The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on March 10th, 2013 at 9:39 am.


Sundays are for Mum.

  • Link of the week is doubtless Anita Sarkeesian’s first Tropes vs Women video, the full transcript of which is here. I’ve linked the video below, if you want to watch that – and you should. Given the energy with which Ms Sarkeesian’s efforts have been attacked, I’ve no doubt the comments thread below will boil with unwarranted unpleasantness, but please remember that I hold the Bill & Ted rule to be a guiding principle of the internet, second only to the Roger Rabbit rule. Failing to understand these rules will radically reduce my charitableness.

  • Edge Interviews Jonathan Ross: “Ross says he’s been playing games “almost since the medium began”, so what made him decide to start making them? “It was something we’d been thinking of doing for a while,” he admits, “but if you’re not involved in the industry, you don’t really know what it takes [to make a game], so we needed to have someone who’s professional and knows other professionals. I don’t think we could have done it without Georg’s knowledge and expertise. I don’t think someone who’s got a lot of experience in one field can just walk into gaming and go ‘I’m doing it’. You need people who’ve got that experience.””
  • PopSci suggest banning scores in videogame reviews. *Cough*
  • Rab likes the new Tomb Raider: “I almost passed on Tomb Raider, because I found the pre-release hoopla so vile. It was only when some trusted friends told me how good it was, and how wrong my preconceptions of it were, that I decided to try it. I’m glad I did, because it’s an important chapter in the history of one of the most well-known videogame characters. The first genuinely meaningful chapter, if we’re at all interested in characterisation within videogames.”
  • Video Games Gave Me Judas Priest is a name for an article: “It was Brutal Legend, Double Fine’s heavy metal epic that pushed me over the edge. Maybe it was the choice to use “The Hellion” as background music in the game’s menus. Or the clever casting of Rob Halford as not one, but two devilish characters. Once I’d won my last stage battle something clicked. Tim Schafer’s clear-eyed nostalgia and un-conditional love won me over. Soon after I downloaded Screaming for Vengeance from Amazon and a love affair began.”
  • Bizarre “academic” study of which Starcraft race would win in real life: “The humans, a group of exiled Earth prisoners called the Terran Dominion, often use fast attacks designed to wipe out opponents before they have a chance to build a proper army. Though the researchers say the races would be very nearly deadlocked, this strategy would give the Terrans a slight advantage.”
  • An overview of Roguelikes.
  • Mental Asylums in videogames: “Bedlam. An institution so horrific, so archaic in ‘treatment’ procedures and so completely unempathetic in their approach to psychiatric disorder, it is no longer just an institution made of bricks and mortar, but a literary institution. Bedlam means chaos. Bedlam means confusion and uproar. Bedlam, a place that was supposed to help people, became so synonymous with anarchic adjectives its very name came to be used as an umbrella term for all of them.”
  • Who is Gordon Freeman?
  • It’s been a while since I linked to my favourite non-games blog. This post is fascinating.

Music this week is all of Tarkovsky’s films online.

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548 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge mechtroid says:

    Is it just me, or has the Rougelike mentality been especially pervasive in games of the last year or so? This article reminded me I need to try out some of the originals.

    EDIT: Roguelike, dammit.

    • Nim says:

      Myself, I have not noticed any great changes in the use of cosmetics in computer games compared to last year.

    • cptgone says:

      the use of rouge in video games has become very sexist, compared to the Regency period.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Absolutely. And not just in ASCII. Sir is an FPS roguelike.

      • Phantoon says:

        Is rouge a graphics in Sir?

      • Kaira- says:

        Jim, I think the genre purist in me just suffered a little aneurysm.

        • Phantoon says:

          This leads me to believe one of three things.

          1: You have a tiny person living inside you.
          2: You are engaged in intercourse at the time of posting.
          3: You mean that metaphorically.

          Three is the most boring option, so I disregard it. One expects me to start the reactor, and I have no idea where that is, so I disregard it as well. Two is the only remaining option, and is funny.

          Therefore, you should probably help your sexual partner.

          • Premium User Badge VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            You seem to be confusing aneurysm and orgasm. The result is ironically amusing, because the meaning of Kaira’s post in your reading is essentially reversed. Thank you, and have a nice day.

          • Phantoon says:

            But that was the point! It was word play on him implying that there was another person inside him.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      It’s really nice to see UnReal World getting more attention as of late, especially since the devs have sunk something like 20 years into it so far.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’m really glad y’all are liking my Roguelike article (well, Chris and Cory chipped in too – see the credits). I’ve heard it suggested that I’m some kind of genre newcomer or hater of the classics in some circles. I’d like to just add that the very first Roguelike I played was the original Rogue.

      It came out the year I was born, and I played it maybe two years after that. It helped teach me to read. As long as I live, K will be for Kestrel, an adventurer-hating, cave-dwelling bird, and Q is for Quaff, which is a fancy word for Drink.

  2. choconutjoe says:

    re: Sarkesian. The Amazing Atheist had a rare moment of clarity on the subject:

    • Mathute87 says:

      NO! I was going to say exactly what that dude’s saying in the video. Damn it!

      • Premium User Badge DeVadder says:

        Really? Is only points are that there are lunatics on every side of a debate on the internet (duh) and that she disabled comments on youtube. Because youtube comments are such a good place to exchange valuable ideas and/or constructive criticism? How likely is that? It is no secret that that videos comment thread would not spawn any actual debate but would be completely buried by trolls and madness.
        Discussing the actual content can and should be done. But to imply she would not accept any other opinion beside her own, just because she apparently does not want to look for them in 20 pages of rape threads, up-vote-begging, firstposting and racial and any other kind of trolling is kind of far fetched in my opinion.

    • Lytinwheedle says:

      That’s ridiculous, the reason the comments and the ratings are blocked because people won’t be engaging in any kind of discussion, the whole thing will be filled with creepy posts, sexism and rape threats by the mentally deficient.

      • Mathute87 says:

        That’s the standard Youtube comments section for you. Because she’s a woman are we to believe she can’t handle it? Come on, that’s ridiculous… That’s why the “block” button is there for. Besides, most of the time the comments section of a popular Youtuber are for the subs to discuss, argue and yes, insult each other, with the uploaded hardly ever making any comment.

        Idiots like PewDiePie leave the comments on and he gets a lot of hate on a daily basis…

        YET I don’t believe it undermines the point made in the video. But I still don’t think she should have disabled them.

        • Premium User Badge RobF says:

          It’s almost like you entirely missed everything that’s happened since she first posted the Kickstarter!

          Amazing.

          • Mathute87 says:

            I did miss it :P My point of view, valid or stupid, is that of someone who had no idea about this person until now.

            And it’s too early to google her yet.

          • harbinger says:

            >everything that’s happened since she first posted the Kickstarter!

            Everything that happened is that she played her audience like a fiddle to gain all that money and seems to be keeping it for herself, since I don’t see production values worth over $160k. You could literally make entire independent movies doing that, and not just a YouTube video series in the same style she did previously for free.

            Head over to KickTraq and look at the progress of her campaign.
            She started her campaign on May 17 and there was literally nil interest, it was running on ice for several weeks, she or her team tried gaining attention by trolling places like 4Chan: http://archive.foolz.us/v/thread/139813364
            But they just put it off as “Advertisement” and didn’t engage her or her effort any further.

            On June 4 she decided to put her video on YouTube since the campaign wasn’t gathering much attention at all (albeit it did get funded for the bare minimum at that point), and let it be amongst one of the only videos of hers with comments enabled while in full knowledge of her previous YouTube audience and again baiting in certain places. She even closed them later, but not before writing a blog painting herself as the victim of this big “misogynist gamers” campaign: http://www.feministfrequency.com/2012/06/harassment-misogyny-and-silencing-on-youtube/ claiming being subjected to “death threats” and worse on basis of a few YouTube comments she purposefully collected (obviously without contacting any authorities, since she knew they were meaningless comments).
            This is especially suspicious, since both her videos before the KickStarter and the new video series had both ratings and comments enabled. She generally doesn’t like to “discuss” things or have her points challenged.

            Then she appealed to “gaming journalism” and the usual places that are (increasingly) “known” for it around the Internet, Rock Paper Shotgun, Kotaku, Escapist, Destructoid responded, copying this information directly from her Blog without any scrutiny as to any form of analysis or her intentions, true to form. They provided for her boost of thousands of dollars jumping from a few hundred of backers to multiple thousands for a YouTube video series she apparently managed to do for free before…
            The really sad thing is how easily she manipulated both the people that pledged for her project and the gaming media, similar to how EA seems to bring up how great they are on “LGBT issues” every time there seems to be a shitstorm about one of their new products. (as has happened again with Sim City)

            She is also very opinionated and won’t allow for any discussion or debate of her points, she deleted most constructive discussion trying to challenge her points on every channel of communication she has control over, which is the only place she seems to engage people at all (YouTube, her Blog and anywhere she has the power to do), while keeping the “stupid” ones because they were apparently “proving her point”. For instance she also did a collection with a few articles based on her KickStarter, included almost every single one but ignored the very few that actually contained any sort of critique however mild, like one follow-up piece on Destructoid.
            She isn’t really as much interested in any discussion as she is in an audience she can make money off of.

            As for the video, aside from the research being done at the level of a grade student and almost directly reading things off of TVTropes, I just have a big question named “So what?”. What exactly is it supposed to prove, and what is so wrong or damaging about these “tropes”. As rightfully noted they are a plot devices from times before Anno Domini and they are legitimately used in movies, TV series, books and just about every other medium out there over centuries.
            What exactly is wrong with games doing that too and since when are game designers and developers supposed to abide by the feminist inquisition in every decision they make regarding a game?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            ” I don’t see production values worth over $160k. You could literally make entire independent movies doing that”

            No, you couldn’t. Not even close unless you are not paying people the full value of their job, in which case you have to persuade them to work for less than they are worth. And if you want to count that scenario, well then, you could go to the moon on a tenner, right, if you could just persuade NASA to build you a spaceship for free.

            If you want to display your film at a festival screening meeting audience expectations of quality, you’ll be looking at spending more than that on lights, cameras, rigs, lenses, mics, tripods/cranes/steadicams/sliders et al RENTAL!!!

            Are you paying your screenwriter, feeding your actors, having their makeup done, creating their wardrobe, having sets built, casting, etc etc. Paying all those people every day for the month or so (minimum, more like 3-5 months) your production is going to take will start to bring your costs towards a million dollars.

            And it would still be categorized by most festivals as a zero budget movie.

            Well, I guess you could film for an hour and a half on your $2000 canon xa10, use a $200 zoom and $200 AT mic, write, direct, produce and star in it yourself, but good luck with making that a success ;)

          • The Random One says:

            I’m still amazed that people can seriously say Sarkeesian somehow drove people to harass her as a tactic to gain more money. The attackers did cause her to get more money, yes, but because people were trying to make a statement against them. They did it, not Sarkeesian. To imply that it was her own tactic is not even mysoginistic, it’s conspiracy-theorist levels of insane.

          • Premium User Badge RobF says:

            @Harbinger

            “She is also very opinionated”

            OH NO. Quick. Better shut her up then before she does something rash.

            Noddy.

          • neonordnance says:

            Look, I hate sexism too, but Harbinger brings up some legitimate points. Posting on 4chan is just asking for trouble, and there’s no doubting that the flood of support she received on the basis of a few idiots in frequently-trolled comment sections. Her argument is that women are systematically oppressed by the video game industry, and portrayed in backwards and unrealistic ways. This is not false, but it ignores a great deal of mitigating circumstances. What it DOES do, however, is play into the standard, stereotypical narrative as gamers being socially awkward white males who have no luck with women. It’s easy to portray gamers this way, because we have been portrayed this way in so many other works in popular culture.

            But step back a bit from the rhetoric. What is she actually adding to the discourse? What solutions has she suggested? What is she doing that is different from the (mostly) solid work on this issue from places like Kotaku, RPS, and even big mainstream sites like Joystiq?

            Simply put, she’s not. She’s merely adding fuel to the fire for the other side of the argument, she’s perpetuating negative gamer stereotypes, and she’s profiting hugely from it.

            Like I said, sexism is definitely a problem in the industry, but this isn’t the way. Color me skeptical.

          • Premium User Badge RobF says:

            No, he really doesn’t have even the slightest hint of a decent point anywhere, it’s just a load of words designed to attack someone who’s done NOTHING more or less in the grand scheme of things than make a video series (and want to make more of a video series) talking about and listing tropes in videogames.

            I reject that for the bullshit it is.

            “What it DOES do, however, is play into the standard, stereotypical narrative as gamers being socially awkward white males who have no luck with women. It’s easy to portray gamers this way, because we have been portrayed this way in so many other works in popular culture.”

            No it doesn’t.

          • crinkles esq. says:

            @Sheng-ji — The indie film Clerks was shot for $23k. Post-production was about $230k, though they were using film, so digital post costs would probably be less than that. It’s certainly possible to make an indie film for under $500k if you beg, borrow, or steal, and many have been.

          • Shepardus says:

            Primer’s budget was $7k, and that was shot in 2001.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            These amazingly low budget films all involved getting people to work for free and were made by some of the brightest people in the industry. The true cost of those films was much higher, but talented people paid most of the price (by waiving their fee) in exchange for an entry on their CV or for publicity.

            These films do not represent the average cost of a professional independent production, they are outliers, notable and interesting but ultimately a misrepresentation of the cost of making a film.

          • lordcooper says:

            Colin was made for about £45 and is surprisingly good.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            While only (about) £45 was handed over, one of the makeup artists told me she burned her way through over £200 worth of makeup which she was expected to supply herself (and did so happily and willingly). Her time would have cost Marc another £500-1000. Add VAT and that 1 member of the crew out of the 20?? odd subsidised the production to the tune of at least a grand. It is of note that she told me she regrets doing it as it has substantially damaged her earning potential.

            Can you start to understand my point above now?

            This is derailing the comment, I’ve said enough for the average person to understand if they want to. I will say no more on this.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

            She didn’t ask for 160k. She asked for 5k. She’s under no obligation to show “production values worth 160k” whatever the hell that is. Anyone who donated to her after she already got the 5k is not entitled to anything special.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            Having worked on several films over the years, I can confirm that what Sheng-ji is saying is entirely accurate. Though I don’t necessarily agree that the series “couldn’t” have been made for less, it is a reasonable budget.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Regardless of how much value you put on the responses in a youtube comments section, you have to concede that the formatting makes it very difficult to follow. In the rare event that something worth while is posted on a popular channel, you can guarantee that it will be drowned in a flood of idiots before you can refresh the page. For that alone i’m surprised that more channels don’t simply turn off comments by default. If I was a content producer, I would rather spend my time making content or sourcing inspiration from around the internet, than wading through that mountain of dung to find the single golden comment nugget of insight.

        • Ninja Foodstuff says:

          It’s not “standard youtube comments”. “Standard” youtube comments tend to err on the side of stupidity and ignorance rather than death threats. If if was considered normal to post death threats in the comments for an advert for deodorant for example, they would be disabled by default (as it is, youtube comments rarely tend to add anything constructive to the matter at hand, but that’s another matter).

          • Mathute87 says:

            I wonder how many of you actually read the comments when they were available in that video.

            Am I to believe that there were that many “death threats” and “rape threats”? I know just ONE should be enough to lose faith in humanity, but can we even consider those things as such? Why are we giving those words so much importance? By doing so, and then disabling the comments, we are encouraging people to keep doing it, because it “works”. It serves the purpose that most of those stupid people ignore. It’s like saying “Well, I hate you, but I can’t fight you. You are stronger. You make me weaker. You win”.

            Ignoring the issue won’t make it go fully away, because there will always be idiots, but the old “Don’t feed the troll” is underrated. If you don’t pay attention to these people (unless they actually represent a threat on your REAL life), they’ll get bored. They will. It’s not that hard to understand. I find that option better than

            I’m subbed to various stuff. As I grew older I learned to stay away from some channels, while I still have some guilty pleasures among the more… er… “mature” channels I now watch.

            I follow many girls. Yes, some of the comments talk about the breasts of the girl in question, while some other are really polite. And YES, there are ocassional horrible comments like those, but you know what those uploaders do? Delete. Block. Ignore. Worst case scenario they reply, getting the support of most of the viewers, because most actually have some common sense.

            So… Youtube comes with a comments section. Most people won’t disable it. I get that it’s HER channel and HER “study”, but my issue here is that she did it with real money from real people, and they can’t even agree or disagree with the video just because she is too busy paying attention to what the idiots say.

            Now, I don’t mean to sound insensitive, as I think those kind of comments should not be tolerated and those accounts should be banned from everywhere.

            I’m subbed to many gamers (or non-gamers) that don’t give a damn about what anonymous people say over the internet, and yes, there is a larger amount of “rape” and “death” comments than most of you here seem to believe. It is Youtube. And even worse: It is the Internet. I’m here typing this and I’m 100 % sure that those who disagree with me, will still disagree with me and some might even consider me an idiot, a chauvinist, even some mysoginist piece of shit. Some might even reply to me just to insult me. But then, one of you actually makes a valid point that counters my points, and that’s what we all should be looking forward to. Those comments. Not the trolling, the harrassing, the disrespectful ones, but the actual comments that care enough about what we said to say “I agree” or “I get it, but I have to disagree with you on this”.

            Let’s face it, most of us won’t ever change our minds about any subject on a discussion started here, on Youtube, Reddit, Neogaf or wherever. We hardly do it in real life, let alone this virtual one.

            So, do we keep wasting time reading and getting outraged by those things, or do we focus on the people that actually use their brains?

          • Lytinwheedle says:

            Some of her youtube videos gathered 17.000 sexist comments when she launched her kickstarter. Are you awake enough to launch google and just look up the harassment she has faced?

          • Blackseraph says:

            Mathu

            You haven’t made much of any valid points in these comments.

            On the contrary you called her damsel in distress which is not really nice and belittles her efforts, and called her video bad without any supporting arguments.

            So if these are the kind of rants and arguments you want her to read in her comments, I really do understand her point of closing those comments.

            Btw belittling like that does make you seem bit misogynistic.

          • Premium User Badge DeVadder says:

            “So… Youtube comes with a comments section. Most people won’t disable it. I get that it’s HER channel and HER “study”, but my issue here is that she did it with real money from real people, and they can’t even agree or disagree with the video just because she is too busy paying attention to what the idiots say. ”

            I do not really agree with the rest of what you said, but this one stands out for me.
            People cannot agree or disagree with it because they cannot post a comment on youtube? I see many people who agree or disagree with her. Some make videos, others post in their blogs. And of course others do so in even different ways. Like us commenting on RPS for example.
            But the first two kinds are actually a lot more valuable. Because they require thought, time and are in most cases connected to not necesarily the real identity of the author but more often than not to some sort of virtual identity that the author has created over time.
            So it is possible to agree and disagree. The question is only: Are the endless pages of anonymous shitposting and threats with the rare occasional actual comment (that did not get made through other means as well) that we lost anything to be sad about? I say no. Those comments would not have had any further value for the debate anyways.
            I do not mind at all to ask people with an opinion to put at least the slightest effort in expressing that opinion.

        • sinister agent says:

          Who said she can’t handle it? She rather sensibly decided to opt out of it altogether, because it is completely worthless. Why should she, or anyone else, have to put up with legions of fuckwits spewing pointless abuse at her just because it’s possible? It’s not like youtube comments have ever done anything positive.

          • Wookie says:

            Its not like free speech, rational argument or right of reply to somebody argument are the core foundations of liberal or democatic discussion eh?

            I mean I’m totally sure its fine to just express an opinion uncontested (well functionally because she has the resources and the bigger platform).

          • Premium User Badge RaveTurned says:

            Wookie, no-one’s stopping anyone from doing any of the things you mentioned. Anyone looking for debate or right of reply can upload their own video, or even just write it on any of the thousands of other forums out there. All Sarkeesian’s doing by disabling comments is keeping other people’s hateful BS off her own front yard, as is *her* right.

          • Mathute87 says:

            Ok, whatever. I don’t need to google her to know that she is considered a modern martyr, so nothing bad should be ever said about her.

            Now I’ll just look up why retarded people picked her out of so many strong women to treat her like that.

          • Premium User Badge Makariel says:

            @Mathute87: You are simply amazing, writing lengthy opinionated postings with little to no real arguments all the while clearly stating you have no idea who or what you actually talk about.

          • sinister agent says:

            @Makariel I figured he’d replied to the wrong post or something, to be honest.

          • The Random One says:

            Once again the I Fight For Free Speech Although I Dunno Wot That Is crowd.

            Free speech is the right to say anything. A government can take away your right to say something by stopping you from saying it in any place where it has sovereignity, therefore stopping it from reaching the people who need to hear it. The media, acting in unison, can take away your right to say something by keeping you from using the platforms you’d use to say it.

            One person cannot take away your free speech because they don’t want you to say something on their website (or on a YouTube channel they run). You can take it elsewhere, as all of you have done.

            That the fact that she banned comments on her video isn’t followed by people saying ‘oh of course she did that’ but is actually used as a pivot to claim that she is trying to stifle discussion is mind-bogglingly stupid. Even if she really is trying to stifle discussion (it looks like she doesn’t care much for anyone who doesn’t follow her specific theory of feminism) then it’s more reason to find real ways to discuss that instead of making it out of whole cloth.

        • Sc0r says:

          Its not “because she’s a woman” its also not “standard youtube comments”.
          If you’ve seen the comments you’d know thats a whole new level. There is everything from standard misogyny to condinous rape&murder implications towards her.

          I completely understand why she did it and the people whining about a closed comment section fail to think beyond their own privileges.

          • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

            Standard YouTube Comments = Threats to murder your uncle, rape your pig and report you to the Secret International Board of Undertakers

            If you don’t want YouTube comments, use Vimeo

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Actually Hungry, that isn’t standard. I know of two youtubers whose comments are thought to be worse than normal – Total Biscuits and 13Mordeth’s.

            In neither of their comments do I see direct threats of violence or worse towards anyone – it’s petty insults and babyish trolling.

            So can we cut it with the crap that an average youtuber will receive those kinds of comments please, it simply isn’t true.

        • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

          No one should have to put up with rape threats, because threats of that kind are a crime and the people who make them should be arrested. It is not a right in liberal society to make threats of violence, free speech or no.

      • feersum endjinn says:

        Exactly right. YouTube comments are so terrible that they actively harm discussion, and turning them off is probably best for anyone interested in an informed debate.

      • dftaylor says:

        I totally understand why she disabled the comments, but I do think it was the wrong choice. So what if a bunch of idiots go and post the same misogynistic garbage they always do when their masculine identity is questioned? It simply proves the point that there are men out there who are so insecure in their identity that they have to debase women.

