Wartune Is FOR MEN ONLY! NO WOMENS TO READ!

By John Walker on October 14th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Free to play browser RTS/RPG Wartune makes something very clear through its advertising: it is FOR MEN ONLY. Well, I’m a man! Doctors have verified this. So I thought, equipped with the right qualifications, I’d better take a look. NO WOMEN HAD BETTER READ THIS POST!

Let’s take a look at some of that advertising, now that all the pesky ladies aren’t reading, eh fellows? Eh? EH?

Woo-hoo! Tits! What’s it going to be like? I’ve not even included the one that tells me I deserve an orgy!

Ah.

Of course this isn’t a new nonsense. It began with Evony, which discovered its success was directly proportional to how nudey its banner ads became. That all anyone found when they got there was an Age Of Empires rip-off didn’t seem to matter. There had been boobs, and there then were players. And Wartune certainly isn’t alone in performing this. An especially unpleasant and disturbing example doing the rounds at the moment belongs to a game called Scarlet Blade. This one:

But what’s bewildering is that anyone would stick around long enough to make these games money. I tried to figure out why they might with Wartune. It didn’t last long.

The game itself is yet another nothingness RPG with an RTS base camp. But it’s especially egregiously empty. To complete the RPG stuff, the wandering through tiny, tiny locations and battling enemies in sort-of turn-based combat, you need only click the left mouse on the quest text a couple of times, and sit back and watch. You can, but don’t need to even move your character. Just clicking on the quest text will do that for you. Battles are so astonishingly uninvolved and perfunctory that the needlessness of your special abilities is entirely irrelevant, since the chances of a fight lasting long enough for you to have a turn are pretty slim. The troops with you get their goes first. Even when you reach tougher baddies, there’s still absolutely no need to interact.

The RTS stuff is slightly more involved. Haha. I mean, you have to click slightly more often. Upgrading buildings lets you upgrade other buildings so you can upgrade other buildings. This lets you, um, I don’t know. It’s around this point that the game starts offering your its VIP programme. You get an hour of it free at one point, to show you what the game is like without having to wait for increasingly long and entirely arbitrary cooldowns on upgrading things. It doesn’t, however, give you any freebies of its real-world pretend currency, which extra advantages gradually start to need. But, in fairness, for the couple of hours I stuck with it, I didn’t need to pay for anything to continue through its bland emptiness.

As for anything salacious, and indeed my promised orgy, no such thing appears. Instead it’s about killing wolves and recruiting more archers. Oh, and fighting Taurens. With absolutely no shame, the game includes the cow race is if they’re just part of generic fantasy lore, rather than something specific to World Of Warcraft. And they’re the first enemy you encounter, making up what I guess counts for the game’s allusion toward a story.

And there’s farming. Yes indeed, this most boobalicious of games is, quite dominantly, a farming simulator. Not one you can actively enjoy without paying real-world money, of course. And even then I think “enjoy” might require a severe dose of the crazies.

The reason I stopped playing wasn’t pay-to-play nagging, however. In fairness, at least as far as I reached that wasn’t too bad. It was instead an Adobe Flash Player Settings popup asking me to give the game unlimited space on my hard drive.

So what have we learned here? Firstly, that this is all a bit pathetic really, isn’t it? And that then I’ve stopped paying attention.

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212 Comments »

  1. Bull0 says:

    Ah, jesus. That “safe word” ad is rough as fuck. There really ought to be (probably is?) a law against that.

    • Klydefrog says:

      Gah, no! You’ve offended my liberal sensibilities by suggesting limitations upon free speech!

      • The Laughing Owl says:

        I’m what you could call a liberal and I don’t get offended by that, nor do I get offended by any “women opressing and degrading” stuff that are actually just overeactions to anything that’s mildly sexual.

        • Corb says:

          I agree. It still sounds rapey as f*** though…

          • WrenBoy says:

            I agree on both counts.

            Edit: to be clear, I mean that a knee jerk impulse to ban is unhealthy but that ad is in poor taste to put it mildly.

          • UmmonTL says:

            Well the whole safe-word and control stuff combined with her whip-sword is a pretty clear swing for S&M fetishists with her being the S part. So it might be rapey but in the sense that the target audience is on the receiving end.

          • Banana_Republic says:

            Chill out. It has nothing to do with rape. “Safe words” are used in bondage and discipline play between CONSENTING ADULTS, to call a time out if things go too far for one of the parties. It’s the antithesis of rape. In fact, BDSM play often involves no sex at all.

            So the ad is just referring to playing hard and not putting a limit on it. In the context of a game, that should be a good thing. As far as the white knight horror at her sexy appearance that is common through the rest of these comments — grow a pair and realize that not every game is being made for your delicate, permanently wounded sensibilities.

          • lafinass says:

            @Banana_Republic

            Anyone who wants to play with ‘no safe words’ is not someone myself or any of my subs will be playing with. The idea that not having safewords makes something ‘more hardcore’ or that having safewords is somehow a weakness or limitation is one of the ugliest trends in the BDSM community. And the people who espouse such ideals do indeed tend to be ‘rapey’ in the most literal sense.

            It’s a tasteless ad and while I’m certainly not on the ‘BAN EVERYTHING’ bandwagon, my being involved in BDSM makes it MORE offensive to me- not less. It’s pretty disgusting. The ‘safe words make you weak’ or ‘you are not really a sub if you need safe words’ people in the community are what make so many public scenes dangerous for young impressionable newbies.

        • Niko says:

          Aren’t their some laws against misleading ads?

      • MajorManiac says:

        Pah, outrage! I’m offended that someone is offended by something!

        • BTAxis says:

          Careful, someone might be offended and then you would have to be offended at that, and before you know it you’ve got the offense death of the universe.

        • colw00t says:

          I’m not offended because such offensiveness doesn’t interact with my life experiences, therefore your offense is invalid and you are literally hitler.

          • jkz says:

            I’m offended by your misuse of the word literally, and Hitler.

      • Bull0 says:

        Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I’m being oppressed!

