The Sunday Papers

By John Walker on September 29th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Sundays are for rest. By which I mean playing the rest of the games you meant to get around to this week.

  • This is one of the best pieces on the state of gaming I’ve read in a long time. Helen Lewis explains why she can still enjoy games while identifying them as problemetic. “If we rejected every creative work that is in some way “problematic”, the canonical cupboard would be bare.” Just, you know, don’t read the comments.
  • Talking of not reading the comments, aged science magazine Popular Science has decided to switch off the comments from their website. The reason? Science. “But even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story, recent research suggests… If you carry out those results to their logical end–commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded–you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch.”
  • Paradox are a bunch of weirdos. Damned refreshing weirdos. That’s my takeaway message from Paul Dean’s Eurogamer piece on the peculiarities of the publisher/developer. ‘”Why lie to people?” he asks, as if the idea is incredulous. “People are always going to find out if you lie, always. In the long run, if you keep lying, if you keep hiding stuff, people will find out.”‘
  • Jacqueline Cottrell of The Jace Hall Show thought it might be an idea to speak to women in the US armed forces about how they feel about their portrayal in videogames. “In my time serving, you always come across new recruits who think they can actually serve just because they play shooting games at home “all the time”. These same recruits never make it past their second week of basic.”
  • $20 million. That’s how much Chris Roberts has raised so far for Star Citizen. He explains to Gama’s Christian Nutt how he achieved this, and why this means he’s avoiding publishers. “People have always been like, ‘We want you to come back and do it,’ but it’s always like, then you become part of the machine again. So I was always wanting to do this, but I want to do it on my own terms.”
  • Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is pretty gruesome. But not nearly as gruesome as some of the scenes that were cut. Killscreen’s Jason Johnson spoke to writer Dan Pinchbeck to learn what didn’t make it in. “There was a pig fucking a dead body. The problem was it just looked like the pig was raping someone.”
  • I’m so glad someone wrote this story. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier spoke to former LucasArts employees over five months to learn why and how the company fell apart. It’s a superb piece, revealing the failure of management, and weirdly, the dysfunctional interference of George Lucas himself. “One of the problems of working in a film company—[Lucas] is used to being able to change his mind,” said one source. “He didn’t really have a capacity for understanding how damaging and difficult to deal with these changes were.”

Some music? I’m seeing The Mountain Goats in a week, so I feel it’s only appropriate to link back to a favourite.

__________________

« | »

.

230 Comments »

  1. Bull0 says:

    Chris Roberts has made $20m for Star Citizen, so now I judge that to officially be Enough Money and the game should now be free on steam. That’s how it works, right?

    • Jenks says:

      I’m sure whatever point it is you’re trying to make is wrong.

    • The Random One says:

      Are you a Judge Of How Much Money Is Enough Money? Because if you are, your petition can still be overturned at the Third Highest Court Of There Is No Way This Costs That Much Man.

      • lasikbear says:

        I don’t know, the Shut Up You’re Just Jealous Why Don’t You Raise More Money Clause of the 2013 Definitely Qualified to State This Opinion Stature might sway the courts opinion

    • Urthman says:

      That’s what Rockstar did. As soon as they took in $20 million, they started giving away GTAV for free, right?

  2. mouton says:

    I can wholly empathize with Popular Science. Internet comments have their place, but I think we can all agree they tend to be a liiittle skewed and not that compatible with, you know, reason.

    • AngoraFish says:

      One of the main problems is people, like me, who are inclined to tab straight to the comments for the pithy summary rather than taking the time to read the complete, well-reasoned main article.

      • Bull0 says:

        I do this on the BBC all the time.

      • newc0253 says:

        Sorry but if you are so afraid of how your story will be perceived as a result of the comments section, then your story isn’t as strong as you think it is. ‘Science’ is not the same as ‘there is one true, objective way to interpret the story and I can’t cope if you disagree’.

        I get that there are a lot of crazy people out there and they are disproportionately vocal, but the answer to speech is always more speech. Truth wins out by discussion and the free and open exchange of ideas, not by sticking your hands in your ears going ‘lalala not listening’.

        • AngoraFish says:

          Tell that to Rupert Murdoch…

          edit, to preempt the inevitable misunderstanding: disproportionately prevalent extreme voices can indeed have a disproportionate influence. Think the climate change debate. The average human being does not have the capacity, nor the time, to consistently filter fact from fiction with respect to issues that have no direct and immediate impact on their own lives.

          • newc0253 says:

            So you will patronizingly take the upper hand and decide for them?

            Yes, that sounds like the scientific process to me. Also very democratic, by the by.

          • AngoraFish says:

            I’m pretty sure that you are conflating the ‘scientific process’ with something entirely unrelated, but regardless… I’m happy with our periodic, representative version of democracy where delegates, at their discretion, can make decisions on the merits of an issue with the assistance of expert, professional advice instead of opinion polling or paying lip-service to every crackpot theory doing the rounds.

            I’m also comfortable with crackpots having to provide their own forums to discuss their own ideas. I don’t think anyone should feel any particular obligation to provide them with one.

            Ultimately, I quite like evidence, science and logic as a basis for rational debate over the need to thoroughly debunk every hysterical, schizophrenic brain vomit and/or corporate astroturf campaign.

          • jalf says:

            So you will patronizingly take the upper hand and decide for them?

            Yes, that sounds like the scientific process to me. Also very democratic, by the by.

            What? Since when did “the scientific process” include a clause about “everyone gets to make up their own minds about what is true”?

            I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but the thing about science is that there are some things that are true, and some things that are not true, and being loud about your point of view does not make it more correct.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Not really the point of the article – it’s talking about rhetoric and subconscious judgements affecting the perception of the story, not the logical argument of the piece.

          EDIT: (Something stupid edited out for clarity)

          • newc0253 says:

            So scientific arguments can’t cope with rhetoric and subconscious bias?

            Wow. Just wow.

            As for ‘attack on free speech’, those are your words, not mine. A site is well within its legal rights to switch off comments as it sees fit. We’re debating whether it is better for it to do so, and the best way to arrive at the truth.

            So giggle away.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Ah, I’m very sorry, I’m tired and read the word free and speech on different lines. I am a twat. (I’ve read the argument a few too many times and have developed a reflexive hatred for it, but sure, you’re not arguing that).

          • Gap Gen says:

            As for the science thing, that’s not the point of the article as I read it. Science may (depending on your reading of how scientific method works in practice) not be a rhetorical exercise, but public policy absolutely is, and it’s the latter that Pop Sci seem to be concerned about. After all, Pop Sci isn’t a research journal, and doesn’t have any input into research itself, merely reporting on it in the public sphere.

          • jalf says:

            So scientific arguments can’t cope with rhetoric and subconscious bias?

            Science copes just fine. But science has also shown how easily people pick up and run with wrong ideas.

            Heck, look at global warming. The scientific part of the argument is settled, and has on the whole been undisputed for a decade. But because individual idiots pick the phrases they heard at the pub (or in the comments) and run with them, and because people who are wrong shout just as loudly as those who are right, you get 50% of the population believing it to be a conspiracy by Greenpeace to somehow… I don’t even know.

            In science, truth does not win out by discussion. truth wins out by being tested and by not being proven false. Such scientific experiments are very rarely carried out in internet comments.

            But when people, such as you, are determined that if I argue hard enough, then my point if view will become correct, then you’ve taken all the science out of the equation. Then it is no longer about finding the truth, it is about being heard, and about being allowed to be wrong.

            We’re debating whether it is better for it to do so, and the best way to arrive at the truth.

            Personally, I believe that the best way to arrive at the truth is to carry out science: observe the world, form hypotheses, *test* your hypotheses, publish your results, rinse and repeat.

            Are you arguing that internet comments play a large role in how to arrive at the truth? Imagine all the money that has been wasted building big laboratories and fancy instruments for measuring and examining and testing the world, which could have been saved if scientists would just read the comments.

            (On a more serious note, I am pretty sure that Popular Science never intended or expected their comment section to be a tool for finding the truth. As such the burden of proof is on you to show that the comments actually had any relevance whatsoever to the scientific process. Because I’m pretty sure everyone else sees them as a tool of communication: a way for readers of the article to express their thoughts, ask questions and discuss the subject matter at hand — not as a means for scientists to finally pin down that damn truth which keeps escaping their grasp.

