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  1. #1
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    That Hotline Miami article

    You know, the one where RPS aggressively pushes its opinion on some developers but readers aren't allowed to express theirs. I guess we'll have to do that here. In short, I was seriously offended by RPS being offended. Let me explain.

    Earlier this year a relative of mine was murdered. Quite horribly. I don't tend to do this, so please excuse my phrasing here. This article kindof got to me.

    I know RPS is quite big on the misogyny angle, but really? Rape worse than murder? Have you gone so far down the rabbit hole that everything is upside down now? Are you out of your tiny little hiveminds? How can you even act the moral crusader when your morals are so far out of whack? Or is that what makes this happen? Is that what makes you start an interview with "What are you doing about it?" like some mafioso making someone an offer they can't refuse? Nice game you have there, shame if someone were to write a bad review about it? Anyway, don't take my word for it. Open up, I don't know, a law book or something to see which is generally considered worse.

    You know what's offensive? You are. More so than all the hours of violence or the one rape scene in HM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjolkeDeBjeer View Post
    You know, the one where RPS aggressively pushes its opinion on some developers but readers aren't allowed to express theirs. I guess we'll have to do that here. In short, I was seriously offended by RPS being offended. Let me explain.

    Earlier this year a relative of mine was murdered. Quite horribly. I don't tend to do this, so please excuse my phrasing here. This article kindof got to me.
    Sorry to hear that happened to you. Same happened to me and my family early last year. It happened in a manner that quite frankly wouldn't have been out of place in a game like HM or a movie. The night it happened I was driving over to my girlfriends house and I heard on the radio that a pensioner had been found dead in his home, with reports of the home being set on fire. The next night on my way home my mam asked if I'd seen the paper that day, which I luckily hadn't, because my uncle's name and picture was on the front page of quite a few of them. I remember the day of the funeral when our family had to put up with photographers from local and national newspapers came along to take pictures that nobody asked them to.

    I can't really stand it when people say something as stupid as "murder isn't as bad as rape, because rape victims have to live with it every day". I'm not going to say rape is worse or murder is worse. For me, they're both as horrible as each other.

    I managed to enjoy HM, despite it's content, because I know it's just a video game.
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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    Sorry to hear about that BjolkeDeBjeer and Jesus_Phish(I'd say your family had a fucking horrendous time of it, given the circumstances).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjolkeDeBjeer View Post
    In short, I was seriously offended by RPS being offended.
    Go back and look at the article. Do a search for "offended" or "offense" or even just "offen" to cover all the possibilities. It doesn't show up until the comments. It's not about that.

    I can't say if rape is murder or not, but what I can say is that no-one who has been murdered will be playing Hotline Miami. And had I been through what you guys had been through, and knew what Hotline Miami was, I probably wouldn't play it either.

    The scene in Hotline Miami didn't 'offend' anyone. It upset them. And it being unexpected in the game, people were not prepared for that. That's all.

    Just put yourselves in the shoes of the original writer for a moment. You're playing a game you've been sent to preview, and your job is to write 500 words on it. And you're playing it and it turns out that one level happens to have been based on a news story. The precise news story that happened to your family. You're going to feel upset, sick and ill. And then you have to write about it. And you have to give an honest reaction to the game so how can you not write about the way it made you feel?

    Writers, even games reviewers, are human beings. They have emotions and baggage and past experiences and everything just like you or I. They're allowed to get upset. And just to repeat it one more time: they didn't get offended. And they didn't ask for the scene to be removed from the game.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Go back and look at the article. Do a search for "offended" or "offense" or even just "offen" to cover all the possibilities. It doesn't show up until the comments. It's not about that.
    it may well have finally crossed a line
    nearly depicts violent sexual assault and then casually moves on
    For many, it was a deeply troubling moment in an otherwise excellent demo – one that prompted more horror and revulsion than contemplation.
    but the whole thing just felt icky
    it’s something a lot of people experience without ever really recovering from.
    Sometimes you don't need to say a specific word, to convey the exact tone and meaning of that word.

    but what I can say is that no-one who has been murdered will be playing Hotline Miami.

    The fact that neither you, nor apparently the RPS staff have the ability to realise that murders leave behind broken survivors makes me wonder what kind of a moral compass and sense of compassion/empathy you guys have.

    Trotting out the glib phrase "well no-one survives murder (natch), so we don't have to worry about them playing a game that brutally depicts murders" is just utterly repugnant.


    As bjolke said, this attitude is far more offensive than a game. After all, your attitude is real - the game is only a depiction.
    Last edited by Vicious; 06-09-2013 at 12:12 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious View Post
    [/I]
    Sometimes you don't need to say a specific word, to convey the exact tone and meaning of that word.
    No. Horror, revulsion, icky are not 'offended'. I find the Saw films horrific, revolting, icky, and over the line. They don't offend me and I have no problem with them existing.