    • GiantPotato says:

      I wonder if this brand of “game” has had enough of its DNA changed by now that we can just do away with it and call it something else. It’s such a jarring shift to go from watching a Limit Theory demo video to this, there’s no way it can be the same hobby anymore.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Why should that be illegal? I can see why it’s objectionable but that’s not the same thing. Why should it be a crime to make that ad?

      • Bull0 says:

        *edit* I realise I didn’t actually answer your question with the below. Sorry. Short answer in my opinion is that the ads promote discrimination against women.

        Assuming that the UK’s regulatory body the ASA are broadly similar to other countries’ equivalent regulators they’ve got this covered.

        CAP code of conduct rule 4.1 – Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender sexual orientation, disability or age
        CAP 30.3 – Advertising must not prejudice respect for human dignity
        CAP 30.5 – Advertising must not include or promote any discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic
        origin, nationality, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

        If the ads are on a UK-based website, we can and should report it to the ASA.

        • Syra says:

          I don’t actually see a violation on any of those grounds, seeing as the first is incredibly subjective and the intention is to titillate not offend, and there’s nothing overtly implied by the phrase, I’m not sure that would stand up in court.

          • Bull0 says:

            You think they took particular care to avoid offense? OK then.

        • ScubaMonster says:

          You sound like a humongous prude. I thought Europe was more open to sexuality? I live in Puritanical USA and not even here would this ever be considered any sort of violation of anything. We have laws in place that actually protect this sort of thing.

          • Bull0 says:

            If this is your idea of sexuality, I… I really don’t know what to say, but it follows that you see me as prudish really

          • Eddy9000 says:

            Europe is more open to sexuality, Britain is as well. We’ve also discovered that sexuality doesn’t have to mean exploitation, in fact it’s far more sexy without it.

          • WrenBoy says:

            I think that Bull is overreacting a little but at the same time I think it sensible to treat advertising as one of the forms of speech which merits the least freedom.

            You should be free to create the Human Centipede but not to try and sell it via explicit popup ads.

          • Bull0 says:

            Really don’t think I’ve said anything strong enough to qualify as “overreacting”, mate.

          • gwathdring says:

            Sexual liberalism tends to, thankfully, come along with healthy consent culture.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Bull0
            To be fair I said “a little”. I dont think your first reaction to something you, quite rightly, dont like should be to search for a way to make it illegal. I think such impulses are overreactions to problems best solved in less extreme ways.

            But like I said, its just an ad. I dont think they should be particularly protected or anything.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          The problem is the massive double standards that are involved.
          Its ok for a company to sell car insurance to women only because “women make the safest drivers”, yet people will complain about a hint of boobs in a game advert because “that’s sexist”.
          As a white person it’s not allowable to complain about being the victim of racism.
          As an atheist your supposed to put up with religious idiots bleating on about a mysterious man in the sky and questioning their beliefs means you are “discriminating against religion”.
          The hypocrisy at work in regards to discrimination policies is almost ingrained in our society at this point.

          The problem with those laws is that it basically could describe absolutely anything, in this current world of people being hyper-sensitive and getting offended by EVERY LITTLE THING THAT IS SAID OR DONE, as well as having access to social media which allows them to find thousands of other hyper-sensitive idiots to complain about stuff with them there is literally nothing that might not apply to those laws.

          • Stromko says:

            You really lost me at “As a white person it’s not allowable to complain about being the victim of racism.” — Okay, wrong, it is actually completely allowed to complain about that. When it happens. Not the other 9 times out of 10 when it’s just an angry person spouting off. Replace ‘white’ with ‘male’ and ‘racism’ with ‘sexism’ and I would say exactly the same thing.

            Strangely enough, most of the time even when they say something completely inappropriate and frankly racist, white people do get away with it– and by getting away with it I include celebrities that lose work, money, their jobs, what-have-you because they said something bizarre. Those consequences are pretty damn light compared to what other people have to deal with in western culture re: racism, sexism, discrimination in general.

            For example, Michael Richards didn’t get beaten to death by the LAPD because he was white, he lost a lot of his celebrity likeability because he used the n-word a lot in poor taste on video.

          • Merus says:

            You appear to be confusing ‘racism’ with ‘prejudice’. They’re not the same. White people can easily be the victim of prejudice based on their skin or genetic background, but it is very very difficult for them to be victims of racism.

          • Bull0 says:

            Can’t speak for everyone but personally I don’t like the ‘we do car insurance for women/older people/rodeo clowns because they’re better drivers’ ads either. Didn’t we just outlaw lower premiums based on gender in the UK though? It was in the news at one point

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            There was an EU ruling outlawing calculating premiums differently based on gender.
            However I don’t think this affects a companies ability to sell their product only to one gender (i.e. Female Only Gyms, Male Only Snooker clubs etc) as they aren’t offering different premiums based on gender as long as they refuse to sell to one gender completely.

          • SuicideKing says:

            “The problem is the massive double standards that are involved.
            Its ok for a company to sell car insurance to women only because “women make the safest drivers”, yet people will complain about a hint of boobs in a game advert because “that’s sexist”.”

            Not even nearly the same thing, and i think there’s much more here than a “hint of a boob”

            Not to mention that a simple “hint of a boob” isn’t viewed as problematic in itself.

          • Apocalypse says:

            Selling cheaper car insurance to women is illegal over here in europe ;-)
            http://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/dec/17/women-eu-car-insurance-ruling

            Sorry for the Tabloid source, but I guess to make the point it is good enough, even when its most likely will of bullshit ;-)

    • Dominic White says:

      You think the ad is bad? The game is even worse. You can even pay money to unlock the option to strip your (female only, of course) character completely and run around nude.

      Scarlet Blade really *is* everything wrong with videogames, and I do not say that lightly. It’s an extremely exploitative, misogynistic mess wrapped around gameplay mechanics that wouldn’t be out of place outside a first-gen Korean MMO, and an almost as exploitative business model.

      • The Random One says:

        It’s kind of beautiful, isn’t it? It’s exploitative, but only to people who would enjoy its exploitative shell. It’s like tricking a dictator into paying for low quality weaponry as if it was state-of-art; you’re profiting from war AND swindling a buyer, but those two kind of annul each other.