        That was the first time I’d watched an Amazing Atheist video and I thought he made some really good points. It’s not just the extreme chauvinists that are objectionable. Some of the feminists are genuinely terrifying and unwilling to allow any other opinion.

        Certainly, objectionable speech isn’t grounds to exclude it. From my reading on Sarkeesian, she does seem very unwilling to engage in debate, something Germaine Greer has always been willing to do. And her TEDtalk did see her portraying herself as something of a victim. Those extreme comments were not the majority and she knows it.

        It does suggest something of a double standard to offer your view on a contentious subject (and she does have some very good points), and then stifle any discussion. I bet she’s a delight at a roundtable debate, where she switches off the other delegates microphones.

        I enjoyed her video though and think she had some interesting things to say. But, mostly, I was struck with a “so what?” sensation. She rightly points out that the damsel in distress trope existed in storytelling many years before games. It’s still prevalent in much of mainstream cinema now. So why single out games?

        You need to look at the underlying factors in any issue. The games industry is largely dominated by men. Men tend to know most about being men and since the audience is largely men too, they write about men. MEN!

        The more interesting question is how we solve it.

    • Premium User Badge RobF says:

      Yeah, the comments are disabled because if they were active, there’d be nothing but a fuckton of internet dickheads spewing their bile all over the place like they seem to do EVERY SINGLE TIME it’s mentioned, including the obligatory rape threats and lord knows what else takes their fancy due to their complete inability to engage on any level above offensive and offensively stupid.

      The very idea that somehow having comments disabled undermines her point is so far beyond ridiculous, it’s obscene. It’s not like the internet suddenly can’t have an opinion, it’s not like ALL discourse suddenly ceases because the comments on a YouTube video are turned off. Go write a blog post, a forum post, do something, anything.

      What utter stupid, desperate, unthinky gutrot.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Exactly and she’s not stifling discussion either. Youtube comments are neither designed nor appropriate for sensible discussion. If she is supposed to provide a forum for discussion for her video, the most appropriate place would be… well a forum, and why would we ask her to provide one but no-one else?

        I’m a woman who does not agree with much she has to say but the criticism she is getting is not valid in my opinion.

        • Dezmiatu says:

          Uterine traitor! You’ll never stop being the ball in the game of patriarchy unless you graduate to adversary. That demands solidarity, but all you’re concerned about is being drunk on your ego… just like a man.

        • Ninja Foodstuff says:

          “Youtube comments are neither designed nor appropriate for sensible discussion”

          Funny I was just thinking the same thing in response to this, and it seems so obvious. I’m actually now considering changing my own youtube channel to disable comments and just refer to a forum instead.

        • Kusz says:

          @Sheng-ji

          I know this post is irrelevant to the whole discussion, but I would like to thank you for all the level headed and reasnable comments you have made not only in this thread, but others as well. It’s nice to see that there are people who don’t just see what they want to see. It really restores my faith in humanity.

          • fullbleed says:

            Agreed, I’m scrolling through the thread just looking for her comments. I get so sick of people’s unrealist expectations of what a low budget film actually is. Pretty much the only way any film could possibly be under 1 million is if some people aren’t getting paid.

      • Masterpwny says:

        Fully agreed, I was delighted to see the comments disabled on this video, and 2:25 on AmazingAtheist’s video explains exactly why. Completely defeated his own argument. If he attracted so much bile for making a reasonable point, what the hell did he think would happen to her?

      • Premium User Badge elderman says:

        Yes, it is gut rot and it’s in bad faith. Don’t let it distract from the arguments in the Sarkeesian video.

        Her points are good and deserve more discussion. For instance, she calmly explains that it’s possible to both critique video games in this way and enjoy them. That’s certainly true, but it also under-sells the force of the argument. Surely becoming more aware of a pattern like the damsel in distress trope will change the way you enjoy games that deploy it. I’m not yet sure how having my attention brought to this pattern will change the way I think about games, especially since I now notice it in some of my favourite indie titles. This will change the way I get pleasure from one of my dearest hobbies.

      • abandonhope says:

        Your counterargument doesn’t really stand up to any of the points The Amazing Atheist made. His argument contained and addressed your points.

        On her Kickstarter page, Sarkeesian writes: “Help me create another successful video series that will contribute to and help amplify the existing conversations happening about female characters in games….”

        By disabling comments, she’s sending the message that her part in the conversation is to speak, and that her viewers’ part in the conversation is to listen and not to speak back (unless they’ve given her money), almost as if she’s infallible and her opinion is objective truth, which is indeed how most of her work is presented.

        This pattern in her work is discussed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6gLmcS3-NI

        • Premium User Badge elderman says:

          No, by disabling comments she’s focusing the page on the arguments in her video, not on specious stylistic critiques. The important bit is the analysis of how pervasive and pernicious the Damsel in Distress trope is. That’s the interesting bit.

          I don’t know about you, but I’m not really interested in youtube videos as a genre. I come to RPS to read about and discuss games, and the Tropes vs Women in Video Games expands my understanding of the games I play by making me more aware of a silly pattern used to manufacture a pro-forma motivation for my often male avatar.

          • abandonhope says:

            Specious stylistic critiques? Straw man.

            It’s ironic that you’re posting that point of view in the comments section of a piece of content. Should disabling comments be reserved only for controversial and important content? Is that something you’re advocating in general? Care to expand on that?

            The interesting bit to me is seeing the ideas in this series go toe to toe with scrutiny. Many of her previous videos do not stand up to scrutiny, and the video I linked to cites an example and carefully explains why. Her work is not peer-reviewed. It’s an analysis of an aspect of pop culture with an editorial slant.

            The first video in this series, unlike her previous work, was mostly free of editorializing, which is why I liked it. If we can agree that the topic is important and worthy of our focus, then I feel like we should also be able to agree that her analysis and conclusions should pass muster.

            I’m not interested in sitting at her feet and soaking up all of her opinions. I’m interested in seeing her present and defend her work from solid, thoughtful criticism. Most of that will not come in the form of YouTube comments. Some might. The point is that she’s used YouTube as a forum to present her work and cut off all forms of feedback that exist on almost every video on the site–some of them on topics far more serious than how women are portrayed in video games.

            She’s chosen to make pop culture the focus of her professional life. Fellow consumers of popular fictional media are her audience. If she’s trying to communicate to that audience, I think she should expand her engagement beyond just the buffer of people who agree with her. I’ve watched just about all of her videos. I’ve never seen her do that.

            The Amazing Atheist is a half-loveable, half-obnoxious fuck-up. The guy stuck a banana up his ass, on video, and when it went public he defended himself eloquently. Surely Sarkeesian can defend ideas she wants others to accept.

          • Premium User Badge elderman says:

            There’s no straw man. You don’t respond to RPS articles by criticising the quality of the writing. The appropriate response is to the content, not the form. Similarly with the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series, take on the ideas, not the presentation. Otherwise the rest of us will be tempted to think you either can’t handle the content or want to distract from it.

            And Ms Sarkeesian’s ideas should definitely get lots of scrutiny. The more the better. Do you have any to give?

            For example, any comment on the idea that women’s depiction in video games is important because it influences how women are treated in the real world? Watching the video, it seemed to me that was something that would provoke at least a token resistance.

        • Untruth says:

          It’s just a load of rubbish. It’s a straw man interpretation of how the internet (and the world) functions. You, right now are having a conversation. She created that. She spent time making valuable, rich arguments that you watched (I hope).

          She does not have to open up one of the worst commenting systems (by YouTube’s own admission) on the WWW to people to create that discussion. The discussion is happening on RPS, other forums, Tumblr, as Simpsons-comic-book guy in the linked video seems to use. She even participates by posting back about the issues and criticism.

          What else does she have to do? Set up a personal forum, host it on her own server powered merely by her own pedal power, 24/7, so people can pour in and converse in a singular place? Is that going to be enough for this guy?

          My comment doesn’t even mention the fundamental: the actual reality that free speech and ‘your rights’ doesn’t mean that all rights are created equal. She has a right not to be harassed, and is exercising her ability to be at arms length to something that she is quite well aware exists. People have the right to comment elsewhere, just not under her valuable and blood/sweat/tears created content, which could arguably damage people’s experience of watching the video fresh. You don’t have to go far on the internet to read damning and far reaching criticism of her work.

          Don’t even get me started on the bit where he wheels out feminists (i.e. women, i.e. humans) to show that the bile is on both sides. It is insulting to homogenise a ‘movement’ so tightly. Everyone is a part of feminism, they are just in different states of it. He may as well just dredge random comments about people falling out of bed videos, as well, that’s humanity at it’s worst too right?

          • Phantoon says:

            I would contend the “richness” of these arguments.

            And it sounds like you are comparing feminism to a sort of transitive process. If so, where are the crazy people located?

            I would contend not all women are feminists, but my definition of it is someone interested in civil rights for women.

          • abandonhope says:

            Could you kindly link me to where she responds to criticism that isn’t simply blatant misogyny or sexism (wheeled out for public view, if you like)?

          • Bhazor says:

            Her video is her argument.
            That is her side of the argument.

          • abandonhope says:

            So you’re saying rational discourse should go:

            Party A: Argument
            Party B: Counterargument
            Party A: I refer you to my argument

            It’s all so simple now. Peer-reviewed publications have had it wrong all along.

          • Reapy says:

            500 for a years worth of dns registrar and web hosting free forum software from 150000 doesn’t seem like much.

          • Premium User Badge RaveTurned says:

            abandonhope: You keep mentioning peer-review like it’s a requirement for admission of an opinion into public discourse. It isn’t. People’s right to free expression is not conditional on having a number of other people agree with it first. If there’s a peer review processes happening, it’s happening *right now*, here in this thread and everywhere where this video is being discussed.

          • abandonhope says:

            @RaveTurned

            Not my intention, if that’s the impression I’ve given. I’m saying that her work (previous videos being editorial-style analysis; Kickstarter series being, so far, more objective and detached, containing more-thoroughly exampled arguments) necessarily falls outside the peer-review domain. The series doesn’t quite have the detachment necessary to be considered a documentary or journalism, and it’s not entertainment either. That’s why I feel it should actually be part of a conversation and not such a one-sided affair.

            I’m saying that if she wants her work taken seriously (clearly she does; my desire is to treat it as such), then she should let it be scrutinized anywhere people feel like scrutinizing it–especially on platforms she has control over.

            Dropping a video onto YouTube and silencing all of YouTube’s traditional avenues of feedback gives the impression that she believes her work is above scrutiny. It suggests that she believes she’s injecting the conversation with definitive proofs and concepts that do not require critical feedback–that her audience and the Internet at large are for receiving her ideas, not conversing with her about them. Her apparent lack of interest in addressing all dissent except the most blatant sort from complete fuckwits doesn’t help. She should be a part of the conversation she wants to start, not dropping leaflets down on top of it.

            My perspective is that she intends to make a case here piece by piece. I find some of her previous work highly dubious, content to tone, and that’s unfortunate. She’s got the Internet’s attention, and I’m encouraged by the quality of the first video. I didn’t find much of anything to be critical of: it’s a great first start that thoroughly establishes that the damsel trope has existed in games since forever.

            However, as the series progresses, not addressing well reasoned criticism–and intentionally cutting out a natural place for it, however useless most of the comments will be–means that her assertions may not see the benefit of being challenged and strengthened. It weakens her case, and it has me concerned because this seems to be her MO.

            Maybe she’s having amazing debates behind closed doors with her supporters somewhere. I’ve yet to see anything like that from her. It worries me because I don’t think the conversation she says she wants to contribute to is helped by what seems to be her propensity for dividing responders to her work into either allies or abject sexists, either actively or passively by completely ignoring those who may disagree with her on some points, as if critical input is totally irrelevant to her very public ideas, as if being partially right is an impossibility for her.

            I haven’t slept in 20 hours. Forgive the increasingly rambling nature of my posts.

          • Premium User Badge elderman says:

            It’s true this is neither academic study nor entertainment. If you’ve been looking at it through those lenses there’s no wonder if you haven’t understood it. It’s activism and she’s doing that genre pretty well.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Sarkeesian’s closing the comment section is like damsel-in-distress saying to the king kong and the plumber: I don’t have time for you, boys.

            I think it’s awesome. Let’s have a discussion! Let’s not.

          • abandonhope says:

            @elderman

            If it’s simply activism–and not a presentation of ideas supported by facts for anyone’s consideration–can you tell me what the possible responses are? If they’re simply to accept all premises and conclusions whole or be a sexist, I suppose it doesn’t require my participation–or anyone’s, really. If you’re absolutely sure that’s how Sarkeesian feels, you must not think very highly of her.

          • Premium User Badge elderman says:

            @ abandonhope

            If you’ve seen the video, you know that of course it presents ideas. It analyzes the situation in which many games place female characters of being a damsel in distress. It describes the consequences of this trope. To pretend I suggest otherwise is arguing in unpleasantly bad faith. I find the video well-researched, articulate, accessible and a good start in Anita Sarkeesian’s project.

            Like many examples of good activism, the Damsels in Distress video trades in information. The fact that it has an obvious and self-confessed advocacy goal doesn’t make it less informative. Good activism can make equal claims to truth as academic research and hold attention like good entertainment.

            I don’t have time right now to research lots of examples of good activism. You might remember the Kony video from last year. That had some problems of accuracy, but did entertaining very well. Similarly, the EFF is an advocacy organisation that is one of the best sources for information about the civil liberties online. (for example)

            Disagreeing with this video’s conclusions doesn’t make anyone sexist, though mostly I haven’t seen people disagree with it here on RPS today so much as criticise it. Not many people seem capable of presenting a dissenting view. Going out of one’s way to look for reasons to dislike Ms Sarkeesian and her work that have nothing to do with what she says runs the risk of being associated with the vile, misogynistic abuse she received while pitching her series on Kickstarter.

            And now I’m going out to have some tea.

        • Phantoon says:

          Well, it IS ten minutes of him talking, and at least some of it is devoted to addressing crazy people.

          People need to be able to condense their arguments better. I watched this one guy on Youtube around the time An Inconvenient Truth came out that better explained global warming and how I could explain the concept to those with no understanding of science. THAT was helpful. This stuff? Both “sides” skip around simple questions that should be addressed before getting into their stuff.

          For instance, why is it that Mario is completely insane? Any reasonable person would’ve realized the danger, and just turned around and gone home. Going off to rescue some person they don’t even know (the first time) in a world where everything is trying to kill them? Was he just high on magic mushrooms? Why does Bowser keep kidnapping Peach? Does she have no defenders capable of stopping him? Peach has magic, surely she can use some of it. Isn’t Mario tired of saving this woman? How do you express any of this on an 8bit cartridge?

          But really, why is it that Mario has to be deep? Can’t it just be a game about jumping on things and beating up an invincible fire breathing turtle demon?

        • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

          Question: has anyone who has criticised the decision to turn off comments ever been worried about being sexually assaulted in real life? I think it’s a fortunate part of being a male that I don’t have to worry about it, and I fully support the decision of someone who has received rape threats to try to avoid them, because it is something that affects women far more than men.

          Plus, as many people have pointed out, disabling comments is obviously not infringing on your right to free speech.

      • Zogtee says:

        What disturbs me is that so many people are trying so hard to prove her wrong and question her motives. She brings up several interesting points in the video and we could be discussing those like adult people. Instead we get (at best) personal attacks, veiled or otherwise, and at worst, the deranged rape and death threats.

        I mean, seriously? What is the fucking problem?

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          This will sound extremely condescending, but perhaps you are expecting “adult” behavior from children.

          • Synesthesia says:

            It’s beggining to dawn on my that these adults you speak of may be just a myth.

        • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

          The problem is she raised a crazy amount of money, dodges debate and people are wondering where that money went

          • Chris D says:

            I think I know this one. Didn’t she make a series of youtube videos? Radical, I know, seeing as that’s what she said she’d do with the money but there you go.

          • dE says:

            Among all possible problems, this isn’t one. She asked for money to make these videos, she started making these videos. That right there is the whole Kickstarter Deal. She asked for 6.000$ and the result is what she could do with 6.000$. The overfunding is irrelevant. Same with the FTL Kickstarter, FTL asked for 10.000$ and provided what they set out for within those 10.000$.
            Overfunding the project doesn’t mean the additional money will go towards said project. It probably will in most cases, but is no obligation of the whole kickstarter process.

            Stretch Goals might stretch it a bit, but since Kickstarter has no endresult criteria other than “it’s done”, that’s not too big a deal either.

          • Baines says:

            That’s where people question her motives.

            Even when the Kickstarter was running, there were allegations and circumstantial that she’d engineered it to be a popularity-raising money-making firestorm. The topic itself was already a tinderbox, automatically creating an army ready to defend her (playing her own damsel-in-distress?) as well as to attack her. Then you take some of her “promotional” actions into account? (Someone made a reply earlier that does a decent account of the progression of her Kickstarter campaign.)

            So, yeah. Even though it is how Kickstarter works, I figure it is fair game to question where the money went.

            Does she really care about the subject? Or was it a chance to make a bunch of money, get more people to hear her thoughts without having to listen to anyone else, and to turn herself into a semi-celebrity and acknowledged “expert” who now gets invited to do public speaking engagements on the subject?

        • Baines says:

          Sarkeesian’s involvement taints the whole concept of discussion, because she’s not about promoting discussion. She’s about giving her opinion, convincing people she is right, and ignoring response that doesn’t agree with her (except for some hateful stuff, which she turns into a drive for defenders.)

          You can’t discuss something when one side is adamant and has her ears plugged. You really can’t discuss something when the pot is then stirred, and you are labeled as “part of the problem” by defenders when you question anything said or done by Sarkeesian. And then you have the other side giving out death threats and other hate speech, which only causes more people to come to Sarkeesian’s defense.

          There is no way to have a decent discussion there, because there is too much baggage and too much stuff is treated as off-limits. It should be valid to question Sarkeesian’s opinions, actions, and motives all. But the moment you do any of those, someone wants that line of discussion dismissed entirely. There is little left to discuss. Worse, accepting that little as the valid discussion can silently approve of all the stuff that you aren’t allowed to discuss, which can be harmful in the long run.

          • Chris D says:

            So you’re sulking because people refuse to recognise an Ad Hominem attack as a valid couter-argument?

          • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

            Does she have a responsibility to curate a discussion? Because, you know, you have a whole internet to discuss in,

    • choconutjoe says:

      On the other side, a reasonable argument for disabling comments:

      http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/you-idiot-course-trolls-comments-make-you-believe-science-less

        • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

          I absolutely love that one.

        • thegooseking says:

          Damn it. That’s something I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but there it is, better than I could articulate it.

          I would add, though, that when it comes to the internet, it’s not just about whether or not an opinion is defensible or reasonable; it’s also about the simple fact that no-one cares. If you are just a stranger with an internet connection and an opinion, a bare statement of opinion is not something anyone else has any reason to care about. To make people care, you have to support, justify and explain your opinion, and if you’re not going to make that effort, you’re just wasting space.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Thank you for that.

        I must wonder, is there really any reason to have comments enabled on a video with a serious subject matter? I have never seen an intelligent conversation take place on Youtube, the comment system is designed in such a way that actively discourages being thoughtful. The best I’ve ever gotten out of reading comments was a laugh from somebody with a good joke.

    • Phantoon says:

      I laughed when he said “I took to my Tumblr” like that was some sort of grand crusade.

      Can we tone down the rhetoric and just find out what people want, what they really really want? Because it seems to be hard to pin that down. I hated Dragon Age 2, but some people thought it was great.

      Furthermore I refuse to believe the people that he talks about are real, because I refuse to believe anyone is that ridiculous. Screaming at someone that they’re evil puts them on the defensive- you will never have a discussion with a person like that, because they are crazy.

      • smb says:

        As real as the average Internet troll pulling shit for shock reactions, which no doubt everyone who’s popular on the Internet puts up with.

    • NathanH says:

      If I had a video on youtube I would probably disable the comments. If the video had a woman in it I’d definitely disable the comments. It’s quite sad, because sometimes there are some extremely interesting comments on youtube videos (some of the episodes of kids’ TV show Knightmare on youtube have comments from the participants about the experience) and there are some witty ones, but it mostly gets drowned out by the dross.

      • Phantoon says:

        So, everything else on the internet, then? Comments on Youtube aren’t exactly isolated. There’s plenty of stupid to go around, have a cup.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Seriously?

      “We, the audience, are not allowed to have an opinion”.
      No, you are, it’s just she doesn’t want to hear it, and nor do I. Go blog about it on your tumbler. Go tweet about it. Just because I’ve written a controversial book, doesn’t mean I need to invite people into my house to discuss it.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Was this the guy with the banana incident?

      • Valvarexart says:

        Yes, it certainly was. That along with the fact that he calls both himself and Anita intelligent made me remember why I don’t listen to this guy (you can’t deny that those sorts of incidents just smother your image a tad bit).

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      Well, this is probably a no-win situation the likes of which even James Tiberius Kirk could believe in. No reasonable discussion in Youtube comments, and likely only opening one more breeding ground for complete morons? Shut them off. Shut the comments off? People think you might not allow criticism.

    • FreudianTrip says:

      I’d just like to say that that voice combined with the phrase “I took to my tumblr earlier” made me laugh out loud.

      • Phantoon says:

        You too? The fact it was said unironically made it better than the tone did.

    • mbp says:

      I think it is a great shame that Sarkeesian felt it was necessary to disable comments but given past experience I suspect she was right to do so. Any thoughtful feedback was likely to have been buried in trolls. Thankfully Anita and her videos have a high enough profile that there will be plenty of discourse elsewhere so this important issue is still going to get plenty of airing and discussion.

      • Phantoon says:

        Sure. Maybe. In the long run, from a manicial, manipulative standpoint, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. It’s the same principle 24 hour news networks run on- keep people tuning in. If she had left comments on, the chance of an intelligent complaint slipping through the back and forth sniping was slim to nil. Then she could’ve been the martyr again.

        Probably not her motivation, but still.

    • Premium User Badge elderman says:

      Not really. He ignores the point of the video in order to nit-pick about her decision to disable comments on youtube. Talk about missing the forest for the trees.

      Anita Sarkeesian’s video does a good job of showing how the Damsel in Distress trope is foundational to video-game story telling. The multitude of in-game images she assembles go a fair way to demonstrating that it’s also extremely pervasive. Our own experience with video games has to do the rest of the heavy lifting. Like me, I bet you can name a bunch of games in your own gaming library that use a helpless woman in danger to motivate a male protagonist at some point in the game.