          • Randomer says:

            Beautifully put, jalf.

        • thedosbox says:

          “Truth wins out by discussion and the free and open exchange of ideas”

          Hence they provide a platform for such discussion on facebook and other social media.

          • Seraphithan says:

            Truth wins out by clobbering you over the head with a heap of evidence the size of Mt. Everrest and even then you will still have holdouts.

            With most people discussion will only lead to them incorporating the new information in their worldview in such a way that they don’t actually have to adapt to it at all.

        • Muzman says:

          This is that argument where we didn’t have a free exchange of ideas before the internet. Even though we did.

          As much as the lofty ideal sounds great, providing a comment platform is like handing the tools of disinformation to the dedicated cranks all to often (the climate change example is a good one. Anti-feminism another). This is the age of spam, where specious ideas can be blurted out by the millions before anyone could assemble the time and dedication to unpack them.
          It’s fairly easy to see why shutting these things down makes sense at this point.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I am sadly old enough to have grown up without the internet. As an adult with internet access I have hugely profited from the ease of access to new ideas.

            That being said Popular Science can do whatever they like with their website and given the reasons they give for shutting off comments its hard not to sympathize. Trolling and astroturfing are difficult problems to solve and given the politics and economics surrounding Climate Change they are always going to be hit pretty hard.

            Ive seen a lot of silly comment saying that this means comment in general should be switched off. All this means is that either you dont like disagreement or your moderation policy has failed.

            Ive no idea what that has to do with feminism though. Misogynist trolls are certainly a problem on the web but there are enough reasonable complaints to be made against feminism that its a little precious to conflate the two.

        • PikaBot says:

          A commitment to discussion and the free and open exchange of ideas does not mean an obligation to allow any yahoo with an Internet connection and an opinion to attach their asinine thoughts as a rider to your work.

        • TaylanK says:

          Ok, where to begin…

          “So scientific arguments can’t cope with rhetoric and subconscious bias?”

          Could you be confusing PopSci with a peer reviewed scientific journal? You realize their job is not to present waterproof scientific arguments, but to turn daily science news into a format consumable by the average layperson, right? The average layperson != scientist peers.

          It surprises me that anyone who has spent more than a few minutes on any internet forum can still hope that an argument can be won with reason and facts alone. Here’s the thing: a discussion on science with facts and reason only goes anywhere as long as all parties involved in the discussion are committed to scientific thought, method, and analysis. Otherwise, watch US politics for a bit to see where those discussions end up.

          Or wait, better idea! Imagine this setup: invite anyone religious into a scientific debate about the existence of god: if you fail to convince them with your facts and arguments, they get to kick you in the nuts (assuming you have them) as hard as they can. Should be a piece of cake, right?

    • dangermouse76 says:

      I have now come to the point where this site is the only one where I actively read the comments. But then I don’t usually try to engage in debate on the internet, I am either crap at it or have found it not very edifying. Mostly though I have found it easier to have discussions about life the universe and everything with people I can see face to face.

      • AngoraFish says:

        I’ll just leave this here: http://xkcd.com/386/

        • dangermouse76 says:

          So true so true. I get lost when the ” conversation ” spirals into the semantics of the meaning of the words two people are using to discuss what they are discussing. It makes my brain hurt to read.

          Also this ones quite funny.
          http://www.shoeboxblog.com/?p=9843

          • BooleanBob says:

            I think you’ll find, sir, that Semantics Tennis – the internet’s national sport – is one of the most genteel and refined pastimes going. But then it’s possible you’re not using ‘discuss’ in a strictly correct sense of the word, which both belies your ignorance on the subject and makes it more understandable.

          • dangermouse76 says:

            And there it is ” ingnorance ” insults. With no real explanation. Thanks.
            Edit: Shit are you being sarcastic, or trolling me or something if not above sentence applies.

          • BooleanBob says:

            I’d love to reassure you that I was speaking entirely in jest, but I worry I’d be stumbling into a reverse-troll trap if I were to do so. These games we play!

          • dangermouse76 says:

            It’s Sunday that’s all I have to say.Good day to you Sir.

    • rei says:

      Science articles in particular tend to draw out the crackpots with zero formal education sharing their wild fantasies and trying to pass them off as fact, and there’s enough scientific ignorance around without giving them a soapbox, so that’s something I can get behind.

      • cpmartins says:

        That is, in fact, the case in Popular Science. I read a lot from there and to me, it always goes like this:
        “Ok, I’m done with the science, now to the crazy-tinfoil-hat-wearing-free-energy-wackos section for some entertainment!”

    • Gap Gen says:

      Dude, you’re signing your own commenting death-warrant! Think before you post!

      • mouton says:

        I wouldn’t have a problem if comments disappeared from the internet entirely. I would just revert to screaming at people on the street.

    • Rhodokasaurus says:

      I’m glad someone respectable finally did this. Internet comments tend to drag down things that are meaningful and improve things that are shitty. We don’t need to know what 12-year-old boys, jobless man-children and sad, lonely trolls think about every damn thing on the planet.

    • Tasloi says:

      The dangers of allowing a wide variety of comments vs the dangers of restricting it. I’ve always had a favorable attitude towards internet comments as a reflection of people warts and all. There are some sites I frequent solely for the comments as the comedic value is often through the roof. I can see how for people with grand ideals, etc. alot of those comments would probably be more of a blight than anything else though.

  3. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I didn’t know US folk used the word “Bollocks”. All of a sudden I have a new fondness for the american military.

  4. Henson says:

    So many articles, and yet all I can think about is that there is actually someone out there named Christian Nutt. It tickles me pink.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Pun intended?

    • alantwelve says:

      I was reading some German press online last week and one of the papers (Die Welt maybe, doesn’t really matter) had their coverage of the Kenyan shopping centre terrorism written by someone called Christian Putsch, which is surely an example of the famously dry German wit..?

  5. Theon says:

    And as always, it’s not the fact that war is depicted as fun and entertainment that is the issue – no, the problem is that females are not a part of that skewed and deranged portrayal.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Perhaps gender inequality and skewed depictions of violence aren’t completely unrelated?

      • Theon says:

        Then maybe embedding a representation of femininity in the fantasy violence is the wrong way to go?
        If you’re implying (as I assume you are) that the focus on a male consumer base has lead to a focus on violence?

        Violence in itself isn’t my main issue here, though it certainly seems a more interesting question than the gender of pixels. What I find appalling is that so many games (CoD and the like) seem intent on portraying real wars in the contemporary world – making them seem fun and prestigious. Quake had crazy amounts of blood and flying limbs, but it was all in a very seperate universe and (non)reality. Unreal made it its very title.
        Real murder should not be used as plain entertainment without a wee bit of distancing, in my opinion.
        Another problem with these military shooters is that they all build (and build upon) a cultural bias for one side in all conflicts – namely the honorable no-man-left-behind murikans (white, black and hispanic) against evil Russians, Arabs and Asians, whom are all depicted as silly, dumb and crude, completing the goblin stereotype with a silly accent or some unintelligible “ugh-bugh, vodkah alluh akhbarr”.

        • AngoraFish says:

          For the vast majority of humanity, murder can only be made palatable by dehumanising the ‘other’. As you say, unreal. Address dehumanisation and you pull the rug out from the rationale for violence. You have the problem the wrong way around – violence is only a symptom, not the problem itself. Sexism, racism, etc. are all different sides of the same coin.

          • Theon says:

            I’m not quite sure I’m following your reasoning here.
            Violence is not the the sickness of humanity, it is the dehumanisation of “the other”?
            Isn’t violence towards this “other” in itself an instrument of dehumanisation?
            Are you saying that violence is somehow justifiable as long as it’s done in a way
            that (somehow) doesn’t dehumanize the opposing party?

            I can certainly see violence has having a stronger narrative impact if the one on
            the recieving end is someone you can relate to, but does this in itself excuse
            violence as the main dish of the entertainment-package?

          • AngoraFish says:

            I’m not quite sure I’m following your reasoning here. Violence is not the the sickness of humanity, it is the dehumanisation of “the other”?
            Violence is a symptom of dehumanisation, not the cause.

