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  1. #161
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    You say fictional violence towards a disadvantaged population shouldn't be treated with more care than generalized violence? Well, I never thought of it that way, but it makes so much sense!



    Rape is more off-limits than murder in media but it's more common than murder in actuality. Perhaps there's a relationship between rape's ubiquity and its place in the zeitgeist? There is academic speculation about this. I feel like writing about that, but probably not here.

    I guess HLM2 (as with HLM) is trashy content with solid mechanics. The rape bit can be seen as overt provocation and/or a naive mistake. In any case it's also trashy, which at least evinces consistency of tonal indifference. Having watched the scene and given HLM's tone I don't personally think the rape is out of place; it's as tasteless as the rest of it.

    Some clowns seem to object to the preview as if she "doesn't get it" but from what I can tell she explicitly experienced the "why is this worse than murder?" feeling and she simply felt the presentation was an overstep because of incongruent mechanics (the loss of agency in that specific event) combined with an overdone trope.

    Also, she explicitly said her self-identification as a woman influenced her reaction (i.e. being of the sex which is most frequently raped was said to have had something to do with her response to a portrayal of a female being raped).

    Inconceivable!

    Mostly-male libertarians not grokking how/why a woman may react differently? Jesus fucking cluggula.

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  2. #162
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambe View Post
    (the loss of agency in that specific event)
    I find this a bit of an odd argument because there is no real player agency regarding violence for much of the game. You must kill everyone to progress, there's no choice. Your only choice is how you kill them. The fact that the player is forced to participate in the rape sequence is not the differentiating factor, because you're forced to undertake all the killing as well. Unless you don't play the game.
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  3. #163
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Unless you don't play the game.
    Considering the game is a "kill everybody simulator," I suspect that the agency is in buying it in the first place. I suppose if they advertised themselves as a "kill and rape everybody simulator," they'd be a bit more honest. Stupid, but honest.
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  4. #164
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    I find this a bit of an odd argument because there is no real player agency regarding violence for much of the game. You must kill everyone to progress, there's no choice. Your only choice is how you kill them. The fact that the player is forced to participate in the rape sequence is not the differentiating factor, because you're forced to undertake all the killing as well. Unless you don't play the game.
    I didn't find it odd. Perhaps a nonstandard use in game design circles but not in broader English.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agency

    Here's what was written:

    "I get to the final room. There’s a girl that it seems germane to hit like the other dudes. ‘FINISH HER’, the game says: I feel conflicted, but it’ll be over soon. I stroll up to finish the job. Instead, the control is taken from me by the game, and my character, the Pig Butcher, pins her down and drops his trousers."

    [...]

    "I have been forced to identify with the one person the game has given no agency. My agency has been removed not only from Pig Butcher, but agency was never given to the woman I now identify with – not even AI."

    I took that to mean that agency in Pig Butcher's context was, to directly reference the aforementioned dictionary, "the capacity to kill people". Further, said agency was changed without warning into "the capacity to rape a wounded victim".

    She expected Pig Butcher to kill the wounded victim as he had killed all the others but that's not what happened, hence her feeling "betrayed by something she loves" (i.e. a straightforward murder sim randomly became a rape sim).

    Agency in the victim's context was contrasted against the AIs. The victim could be shot and raped, and those are things done to, not by her, whereas the other in-game targets had "the capacity to move about, attack, and exposit dialog".

    It might make more sense to say the mechanics were unexpectedly altered from kill to rape, but that's a useless semantic non-distinction insofar as the preview is concerned (I would be tempted to call it chicanery but I don't think you've malicious intent).

    In either the agency or the mechanics sense the rape was incongruous, but it was not tonally so unless you want to go down the infinite rabbit hole of comparing the severity of rape and murder (they both seem pretty horrible to me). The rape portrayal I watched in the Rezzed video was as callously-indifferent as every other portrayal of violence in the game.
    Last edited by Jambe; 19-08-2013 at 07:00 AM.
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  5. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I suppose if they advertised themselves as a "kill and rape everybody simulator," they'd be a bit more honest.
    They'd be lying through their teeth. As far as we know, the game doesn't contain a single rape. Hyperbole is fun though.

