually of the status quo.

          This just seems like the same idea that if you want to be a female lead in a game you’re mostly likely going to have to be objectified too.

          • “sex and violence gets used together all the time in the game industry.”

            Also, video games increase rape crimes.

            • I’m guessing this is a (poor) attempt at sarcasm, though it only shows your obvious defensiveness unfortunately. Are you saying sex and violence are /not/ prevalent themes in the game industry (though certainly in all media) and not conflated at all? I do notice you had no substantial response to the rest of my reply either, leading me to believe you were never actually interested in a conversation but simply shutting it down. That’s a shame.

              • I’m sorry. It’s hard to argue satire as I have seen it in many different extremes.
                I don’t know… there’s something about that merry dismembered head and the pink, love hearty chainsaw that makes me think that this games was made to be completely silly.

                My above comment was referring to a topic published by a psychologist who feels that video games increase rape crime. Needless to say, hundreds of gamers were extremely insulted by this and so retaliated by bombarding her book with terrible reviews. Just because a game has sex and violence in it, does not mean that people will resort to sex and violence. Or maybe it does and every single gamer I know is an exception…. and that’s a lot of people…

              • Well I’m sort of confused now. While I do have opinions on how our media contributes to the current culture, that’s not what I was talking about actually. I was simply pointing out the use of sex and violence in a game did not really make me believe it was subversive/satirical in any sense. That’s all.

              • “I was simply pointing out the use of sex and violence in a game did not really make me believe it was subversive/satirical in any sense.”

                Well no not just any game. There are plenty of games with sex and violence and plenty of games without. Just like there are plenty of movies with sex and violence. Games are still kind of young compared to movies, and while it’s rather expensive to make games, the industry is playing it safe and putting out sequel after sequel. It just so happens that successful games (at least AAA ones) have sex and violence in them.

    • Re: Lollipop Chainsaw – satire is only satire if it uses humor to highlight the flaws in a stated position. Steven Colbert is an incredibly dry example, but his satire still manages to highlight the stupidity of the conservative ideas he is pretending to espouse. I highly, highly doubt that Lollipop Chainsaw will have any deep or meaningful points about the harmful sexist stereotypes that Juliet embodies. They want to sell a fun game in which a small girl kills zombies with chainsaws.

      Re: IGN – the problem is that here we have a well-reasoned, well written article that asks some good questions and the vitriolic response is completely over the top. The commenters use all kinds of misogynist slurs and sexist stereotypes to attack the author and completely ignore the questions that the article raises. The problem isn’t the article – the problem is the preponderance of hate speech that inevitably occurs when female voices speak up and question big titles on their sexism.

      • “They want to sell a fun game in which a small girl kills zombies with chainsaws.”

        Is this your opinion or is there evidence to back this up? Not being cynical, I’m just genuinely wondering.

        “The problem isn’t the article – the problem is the preponderance of hate speech that inevitably occurs when female voices speak up and question big titles on their sexism.”

        It is rather irritating when people nit-pick about social standards in media. It’s like we have to be really, really, really careful about how we represent a woman or we look sexist. Make her feminine: sexist. Make her masculine: sexist. Put her in a 1950’s role in a 1950’s set plot: sexist. Personally I find the article rather insulting. I have the intelligence and foresight to realize that this game had sexist undertones because it was set in a time where women had limited rights. Why does the author seem to think otherwise about me or anyone?

        As for the herp-a-derp comments: Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

        • Evidence: The picture. Pay attention.

          Uh, what? This blog is /all about/ ‘nitpicking’ (or perhaps justly criticizing?) social standards in a media form. Namely, games. Sorry you have to concern yourself about not being sexist? Ignoring a (still very present) problem surprisingly doesn’t make it go away. It’s not as simple as being too feminine or too masculine, you attempting to simplify and generalize like that is really silly. Did the game do anything to analyze this sexism, put a specific light on it? If not it’s just yet another game where, for some reason, we just happen to be focusing on a time that conveniently leaves women out of the main picture.

          “As for the herp-a-derp comments: Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.”