            Isn’t violence towards this “other” in itself an instrument of dehumanisation?
            No, dehumanisation has occurred prior, or the violence would be impossible for most non-sociopathic humans to rationalise.

            Are you saying that violence is somehow justifiable as long as it’s done in a way that (somehow) doesn’t dehumanize the opposing party?
            No. You may be reading polar opposition into my comments when I am simply attempting to contribute some nuance that may assist to get closer to the nub of your objection. Or not.

          • Theon says:

            @AngoraFish
            That is an interesting opinion, but I don’t agree.
            I’ll just refer to my own experience, although anectodal:
            When I first played a shooting game (it was some James Bond game on the PS1), I became physically ill from deliberately shooting at and with intent killing what I perceived as living beings. I had not prior to this dehumanized my enemy, but after a day with disgust all the way up my throat, I was desentizised. From that day on, I’ve been able to enjoy (or brush off) any violence video games have managed to present me with it.

            Similarily, most human beings feel disgusted by killing animals, if they have never done it before – the actual act of slaying is what dehumanizes the animal for the killer, and makes him/her manage to kill in the future without the same reactions.

          • AngoraFish says:

            Most people would not kill at their own initiative. In the military, for example, there is a sophisticated indoctrination and conditioning regime, based on years of research, before a weapon is fired.

            I would suggest that your computer game experience is a very early step in the process of desensitisation. You are already aware that this is a simulation, and therefore it’s more or less easy to rationalise pushing yourself through any discomfort because you know that these aren’t actually real people. Hell, the US-Army produced PC game “America’s Army” is designed implicitly for this purpose.

            Apologies that I don’t have time to provide a more extensive review of the credible literature, but see for example: http://www.killology.com/art_trained_killing.htm
            Only a small percentage of soldiers are able and willing to participate …. when the military became aware of that, they systematically went about the process of trying to fix this “problem.” From the military perspective, a 15 percent firing rate among riflemen is like a 15 percent literacy rate among librarians …. By the Korean War, around 55 percent of the soldiers were willing to fire to kill. And by Vietnam, the rate rose to over 90 percent.

          • Theon says:

            I know of this military phenomenon of which you speak. I’ve heard that almost none of the combatants of WW1 actually managed to shoot at their enemies, and that since exchanging the round targets for human sillouettes, this wasn’t really an issue any longer in WW2. Conditioning and third-party urging is without a doubt important; I myself was surrounded by friends when I first touched that shooting game, and the group mentality inherit in such a situation should be enough explanation as to why I pushed myself to go through with it.
            Yet, it seems to me that it is only your first-hand, personal action that can really condition you – only being told that “this isn’t human” does not suffice. It didn’t in my case (despite my actual KNOWLEDGE that the targets were not human), and it didn’t for the soldiers of WW1.

          • Theon says:

            But all this just adds up to a discussion about a more sinister bias for games like CoD. A discussion I’d enjoy seeing much more of than petty demands for polygonal tits and higher voice registers.

          • AngoraFish says:

            To finish where the discussion started, women/Arabs/etc. are at an implicit disadvantage as most PC-shooters begin with the assumption that these groups are not us.

            Humanising disadvantaged groups by better integrating them as a normal, equal, human parts of the game world, at least, add one small counterpoint to attitudes that make these groups more susceptible to hate crimes and discrimination in real life.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Video games deal in fantasy and like it or not, a common fantasy is to be a war hero. Seems that only men are allowed to make-believe that fantasy in a video game though.

      • Theon says:

        I haven’t heard of any laws forbidding women in (any part of the developed world) from enjoying any games they want.
        That the character isn’t modelled after a stock concept of “female” shouldn’t be an issue. Imagine being angry because you can’t read your favourite book as a man, because the protagonist is female.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          And if nearly every books protagonist was a male? And women asking for a few more female protagonists or books written by females were given the arguments found in gaming?

          EDIT: Also, where did you pluck the word “angry” from, and why use it here?

          • Theon says:

            I’d argue that that is not the case with video games – out of those with a strong narrative, comparatively many make use of female characters.
            I’d also say that anyone who wants media of this or that kind, should go about making it themselves, instead of complaining about other people’s artistic visions. You shouldn’t be able to MAKE an artist make a product tailored to your wants, instead, all works of fiction ought to be approached with quizzical openness. It’s not at the viewer’s discretion to make alterations to the work of an artist.

            But then again, who are we kidding? Games aren’t art – they’re simple, mind-numbing things that should only be made for the sake of maximizing profit, and all design choices should follow what the business people say will garner the most gold from the gullible masses, right?
            Well, if we follow that logic, and assume that the industry has fallen into a male pattern because the majority of the consumers are male, that would pretty much exclude any female objections whatsoever.

            Again, the only conclusion I see for people who feel that there is a lack of female portrayals in the digital interactive media, is that they should make their own stuff.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Unfortunately, while I used to make games, I now no longer work in the industry because of the simple problem that me wanting children made me unemployable. Even when I did work in the industry at a project lead level, I was not allowed to make the game that I wanted to make. I had to have my ideas signed off by men. I suppose I could become an indie developer, but your argument is odd because you seem to be saying that if you don’t enjoy, let’s say hollywood movies, the only solution is to buy a camera and make your own. Should everyone who happens to not work in a particular industry literally lose their voice? Lawyers no longer have the right to complain about racism in british TV, the only valid solution is to drop their career and make their own tv? Fishmongers no longer have the right to complain about the elitism in Formula 1, they must launch their own racing series?

          • Snargelfargen says:

            @Theon You’re confusing criticism with mind control.

          • Theon says:

            @Sheng-ji
            Yes, I cannot fathom why you stopped following your vision just because you didn’t have an entire team behind you anymore (especially since you seem to have a certain zeal for this vision).

            ” if you don’t enjoy, let’s say hollywood movies, the only solution is to buy a camera and make your own”
            I would say yes, although the comparison doesn’t seem fair – it’s much easier for small teams, or even single developers, to create very interesting games, than it would be to make a movie on par with modern standards. I’m not just talking about fancy effects, but also good actors and expensive equipment – none of which are needed for games.

            “Should everyone who happens to not work in a particular industry literally lose their voice?”
            No, but there is a difference between not wanting demeaning things shown, and wanting to force artists to INCLUDE things.

            “Fishmongers no longer have the right to complain about the elitism in Formula 1, they must launch their own racing series?”
            This is beyond strange, because this is actually how the capitalist reality works. Only very rich people can ever hope to become Formula-1 racers, and since it is a sport, it is ranked based on skill. That it is elitist is just natural, and if you want a non-elitist racing league, you really just have to make one on your own.

            Bottom line goes like this: If you don’t like a certain culture, you start up a counter-culture movement. If you really care, that is.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @THeon – zeal? Again, why choose that word?

            Listen, you know nothing about me and my situation. I have a heavily disabled 3 year old whilst dealing with my own disabilities. My husband left shortly after he was born. I work really hard in a career which keeps money flowing into my family and do you really think I have the time or the inclination to risk my family’s security on an indie game?

            So apparently, I don’t have a voice.

            Except that I do, and the small minded like Theon cannot pull together any semblance of a valid argument and has to resort to “Shut up”. I won’t and will continue to criticise where-ever I see valid reasons for criticism.

            Oh, and while I was just pulling together random situations with no bearing on reality, if you believe that the best drivers in the world are the ones who make it to formula one, you would be wrong – it’s the drivers who are most commercially viable – who will look best in adverts – who attract the sponsorship, who get the drives. Come debate with me over at Race Department, this is not the forum for it here.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            “there is a difference between not wanting demeaning things shown, and wanting to force artists to INCLUDE things.”

            Still with the mind control fallacy, dude. Criticism cannot force a person to do something against their will. It can influence people’s actions, but that is to be expected according to the “capitalist reality” you seem so fond of.

          • Theon says:

            @Sheng-ji
            I’m sorry if you took that word as a personal insult; That was not my intention. English is not my first language.
            Maybe “fervor” would have been a better choice?

            I misunderstood and believed that you quit making games because the rest of the development team didn’t agree with your visions. If personal matters unrelated to this is occupying you, then that is all a-okay with me, of course.