      She also does a good job of briefly indicating why it’s important to reflect on tropes like these. It certainly makes me more aware of this silly pattern in games that I play — something I would otherwise have taken for granted. That’s the important bit. There’s plenty more to say about the trope and that’s what a thoughtful, good-faith response would deal with.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Does anyone else find it kind of ironic that throughout this whole process she essentially became the poster child for the damsel in distress trope?
        I tried to give it a fair shake, but like her previous videos I found it to be lacking and the “research” seems half assed compared to what should have gone into these, especially with the inflated budget available to her.
        With all the moderated and censored comments, anyone who tries to refute any of the factual points on this videos gets silenced and lumped in as a misogynist or troll (which serves her purpose anyways).
        In the proper hands this could have been a great series and actually opened a proper discussion. As it stands it seems just like all her previous content, with the exception of a few more people paying attention only due to the controversy, not the content.

        • iridescence says:

          The thing is, if you or someone else actually did make a reasonable critique of her work and posted it in Youtube comments it would just be drowned within 5 minutes by 50 moronic troll/flame comments, She would never see it and it would just be a waste of your time. If you want to critique her make your own video, or, I don’t know, post a blog somewhere. Anything would be better than trying to debate her in the Youtube comments section.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            People have done that, and guess who they get “trolled” by in their video/article comments?
            It’s a shame that there is no way to have a mature conversation or debate without either supporting side becoming complete narrow minded idiots in the comments. It’s akin to the same fervent arguments used on “news” channels like Fox News of, “I’m yelling the loudest, therefore I’m right!” or, “You don’t agree with my viewpoint so I’m going to label you with some outrageously unrepresentative slander so others will outright ignore you.”

          • Wookie says:

            The argument that you can just post a blog somewhere to debate her arguments is a fallacy though. She has the budget (and publicity) to make her message shout the loudest by a factor of a thousand, even if RPS and half the gaming press themselves declared reasoned opposition to her point of view she would still be able to articulate her views far more louder and more openly than they (after all who gets the most views?).

            The disabling comments thing switches her video from a debate to a lecture and no matter the Liberal nature of the message or even how little comments would achieve for reasoned debate, it still means that her argument is slightly more lecture and slightly less discussion just for her simple greater range of publicity.

          • The Random One says:

            A lecture can still instill discussion. Just not while the lecture is ongoing.

          • iridescence says:

            “The argument that you can just post a blog somewhere to debate her arguments is a fallacy though. She has the budget (and publicity) to make her message shout the loudest by a factor of a thousand,”

            Well unfortunately that is the way society tends to work. Same as if you disagree with a politician or the CEO of EA about something you aren’t going to have nearly equal resources as they do to spread your point of view.

            I still maintain that posting a well thought out blog is a far more constructive way of critiquing her work than posting in Youtube comments where the lowest common denominator always dominates. There is a pretty good discussion going on here on RPS with plenty of people criticizing her work which I guarantee you is of a much higher caliber than any “discussion” that would ever take place in comments on her video on YouTube.

            The notion that she is capable of silencing all dissent just by disabling comments on her video is frankly pretty ridiculous.

            I’d also point out that if she really is deliberately baiting the misogynist gamer crowd to make herself seem more sympathetic, as some people here seem to allege, you’d think she’d leave comments enabled as I’m sure that would give her many more examples of hateful speech to use.

        • Premium User Badge elderman says:

          I think you’ll find RPS is one of the best places on the internet to talk about the content of the video. So don’t rabbit on about the style or complain about what happens on other sites. What factual points do you want to take up?

          She uses examples from popular games to support her case that the damsel in distress trope shows up a lot in games from the 80s and 90s. Are those the facts that you take issue with?

          • Deadly Habit says:

            One issue for example I take issue with that I said in the comments further down on this article is that she’s commenting on games made by Asian developers which is worth noting is a different culture in regards to western views of everything.
            Another, just brushing off Peach being a protagonist in the American version of 2.
            If the video wasn’t clocking in at over 20 minutes I’d bust out the notepad and do some point by point analysis and issues I had with the content and selective research I’d say, but alas I’d rather work on this Arma 2 mission for me and my buds to play later.
            I still might at some point though.

          • Kitsunin says:

            I fail to see how Japanese culture being different makes tropes used there any different. A damsel in distress is a damsel in distress regardless of where she was kidnapped. Just because Japanese culture is different we can’t just look at problematic aspects of it and say “Silly Japan, haha” any more than we can do that with our own culture.
            She wrote off Peach’s appearance in Mario bros. 2 because as she said, it was coincidental. Doki-doki Panic, which they were re-skinning, had four playable characters, and Mario bros. only had four “characters”, so they used them all for the reskin. Now if Peach were playable in the New Super Mario Bros Wii games that would be something to remark upon, since that would have been a purposeful decision.

          • Premium User Badge elderman says:

            “…anyone who tries to refute any of the factual points on this videos gets silenced…”

            “…If the video wasn’t clocking in at over 20 minutes I’d bust out the notepad and do some point by point analysis and issues I had with the content and selective research I’d say, but alas…”

            Well, do you want to talk about it or not?

            I’m not sure it matters what country the games exhibiting the Damsel in Distress trope come from. The point is to look at the games themselves, as pop-culture artefacts, not engage in East vs West sociology.

            Even so, Sarkeesian starts out by tracing the history of the trope in European and American culture, in poetry, pulp literature, cartoons, iconography, and movies. Then she explains, step-by-step, how Miyamoto, as an influential example, adopted American character types and plot outlines. The video makes the case that the trope traveled from Western culture to Japanese made games. So what, in your view, is the significance of the fact that most of the popular, much-imitated games she examines are Japanese made?

            Your second point about Sarkeesian brushing off Princess Peach’s role in Super Mario 2 confuses me. She discusses it for 80 seconds, or more than one twentieth of the total running time of the video. It’s an exception and she explains it. How does that weaken her larger case? That point is that the Damsel in Distress trope is often found in games from the 1980s and 90s, that it’s foundational to story-telling in video games, and that it disempowers female characters when it occurs.

          • Lanfranc says:

            Even if “but they’re a different culture!” were a valid argument, we’re still talking about games that are extremely popular in the West, as well. So that’s neither here nor there.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            So your saying the culture your brought up in has no impact upon what you make creatively and views of the world when it comes to roles of the sexes etc?
            Just because a medium is consumed by another culture, doesn’t mean that the culture of origin didn’t play a big role in it.
            It’s being understanding of other cultures rather than just approaching them from one narrow world view.

            As I said she brushes it off as an exception, even though if you look at some of the other Nintendo franchises at the same time, you have Metroid, which has a female protagonist and is another flagship Nintendo franchise along with Mario and Zelda.
            Most early games rely on shallow tropes of many sorts to seem like some exposition for the gameplay, Nintendo just has made a habit of making them running franchises focusing on innovating gameplay rather than reinventing them.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Err. Nobody said culture doesn’t have an impact on how we perceive things. I’m just looking for a reason that Japanese culture suddenly makes it okay to overuse possibly sexist tropes?

            Metroid was great for its use of a strong female protagonist, and we should certainly thank it for that, but it isn’t relevant to the discussion. Nobody’s saying Nintendo is evil, or even sexist, and so we don’t need to mention the good things they’ve done – we already know they aren’t bad people. What we might be saying, is that its use of gender-role normalizing tropes might be problematic in the way it has impacted our media and in turn the way we view gender.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            I didn’t say it made it okay, but rather that why it’s without a second thought they use them. They have a much different view on gender roles.
            How is Metroid irrelevant to the discussion, one minute it’s about games from the 80s and 90s, focusing mainly on Nintendo, the next it isn’t.
            This is why I call her research and reporting selective. It’s cherry picking.
            It would be a good point counterpoint of saying well we have Peach here as a classic damsel in distress, but also during the same era we have Samus who is a positive example. Both went on to have success and multiple sequels made.

          • Premium User Badge elderman says:

            Samus isn’t an example of the Damsel in Distress trope, so it’s not in the video. A lot of other things aren’t in the video either. Like for instance contrasting examples. Those will come in a future video.

            You have to be selective when you’re making a twenty minute video about a large topic. Cherry picking is a problem when the selection is unrepresentative. After watching the video, I recognise the trope from many games in the 90s. Not from all, but from a lot of them. Don’t you? If so, the selection is representative, and therefore not a problem.

            Equally irrelevant is drawing attention to the uniqueness of Japanese culture. If the Damsel in Distress is a shared trope between Japanese and other cultures, it doesn’t matter to the discussion at hand what other differences there might be. The point is that this pervasive trope depicts female characters using a limited range and in way that disempowers them and helps perpetuate confining cultural norms.

          • Premium User Badge RaveTurned says:

            Deadly Habit: on cherry-picking – don’t forget that what we have here is part one of two videos on the Damsel subject, focusing on it’s extensive use throughout gaming’s history. As mentioned in the video, games where the trope is avoided or subverted will be covered in part two.

            If Metroid isn’t mentioned in the second part, I’ll eat my headgear.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Might be interesting to note that Samus was a man to everyone buying the game new. It was pretty much a big spoiler and a secret that she was a woman. I won’t infer anything beyond that, but it’s interesting to note.

    • Beartastic says:

      TheAmazingAtheist’s arguments are beyond weak.

      1. She should let people voice their opinions, whether they support or criticize her. This assumes a level of discourse where commenters will remain on the video and discuss issues, respond to comments, and hopefully we all will learn and grow as people. This would not happen. There would be a thousand “die cunt” comments. You’re not entitled to an opinion, you are only entitled to what you can defend. Furthermore, Sarkesian has no obligation to provide a podium for anyone.

      2. Re: Simone-d-bongwater. To paraphrase, “She’s insane so who cares what she says.” Also, he never simply calls her Simone, because I assume without saying Bongwater he’s missing a chance to undermine her? We all learned the Ad Hominem fallacy as Internet 101 back in the 90s, right?

      3. “All commenters are equally inane, crazy and trolling.” He only samples those that fit his argument, and even then: who says we should give these people a podium to speak at?

      4. “Sarkesian is now a damsel in distress because she has disabled comments and therefore needs others to come to her defense.” This makes exactly zero sense. Why does she need others to come to her defense? And why is that caused by her removing commenting? He says this twice and it is never explained.

      5. She is not a strong role model because she has disabled comments. Again, zero sense. He hasn’t provided a compelling argument why disabling comments undermines her strength in posting this video and standing up for her beliefs.

      I’d be happy for anyone to discuss this further.

    • Bhazor says:

      “I don’t belittle or silence dissent”
      Spends fully half his video naming and directly insulting or belittling people who dare criticise him.
      Class act.

      • Phantoon says:

        Everyone is a hypocrite! No one is immune! Hurrah! Damnit!

    • tyen says:

      I’m finding it incredible difficult to express exactly how revolted I am by the way that guy talks and acts in that video, and the other videos he has made.
      They’re so biting and self important that I thought they were a joke at first. But they are serious.
      I hope you understand when I say that I really do not like this person.

      Well, at least I have the rest of the Sunday Paper’s articles. I always look forward to reading them. :)

      • disill says:

        The Amazing Asstheist is really not a nice man:

        Trigger Warning for this. Seriously.

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/02/scratch-the-amazing-atheist-off-your-list-too/

        • Premium User Badge Makariel says:

          WTF? o.Oa

          I never heard from that guy and now I’m quite happy to keep it this way…

          • iridescence says:

            The guy is a total asshole. I used to watch some of his videos for some reason and he is just smart enough to fake some semblance of insight occasionally. But after a while you realize he’s just an arrogant fool yelling about everything and trolling to get views. That link just confirms what I had already come to think about him, thanks.

            Don’t give that asshole page-views.

        • Phantoon says:

          The use of the term “trigger warning” here, which is applied to suffers of PTSD having a reaction, bothers me. Not because it’s wrong, but that there are people who have gone through it and haven’t recovered enough to go from victim to survivor. I’m not saying that anyone that goes through it will ever be quite the same. I am certainly saying that mental health is very important, and that it should not be looked as shameful to get help, which it is in some places.

          • Beartastic says:

            This makes exactly zero sense to me.

          • Bhazor says:

            @Phantoon

            You just don’t get it.

          • Phantoon says:

            I suppose in my insomniatic state, it’s hard for me to explain. My friends that have been through it would be made uncomfortable by the words, but would also understand the person in question is a tantrum throwing manchild, and mentally have healed enough to not be triggered by a muck-throwing idiot.

            I am sorry for those who are not, or are not on any path to recovery. I also find that there is anything to shame or cow people from seeking help is unacceptable. I’m not sure how this doesn’t make sense, but I’m also rambling about building skyscrapers out of paper to friends over ventrilo.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            It would trigger a memory of a trigger. Luckily, unmanned drones have no PTSD. No soul. Nothing to be tormented by conscience and recurring horrors of war.

          • Reapy says:

            I think of trigger warning like spoiler alert, but yeah, trigger warning should sort of stick to sites themed around whatever trigger they want readers to avoid. Like, I wouldn’t expect it here, it is out of context, sort of like I wouldn’t expect to have an ending spoilered out unless I was on a themed site for that media.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Christ, why do people have to use atheism as a cover for being an asshole? You can not believe in God without evangelizing your nonbelief and while recognizing that church performs a task of social utility. Sooner or later that’s going to be a big internet fight, reasonable atheists vs. the assholes.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Does he use it for some kind of cover?
            I thought it was just his name. Could even be disingenuous and he just wanted alliteration.

          • Reapy says:

            Seems to me to be an ‘ooooh I am edgyyy it’s in my name’ maneuver. Atheism is one of the more generally despised human traits which makes it a good catalyst. I say this as an atheist myself, I generally keep that belief quiet to avoid odd looks.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Heck, you can even evangelize your nonbelief and deny the church’s social utility without acting like as much of an asshole as this guy.

    • Premium User Badge Makariel says:

      This video is rather silly. He states in the first minute or so that he has nothing to add to the discussion regaring the content of her video. His video should have ended right there.

      If this is his ‘moment of clarity’, I don’t want to see him when he looses his senses lol

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I’ve always found damsel in distress trope disgusting and stupid since I was a kid.

      There are few games utilizing this device that are bearable just for the sake of gameplay. Also they always signal very weak story and superficial game world/lore without substance.

      Also, have you noticed that most of the games mentioned were Japanese ? Could it be that it stems from a strongly patriarchal culture that has no tradition in drama & good storytelling (Homer, Aristotle, Shakespeare)?

      Not to sound racist or something, just you know, Japanese bondage, Geishas, “tea” ceremonies etc.

      • Phantoon says:

        Not to sound racist? That was the entire context of your post. Your entire post was racism. So much of it was racism that the surrounding posts should be scoured for tiny triangular white hoods.

        Please rethink your distaste of the Japanese. They’re a pretty okay people.

        • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

          Especially the “no tradition of drama or good storytelling” part. That is an absolutely ignorant statement.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Well there are great theatrical art forms (?) however not a long tradition of drama and dramatic storytelling focused on developing the plot and characters – mostly it was rather descriptive.

          • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

            First thing: You ignore most of what lies beyond No or Kabuki, and concentrate on modern pop culture besides that. That only tackles the surface of the cultural tradition, where the travel diary format, and later the yomihon, were of fundamental importance to the formation of Japanese literary culture. I encourage you to dig deeper, so not to sum up the entirety of a cultural heritage in two broadly picked styles of theatre and modern consumerist tendencies.

            Second, there’s a bit of a flawed thought here, one that is rather too common on the web and probably in general, which I shall showcase thusly: Do you think that in fifty years of time, people will still remember Jedward, Chris Brown, or Honey Boo Boo Child? What about 200 years? A millennium?

          • Ultra Superior says:

            I honestly think Honey Boo Boo will be remembered, it’s a brand new genre and quite a controversial phenomenon so it will most likely be recorded in the annals of history.

            @RedViv: would you recommend me a good Japanese drama (contemporary please) to watch? or a videogame with really good story? (Not Bayonetta, DMC or Demon Souls please.)

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Remembered? I’ve never even heard of Honey Boo Boo… unless it’s that song Winnie The Pooh sings when he’s stuck in the tree.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Ultra, what do you mean by contemporary?
            Grave of Fireflies is probably the best modern Japanese drama I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what contemporary means. It’s from the 80′s if that will suffice.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Oh yes, I love Grave of the fireflies! I’ve cried my eyes out. Powerful, emotional and atmospheric. It is also a “witness record” about innocence vs. war –

            I’d be very interested in a entertainment fiction – with… good story! Interesting plot twists, believable and likeable characters, action : something that makes sense.

          • Nick says:

            Noh tradition =(

        • Ultra Superior says:

          I love Japanese culture, I’ve visited Japan, I think Japan is unique and fascinating country and also a very sexist society. And I have to admit majority of Japanese popculture doesn’t click with me in terms of “quality of the story”, usually. EXCUSE MY GENERALISATIONS PLEASE There are numerous exceptions!

          • Bhazor says:

            “Hey I’m not racist, I’ve got slanty eyed friends!”

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Good for you, go say KONICHIWA to them in a squeaky voice!

          • The Random One says:

            poor racist doesn’t know what quotation marks mean :-(

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Good ol’ Bhazor knows them, he just uses them poorly.

          • gritz says:

            Akira Kurosawa? Haruki Murakami? The Tale of Genji?

            I mean, I have only cursory knowledge of Japanese culture and even I can name a few touchstone examples of Japanese storytelling that emphasizes plot and characterization.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            I could come up with more. Yet speaking of authors you’ve mentioned, -drama- definitely isn’t their first strength. Besides there is around 2000 anime movies produced every year in Japan and 99% have crap story. How do I know? Well, I haven’t seen them all – I’m just judging by those I have seen. And I’ve been trying to pursue the very best.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          It wasn’t racist, just ignorant.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Thank you. Wait a moment…. No seriously, it’s written in a very racist fashion.

            However good drama is rare in western civ and even more rare in eastern.

            And sexism is omnipresent, however it has been very strong particularly in Japan.

            Also, eels.

      • Lanfranc says:

        Here’s an easy test to keep in mind: If you ever have to use the phrase “Not to sound racist, but…”, whatever you’re going to say will probaby be racist.

      • Premium User Badge elderman says:

        This Tropes vs Women in Video Games entry explicitly draws the link between Western culture and the Miyamoto games. I’m re-articulating something I’ve written above. Ms Sarkeesian shows how the trope has roots in ancient greek myths, Medieval romances, 20th century cinema, cartoons, genre fiction, etc. She then directly traces how Miyamoto adopted this trope in his games when he copied American settings and characters.

        I think she actually misses a trick by not tracing the lineage through 19th century melodramas which inform so much 20th century pop culture.

        Anyway, I don’t know Japanese culture well, but there’s no way to claim this isn’t a Western trope as well as a Japanese one.

        • Ultra Superior says:

          Oh it sure is a western trope. The key word is ADOPTED. Which is what I had in mind, that it is one trope that’s convenient to adopt in a rather sexist society with low standards of dramatic plots.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            The problem is that she’s saying:

            a) All forms of literature throughout history have contained these tropes

            and then following it up with:

            b) Video games should be the one genre of writing which completely re-forms the entirety of media.

            The first of these things was and is true. The second of these things, the raison d’etre for her video series, is laughable at best.

            If she wants better games, she should write them. There are female writers and designers in the games industry – they’re the ones who stopped bitching about how “hard it is to make it” in the industry as a woman and actually did some damn work.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            This reminds me of the wonderful twist at the end of DX: HR where the “damsel in distress” is revealed as a heartless, career-driven author of the gray plague. That was brilliant and I think there was a female in charge of the writers on DX:HR.

          • Randomer says:

            RvLeshrac: She could go write her own video game. Or she could do what she does best and draw attention to lazy tropes and boring plot devices. Writers of video games can then watch these videos and learn from them, and the next time they are developing a storyline they can say, “Hmm, maybe we can come up with something better.”

          • Premium User Badge elderman says:

            “a) All forms of literature throughout history have contained these tropes…

            “The first of these things was and is true.”

            You mischaracterise Ms Sarkeesian in every detail.

            That’s not at all what she says and I’d have to be convinced that it’s true. I doubt it is. She asserts more narrowly that the Damsel in Distress trope has a long history going back to ancient Greek myth, that it also exists in contemporary computer games, and that it’s a wide-spread, reductive, and harmful pattern in the way games are plotted.

            Then, yes, she dares to hope for change because “there’s nothing stopping developers from evolving their gender representations and making more women heros in their future games.” That’s not an impossibly revolutionary break with the past. It’s a pretty modest hope.

      • bill says:

        Traditional Japanese culture has some pretty awesome classic stories. We aren’t usually aware of them as we grow up learning mainly classical Greek culture. Which they in turn are unaware of.

        Modern Japanese literature and film also contains some pretty awesome and original storytelling. There are some amazing Japanese mystery and sci-fi writers.

        The problem is that Japanese pop culture (and therefore video games and western exposure to Japanese culture) is dominated by banal lightweight stereotypical misogynistic rubbish. There is some good stuff in there, but it’s buried.

        I’m wracking my brains to think of a single Japanese character that could be compared to someone like Buffy in terms of being a strong empowered realistic female. Ghibli movies have a couple I guess…

    • Lemming says:

      I gave up on her video after the Starfox Adventures part because of the ill-researched nature of it. She talks to camera like she’s reading a college essay, and the content doesn’t help that feeling.

      Apparently a studio deciding to go with a known IP over a new one to boost sales and awareness = sexism.

      Feminism can do better, frankly.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Scores of feminists shall be lining up to accuse you of misogyny for pointing out flaws in her presentation and argument.

      • Premium User Badge RaveTurned says:

        The studio could have made the game part of the Starfox series by simply giving the option to play as Crystal *or* Starfox. Or if they studio decided the player had to be Starfox, they could have given Crystal some other active role in the plot (helping with missions etc), have them work together to save the day and defeat the big bad.

        Instead they relegated the strong female lead character to a completely passive Damsel role to act as the victory trophy for the new male protagonist, presumably because they thought that angle would be more appealing to the intended audience. Do you see the sexism there yet?

        • Ultra Superior says:

          exactly, also, why wasn’t starfox imprisoned in the crystal ?

          Or, why wasn’t there simply a cake at the end, or at least a promise of a cake.

          • Wedge says:

            Starfox is not a character. Fox McCloud is. Also Crystal joins the Star Fox crew as a fellow pilot in the sequels. And then in Rare’s functional sequel to the game, Kameo, you play a princess out to rescue her family and kingdom from a jealous sister. And then of course Rare made Perfect Dark, where you play a female constantly bailing out and rescuing a cast of males (her boss, her co-worker, the president, an alien and his civilization). And the antagonist is a female CEO.

            So basically I can’t remember what the point of this series is.

      • alex_v says:

        To be fair to her she doesn’t make such a simplistic statement. The video is full of very similar examples.

    • GrassyGnoll says:

      ok, this reply button is doing weirdness.

      choconutjoe said

      re: Sarkesian. The Amazing Atheist had a rare moment of clarity on the subject:

      I reply

      Interesting how his argument is that Anita’s disabling the comments stops any discussion on the subjects raised in her video. He also does not actually discuss the content of the video, which he is evidently capable of doing and free to do, but how he is strangely unable discuss this without Anita allowing it on YouTube. The internet sometimes amazes me, it’s such a shame this man has no voice.