  6. #166
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambe View Post
    I didn't find it odd.
    The entire thing however boils down to that the character is compelled to exact violence on everyone, and the player by extension either goes along with it or doesn't play. Deciding that he can arbitrarily exact horrific violence and yet rape is somehow outside that scope seems artificial to me. Her expectations aren't necessarily relevant since the game is ultimately forcing the player through - it's all about violence in its various forms. That it has extended this to sexual violence is surprising but doesn't suddenly imply that agency has been taken away from the player any more than it already has been.

    You might as well argue that the ability to brutally execute incapacitated enemies removes agency (particularly in the parts where it locks you into sequences involving particularly violent finishing moves) for all the difference it makes. Again none of this has any impact on what Cara says or thinks and doesn't make anything she says wrong or somehow less valid - it's her impressions of the game and what she feels about it, and that's fine. I don't even necessarily agree with the inclusion of it in the game myself. But some of the arguments about "agency" are ridiculous and stretching the context into artificial compartments to try to support a viewpoint which doesn't really need justification anyway.

    Also "murder sim/rape sim?" Hyperbole does nobody any favours. EDIT: Particularly when the graphics are somewhat abstracted as in HLM. Christ, Manhunt doesn't even classify as a 'murder sim'.
    Last edited by soldant; 19-08-2013 at 08:03 AM. Reason: Edits for the edit god. Words for the English throne! Wait, what?
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  7. #167
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    The entire thing however boils down to that the character is compelled to exact violence on everyone, and the player by extension either goes along with it or doesn't play. Deciding that he can arbitrarily exact horrific violence and yet rape is somehow outside that scope seems artificial to me. Her expectations aren't necessarily relevant since the game is ultimately forcing the player through - it's all about violence in its various forms. That it has extended this to sexual violence is surprising but doesn't suddenly imply that agency has been taken away from the player any more than it already has been.
    It's clearly arbitrary; that's why Ellison seems to have found it troubling. She experienced the cognitive dissonance brought about by this arbitrariness but she seems to have thought of it as an unwelcome manipulation given her sex (and thus close identification with the victim) and furthermore she thought the narrative framing (such as it was) was shit.

    The agency to play the game as she thought it would be played (via murder) was replaced with the agency to proceed via raping an injured woman (or we could join lordcooper in hurfing twelve blurfs about how it was fiction-in-fiction and therefore acceptable). I know; let's count the letters in the preview and work up some apocalyptic interpretations therefrom.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    You might as well argue that the ability to brutally execute incapacitated enemies removes agency (particularly in the parts where it locks you into sequences involving particularly violent finishing moves) for all the difference it makes. Again none of this has any impact on what Cara says or thinks and doesn't make anything she says wrong or somehow less valid - it's her impressions of the game and what she feels about it, and that's fine. I don't even necessarily agree with the inclusion of it in the game myself. But some of the arguments about "agency" are ridiculous and stretching the context into artificial compartments to try to support a viewpoint which doesn't really need justification anyway.
    The point of the preview was to give an impression, surely, and the impression communicated was marked disappointment that rape was included as it was. You can believe there's more truthnuggetude to be sluiced from the agency-passage if you must; seems pretty cut & dried to me, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Also "murder sim/rape sim?" Hyperbole does nobody any favours. EDIT: Particularly when the graphics are somewhat abstracted as in HLM. Christ, Manhunt doesn't even classify as a 'murder sim'.
    Clabonnogon foozingtalz, you're right. It's a golfing platformer with a duckpin bowling minigame!

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  8. #168
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambe View Post
    It's clearly arbitrary; that's why Ellison seems to have found it troubling.
    And if you read my post, I explicitly stated that I don't disagree that Cara felt that way nor am I invalidating her feelings. But it isn't arbitrary - it's just an extension of the ultra-violence that's in the game. Whether or not it needs to be there is a different story. Talk of player agency is laughable when the only agency you have regarding murder (or violence in general) is simply not to play. Attempting to link Cara's apprehension with my argument is a strawman... and I think you know that! Cara's reaction is totally understandable but she finds the concept reprehensible. Her complaint isn't really one of player agency when deconstructed - it seems to me that she finds it objectionable that it's even there at all. Even if it were only an option (retaining agency) it'd probably provoke the same reaction.