            I still advice you not to let go of your talent and aristic vision, and try to complete and independent project when/if life settles down again.
            If not for the artistic vision itself, so for your own development as a human being. No good falling into immanence, as de Beauvoir would have it.

            Good luck.

          • Theon says:

            @Snargelfargen
            I’m not assuming that criticism equals mind-control over the artist, I’m just annoyed that this has become such favoured topic for games journalists everywhere, while there clearly are more important issues with both games and gender-culture to discuss today. It leaves people who actually want to fight for equality open for ridicule, because it really IS ridiculous.
            These journalists think they can claim some sort of moral high-ground by claiming that artists are assholes for not having females in more games, and ultimately, this behaviour only serves to further deepen a divide between genders. In the short time passing since Anita Sarkeesian made her Kickstarter, the genders have become some sort of volatile quarrel resembling a console-war.
            Again, all this just serves to undermine real social issues. Criticism is fine, but this has become a campy harassment competition in which both parts only make each other worse.

            And to this last line of yours
            ” the ‘capitalist reality’ you seem so fond of”
            I just want to say that I’m a member of the local communist party.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            “I’m not assuming that criticism equals mind-control over the artist, I’m just annoyed that this has become such favoured topic for games journalists everywhere, while there clearly are more important issues with both games and gender-culture to discuss today.”

            It is possible to care about more than one thing at a time. Minimizing one issue just because of something else is absurd. Who even gets to decide what is important and what is not? Why not practice what you preach, and publish an article about the gender issues you think are so important. Or were these high and mighty words just a rhetorical argument?: “If you don’t like a certain culture, you start up a counter-culture movement. If you really care, that is.”

          • Theon says:

            @Snargelfargen

            “It is possible to care about more than one thing at a time.”
            I agree, and maybe my annoyance with this topic is getting the better of me, but I find it absurd that such a pointless discussion can be so lively, next to an inexistant discussion about things that are really problematic about our relation to interactive media. It becomes especially evident when someone can make drama out of the “problem” with there not being female characters in a military murder simulator – as if that’s the main social issue with the product. Let me remind you, that this is a game in which you play a rather anonymous soldier in first-person. The story is nonsensical and bears little to no relation to what gender the player is.

            Subjectivity of importance is also a valid complaint, but some issues (I think!) really ought to be considered more important than others. For example the issue of murdering other human beings in what is claimed to simulate reality, above the issue of wheter or not you get to feel feminine while doing so.

            “Why don’t you practise what you preach(…)?”
            These comments are a (possibly ineffective and futile) way of doing so. In my daily life I also express opinions, and through my political work (little as it though is) I also actively try to sway opinions.
            I’m not interested in standing at the forefront of a counter-culture against this nonsense, because that is what I think of it: Nonsense. I’d rather attach my identy to more important matters. I give it attention, because the counter-culture that HAS arisen from it, is a cancerous one. Giving fuel to fascist ideology without gaining anything doesn’t seem a good idea to me.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            There you have it ladies and gentlemen, people who want to see women better represented in games and have the gumption to talk about it are, in Theons eyes “fascist”.

            Oh and theon, I see what you are doing – using words like “angry”, “fervour” and “zeal” deliberately to attempt to basically do what the second article is all about – FYI english isn’t my first or second language either but there are dictionaries for any language these days and a simple glance shows neither anger, zeal nor fervour. Pray do tell where I exhibit “fervour” or “anger” here?

          • Theon says:

            @Sheng-ji
            Are you illiterate or just trolling?

            What I said is that the opposing camp, the guys who call people like you for “femnazis” have developed fascist tendencies, and that their appeal is growing, because your camp is acting completely and utterly retarded about something as unimportant as gender representation in games.

            EDIT:
            I saw you edited your post, so I’ll edit mine to compensate.
            You seem rather angry right now, though such things can easily be misinterpreted in textual form. I’m not going to look up every word I use when I’m posting simple comments, just because I might offend someone.
            What I meant by zeal and fervour, was that you seemed to have your heart set on something – which in my book, is a good thing. It means you have drive and opinions, and that you want to create or change something. If you haven’t noticed, I operate with quite a bit of zeal myself, despite this not being one of my main causes.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            My camp? Sorry what? I’m just talking about what games I like to play. On a gaming website. About games. I’m sorry you find that so utterly banal, here’s an idea, if you have better things to do, go do them instead of telling me to be quiet.

            Oh and do answer some of the questions I’ve asked, ignoring them is making you look silly.

            Oh and by the way, no-one is talking about the “murder simulator” issue because it isn’t an issue. People don’t play computer games with lots of killing in them and then go kill people as a direct result. Every study conducted has come to this conclusion, so it really is a non issue. People are sexist in real life though and the games industry is a mirror on this, which is why it’s worth talking about. I just want to talk about playing games which appeal to me. If that’s alright with you?

          • Theon says:

            “My camp? Sorry what?”
            The camp that keeps going on about lack of gender representation in games, holding it up as if it was some sort of imoprtant matter of social justice. Again, I’ll apologize if I’m being overly assumptuous, and you don’t feel that way.

            “Oh and do answer some of the questions I’ve asked, ignoring them is making you look silly.”
            Lashing out in anger, instead of writing proper replies seems more silly to me, but please, rephrase the questions I’ve missed and I’ll do my best to answer them.
            I assure you that I haven’t intentionally skipped any, as the length of my posts contra yours should be enough to testify.

            I’m going to bed now. I’ll answer you tomorrow, if you bother writing a reply.

            EDIT:
            Also, please stop editing your posts to make it LOOK like I’m ignoring your questions!
            Sleep tight, Sheng.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            @Theon I could paint HYPOCRITE on the wall in 7 foot high letters and it still wouldn’t be big enough to describe you.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Speaking of books, is there a similar demand for more depictions of women in military fiction? Might be interesting to compare how that discussion is going, if so.

            *checks what happened in the meantime*
            Uh ohs…

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Theon
            Its kind of annoying how easy it for someone to say, oh go and make an indie game yourself then, given how incredibly difficult it is for a parent who takes their responsibilities seriously to actually go and make an indie game.

            And that is ignoring the possible specialization that Shen-ji has vs the general expertise needed to make a good game alone.

        • Drake Sigar says:

          Common argument that looks at products individually and ignores a collective perspective. The problem isn’t that there isn’t a female protaganist in this videogame, the problem is that there isn’t a female protaganist in the vast majority of videogames. How long can this goes on till you begin to suspect this may not be due to artistic reasons?

          • Theon says:

            I believe it’s simply not true that there isn’t a multitude of games with girl protagonists.
            That there is an overweight of male characters is probably quite simply because
            1. Playing games has traditionally been a hobby dominated by males, and as such, males are those who grow up wanting to create their own games
            2. The main bulk of people who play games today are male, and most games today are simply consumer-end products designed to make as much profit as possible

            Yet again, if you want a game with a female lead, just go and make one.

          • NathanH says:

            Perception of proportion of female protagonists in video games seems heavily dependent on the sorts of games one plays. I remember looking through my installed games and finding that “neither male nor female” and “player chooses” made up most of my collection.

            The argument “if you want more games with female protagonists then make them” seems hollow though. For a start, most people lack the time, talent and recources to make their own game. And even if they did, it’s almost certainly true that playing your own game is completely different from playing someone else’s. If someone wants to play more games with female protagonists, then making those games themselves is a completely unreasonable prospect.

          • Theon says:

            @NathanH

            “Perception of proportion of female protagonists in video games seems heavily dependent on the sorts of games one plays.”
            Possibly very true. That, though, does not invalidate the fact there is quite a lot of them – if you count numbers rather than proportion.

            “The argument ‘if you want more games with female protagonists then make them’ seems hollow”
            I meant this for people who find the current state of the culture of video games problematic – not for people who desperately crave games with female leads to play and enjoy on their own, outside a relation to society. (Such people’s wants I’d -as an artist- just disregard, unless they happened to coincide with my own)
            Lack of talent is no argument, though; Lack of talent should not be a barrier for being creative and exposing that creativity. It also never a bad thing to improve upon or attain new talents.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Maybe it’s not that we want more games with females in, maybe it’s that we want more games with females in who don’t exist purely to titillate straight white men. Use this test for any character in any game – can the character be replaced by a piece of notepaper with messages written on it without affecting the game – if yes, then disregard this character when counting how many games have which types of characters.