    The fact that neither you, nor apparently the RPS staff even realise that murders leave behind broken survivors makes me wonder what kind of a moral compass and sense of compassion/empathy you guys have.
    Maybe you should read my penultimate paragraph where I made that exact point?

    That said, I don't know many games that throw in murder randomly and unexpectedly.

  7. #7
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    Maybe you should read my penultimate paragraph where I made that exact point?

    I read it, and if that's what you meant to convey, you did about as good a job at conveying that point as you did at conveying your humanity.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious View Post
    I read it, and if that's what you meant to convey, you did about as good a job at conveying that point as you did at conveying your humanity.[/COLOR]
    I'll try again with shorter words for you?

    If something horrific has happened to you or someone close to you, and you play a game that unexpectedly simulates that thing, it's going to make you feel crap. Feeling crap is not an excuse for not doing your job. If you are a games journalist, your job is write honestly about the games you play.

    Me or the RPS writers can't write about how killing people in Hotline Miami made us feel sick as we've not had close friends suffer that fate. Those who have can if they want to, and I'd fully support their right to write that and the validity of their point.

    No-one here is saying it's wrong to have a visceral, horrific reaction to the depiction of murder in games. I'm sure there are war vets that find the likes of Call of Duty unplayable. But we rarely see people writing about that. Which is a shame.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    I can't really stand it when people say something as stupid as "murder isn't as bad as rape, because rape victims have to live with it every day". I'm not going to say rape is worse or murder is worse. For me, they're both as horrible as each other.

    I managed to enjoy HM, despite it's content, because I know it's just a video game.
    People react different to different things though. There will be people in your situation that won't enjoy HM because of it. There will be people who were raped that will be entirely unaffected by that bit of HM2. No-one's experience and reaction is invalid.

  10. #10
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    I don't think RPS was saying rape is worse than murder. I think this is a mistake to suggest this.

    In her article, Cara Ellison was looking at rape on it's own at first. I think she addressed the issue of hypocrisy partly because she noticed some element of it herself (that we are all desensitized to violence, but not sexual violence), but also because she felt the need to pre-emptively address criticisms which she rightly believed would be coming her way, just as Swift did in A Modest Proposal...

    I posted my thoughts here and here and apparently in the wrong place, unless this thread came after.
    Great post and thank you for posting that, you said it much better than I was going to.

    I feel the comparing of violence and rape is invalid. Violence has had a history of over 75+ years to distill itself in cultural media like movies and TV shows.


    It is because of this, that the HLM criticism of violence in games works. Because violence has always been a platform in games.


    Rape is however an issue virtually untouched by games, and in the cases it is, it’s mostly insensitive.


    HLM can’t use rape to criticize violence in cultural mediums, because rape never was a integral part to the violent features it is bringing attention to.


    What does social discussion and education and understanding of rape and its ramifications have to do with action movies and the obsession with killing in games? The latter of which HLM is about? Not much I think.


    The rape scene in HLM only serves to distract from it’s main purpose, due to it’s obvious shock value.


    Rape needs a different platform to be discussed. Abuse of children, sexual abuse of children or adults, and rape… all of these things are not part of the desensitization that is present in modern action films or games.


    Rape cannot simply be an ancillary narrative to this history of cultural media. It is a topic on it’s own and should be respected as the serious topic it is, not simply paraded and trivialized and exploited for shock value.
    I think the issue is not comparing violence in games directly to rape in games, but treating each with it's own respect.

    We have traveled down a path of decades of treating violence euphemistically and unceremoniously in movies, TV shows, and games(see James Bond Goldeneye, the movie, or the game).

    I think "art directors" in all these disciplines have learned some unspoken rules about how to handle death in games (and I think this trade gets political and legalistic as well, especially when government and boards like ESRB are involved, which is always basically) and how to depersonalize the whole process... for example, most action games and action movies do not feature dismemberment, which definitely happens in war, as if to give us the "care bears version" of killing to make it more palatable for "all ages."

    This does not mean we are monstrous (or maybe it does), but simply put we've essentially dissociated the act of actual killing and violence from videogame violence and action movie violence. For better or worse.

    ===================================

    Now since we look at game violence in it's own deserved isolation, let's just look at rape on it's own...

    I think the reason RPS, and I personally, think to bring up rape as an issue, is because rape is not a common feature of games, or movies, or TV shows. I think rape is an avoided topic, because it has not frequently been discussed by society at large either.

    This is to say... I would be not at all shocked to see a videogame feature grotesque and even frightening violence today. However.... I would be surprised to play a game I actively engage in rape of a woman, rape of a man, sexual assault of a man or woman, child abuse, or child molestation, or child sexual abuse.