    Back to agency, again there's no real distinction here except the artificial one. Another person could pick up the game and question why they don't have the agency to ignore incapacitated enemies, or why they lack the agency to attack in anything other than uber-violent ways. The fact that the game switches to something else doesn't suddenly create a whole new player agency argument - you lost your agency right at the start, the only path through is violence. If this was a smarter game (and it isn't) the loss of player agency could be a very interesting mechanic - forcing you to do horrible things could be very thought-provoking. Not all games have to be about choice, just as in real life sometimes your hand is forced. And before you bring out another strawman to set atop your walls, none of this justifies the scene nor does it invalidate anything Cara says or feels. I'm just pointing out that the player agency thing seems utterly ridiculous to me. There's an argument to be made that the inclusion of the sequence is odd and doesn't need to happen. That argument isn't player agency.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jambe View Post
    Clabonnogon foozingtalz, you're right. It's a golfing platformer with a duckpin bowling minigame!
    No, in all seriousness, it's not a murder simulator. That's hyperbole. It's a top-down shooter/beat-em-up filled with obscene violence. Calling it a murder simulator has all the credibility of Fox News calling ARMA 3 a terrorist training simulator.
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  9. #169
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Bankrotas's Avatar
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    So... slept on it and had a thought.
    Is that scene in game is really a rape? Cause in context, that's a movie stage, those are actors, "rape" victim is an actor. She read the script of the movie and since she's in the scene, I could say, it was her choice to be there.
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  10. #170
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    No, in all seriousness, it's not a murder simulator. That's hyperbole. It's a top-down shooter/beat-em-up filled with obscene violence.
    What're you shooting/beating up? Paper targets?
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  11. #171
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    Murder simulator
    Here's the "problem". Saying that Hotline Miami is simulator is like saying that Saint's Row 3 is realistic. Both statement are false.
    Last edited by GameCat; 19-08-2013 at 01:07 PM.

  12. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bankrotas View Post
    So... slept on it and had a thought.
    Is that scene in game is really a rape? Cause in context, that's a movie stage, those are actors, "rape" victim is an actor. She read the script of the movie and since she's in the scene, I could say, it was her choice to be there.
    Oh, so she was asking for it?
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  13. #173
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    Here's the "problem". Saying that Hotline Miami is simulator is like saying that Saint's Row 3 is realistic. Both statement are false.
    Okay, murder and occasional rape game​.

    I'm glad we worked that out in case anybody actually thought it had any bearing on the point I made.
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  14. #174
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    I don't get it at all. We're playing as some psychopat - if he can murder hundreds of people you shoudn't be surprised that he can also rape someone even if the game is in 99% about killing.

  15. #175
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    I don't get it at all. We're playing as some psychopat - if he can murder hundreds of people you shoudn't be surprised that he can also rape someone even if the game is in 99% about killing.
    Because moral outrage on the internet about video games.
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  16. #176
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Sure, if RPS is the entirety of your internet.

  17. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by db1331 View Post
    Oh, so she was asking for it?
    No, she was a porn actress and it was an acted out rape.

    You know. Just like when women scream OH MY GOD OH YES FUCK ME HARDER in porn? They usually don't really mean that.

    That's why they call them porn actresses. Because they're acting.

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    They didn't even act it out.

