The Sunday Papers

By Kieron Gillen on November 16th, 2008 at 6:38 pm.

I was tempted by Cuddly Toy by Maxwell

Returning from my favourite UK comic con of the year, there’s one thing I really like to do. That’s crash out and order takeaway food. Alas, I have to compile a list of our favourite thinky-head reading of the week for your delectation, while trying to avoid linking to the pop record which I destroyed my voice by screaming the key word when involved in mass indie comics dance-floor-ownage.

Failed.

.

100 Comments »

  1. Little Green Man says:

    Haven’t heard that song in ages. Thanks Kieron!

  2. Deathspank says:

    god those Japanese dudes…

    honestly, i’m really not surprised about the Japs’s response to Mirrors Edge. Just search anything in Japanese google and you’ll see what im mean

    [Er, what? - RPS]

  3. Sum0 says:

    As a guy, I’m always a little disgusted when designers stick in big-breasted, scantily clad, flirty women for players to ogle at. Of course it’s demeaning to women, but it’s demeaning to men too, to think that all we care about is shooting shit and starting at 3D models with big tits. Case in point: the irritating demon lass from Dark Messiah, or the token woman on every single RPG game box ever printed.

    Give me a female character any day – Alyx Vance being the premier example. I haven’t played Mirror’s Edge, but Faith does seem like a realistic, strong heroine.

    (On the other side of the … fence, I prefer JC Denton or even Gordon Freeman over Duke Nukem or Generic Soldier Guy.)

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    Don’t you talk like that about Generic Soldier guy!

  5. Ceremony says:

    Thanks for the Gabe interview.

  6. N-Al says:

    Heh, whilst (thankfully) I don’t agonise quite as much about my character upon creation as Leigh seems to be doing, I do find – sometimes quite far down the line – that the character I’ve created doesn’t really fit with me anymore.

    My first character in Baldur’s Gate, for example, was a plain Lawful Good Fighter who I had grown incredibly bored with by the end of the game. Instead of immediately transferring the character to Baldur’s Gate 2, I found I had to go through BG1 again as a Mage before making the jump to BG2 with him. I ditched my first character in NWN2 as well, before finally settling on a character I liked.

    So, I think there’s definitely some truth to wanting to get your character right – for the game, and more importantly, for you.

  7. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    I actually found the most fluid and easy character creation that reaped the greatest results was Mass Effect. I didn’t really spend *that* long making my black handlebar mustachioed Commander Shepard, but through my actions in the game I formed a rather believable and engaging character, at least to me.

  8. Zuffox says:

    Perennial.

  9. Yhancik says:

    Fallout was the first game where I tried to make a character that looks like me… I don’t know why, it felt natural (and it turned out quite well, actually).
    Usually I’d play girls.

  10. Flappybat says:

    Good to see Cliffski is doing ok, proof that it’s still possible to be a PC only indie dev without making match three clones.

  11. KBKarma says:

    Well done, Keiron. You’ve frightened the shit out of me.

    Just as I opened the post, I was humming Once in a Lifetime.

    I hope you enjoy peeking in my window, then going back in time and frightening me.

    And I am finally adding Sexy Videogameland to my RSS feeds. Thank you.

  12. Klaus says:

    More DRM fisticuffs…
    lol

    I’ll spend 30+ minutes on any character creation screen. It’s different for Baldur’s Gate. I’ll just select everything, but then realize I don’t want to be a midget with my Dwarven Cleric and have to be a Elven Cleric and then get annoyed with the Elves as usual and pick a Halfling Cleric all within 2 hours.

    Mass Effect took an hour because I realized that your character will be shown at different angles during the game, and my first – while being nice looking from the front and those scant side angles, looked like she was always about to tear up.

    I do like playing with monstrosities now and again though.

  13. Bhazor says:

    Its worth mentioning that you can get new haircuts in fallout. From your robot butler no less, dang classy.

  14. Tei says:

    I also hate unrealistic womens on games. Is better to have something like Zoey from L4D of that mirror edge game.
    Anyway I like the version made by the fan, is looks better to me.

    Anyway Kotaku is not more the center of the internet (nor 4chan or the Wikipedia). I claim the new center of internet (the eye of the storm) is RPS. Thats why I am here, I love to be where things are important.