            Here’s an example – replacing garret in Thief 1 with notepaper would entirely change how the player interacts with the game. The moment where Garret walks into Lord Baffords throne room and says “A throne room, how pretentious” could not be replaced with a note saying the same thing without changing the tone and emotional impact of the game.

            Another example – your AI companions in Gears of War – replace Cole with a big screen splash in red and yellow writing saying “The Cole Train” every time your token companion kills 3 enemies in a second. Notice how the emotional impact of the game does not change one jot.

            So, now try counting female characters taking that rule into account.

          • dE says:

            That’s a decent enough test actually. Personally, I go by agendas. Do these virtual people act on their own, interact with others out of their own, out of their personal interest and motives? Is that enough of a reason to go to the lengths the plot demands? It’s such a simple detail that adds so much to characters of any gender, it’s a strange little oddity videogames choose to ignore it.

            Oddly enough, I firmly believe that as characters as a stylistic tool in videogames progress and improve, so will the balance of gender in videogames. Looking at it, most male characters don’t have an agenda either. They’re told to kill people because Captain Plotdevice told them to. Applying that test with the note to male characters in videogames has me coming up with but a very very small selection. I think without agendas of their own, videogame characters fall back to society and the cliches therewithin. Yeah one can totally believe a male soldier shooting up shit, because that’s what society tells them is what male soldiers do. Female soldiers? Unthinkable… why? Because, well clichés and… no reason really, it just lacks the clichés. So either society changes (and with that the fallback protocol for videogames) or games stop using that fallback. I’ve got more hopes for change in videogames at the moment, than I do for society. If only because they’re a less complex construct.

            If anything, the cry for more female protagonists is a cry for better written characters. If there is no society cliché to use, there needs to be an actual reason. After all, every character needs a Raison d’être within a story.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            dE – I couldn’t agree more! I really couldn’t, I’ve said this in literally every thread on the subject – one day it’ll catch on but the issue of sexism in gaming is a double sided coin and you can’t fight one side without simultaneously fighting the other – actually remove sexism from that, it’s about all lazy stereotypes being used instead of well written content.

          • The Random One says:

            I’d even say that a problem with the permanence of sexism is that people are trying to tackle it by retiring female stereotypes they perceive as negative – the Damsel in Distress, the Nagging Mother, the Useless Hanger-On – and replacing them with female stereotypes they perceive as positive – the Dude with Tits, the Dangerous Dominatrix, the Tuff Girl Wot Never Actually Does Anything. We don’t need better stereotypes, we need better characters.

            Off course, male characters are often stereotypes as well, but when a character does get developed, it’s likely to be a male one, because the game is likely to be made by men who are not good enough writers to write a well-developed character whose worldviews don’t coincide with their own.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Man, you have some flawed arguments throughout.

          Do you know what happened when a woman requested there be playable female characters in Arma 3? Despite 64% of the community voting in favour of it, the devs have refused to acknowledge it. Heck, the moderators haven’t even marked it as “reviewed”. And it’s probably the second or third most voted on issue.

  6. Alexander says:

    An awesome basket of articles. Also, a pig fucking a dead body… yeah… good luck getting that out of your memory.

  7. Viroso says:

    Anybody else dislikes the word “problematic”? I wish it’d go away.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I agree that the word is problematic.

      • Gap Gen says:

        How else would I describe my loft space that constantly drips water and I’m pretty sure is haunted?

        • DiamondDog says:

          How about… “darned inconvenient” or maybe “jolly troubling.” Remember to add in a raised eyebrow.

          So for example, “I like Hotline Miami 2, but I don’t like the rape scene. It’s darned inconvenient” *raise eyebrow*

        • Horg says:

          ”How else would I describe my loft space that constantly drips water and I’m pretty sure is haunted?”

          We used to have one of those. We called it the guest room.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Gastly.

        • The Random One says:

          That’s not problematic, that’s just a problem attic.

        • strangeloup says:

          At least it’s not constantly dripping blood.

          This week.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s a weak criticism, meant to imply fault without using stronger words like racist, misogynist, or homophobic. Generally I think it would be better replaced with specific criticisms. Either way, it’s clearly going to be the next “pretentious,” used until it is leeched of meaning and has become a mere slur on IGN.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        I’ve seen the word used when referring to films that are discriminatory but without any overt malicious intent. Makes sense, calling a game racist or sexist implies that it is purposely hateful when most of the time the “problematic” content is the result of tone-deaf developers and lazy writing.

        Edit: hmm, on second thought, sounds like I’m minimizing the problem. Being more specific about said tone-deaf developers and lazy writing is better.

        • RedViv says:

          Yeah, using a word that would mean that a thing has “something like a problem” is pretty useless. Just say what it is. People do x-ist things without properly realising it, and if one does not really point it out then they would not have quite a reason to react.

        • Viroso says:

          Yeah words like thoughtless, inconsiderate, etc.

        • The Random One says:

          I thought I was the only one who thought that!

    • Jenks says:

      Most of these buzzwords (problematic, privilege, etc) are being overused to the point of losing meaning. You start dismissing people with valid complaints because they’re using the same language as people calling GTAV misogynistic because it doesn’t feature a female protagonist.

    • waltC says:

      Right up there with “proactive” for me…;)

  8. daphne says:

    The Verge, a tech site, has the entirety of Sunday Papers beat this week, and it doesn’t even get a mention.

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/24/4698382/second-lifes-strange-second-life

    Heh. “Game journalism” indeed.

    • bluebomberman says:

      Awfully harsh. Did you drink a roach with your morning coffee?

    • kwyjibo says:

      Whatever happened to Second Life’s PR team? They were setting the world on fire circa 2007.

      • dE says:

        Ugh, don’t get me started on the impact of Second Life on scientific journals around 2007. It’s like the whole cyberspace research was suddenly divided into pre and post Second-Life eras. It was très chic for a while. Made for a flood of samey articles all finding out the same things, yet acting like they’ve re-invented the wheel.
        End Result? When the fad died down, normal Cyberspace Research had been smothered to death by piles of Second Life Identity Research. People don’t want to go there anymore, mentioning research in that field gets pained groans of “oh second life… yeah, that’s like totally interesting and stuff”.

    • Jackablade says:

      Ack. Everything’s skewed and moving about. Does the entirety of the Verge do that? It’s incredibly disconcerting.

      • DrScuttles says:

        Having gone through a couple of random articles there, the Second Life one was the only I saw to come with mushroom vision. It’s almost nausea inducing.

      • Martel says:

        wow, opening that article made me nauseous. Was that the point? I couldn’t even read it

  9. pertusaria says:

    Just read a really good article by Mark Kermode, the Guardian’s film reviewer, which I think has good points for games reviewing as well: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/sep/29/hatchet-jobs-anonymity-internet-kermode

    • Alexander says:

      Also, Polygon generally has a weekly set of decent opinion pieces.

  10. sabrage says:

    I saw Chelsea Wolfe last Tuesday and she was phenomenal!

  11. BreadBitten says:

    The Guardian article was a refreshing change of pace from all the hate mongering GTAV’s been getting since it came out, but it also made a few factual errors which I personally felt like the author deliberately didn’t bother researching a bit further just to prove her point.

  12. Gap Gen says:

    I love how openly aggressive the soldiers in that article are (and not without reason, aside from the fact that I guess aggression is encouraged). It always creeped me out that Mass Effect felt very like a command rape simulator – everyone you can date pretty much is serving under you, and given the horrendous problems with it that the soldiers mentioned, it felt a little bad to have it portrayed in a game, even if it was completely consensual in the game.

    • Muzman says:

      Armed feminists. Every crank MRAs worst nightmare

      • bluebomberman says:

        There wasn’t much controversy when the US officially opened up armed services to women recently. Women have been seeing combat for years now.

        There’s been a far greater stink over the years about gay marriage.

        • Muzman says:

          The point was more that, the internet warrior out there trying to ‘redress the balance’ of gender politics (as they see it) would assume female soldiers aren’t feminists. That’s just for misandrist liberal students and academics. Too much ‘real life’ in soldiering for any such thoughts.