      • bleeters says:

        Yes, his inability to discuss her video is clearly evident in the video response he creates to discuss her video. Which he then utterly squanders by never actually addressing any of the points she makes.

        Interesting moment of clarity.

        • dftaylor says:

          From what I remember watching his video last night, he agreed with much of what she said. He merely wanted to point out the double-standard of Anita not allowing comments because of the unpleasant nature of men, when he had her supporters on his Tumblr saying some pretty grotesque things.

          • GrassyGnoll says:

            I think my problem with his YouTube post is his complaint of Anita Saarkesian “shutting down avenues of discussion” . So he wastes this whole 9 minutes to complain that he’s not allowed to discuss the issues he so wants to discuss but is being stopped from doing. It’s an incredibly weak argument, especially due to the fact that the argument is being conducted in the very space and method that undermines his point.

            He should get a banana for weakest internet argument ever.

    • harbinger says:

      I also enjoyed this female game developers take on all of this and debunking of almost all her points, if not the entire premise she has based this “web series” on:
      https://dl.dropbox.com/u/24848045/neogaf.png

      This was also interesting, coming from a standpoint of taking what she says at face value, but coming to different realizations and conclusions despite of that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxVtLGJFaVk

      On his video he also notes (as opposed to Sarkeesians approach): “UPDATE: I have noticed that a lot of comments that disagree with my video are being mass-flagged for spam. Do not do this, please. I appreciate any and all forms of criticism and opposing views and feel that everyone’s opinions should be allowed to be voiced without being censored. I do, however, encourage people who disagree with other peoples’ opinions to discuss them.

      One of the reasons why I made this channel is to let everyone voice their concerns without being censored.”

      I especially love one of the top rated comments: “How on earth did you make this video without $150,000 worth of backing?”

      Although I agree with the first argument more, that coming from a point of believing superficial analysis of “tropes” tells us something important is rather presumptuous and using this kind of reasoning is absurd.

      • choconutjoe says:

        That first link made for interesting reading. Thanks for that.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Those are indeed some very good links. I think the video provides a very thought provoking alternative, but not incompatible (In my opinion) point of view to consider.

        I do disagree with that post on a number of counts though. I think that taking note of tropes which take advantage of gender roles is a worthwhile thing to do, as they present us with easily identifiable, repetitively used examples of the things we might find problems with. Also, while the person who writes about social issues themselves truly does not fix these social issues directly, that person might be the one who paves the path for such things to become fixed in time: Sarkeesian isn’t ‘fixing’ these problems by making these videos…but what if an aspiring writer sees her videos, and so decides to carefully think about the roles of gender when he writes? Now that would make a difference.

        I think that perhaps too many people think that Sarkeesian is “Attacking” these tropes, and saying they’re a bad thing, and shame on the people who are using them. It’s a numbers game, and I at least, am taking this as saying “Look at how frequently these are used, doesn’t this trend seem off? If things were truly the way they should be, wouldn’t we see a 50/50 split between male and female protagonists, for instance?”

        Also, she only asked for $6,000, which isn’t AT ALL unreasonable.

      • Lemming says:

        Really interesting, thank you.

      • molten_tofu says:

        Tropes are a dangerous and detrimental analytical tool because they force us into categorical thinking (thus reducing our state of play with them, making us at best static and at worst nostalgic), but also inconsequential because everyone can easily identify them (e.g., everyone *knows* it’s a damsel / hero set up in Mario).

        Which is it???

        Since the neogaf post brought up Foucault and post-structuralism, I think it’s worth pointing out a couple additional things:

        — Context is important. The broader social usefulness of tropes as a concept may be *quite* different from the academic one. Academic purity of terms and concepts is not required for positive social change (just ask the people who rebranded “global warming” to “climate change”; also the reason I have no idea why protesting or shame is effective).

        — A cool thing Foucault gave us (well he gets credit at least) was a way of thinking differently – the geneaology. This is the technique Foucault tried to use when writing history to avoid the urge to fall back on transcendental things such as “the middle ages were a dark time” (something the neogaf author rightly points out is bad form). He also had this cool idea about archeaology of concepts, where-in like real archeology people studying ideas find concrete moments and observe them, again careful not to imbue them with too much inductive meaning.

        Anita’s subject (and oppositionally, object) oriented discussion (classic post-structural rhetoric, yum!), combined with her intensely archeological approach (she even drew criticism for this in the form of “OMGZ she bought all those gamez with my money!!!!!”) really got me going. In a purely intellectual way, of course.

        I also appreciate the meta-irony of someone name-dropping Foucault while working through an argument in which name-dropping Foucault is indicted as a prime example of rhetorical cover for an over-reductive argument. But ultimately, I don’t think that neogaf post has much on offer in terms of legitimate criticism.

    • nameless says:

      I like how the guy argues that her closing the comments shuts down any public discussion, then proceeds to discuss this fact publicly. That wasn’t hard now, was it?

    • jaypettitt says:

      I’m with Anil Dash – ‘if your website (or youtube channel) is full of assholes, it’s your fault’. Anita Sarkeesian’s video page isn’t, that’s because she’s taken responsibility for it and made a proactive choice. Amazing Atheists criticism is ample evidence that criticism isn’t being unfairly silenced by megalomaniac feminists.

  3. Ianuarius says:

    Terran would win because of Hell Bat.

    • Phantoon says:

      The comments are right- the study is bigoted against non-humans.

      I’m fine with this. Humanity is the best species.

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      Terran are the new Zerg

    • Jade Raven says:

      Ha! I knew it. Terrans have always had a slight biased advantage. Damn them! This is just going to make it sweeter every time a Protoss or Zerg player beats them.

      *Yes I realise how ironic it is that I have a Terran unit as my avatar.

  4. karry says:

    Huh, indiestatik for once did something decent. Good job. Though it still puzzles me how something like TOME managed to win Roguelike of the year, again.

  5. Premium User Badge Shockeh says:

    The Tropes vs Women article is absolute comment-bait (as I’m proving, damnit) by the author though. It’s portrayed a lot of the time with a sort of ‘siege’ tone, like women are under some kind of assault they need to defend themselves against purely not to raise awareness of the issues in games (though they do clearly exist) but to generate clicks.

    Is it a topic that should be examined? Sure. Does the article raise some valid arguments? Absolutely. Does it contain some utterly accurate critique? Yep. But it’s still doing it at points in a Daily Mail ‘Immigrants are taking YOUR jobs’ way, and that’s obnoxious, and some (yes, some, thanks in advance to the commenter who thinks ‘some’ is an absolute) of the abuse it’s earned is totally deserved.

    • Trithne says:

      Certainly. But the important thing is to attack the argument, not the person making it.

      If anything, the people who attacked Anita herself, and not the arguments that she was making, are just making her a martyr for her cause. She gains publicity, and public sympathy, and people are going to be less critical of her arguments since the image of the opposition to them is so tarnished.

      • Mathute87 says:

        ^

      • Phantoon says:

        Those people are idiots.

        A better thing to look at is her character trope list thing- how can you make ANY character that would satisfy her? Plus, she doesn’t really go into depth on anything- she just mentions a thing, and then moves on.

        For all this money, I was expecting some action movie scenes or something.

        • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

          How? By simply not relying on mostly single-trope motivated characters, I would assume. Not that all tropes are bad, but the biggest part of her previous critique relies on, again and again, showing how lazy writers can get with their female characters, and how even seemingly innocent stereotypes can ruin stories.
          I certainly don’t agree with everything she has to say on every trope she ever examined, but the general point is absolutely agreeable: Don’t be lazy.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            The use of “lazy” tropes to portray female characters is merely a symptom of the problem. If we tackle symptoms, we will be fighting the problem forever. We need to look at the cause. What is the cause of “lazy” tropes for female characters – these tropes appeal to the target audience, which is white working and middle class men.

            If we want to change the writing in games, we need to make sure that the people who are buying games are more diverse than they currently are. Sadly that will not come from the creators themselves – they have certain responsibilities to the business owners and to the staff. There are not many studios out there which can guarantee their next game will earn enough to keep the studio open if they choose not to target gamings biggest demographic specifically (but those studios’ who can, the Valves and the Maxis’ of this world, do make a more inclusive gaming experience).

            So the answer is to surely be more inclusive in our industry as fans. Let’s not fall back on the stereotype that “girls just don’t like games” but instead get the word out that there are thousands of games out there which aren’t pure testosterone fantasy. Which is something RPS does on a daily basis!

          • Phantoon says:

            I think you’re missing a crucial irony here- Most games writing is bad, even before gender politics was introduced into it. Focusing on making female characters better written won’t change a thing when bad writers continue to write badly.

          • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

            @Sheng-ji
            I very much agree. It’s a cycle that should be broken.

            Come to think of it… Myself being driven away from comics in the 90s under very similar circumstances, and getting back into them around 2005, shows that such a thing is possible. Not that comics these days are perfect, but there is far more grand stuff going on, and the era of hugely explosive shocking rad awesome and oh so bloody lazy writing seems to really be over. With a few aftershocks here and there, certainly. But if even Image Comics realised that sensible female characters and good art and narrative are a thing – I think I have reason to be optimistic.

            @Phantoon
            Hey, I’ll take “written mediocrely” over “brushed over with a drop of [trope] paint” any minute. Given the success of Bioware games, I don’t think I’m alone there.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            @Redviv Bioware have gone massively downhill with their writing, for example they may have LBGT styled romances, but they come off as completely shallow with no grounding in real life.
            A couple casual conversations and then some meaningless embarrassing sex scene without any further exposition. As a matter of fact most of their modern titles feel more akin to a choose your own adventure novel rather than a well written story.

          • Phantoon says:

            Jade Empire had those sorts of romances well before Bioware was bought by EA.

            They were also far less hamfisted. It’s the writing that’s the issue. Anything after that, social justice wise, is incidental. The writing is just plain bad, no matter the issue.

            Now, anyways. It was certainly a decline.

        • bladedsmoke says:

          Didn’t she literally give an example of a character who would have satisfied her? i.e. Krystal? The one whose game was changed to star a male protagonist instead?

          • RvLeshrac says:

            I’d like to see the game on which she based this opinion.

            Also, she’d perhaps do better to stop citing games released 20 or 30 years ago, and the sequels to those games.

            She can mention ‘reboots’ of a particular series, since those are assumed to be a blank slate, without the baggage of the original series, but fucking *Mario*? The first Mario game was simply a platformer with no real storyline to speak of. The Princess could just as well have been a magical doughnut for all the difference it would have made to the game. But children, the people for whom the original game was designed, like princesses.

            Show of hands: Who plays a Mario game for the engrossing story and rich characters?

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Someone should mention the Bechdel test. So there.

          (In fact, I think the fact that no one has mentioned it yet says a lot about the kind of discourse we’re having about this.)

      • Premium User Badge Shockeh says:

        For me personally; If your chosen martyr is at best an idiot, or at worst cynically using your cause to generate PR, I for one am going to be less inclined to support your cause.

        I’d like to think someone more logically minded would take up the mantle and say ‘How about we champion this in an objective way’, but I have a feeling this won’t happen really because the more logically minded simply don’t give a toss about the issues described (On the grounds that ‘Who gives a monkeys what games do to portray anyone anyway?’) but the issue is that assumes everyone else is thinking in the same way – The world has got a lot of naive and/or idiots available to take those portrayals as gospel.

        Given the above probably won’t happen, then this particular little demagogue can swing in the wind for all I care. :) (Smiley placed with absolute intent!)

        • JehuGarroutte says:

          That you find “treating women like real people” to be a “cause” is staggeringly disappointing. That you consider your perception of one person grounds enough to dismiss the whole idea is abhorrent.

          The reticence of people to even CONSIDER the merit of an issue never ceases to bum me the hell out.

          • Premium User Badge Shockeh says:

            Congratulations on being the polarising element I described, I guess?

            1. It is a cause. It’s something that someone wants (justifiably, imo) that does not exist. That makes it a cause pretty much by definition.

            2. I didn’t dismiss it at all, you’re being THAT guy/girl. Sorry. In fact, now I think about it I specifically stated it DOES have merits, arguments and is worth debating. The more I consider it, the more I’m coming to the conclusion you’re making an intentional troll.

          • JehuGarroutte says:

            Dude, saying “I for one am going to be less inclined to support your cause” sounds an awful lot like being dismissive based off your perceptions of a person.

          • Phantoon says:

            Not that it applies here, but if someone comes up to me and starts the conversation by calling me a woman hater, I’m not going to find any agreement with them.

            Again, doesn’t apply here. But keep the level of rhetoric in mind.

        • The Random One says:

          “For me personally, it’s important that I don’t come across as a mysoginist, but I still want a way to dismiss this discussion without having to actively engage with it. I have some questionable claims about the person who is currently shouting louder, so I’ll assume she represents all that your idea encapsulates and dismiss it entirely. Phew, good thing I found an excuse!”

          • KikiJiki says:

            Your willingness to approach people with conflicting views about the topic of discussion and the manner in which sides of it are presented without prejudice or condescension has truly marked you out as a great and noble individual. I and I’m sure all others aspire to discuss sensitive issues in such sensitive terms.

            …Or it could be that instead of trying to engage someone in rational discourse, your posts like so many other voices here are just drowning in self-righteousness, and the condescending manner in which you talk down to anyone with an adversarial viewpoint does more harm to the cause you claim to support than any LOL WOMAN GET TO KITCHEN ever will do.

            At this point I personally couldn’t give a toss about ‘women’s rights in video games’. It’s an agenda and those it affects should be able to pursue it to its conclusion, whatever that my be, without the white knights of the gaming press feeling that they need to rescue them from the evils of actually writing critiques and challenging opinions themselves. It’s grown tiresome.

          • molten_tofu says:

            I thought it was kinda funny and on point, but I guess that makes me a bad person.

    • honuk says:

      The abuse is not earned. It is criticism that is earned, which is what civil and reasonably intelligent people attempt to partake in in order to better themselves.

      Which does not happen on the internet. Including here. And including her. Certainly I would have loved for a group of people to have given me 150k to produce analysis on level with high school honors classes. But the kickstarter was never about the project, it was about the donors feeling better about themselves in the face of the idiotic criticism.

      • Premium User Badge Shockeh says:

        Note I specifically aimed the abuse at the article (it’s, rather than ‘her’), rather then the author. Although if she’s going to be the one who pens inflammatory gumpf under the guise of objective reporting, I probably wouldn’t mind a little criticism going her way, too.

      • Phantoon says:

        Isn’t that what charity is? To make yourself feel better by giving money to those in need?

        I literally cannot turn down someone asking me for help on the street, unless they want something ridiculous. At the very least, I listen.

        • honuk says:

          1) No, that’s not charity. It’s narcissism.

          2) She was not running a charity. She’s not a homeless person, she’s not In A Bad Spot. She was asking for money to fund a project, which would then be delivered to those who had essentially purchased it.

          She’s smart. She knew–and knows–that the project is not at all the point, that simply by [i]declaring[/i] a “stance” against misogyny in an environment rooted in money, that she would receive money. As the ideology is politically charged, or however you want to phrase it, it was essentially guaranteed to draw out the ideologues. She made her money by drawing the familiar line and allowing people to line up on either side of it. This video is nothing, it is as basic and empty as it could possibly be. But the video is irrelevant, because despite all protestations to the contrary, no one involved is interested in learning or affecting anything. This is the world we live in. It is how we are conditioned to behave.

          There are plenty of people who do real work along these lines. You won’t find them on kickstarter.

          Hell, she didn’t even bother to do her “research” in the incredibly tiny, borderline irrelevant, and and indescribably easy to approach niche of Mario-’n-Zelda: Princess Peach has in fact starred in her own game, and Super Princess Peach was essentially made and gift wrapped in order to appear in these videos. I guess that would have taken an arduous trip to wikipedia to discover, however. So far from TVtropes.

          • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

            Hell, she didn’t even bother to do her “research” in the incredibly tiny, borderline irrelevant, and and indescribably easy to approach niche of Mario-’n-Zelda: Princess Peach has in fact starred in her own game, and Super Princess Peach was essentially made and gift wrapped in order to appear in these videos.

            So… You didn’t watch the video? The one up there? In which she mentions that very game, and says she will return to that later?

          • honuk says:

            I read the transcript. Super Princess Peach was perhaps referenced indirectly, and never discussed. Granted, it may very well end up in “part 2″ of this series, but given how content light part 1 happens to be, and how the Nintendo Princess is the central figure, one might imagine the game would find a place here.

          • Phantoon says:

            Not fair. Also, Super Princess Peach involved her crying on things. It’s hardly a good example of strong female character. For a better look at Peach, look at Smash Bros.

          • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

            Ah, that explains that then.
            She is the star of only one adventure and we will get to that a little later. is accompanied by the ditzy Peach portrait from the game’s cover. So, yeah, that game might be torn apart later.

          • Phantoon says:

            I operate on the idea that the word “selfish” isn’t colorful enough, and that all actions we take are selfish in one way or another. Specifically, I believe life is the pursuit of love. Why do I wish to shoot this man? He is undeserving of love. Why do I wish to date that person? I wish to have their love. I must protect these children, I love them. Our enemies are monsters, because they do not love! Animals that are not pets are not important, they can not love. Et cetera.

          • molten_tofu says:

            Actually I was quite interested to learn as I’d never played Zelda, and am too young to really have fully grasped the first era of console games. I’m also looking forward to affecting things by abstaining from Nintendo products, as it seems pretty obvious that they overall don’t really care about the things I care about.

            Bummer about all those fair-minded and egalitarian people who work at Nintendo who weren’t able to affect game design enough – over the last *cough* 25 years – to affect me back into thinking about buying their stuff.

            Ah, the free market is fickle.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Pretty much agree with the sentiment that the idea is fine, the execution is a bit “unappealing”.

      I’ve tried watching the video, but the general tone (how could they possibly be this sexist!), the blinking, and the whole “talking head” thing (rather than show the games/infographics) is just off-putting as it would be with any other video.

      I’ve tried looking up “intelligent” discussion on the video itself, where most discussions are being locked or flooded with people rehashing the original arguments against her in general (e.g. she’s preaching to the choir, her previous videos were free, her content is easily researched by reading tvtropes)… the only thing I’ve seen so far is:
      http://taabm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/damsel-in-distress-part-1-analysis-and.html

      I wouldn’t mind a straight transcript so I could avoid watching the way it’s presented.

      • Premium User Badge elderman says:

        Sure, you can check out the transcript on her site.

        You’ll miss the video clips from games that way. The argument stripped of the many examples she flashes on screen will be less informative. It’s fascinating to see these examples of the tropes strung together one after another. That visual message brings home the point of how pervasive this trope is.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          Luckily I’m fairly aware of video games so I can probably fill in the visual hints.

        • Phantoon says:

          Hnnnnnnngh! I hate it when people misuse apostrophes. Why did everyone forget when to use the damned thing!?

          “media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects.” NO! THE APOSTROPHE DOES NOT BELONG THERE! STOP IT! HOW CAN YOU KNOW THE WORD PERNICIOUS AND NOT KNOW THIS?!

          THE ENTIRE DEBATE NO LONGER MATTERS TO ME! I WANT ANSWERS!

          • DXN says:

            Why did everyone forget when to use the damned thing!?

            Because the natural process of language evolution eroded it due to its lack of usefulness.

          • AngoraFish says:

            @ DXN I would have some sympathy for this view if the dominant form of misuse was to drop redundant apostrophes from the language rather than inexplicably adding unnecessary new ones.

      • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

        I read the transcript and there is no way I could have stomached 22 minutes of that tone, warranted or not.

        You might as well complain about the Monomyth for its sheer use in culture through history. Pointing something horribly culturally ingrained is pervasive in culture seems like an obvious waste of time.

        • bladedsmoke says:

          The Monomyth is not as culturally ingrained as you might think. Cultures have changed and differed a lot throughout history. Just because something is culturally ingrained *now* doesn’t mean that this can’t be changed by the exact kind of self-analysis that Sarkeesian is encouraging.

        • DXN says:

          You might as well complain about the Monomyth for its sheer use in culture through history.

          One is a general mythical structure, the other is a specific trope which contributes to the marginalisation of half the population. Even if they were equivalent, making a video about one doesn’t preclude talking about the other.

          Pointing something horribly culturally ingrained is pervasive in culture seems like an obvious waste of time.

          If it was so obvious, there wouldn’t be so many people denying it. Also, if it was so obvious, it would be easier to avoid and wouldn’t be so horribly pervasive.

        • gritz says:

          Except that the Monomyth, to the best of my knowledge, isn’t being used to culturally shoehorn half of the world’s population into objectification.

    • C0llic says:

      It was a good video but hardly insightful. I doubt there are many people who haven’t noticed these obvious trends. Aside from teaching some feminist buzzwords, I don’t think the video really offered much.

      Hopefully she manages to actually make some original or interesting points in the other videos, although the fact the follow up is damsels in distress part two doesn’t fill with me with hope. That video could have been half as long instead of labouring the same point.

      I don’t think the video is at all deserving of abuse, I just think the content is pretty redundant, especially for the target audience.

      • Premium User Badge Matt_W says:

        Please point out to me someone else who is performing this analysis for video games as a whole. I agree that this her critique is basically Feminism 101, and doesn’t have much nuance, but it’s not like she’s placing her contribution in the context of a large body of feminist criticism of video games, offering subtle modifications of an existing critical framework. She’s it. Unless you have a source for someone else doing this. I mean, sites like RPS and offer pointed critiques of specific games, but no one, as far as I know, has gone back through video game history to identify the origin of these tropes, discuss how they fit into popular culture, track their evolution through time, and understand the reasons for their existence and persistence. I submit that this criticism is long overdue, and thank science that it’s a video game lover doing it.

        • The Random One says:

          Actually, there’s a lot of feminist discussion of videogames; it’s just that hers is the only video series, and the rest are mostly shy tumblrs or Borderhouse series.

          • Premium User Badge Matt_W says:

            Why thank you! I’ve now added the Border House to my news feed; never seen it before. I wouldn’t mind seeing a link for the tumblr you mentioned as well.

  6. cliffski says:

    That video is indeed excellent. How depressing that it has to have comments and ratings disabled to avoid jerks. This is 2013, have gamers not evolved even slightly beyond sexist abuse? grrr.

    • Phantoon says:

      Depends on what you define as “sexist abuse”- when the rhetoric is amped up so high that the insane minority of Tumblr gets a say, who say such charming things as “all men should be extirminated” -sic, then everything is sexist abuse.