  15. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Deathspank: Whatever would that mean, old chum?

    On the point of the Faith/Mirror’s Edge article…

    But, ultimately, I think I had similar feelings towards the art design for Jade Empire. It was ultimately a question of style over realism, as the article points out. And I actually did twitch a bit when I first saw renders of Faith. Then again, at first glance, I usually assume female characters in video games are designed with a standard of beauty in mind unless they expressly aren’t.

    While a lot of the pro-original commenters made some rather disparaging remarks about the edited picture, as well as those who thought the edited picture was more attractive, at first glance it looks like no-one’s pointing out that caucasian female characters often get depicted as supermodel-quality in games according to what they would consider beautiful.

    While we can be sure as hell that Faith was not designed as a sex symbol sort of character, it’s still a bit disconcerting that when Asian characters are depicted by Western media their features are rather exaggerated for Asian-ness and don’t match up to what most Asians would consider beautiful. Or, indeed, most Westerners who don’t have presumptions concerning stereotypical Asian appearance or self-image or would consider beautiful, either. This was basically the main reason I never picked up Jade Empire. (The other being that it looked even more simplified than KOTOR, and I’m not putting down money to play am RPG with painfully stereotypical Western-idea Asians if the RPG part doesn’t rock like a mother. Note that many of the female NPCs in Jade Empire were designed for apparent attractiveness in mind, so while these concerns might not be especially valid for Mirror’s Edge they were valid enough here.)

    Faith is fine as is, however. She’s there to Run. She kicks ass and just happens to be of Asiatic descent.

    But it’s not hard to find depictions of people who are commonly considered to be attractive among Asian women, you just have to google it. Presumably using the terms regarding nationality you’re searching for (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and so forth) and the word “model” or “idol.” For the Japanese you could also use “gravure.”

    I know this opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms concerning overly demanding standards of beauty, but that’s something all cultures suffer from.

    If I recall correctly MGS4′s Raging Raven, sans armor, was absolutely gorgeous. And you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who would honestly disagree, “Western,” “Eastern,” or “Antarctican.”

  16. qrter says:

    Once in a lifetime must be one of the very best songs ever made, both musically and lyrically.

    The bit that always (and I really do mean every time) makes my eyes well up and my throat hoarse is the watery bit:

    water dissolving and water removing
    there is water at the bottom of the ocean
    carry the water at the bottom of the ocean
    remove the water at the bottom of the ocean

    It evokes this kind of shouty feeling inside of me, the kind that wants to make me scream “YES THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT IS LIKE!” at the top of my lungs. And I’m not entirely sure what the ‘IT’ in question actually refers to.

  17. RichPowers says:

    Despite spending way too much time customizing characters, I always end up with unsatisfactory results. Yesterday I booted up The Sims for the first time in six years to revisit the characters I had all but forgotten. My first reaction was, “Wow, every character I’ve designed for this game looks like a complete tool.”

  18. MetalCircus says:

    Who dares foul the name of Duke Nukem?!

    Although I agree with your point about female characters. Please start making better feminine heroes please game devs?

  19. Leeks! says:

    Japanified Faith reminds me of Final Fantasy X, all those years ago, where the cutscene renders of characters were supposedly more in-tune with Japanese standards of beauty, and the in-game models had been adjusted to appeal more to North American pig-dogs. Of course, near as I can tell, ‘Japanese standards of beauty’ is basically equal to rounded-out cheekbones and larger eyes, which may or may not be kind of racist.

  20. Dinger says:

    Our epic heroines should look more realistic.
    Save the childlike eyes and swollen breasts for low mimesis.

    Gabe Newell sure likes DigiPen, doesn’t he?

  21. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    You would think that a style appealing to the “lower,” or popular classes, would have an inherently greater instinctual draw. After all, the assumption between “low” and “high” class in that context presumes the higher requires greater cultural preparedness to accept or “properly” appreciate. And since the dismissal of the low appeal also gives additional weight to the smug, it’s an inherently less egalitarian position.

