>WTF: The tired Friday edition

>Okay, folks. My schedule is kicking my ass this week, and my ass will be kicked even harder next week. So instead of giving you three real posts this week, you get two and a half. This might happen next week, depending on how much brainpower I have left after tech weekend for the show I’m in… But after that, I promise that I’ll be returning to normal levels of snark.

Anyhow, I couldn’t leave you empty-handed, so here’s some miscellaneous pictures that I haven’t found a home rant for yet.

I’ve forgotten what game this comes from, since I forgot to include the game’s name in the file name when I saved it. I think that says a lot, don’t you? I think I’m becoming a bit too blase about crotch floss as armor.


Okay, does anyone think it’s a coincidence that “GROWING” is right over this poor woman’s boobs? Neither did I. Though I’ll admit the mental image of growing boobs made me think of DragonBall, which was an amusing mental non-sequiter. “AAAAAAAAAA!” “SHE’S REACHED BOOB LEVEL 9000!” “IMPOSSIBLE!”…no? Just me then. Moving on… How about this?

WHAT. THE. FUCK. Seize power? Fine. Seize glory? Sure, if you think people really give a shit about your performance in a shitty knock-off browser-based game. Seize WOMEN? BECAUSE THEY’RE YOURS? AAARG. I know that the Chinese export a lot of translated games, Caesary being one of many, but I’d prefer that they didn’t export their misogyny as well.


This is from an ad campaign in Europe – thank God not in North America. This fails on multiple levels.


Once again proving that the default of anything is male, and that female is always “special” or “distinct”. Even, apparently, with puzzle games. I hope those of you with iPhones refrain from purchasing either version of what looks to be an uninspired Tetris clone.

I can’t decide what I hate more. The cleavagey outfits, the interchangeable faces, the nauseating levels of pink, or the actual words. MISS BIMBO? There’s a game out there called MISS BIMBO? Do they honestly think that making their ad pink will make the title any less revolting? Also, advertisers who perpetuate “bored of” should go die, like, right now. This makes my inner grammarian want to stab my eyes out.

>Ubisoft makes games for girls that I want to KILL WITH FIRE

>[Edited to fix some minor formatting issues.]

The other day I stumbled across a link to the sort of game that makes me cringe – Imagine Fashion Party. According to Amazon, the key features are:

  • Express your individual creativity in workshops including hair, makeup, clothing and accessories
  • Use the Wii remote and nunchuck as scissors, hair brushes, makeup applicator and more
  • Make your models perform the right moves to show off your designs in front of fierce judges
  • Design in Creation mode, compete in the Reality Show, and challenge friends in mini-games
  • Roll out your collection in a photo shoot and catwalk show, and share it with your friends via wi-fi


But then I noticed that this trainwreck of a “game” was by Ubisoft! I was curious about what other “girl’s games” they might have in their lineup, so I did a little poking around and discovered that Imagine is actually its own line of video games with at least thirty-seven titles for the DS and Wii. (I think there may be a few that aren’t showing up on Amazon.)

Even with the duplicates, that’s still a pretty impressive number of titles. Most, though not all, games revolve around an occupation. Admittedly, a few of the titles are duplicates; there are three fashion designer titles, two rock star titles, two teacher titles, and two vet titles. But there’s still a pretty impressive list of careers represented, including things like… Fashion Designer. And Fashion Stylist. And Makeup Artist. And Salon Stylist. In fact, a large portion of the careers represented by Imagine titles are stereotypically feminine roles. And even the ones that aren’t are ridiculously infantalized or feminized.

For instance, instead of “Imagine Veterinarian”, there are two “Imagine Animal Doctor” titles. Do they think that girls are too stupid to understand words longer than 2 syllables? And what about “Resort Owner” and “Boutique Owner”? Are these the only types of businesses that little girls should aspire to own? Even the sports titles are for sports that are traditionally “acceptable” female sports like cheerleading, ice skating, and gymnastics.

Just for shits and giggles, I made a tally of represented careers counted by job categories that were totally made up by me. Duplicate careers are counted – which means that all three “Fashion Designer” titles were counted under Fashion, etc. I also color-coded the resulting chart to help illustrate my point. (“Medicine” is orange because it is a bit of a stereotype, but the titles are for doctors, not nurses – which is a more traditional stereotype.)