      Not to say there aren’t plenty of troglodytes with opinions mashing the keys. But since they’ve been presented as the only people interested in the discussion that doesn’t agree wholeheartedly (and I still can’t tell you WHAT Anita actually wants), there’s no space for discussion, therefore no learning will take place.

    • FreudianTrip says:

      Who the fuck would want to read YouTube comments anyway? It would just be, Illuminiati, Insults and “Thumbs Up If You’re Not Beating Women in 2013″

      95% of Comments threadsfrom Youtube to The Guardian to pretty much anywhere is an absolute hellhole.

      • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

        I agree. Youtube comments are such a ridiculous over-the-top pointless smorgasbord of spam, trolling and wild-west “say random insults because I can” nonsense – it’s not even worth registering their existence. I rarely ever scroll down below a video when using that site.

        You need to look at more structured discussion boards/websites where the members have a little bit more invested in that particular place to start analysing passive/casual sexism and so on. That’s when you start to see ingrained beliefs that people have and how strongly they clearly feel about them.

        But crying over YT comments almost seems a waste of effort.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        I’ll just put throw this out here: http://www.tannr.com/herp-derp-youtube-comments/

        It’s a godsend for those who value their sanity when visiting YouTube.

    • Godwhacker says:

      I thought it was a decent effort. It was certainly well informed, and she made her case well- there are rather a lot of kidnapped women in games- and it is always the women and the montage near the middle highlighted that. rather neatly.

      One of the main drawbacks was that the whole ‘damsel in distress” thing doesn’t happen as often these days. There’s plenty of modern sexist tropes in games, so why criticise something that went out of fashion in the 90s? Another point she made was that the kidnapped women never escape, yet whenever the player is captured they always can- thus highlighting the difference in strength and intellect between the genders. I don’t think there’s any misogyny behind that, I think it’s more that the game would completely suck your player couldn’t escape, or the Princess stopped being kidnapped shortly after the intro.

      Also, acknowledging some exceptions would have been nice. Shadow of the Colossus wasn’t mentioned- a damsel in distress, a hero out to rescue her, but you would be hard pressed to call the result misogynistic.

      Still, I’m glad I put the money in, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

      • Untruth says:

        She mentions at the end that this was a retro-look at games, and the next episode will be about modern interpretations of the trope.

        • Phantoon says:

          Is it fair to apply modern standards to outdated things? I suppose if this is laying the groundwork for talking about how things have improved in the next video, it’d make more sense. But people like to smooth over those inconvenient elements of the past because “things were different”, and “that’s how things were”. Then they also tell us how things were better back then too? Anyways, I don’t know. Seems like main gender character should be decided by coin flip at this point.

          • Untruth says:

            Most of the Fem Freq videos start with history, and move to present day, I suppose like most lectures. I think it’s important to demonstrate why we are where we are. I think a misconception is that it is just ‘marketing’ that makes this stuff happen these days; it is a deeply embedded behaviour (hence, trope).

            Miyamoto as an excellent example demonstrates that essentially sometimes it is ‘just’ an old guy recycling the same old stuff over and over again, which eventually becomes damaging in it’s own right in the present day. You wouldn’t see that without a retrospective. That’s why, I think, history is important.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        It would also be worth nothing that these are games from Asian developers, which in itself has a very different culture than traditional the traditional western view on things.

        • InternetBatman says:

          That doesn’t mean that the idea is less damaging. Asian cultures can have flaws too.

    • sophof says:

      There is no such thing as the ‘gamer’, pretty much every man below the age of 40 or so ‘games’. In addition, many women game, maybe even more depending on what you define as a game and ‘gaming’. The definition of gamer is so big that it is useless.

      Now extend that point to this navel-staring on games and sexism. Where do you think the actual problem lies, in the medium or the people?

      Art reflects our culture, it doesn’t cause it.

  7. N'Al says:

    Judas Priest are awesome. That is all.

    • The Random One says:

      I believe the comments to that video are also somewhat pertinent to a related topic of discussion.

  8. NathanH says:

    The article on review scores is silly. Apparently review scores are bad because they don’t average at 5. Why should they? There’s no reason why something on a scale of 0-10 has to average at 5.

    Arguing in favour of removing review scores on the grounds that some people who don’t know how video game reviews work might get confused is ridiculous. These people have plenty of options: they can read the site’s review score policy, they can look at the past review scores of games to get a feel for the site’s scores, you can look on Metacritic which explains that 70ish is an average score, you can ask a gamer friend to explain what review scores mean. That just isn’t justification for wanting to remove review scores! Weak argument.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      My take on it is that review scores should average at less than 5. 3 Maybe. The reason is that games are for the most part good. Most gamers cannot afford to buy every good game out there, so they need a scale which is more sensitive at distinguishing between good games than between bad games. If the average game was rated at 3/10, that gives a whole range of scores to apply to the great to excellent games.

      Sadly because money and social perception, that will never happen, so that’s one of many reasons why I believe RPS’s approach is far superior.

    • Phantoon says:

      “look at Metacritic”

      No. Never.

      The problem with the system is that it tries to apply incredibly subjective, nebulous math to art. What rating would Monet’s “Haystacks” get? It’s the same problem. Art requires critics, which is why videogame journalists exist. It’s not like EA can’t do its own press releases, as they already do. The medium is expressed in all forms as art, despite there being so much quibbling about if it is art or not, which is irrelevant to all but those that want to say they are art critics while writing about videogames.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Controversy as the latest da Vinci is only rated an 8. Publication that rated it a 6 is blacklisted from all future gallery events. Wide indignation and accusations of corruption as Art informer rates it a 10 despite it’s obvious flaws (Her smile is crooked for goodness sake, how can that get a 10!).

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      I agree. Review scores are absolutely fine. As long as a particular score system is understood.

      The problem is metacritic assumes every publication views scores the same. The fact one place might view a 7 as a pretty good game and another place effectively views a 7 as a disappointment gets lost in the process.

      Metacritic is fundamentally flawed. But I don’t pay any attention to it myself anyway.

      • NathanH says:

        Of course Metacritic is nowhere near perfect but it is a useful tool for the discerning reader. If you know a little about the background of a particular game (whether it’s an AAA shooter, a complicated strategy game, and so on) you can make some reasonable conclusions. For instance an AAA shooter that averages around 75 is probably something to be suspicious of. A grand strategy game hitting the low 80s is probably something to take note of.

      • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

        Edge magazine rates from 1-10 with 5 being an average game. 10′s are only for very exceptional games & even 9′s aren’t bandied around the way places like IGN or similar sites/publications do. Using this data in metacritic where most of Edge’s contemporaries use 7 to mean average is going to skew the data.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The main issue for me, and the reason why I wanted to lose scores when we founded RPS, is that discussion dwells on scores. Discussions over whether a number is appropriate to the game, or whether the number matches the words, or what that number “really” means. And that’s just so boring. So deeply, mind-gougingly boring. Better to dispense with it entirely and have people actually discuss the issues at hand.

      As for the usual appeal to it being convenient as a guide when buying, well, if you can’t be bothered to read a few views before spending money, and put your faith in numerals, you deserve to be ripped off.

      • NathanH says:

        Well, the article in question wasn’t arguing that review scores were bad for those reasons, it was arguing that review scores were bad because someone who doesn’t know how review scores work will misinterpret them. That argument I consider ridiculous.

        One reason I’m not a big fan of text-only reviews is that the reviewers simply make too many mistakes. About the best I feel I can hope for from a video game review is a sense of whether the reviewer liked the game or not. Their attempts to justify why they liked the game are often untrustworthy.

        • Vorphalack says:

          If you do know how review scores work, you can still misinterpret them. They are not standardised in any way between reviewers, hell some critics don’t even stick to their own standard.

          ”One reason I’m not a big fan of text-only reviews is that the reviewers simply make too many mistakes.”

          Putting a score at the end in no way eliminates the possibility for ”mistakes”. The review process is exactly the same as with scored reviews, only you don’t put a largely arbitrary number at the end.

          • NathanH says:

            A review score is something rather different from a review text. A review score is an attempt of the reviewer to measure how much they like or dislike a game. Review text is an attempt to explain what elements of the game made them like it and what elements made them dislike it. Frequently, especially for more complicated games, the reviewer does not have the time (nor often the expertise) required to reliably analyse the elements of the game accurately, and in many cases cannot even write down the mechanics of the game accurately. This is a task that takes a lot of time and contemplation. In my opinion, for many games the only reliable information I can get out of a game review that I couldn’t get out of a feature list is an idea of how much the reviewer enjoyed themselves.

            In short, I am far more confident in the ability of a game reviewer to approximate their enjoyment by a number than I am in their ability to correctly determine what aspects of the game influenced their enjoyment and in what way. I don’t even have much confidence in their ability to correctly write down the mechanics of many games.

          • Vorphalack says:

            If you are reading reviews by people who cannot articulate their experience, or who lack the knowledge to accurately critique a game, then they are incompetent and I wouldn’t trust any score they apply to their experience. You are doing a truly awful job of defending your opinion today.

          • NathanH says:

            I think you have a far higher opinion of the critical aptitude and video gaming knowledge of video game reviewers, and a far lower opinion of the gulf in the difficulties between determining whether you had fun and determining why you had fun, than I do. There’s no need to be rude about it.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        A classic example is the new Tomb Raider. RPS’s review, which judging by the comments put a lot of people off the game. It also made at least me want the game. This surely is a review working exactly as intended, it gives the reader an accurate impression of the experience they will have with the game allowing them to make an informed choice.

        How can a number encapsulate that?

      • Sander Bos says:

        Why discuss numbers, when you can do more useful things like discussing discussions about numbers, got it.

        • Deadly Sinner says:

          A discussion which is confined to this article, not every single review.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I’m really not saying this to be a jerk. Now discussion seems to revolve on whatever the internet grudge match against troglodytes of the month is. Is that better?

      • Lemming says:

        This. And happily, you’ve inadvertently taken a stance on Metacritic-based bonuses for developers just by doing it this way.

      • Josh W says:

        The shear amount of discussion that happens about whether a particular number fits the review should in itself show that they don’t work!

        If everyone is interpreting the numbers that differently, then they probably need replacing with something that doesn’t give a false air of objectivity.

        Subjective quantification can work of course, and is used in a wide variety of areas, but unlike metacritic etc, these surveys invariably assume that the specific numbers chosen will not be shown, only their average and possibly a few other statistical details about them.

        This changes the reasoning under which the numbers are chosen, and is usually done with the assumption that mood will be a factor, but one that may be able to be factored out by the sheer quantity of respondents involved.

        In other words, some people will be in the mood for this kind of game, others will not. There can also be clustering effects. Basically, numerical surveys of people’s opinions are totally legit, but that means that people are using the enormously simple set of measures (maybe five or so) in the knowledge that they don’t have to encode a full objective summary of the game in them.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The idea that a scoring system should normalize around five is fundamental misreading about how a scoring system should work. Traditionally scoring (and grading), has worked as a way to sort and rank what is studied. But if you use it as a measurement of how well a task has been executed, you’d expect them to hover around 75, given that mediocre execution still accomplishes most of the work.

      If an analytic rubric was used, you would expect games to consistently perform higher over time even. More games have money for intricate and orchestral soundtracks now. Artstyle becomes more competitive, but also more similar as devs are funneled into the same engines with similar capabilities.

      Another example of this is grades, which also don’t center on five. The further you are in school, the higher they center.

      High School: 59- Failing, 60-69 cause for concern but passing, 70+ passing
      College: 69- no credit, can’t graduate with this average. 70+ passing & cause for concern
      Grad School: 79- can’t graduate with this average. 80+ passing.

      • Lyndon says:

        Depends where you live. In Aus 50% is still passing at university and 75% is distinction territory. I mean it’s almost the opposite here. In high school 75% is basically considered mediocre, but if you’re still getting that at uni you’re really good, and if you did it over all your topics, you might be able to pick up scholarships for grad school (depending on what you were applying for naturally).

        Scoring systems are largely arbitrary. As long as they’re consistent there’s no issue.

    • The Random One says:

      So, here’s why a medium of 5 is a good thing. A score’s stated purpose is to assist you on whether or not you should buy a given game. The argument that any game should get a 5 because we’re grading on a direct scale since the 1990′s shovelware that froze on the title screen and any modern game is better than that is bust because I’m not considering buying that game against Pizza Rabbit, I’m considering buying that game against buying other games, spending money on other kinds of entertainment, or saving my money. I don’t need a holistic purview of games history, I need to know how it stacks right now.

      If 5 is the minimum that a game that works receives, then why do we have numbers lower than that? Why choose to use a 10-point scale if we’ll only use half that scale? So that we can escape the escale to give Big Rigs a one? Isn’t it better to have a more nuanced scale for the far more numerous games that we do think should be bought?

      But, as Jim pointed out above, the best thing is to not give scores at all, since opinions cannot be so clearly encapsulated.

    • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

      The main problem with most sites which do give scores (note I said most not all) is that they’ve built upon the horribly flawed and sometimes bought & paid for scores from the 16-bit & 32-bit eras where ~70% was considered ‘average’ while getting above 95% was considered exceptional.

      This is mostly due to the reviewers of those eras continuing into the present as reviewers, just look at the number of people who wax lyrical about their time writing for magazines like Amiga Power, CVG or early PC Zone whom were as guilty as anyone of this if not the main perpetrators. Sure they’d occasionally give something like Bunny Bricks something derisory like 32% but they’d generally give a below-average game a score between 70% and 75%.

  9. Premium User Badge daphne says:

    I don’t have any problems with Anita Sarkeesian, but there is something to be said about giving examples such as Double Dragon and Super Mario when talking about the trope of “Damsel in Distress” in games. Forcedly injecting such subtext into games that do not possess any — and I challenge you to dispute that — is a good way to render yourself technically correct, but not one to make yourself relevant.

    Perhaps she should have mentioned Spelunky as well. In that game, the damsel is literally an object! A game element with no agency whatsoever. Hmm?

    • Phantoon says:

      I’ll take up this banner. The archetype of the “damsel in distress”, as many elements of fantasy storytelling, has its roots in Renaissance era reimagining of the Medieval era. Cinderella and Snow White are two classic tales of women basically ending up married to some fucking guy at the end of it, like that’s the best thing possible. And to explain the psychology of this is extremely complicated, and there’s no way I could get it right without garbling SOMETHING that someone would take issue with, so I won’t get into it. Anyways. Renaissance era guys were jerks, and made up lots of stuff, like the knight in shining armor, which was a thing that didn’t exist. It’s why Don Quixote is nuts- the idea of the knight in shining armor is nuts too. Anyways, women in castles waiting to be rescued by some guy so they will marry her.

      Of course, after what Mario goes through, they should just give him the whole kingdom anyways.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      The updated version of Spelunky on XBox allows you to choose your main character (including female) and damsel (original female, male, and pug dog as choices)

      • Phantoon says:

        PUG DOG? UNACCEPTABLE. I DEMAND CORGIS!

      • The Random One says:

        I chose random damsels on the Xbox because I like the original damsel but also like the pug, but can only manage to save the damsel when it’s the dude.

        The dude is hilarious, fortunately. He’s rocking the bow-tie.

    • DXN says:

      Forcedly injecting such subtext into games that do not possess any — and I challenge you to dispute that…

      Um, that’s exactly what she did in the video. Showed that the events in the game obviously conform to the trope, which she laid out using a large number of examples and clear language. There is a Damsel, they are in Distress, and you, the Man, save her by defeating the Rival.

      The games don’t have any text about how their narrative fits this trope, i.e. Bowser doesn’t say, “Hahaha, women are so weak and easy to kidnap!” and Mario doesn’t say, “It’s okay Peach, I’m a man, so I have the strength to save you!”. The trope is the subtext, i.e. what you can discern from the text when it’s placed in the wider context of the media around it.

  10. The Hairy Bear says:

    Having watched the video I have to say that all previous baggage aside, was it just me or was it a little dull and rather laboured the point. I think the most interesting idea is that I can’t think of any games with a woman rescuing a bloke, even in ones featuring a female protagonist, WET, Bayonetta, Tomb Raider all tend are quest driven but more standard ‘beat the bad guy/ revenge’. Can anyone think of one?

    Weirdly having thought I was pretty non-sexist I also find myself question whether I would find myself involved enough in a game that had that as its main plot driver so at least the videos made me think!

    • SuicideKing says:

      Well, in Portal 2, Chell and GLaDoS do team up to defeat Wheatley…can’t think of any examples of a rescue, though.

      Even Halo has a “damsel in distress” theme in some ways (you’re usually protecting Cortana from something in a lot of the game series).

      Deus Ex: HR does that with the prostitute levels, though your helicopter pilot does sacrifice herself trying to save you…haven’t played more of the game in a while so don’t know what happens further on.

      FreeSpace 2 keeps you gender neutral, and you could pick a female avatar, just saying.

      • Phantoon says:

        Chell rescues GLaDoS. The reasoning is left to you.

        By the way, you CAN save Malik. She doesn’t have to die in that part.

        • SuicideKing says:

          No i meant rescue a guy.

          And you can save Malik? lol too late now :D

    • Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

      Beyond Good and Evil has Jade rescuing plenty of characters of both genders, somewhat notably for this context, Double H who is your archetypal male hero type.

      If you want to go with the narrative free man-as-end-game-McGuffin examples that she uses in her video, Super Princess Peach would seem to be a pretty obvious choice.

      • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

        I’m fairly certain she will, as alluded to in the video, have a bit of a bone to pick with that last one. I personally have not decided yet if giving Peach her own game and then making Super! mood swings her defining trait is such a good thing.
        The Eldritch umbrella did win me over though.

        • honuk says:

          Really? You’re not sure? Like, it might, in your view, actually be a positive thing?

          Christ, maybe there are people dense enough to “benefit” from these videos.

          • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

            Okay, I should definitely have phrased it as “Super! PMS”, or put the sentence in sarcastises. My bad. :P

    • Yosharian says:

      It’s astonishing how little actual analysis there is of.. anything at all. She basically looked at Mario and Zelda and said ‘yep girl character is a damsel in distress’. Like. Wow. What a surprise. Yes, the damsel in distress as a character exists. No, you didn’t prove that it set a trend for the entire 90s gaming industry. No, you didn’t prove that that that type of character is damaging in any way to society, or that it perpetuates, reinforces or creates patriarchal thinking towards women. Those things would require actual analysis.

      Plus the video is boring as hell, I mean really.

      • Mathute87 says:

        But it’s a nice way to make money with content made from money people gave to her, but yet can’t even tell her “it was worth it” in the comments :)

        It’s not a well-made video. Period. But no one will say nothing bad about it because she is, sadly, the damsel in distress now.

        • Lemming says:

          heh. I’m not seeing anything she’s doing here that couldn’t have been done for free just sitting in her basement with a webcam, either. I wonder where all that KS money went?

    • Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

      In the forum thread on this I came up with the example of Outcast. spoilers ahead – I’ll try not to go into too much detail!

      It’s quite a good example as it’s one of the occasions where it’s a NPC female character doing the rescuing. Indeed one of the major plot arcs is the game’s gruff, manly hero eventually coming to respect the main (in fact only! but there’s reasons for that) female character in the game after spending time during the early stages rescuing her from some mishap or other and trying to keep her safe and out of the way (something she doesn’t take kindly to and roundly ignores!). This culminates with him walking into an obvious trap and being rescued by her.

      end spoilers

      But yeah, there’s certainly not enough examples of this sort of thing.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Outcast really was a very special game for so many reasons! It’s a shame the fan remake seems to have ground to a halt, they got so far!

    • Vander says:

      Fallouts ? Mass Effect 1,2,3. Most Rpg when you can choose your sex in fact.

      • The Random One says:

        Fallout 3 let you choose your gender, but play as a woman and you’ll notice that unless you’re using the Black Widow perk the world reacts to you as a man. There was an article on that on the Sunday Papers, about a year ago, I think.

        Mass Effect works a bit better, and I think the original Fallouts, as well as New Vegas, also actually let you be a woman instead of just looking like one.

    • bill says:

      Don’t you have to rescue the spy dude in No-one Lives Forever? It was a long time ago…

      But as for games where it is a major part of the plot? Can’t think of any…

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Not only that, the guy even wears a skirt. Damn feminists.

    • Premium User Badge choie says:

      In HL2 and its episodes Alyx saves Gordon’s bacon a few times, including in our first meeting of her, as well as in HL2:E1 when she’s the one doing most of the shooting in the dark parking garage, and in HL2:E2 when she uses the sniper gun to kill enemies while Gordon navigates the zombie/headcrab-infested area to get the muscle car. Admittedly that section comes after Gordon has helped retrieve “vortessence” to save a near-death Alyx. But all in all, as a woman and a player in general, I enjoy that there’s a back-and-forth dynamic between the two where she covers Gordon’s back and vice-versa. Oh, and of course if Judith M. hadn’t rescued Gordon at the end of HL2 he’d be dead and/or sold to the highest bidder by now. (Admittedly it was her fault we were captured, but still…)

      It just struck me it’d be great to play one game as Alyx. I wish that were a possible spinoff. Y’know, if Valve still made HL games, le sigh.

      • The Random One says:

        HL2 is sexist because Alyx is more capable, clever and strong than Gordon, but she can’t save the world because the only world-saving magic armor that exists is a Men’s Large.

        Even I don’t know if I’m being sarcastic here

    • Lemming says:

      I remember when Jedi Knight 3: Jedi Academy came out, you could play a story-driven game as a man or a woman with a unisex name. Fairly unique in an FPS/3rd person action game and no one batted an eye in praise or protest. I guess feminists hadn’t noticed games at that point, , and clearly male gamers didn’t give a shit.

      • bill says:

        Ooh! Ooh! How could I forget Mysteries of the Sith. I guess you could say that that whole game is the girl saving the guy – though not in the usual way.

        Really though, I think these are the exceptions that prove the rule.

  11. Premium User Badge Hodge says:

    That PopSci one seems to have been removed.

  12. SuicideKing says:

    Hmmm video makes sense. Let’s not forget, she’s mentioned places where dev’s have empowered their women chars and she said at the end, that she’ll talk more about the games that are getting it right.

    I think Portal/Portal 2 were brilliant in this regard, both Chell and GLaDOS were extremely powerful female characters, and Wheatley was the sidekick for the most part.

    I think Sleeping Dogs also managed this somewhat (Winston’s mother).

    • Phantoon says:

      Chell has no dictation over her actions, and is simply surviving strange events in a even stranger complex. Like Gordon, she’s lead by the nose, incidentally. There are no other directions, there is no choice. If you believe she is a strong character, she is. If you believe she’s forced into survival and has no free will, she is. The narrative is what you decide.
      GLaDoS, on the other hand, has her motivations, flaws, etc.
      Prior to the hate crime that was Other M (I say this unironically while saying the rhetoric must be toned down), Samus had more characterization than Chell. Make of that what you will.