    On the one hand, it’s a bit much to think that a pretty person couldn’t be a hero. On the other it’s a classic case of cultural shallowness to always present the opposite. But you have to admit that Western depictions of Asians tend to be stereotyped to the point where what the West tends to think makes a “pretty Asian” is rather far removed from what over a billion people from that part of the world would consider “pretty.”

    Yes, Faith isn’t supposed to be a pretty hero, she’s supposed to be a strong one. Still. The origin of the discussion and the point of the discussion are two entirely different beasts at this point.

  22. Saflo says:

    I’m not sure if I understand you correctly, Dorian, but are you saying Faith is a stereotype because she isn’t stylized?

  23. Meat Circus says:

    Character creation is the best part of an RPG! The more fatuous choices, the happier I am.

  24. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    No, I actually meant to divorce the discussion from Mirror’s Edge seeing as how it’s actually a poor place for it.

    Faith shouldn’t factor into the equation because she’s not designed to be a supermodel-type. She’s an athlete. I’d actually brought up Jade Empire a post ago because it’s more obviously appropriate.

    The comparison from whence the discussion started is also a poor place to start because she’s obviously stylized when, in fact, I made it pretty clear where to find actual, real women who folks on The East Side Of The Big Green Continent In Risk find attractive. Beautiful, even. Not stylized drawing or depictions, but actual women. Who are “The East’s” benchmark for Unrealistic Standards of Beauty compared to the supermodels and starlets of “The West.”

    I also pointed out MGS4 because the Beauty and the Beast unit was designed based on real-life models, all of them ludicrously gorgeous, one in particular who happens to be modeled after Yumi Kikuchi–a model. They happen to fit both Eastern and Western ideals for beauty and there was never a debate about differing cultural standards for beauty there because there was no room for one. However, in Western depictions of Asian women (those expressly meant to be depictions of beautiful Asian women, which is something that Faith was not expressly designed for–hers being strength and motion, see the wing-like tattoo on her face) there is room for debate because instead of depicting the Asian equivalent of the Western supermodels usually depicted in popular works, they choose to depict a stereotype of Asian-ness that’s almost a caricature.

    And to repeat myself again, none of this applies to Faith. She’s a poor start for the discussion because she’s not designed as a supermodel type. She’s the strong heroine that the politically correct want, was designed to be that, and has no purpose being included in a discussion on differing cultural perspectives regarding standards of beauty.

    (As an aside, I know we’re all an intellectual bunch here, but let’s not kid ourselves in thinking that the inherently unfair depiction of beauty and women doesn’t exist for some instinctual reason. The same reason we’ll never turn heads the way Brad Pitt might.)

    I hope this suffices as a clarification.

  25. Erlam says:

    Frankly, I think we need more plain heroes in general. More Gordon Freeman’s/Alyx Vances, less whatever the Grays of War guy is/Lara Croft’s.

    Mirror’s Edge girl is close to that, but (mostly due to the parkour stuff) is still.. well, more attractive than average.

  26. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Yes, that’s true. It’s more refreshing seeing relatable heroes (of either gender) than the usual easily-marketable array of unrealistically depicted protagonists.

    My point actually had little to do with increasing the prettiness in heroes (I was only contrasting that perspective with another for the sake of setting my tone), but mostly about the perception of beauty between two cultures and how, on more than one occasion, stereotype enters play in coloring that perception when one culture takes a peek outside.

    Which, I think, is also a bit closer to the heart of the matter in the article itself.

  27. Jive says:

    Can everyone please stop slagging off GenericToughSpaceMarine(tm)?

    Some of us like pretending to be future army dudes, even though we’re not 14 years old.

  28. Gorgeras says:

    I remember that Jean Reno in Leon had a small pot-belly and looks like a commoner. The closest game comparison would be Agent 47, but despite not being ugly or handsome, he still looks ethereal. That’s what I like about the style of the game: everyone around him is either definately ugly or definately beautiful, but they are small, wordly and normal. He is the only average person, but elevated to supremacy by his quirks. He’s a clone, has a number and barcode, but he’s the only unique and special person.

    I’m half-expecting it to be revealed in Hitman 5 that he actually is an escaped mental patient and that his original escape was not from a clone lab disguised as a psychiatric hospice but a genuine psychiatric hospice. Everything he has experienced since is a mix of delusion and real events as he’s evaded capture.