    To be more literal about this: I think Cara who was unprepared to see rape in HLM2 was surprised. And I don't think it is hypocritical to not be surprised at the violence in HLM2 or any other videogame, because general violence is simply acceptable and even expected in videogames, movies, and TV shows. That is the flavour of media that has become acceptable, for better or worse again.

    ===================================

    Am I saying we should be desensitized to rape also? I don't have the answer to that. Should we be desensitized to game violence in general? I don't have the answer to that either. Maybe my dad was right that games are simply too violent, and I am in the wrong about that. Maybe games in general could, or even should, be less about violence. Maybe violence in games should only be permissible with proper or excessively obvious context. Maybe violence just shouldn't be allowed. Maybe the media at large is at fault for preying on our habits and we are at fault for only following our instincts about this too. I don't know.

    I think the main issue is simply rape, on it's own, isolated (along with child abuse or sexual abuse which are in very close camps to rape), is that it's unexplored. We have not experienced this commonly, especially in popular culture media, making it more surprising than "the token black man dying first by getting his head chopped off in the aliens versus marines movie" or something.

    ===================================

    Again, maybe we are wrong to desensitize ourselves to movie, TV, and videogame violence. Maybe it's not wrong. Maybe it's not wrong and wrong in equal parts, and yet still totally insensitive (I think this is my best answer). I think it's very possible to be right and hold elements of hypocrisy at the same time. And I think it's also possible to be right (or at least not wrong) and be insensitive at the same time.

    Who knows at this point. It is hard to say from our current point of reference honestly, we have little comparison to the society who doesn't have such violent game/TV exposure.

    At least with rape, let's try to open the discussion on the right foot. Because really, in all honesty, this issue is so heavily ignored in so many monocultures within larger multicultural societies and by individuals and by states and law enforcement and the list goes on... it's a really touchy issue, because I think we are much less learned about rape than we are about the ills of general violence. And these issues are including but not limited to... honour killings, silencing victims (by families or perpetrators), blaming victims, the alleged difference between "regular rape and forcible rape" as one US politician puts it, marital rape, problems in reporting sexual violence and rape, and more...

    Society at large understand general violence as bad... that crime is bad, that robbing a store is bad, that stealing or hitting or grabbing or pointing fingers is bad. As a society... I think importantly it's just we haven't had enough discussion about rape to parade it in a videogame with little context maybe.

    Let's use some more specific tools to open this sensitive subject, it's not for a blunt instrument like Hotline Miami 2 maybe, just my opinion.

    Maybe it's just me who is not ready to see rape as a regular feature in games. Maybe other people are more ready than me and I'm wrong... I hope I'm right though and I hope we ask questions about what we feel is right and wrong to present in popular culture and why.
    Last edited by rockman29; 06-09-2013 at 03:23 AM.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    People react different to different things though. There will be people in your situation that won't enjoy HM because of it. There will be people who were raped that will be entirely unaffected by that bit of HM2. No-one's experience and reaction is invalid.
    I'm fully aware of that and I'm not saying "this is my view so it's the right view, whats wrong with you all?", I'm saying, I've been in a scenario where (details can be highlighted) my uncle was murdered in his home, by his son, with a katana through the chest, then set on fire but as a person who had this happen to them, I still was able to enjoy HLM. So if nothing else I'm a data point with what I would imagine is some relevance rather than someone giving their opinion on something they've never experienced (I've never been or know anyone whose been raped, which is why I admit to not being able to say which is worse).

    So while I think making people aware of the content of games (if only we had some sort of classification system), I think it's bs to say what you can't and cannot include in a game. The mistake of the devs was not to include the rape scene, but not giving a warning to the people playing the demo that the game will include it alongside murder, gore, extreme violence, probably drugs or anything else in it.
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  12. #12
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    no offense to any of you, but fuck the survivors.

    The victim doesnt give a shit how you feel, and nor should it. Rape, like any form of torture, is much worse than simply being killed. You die anyhow, but you dont necessarily get tortured before you do. Death is not a bad thing. Torture, Im sure we can all agree on, is.
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  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    When I started playing HM I found it distressing in the sensory sense, with its crt scan lines shifting, oscillations along with hypnotic and vaguely nausea inducing music.

    Then it clad itself in sound stage gun noise, charming pixel art and collectibles.

    It felt like it started off trying to feel conflicted but after a few hours the horror or someone crawling away while bleeding out sublimed into the urge to finish him to boost your combo. Difficult levels made you efficient and easier ones more 'playful'.