      • SuicideKing says:

        What? Anita says something about male characters, when held captive, engineer their escape, in portal/portal 2 Chell engineers her own escape, she doesn’t have to be rescued by someone.

        That was all.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Worth pointing out that GLaDoS is a machine. Giving the AI a human female voice does not make it female.

      • Ravenholme says:

        Actually wrong. If you play Portal 2. Sure, no biological gender, but GLaDOS is

        SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS**Actually the uploaded personality of a female. Cave Johnson’s Personal Assisstant in fact.** SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

      • jalf says:

        Well, what *does* make someone female then? Because I know some people are quite empathetic that having a vagina is not a requirement either.

        Whatever requirements you place on someone before they can be considered “female”, I think that if we remember for a second that it is just a game, and not reality, then it is pretty clear that Valve intended for her to, well, be a “her”.

        Chell isn’t female either, she’s a bunch of 0′s and 1′s in your computer’s memory. But Valve intended that she should represent a female character in the fiction of the game. And I think the same is true for Glados. The female voice is a big hint, isn’t it? Also, the fact that she refers to herself as “mommy” at the end of the Portal 2 co-op DLC.

        When talking about how women are portrayed in video games, I think Glados is just as relevant as Chell. Neither of them are *actually* women, but both are clearly intended to represent something/someone female.

        • Ravenholme says:

          Well said, Jalf.

        • Vorphalack says:

          GLaDoS is an AI. It has no physical characteristics of a human female and no personality traits that are uniquely female. It is about as gender neutral as it can be, aside from the voice. They could have given GLaDoS the voice of a man without even changing the script.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            You’re stepping into quite a minefield with ‘personality traits that are uniquely female’…

          • Vorphalack says:

            I’m trying to find a good way to articulate that I don’t believe machines can be female. Being organic is quite important in that respect, having an organic brain and all that. What I mean in respect to GLaDoS is that I saw nothing in its personality that could only be applied to a woman. i.e. it is very gender neutral.

          • The Random One says:

            If you can believe a transexual’s gender is their stated one, you can believe that a machine can also have a gender, if it identifies with said gender.

            More to the point: even if GLADoS is not intended to be female in the universe, she is still a character written by human beings who have conceptions and preconceptions about the world. If the writers gave her a female voice and used female nouns to refer to her, then she is a female character as far as literary analysis is concerned.

          • Vorphalack says:

            I don’t buy that line of reasoning at all. Machines are gender non specific, they are programmed to ”think” and possess no qualities that imply gender. The possibility of male and female machines works neither on a biological or psychological level. Now GLaDoS was written by humans, but was written as an AI, and as i’ve already pointed out it behaves like a fictional AI, not a woman. I mean its morality is altered by the player interfering with its hardware for gods sake. I realise that we are scraping the bottom of the barrel when trying to discuss compelling female characters in gaming, but i’m sure we can do better than resorting to ”female” machines.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            I’m still quite interested in what personality traits, what moods, what feelings, what motivations are uniquely female. :)

          • Vorphalack says:

            Oh look. Bait. This is why we can’t have a sensible conversation on the internet.

        • SuicideKing says:

          +1.

          Now arguing whether GLaDOS is female or not is completely moot. She’s not even real, she’s AI, Wheatley is AI, ALL FUCKING NPCs ARE AI.

    • Hematite says:

      Winston’s mother is fucking amazing (/terrifying); shame she didn’t feature independently of Winston’s story line. Other female characters are interestingly written, but sadly tend to be objectified rather than taking part in the main story.

      Sleeping Dogs is a brilliant game if you can cope with the gameplay of the GTA3 games (slightly updated, good martial arts system) and would like a more story drive experience which still has an open world to mess around in if you want to. Happily it’s on sale on Steam today 75% off.

      Edit: just remembered one of the triad lieutenants is a very strong woman too; the setting doesn’t lend itself to respecting women though.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Finally someone who’s played Sleeping Dogs and seems to like the game!

        I thought i was alone.

        Yeah the other women were objectified a bit, i felt (why is it necessary to sleep with everyone on the first date and never meet them again? Or is that how it rolls in Hong Kong?)…didn’t say it because i thought i might be over reacting.

        Put 26 hours into the game, had a lot of fun, hated the karaoke levels…didn’t play the cock fights either. Not my thing.

        • welverin says:

          You’re not looking in the right places then. I know a few people who really liked it (which would eb everyone I know who actually played it), and have seen quite a few online.

  13. timethor says:

    I found the asylum article an unpleasant read. The author’s main point seemed to be “we shouldn’t find modern-day asylums filled with insane murderers scary” (or something to that effect), and the rest of the article was just going “I interviewed these guys, and this out of context quote contradicts with this other out of context quote, and from this third out of context quote it seems these guys are confused because they don’t agree with me”.

    e.g.

    “The clarification – a viewpoint that, perhaps, I was fishing to hear just to halt the increasingly different frequencies of both our wavelengths – just leaves the point more confused, though, with Cordes claiming that we shouldn’t fear the inmates themselves in one breath, while also positing that ‘crazy people’ are a source of personal fear to him.”

    I know none of the people involved (including the writer), but stuff like this is more likely to make me conclude that the game creator knew exactly what he was saying, but that the writer of the article didn’t understand him, or wasn’t listening because he just wanted to hear something that fitted exactly with his own view on the matter.

    • The Random One says:

      I found it to be unpleasant as well, but because it was so effective.

      “You know, we all think that asylums are scary not because of ‘crazy people’ but because of what was done to them historically, so I talked to a bunch of guys who are doing games about asylums and it turns out that, no ‘crazy people’ is what they’re afraid of.”

      • timethor says:

        What the game creators were probably hinting at (and what the article writer did not seem to consider as a valid option), is that the combination is the scary/creepy/disconcerting thing.

        A modern mental patient in a modern institution with nice therapy and drugs and safe but somewhat natural surroundings with white walls and sunlight and plants: not very scary.

        Criminally insane patients without the drugs who have been subjected to horrible treatments and who will literally try to eat your face (rare, but it happens.): pretty scary.

        The same patients only now in a dark dungeon with chains and rusty saws and other barbaric instruments: classic horror.

        Yes, some insane people are scary. There are very good reasons for finding them scary (e.g. some of them will try to eat your face). The “the game creators should feel bad for finding insane people scary” thing is political correctness gone mad.

  14. honuk says:

    Re: Starcraft: good to know academia is still utterly broken

  15. CameO73 says:

    Yep, Mario really should know better by now that Peach is probably not the woman for him

    • KDR_11k says:

      Pepper spray? A rock? Bowser is a freaking fire breathing dragon-turtle and while he’s played for laughs in most of the spinnoffs he does seem like a genuine monster in the mainline Mario games.

      • Phantoon says:

        Peach is a better character than Mario in Super Smash Brawl. Clearly, they all just do this so they have something to do. Probably gives Peach an excuse to visit Bowser without a diplomatic crisis.

    • Premium User Badge JiminyJickers says:

      I always like this one from Family Guy.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I read it as Mario and the koopas putting on a big show so that Peach and Bowser can have some time away from the lizardphobic mushroom people.

  16. KDR_11k says:

    Same story about Judas Priest for me (and a few more metal bands) since I am not very versed in music and Brütal Legend had a large collection of bands that obviously aren’t played on the radio (there are no independent or metal-focused radio stations near me, the one we had once was turned into yet another top-50-pop station owned by the big media, as if we didn’t already have enough of those).

  17. Laythe_AD says:

    I’ve never been in under illusion that the game industry is not, most of the time, really rather sexist in it’s depiction of women. Let’s be honest, for the most part, it just really is. But I just don’t really see any actual insight in her work. Is it just me or is she merely spelling out much of the obvious? Or is it just obvious to me?

    • Lanfranc says:

      I really think there are a lot of people to whom these things are not at all obvious.

    • Premium User Badge elderman says:

      One way to talk about advocacy like what Ms Sarkeesian does is to say that it takes things that are invisible and makes them self evident.

      That said, I think there was more insight there than you typically find in a twenty-minute YouTube video. She made the case that the damsel in distress trope is foundational to story-telling in video games because of its use in some early, popular, and much-copied games. By trying to talk in a clear and compelling way about this trope she reveals the common elements that recur:

      “All that is really required to fulfill the damsel in distress trope is for a female character to be reduced to a state of helplessness from which she requires rescuing from a typically male hero for the benefit of his story arc.”

      And she describes some of the variations. Without looking further, that’s already pretty good going for a short, digestible, online video.

  18. jhavatar says:

    I am surprised the Kotaku article Mormon gamer praises Fallout for getting his culture right was not mentioned. I was linked to it this morning from Boing Boing. I enjoyed it.

    • NathanH says:

      That was interesting, thanks!

    • gritz says:

      It’s a great article and a perfect example of why it should be okay to disable comments.

      • Phantoon says:

        It’s Kotaku. Says “comments by idiots” right on the tin.

  19. Hoaxfish says:

    Eurogamer has a couple of interviews etc from the BAFTA’s: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-03-07-on-the-red-carpet-with-eurogamer-at-the-bafta-games-awards

    and the first article in a series about British game devs, this one’s about Sandy White who started back on the ZX Spectrum: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-03-06-code-britannia-sandy-white

    Polygon also has a bunch of interviews from SXSW 2013 about stuff like the Occulus Rift and Leap Motion.

  20. Mathute87 says:

    Gotta love pseudo-intellectuals. This comments section is hilarious. I hope RPS never disables it :)

    Now just wait until the Bros Before Hoes trophy “controversy” starts gaining attention.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      yea, but that’s a Vita game.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      What’s the criteria for becoming a full-blown intellectual?

      • Vorphalack says:

        You need to grow beyond making pointless, sarcastic comments mocking others, sacrifice a chicken to the old gods, and renounce youtube comments forever. Then you can join intellectual club.

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          And send off for your certificate and card. No-one takes you serious until you’re a card carrying intellectual.

        • The Random One says:

          I thought that to become a full blown intellectual you had to put yourself in danger, thus tripling in size and exposing your dangerous spikes.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            Oh no, that’s pufferfish.

            Intellectuals actually fan their neck hoods when threatened and can launch poison up to 6 feet from their fangs. A much more enlightened approach, obviously.

        • Phantoon says:

          Or you could just accept that you’re not smart enough to know everything, and therefore your opinion is probably wrong on a lot of things. That’s all it takes.

      • Premium User Badge elderman says:

        You know you’re an intellectual when someone else who isn’t one calls you an intellectual.

  21. Cytrom says:

    As far as I know, women are allowed to make videogames. Feel free to make better portrayal of your gender in your game, rather than bitching about others doing whatever the fuck they want.

    • Phantoon says:

      They do. But responding to you is silly, because you’ve already started off with attacks. There can be no discussion here, in no discussion land. Verily, it was a doomed missive, sent to a dying land.

    • zachforrest says:

      I love how much sense this makes. But I know it’s wrong

    • Jade Raven says:

      That’s like saying the Green Party is free to contest elections in the United States. Technically true from a certain point of view, but in practice little can come of it.

      • The Random One says:

        It’s more like saying that if the Green Party doesn’t like the result of the US elections nothing’s stopping them from founding their own country.

  22. Utsunomiya says:

    A twenty minutes worth of Nintendo rant.
    That’s research!
    …oh wait.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Yeah, that video was basically a dramatic reading of TVTropes. Honestly, judging from that one video, I don’t really see why 50p was requested to fund it, never mind $6,000.

      • Utsunomiya says:

        It’s quite alright as an unintentionally funny AVGN episode, though!
        With less production value and character…

  23. caff says:

    Nice collection of roguelikes under that link.

    It’s led me to discover Teleglitch which I see me spending a bit of time with.

  24. Phantoon says:

    The problem with this ongoing discussion, or perhaps all internet discussions, is that too many extraneous details are added, while too many points are assumed agreed upon. So, I call to you all to begin an experiment. Explain to me something that radical feminists or normal people have said, in as few words as possible. I will reply, and then you will reply. That is a discussion. I’d like to know about the following:

    If someone says they hate all men and want to see them dead, is this bigotry? The answer is yes, this isn’t actually a question. I’m sure someone will reply to it anyways. Stop replying to it NO REALLY STOP I MEAN IT.
    Where is the finish line? What’s the end goal, here? Both for feminism, and specifically for this discussion.
    Who counts as a feminist?
    Should/does feminism concern itself (as if it was a person) with equal rights for both genders?
    How much scrutiny should really be applied, anyways?

    And if you read to the end, I meant “normal people” as in people who do not think they can blame everything on a gender. Radical really doesn’t ever mean good anymore. It means crazy. At least, that’s how I use it.

    • Metalfish says:

      Without wishing to speak for everyone else, broadly: a feminist is a person who desires that men and women are treated equally.

      Now, you might want to add any number of twists and the odd addendum to that, but that pretty much sums it up. If you want all men/women to die/be locked in cupboard, then you probably aren’t a feminist (or a true scotsman for that matter).

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        I think that’s boiling it down way too much. There are so many variations of feminism, many at odds with each other, that it often becomes meaningless unless or until you take a close look at it.

        You can believe that all people should be treated equally and that in and of itself doesn’t make one a feminist but a humanist. There’s also the argument which is fairly compelling that second wave feminism (in the U.S.) was by (upper) middle class white women for (upper) middle class white women. Which is to say that there’s issues of (class somewhat deliberately) glossed over as a result.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_movements_and_ideologies is a start.

        Radfem, gender feminists and others go way past “women should be treated equally”. Furthermore there is a lot of anti-trans bias in those specific groups. Michfest, “woman born woman” and all that.

        OT: it is exceedingly difficult to stay on topic when you can’t read the post you’re responding to. I can only hope this makes sense.

        • Phantoon says:

          I’m aware of the transhate, so we’ll make that a separate discussion.

          Why be feminist rather than humanist?

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            Are you asking my opinion as to why people identify as feminists and not humanists (or egalitarians)?

      • Vander says:

        Yet, how it come then, than i practically never read or heard a feminist talk about issues were women are privilegied in western societies, like justice?

        • dE says:

          You’re not looking hard enough. I can’t speak for whatever country you’re from, but when it comes to health (lower life expectency), justice (bias towards mothers in terms of custody) or military (with many nations only conscripting men), you will find plenty of women argueing for the sake of men. Especially in scientific works.

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            I think s/he’s talking about political rhetoric.

            Ultimately very little is being done at the moment though. However, I don’t think those women you’re talking about would universally refer to themselves as feminists either.

        • jalf says:

          Selective hearing? That’s really the best explanation I can come up with.

          Well, most feminists are more concerned with the areas where women get treated worse because that is a hell of a lot more common, but if you ask a feminist “should women get special privileges”, they’ll generally say “no, of course not”.

          • Vander says:

            Nope, no selecting hearing, seriuosly. i live in Belgium, wich is very good in term of laws against discrimination against women, wich i am very happy for.

            Sure, they would not say yes, it will be a political suicide but, what do they think? That’s another matter entirely. And i did heard feminist who said clearly that it was normal than women get less jail time for the same crime. Or most child custody…i agree on this last, actually, just not a the point it is now.

            My point is: if you dont weight both scales of a balance, you end up with domination, not equality.

          • Lyndon says:

            Actually Child custody, and parental leave is an area where A LOT of feminists argue men should have more rights. Basically it boils down to this.

            Men can’t get paid maternity leave.
            This means the woman in the relationship has to leave work to raise kids.
            Becomes primary caregiver, but sacrifices their career progression.

            Then if there’s a divorce.

            Women gets custody, meaning they now eat the entirety of the caregiving.
            Meaning, they can usually only get part time work
            Combine this with them previously giving up their career progression so their earning potential is diminished
            And you get a situation where women eat most of the burden of raising the children (financial, and time)
            But earn far less than the man.

            In situations like these divorce leaves women much poorer, and men much richer.
            Alimony, and child support are arse backwards ways to try and redress this.

            But a lot of feminists argue that it would be less of an issue if men could take parental leave, and they got equal custody rights. That way the sacrifices and costs of raising children would be more equal, and divorced men and women would be better off.

            Patriarchy hurts men too, is a fairly common refrain for feminists.

          • Vander says:

            Lyndon, both example you give are ones were women have to win too. Of course they will object. But i do agree, i was wrong, i did hear from feminist about these issues.

            But those who are only detrimental to men? Like the fact that for the same crime women are punished by less jail time (40% some studies shows), or than men die far more often at work (more than 10 times)? Far far less.

            I have seen on french television, a few year ago, a president of a french feminist organisation mocking the president of another organisation who helped men who were beaten by their spouse, for example.

            So, no, i don’t really think that every feminist want equality. Some, and i would argue that while an minority it is nor a tiny one, want the women to replace the men in the patriarchal role.

          • Blackseraph says:

            Those who don’t want equality are not really feminist you know.

            Since.

            Definition of FEMINISM:
            the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            That is not the definition of feminism. It may be _your_ definition of feminism.

            More one true way-ism at its finest.

            @Lyndon women can take less visitation, nothing is stopping them. I question whether or not women actually make less than men in the same job. I’ve never seen it. It certainly doesn’t seem to exist in the blue collar world (which is what I’m familiar with). Further when one talks career progression one is generally only talking about white collar positions and that isn’t all there is out there.

            I bring this up because focusing only on upper middle class (predominantly white) women is a frequent fixture of feminist thought and has, to my mind, been far too long in the spotlight. There are many programs out there actively trying to get women into the trades and very few takers.

            I don’t see a lot of actual action to reform family law coming from feminists except in the few cases where it benefits them either directly or indirectly.

          • Lyndon says:

            Yep it’s definitely fair to critise a lot of feminism for being mainly concerned with middle class women over lower class women. Especially, in academia people have a tendency to see things through their own perspectives, and ignore other viewpoints.

            But it’s still a problem in the blue collar world, because there men and women tend to work different jobs, and the jobs men tend to take earn more.

            For example, say you’re a young working class couple with a kid, the man gets an apprenticeship in a trade like carpentry. It’s a full time gig, but the pay is good, and over time they can actually advance and set themselves up nicely. But someone needs to look after the kid so the woman takes a part time job in a shop, or some other kind of service job. The man still has better earning potential than the woman, and if there’s a divorce, the woman is still going to be much worse off.

            Could the woman take the apprenticeship, and the man take the service job? Absolutely and some do, but for the most part (as you noted) in RL we’re gonna butt up against societies prejudices and assumed gender roles. Women aren’t gonna enter trades, if their partners assume they’re gonna be stay at home mums.

            So we come back to the fact that if society had a more equitable view of who should raise children there’d be positive outcomes for men and women. And a lot of feminists argue this.

            Now arguably there should be more focus on issues like these, instead analysising the representation of women in games. Except that it’s all part of the same problem. When our culture promotes the idea of women being passive, and requiring a man to rescue them, it continues this idea that the man’s role is to look after the woman. Which again brings us back to our working class couple before. If that young lady, is told by her family, her media, her education etc that she needs a man to support her, she’s less likely to take up a trade.

          • Blackseraph says:

            destroy all monsters

            That is definition of feminism by Merriam-Webster, but obviously you know better than Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

            Your anti-woman nonsense is getting bit tiring.

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            @BlackSeraph – only if you ignore this definition ” organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests” and the fact that there are over a dozen different types of feminism some of which go farther than that definition you’ve chosen.

            Funny that you claim I’m anti-woman. Care to cite where I’ve gone off stating where women shouldn’t have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as men? Take your time.

            @Lyndon – first of all I want to say I’m really enjoying having this conversation with you.

            I agree with you that many of the jobs women take that are blue collar can pay less. I like your example because I’ve seen it occur – although most often I’ve seen both parents work a full-time plus another job (or work extended overtime). I’ve been one of those parents and both of us worked at least 60 hours a week. Harder to do with a newborn but possible. Frankly I don’t know how anyone can raise children without both working full time unless the pay gap is extreme but I live in an expensive region so that probably colors my perception.

            Let’s say for the sake of argument that the wife’s job is of a waitress and she does work part time. Let’s say she works Friday, Saturday, Sunday as a waitress or even a bartender. It’s entirely possible she can make more money (from tips) than he does working full time until he’s able to get his contractor’s license. For that matter why wouldn’t this couple wait to have children until he does have his license? Or surely if women can wait in the white collar sector to have children they could wait until after they got their contractor’s license as well. I’m saying that it behooves women to choose a job that doesn’t undermine their independence and position by paying less.

            I guess what I find maddening is that there are these programs out there – and I think it would serve women to be in the trades which mean you can be self-employed and rely on a decent income without anyone’s help whatsoever and it just isn’t a route that women take advantage of. Personally I think it would be great to have more women in the trades.

            I agree with you wholeheartedly that the message that women have no agency is terrible and undermines them. I completely agree that the message that men should be more actively involved in parenting needs to be more pervasive. It has, however, gotten much better. On a side note it’s extremely common for blue collar latin families to have an involved father so som of this is clearly cultural.

            I do think though that the importance of men parenting has been something that has been increasingly in the public eye since the 90s in part because of fathers rights groups.

            “When our culture promotes the idea of women being passive, and requiring a man to rescue them, it continues this idea that the man’s role is to look after the woman.”

            The problem isn’t a video game trope. Nor is it exclusively something pushed by men for men. Elsa at Destructoid has shows a clear debunking of rescuing behavior and how it works. Alyx saves Gordon’s butt several times in the HL2 universe. Women know they have choices – the message is all around them. More are getting second degrees all the time. It’s this selling of female hypoagency by both people like Sarkeesian and by (for example) various religious groups that is problematic.

            The problem I have isn’t that women don’t need to be better represented in games and the media (they do) the problem is that this particular person has narrowed things (read her thesis) to such a point that there can be no outcome that will be satisfactory. She consistently claims that various traits are innately male or female and attacks female characters with agency as being men in drag. Most of all I just can’t stand how utterly shallow her points are and having seen a number of her videos I am dumber for it.

    • bladedsmoke says:

      There are radical feminists, and then there are just feminists. Radical feminists are, like most radical fringes, a tiny minority.

      Feminism is literally a campaign for equality between men and women. If you consider that a good idea, you’re a feminist. Simple as that.

      Of course, a lot of people proclaim to be wholly in favour of equality, but have a strange idea of what “equality” actually entails, or seem to believe that equality is already present in society. This is why a lot of feminism is dedicated to spreading awareness – trying to make people (usually men, but not always) aware that society is not actually equal yet, culturally or politically, and that there is verifiable, actual data that proves this.

    • JehuGarroutte says:

      I agree with Metalfish’s definition/explanation – concise, tactful, solid.

      For a question of my own, where have you encountered “radical” feminists? I often hear them referred to, but haven’t actually seen a tangible example. Are there any blogs you could link me to, so that I know the sort you’re referring to? They may be out there, and I’m not dismissing the possibility – the world’s full of jerks of all stripes. I just want to know who, specifically, we’re discussing. I’m not comfortable guessing at the motives/goals of people whose works/viewpoints I’ve neither read nor encountered.