  29. Matt says:

    Are not models often chosen because they look odd and unusual themselves? They stand out because their features stand out in an unusual that satisfies some animal part of our brain and not because they conform to some cultural norm. I really don’t think that softening Faith’s features and giving her huge tracts of land is something that only appeals to the Japanese.

    Deliberately making ugly characters seems like a good idea for game branding IP technicians. Yuna from that Final Fantasy game has mismatched eyes and slightly mongoloid facial structure. Max Paine looked like the most painfully constipated man to ever not exist.

  30. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    It’s as much that people are willing to admit that softening features and exaggerating others creates appeal as much as it is an issue of cultural difference.

    I suspect a number of people who derided the second picture honestly thought the edit made Faith more attractive. The whole exercise, with regards to Mirror’s Edge, only being moot because Faith isn’t designed to be a sex symbol but an action hero. However, there’s a large number of people ridiculing the second picture and anyone who could conceivably prefer it. And I wonder if they only did so in order to look more smugly upon their perceived lessers.

    And say what you will about models looking odd, unusual, or striking. They still have to conform to a cultural norm of beauty at the baseline requirement for the job, the “quirks” in appearance are bonuses to the resume, as it were.

  31. Matt says:

    Yes, some people just look more attractive to most people than others but asking an artist to draw a generically attractive woman will not give you the next supermodel. I’m pretty sure that a lot of whatever we find attractive about women (or men) is hard wired into us and most of the men (or women) who go out the way to say how much they dislike some character with a stereotypical attractive appearance are being a little hypocritical.

    I think that ugly people do have more character. Like faking sincerity, if you can fake ugliness while being beautiful then is the world yours.

  32. tmp says:

    Of course, near as I can tell, ‘Japanese standards of beauty’ is basically equal to rounded-out cheekbones and larger eyes, which may or may not be kind of racist.

    More accurately it boils down to childish features (round face, large eyes) combined with body of adult –and well developed– woman. Don’t think there’s anything racist about noting that, it’s simply type of aesthetics that seems to be common in both comics and animations over there.

    On the other hand on the western side of world this exact kind of aesthetics pretty much turns a character into blatant jailbait. So not surprising there’s more wariness about having this sort of character in one’s work.

  33. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Matt: Wise words that somehow ring true to my cynical ears. Well said. (You can’t accuse Spider Jerusalem of being pretty, but you can charge him of the crime of being filled with too much character for one man to handle.)

    And Tmp: I’m reminded of a study, I can’t remember if I read it online or saw a piece on it on a television news magazine program, where scientists tested the reactions of men and boys of various ages to pictures of women and girls of various ages. All across the board the most positive reactions were to girls around the age of 17. “Positive” covering a wide range of reactions of varying intensity, but the nature of the reaction probably has a lot to do with the age of the male subject in question.

    I think Japanese media is just more blatant about going for hard-wired, instinctual appeal than the more opinionated Western onlookers are comfortable with. And since intellectual culture isn’t fond of acknowledging human attraction outside of media involving paintings of nude women with depictions of urns or draperies nearby, it was probably rather easy for commenters to look down on “low appeal.”

    And back to Matt: Yes, it’s quite true that what people consider attractive is hard-wired, both for men as well as women. Personal preference due to genetic disposition as well as upbringing will always tweak the “preference settings,” but there’s a human commonality there that a lot of people don’t like to acknowledge.

  34. Cooper says:

    Whilst I have my niggles about the linguistic turn (in that it tends to reduce objects of socio-cultural analysis to various textual forms, which can be restrictive) that was an interesting piece.

    What I find more intersting than an excuse to treat yet another cultural form as a text, is the common knowledges, languages if you will, between games players. Whilst each play-through of a game can be said to be a text written in that games languages – sure – it is the shared languages outside of individual games that I find fascinating.

    Not only the words and abbreviations, such as frag, FPS, RTS etc. which makes us sound jargonistic to others. But that material-semiotic knowledge of gameplaying. Not quite language and textual only; it’s the affects of the crosshair in the centre of the screen, the platforms, ledges and baddies, the spaceships and lasers which can be represented in a minimal number of pixels (See: http://armorgames.com/play/841/grid16) which result in a material, more-than-language response in the way we engage with the game and the computer.