    After a while I was autopiloting a level to collect a gem needed to 100% the game and I was walking back to the car and was shocked by the trail of death I had left behind, and then again numbness set in.
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    A post in which Quanta shows he is not a nice person
    I'm sorry, but the survivors of what? What are you talking about, you horribly insensitive person?

    Rape survivors?
    The family and friends of murder victims left behind?
    The family and friends of rape victims.
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  15. #15
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    "no offense to any of you, but fuck the survivors. "

    Not excellent, Quanta. See me in my office.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    no offense to any of you, but fuck the survivors.
    And they made you a mod... EDIT: Okay I posted this before I saw Jim's statement, no backseat modding intended sir!

    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    Death is not a bad thing. Torture, Im sure we can all agree on, is.
    Natural death is not a bad thing. Dying violently, whatever the method, most certainly is.



    Regarding the article in question - I sort of get the argument that it's a bit odd to normalise the wanton violence and then focus on a fake sexual assault sequence, but I don't expect any less from RPS. It made Cara uncomfortable and the rest of the violence doesn't change that point. Rape isn't a topic games are equipped to deal with at the moment. That said, the RPS article sounded like an inquisition rather than a query. The tone suggested to me that Nathan didn't want an answer as much as he wanted an apology... fortunately the Wedin stood his ground somewhat (while also acknowledging that it could cause distress) and the tone changes slightly towards the end. But that's just how I read it.
    Nalano's Law - As an online gaming discussion regarding restrictions grows longer, the probability of a post likening the topic to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea approaches one.
    Soldant's Law - A person will happily suspend their moral values if they can express moral outrage by doing so.

  17. #17
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    I'm sorry, but the survivors of what? What are you talking about, you horribly insensitive person?

    Rape survivors?
    The family and friends of murder victims left behind?
    The family and friends of rape victims.
    Im not insensitive, I just dont care about the "people left behind". Not the murder/rape victims, obviously.

    I did really mean no offence to any of you personally. I was merely trying to state that the article is about the victims, not anyone surrounding the victims.


    *steps into the office.
    Last edited by QuantaCat; 06-09-2013 at 09:59 AM.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman29 View Post
    STUFF
    This is a perfectly reasonable view. And correct. Rape, for it's survivors, it's victims is extremely truamatic and damaging.

    The problem with this particular article is the creeping agenda influencing the writing further on RPS. I have no problem with the sort of columnistic articles by some of the writers on issues outside of just gaming news. Things that are wider social issues. That's fine and I can happily disagree and move on.

    However the HM2 article was an artist (presuming that the readers and writers of this site believe games can be "art") under attack from a journalist for stepping over the line (in that journalists view).

    You're argument is a valid explanation for why this scene felt out of place or inappropriate. It is not an explanation for why they should not have attempted it. And that is the problem. For me, this IS an ART medium and what an artist sets out to do will rarely always work, but they should never be intimidated into self-censorship.

    This article was a really dangerous step toward the RPS (feminist) agenda skewing real content. The closing of comments was an utter disgrace. One of the more coherent comment threads, yet closed because the vast majority disagreed with this pathetic article. Really sad.

  19. #19
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheal View Post
    This article was a really dangerous step toward the RPS (feminist) agenda skewing real content. The closing of comments was an utter disgrace. One of the more coherent comment threads, yet closed because the vast majority disagreed with this pathetic article. Really sad.
    Oh dear. Thats not a good sign.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheal View Post
    The closing of comments was an utter disgrace. One of the more coherent comment threads, yet closed because the vast majority disagreed with this pathetic article. Really sad.
    What you don't see is all the comments presumably deleted because they were downright nasty. There reaches a point where I'd rather the writers spent time writing than moderating particularly problematic threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    Im not insensitive, I just dont care about the "people left behind". Not the murder/rape victims, obviously.
    You don't care at all? I'm one of the insensitive pricks in this thread, but I still care about the people left behind. A violent death (or rape) of someone close to you is going to fuck you up. I just don't think it's as bad as actually suffering either of those yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    So while I think making people aware of the content of games (if only we had some sort of classification system), I think it's bs to say what you can't and cannot include in a game. The mistake of the devs was not to include the rape scene, but not giving a warning to the people playing the demo that the game will include it alongside murder, gore, extreme violence, probably drugs or anything else in it.
    I agree entirely with that, and the original article certainly never said "this shouldn't be in the game". In fact it basically explained how it could still be in the game and be less problematic by making a few small changes. Cara's article suggested that had she not lost control of the main character in that scene, it would have affected her differently. Yet it would still have made the same shocking/point or whatever. And I think that's crucial.

    I understand entirely if you don't want to get into this, but do you think that for you there is a line somewhere that a game like HL:M could cross? If a situation in it played out too closely to what you experienced, do you think you'd then be bothered by it?

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