          And here you’re saying her questioning of the game basically justifies the hate speech slung at her. So, basically, questioning sexism of a game/company is basically ‘asking for it’? Wow. And, clearly, the gamers on that site who decided to use the slurs have proven they are not so aware of the sexism since they immediately resorted to the same kind in the comments.

          • “Evidence: The picture.”
            I’m sorry, have you played the game? Or do you just judge a book by its cover?

            “And here you’re saying her questioning of the game basically justifies the hate speech slung at her.”

            Nothing justifies hate speech. But this is the internet. You can’t say anything without someone being a dick to you. If you say there was sexism in the 1950’s you’d be right. If you say it’s wrong for a game set in the 1950’s to have sexist undertones expect someone to argue with you.

            • I do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately I have a hard time giving the benefit of the doubt to the games industry, seeing as the majority of it seems so darn determined to unnecessarily sexualize and objectify me and mine every step of the way:\

              Now, opinions can change, of course. It might be as you say but it’ll have to prove that, until then I think my opinion is just as valid as yours.

              I tend to dislike the idea that because this is ‘the internet’, any of those slurs are acceptable. I don’t think being on the internet should mean you have to expect unwarranted hate speech, and I do believe it needs to be criticized a lot more. Arguments can be valid without it. And was the article pointing out that there was sexism in the 1950s or pointing out the fact that Rockstar chose to make the setting a heavily sexist era of the 1950s with no critical thought put to it?

              • “And was the article pointing out that there was sexism in the 1950s or pointing out the fact that Rockstar chose to make the setting a heavily sexist era of the 1950s with no critical thought put to it?”

                They didn’t use it as an excuse to be sexist if that’s what you mean. What they were trying to do was bring back the old point n’ click styled adventure game, but because they were appealing to a whole new generation they chose a 50’s noire setting to show that “This is a detective game. Do detective stuff.” I guess it would be a little too GTA if they set it in present day (and I know a lot of people were disappointed that it wasn’t GTA, but that’s what you get for bombarding this generation with endless sequels >.>).

                “the majority of it seems so darn determined to unnecessarily sexualize and objectify me and mine every step of the way :\”

                See in my opinion, I don’t see all this titillation as the gaming industry going “This is what women should look like! Worship it and standardize females in such form!”. To me it’s more like “Hurr hurr. Men will buy this cos there’s boobs.” In this sense a) they’re excluding women from their market and b) they’re insulting the intelligence of the male consumer. That’s what gets my goat.

              • “They didn’t use it as an excuse to be sexist if that’s what you mean.” – I find that hard to believe given their attitudes toward their female characters in the past have been and their visibility.

                See in my opinion, I don’t see all this titillation as the gaming industry going “This is what women should look like! Worship it and standardize females in such form!”. To me it’s more like “Hurr hurr. Men will buy this cos there’s boobs.” In this sense a) they’re excluding women from their market and b) they’re insulting the intelligence of the male consumer. That’s what gets my goat.

                Can’t it be both? Women /are/ standardized in that form in games after all. Intentional or not, there’s this idea that women only get to be a certain sexpot body-type in games, a clear double standard since men get varied ones (even when the women are supposed to be aliens or different races of creatures). Not to mention, as you said, the normal excuse for this is ‘sex sells’, but the thing being sold is usually women’s bodies, women are the ones being sexually exploited.

                I agree that it is excluding women by placing larger value on men but that it, at the same time, insults the intelligence of men who are offended by the base pandering (though I would expect that consumer to criticize it in that case). So I suppose both get my goat.

            • Arg. I say again – FORGET THE ARTICLE. I don’t give a shit whether LA Noir is sexist. I REALLY REALLY DON’T. What I care about is this.

              Woman On the Internet: Hey, guys, I think this might be sexist.
              The Internet: WE VOMIT HATE SPEECH AT YOU.

              You can’t just justify that by saying “this is the internet”. That shit is wrong.

              • Lol. It is wrong but what can you do? I suspect that most of these comments are slightly misogynistic for the sheer irony anyway lol.