    I guess Rom Check Fail made this explicit to many people. That we have stored all this knowledge in regards to certain forms of gametype, and that knowledge is not game specific, and it’s only partially conscious.

    We can switch so fluently and quickly between game archetypes and their related mechanisms, in response to the languages of various gaming acrchetypes, even just a matter of a few dozens of pixels.

    It’s partially a pavlovian muscle memory, but it treads that strange line, that realm between a textual, representational world of games – one which has all sorts of complicated social and cultural roots and dynamics, but with an affectual, semi- and non-conscious, material response.

    Whilst these shared knowledges are to be enjoyed, and are quite impressive, it’s hard not to wonder if the evolution of these representational/material responses to game types has limited what games can be. Since various archetypes are so thoroughly entrenched, it becomes difficult to move beyond or do something different. Games which require a whole new approach to the game world representations and the material interactions with mouse, keyboard, controller (and, or course, the other forms of interface which we have not seen because of the dominance of those three) anything which challenges that is likely to be too ‘abstract’ or just plain difficult.

    That being said, the Wii did well, despite somewhat doing away with precisely those material-semiotic game knowledges that Nintendo themselves were so central in producing.

    There’s an article in all that there, somwehere.

  35. tmp says:

    I think Japanese media is just more blatant about going for hard-wired, instinctual appeal than the more opinionated Western onlookers are comfortable with.

    Would chalk up lot of that to legal differences and climate — when the basic law sets age of consent at 13 (it’s been up to individual prefectures to override that) this can create quite different attitude towards the subject, and also much more wriggle room to make one’s bucks. Or yens, for that matter. In similar manner but to opposite effect… keep punishing and brow-beating people for enough decades about something, and lot of instincts can be overriden or augmented with self-policing buried so deep one might not even be aware it’s there.

  36. tmp says:

    Incidentally. It is quite amusing to read opinions in the original Kotaku article, where the 2nd option is frequently chosen on basis of ‘hotter face’. When you consider that facial structure and proportions of original Faith come very close to this lady…

    http://teens.aol.com/entertainment/trail-of-kisses-alba-hartley

    facing its own 10 year younger rendition this is apparently not hot enough for the average intraweb, anymore. Can read whatever you want from it.

  37. Quater says:

    I tend to just play as myself in role-playing games. I pick the kind of dialogue choices I probably would choose in real life, and I act like myself. I can’t think of a situation in which it would be especially appealing or entertaining to try and be an asshole. I find it perfectly easy enough to act like a dick in real life, thanks very much.

    Of course, my policy of trying to insert myself into the game as much as possible can backfire somewhat in games like Fight Night Round 3, where I witness my nose being smashed inward, or The Godfather, where my pale Irish complexion appears totally miscast among a family of swarthy guinea wiseguys.

    Oh, and you guys really need to find out what good song lyrics really are. I’m not saying David Byrne isn’t a talented guy, but there’s nothign difficult about writing his style of disjointed, impressionistic song lyrics. Your mind makes up for the fact that they’re only just this side of gibberish by filling in the blanks. There is a certain knack to it, but it ain’t poetry. On the other hand…

    Then I took the dust of a long, sleepless night, and I put it in your little shoe
    And then, I confess that I tortured the dress that you wore for the world to look through…

    Bonus points if you know who wrote that. The real master.

  38. Quater says:

    Also: “Faith shouldn’t factor into the equation because she’s not designed to be a supermodel-type.”

    have you seen what most supermodels look like? They look really weird. Most of them aren’t really beautiful in a sexually attractive way, rather in a striking, boldly stylistic and aesthetically interesting way. Doesn’t that sound like Faith to you? If anything, she looks more like a supermodel than, say, Lara Croft, who looks more like a Hollywood actress or perhaps a comparatively wholesome class of porn star.

    Also, I find it a little off that the conversation barely ever seems to swing around to the unrealistic depiction of men in media like videogames and comic books. I’d say it’s possibly just as damaging to male self-esteem to be constantly bombarded by representations of chiselled, straining six-packs as the “norm” in our imaginary worlds.