      Links definitely preferred, since I’m not comfortable operating off of anecdotal evidence.

      • dE says:

        As with every phantom in a discussion, it is almost impossible to actually discern one when it appears. There’s also the possibility of it being a deliberate troll or a popular misunderstanding. For example, feminists are often accredited to having said “All sexual intercourse is rape”, which is based on a misinterpretation of Dworkins work “Intercourse”. The thing turned into the rape culture argument though.
        There’s the SCUM Manifesto, which perhaps (probably) was meant as pitch black Satire (Valerie Solanas shooting Andy Warhol lends a bit of scepticism to it regardless) and ends with the suggestion that since men are at fault for all evil in the world, they thus must die. That’s a sentiment that popped up at times during the german #aufschrei discourse. It’s nigh impossible to find proof for that, as the messages have long been deleted for hatespeech, but I’ll keep on searching. It seems to be a thing, that what I hope is satire (it ended up on FSTDT for crying out loud, it has to be satire), is being blown out of proportion like this for example:
        http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=87815

        There’s also this piece about Firefly that stirred up some controversy about Joss Whedon supposedly being a rapist. http://users.livejournal.com/_allecto_/34718.html

        In general, it’s some examples of extremist ideology, be it in joke or satire or earnest, gets taken as the public representation of a much more sane and reasonable argument. The thing that heats up these discussions is the whole argueing against phantoms that might as well not be present during a discussion. It’s the result of a rather simple friend or foe point of view. Someone has either the exact same opinion, or shall thus be dubbed the mortal extremist enemy.

        • Phantoon says:

          Radical people shout the loudest, and shout the most. It’s easy to find one for an interview, too.

        • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

          Do not quote someone’s livejournal & expect to be taken even remotely seriously. I shouldn’t have clicked on it but a quick skim shows how maladjusted the writer is not to mention how misinformed about the source material she’s trying to write about.

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        I define RadFem rather simplistically as someone that uses “patriarchy” in a serious manner and/or uses labeling others as “MRAs” or that someone is “mansplaining” in order to silence debate.

        Also pretty much everyone on Jezebel -shudders-

        I don’t think it’s too hard to look up radical feminism in google or wikipedia and start finding its adherents.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      “Who counts as a feminist?”

      Pretty much anyone that identifies that way. However, there will always be discussion of whether that person actually is a feminist within that community. At various times Christina Hoff Sommers, Camille Paglia and others have been denounced as not-real feminists.

      “Should/does feminism concern itself (as if it was a person) with equal rights for both genders?”

      As I understand it this is still a common question within feminist circles. There are many that say “men should start their own groups” and yet others that denounce or refuse to accept transwomen.

      Furthermore gender is about presentation and I’d argue that there is a range of genders in the same way there is a range of sexualities. If you’re interested I recommend reading some of Kate Bornstein’s writing there.

      “How much scrutiny should really be applied, anyways? ”

      That’s a really good question to which I have no answer. There is a terrible tendency towards pushing the issue of ideological purity (also common in leftist circles I’m afraid). Something I think we could all use less of.

    • Josh W says:

      There is a particular strand of active feminism, that does not focus on equality in itself, but in fighting specific biases against women or things that harm women specifically.

      You could consider this the “women’s issues” approach.

      This is strongly influenced and symbiotic with critical theory, an academic approach to analysis focused on uncovering bias and all embracing cultural norms.

      Both are incredibly valuable and important, but focus inherently on overturning the status quo, rather than on building alternatives, this sometimes gets people’s backs up who have a strong interest in various elements of the status quo, or simply in stability and not turning things upside down. Or indeed reformers who prefer a “one thing at a time” approach, as a critical theories constantly have the perspective of looking for flaws and weaknesses in the status quo, and so can be inexhaustible in their energy at uncovering new problems, frequently faster than they can be fixed.

      It can also have a problem where people prioritise women’s issues over issues of race, sexuality or poverty, but this is mostly solved by embracing the principle of intersectionality, which view all of these as elements or dimensions of an overarching series of problems, and so the issue of “my problems are bigger than your problems” is mostly avoided by well rounded feminists.

      I tend to have a reformist bent myself, and so like to treat these as vectors for improvement, and build things that avoid or minimise their various criticisms as much as I can at that moment, then look for improvements. This unfortunately means that I tend to wind up friends who have this perspective, because after detailed discussions of what these criticisms are, these suggestions never fully assuage their revolutionary enthusiasm or anger, and leave problems left over.

      I should add that although this form of feminism does not directly seek equality, in the sense of trying to directly imagine what a world of equality would look like, there is the assumption that if all of these pressing problems were eliminated, then we would get closer to that world of equality, whatever it might look like. It’s effectively social justice by subtraction.

      • Premium User Badge elderman says:

        Thank you so much for this informative post. I consider myself a feminist, but for me that means witnessing what other people call feminism and then saying “I like that. I want to be on that side.” Very interesting to hear a more educated perspective.

  25. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Looking forward to the end of Sarkeesian’s 15 minutes of fame.

    I too find it ironic that she’s using the damsel in distress as a method of fundraising.

    It’s also a commonly used dating and divorce tactic.

    On a completely different note anything that gets people into Judas Priest and Rob Halford is a wonderful thing.

    • bladedsmoke says:

      You seem to imply that the majority of her funding comes from men wishing to “rescue” her.

      My impression is that the vast majority of her funding comes from women who want to foster the exact kind of discussion she proposed in her Kickstarter. While some men did contribute, most (vocal) men concerned with the subject seem to have dedicated themselves to sneering superiority or – at worst – threats and abuse.

      • dE says:

        I’d love some actual statistics on that.
        Before that, I’ll happily claim bullshit on your statement.

        • JehuGarroutte says:

          Based off of…?

          • Premium User Badge FhnuZoag says:

            Obviously Occam’s razor demands that we adopt the misogynist explanation until proven otherwise.

          • dE says:

            No, the razor demands nothing. But it’s okay, dub me all you want.

            I’m still claiming that both statements made are bullshit as none of the two can possibly have any data suggesting either way, yet both see it fit to use that nonexistant data as an argument and throw it around like it holds meaning. It’s two persons claiming they know who exactly funded the campaign. On the off chance they have that – impossible to acquire – data, I asked for proof. Until then, it serves neither side.

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        I’ll leave this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpFk5F-S_hI&list=PLA99BA14B8860EE67&index=5 (There’s a part 1 as well).

        And this: http://www.destructoid.com/epic-comment-elsa-on-tropes-vs-women-featured-on-reddit-240143.phtml

        http://taabm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/damsel-in-distress-part-1-analysis-and.html

        Her methodology is entirely manipulative and unfortunately she makes the mistake of conflating her narcissism with feminism.

        Even claiming that she’s an imperfect vessel bringing the occasional valid claim may be a bit much. If anything we now have more positive and empowered females in games than ever before – and as a trend it’s heartening. However overlooking general narrative depth or even non-traditional gender roles or genders in order to manipulatively press people into her version of one true way-ism speaks more about who she’s targeting which is people that want to – or already do – think like her. Largely women that see themselves as victims and white knight types.

        Sure it provokes discussion but many things that insult the intelligence of the audience do.

        I guess ultimately what I find so irritating about her is not only how manipulative she is but that her points are so utterly shallow. Someone could do a piece on gender representative and narrative in video games and do it well without a desired agenda other than “let’s make video games better” rather than reaching or changing facts to support the thesis.

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        Not sure if my other comment will ever leave moderation hell but this woman’s writing – and the commentary – is quite good. http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Elsa/damsel-in-distress–247967.phtml

        Semi-OT would anyone else play a Malik DXHR dlc where she’s the star with Adam in a cameo. I sure would.

        • Reapy says:

          I would pay her the 150k to make these videos instead. This woman seems like she is an expert enough at games to make a comment about them, and analysis to boot.

        • Lemming says:

          If she’d done a Kickstarter, I would’ve backed it myself. So much better insight!

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          She examines workplace inequality with cat memes. Someone certainly knows their audience!

          And also writes good things, that blog has garnered my endorsement.

        • The Random One says:

          Hey, it’s Elsa! I follow her on Destructoid, she’s quite clever.

          I agree that I wish someone with, at least, more screen presence would take Sarkeesian’s mantle.

    • Premium User Badge FhnuZoag says:

      You must think you are so smart. But you show that you don’t understand at all.

      “In this way the Damsel’s ordeal is not her own, instead it’s framed as a trial for the hero to overcome. Consequently, the trope robs women in peril of the opportunity be the architects of their own escape and therefore prevents them from becoming archetypal heroes themselves.”

      The issue of the Damsel in distress refers to the attitude, where upon the Damsel is denied all agency in favour of the hero rescuing her. Sarkeesian has created this situation, and she is continuing to create this situation by creating more videos – she is no more a damsel in distress than Commander Shepard is for being shot at by reapers.

      You are the problem here, because your sexism disallows you from seeing the situation in any way other than that of a damsel in distress. Suddenly, in your eyes, the array of people, both male and female, sick of this shit becomes transformed into a horde of men trying to get into her pants, and Sarkeesian becomes turned from someone intentionally offending your sensibilities and being backed up for doing so, into a helpless (or pretending to be helpless) princess. This is the only way you can see this situation. Genius.

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        So because I disagree with much of what she says and her methods I’m sexist. The least you could have done was not go ad hominem in your first comment.

        There are any number of people that see that’s she’s manipulated the situation to show herself as a victim – and that she’s profited off it quite nicely. That’s hardly a misogynist point of view.

        • Muzman says:

          Um, when people threaten you and abuse you for doing a little kickstarter on video games tropes you are the victim. That’s what it means.
          Don’t give me this ‘she was playing it up to get more money’ crap. She was pointing it out. The implication that she should be silent about it as some sort of decorum or something is basically idiotic.

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            When you ask for money for youtube videos you’re going to get nailed for it regardless of what the topic is or who you are. She knows youtube commenters and their tendencies and then cherry picked the comments to play the pity card – and painted it as sexism.

            As seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpFk5F-S_hI&list=PLA99BA14B8860EE67&index=5

            Here on the internet we all get called horrible names, accused of various things, and generally yelled at, in type, all the time. You can choose to see that that is all there is or take a more balanced view. Does that make us all victims? Then how do you choose the hierarchy of victimhood?

            Do you honestly believe that she hasn’t manipulated the situation? That people will get their 160k worth out of these videos (I sure don’t see a lot of production value in it).

          • Muzman says:

            knowing what youtube comments are like doesn’t get them off the hook. A tacit acceptance of this stuff might be the norm, but it doesn’t make it good or desirable. Why not point out what people she had to put up with if she didn’t like it?
            Yes, collating things is manipulating the situation. What balance do you think this situation deserves? The out of all proportion negative reaction needs more nuance? Nuance that would have got her less money? The flash game probably got her the most kudos/cash/publicity, its relative vileness was so great. I doubt the youtube quotes contributed a great deal.
            As a heirarchy of victimhood; I don’t really know what this means. Are you looking for some sort of cosmic justice in all this? The matter of money is entirely between her and her backers. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out (and oh god, could we just do that , please).
            People could have just mostly ignored her like they did before. I’ve seen enough quiet unassuming feminists relentlessly attacked to know there’s a big enough knee jerk reaction out there. Even if she is drumming up publicity, I don’t think it’d take much effort

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            She’s playing people like a fiddle – and that’s ok? Because if it is really we have nothing to discuss. Because she is the one getting the publicity – the play here on RPS and elsewhere – she is the focus. You’re asking folks to ignore her when she’s at the height of her (internet) celebrity.

            I think all of us on RPS want games to be better, I think most gamers everywhere would like games to be better. The difference is that she’s careering. Opportunistically driving the dialog in order to get her bills paid and spin her agenda. Sure there are folks that don’t want to hear what she has to say but she’s targeted the whole thing for maximum outrage. Which is what she got.

            I see you bending over backwards to cut this woman a break she doesn’t deserve and putting all the blame on anyone else other than her. I can’t for the life of me understand why.

          • Lanfranc says:

            destroy.all.monsters:

            Fallacy: Appeal to motive. 25 demerit points.

          • Muzman says:

            “I see you bending over backwards to cut this woman a break she doesn’t deserve and putting all the blame on anyone else other than her. I can’t for the life of me understand why.”

            I see you bending far forwards to condemn her to the virtual exclusion of all the people who attacked her and I can’t for the life of me understand why.

            We’re getting this implications of a scam again which makes no sense to me at all. I never got the impression so many people were donating for any reason other than as a protest vote to the threads on here, on reddit, on elsewhere, the flash games the photoshops etc; the ridiculous overreaction to it once it went wide. There was never any notion of people having to raise the “right” amount outside of stretch goals for some things. Every buck is just a flip off to those guys.
            The argument for how it went wide seems to be that she took the unusual step for her of ceasing to moderate comments and just let the shit roll in for a while and then told people about it. Which isn’t much of a charge if you ask me. What could have happened is after the subsequent publicity this garnered she maybe gets some more money, gets to her goal faster or over it and noone says much at all. Instead dickheads the world over blew up and the attacking rhetoric went berserk. And she kept telling people about it. That’s when the money increases a lot; the ensuing shitstorm of photoshops et al They could have ignored her niche little project. But they didn’t, because feminism.

            It’s not the highest cause in the world by a long shot. Short of proving she fabricated the whole thing I’m certainly not going to pretend that she’s somehow to blame though.

          • Lanfranc says:

            Even if she had engineered the whole thing, I’d say she’d have deserved whatever benefits she got from it, because damn that would have been playing the Internet like a Paganini.

            Of course, it doesn’t matter either way, because her motives have no relevance for the validity of the arguments she’s making.

      • Premium User Badge elderman says:

        Bad form, calling him sexist. Personal attacks just poison the thread. Otherwise, I agree with your post. And nice one, quoting from the video.

        [edit:] What the hell? I wrote ‘racist’ before. That wasn’t what I meant at all!

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        Is she not using the victim role to make sales? Does lazy writing in 30 year old games equate to sexism?

        How is manipulating the data to come to a desired result a valid methodology?

        I’m not saying that gaming doesn’t have a long way to go to make memorable full characters of any gender, even the inbetween genders, (and at this point I’d prefer to point people out to writers like Kate Bornstein and Julia Serano about gender issues) but stating that they’re inherently sexist without showing how things are now or could be improved is a politically (and profit) motivated waste of time. That someone can post videos so shallow and dubious and get star treatment out of it shows how poorly understood both gaming is and how much a deeper discussion about characters and narrative is needed.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I thought lawyers were a commonly used divorce tactic.

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        Lawyers are not a tactic. Claiming that your spouse beat you in order to get the house and children is.

        A sadly all too common tactic.

        • Acorino says:

          oh good grief…

        • Blackseraph says:

          According to United States justice department 22% of women (also 7,4% of men) are physically abused by their spouse.

          So that is what is sadly all too common.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            My god, 22% That’s absolutely disgraceful. Now I want to look up the UK statistics, but I don’t want nightmares.

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            I see you’re wholly unfamiliar with divorce court. Sit in one sometime – it’s highly illuminating.

            Whenever there are children involved it’s a common claim. It’s been used against me wrongly, against my friend wrongly (and his children were taken from him), and against many of my co-workers. You’re guilty until proven innocent and no one takes your word seriously. There is a strong financial incentive to make this claim.

            One case that was ahead of me in court involved a lesbian couple – both represented by feminist-identified lawyers – where the birth mother was trying to ensure the other mother would not get visitation. She claimed abuse – and the non-birth mother had a number of papers from different psychologists and peace officers supporting her story. However she still did not get visitation. I understand this case later went before the state Supreme Court.

            I get so tired of people who haven’t lived through any of this making a determination on things they’ve read and try to fit into their world view. No one is pure and there is no black and white. Some people will stop at nothing to get their way – and claiming that it doesn’t happen is patently ridiculous.

        • Upper Class Twit says:

          Dude, if your spouse beats you, you’re probably the one that should have custody of the house and kids, because your spouse beating you kind of suggest that he might not be fit to look after those two things. It’s also a crime…

          Unless of course you’re suggesting that women often lie in court about their spouses beating them up to get those two things. In which case I don’t have any exact statistics on the issue, but i’m pretty sure you’re incorrect. You could do with some proper studies backing you up.

          Oh, thanks Blackseraph. There you go dude.

  26. Uncompetative says:

    I look forward to Part 2 of Anita Sarkeesian’s video with anticipation. Hopefully, RPS will promote it when it eventually appears. Although I don’t believe videogames are Art with a capital ‘A’, I am happy to watch an intelligent, well researched, examination of gender bias within the medium.

  27. Sander Bos says:

    “Thank you, Mario! But our Princess is in another castle!”

    Why? Because she escaped on her own. Great for woman empowerment, but not that rewarding for the player.

  28. Blackseraph says:

    I like Sarkeesian, she is also correct. Most of these things annoy me greatly as well since I am avid reader of tvtropes.

    I can’t help but think that some of these problems could be greatly reduced by just allowing you to choose your pcs gender, which I really can’t understand why this choice isn’t in every game already.

    Sure there are some established characters who really can’t do that, based on books and so on. But generally.

    • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

      Because it adds significant expense, especially in voice acting, and sometimes it makes no sense, like military games or historical games.

      • jalf says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure there were women in history too. They’re not exclusively a modern-day phenomenon.

        And of course it could all be a hoax, like the moon landing or the fact that the Earth is round, but I’m pretty sure that in most western countries, women are allowed to serve in the military too.

        Of course, if you make a game about a real-world male, a real person who actually exists/existed, and who is not female, then allowing the player to play as a woman might be stretching it a bit…. But in most games, the protagonist isn’t a historical character.

        • Delusibeta says:

          AFAIK women are (still) banned from the front line of any military activity in the US and UK armies. And in historical games, generally speaking we’ll be talking about knights which again women were barred from. So, yeah.

          • Upper Class Twit says:

            I thought women were just allowed into front line units in the U.S, like, two weeks ago or something.

          • Triplanetary says:

            First of all, the restriction on women in the US military serving in frontline units was recently lifted. Second, in an actual war, the distinction between “frontline units” and “non-combat units” tends to blur. The enemy doesn’t give a shit and they’re not going to refrain from attacking you just because you’re a “non-combat unit.” So women in combat theatres see combat all the time, whether or not they’re officially “allowed” to.

          • Chris D says:

            I think these women may have something to say about that. They breed them tough in Soviet Russia

        • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

          If you’re making a game about a special forces unit or medieval knights, and the game is semi-realistic then yes it’s unrealistic.

  29. durruti says:

    completely offtopic (but i need some help here):

    a friend of mine recently asked me about a game that’d start by your character (probably a “hacker”?) being involved in a car accident just to find himself in the sewers where the game basically takes place. it’s an fps, you start with (a lot of?) melee weapons like a lead pipe and the game vaguely resembles deus ex in that you can upgrade stuff and there are friendly npc’s down there with you, which involve some strange creatures. it reminded him of shadowrun, and it was supposed to have come out around the year 2000 (+/- 3/4 years).

    so i immediately recalled having read an article about that here on rps (i may be wrong, but i don’t know where else i could have read about it). anyway, i couldn’t remember its name and couldn’t find the article again via regular/tag search. so does that ring a bell for anyone happening to read comments on the sunday papers?

  30. Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

    @ Sarkeesian video

    Did anyone else make an internal “that’s what he said” joke when she said “Let’s jump right into the damsel in distress?”

    I thought it was a rather nifty subversion of setting up the de rigueur “that’s what she said” joke and switching it to the masculine version.

    Yup, that’s what I got from the video (disclaimer: It’s largely sensible, if a bit laboured at times and perhaps took too long to make its most telling points. It’s pretty much uncontroversial, which I’m sure is a big disappointment to everybody who had been looking forward to a whole ton of inflammatory nonsense as comments afterwards.)

    • bladedsmoke says:

      A good assessment. I think that you’re underestimating the vitriol and disagreement a lot of people still have for it, though, despite the uncontroversial and (to me) fairly self-evident content.

      • Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

        Perhaps I am, though judging in the comments in this thread and the forum thread I think the more vitriolic responses are in the minority and perhaps seem more prevalent than they are as they generate a bit more back and forth compared to posts that go “yeah that was alright wasn’t it?”

        Haven’t really ventured further out into the wilds of the rest of the internet where the most bile filled responses don’t get deleted by the likes of the fine Mr Jom Rissignol so my view may be skewed.

      • Premium User Badge cpt_freakout says:

        Isn’t the controversy elsewhere? What she says in that video is pretty evident to anyone with a brain. Sure, not everyone might find it evident, but I think the examples she used are VERY straightforward in their presentation of the trope, enough so that anyone who just thinks about it will find it clearly, without much effort.

        The controversy is with the comments thing, her track record, etc. etc. Still, I do think the quality of the content is pretty mediocre, as if she just made a bunch of notes and decided to make a video about it. I believe the video should be backed up with an essay, where we would be able to see sources, better overall arguments, and so on. I think that would be a better source of discussion than a short video pointing out the coincidences between the definition of the trope she uses and the narratives of the games she uses as examples. Why Mario? Why not Metroid too? What about the issue of Japanese western-ization? I think if she’d made an article about it before the video, the content would be better.

  31. Sander Bos says:

    From the post: “…a guiding principle of the internet, second only to the Roger Rabbit rule. Failing to understand these rules will radically reduce my charitableness.”

    So, I forgo the charitability of Jim Rossignol and have to ask: What is the Roger Rabbit rule?
    I know and adore the movie, have now attempted to google this rule (second link was porn, fourth link was to other RPS article mentioning the rule), but still have no idea what the rule is?

  32. ass wasp says:

    I really find it difficult to figure out what’s so ‘important’ about that anita lady saying the same things i’ve been saying about zelda for more than a decade.
    but whatever, if latching onto something like this makes you feel good who am i to complain.

    • gritz says:

      I just googled “Ass Wasp Zelda Feminism” and didn’t find much!

    • The Random One says:

      You should say it louder then, and with more panache.

  33. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Damsel in Distress is offensive because it’s cliche. I think the whole debate about it has moved us from attacking the true evil: Mediocrity

  34. Premium User Badge dangermouse76 says:

    And balance is restored to the gender debate.
    http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/10/4085700/father-hacks-donkey-kong-rom-for-daughter-to-save-mario-as-pauline

    Pauline rescues Mario.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      I forgot how I saw that (must have been some comment somewhere) but I think it’s wonderful. Good on that dad.

    • Dominic White says:

      Just don’t read the comments on the original Youtube video, because it’s filled with rampant sexism and hate and (predictably) screaming insults at Anita Sarkeesian despite her having nothing to do with it.