  13. Oh, Please please pleeeeease let Dark Souls be good! I want to be a hunter… ooh or maybe a wanderer? Tough call!

    Also- ‘They were sexist back then’ made me laugh in a not so amused way. I’ve given up on IGN for anything- ever. It doesn’t even exist on my internet.

  14. “And let’s not overlook that the key phrase of the ad describing the game is RIGHT OVER HER CROTCH.”

    I’m not trying to defend this type of advertisement, but that ad is pretty small. If they didn’t put the text over her crotch it would’ve been over her chest and then you’d being saying “is RIGHT OVER HER CHEST.” So I don’t think that’s the biggest issue with it. The issue is the design of the character. Seriously, how does that woman represent a Greek Mythology Simulation game?

    • Lol. Honestly, if it didn’t say Greek Mythology, I would have thought that it was Emma Frost fan art.

  15. Humans are naturally naked.

    Human females and males naturally look different.

    It’s clothes that are the artificial social construct.

    As a fit man I’m offended by being expected to wear a wool suit and a tie – they’re disguises worn by ugly people to hide their out of shape bodies. I’m not supposed to wear shorts on the golf course because flabby old men are embarrassed to show their weak legs so they abuse their political influence to restrict the rights of others.

    That’s exactly what the site owner is trying to do.

    It’s sick, controlling and manipulative.

    Wear what you want but leave other’s alone.

      • I think it’s a very (very very very) weird version of “feminists are fat and should shut up.” But I’m not sure.

        It could just be that he’s miffed he can’t live in a nudist colony.

        • That’s what it came off as to me, as well. Or at least a “UR JELUS U NO LOOKZ LIEK TAHT!”

          Or possibly trying to argue, in some backwards half-assed manner, that suits are somehow just as exploitative as armor-kinis.

      • Can a future blog post be off topic to just show off all these completely random comments you must get? (Obviously with a disclaimer that it’s a one shot post and anyone who posts randomly just to get attention will be deleted)

            • Completely understandable, after all, 99% of trolling is for attention, usually in the form of annoyance. I just feel that, if you can’t stop them, might as well have fun with them. Might be a bit of stress relief. After all, you regularly point out the comment section on other websites for people actively being aggressive against feminism is stupid, yet somewhat coherent ways: might be fun to point out the completely absurd here.

    • No problem. Your blog is awesome! As people rightly point out, it’s good to have somewhere to point people when they’re looking for positive examples. Keep up the good work!

  16. Dark Souls’ identical outfits are really refreshing. I know it’s concept material and some level of neutral posing is to be expected, but it’s not even putting the men and the women in different poses for the sake of ‘The Sexxay!’

    And even though The Deprived is showing a lot of skin, that doesn’t look like a sexualisation thing but a ‘they can’t even afford clothes’ thing.

    • Hah. “The Deprived” looks like they’re adding a lunatic-nightmare mode to a game that’s already permanently set to Hard. That outfit it’s so much sexy as “are you fucking crazy?”

      Anyway, take a look at the female knight. You probably can’t tell the difference, but you know she’s one of ’em, right?

      That’s a girl who knows her stuff. And that is more “the sexxay” than that stupid-ass chainsaw-cheerleader could ever hope to be.😛

  17. It was mentioned before, but…that woman in the FTP MMO ad is Emma Frost. As in, X-Men Emma Frost. o_o

    I dunno what’s really the worse commentary here: That those shitty free-to-play MMOs are so pathetic as to not only rip off art but RECOGNIZABLE CHARACTERS for their ads, or that said recognizable character is dressed stupidly enough to look perfectly suited for the ad of a shitty free-to-play MMO. But, moronic comic character designs is it’s own ball of crap…

    The Dark Souls stuff makes me more and more interested in that game. I’ve only seen gameplay vids of Demon’s Souls, so knowing already how difficult it is is there, but that one didn’t really reel me in. This one seems more compelling in that it’s got so much more visual appeal going for it; you WANT to make it past the steep challenge just to have a good look around. That right there is the best kind of game design.

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