  39. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Quater: Well, if you insist, I’ll concede that much. The most exposure I’ve gotten to supermodels was from mass media–the difference between a regular model and a model that’s really broken into mainstream popular consciousness. And the supermodels (models who are also honest to goodness celebrities whose names could even be recognized by people who know nothing of modeling) that the media promotes tend to look smashing.

    But by nitpicking terms you’re also missing my point.

    There was an East vs. West dichotomy in the original discussion, and stepping beyond the insults and implications of mutual ignorance, there was an issue of stylization vs. realism. I stepped back from the stylization/realism angle to spin the cultural divide issue (which is what most of the unsavory comments from both Kotaku posts tended to originate from), and attacked it at its core because I honestly don’t think there really is a significant difference of cultures between modern East and modern West as to what constitutes beauty. The reason why I believe the depiction of Asians in Western culture is so “off” compared to depiction of Asians by Asians is an issue of stereotyping. The issue of beauty merely being the one that’s up for discussion.

    And let’s not bring up the “unrealistic depiction of men” bit. Not only does it have nothing to do with the discussion, it overlooks the message behind the depictions of overly masculine men in media. That is, unrealistic men are depicted as paragons of physical traits, and often character traits, that men look up to in admiration. The assumption being that just by working out enough you too could look like that. And those men are not objectified or reduced to secondary throwaway “romantic elements” in media but are heroes whose deeds other men could admire (or, in video games, live out).

    Having said that, the issue of the depiction of men as opposed to the depiction of women wasn’t even on the radar, far as I could tell. The conversation didn’t swing around that way because that wasn’t what the conversation was about.

  40. Muzman says:

    We can split hairs over the definition of supermodel forever, but it makes the point. As does the comparison to Jessica Alba actually. Side by side nearly everyone picks the ‘cuter’ one, yet the original is closer to every other real adult female beauty anyone’s likely to see (People call the orginal mannish, which is obviously ludicrous, but it’s only by comparison. For all the knee jerk popularity real super cute Japanese girls, or for that matter super cute of any other regional look, aren’t to pinnacle of looks. Else that’d be all we saw on every magazine and billboard). And when we’re talking about beauty seen in person, the spectrum gets even wider.

    Anyway Faith’s quite an achievement in naturalism for any invented character. The picture where she’s hanging on the building looking in the window was the best. They took the care to get the muscle tension in her arm and shoulder looking right, as opposed to the (photoshopped to) slight form bodies, low gravity environments of cheescake shots or the can’t support/can’t-be-arsed-rigging-the-model for that detail of 3d stuff. That says a lot right there about what they’re going for.

  41. Thiefsie says:

    They’re just characters (or people). I find Faith maybe slightly more attractive than Alyx, but both are neither people I would traditionally find hot. And that’s where that ends for me. The only time that attractiveness might actually play a HEAVY role on a game for me is if the game was a dating game (or involved something as such).

    They’re women, they’re fake. I don’t think about it too much. I don’t fantasize about Manga or Lara Croft or elves (maybe I’m the odd one in that regard) but real people yes. Hence I don’t care much for this debate apart from outside cultural interest.

    I don’t care if male characters are typically portrayed butch either. Maybe deep down this has affected me, but no more so than CK models or footy players etc.

    Even the ‘gayness’ of GoW doesn’t make me waste more than 5 minutes thinking about it. The game is fluff (as most are) and not worthy of fanciful exposition of genderal stereotypes and inequality.

    Have fun, move on. Be happy Faith isn’t a Lara Croft pornstar of a character.

  42. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Which is why I’ve said again and again that Faith is not the right character for the discussion to center itself around. She’s a hero. She’s realistic in a game whose original idea was to make something that has traditionally been very unrealistic in games into something very realistic–speaking, of course, of motion in the first person perspective.

    I still point out to the models in Japan, China, and Korea (real-life models) as the real “Eastern” ideal of beauty, not to the stylized “anime” look that the original article highlighted. And each country’s media has its own criteria for what it looks for.

    But yes, you’re absolutely right Muzman. It would probably be more conducive to the discussion if it hadn’t started with one guy Photoshopping that pic of Faith. She’s just not a character designed with the root issue at mind.