  19. #179
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    And if you read my post, I explicitly stated that I don't disagree that Cara felt that way nor am I invalidating her feelings. But it isn't arbitrary - it's just an extension of the ultra-violence that's in the game. Whether or not it needs to be there is a different story. Talk of player agency is laughable when the only agency you have regarding murder (or violence in general) is simply not to play. Attempting to link Cara's apprehension with my argument is a strawman... and I think you know that! Cara's reaction is totally understandable but she finds the concept reprehensible. Her complaint isn't really one of player agency when deconstructed - it seems to me that she finds it objectionable that it's even there at all. Even if it were only an option (retaining agency) it'd probably provoke the same reaction.
    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Back to agency, again there's no real distinction here except the artificial one. Another person could pick up the game and question why they don't have the agency to ignore incapacitated enemies, or why they lack the agency to attack in anything other than uber-violent ways. The fact that the game switches to something else doesn't suddenly create a whole new player agency argument - you lost your agency right at the start, the only path through is violence. If this was a smarter game (and it isn't) the loss of player agency could be a very interesting mechanic - forcing you to do horrible things could be very thought-provoking. Not all games have to be about choice, just as in real life sometimes your hand is forced. And before you bring out another strawman to set atop your walls, none of this justifies the scene nor does it invalidate anything Cara says or feels. I'm just pointing out that the player agency thing seems utterly ridiculous to me. There's an argument to be made that the inclusion of the sequence is odd and doesn't need to happen. That argument isn't player agency.
    We're talking about what was communicated, not whether she has the right to an opinion. I don't think either of us are lugubrious spongiform-maligned imbeciles who debate that kinda shit.

    So, we start here:

    "Deciding that he can arbitrarily exact horrific violence and yet rape is somehow outside that scope seems artificial to me."

    To me, that reads as "Ellison deciding Pig Butcher can murder everyone but not rape anyone seems artificial." Fair? Hence me:

    "It's clearly arbitrary; that's why Ellison seems to have found it troubling."

    Perhaps you're caught up on my use of the word arbitrary instead of artificial? My bad, I guess; I think they're interchangeable there. My PoV is that the obviously-murky distinction between rape and murder (in terms of severity) is whence the previewer's dissonance arose. Ellison:

    "And it starts to make me feel incredibly hypocritical: you liked the violence, I think. You liked, as the game says, hurting people. Why do you feel ugly now, for playing a game where your character rapes a woman? It isn’t even graphic, but implied. These are pixels, Cara. Just pixels."

    The unannounced inclusion of rape jarred her and on pondering that experience she found the distinction she was making between murder and rape to be unsatisfactorily justified i.e. arbitrary i.e. artificial. That is the crux of the preview. She went on to explain that reaction by way of her sex and expectations.

    I'm not misdirecting, I'm telling you what I see. My initial interpretation stands because you only question it by saying the use of agency was "ridiculous". I don't see why it warrants ridicule; it was nonstandard vis-a-vis academic critique and design, but I thought it communicated a PoV well. I think you're being wagged by a tail.

    wrt HLM2: I think it's a trashy violence game with the same tight, addictive arcadey mechanics as the first. I personally don't mind that rape is featured because to my way of thinking it doesn't make the content shittier.

    My inchoate societal stance on rape makes me uncomfortable because it leads to me believe the reactions of Ellison et al. (while genuine) hint at a wider cultural problem. The reactions gather public attention, though, so they're not wholly bad, and furthermore it's illogical to expect people absorbed in the current zeitgeist to react differently.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    No, in all seriousness, it's not a murder simulator. That's hyperbole. It's a top-down shooter/beat-em-up filled with obscene violence. Calling it a murder simulator has all the credibility of Fox News calling ARMA 3 a terrorist training simulator.
    In all seriousness, I don't give even a light smear of a shit.

    You know it was a casual remark, not a fucking genre analysis. lol, cripes.

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  20. #180
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I'm glad we worked that out in case anybody actually thought it had any bearing on the point I made.
    I was talking to Jambe who seemed to think hyperbole was helping his argument. I know not to take you seriously ;)


    Quote Originally Posted by Jambe View Post
    We're talking about what was communicated, not whether she has the right to an opinion.
    Snipped the rest of the post to keep things short. I am discussing what was communicated, and I'm noting that picking out player agency, of all things, as part of the crux of the issue seems like attempting to take a tangential issue and putting it at the top of the list. I'd just refer you to my previous post because that contains my entire point - the agency argument is so thin when you're already robbed of it by simply playing the game. The shock seems to be more from the fact that you've got a rape sequence which you're now confronted with. You've already lost agency back when you first started playing. When you've already surrendered agency, I don't know why the point you choose to focus on is that the loss of agency continues when you're now confronted with a sequence you find abhorrent. The problem is the content.
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