      • Stromko says:

        It’s interesting that the creators made this clearly exploitative and hypersexualized game (, but felt obligated to tack hundreds and hundreds of hours of non-salacious grind into it. It is an MMORPG, so it’s a given that users will mess around with eachother just like they have since the days of text-based MUDs, but the developers haven’t actually catered to them anymore than Blizzard if you think about it. Sure the character models are ridiculous, but with notable exceptions all female player models in games are sexualized so that’s only a matter of degrees.

        There appears to be a nigh-universal sense of shame to it among game developers that other artistic mediums don’t have. Aside from a few meager niche titles, they all try to be something more, even among hentai games with the most bizarrely broken moral compasses, there is an expectation of convoluted plots and punishing game mechanics.

        Perhaps it is that sexy sells, sex doesn’t.

      • harbinger says:

        And yet it’s being played by a large enough amount of girls and women of all ages and diverse ethnicities: http://www.aeriagames.com/forums/en/viewtopic.php?t=1793473 (including some mothers and women over 40 from what I can tell).

        Hey, don’t let that stop you from getting offended for them while they are having fun playing though…

    • Deano2099 says:

      The Scarlet Blade ad is bad in terms of the outfit and such, but I’m wary against saying it’s worse than any of the others. Because the argument seems to be that it’s referencing BDSM and power play, at which point it starts to seem we’re objecting to it out of prudishness.

      BDSM is a perfectly healthy sexual kink when engaged in between consenting adults, just like anything else. It’s not misogynist at all, and it’s not inherently degrading to women (or men, or the sub in general), except for when it’s meant to be by mutual consent of the parties involved.

      Indeed, that advert seems to be showing the under-dressed female in the dominative role, the safe word reference seeming to mean ‘you can’t stop her once she’s started’ not ‘you can do anything to her’. And the second ad is clearly playing on the idea that the player is nominatively ‘in control’ in a game, but she’s a Domme so maybe in reality she is.

      Not to say the ad isn’t sexist because, well, look at what she’s wearing. But it’s no worse than the others unless you’re having a: kinky = bad reaction, which frankly is no better than the gays = eww reaction of some homophobes.

      • Astrella says:

        Uh, how is ignoring safe words in this context not just saying “consent doesn’t matter?”

        • The Random One says:

          I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and argue that it in fact doesn’t, because the game/the writers behind the game/ad aren’t sophisticated enough to understand it as such. Their thought process seems to have gone as:

          Sex is sexy!
          Kink is a kind of sex few people have!
          Therefore, kink is sexier!
          Safe word is an expression used by people who are into kink!
          Therefore, safe word is a super sexy expression!

          Though I guess you could argue that they don’t view kink as something that happens between two consenting people, but rather as an assertion of power that is also sexy. As this is analogous to the representation of rape in some pornographic media, I understand where you’re getting at.

        • drewski says:

          But the ad isn’t saying “Ignore her safe word” – it’s saying she doesn’t have one.

          Maybe her “safe word” is when she inserts that…device…somewhere unpleasant.

          Unless that’s what you’re into.

          • Deano2099 says:

            Well quite. If you want a rapey reading of the ad, it’s that *she* is going to rape *you* with her big pointy stick, and none of your safe words can stop it.

            There’s no way with her dress, pose and the weapon she’s holding that she’s the submissive in this. Nothing else in the ad supports the notion that the ad is saying “you can rape her”. That someone can get that reading from that ad frankly speaks more to their state of mind than that of the advertiser.

            Now that same wording with a demure looking woman in a white dress, totally un-empowered, no weapon. That would be problematic. Context.

      • Tssha says:

        To say she’s the one with control is ludicrous, because she’s advertising a game, and gamers always have control in a game. It’s implying that you’ll control her, and that there is no safe word because she’s not actually a person, she’s a video game sprite.

        Not that I’m advocating for the liberation of video game sprites.

        Nah, it’s a shallow pandering to gamers who want control and to have a sex life. In other words, it implies that we’d only click that link if we can’t get a date and want sexual gratification anyway, plus control. It’s a veiled insult, frankly. It says you can’t get it in real life, so get it in our world. You fat, pathetic slob. Oh, and by the way, You Suck (Warning: TV Tropes will ruin your life, do not click this link if you have to work in the morning).

      • Bull0 says:

        Needless to say I didn’t read it that way- authorial intent and reader perception can easily diverge, particularly when the source text isn’t great to start with. I don’t appreciate being called a prude, for what it’s worth, do you think that enhances your point any? Am I to call you a perv for thinking it’s appropriate? Of course not. We just disagree. That’s allowed.

        • Bedeage says:

          I think you are focussing on the wrong element of the advertising (the “she has no safe word” seems intended to imply that she’s a wild nympho with no inhibitions, that would love a nice neckbeard to realise his fantasies with her). It’s fine that you see something different there, as there is some ambiguity, particularly in the context of the other ads.

          What isn’t fine is that you think there should be a law against things which offend you.

        • Banana_Republic says:

          But you don’t just disagree, do you? You’re advocating laws to prevent the things that you don’t like, with no regard to the interests or tastes of anyone who disagrees with you. You have NO right to be protected from offensive things, the same as me. And be thankful for it because if offending was a crime, there would be NO ONE left free to offer any kind of opinion. Personally, I’m sick of all the moralizing and lame admonishments. A lot of you would be breaking YOUR law from MY perspective.

        • Deano2099 says:

          “I didn’t read it that way” is tricky though isn’t it? Because it seems those with some knowledge of this sort of thing have the reading that makes it less offensive, and those ignorant of it see something nastier. Which is kinda fair enough, because you’re probably more representative of the majority.

          But as I say: tricky. Because if only interpretation that counts is that of an uninformed majority over an informed minority, you get all sorts of issues.

          I’m not calling anyone a prude, what I’m saying is if you want to judge something without doing the reading and having any knowledge of what it’s referencing, then you’re on shaky ground. It essentially becomes the whole ‘think of the children’ argument. That we should protect people from ever being exposed to this sort of stuff.