      • RedViv says:

        Even worse – armed AND legged feminists. Those can run after them and fetch the wonderful five quid trilbies from their poor persecuted heads!

      • sinister agent says:

        Nah, and MRA’s worst nightmare is confronting their problem with their mother.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Hahahaha!

        • TheLoot says:

          Really? That’s what you’re going to go for when trying to be superior to a group you apparently disagree with?

      • TheLoot says:

        I’d be afraid of someone with a gun if they belonged to a group that at times expresses the desire to murder me and everyone of my gender.

    • bluebomberman says:

      Mass Effect isn’t really a hardcore simulation of military life. :p

      Let’s face it, Mass Effect, like many games of its ilk, allow for great fantasy with few consequences. Aside from perhaps Deus EX:HR (people are quite legitimately scared of the player character and other augmented people), you don’t see these games really dig deep into the issues that should come up in the game universe.

      As an example, there’s the very notion of having Spectres act as judge, jury, and executioner – real world analogues are generally all reprehensible figures who abuse their power largely to stay in power. Yet my impression is that everybody seems perfectly happy to let you go paragon/renegade through the whole universe with little oversight or a strong clear command structure.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, my favourite analogy is that in the Mass Effect universe, you could parachute a UN peacekeeper into Tel Aviv and have Israeli-Palestinian peace by teatime.

      • Zenicetus says:

        It may turn out badly in real life, but there are many literary precedents for the Hero acting as an officially sanctioned judge, jury, and executioner. James Bond, for one, with his open-ended license to kill not just the main bad guy, but an industrial complex full of minions.

        Considering the other rip-offs…. er, I mean “influences” in Mass Effect, there is also the way Kirk behaves in the original Star Trek as judge, jury, and executioner in many of the episodes. Sometimes it’s indirect, just setting up the situation for the main bad guy to be wiped out, but it’s always Kirk calling the shots without bothering to ask permission from Star Fleet. Shepard is basically a combination of James Bond and Captain Kirk, with a bit of the team leader in Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven.

        • bluebomberman says:

          Heh. Another reason why I loved Next Generation and Deep Space 9 back in the day: you got the sense that Starfleet Command actually existed and that you can’t willy nilly ignore the Prime Directive and do whatever.

          I’m not sure the Seven Samurai is a good example though… They were mercenaries in a lawless land, fighting against bandits, with only honor and a sense of justice to guide them. Even then, the consequences of the seven’s actions were severe, devastating. No one came out in the end with the Paragon ending.

    • WrenBoy says:

      I felt something similar for all of Biowares romances to be honest. Everyone does everything I say, wears what I command them to wear, kills who I want them to kill and then I “seduce” them.

      Purely because Im a naturally charming individual of course.

      • Nick says:

        All post BG2 ones at least.

        • WrenBoy says:

          BG2 was a really great game but, from distant memory, the Aerie romance was pretty much this also.

          The romances with Jaheira and Viconia were a bit different as they were well hidden and I would have not realised they were possible were it not for the Aerie one. I prefer this state of affairs as it lets me ignore it easily at worst and gives the illusion of a naturally occurring relationship at best.

          Also I dont think there were any options for female leaders to abuse their authority in BG2 if I recall correctly.

          • NathanH says:

            Well, there was Anomen, but I don’t think anyone could ever bring themselves to sleep with him. I think Valygar was going to be an option too, but they never implemented that for some reason, which is odd since he and the tiefling are much more obvious choices than Anomen.

  13. TreuloseTomate says:

    I’m waiting for the moment that white, privileged women will complain about the lack of afro-american protagonists in video games.
    (not saying anything about that article)

    Also, disabling comments usually TENDS to be a first sign of loss of quality and always makes me raise an eyebrow. I’ve seen it on several websites/blogs already, including RPS. Yes, people on the internet can be idiots who post idiotic comments (not just on YouTube…). People can also be very smart and point out flaws.

    • bluebomberman says:

      So you’re only allowed to complain about underrepresentation and stereotypical portrayals of the specific demographic group you’re in? Have some empathy.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        I think his point is that there’s an overwhelming amount of coverage for female characters right now, but not so much for basically any other underrepresented archetype.

        • SuicideKing says:

          I dunno, one step at a time? And I’m pretty sure it’s not “we want white women characters in games”, it’s more like, “playable/well written women characters”, and it implicitly expects to cover other ethnic backgrounds.

          Anyway, i find these arguments flawed, i mean there’s so much resistance to getting women integrated, asking for all minorities to be integrated simultaneously seems like expecting a bit too much. It might not be, really, though i know that most of these arguments aren’t sincere, they’re usually a “children are starving” type of diversion to prevent women from being represented in games.

          • jrodman says:

            I disagree with the philosophy of “one step at a time”. While it can be powerful to have a moderately organized set of voices talking about one well-focused topic, there’s no reason that pushing for representation of more races and women can’t happen at the same time.

            When I look at the characters in games though, I see a lot of variation in representation of Asians, and — is African-American the right term here? Sometimes they are shown as meatheads, or token spiritual guides. Sometimes they’re pretty fully fleshed-out believable characters though, without any overt stereotyping (that I notice, anyway). Non-whites certainly don’t ever seem to be the default protagonist though, and the skin tones rarely dip below a paler brown.

            I guess what I’m saying is the inclusion may still need a lot of work, but I don’t pick up on a message of “black people are dumb” from games, the way I do that “women are weak”. Maybe the criminal thing is there but I’m oblivious?

          • strangeloup says:

            It’s notable that I found something unusual in two games I’ve been playing recently, Prototype 2 and Sleeping Dogs, but it took me a while to put my finger on it. In both cases the main character isn’t a white guy. African-American guy in the former, Asian-American guy in the latter, but one step at a time, I guess.

    • Rhodokasaurus says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone in the comments be “very smart”, and that’s not hyperbole. The rare exception to this does not warrant 24/7 comments on all articles from an uninformed and often hostile mob of meaningless voices.

  14. Azazel says:

    Christian Nutt is a really terrific name.

    • waltC says:

      Yes, but that’s only because “Muslim,” and “Agnostic” and “Atheist” are not proper names for people. “Agnostic Nutt”…? Ugh….

  15. bangalores says:

    dem Chicago Cubs!

  16. Deadly Habit says:

    “Don’t read the comments”
    Is that because people are actually presenting arguments which discredit the article and are having a debate rather than it being one sided?

    • bluebomberman says:

      I guess one person’s cesspool is another’s idea of quality discussion.

      • Jenks says:

        robble robble robble Fox News.

        Now let me turn on MSNBC for quality news.

        • Laephis says:

          You seem to fit the demographic of terrible Internet comments quite nicely: bring up unrelated and irrelevant subjects into the discussion (who said anything about Fox News or MSNBC?) and draw conclusions based on a black/white, “us vs them” mentality (why would criticizing one news network indicate support of another one?)

          • tormos says:

            his point (which i suppose may not transfer well across all that water) is that many of the people who complain the loudest about Fox watch MSNBC instead, which is generally considered at least 5/6 as bad but on the left. So he’s making about the same point you are but with a metaphor

    • RedViv says:

      The majority is “how dare this hussy”, or at least it was for some time since the article was published. I don’t think people need to submit themselves to ulcer-generating nonsense, from people who have not read or at all understood the article nonetheless.

      • bluebomberman says:

        Personally, I find all the controversies with GTA and the backlash to be really frustrating to witness.

        A hypothesis: I think the problem is that GTA’s impact relative to the gaming world is more massive than any other recent creative work relative to it’s medium. Nearly every gaming site has to write 1500 articles about GTA; every single word of negativity is taken as a direct assault at games as a medium; a criticism of GTA becomes a direct personal attack at gamers themselves.

        It’s nuts. I can call myself a reader and ignore Dan Brown; I can browse music without caring about Miley Cyrus; I can enjoy television without giving a whit about The Sopranos. But if I come out and say “I don’t care for GTA”, it won’t matter how many games are in my Steam library. I’d be torn down by fellow gamers in every horrible manner possible.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Self-proclaimed hardcore gamers can be horribly tribal, though. I wouldn’t put any weight on any argument based on certain people being “true” gamers.

        • NathanH says:

          I don’t care for GTA.