Look at that! Nine titles just for fashion! NINE! Almost a quarter of all of their titles are devoted to telling girls that they should find fashion fun and important! ARG! Out of all of the careers that might make interesting games that exist out there, Ubisoft couldn’t find careers that didn’t involve either being pretty or making things look pretty???Okay. So Ubisoft wants to market to girls who like girly things, you might be saying. And that might be reasonable. But then how does one explain the Imagine Babyz series of titles – Imagine Babyz, Imagine Party Babyz, and Imagine Babyz Fashion? That just takes the patronizing tone to a whole new level. “Not only are we going to try to sell you games about babies, but we’re also going to give it a cutesy misspelling since you girls should be worrying more about babies and looking pretty than spelling!”


Even then – EVEN THEN – I might have been able to forgive them if I hadn’t gone looking for screen captures of Imagine games:

LEFT: Sweet 16 – a game about trying to become popular through throwing THE BEST PARTIES EVAR OMG! RIGHT: Makeup Artist – a screen capture from the Wii minigame in which you have to color inside the lip-shaped lines. Yawn.

This is from one of the many fashion design titles. I forget which.
From Champion Rider. Because all girls love horses, amirite?

Oh god. So. Many. Pastels. So. Much. Inane. Cuteness.

And all of this is just one series of “girls games” by just one company! There are dozens, if not hundreds of these shitty stereotype-ridden, steaming piles of failure out there – all marketed as “games for girls”. And judging by the comments and reviews on Amazon, there seem to be a fair amount of mothers who play these games with their daughters. Way to teach your daughters about female empowerment, ladies.The thing that makes it all so ridiculous for me is that Ubisoft is pretty famous for its hyper-violent adult titles like Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, to name a few:

So all of this “games for girls” bullshit is just another way in which the gaming establishment (read:men) is telling gaming women that “YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE”. And now I seriously want to buy as many copies as I can find of these horrendous games and set them on fire like the trash that they are.


>A bit of visual WTF to tide you over

>Hey, folks. Thanks to a concerted campaign of vitamin C and lots of sleep, I’m getting my brain power back. It’s still going to be a few days before I post anything substantial, but that’s because I’m working on a series of posts about World of Warcraft that will probably be posted in three chunks. It’s substantial enough that it’s going to take me a non-trivial amount of time to put together, and since I’m busy all weekend I thought I’d put up some things for your, er, amusement in the mean time:

Hey look! Perfect world wants to get in on the act too! Lesbians!
To be fair, I don’t believe that this is official art – I’m pretty sure it’s fanart. But still. What the f*ck? Did Perfect World’s Random Upskirt Tiger start some kind of “sex with tigers” trend?
This, too, I’m pretty sure is fanart. What makes me sad is that the artist who drew this has a pretty good grasp of anatomy. They’re just choosing to ignore it.

d00d, what is it with sci-fi games and ass cleavage? Mass Effect 2 has Miranda and her ridiculously cavernous ass cleavage. Was Blizzard jealous? Srsly. Come on. Spandex just doesn’t work that way, peeps.

Thanks for being patient, folks. I promise the new posts will be worth the wait.

>Why the phrase "games for girls" makes me cringe

>I’m going to take a break from gaming-related porn here. The thing about delving the depths of the internet is that you always discover that there’s an entirely new level of awful that you didn’t know about until you went looking. Instead, I’m going look at girls’ versions of board games today as kind of a palette cleanser. Before I start, though, I’ll note that several of these pictures were ganked from an excellent article on The Society Pages that deserves a read.

Anyone who has ever tried to buy a board game for the children in their lives will know that toys and games for children are marketed in a very gendered way. It is not at all uncommon to go to a toy store and see displays like this:

Stuff like this just makes me cringe because this isn’t me, nor has it ever been me. As a child, I refused to own anything pink – although to my mother’s credit she was far less dismayed by this than by the fact that I refused to wear dresses from the age of 8 onward. So the fact that the robots in marketing departments everywhere have decided that LITTLE GIRLS LIKE PINK is discomfiting to me. Sure I liked pants better than dresses and took tae kwon do instead of ballet, but I’d like to think that didn’t make me any less of a girl.Now of course I’ll admit that there’s a good reason why game companies do this – these things sell. Look at the Disney Princess line; it’s practically a license to print money. But just as with any group of people, not all little girls have the same tastes – so it makes me sad to see game companies marketing to girls as if all girls ever want the same things, especially when that same marketing comes with the added sexist baggage that goes with it.