          It’s sort of like the Dead Island bust thing in reverse. There you had a whole bunch of people going “but it’s just some boobs in a bikini, it’s no big deal” and then a bunch of people saying “no, just think about it for a minute, it’s *literally reducing a woman to a pair of tits*, consider the context and symbology there rather than judge it solely on what you see on the surface”

          The same thing applies here. If you’re not willing to put in the thought or the reading, you can still have your opinion, but it’ll be an uninformed one.

    • Piecewise says:

      I’m pretty sure, what with the whip and dominatrix stuff, that there’s no word you can use to stop her from…doing sexual stuff to with a bladed sword whip…Actually this is bad either way.

      Still, not as bad as those porn ads using Source movie maker .gifs of Elizabeth from Bioshock infinite, with a giant “UGLY GIRLS NEED SEX TOO” caption. Endlessly amusing to me for some reason.

    • Big Murray says:

      You don’t make laws against it. You just don’t buy it.

      • Bull0 says:

        Oh right OK didn’t think of not buying the F2P scam game good idea

    • Reginald XVII Archduke of Butts says:

      Who is it meant to appeal to, anyway? Idiots? People who refuse basic safety precautions like safe words are danger to themselves and those around them.

    • evancase says:

      There should absolutely not be a law against that. Freedom of speech works like this; you have the right to say or advertise just about whatever you want, with protection from penal punishment from it, but you do not have the right to be liked for what you say. People can hate you for what you say, they can look down on you. I could go say I believe abortions should be mandatory for all but the rich, I wont be jailed for saying that but you better believe I’ll have to deal with the people who completely disagree.

  2. HadToLogin says:

    And here I misread it as WARFACE and hoped to read WOT RPS THINK about “we sexied women models because gamers demanded it – but at least we didn’t put high-heels”.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Has RPS commented on Warface’s female models? It’s what happens when you need to cater to the whales of free-to-play. Only a tiny minority ever actually pay for your product, so it better appeal to them, even if they are cretins.

    • colw00t says:

      Ugh, no. We can do without another ten-page shitfest that overheats my Block Cannon.

      I do wonder if Walker is ever tempted to write an article that combines the “lots of games are really sexist” theme with “Mike from Penny Arcade is a dick sometimes” and also with something about always-online and pay2win. Presumably the comments server would never recover.

      • Grargh says:

        But why stop halfway? While we’re at it, there should at least be some discussion of games as art, console inferiority, Mountain Dew and Steam versus Origin :)

        • equatorian says:

          I’d totally pay to read that article. Write it please, Walker!

        • gwathdring says:

          The icing on the cake would be to present the disparate parts of the article sincerely, with only their collation together into one article being contrived and flame-baiting.

      • Mr.Snowy says:

        My thoughts exactly. ‘Crap game in crap game shocker’ so we can read yet more postulating about sexism in gaming from Walker and frothing from his congregation. Please change the record. Yes I get it, no I don’t agree with it, but what do these endless rants achieve except to turn off your audience?

    • JR says:

      Ug, read that on polygon the other day. Not sure what’s worse, the fact that they felt obligated to include sexualized females or that there’s a large enough group of morons that request it.

    • Bull0 says:

      Just went and looked this up. That’s a fucking shame. Won’t be touching the game.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Never thought Crytek would fall to that level. “We wanted realistic men but unrealistic women, but oh look at the authenticity”. Utter BS.

  3. RedViv says:

    WARTUNE is a MALE CITY BUILD simulation, what do you expect? Flowers to womans?

    No I can’t resist obvious current references.

    How do they get away with stealing this much art? They even have League of Legends art in some ads. Odd that this has not been tracked down yet.

    • Bluerps says:

      Yay, current references! I want a MALE CRIME CITY BUILD simulation (in which you can give Flowers to Womans)!

      • The Random One says:

        I don’t know what that reference is but that sounds like a thecatamites game I’d like to play.

    • strangeloup says:

      Because I’m a huge nerd, I wanted to photoshop the classic Magic: The Gathering card Swords to Plowshares into Flowers to Womans.

      Because I am very, very lazy, I haven’t done so.

  4. Enfold says:

    In other news, League of Legends is finally considered successful enough to stop making female champions (Robot or not) with large breastests (Jinx).

    • Kinth says:

      Still wearing basically nothing and is featured in a promotional video full of phallic references and sexual posing, so I’d say she’s on about the same level as the rest. She’s just designed piggyback onto the current rising popularity of Tatto’d and rebellious looking females.

      • Enfold says:

        I’d agree with you if I knew any people like that or if she had cleavage.

      • Ringwraith says:

        I think you’re reading into the particulars of that video too much. :/
        She’s just crazy and likes making things explode.

      • RedViv says:

        Zat is an interesting interpretation. How is ze relationship wiss your parents?

    • colw00t says:

      That’s not an improvement, it’s just pandering to people with a fetish for Tank Girl.

      • Enfold says:

        It must be a small demographic, then.

      • blackmyron says:

        Tank Girl? It’s clearly Harlequin from “Batman”, as close as they can get without being sued.

      • Concheria says:

        I know a girl who reads Tank Girl and plays League of Legends… the world is weird.

      • Enfold says:

        I said, “to stop making…”, this is about bringing back old skins that were otherwise unavailable.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Yeah, that’s stuff that’s been kicking around for ages, they’re just making it possible to buy them again.
          Though, there’s quite a few good ones in there, like Definitely Not Blitzcrank. Kitty Kat Katarina is definitely an exception rather than a rule to that selection. I’d have preferred it if it stuck to just the cat ears rather than the complete wardrobe makeover. Cat ears + Katarina make no sense, which is brilliant.

      • bit_crusherrr says:

        Oh my god Riot made a Halloween skin for a female hero that’s not far off what actual females wear at halloween. QUICK SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE!

    • TheMopeSquad says:

      Not successful enough to buck the trend of releasing streams of pandering waifu-bots, apparently.

    • Ringwraith says:

      I kinda like Jinx’s design, if only because it fits her personality of being a complete nutcase with the attention span of a gnat. It looks like she’s cobbled it together with whatever she could find lying around and wasn’t completely blown up.