          • Vinraith says:

            GTA… GTA… isn’t that the series that’s sort of like the Saints Row games, except they don’t have any sense of their own absurdity?

          • Jason Moyer says:

            GTA 1-3 actually did seem to have a sense of their own absurdity.

        • Jack Mack says:

          I’m another one of those who don’t care for GTA. It’s probably less influential than Gone with the Wind or Superman or the Bible.

          • waltC says:

            I’ve never looked at a single GTA game. Latest one is no exception. I’ve developed a theory, the key premise of which is that the lower the mean IQ in a society, the better a Grand Theft Auto Game will sell….;) Watching Three Stooges reruns is vastly more entertaining.

          • The Random One says:

            So are you saying that GTA games will always sell by the same amount, since the mean IQ of a society is always the same, by definition?

          • dethtoll says:

            thank you for that insightful comment, waitC. I eagerly anticipate your next scathing missive to the “commoners.”

        • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

          I think that just speaks to ignorance of other mediums as their communities, contemporary and historical. The explosive hysteria over Manet’s Olympia towers over anything said here, Beatles records were burned over a flippant remark and death threats, honest to fuck -death threats- were made over Dark Knight Rises reviews, of all films, and personally I’m still a little miffed over those ratfuckers who denied Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow the ’73 Pulitzer.

          People just get really passionate over art and like any affinity or repulsion it can reach a noxious level, disgusting and narrow-minded in character. I do think some of the specific vitriol like say the repulsive reaction to the GameSpot review is more a product of 4chan’s /v/ and the peculiar chemical reaction that occurs in those rotten and miserable parts to the word ‘misogyny’, though the same can be said for these far more pretentious parts.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Gravitys Rainbow needed a better editor more than any novel I have ever read (with the possible exception of A Man Without Qualities).

          • bluebomberman says:

            I did try to qualify my comment with *recent*. I’m well aware of less contemporary works touching off a storm. (Uncle Tom’s Cabin arguably helped start the Civil War, right?)

            I guess I overlooked The Dark Knight Rises in part because I hate to think about the movie theater massacre it helped inspire. But then massacres in the US have sadly become routine news.

          • Arglebargle says:

            Wrenboy, I would have to disagree. Thier is no novelist more capable of putting a good 400 page novel into 1500 pages than Stephen King. That man can blather the curlicues to a fair-the-well.

            Absolutely needs a strong editor. Since he could sell his crayon scribblings from when he was 6, that will probably never happen though.

          • iainl says:

            Surely the rambling, cursive structure is half the point of Gravity’s Rainbow? It’s not like most Stephen King where people daren’t edit him, or the fourth Potter novel, where Rowling was so late for the impossible deadline the publisher set that they didn’t have time to edit at all.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @ianl
            Ive nothing against rambling normally but the last straw for me was when a new character was introduced in the second half of the book. Since he was on horseback obviously Pynchon had to spend multiple pages on the fucking horses genealogy.

            Because that was worth reading.

      • Muzman says:

        It’s more that anti feminists are so touchy and obsessed the slightest word about that is an overwhelming din they cannot bear, worth ten times any other controversy.
        (ie, the torture scene is not going unnoticed)

      • Jack Mack says:

        https://www.google.com.au/search?q=gta+torture+scene&oq=gta+torture+scene&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60l4j0.4020j0&sourceid=chrome&espvd=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

        Of course people are complaining about the torture scene.

      • bleeters says:

        …There’s been no criticism of the torture scene? What? Am I on the same internet as those two? Why is it surprising that awareness of one is greater than the other, given that the lack of a playable female character is determinable from advertising and basic gameplay information, whilst the torture scene isn’t? Why do I need to buy a game I don’t want in order to validate my reason for not wanting to buy it? God freaking damnit.

        As far as the question goes – and again, nobody is speaking up about that? Seriously? – I’d imagine it’s more to do with gaming communities as a whole not having a firmly entrenched subset of torture advocates but absolutely having people who treat women like shit.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Pretty much this. It’s like that “OH murder in games is acceptable but rape isn’t? HYPOCRISY!” argument.

          Fucking hell, rape is pretty much torture itself.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Well, I heard about crying about lack of women beating hookers for money, but I didn’t heard anything about torture.

          Btw: thanks for spoiler, I guess. Another spoiler, another reason to not buy GTA5 as I’ll know everything about the game before R* finally decided to announce they will release it some time later :)

      • SuicideKing says:

        “For the same reason, I am uncomfortable about GTA’s torture scene, where you extract information, along with a tooth, with a pair of pliers. Enjoying violence when it’s not a “fair fight” feels very different to being quicker on the draw than an armed enemy.”

        http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/21/grand-theft-auto-5-women-misogynistic-violent

    • SuicideKing says:

      Ah. No.

  17. bluebomberman says:

    The Lucasarts article basically confirms what I’ve been assuming all these years: George Lucas doesn’t know what he’s doing anymore. Hasn’t for some time now. It’s just as well that George Lucas is decoupled from Star Wars now: we might actually get something that isn’t horrible to watch/play.

    • mouton says:

      I am genuinely surprised he was personally involved in decision-making at LucasArts as late as 2010+. No wonder it went down, it’s a wonder it took so long.

      • bluebomberman says:

        The article made me appreciate Steve Jobs even more for buying Pixar from George Lucas all those years ago.

        Jobs had the good sense to not meddle in creative decisions at Pixar. Sad that Lucas could not either minimize his meddling or take a more active role. His approach of interfering at a whim and obfuscating lines of communication with layers of upper management really destroyed the company from within.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        I think it highlights the issue once again: Lucas was surrounded by yes-men. Those who weren’t were specifically disallowed from freely speaking with him. They couldn’t argue with him or tell him that his decisions were sabotaging the project or the company.

        I’ll also say that once more the problem comes from an incompetent higher up. Your job is to make the company prosper, not let your boss run wild and kill it.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Such a sad article. Still, it dates the decline to around 2009, but if you check the game dates, those made pre-2006 (more or less) are still pretty good and some were even innovative back then (not talking about the 90s ones, which are mostly classics). After that, the games that got published weren’t exciting at all, so could it be that this decline started even before the years when the company changed presidents like crazy? 1313 sounded like the game that would bring LucasArts back to a good place with gamers, but wasn’t it just a last, desperate attempt which is getting a bit romanticized after the fact?

      • Jason Moyer says:

        Lucasarts barely developed any games after the 90′s. Seriously, the complete list is embarrassing in terms of both quantity and quality:

        2010 Force Unleashed II
        2009 Lucidity
        2008 Force Unleashed
        2005 Republic Commando
        2003 RTX Red Rock, Gladius
        2002 Jedi Starfighter, Bounty Hunter
        2001 Starfighter, Obi-Wan, Galactic Battlegrounds, Rogue Squadron II
        2000 Force Commander, Jedi Power Battles, Battle For Naboo, Racer Arcade, Escape From Monkey Island

        There’s what, 2 good games there?

  18. Sharlie Shaplin says:

    I wish I had a job that had a Unicorn division.

  19. bill says:

    You know, RPS could write similar in depth articles and do some decent investigative journalism and long form writing of they wanted. Polygon and kotaku seem to manage it from time to time.

    • Rhodokasaurus says:

      You’re in luck, because they do all the time. That’s probably why you’re here.

  20. bill says:

    Snarky comments will be the downfall of mankind in the end. They manage to undermine any decent article and seem to be leading the destruction of the media and any attempt at moderate political (or any other kind of) discussion.

    The problem is they are just too darn tempting to make, and too irresistible to respond to.

    • Ancient Algae says:

      I think you’re giving snarky comments too much weight as a thing that negatively influences discussion or understanding of an article. I would say the speed with which people’s thoughts can be vomited on to a public forum combined with the combative way they approach and respond to an article they disagree with has more to do with it. Really, it’s the poorly-thought out, misinformed, anger-fueled responses that you have to watch out for.

  21. Faxanadu says:

    A Sunday Discussion:

    I love RPS, because it covers all kinds of games and interesting game related things. But because it covers so much, I simply haven’t got the time to read everything! So… I know how everyone hates summaries (BOO LACK OF DEPTH YOU SUPERFICIAL MICROWAVED MEAL) but I would LOVE to have a small non-punny non-funny summary hidden somewhere in a little corner, so that I could pick the articles I find most interesting.