I mean, check this out:

OMG! Why bother with the boring game when I can just pose with this pretty, pretty purse?

So, yes, a pink version of Twister is pretty ridiculous. I defy you to give me a rational explanation of how the default Twister is a “boys’ game” and thus warrants a “girls’ version”. But aside from the total eyeroll factor, check out the packaging and you’ll notice that Twister Pink doesn’t come in a game box – it comes in A PURSE. Even better, there’s a tiny drawing of some girls actually playing the game up top, but the image that dominates the packaging is the girl posing prettily with the purse.Does Milton Bradley think that girls won’t play games if they don’t come in gender-appropriate containers? Like little girls who would not have played vanilla Twister IN A BOX would suddenly jump all over playing Twister Pink IN A PURSE? How is the purse a value-added feature? Arg. Just… arg.

And there’s plenty of other examples of patronizing packaging as well. Like:

“F*CKYOU” would also be a bingo, and would be worth a lot more with F, C, K, and Y. Too bad its two words.

Fashion? FASHION? There’s an entire world of seven letter words out there, like “entrail”, “retinas”, and “inertia”. And you chose to go with FASHION. I mean, even from a Scrabble point of view it’s a shitty word since five of your seven letters are 1-pointers.And, man, what are you trying to say with this? That the only reading girls do is Twilight, fashion mags, and celebrity gossip? That fashion is such an all-consuming part of a girl’s life that even while playing a board game her thoughts are, naturally, about what she’s wearing? That she can’t relate to any concept that isn’t directly related to fashion?

Well, that would at least explain this monstrosity:

Monopoly for girls! Colon capital D! I have to have one!

This edition of Monopoly comes with the pieces in a jewelry box. And even better, all those boring properties like “Boardwalk” and “Park Place” have been replaced with things way more relevant to girls – like shopping malls, hair salons, and fashion boutiques! Because heaven knows that girls can’t ever aspire to be usurious property barons out to make a quick buck. That would make them successful business people! Much better to change it so that the things that they own are stuff that boys wouldn’t want to own anyway. Eew, cooties!But then, everyone knows that girls can’t expect to have the same careers as boys:

Quick! Someone give me some insulin! I’m going into pink overload!

So the great thing about this game is that you get to play to figure out what kind of career is best for you. Don’t worry about having challenging professions – your options are all things won’t be intellectually taxing. (And if they are they’ll be jobs men don’t want.) Potential careers include things like: “Fashion Designer”, “Animal Doctor”, and “Super Mom”. Because it’s important to start teaching girls at a young age that the only value they offer to society is their ability to reproduce.I realize that this is an older game – from about 1990 – and I don’t honestly know if there’s a newer edition. I devoutly hope not. But I thought it deserved a mention since I found it while browsing through Board Game Geek. Wei Hwa Huang wrote an excellent review of the game called “Most Condescending Game Ever“, and then some BGG users proceeded to then argue that this actually wasn’t sexist at all.


Other things that are, apparently, not sexist include:

New preschool curricula include Disney Princess Recognition. True story.

It doesn’t really matter what pictures you use for Memory as long as there are two of them. But you know what I’d love? A “Girls Edition” of Memory with pictures of astronauts, spaceships, and power tools. I would totally buy that for the girl toddlers in my life.Last we have something that a friend alerted me to:


The fail is so large it practically has its own gravitational pull.

So. Much. Hatred.

The bottom right hand of the package says SOLID WOOD BLOCKS (are pretty in pink). Because I guess it’s important that all board games for girls are pretty. What makes this extra terrible is that it’s essentially Truth or Dare, but without the Dares and with only really insipid Truths. Like “If you had one wish, what would you wish for?” and “who do you have a crush on right now?”.

Now, I’ll admit to creating a Truth or Dare Jenga set with some friends in university, and it was always a blast to play. Why not create a non-gendered Truth or Dare Jenga and let the game stand on its own merits for crying out loud?