  5. Lambchops says:

    I was waiting for RPS to give those adds the skewering the deserved.

    I’m disappointed, not because of RPS but because there was nothing entertaining about the game behind all the tacky advertising. If you’re going to be doing completely horrible advertising at least have a completely horrible game for us to mock!

    In seriousness though, it’s just a little sad that something this blatant might actually work and not just be, ahem, tuned out.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Every building is a pink dome with a small spire on the top, bouncing pleasantly as birds land on their summits. Here and there, a tall, pink tower, swaying slightly in the breeze. The currency is “poon”. A reassuring message pops up, saying “You are secure in your masculinity. No-one is challenging your gender identity.” Sex happens, and you can watch. In the fields, naked titgnomes toil. The scene is bathed in an oiled-up sheen, sheaths of pussy glinting in the dimming sunlight. Soon, it will be nightfall, and out of the deep, dark forests, the Feminists will come.

      • Darloth says:

        See that would be FAR more entertaining. Possibly just so I could explore the.. .ahem… depths… of the author’s commitment to blatantly euphemistic architecture.

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  6. thetruegentleman says:

    Wow, this is sad. They can’t even get some dating sim elements to at least make their ads at least a little sensible? What’s the point of advertising porn if that’s not what their selling?

  7. twig_reads says:

    If anyone wants to know wha Scarlet Blade is about and save some (not all, some loss is unavoidable) braincells, then young Star_underscore has made a small exploration in a video format:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpwBG2Dtpmk

    (he also makes tons of funny TF2 videos, a small shoutout)

    • Flappybat says:

      Shame he didn’t play this, a terrible MMO with truely embarrassing sexualisation.

    • twig_reads says:

      I was annoyed by Wartune’s ads but seriously, Scarlet Blade beats it in all kinds of awfulness. I didnät think thesekinds of games actually existed before I saw the video. This is exactly the worst kind someone not familiar with gaming can think it is. And sadly, it really is so :(

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      This is horrible in so many ways. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Hey!

      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the cockpits on the Zone of Enders mechs!

    • elevown says:

      In many ways I’m sure scarlet blade is LESS objectionable than what war tune is doing. Im sure it sucks as an mmo – but at least you get what it advertises, and there’s a demographic for that – (teenage boys i guess) – and if thats what you want i guess the game delivers it. Wartune on the other hand is using sex to falsley sell it’s game, because its content has NOTHING to do with it’s adverts.

      • Faxmachinen says:

        Apart from being a terribly bad MMO and a parody on the already ridiculous standard female armor, the game itself just appears to be more juvenile than offensive. I’m more offended by the way women are portrayed in Duke Nukem, for example.

        The ads are really tasteless, but Wartune’s border on intentionally ridiculing men.

  8. Behrditz says:

    Hey to be fair, Scarlet Blade actually IS full of boobs. I mean the very first character you talk to, depending on which faction you choose, wears a mesh shirt with visible nipples.

    • RedViv says:

      Now now, it’s also butts and wedgies. Don’t undersell it!

  9. Squirly says:

    I played Evony back before it had the boobies. Briefly.

    Seriously, these types of games suck balls. They get more money from ad revenue when you click on that link because tits. Anybody who actually pays for this crud deserves to have all their hard drive space taken away.

  10. Lev Astov says:

    Thanks for taking one for the team, John. I’ve always been intensely curious about those ads, but managed to avoid clicking based upon an assumption it would turn out something like this. Really, though, I would have assumed there would at least be lots of character art to go with the banners, though…

  11. Freud says:

    You can’t win this one. Giving them negative attention is still attention.

    • Squirly says:

      I disagree, because 99.99% of their audience comes from dumbasses being tricked by ads that lie straight to your face. Awareness is a good thing.

      • The Random One says:

        I honestly doubt those dumbasses are assiduous RPS visitors.

        • Squirly says:

          Probably not, but another journalist who roams other circles might pick up on this and write something as well. The more the word gets out that this shit is … shit, the better.

  12. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Aside from all the other issues, there’s something I don’t understand. If you want boobs, isn’t the internet full of free porn? Or is it about interactive erotic fighting? If so I am looking forward to “Virtual Tit War: BattleMams”

    • LionsPhil says:

      It probably exists in Japan.

    • harbinger says:

      There are no fine lines between god-fearing victorian prudishness in video games and outright pornography. Nothing in-between should ever be allowed.
      Letz ban zeh boobiez! Sexuality is zeh evilz! I don’t want none of them filth in my video gamez!

  13. satan says:

    Looks like somebody walked right into a-
    *puts on glasses*
    Booby trap.

  14. SillyWizard says:

    I came across this review of Scarlet Blade. It’s pretty funny.

    EDIT: Sigh. Always slow on the uptake.

    • twig_reads says:

      STAR_ get’s a double mention on RPS. WHAT IS THIS!

      • almostDead says:

        He has over three-hundred thousand subscribers, and over eight-hundred thousand hits on that vid alone. Looks like he’s doing just fine regardless of the double plug on RPS.

  15. ZackRoyer says:

    I’ve always thought that those banners were spam. Come on, “Sexy ladies in games”. It sounds almost like “Click here for free virus.”

    • Bull0 says:

      I’ve been playing Phishing Virus Adventures on facebook. I’m a level 72 bitcoin miner. Or I was, until they took my computer away.

  16. MajorManiac says:

    If Evony and this are successful then its proof that sex sells, even if its crap.

    Thank goodness John took the plunge so we don’t have to. Reading this article does make me wish there was a Skyrim-like game based in a world where everyone is a porn star who is constantly acting out cheesy porn scenarios. If it was part of the fantasy world’s lore it could be quite funny and ‘immersive’… I’ll get my coat.

    • Panda Powered says:

      The correlation sex → money predates money. You could put tits on a turd and someone somewhere would throw money at it.

      • gwathdring says:

        Also cocks. There’s plenty of love for cocks too.

        • Stardreamer says:

          Someone would probably throw cocks at the tit-turd too. 2 Tits, One Turd.