    Example 1: Elastic Dreams: Starbound: A side scrolling co-op shooter with grappling hooks that looks charming but needs polish.

    Example 2: Gun Monkeys Free steam weekend, side scrolling realtime worms shooter game with physics and procedurally generated terrain.

    Obviously not the best examples, but I’m just giving the general idea. Would love to have something like this, so that I could dedicate more of my time to rubbing my belly instead of figuring out what an article is about. Thanks. :)

  22. Servizio says:

    From the Women in the Military article: “FemShep is only a woman incarnation of the original male Shep.”

    Isn’t that more than a little unfairly dismissive about the effort that’s gone into FemShep as a character option? Or am I missing some nuance here, since they were originally talking about armor? I thought FemShep was a good example of video game inclusiveness, I’d be curious as to why that isn’t the case.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Let me preface this by saying that I too believe that Femshep was a good example of inclusiveness, but I know and understand the argument they are making:

      Basically, by having the gender of a character that interchangeable is either doing both or one gender a disservice – You couldn’t replace the latest Lara Croft with a man for example, the animation set would need to change for a start, perhaps even some story elements – it isn’t sexist to recognise that there are differences between men and women and to portray those differences. In mass effect, Femshep runs like a man, walks like a man and acts like a man because she was written and conceived as a man.

      Equality doesn’t mean changing the avatar to look like a different person, it means writing the character as one person and not shoehorning another person onto that writing.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Yeah i’ve read this argument before, and it makes a lot of sense.

        Sadly, the same argument also gets used against adding women characters, because then the people who didn’t want them anyway start screaming about how their beloved devs won’t be able it commit resources to it.

        So i guess the devs must WANT to do it themselves, and by priority…relying on community pressure may work both ways.

        Best recent example:
        Arma 3: http://feedback.arma3.com/view.php?id=1658

  23. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    Then I burned my copy of The Hunger Games, because it’s all about children killing one another for entertainment.

    I haven’t even read the books but I know enough through pure cultural osmosis that the work isn’t endorsing the establishment of a system where children kill one another due to resource scarcity, on the contrary it’s an obvious dystopian critique. So then how is this problematic? Even if by virtue of depicting something odious there’s a tacit indulgence in said subject matter -despite being critiqued- surely that doesn’t rise to the level of being problematic? Is Moby Dick problematic because it depicts the attempted slaughter of a whale? It robs the term of all salience.

    Further I have a beautiful poster of Dali’s The Elephants and I admire it’s genius and beauty but I don’t think it’s problematic because Dali supported fascism and being of anarcho-syndicalist persuasion I should be outraged due to his affinity for Francisco Franco; he‘s problematic… his work is sublime. Of course to what degree one separates an artist from their work is purely contextual and varies not just from person-to-person but case-by-case.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Yeah, The Hunger Games books are mediocre at best, but they’re not “problematic” in that sense. You could argue there are plenty of other dubious moral or ethical dilemmas they present without apparently thinking too much about them, but they plainly don’t condone teenagers battling each other to the death for the amusement of a jaded elite, so I’m not sure where she was going with that one. Very good article on the whole, though!

      (I’d recommend throwing your copies of The Hunger Games out of the nearest window merely on the grounds there are countless other YA series which are far, far better in just about every respect, but that’s a whole other argument and seemingly about as futile as trying to criticise Call of Duty in front of its target audience. Oh welp.)

      • iainl says:

        The books aren’t hugely problematic, but the amount of child murder’s pretty high for a film the BBFC is find with 8-year-olds watching.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I’m assuming you didn’t notice the fact that the example is deliberately ridiculous and entirely facetious.

      • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

        It’s just alongside the listing of Breaking Bad which is a much more arguable case to what extent it exalts its protagonist in tandem with critiquing his actions and the very real philosophical debate that for instance, the deception of violence, even in criticism of said violence is still a tacit embrace and indulgence in violence and the fact that some really do find any depiction of child murder profoundly troublesome renders it much less clear to be purely facetious.

        On the second last point, it’s something I actually agree with even though I love and admire such work and don’t find it degraded to being ‘problematic’, Cronenberg’s A History of Violence for one, which I contend is easily one of the best films made was supremely nuanced examination of audience complicity in brutality and in recognising personal, societal, national and evolutionary histories of violence.

  24. Rhodokasaurus says:

    Unlike many male gamers, I’m still generally a fan of woman arguing for more representation in games.

    In a case like GTA, it needs more thinking through. I think what women should be saying is not that they want male-oriented games to fulfill female needs, but that they want games that women enjoy to be more common, and have better production values.

    Men and women like different things, but we think everything should be about us, and just us. It would be refreshing to hear a man say they love Sex and the City and Downton Abbey and Justin Beiber and the tv show “Girls”, because they’re happy that women have something just for them to enjoy. It would be refreshing to hear a woman say they’re not actually interested in games like GTA, so it’s cool to let guys have their male power fantasy game that caters to them. Both genders deserve entertainment that is “just for them”.

    The argument becomes “there aren’t ENOUGH games just for women”, and this might be true, for now. Games have only been around for a short time. But you can pretty much be guaranteed that if games like Mass Effect or Saints Row ever become as popular and profitable with women as Twilight you’d have a lot more options. In the meantime, telling young boys that they’re misogynists unless their favorite video games feature women might be working against you. I can’t possibly know.

    • tormos says:

      Let me see if I can rephrase this as someone who is more skeptical about innate gender characteristics than you are:
      People (all kinds of people) like a lot of different kinds of stuff
      Right now a really narrow segment of the vast quantity of “stuff people like” is considered to be game worthy
      If we were willing to open that up a little bit we would end up with an enriched hobby, which would be good for (or at least alright with) people who didn’t even like these different kinds of stuff and were pretty happy with the stuff that exists now in the first place.

      • jorygriffis says:

        You’ve taken a woeful lemon of a comment and turned it into lovely, inclusive lemonade. I don’t know how you did it.

    • iainl says:

      Sorry, should I not be enjoying this episode of Downton? I mean, I know it’s complete tosh, but “not suitable for men” never occurred to me. But then my problem is Twilight is Bella’s frustrating lack of genre-savvy and basic curiosity about the supernatural world she finds herself in, not an issue with the romantic focus. After all, our generation had the far superior The Lost Boys for our teenage bloodsucking lustfests.

      And yes, as tormos says, more female leads would be good because more believable female leads would mean a greater variety of stories.

      • The Random One says:

        To be honest, more believable male leads instead of Permanently but Justifiably Angry White Man With Short Brown Hair and Charming White Man With Short Brown Hair Who’s Curiously Flippant About The Wanton Murder He Constantly Commits would also help.

  25. Jason Moyer says:

    “weirdly, the dysfunctional interference of George Lucas himself”

    Weirdly? I thought “dysfunctional interference” pretty much defined everything Lucas was involved in after the mid 80′s. Actually, I guess he had a period of “dysfunctional disconnectedness” first.

  26. ffordesoon says:

    The one thing I disagreed with in the Lewis piece: I thought the “low-hanging muff” scene actually did a great job of highlighting how fucked up American culture’s treatment of its stars, especially its female stars, is. The language is surely problematic, but the subject matter necessitated it. We needed to be genuinely revolted by the paparazzo for the satire to work. The only issue with it for me is that there’s a little (perhaps intentional) ludonarrative dissonance going on; Franklin clearly doesn’t want to enable the weirdo, but the game forces you to do so.

    I think there are more immediately problematic examples than that scene. The fact that Michael’s wife is literally introduced as unfaithful, for example.

    Aside from that, I agree with Lewis.

    • TheLoot says:

      She’s unfaithful because Michael is a sad sack of a husband, so I don’t blame her, but I fault her methods.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Oh, I don’t blame her. My point is that the entirety of her character development at the beginning of the game is a reflection on Michael, not her. She isn’t allowed enough of a voice to come off as a character with agency, as opposed to a device used to develop Michael’s character.

  27. Gamera says:

    First Kotaku let you write your comments directly on the pictures in their articles. Now you can put them directly on each paragraph. I guess when you don’t have real journalists writing articles you eventually give up and admit that people only visit your site to yell at each other in the comments.