  43. Premium User Badge

    Arathain says:

    I think it’s interesting to refer to Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance as plain. Gordon may be on the geeky side, but he has good facial lines and striking eyes. I consider him quite a handsome man. Alyx, in particular, is very pretty. She’s just not unrealistically proportioned. I think it says a lot about how distorted our standards have become.

  44. Psychopomp says:

    I concur with Quater on the lyrics, and Dorian on the rest.

    Faith is, as far as i’ve seen, the most realistic female hero in a (I LOST THE GAME)game so far.

    Lyrics?

    Sister, walk through these fields of delight, but I want you to know
    Desperation’s the tenderest trap, so gently you go
    What will it take?
    Sister awake

    Hint:It’s about a woman who willingly returns to an abusive ex time and time again.
    Also, bonus points if you know the song.

    Embrace my desire to…
    Embrace my desire to
    Feel the rythym, to
    Feel connected,
    Enough to step aside, and
    Weep like the widow, to
    Feel inspired, to
    Fathom the power, to
    Witness the beauty, to
    Bathe in the clouds, to
    Swing on the spiral, to
    Swing on the spiral, to
    Swing on the spiral of,
    Our divinity, and
    Still be a human

    Again, bonus points if you know the song.

  45. Klaus says:

    Yeah, Gordan Freeman I wouldn’t consider average. Once you get past those huge glasses on his face anyway. Alyx isn’t what I’d consider average either.

    Amusingly enough I find the default male Shepard from Mass Effect average, despite the fact he’s based on a model of some sort.

  46. Klaus says:

    I’ve always liked this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hibyAJOSW8U

  47. RaFannie says:

    Guys Zoo Digital is bringing an updated and fixed version of NARC, check it out:
    http://www.zoodigitalpublishing.com/product-item.php?id=349

  48. tmp says:

    I honestly don’t think there really is a significant difference of cultures between modern East and modern West as to what constitutes beauty. The reason why I believe the depiction of Asians in Western culture is so “off” compared to depiction of Asians by Asians is an issue of stereotyping.

    Could the difference simply stem from what sort of looks one is subjected to, on regular basis? Exotic flair can have considerable sex-appeal. Thus it doesn’t seem unusual at all that to Western person an attractive Asian character would be someone with pronounced Asian features, something they don’t witness frequently… while at the same time to Asian person these features could be perceived as average and boring… and so also in search of the exotic flair their attention would be drawn to characters with some Western influence, if anything.

    This is of course aside from much more universal attraction to certain features, which are indeed not that different ( http://www.uni-regensburg.de/Fakultaeten/phil_Fak_II/Psychologie/Psy_II/beautycheck/english/index.htm )

  49. eyemessiah says:

    The Mirrors Edge discussion seems a little Bizarro. Both versions of Faith seem incredibly glam to me. I don’t know a lot of women who present as flawlessy as Faith A or B.

    I understand why this has touched a nerve though. I too prefer my heroines to be marginally less glam, ala Alyx & Zoey and would resent it if Valve were proposing a BOOBS patch for HL2 & L4D. But they aren’t, and neither are the makers of Mirror’s Edge. The article itself even said “The language will be localized in Japanese, but not the character design.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that!
    This is more like some random internet guy making a BOOBS skin for Mirror’s Edge, but its not even that significant. Its just some random internet wierdo messing about in photoshop.

    Re. realism
    Alyx, Faith A and Zoey are just not that realistic IMHO. If some of you remain unconvinced go and stand in a train station in 30 mins and have look at the commuters. Generally speaking your average person is substantially less attractive than even the most politically correct entertainment-heroine.

    For me, the thing I dislike about Fakefactory’s Alyx & Alyx(again) is not so much how much she doesn’t look like the frankly unattractive people on the High Street, but simply that on an aesthetic level I don’t particularly like the way she has been stylised. She looks like a porn star and that ruins the fiction for me, not because it represents a failure on the part of the character designers to represent the reality of lowest common denominator attractiveness, but just I find it hard to take porn stars seriously.

    Until some game designer bases his heroine on his short, overweight ex girlfriend, or her hero on her pudding faced ginger ex boyfriend I’m going to find it hard to take a discussion of realism in character design seriously!