  17. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    It’s fairly typical for Chinese MMOs to have very aggressive marketing strategies, even to the point of absurdity.
    For an insider perspective, check out this talk: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1016417/-100-000-Whales-An

  18. TheMopeSquad says:

    Man I tried Wartune without even seeing one of these ads, now I feel cheated,

  19. c-Row says:

    Wow… I’m glad even my browser at work has AdBlock.

  20. Kinth says:

    Has RPS commented on the Eurogamer Expo comedian “scandal” yet? I mean a week before it you guys decided not to cover PAX any more because one person out of the very many that are involved in that expo was allegedly transphobic (whether he was or not is open to interpretation no matter how much people like to declare otherwise, he never expressed any hate or even dislike of transgender people and has not made fun of them. He simply stated he identifies sex/gender based on genitalia and that apparently means you’re trasphobic these days).

    The comedian at the Eurogamer Expo was definitely transphobic, he repeatedly insulted a transgender person about being transgender and made fun of them. So are RPS no longer covering Eurogamer Expo and partnering with Eurogamer because one person of the many, many involved with the expo was transphobic or are we playing double standards because of Rezzed? It is rather odd that a site that over the last year that has been so vocal about fair treatment hasn’t made a single mention of this incident when you have been so very vocal about many other incidents.

    I’m all for the fair treatment of everyone within gaming even if I do think calling Gabe/Mike transphobic is a stupendously large stretch done for what seems to be sensationalism. But you can’t just boycott one show for alleged offenses and then just seemingly ignore it when it happens at another expo a week after you boycotted the last one.

    • Bull0 says:

      That story ends with both parties (including the victim) asking publically for everyone to put it behind them, though. I think maybe that might be a good idea. No expert. Also, reading about it, I’m not sure that “repeatedly insulted and made fun of” is totally accurate. Looks like there was a good amount of misunderstanding and very unhappy coincidence going on.

      kotaku: http://kotaku.com/xbox-one-presenter-humiliated-me-on-stage-says-transge-1421596988

    • almostDead says:

      Did you see what Fox News did to that person in prison for leaking secrets? Bradley Manning?

      After they are done with the game world they’ll have to fight Rupert Murdoch.

      • RedViv says:

        Chelsea. Don’t be Fox News.

        • almostDead says:

          Not according to legal documents. Where do you draw the line.

          A significant proportion of the voting population of the most powerful country in the world get their news and discussion from Fox News. Good to know you are right about Fox and they are all wrong.

          • Bull0 says:

            Didn’t know you could get Fox News in China…

          • Kentauroi says:

            Well what did you think Foxconn employees watch when they get home from a long day of assembling iPhones?

          • cpt_freakout says:

            I’ll draw the line in your face. LIKE A MAN!! Hyargh, manly noises

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Except…. he didn’t. The update retracting most of the claims was made 4 days ago. Keep up.

  21. CobraLad says:

    “Men only” explains emptiness. After all, how do they reproduce?

    • RedViv says:

      They don’t because real men don’t care. They’ll go out gloriously, fist-bumping while blowing up the rest of the planet, their escape vessel burning up mere seconds after because they did not in fact consider that explosions have effects beyond the visual fire.

  22. Leb says:

    I’m truely disappointed I don’t see Wartune or Scarlett Blade adds on RPS

  23. GernauMorat says:

    I saw the headline and really hoped the article was by Cara. No offense to John ;-)

  24. geldonyetich says:

    Hah, what do they think all this unnecessary cheesecake is going to do? Land them a mention on a famous gaming news aggregate blog?

  25. Grape Flavor says:

    Ha, I’d been seeing those stupid ads a lot lately and I figured it was only a matter of time before John wrote an article about them.

    • Monkeyshines says:

      Really? I saw those ads and thought, “Who’d be stupid/immature/repressed enough to even bother clicking on them?”

      They are ridiculous. They’re insulting and nasty, not only to women, but to the men they ask to click on the ads. I never contemplated trying the game. I’m no gaming journalist, but I imagine if I was, I would say that some games aren’t worth talking about. Just from the ads, I could conclude they weren’t really a game. Not that I’m suggesting they’re an art-game or non-game or whatever that fuss is about.

      I’m more perplexed about why this is on RPS and got so many comments. I mean legitimate games with articles posted earlier (Activision business stuff, Wolf Among Us, Football stuff, EVE online, etc) had a third of comments and no cool Calvin and Hobbes intro.

      Anyway, I saw those ads for Wartune or whatever (not the safe word one – that is extremely disgusting) and thought more about adblock settings than seeing what the gameplay experience would be like. I can’t imagine any RPS reader seriously gave it a shot. So this article seems about whipping the congregation into a fervour and to what end? Does anyone expect somebody to chime in saying how much they like these games?

      • Grey Cap says:

        I think that this and Evony are actually rather interesting. Not playing the things, heaven forbid. But they have that certain quality that makes commuters slow down to stare at a traffic accident. Yay?

      • Grape Flavor says:

        @Monkeyshines
        Your questions are more suited for John than for me, but if I had to guess why John wrote this article, I would say it was to call them out and ridicule their offensive marketing as something that should not be in gaming, and also to ridicule the astounding falsity of said marketing, where the game is absolutely nothing like what the ads imply.

        Frankly I don’t have any problem with this article. I’m not one to be shy about criticizing John, either, but really, it’s fine. I was just observing with some amusement that I had actually thought of John when I saw these ads, and sure enough, in a matter of days there was an article. It’s always fun when you have just a fleeting hunch about something and then later it turns out to be spot on.

        • Monkeyshines says:

          Fair enough, I wasn’t really trying to call out your post it was more my noobishness at where to put my own comment. And yours was the last in line. Apologies if it looked like I was criticising your post.

          I get that John has a bit of a white hat crusade against a lot of the crap in videogames and, by and large, I don’t fault him for it. There’s a lot of shit out there and I’d like to see gaming up it’s..er, game.