      • Premium User Badge dangermouse76 says:

        Never read you tube comments except the top ones as they are usually representative of the horror below. Although I did spend 6 months working on my photography work last year and got addicted to reading comments in general, as opposed to doing the editing I should of been doing.

        RPS aside ( mostly ) there is nothing of value that I would not get from having the same discussion with a real living physically present human being…….

        Someone I know and respect.

  35. Jason Moyer says:

    After 6 pages I haven’t seen anyone comment on the “music this week”, so I’ll just point out that watching Nostalghia with spanish subtitles is better than not watching Nostalghia at all.

    • Jade Raven says:

      I have only seen Stalker, but I would have to say it is a great film and really refreshing in that the scenes are nice and long – none of this cutting every second you find in many action films today.

      It also makes you think. There really should be a bit more philosophy in films.

      I’ve heard Solaris is also good.

      • destroy.all.monsters says:

        Solaris is amazing. The only other version that comes close is the Russian tv version.

        I’m a big fan even of Tarkovsky’s student films – amazing stuff.

  36. Muzman says:

    Things one can learn from the Sarkeesian reaction:

    Youtube comments are the symbol of all free speech on the internet. Without them the implication is that debate doesn’t exist (pamphleteers of old were of course all about 500 character limits)

    Games are simple, immature, slight, not very well written, archetypal, disposable, oftentimes irrelevant even. Any single video from a series using a feminist perspective, that covers some of the archetypes in their storytelling, largely for people unfamiliar with such ideas or games in general, must however feature PhD level analysis, footnoted and peer reviewed with counterpoints lest games be misrepresented. (no other sort of article or amazing atheist video for that matter has to do this, however)

    When a feminist criticises something it is imperative that she be ‘pleased’ by it in future. Since little is above criticism this is therefore impossible and things can stay as they are. (to put it another way; it is so important not to be sexist, but things are so sexist that the only action available is to move doing anything about sexism itself to the realm of the impossible so people can safely ignore feminists and relax again. This is of course and extremely emotional experience that must be rehashed at length).

    Similarly; Critical observation is not of value unless it contains concrete actionable plans for the removal of said observed things.

    It is vital that feminist video game videos have their accounting done publicly and crowd sourced, with guestimates of expense etc. To not do so is inviting criminal behaviour.

    Receiving flagrant verbal abuse out of all proportion to your meagre goals is only right. Telling people about it is only ever a cynical grab for sympathy and an unforgivable faux pas.

    Related: People donating money to feminist video fundraisers in the wake of torrents of abuse are only ever simple minded folk incapable of thinking for themselves and easily swayed by factual sob stories. It is up to white male gamers everywhere to stand up for these people and keep watch on those who would manipulate them, for the good of games and Justice.

    • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

      If you’re going to insist that games are worth PhD level analysis, then you should do PhD level analysis.

      Especially if you raise a crazy amount of money and all you do with that money is make YouTube videos.

      • Lanfranc says:

        A PhD would take three years to do. But people started complaining she was taking too long just a few months after the Kickstarter ended.

        There is literally no way to win this, is there?

        • destroy.all.monsters says:

          She’s already done a paper on it. Having an expectation that she’s going to do something more than just live off the money and do slightly more upscale videos doesn’t seem terribly unreasonable.

          The reason she “can’t win” is because what she’s doing is neither scholarly or particularly deep – she’s just agitating. Meanwhile folks like Elsa over at Destructoid have a much better grasp of both gaming and the tropes – and isn’t trying to bend the evidence to fit a desired outcome.

          • Premium User Badge Thirith says:

            Agitating? If that video is agitating, then people are pretty damn sensitive on the issue. She doesn’t attack people, she doesn’t condemn the games she talks about outright, she doesn’t demand that all of these tropes are banished onto the trash heap of history. What she does is describe and discuss.

            Seriously, judging from some people’s reactions you’d think she’s Andrea Dworkin laying into Ted Hughes.

          • Lanfranc says:

            People can expect whatever the hell they want. But she promised in the Kickstarter to make a series of videos, and that’s what she’s doing. As far as the level of analysis goes, it’s perfectly competent for an MA, which according to Wiki is what she is.

          • destroy.all.monsters says:

            lol I’m not equating Sarkeesian with Andrea Dworkin. I’m not just talking about one video but the body of her work. I’m surprised that’s not obvious. Wasn’t the fact that it was posted as “Feminist Frequency” a hint that this was advocacy?

            All I can say for the “mind your own business when it comes to the money” folks is I hope you’re so generous in attitude the next time you get fleeced. Three card Monte anyone?

          • Premium User Badge Thirith says:

            So advocacy = agitation? Either you know that there’s a difference, in which case you’re sloppy or disingenuous, or you don’t, in which case it’s difficult to take your (so far very vague) criticism of the video seriously.

            Video no. 1 is definitely not the height of incisive feminist critique of video game tropes, but I’m finding it difficult to reconcile it with what many of the critics here seem to think it is. It’s the starting point of a discussion of tropes with respect to gender, and as such I think it’s absolutely okay. I’ve yet to see particularly incisive criticism of why/how the video fails in its stated aims.

      • Metalfish says:

        That’s what people gave her money to do. That’s what she’s doing.

      • Muzman says:

        Her videos were always fairly introductory/rudimentry. They’re even aimed a non gamers to some extent. But everyone thinks its about them for some reason.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      “white male gamers everywhere to stand up for these people”

      Specifically white ones, eh?

    • theleif says:

      @Muzman: Gotta say you’re pretty much spot on.

  37. Saarlaender39 says:

    Interesting Video by Anita Sarkeesian.
    But I have to say I slightly disagree with one of her statements:

    “The North American release of Super Mario Brothers 2 in 1988 remains the only game in the core series in where Peach is not kidnapped and also the only game where she is a playable character.”

    If my memory doesn’t trick me, in “Super Paper Mario Wii”, you could play as Princess Peach as well.
    Though I have to admit, her mention of the words “in the core series”, might render my ramble on that point into rubbish.

    • Lemming says:

      ‘in the core series’ betrays her flimsy argument in the first place while simultaneously undermining her defenders who state that the videos are basic because ‘they aren’t just for gamers’.

      ‘in the core series’ wouldn’t be understood as a concept by anyone but gamers.

  38. Josh W says:

    About tomb raider, really glad I missed the advertising. My main reactions to the game were:

    This character is the anti Nathan Drake: Gets put in similar situations, really doesn’t enjoy it.

    If you look at this in terms of events, it’s mostly fairly similar to what would happen in an Uncharted game, except it’s taken with more focus on discomfort and less on sense of humour, all though wonder and exploration is strongly represented in both.

    Also “Lara, why do you keep using that bow in cutscenes! With all this wind around you should be using your pistol!”

    It’s a pretty good game all in all, though of course being me I wanted more options for non-lethal stealth! Yes, yes, realism and grittyness, now lara, craft something you can use to cosh people.

  39. po says:

    I think regarding her use of Nintendo (and to a lesser extent Sega) as her prime example, there’s one major point she’s missing.

    Japanese culture’s development when it comes to gender issues is seriously backward compared to that of the west. The damsel in distress trope remains a perfectly acceptable concept in that country, because to this day it is still expected of women that they will be obedient and subservient to men.

    I’m talking about a country where when you go to a bar, you should never pour your own drinks because that is the job of the waitress, where a housewife is expected to behave almost exactly like a ‘stepford wife’, having her husband’s supper ready for him when he gets home from work, and where the idea of male domination of women is so ingrained, that any westerner first seeing the reaction of a Japanese woman having sex, is “OMG why is she making those noises, is she in pain?”

    Seriously. We’re talking about a country where a widely accepted male sexual fantasy is rape (and I believe RPS has covered a game that was made to cater to that fantasy in the past), and where sexual assault on the subway is such a regular occurence that foreign, female travellers in Japan need to be warned about it.

    I’ll admit that there is still a considerable amount of sexism in games made in the west, but with Japan historically being the market leader for video gaming, and having such an appalling record when it comes to gender equality, surely that would have an effect on games produced elsewhere.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      Let me ask this. Is Sexism only in the games. or it is found in every kind of entertainment, movies, literature, art, and everything else.

      Games are not any different from those.

      • GrassyGnoll says:

        There are also feminist movies, feminist literature and feminist art, where are the feminist games?

  40. Tasloi says:

    I don’t see a problem with the damsel in distress trope itself. Has it been overused? Sure. Is she making alot of broad assumptions about the intent & effect of the trope? Arguably, yeah.

    If she really believes it’s as harmful as she lays out in the last 4 minutes of the video then I don’t see how you can enjoy, love or support games like this (which she says she does). The one foot in, one foot out stance is simply untenable here.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Thank you.

    • newprince says:

      What? She is saying it’s entirely possible to disagree fundamentally with the message or what a game is relying on while enjoying the gameplay. This shouldn’t be a new concept to you if you are a gamer. The thing is, there is no longer any reason to implement the trope anymore. Any argument about how limited tech was, cultural differences in East vs. West etc. are all moot now. So why keep doing it?

      • Tasloi says:

        “The reality is that this trope is being used in a real-world context where backwards sexist attitudes are already rampant.”

        “But it’s undeniable that popular culture is a powerful influence in our lives and the Damsel in Distress trope as a recurring trend does help to normalize extremely toxic, patronizing and paternalistic attitudes about women.”

        To really believe this and still enjoy, love and support games perpetuating it is… well I don’t know an appropriate word for it but it’s bizarre at the very least. I’ve had some problems with videogames like bad story dialogue or whatever but nothing that comes close to being this profound. If I did there is no way I would or could feel positive about the games in question.

  41. walldad says:

    The people threatening Anita Sarkeesian over her opinions were pretty much scum. It’s a ubiquitous scum on the internet that no one should have to put up with. However, that does not situate her positions or how they’re presented above criticism or rational debate.

    Now that she’s finally delivered — 6 months past the deadline she set for herself — her treatment of the subject comes off didactic and somewhat shallow. She seems awkward and stilted in front of the camera, and doesn’t have much to say about the topic that anyone with a cursory familiarity with feminism or misogynist tropes couldn’t figure out.

    If you look at the page for “Damsel in Distress” on TVTropes, the examples she speaks of at length are all there. Note that TVTropes is left uncredited.

    I’m critical because this topic actually means something to me. If games are going to grow up and be more inclusive (and “mature” — as loaded a term as that is), people have to be willing to put in more effort than lifting a TVtropes article. Gaming deserves a more nuanced and original treatment of the topic, not a pat on the back for passing blog feminism 101.

    So I have to ask: who is this for? The people who need to hear what she has to say the most are already galvanized against her, and the people who are familiar with what she’s saying are already equipped with the critical tools to dissect popular media on their own.

    I realize people mostly donated to her out of spite for some truly reprehensible threats, but that pretty much makes my case for me. Circling the wagons isn’t worth $160,000.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      I’m curious in what why gaming needs to grow up. When i look at movies, and literature, and art. I see the same things in them, that I see in games.

      • walldad says:

        I think gaming has two major problems – First, its storytelling devices often fail to utilize the medium effectively – they are told obtrusively through weak tidbits of cinema all too often. Second, the stories come up short on having much interpretive depth at all. The latter is kind of a contentious thing (some people don’t see the need for it) and there are the odd exceptional games that have something to say. That’s all tangential to what I’m saying here.

        Obviously sexist (and racist/classist/homophobic) attitudes are culturally pervasive and work their way into almost every bit of popular entertainment, so games really aren’t being singled out except in the sense that this is a site that discusses games.

        • newprince says:

          I think games merit special attention because games can create a world so unlike our own. The Mushroom Kingdom is fundamentally different from our own. So importing such obvious tropes like that seems silly and unecessary. This is why people think gaming needs to ‘grow up’. Excusing it because other media does it is being an apologist.

          • Hug_dealer says:

            Literature, and movies have created things entirely unlike our world also.

          • walldad says:

            I’m not apologizing for anything. I’m saying that this is a site about games, therefore discussing the ways in which games communicate and amplify oppressive attitudes that pervade society as a whole is 100% warranted. Let me be unequivocal: I think games should not continue doing this.

            And no, using the so called “nerd media” as a point of reference, video games aren’t an exceptional case.

  42. newprince says:

    The whole thing is rather silly. People will come up with any excuse to not debate the actual content of the Women vs Tropes video. I don’t care if you don’t like the lighting or her personal delivery or if she got X amount of dollars to make it: can you actually dispute her assertions? I cannot. The damsel in distress trope is silly and needs to go. Do you not agree? How do you intelleigently defend that position?

    Simple, and much easier on your blood pressure.

    • Siamese Almeida says:

      Agreed. What we have here is a case of a relative non-issue. It’s not exactly a non-issue per se, but rather in direct comparison to the amount of fucking drama that came as a result. I’m pretty sure that at this point, Anita herself cares less of this issue than her hateclub does.

      I mean, let’s state the obvious. This isn’t really about how women are represented in video games, it’s about women daring speak about how they’re represented. Nobody really cares about the issue at hand. 4chanites and their ilk are passive-aggressive dipshits who feel like somebody is intruding on “their territory”. They feel like Anita is an outsider who cares more about her agenda than video games themselves. They could be right and they could be wrong — but let me tell you one thing. There *are* more important things than video games, so if somebody sees it fit to trespass into these dens of autism and perma-virginity with something alien, good on them. Good on the /v/-dwelling turdlet who got his rare exposure to the world outside of video games and had his opinion challenged. Yeah, he likely won’t change one bit, but at least in being provoked, he’ll reveal himself for what he really is and hopefully drive others away from him.

      I personally couldn’t care less about tropes in consumer media and I think they’re representative of the audience rather than the developers. Nothing Anita or anyone else says or does will magically change who the target audience is and how that audience is pandered to.

      I mean, sure, I’d love to see all this effort put into something actually constructive rather than a huge shitfest about the entertainment industry, but I think it’s been an educational experience. We’ve learned that putting an opinionated woman in the midst of hormonally disbalanced children and manchildren can yield more response than any single video game could hope to. With that in mind, feminists and other social activists can safely disregard this entire audience as the kind of people who will ever make a meaningful impact on the world and move on to pestering somebody who actually matters.

    • Tasloi says:

      @newprince “The damsel in distress trope is silly and needs to go. Do you not agree? How do you intelleigently defend that position?”

      Maybe you should ask Sarkeesian herself. Here’s what she says at around 21:54 “Just to be clear, I am not saying that all games using the damsel in distress as a plot device are automatically sexist or have no value.” Of course she proceeds to semi-/entirely negate it in the next sentence but I’d still like to hear her answer.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      “The damsel in distress trope is silly and needs to go.”

      Needs to go? Completely? That would mean every time writing calls for a character to be captured and needs to be rescued, the character would be required to be male.

      • The Random One says:

        Not necessarily; part of the trope, as defined here, is that the woman’s kidnapping happens solely for the benefit of the male main character, not for the character advancement of the female kidnapped character.

        For instance, there’s a Paper Mario game in which you take turns controlling Mario and controlling Peach as she tries to escape. That’s a subversion of the trope.
        And there was the N64 Mission Impossible game, in which a female character was shown as competent and combat-capable. At one point, she helps you move across electrified floors. A guy runs over to kidnap her, and she spin kicks him in the face. Another moves directly forward… and immobilizes her by grabbing her upper arm. That’s the trope.

  43. Leonard H. Martin says:

    Regarding the women vs tropes video:

    Are damsels in distress over used as motivators in video games? Quite possibly. Is it necessarily a bad motivation? I’m saying no. I’d suggest that wanting to protect somebody you have an emotional attachment to is an essentially human characteristic and one that is quite different to retrieving stolen property (objects).

    • Chris D says:

      The motivation isn’t the problem though, it’s the repeated portrayal of women as passive objects rather than as active agents in their own right.

    • Sander Bos says:

      I fully agree.
      The finding true love story arc is very simple and very universally recognizable. And it also works very well in games that represent a journey, as a cause for making that journey.
      And if true love finds/ saves you, then what do I the player do in that game, wait at the start of the game till he/ she shows up?

      If I look at my Steam catalog I see two other story lines besides finding true love that show up again and again:
      1) Kill bad guys (person?) to make world a safer place. But that’s not a very nice story, if targeted at kids.
      2) Make loads and loads of money. Yes, free to play games are here to safe the day. No longer is it the goal to help others, only to help yourself to buy more stuff.

      I watched the video, thinking I would hate it, but actually agreeing with most of what she said. But what I think she overlooked is the need for a simple story line that goes well with computer games, and that that is an important reason for damsels in distress to be there. Very lazy, and imprinting a very wrong idea, but really par for the course in computer game writing (never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by computer game writing laziness).

      • Chris D says:

        But you can use love as a motivation without having to portray the person you love as helpless.

        Edit: Sure, I’d attribute most, if not all, of these examples to laziness rather than malice but that doesn’t actually make them any less damaging. Nor is lazy writing in games something that I think anybody wants to defend.

        • Sander Bos says:

          I think you and I are mostly in agreement.
          But the essence for me is if the true love target does not need help, then why I am there, killing all those defenseless turtles.
          You can add more nuance, but there was not a lot of memory for nuance in the eighties (there is now, see what I said earlier about laziness).

          • Chris D says:

            Needing help doesn’t have to mean someone is helpless though. Maybe they’re a general desperately holding off a much larger foe with a handful of soldiers and you’re bringing much needed reinforcements. Or perhaps they’re battling the dark lord, trying to buy you time while you throw the one ring into Mount Doom. (That ones a freebie for the Lord of the Rings slash fic’ers) They might be the governor of the city and you’re bringing them warning of an assassination plot. Anything that doesn’t just portray them as sitting around waiting to be rescued. I’ll admit none of those are particularly original or great writing but I think they are all better than “This time you have to rescue the princess from the tower. Again.”

    • BarneyL says:

      The issue isn’t that the stories revolve around a rescue it’s that in almost every case the weak character who can’t do a thing for themselves and needs to be rescued is a woman and the strong capable character who does the rescuing is a man.

  44. gulag says:

    Rob Florence writes a riveting piece on the new Tomb Raider game, and it’s reinvention of the most recognisable woman in games. Sarkeesian rehashes a tired old line of debate without adding anything to the mix, and relying on a bunch of old footage collected from the cutting room floor of gamings past to pad out a statement of the boringly obvious.

    One of these is a brilliant and engaging writer, covering thorny issues of feminism and sexuality in the ninth art. The other one is Anita.

    • molten_tofu says:

      Yeah all those people who posted all those vicious reactionary things all over the internet were most angry because she had nothing new to say.

      In fact, I bet they weren’t people at all, just rogue links insultgenerator.org generated by a bored spam bot written by a sleepy hacker.

      *yawn*

  45. geldonyetich says:

    I disagree with the Roguelike article for going on and on about how hard ADOM is – it’s actually one of the more accommodating Roguelikes, or at least it was when I last played it. Frankly, his treatment of Thomas Biskup’s masterpiece is just a tad overly demeaning considering, in my opinion, it’s one of the better roguelikes that ever was.

    I also disagree with the assessment that Crawl is an “intermediate” hard roguelike, because my experience with it is that it’s about as hard as Roguelikes get without being parodies: it was created under the design goal to be Nethack without any exploits to escape the difficulty to. Granted, there are a few power combinations of race/class (e.g. Troll Monks), but in over 150 runs I’ve only six characters to get over 1,000 points, and that’s barely a quarter way into the dungeon.

    But I’m overall glad to see coverage of Roguelikes in general. In fact, that article got me interested in wanting to give the Cataclysm roguelike a play, because I like the sound of developing an utterly badass zombie slayer.

    • Dominic White says:

      Crawl is hard to master, but easy to learn thanks to generous tutorial modes, in-game hints, useful documentation, etc. ADOM is cruel and sadistic and the only way to learn even the basics is through suffering.

      The former, anyone can jump into. The latter is pretty much safe only for those with genre experience.

    • The Random One says:

      I think Crawl is not considered a hard game because it’s fair. I don’t think I’ve ever died in Crawl in a way I didn’t think was my fault. In NetHack, running into an out-of-depth monster or not having a certain elemental resistance when you should is suicide.

  46. Jade Raven says:

    On Tropes Vs Women:

    I watched it through and kept waiting for something to come up, something to be mentioned, but it never did. That thing was computer games. I just don’t see this as very relevant to me because it only covers arcade and console games, which I don’t play and furthermore actively dislike in general.

    It could be that because this whole episode seemed to focus on the eighties and PC games didn’t seem to be a big thing back then. Perhaps computer games will make an appearance in the next episode that is going to deal with more relevant/recent games, but it does not seem that way from what I’ve seen. I’ll watch the next episode, but if things continue like this I wont be watching any more.

    Perhaps the issues Anita discusses don’t even apply to computer games! I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but there must be some out there. That’s what I came to see, not attacks against sexism in the eighties. And that’s what Nintendo is by the way, just a company that has never moved on. It’s just focused on improving and delivering the best of gaming experiences from the eighties.

    Why can’t Anita take on something that’s actually difficult. Criticising Nintendo and arcade games is just too easy. Little insight is produced – although I did get a few laughs at some of the over-the-top misogynistic marketing.

    TL;DR: I really hope the next part is better. This wasn’t relevant for me because I already dislike/don’t play consoles and arcades in general.

  47. Premium User Badge oceanclub says:

    Almost 500 comments to this article; without reading the article itself, I guessed correctly that it’s mainly ranting dickless misogynists who can’t handle uppity women.

    P.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I trust you’ve just finished reading all 500 comments then, huh?

      edit: already gazumped by the follow-up, but for what it’s worth, I observe that you aren’t immune to a little casual misogyny yourself by resorting to effeminizing those you disagree with, as if the lack of a penis is inherently a bad thing.

      • gritz says:

        Hey thanks for the dictionary link! It really hammered home your point.

    • dE says:

      That’s how you do satire. It pulls all the triggers, not having read anything, drops the relevant buzzwords, sweeping generalisations, looks quite a bit confused about itself but insists on a broad satirical statement. I mean, just look at it “dickless misogynists”, pure art. Questioning sexuality, insisting that in fact every commenter is either biologically female or asexual (lack of a dick) and that they can’t “handle” women out of a hatred towards women. Freud would have a field day.

      I give this a 4 out of 5 arbitrary points. I need to substract one point, because you wrote mainly instead of manly and handle over mandle.

  48. sophof says:

    The whole Sarkeesian thing is taking on religious proportions, something that has been visible on this site for a while as well. It has absolutely nothing to do with discussion or improving things and it is not meant to. And as always, extremist feed of extremists, making everything actually worse…

  49. bladedsmoke says:

    It’s amazing the number of people who resent being asked to think about games in an even slightly critical way. This is why games are being stuck with this representation as an infantile medium; no kind of media can grow surrounded by this kind of toxic resistance to self-analysis.