          I was more surprised at the coverage and the amount of responses. Maybe that underlines the problem and the need for these articles. I get bully pulpits, but this does seem like the wrong audience. As anywhere on the internet, there are right knobs here, but I doubt we’ll see a counterpoint. For all the comments on this article, nobody is justifying the game or saying it’s loads of fun (if you’re male, obviously).

  26. fuggles says:

    One of these uses a picture of a warhammer 40k space marine – fully clothed, but sneaky!

  27. DrScuttles says:

    So, the concept of masculinity is key to the strategy. My personal reading is that Wartune’s mouse pointer represents a great honking willy with which a big manly man can assert his dominion over leagues of the Feminine Other. Truly is this a game for the magnificent stags, those brightly shining suns, with the ability to manipulate their throbbing gaming mice right up to the edge of gaming bliss with their manly manskills of manhood.

  28. Juan Carlo says:

    This game sounds more like a trojan/scam than a game. It’s advertising is salacious and controversial just because that’s all the game has going for it in order to get attention.

    But sexist or no, if it’s true that being featured on RPS really does give games huge “bumps” in sales, then the guys who came up with those ads all deserve promotions They got RPS to write a feature on their shit F2P psuedo-game that no one would have otherwise ever heard of.

  29. Ricc says:

    edit: this was a reply to a deleted post.

    I’m just going to add that I’m really surprised to see that they are still using the AO-rating in their ads, since the ESRB didn’t even rate them at all and already complained about their usage of the copyrighted AO logo. Some f2p stuff is and remains utterly shady in my eyes.

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-05-10-wartune-advertising-runs-afoul-of-esrb

    • PopeRatzo says:

      All F2P stuff is shady. And however good the gameplay might get, the shadiness never goes away completely.

      • Boffin says:

        I was under the impression this was 100% not-even-joking shady. The unlimited hard drive access thing is because it fills your computer with spyware and the like. I had a family member all but brick his PC after playing one of these (Evony, I think). And that’s before the ridiculous F2P stuff going on.

        Obviously I’m as outraged as the next guy that women aren’t being targeted by this scam, but I doubt that too many of them feel strongly about it.

      • Edgar the Peaceful says:

        Card Hunter is free-to-play and is incredibly brilliant. I’ve had about 24 hours out of them without giving them a penny. Easily worth £15 – which is what the -optional- basic set costs. Wonderful mechanics, charming art style, light-touch satire of pen and paper RPG tropes, sweet meta-narrative.

        Really – go and play it.

        [That was a 'reply' to PopeRatzo]

        No tits though.

  30. finalfanatik says:

    Dammit John! I literally got as far as the Calvin and Hobbes strip before I stopped reading. Mostly (entirely) because now I’m going to be nose deep in my Calvin and Hobbes strip books, reading until 3am, and enjoying myself very much.

    I hope you’re happy with what you’ve done!

  31. Gap Gen says:

    I like how someone decided that “we will give you an obsessive-compulsive disorder; this game will ruin your life” is a good advertising slogan. I suppose it’s a dog-whistle for some people.

  32. Arglebargle says:

    +2 for the Calvin and Hobbes quote!

  33. Durkonkell says:

    I love the Picard image at the end! Cracked me up completely.

    • Stardreamer says:

      There really is a Picard image for every situation. Man’s a Legend. :)

    • MajorManiac says:

      I just thought it was another one of those sexy ads.

  34. MarcP says:

    “With absolutely no shame, the game includes the cow race is if they’re just part of generic fantasy lore, rather than something specific to World Of Warcraft. ”

    This takes the LotR is a WoW ripoff trend to a new level. Minotaurs, ring a bell?

    • Lanfranc says:

      Coming soon to a courtroom near you: Blizzard v. Sophocles, Ovid, Plutarch et al., a case for retroactive copyright violations re: mythological half-man, half-bull creatures.

    • John Walker says:

      was referring specifically to the use of the name “Tauren”, which is Blizzard’s invention. But thanks for being snarky and unpleasant!

      • NotQuiteDeadYet says:

        Well he’s kind of following your example, right? I mean, ALL the RPS writers are snarky and unpleasant, except maybe Cara.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Not quite as bad as George, though. There’s Snarky, and then there’s George.

      • eaprivacypolicy says:

        I thought the Cow Race was from Bone, but what do I know.

        In any case, I think you should stop being such a giant tampon about everything. Women do not care about these things, and by not caring they make these issues disappear much sooner than any male-surrogate can. Trust them to it; they don’t need you – the big white bra.

        • Durkonkell says:

          As a heterosexual male, this type of advertising offends ME. I don’t even NEED to get offended for somebody else!

          I am not a neanderthal whose brain can be entirely bypassed by pictures of boobs. No, I don’t want to play your terrible webgame except WAIT pictures of ladies you say?! Suddenly I am an idiot and I am completely unable to restrain myself from playing your game.

          (I’m sure that all women appreciate you speaking for them, too)

        • commentingaccount says:

          As a woman, I sure as hell don’t like the ads. And the rapey as fuck one? Goddammit man.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Tampon!

      • MarcP says:

        So the name is the important part, and not the concept? That’s the kind of rhetoric you’d expect from Tim Langdell, or similar copyright trolls.

        I could ask you where are your articles pointing out the numerous games using the race orc, but let’s be honest for a second. You did your usual hatemongering article, shooting darts blind without thinking twice. Some of your points hit the mark, some of your points don’t; the goal is just to spew bile. There’s boobs and it’s exploitative! Therefore everything about it is bad and evil, because the world is black and white! Raaargh. And stuff.

        And now you’re flailing around nitpicking semantics to defend a point you don’t even truly care about, because John Walker is a man of principles who doesn’t back down! His principles just happen to change every other day based on who he’s angry at.

  35. emptyhalls says:

    This reminds me – there was a quite hilarious blog post by one Christopher Livingston about Evony, Evony and Irony, published in 2009 on his First-Person Shouter blog.

    Unfortunately, the original site (as with many of his old sites) is long gone.

    I found the text of the post on archive.org, but sadly the images accompanying it aren’t included, and the layout of the page is totally messed up.

    Here it is, should anyone be interested in trying to read it without the pictures.

    Just thought that was somehow tangentially relevant.

  36. Scumbag says:

    MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS MY LORD TITYS thegameiscalledenvoy

    I would say I miss those days of looking at wowhead (or one of its competitors) and seeing Envoy ads everywhere, but I don’t.

  37. PopeRatzo says:

    There should be a law against using breasts to get a man’s attention.

    And the color pink.

  38. airmikee99 says:

    “It was instead an Adobe Flash Player Settings popup asking me to give the game unlimited space on my hard drive.”

    But, but, but, but.. if you don’t let them install keyloggers, they’re not going to be able to hack your bank account. How rude.

  39. Josh Wanamaker says:

    Well no wonder, the publisher is Aeria Games. Their offices are about 15 minutes from my apartment here in Sunnyvale. I once interviewed with them for an Associate Producer job. I’m pretty glad I didn’t get it, as I might have had to quit over this garbage.

  40. Don Reba says:

    Sweet, just spent $1000 on Scarlet Blade. Thanks for the find.

  41. lomaxgnome says:

    The advertising for Wartune is abhorrent and misleading and exploitative. It is an insult to gamers, men, women, and probably their dogs as well. Kudos to RPS for pointing out how disgusting it is.

    Scarlet Blade is a porn MMO, and marketed as such. Unlike “mainstream” games that sexualize women in asexual situations and purport to demonstrate life as it is or should be, it is as open about sexuality as it possibly can be. This should be lauded, not mocked. That it is a tedious, boring MMO (yes, I played it for a while) is disappointing, as it would be nice to see something like this embraced for positioning itself as it is, just as porn does. Perhaps if we saw a willingness for games to appeal to more prurient desires overtly, game designers wouldn’t feel so compelled to follow the same sexist tropes that need to be done away with.

    • SirMonkeyWrench says:

      You raise an interesting point, but pornography comes with its own set of exploitative, sexist qualities to consider. Also on a broader level I doubt it would be beneficial to gaming’s public image if we saw in influx of porn games, can you imagine the repercussions of FoxNews discovering the youth are all addicted to rape simulators?

  42. jrodman says:

    Am I doing it wrong when I presumed “Male gamers only” meant it’s for male-to-male flirting?
    Clearly the images on the screen are beards.

  43. bill says:

    I realise it’s probably beyond RPS’s control, but half the ads I see on RPS are on about the same level.

    But that’s because I’m in Japan and they are targeting my location. Half the ads in Japan are on the same level. Heck, half the games and media in Japan are on the same level.

    Maybe if I start using a proxy to browse RPS as if I’m in the UK I’ll start getting decent ads about Ginger Biscuits again… sigh.

    • belgand says:

      I can only assume that “Ginger Biscuits” is either a porn starlet or a website devoted to red haired British women. Either way, I approve.

  44. Jake says:

    I wasn’t really interested until I read that you get to kill Taurens, I hate those guys. Almost as bad as the bloody pandas.

  45. Yosharian says:

    Haha, you deleted my post? Well ok, you made your point… What a strange website.

    I’m sure you had your reasons, but honestly your moderation is getting a little out of hand… it was merely an opinion.

    • Senethro says:

      It was a really terrible opinion and frankly it was a favour to you to have it deleted. Otherwise you might have come across it in five years and experience a terrible moment of self-loathing.

      • Yosharian says:

        Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, your opinion, man

  46. Screamer says:

    While i think those ads are fucking stupid and completely expected it to be really shitty games, I’m surprised it took this long for RPS to write about since those very games where advertised on this site.

  47. Fadobo says:

    Those ads will stop if people would stop clicking on them. You said it yourself, the game doesn’t look impressive at all. Nobody would look at a screenshot and say: Wow, I wonder what that is, I should check it out. I know for a fact that Wartune makes millions a week. So there has to be something about the game that people enjoy. It is actually one of the more successful ones out there. Why? Because they make advertisements that horny idiots click on and gaming blogs talk about. From a company perspective they did everything right.

  48. lofaszjoska says:

    These have been around forever. You saw the cheesy, distasteful ad that one time you forgot adBlock after a clean install, you realized this isn’t for you, you never clicked.
    Not John Walker. He saw it, he put it into a jar labelled ‘SLIGHT CONTROVERSY! CANNED FOR LATER USE’, then picked it up from the shelf when he realized he hasn’t written enough articles about the misrepresentation of women in video games to meet his own quota.

  49. Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

    So what?

    This is no different than hot big-breasted women selling us Pepsi, pick-up trucks, beer, football playoffs, or body spray. I don’t think anyone buys a can of Axe body spray actually expecting to attract a gaggle of 18 year-old blonde bimbos the minute they walk out the door with it.

    Gamers are no different than any other consumer in a typical market. The majority of gamers are young males, and the majority of young males will click on a drawing of a big boob. To act offended or try to gallantly defend the rights of women gamers seems a little pointless here unless you wanted to add in a whole host of other products being marketed down your throat.

  50. ZackRoyer says:

    A woman watches soccer because of the players legs and it’s ok. A man play a game because a female character and this is a crime, he is satan and must burn in hell.
    I’m gonna make a meme about it.

    • Tim Ward says:

      Well, actual;y, the point is about the way the thing is being advertised and marketed, not any individual persons motive for actually clicking on them.

      But thanks for playing!

    • Anabasis says:

      I’m sure all your dumb little buddies on r/mensrights will upvote it, like, a million times.

    • harbinger says:

      Don’t forget how Dead Island torso was apparently worth getting offended about, but this is apparently praise-worthy and the best thing ever:
      http://www.themarysue.com/superhero-package/
      http://jezebel.com/these-avengers-themed-vibrators-are-probably-the-best-m-1099156225

      Or how the slightest hint of boobs in anything is “muhsogyny” but stuff like Magic Mike is being praised as awesome by the same type of people on the same sites or claiming offense over a pose Scarlett Johansson is in on a poster for weeks while at the same time panting about Chris Hemsworth’s abs and general body proportions in certain nude scenes.

      It’s called double standards and it’s something that self-professed feminists generally aren’t ever in short supply of.