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  1. #3121
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    Papa and Yo is also set in a fantasy world. Using fantasy to show victimization conveniently avoids sexualization for the most part, but it is quite a limitation. What you are losing is the entire world of realistic or semi-realistic depictions of the fringes of society in games. You are asking for games to refrain from showing abusive behavior toward women at all unless appropriately couched behind symbolism. (This is really like Hollywood censorship codes from the 1920s/30s).

    Yes, there are going to be scummy games just like there are scummy movies, but there are some that truly cannot be made if your standards exist and it is a shame to lose those.

    Also, part of the reason for pointing out that Bioshock 2 was so misrepresented is to point out that games that cross this line are actually rarer than they are made out to be. Currently, I have very little trouble avoiding these titles because I don't particularly enjoy open world crime games and those are the majority of what she showed in this video.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    I think the main point she was making is that it is not about the women, the women are objects as you say in the villains plan a horrible short hand to make the player want to kill the villian. Well that storyline is troubling anyway, but why do all games have to have violence as the main thing. I mean your peeing carpet thing, well there was a whole film about a guy going on a quest because his carpet got peed on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Lebowski I've never seen anyone do that in a video game.
    And how many people did Lebowski kill in that movie simply because someone peed on his carpet?

    None.

    Now if we want to go look at how often the trope of women as backdrop victims is used in nonviolent games, I would be very interested in the results of that study.
    Last edited by Misnomer; 28-08-2014 at 05:48 PM.

  2. #3122
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Also it's the idea of trope. In film nowadays war films tend to make some point about war, setting a film in a war is either a conscious point you're making (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, etc.) to do with war. There's also Michael Bay films about war where critics and lots of people just cringe.

    Games are far more likely to lazily include war as a backdrop of some grittiness without ever really making a point. It's just lazy backdrop for dudebros doing cool stuff fuck yeah.

    If there is a war analogy to be had I think it'd be that. You shouldn't uncritically use things in your writing/creative effort and if it is something unpleasant or controversial or upsetting etc. you're going to need to be able to justify the inclusion. It's not censorship, nobody ever said it was censorship. The video even flat out says it is critical of components of a possibly good whole.

    But yeah as Xercies said there's also the extreme narrowness of games in terms of using violence as the only action.

  3. #3123
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    In an attempt to clear the air somewhat, let's take a look at an example from the world of film.

    There's a certain crowd out there which thinks Lars von Trier is misogynist -- or at least that his films are. I disagree. There are several strands to the argument, but a core observation is that a number of his films feature female protagonists who experience tremendous suffering -- psychological, social, physical, sexual. Ergo, so the argument goes, von Trier enjoys making women suffer.

    I think this is off-target, and that von Trier is interested in human suffering rather than female suffering per se, however this still leaves us with the question of why he has so regularly employed female characters in these roles. And I think the answer is fairly simple: it's easier and more effective to depict female suffering. Men react more strongly to the suffering of women, and women do as well (there have been studies on this). In particular, it's very difficult to depict male suffering in a way that accords with broader masculine values of strength, stoicism, etc. A woman can be a shambling wreck and still engender our sympathy and respect, yet for a man this is difficult. A man can have trauma in his past, but only in service of engendering a traditionally masculine and heroic figure: My wife and child were murdered ... that's why I'm such a bad-ass cop and kind of an asshole.

    Does this let von Trier 'off the hook' for his penchant for suffering female characters? To a certain extent, yes, in that it is unreasonable to expect him to transcend ideas that are much larger than himself. On the other hand, because I hold von Trier in high esteem, I would like to see him do precisely that. But in any case, this issue of gendered depictions of suffering is certainly one we should talk about, and it is not unreasonable to use von Trier's films as examples.
    Last edited by Lethe; 29-08-2014 at 08:40 AM.

  4. #3124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Games are far more likely to lazily include war as a backdrop of some grittiness without ever really making a point. It's just lazy backdrop for dudebros doing cool stuff fuck yeah.
    Because games are likely to be bad art, they should stop trying to include issues of women and violence?
    Last edited by Misnomer; 28-08-2014 at 05:46 PM.

  5. #3125
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    A man can have trauma in his past, but only in service of making a traditionally heroic figure: My wife was murdered ... that's why I'm such a bad-ass cop.
    And make him only weep instead of beign awesome and then you will have comments like "wtf, he's crying, what a pussy" or "why he can't just man up, lol".

  6. #3126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Games are far more likely to lazily include war as a backdrop of some grittiness without ever really making a point.
    I have to say that I don't find at all appealing the idea that you should have to make a point about such things to include them. I think that's the one thing from this round of discussions that I don't like.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  7. #3127
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    I have to say that I don't find at all appealing the idea that you should have to make a point about such things to include them. I think that's the one thing from this round of discussions that I don't like.
    I didn't say you HAD to. Just that you're going to get criticised if you don't. No part of this is against freedom of expression. That quote isn't even about censorship.

    However when you use a conflict that is highly politicised and in which millions of people died for a lazy hero game/film. It feels pretty icky to play or watch, I find at least.

  8. #3128
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    Games are often dumbrrr because often they make very strong argument without knowing it.

    In Civilization you can't not invent religion. You don't receive a bonus from playing without inventing religion.
    In Civlization, you can conscript people 1000 years before inventing conscription.

    In many games, your only interaction with the world is to shot bullets to it. You are somewhat like Shrike from the Hyperion novels (Dam Simmons)..

    In a MMO you can save 5 miners, but saving 6 miners is a waste of your time. Even if you dedicate all your game time to save people in that mine, from the rapewolves, you will neve save the miners. You can't change the world.

    On chess, your objective is to kill the king.

    You can only win Risk trough war.

    On RPG games, bad people make bad things, and people with good motives do good things.

    On Reus, on the tutorial you are asked to exterminate a civilization because it growns too fast.

    Almost all XXXX ( exploration, expansion and conquest) games have "racist borders", so you can't have a planet where White Humans and Black Aliens live on it.

    Perhaps its unavoidable, perhaps adding a lot of different winning conditions to chess will not make the game more fun.

    Real world is also dumb and exploitable.

    The government give money to families without a job, and many childrens, and some people exploit THAT, gaming the system.


    Its possible that games are being sexist without knowing it. Like how Civilization is anti-atheist without knowing it. How all XXXX games are racist without knowing it. The Reus game is luddity and anti-humanist. Risk is pro-war. And FPS games are psychotic simulators.

    Perhaps games are not, after all, art, since they don't have a message that its actually intended by a artist. Perhaps are just glorified toys.

  9. #3129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    I didn't say you HAD to. Just that you're going to get criticised if you don't. No part of this is against freedom of expression. That quote isn't even about censorship.

    However when you use a conflict that is highly politicised and in which millions of people died for a lazy hero game/film. It feels pretty icky to play or watch, I find at least.
    Which gets back to the question. How pervasive is what she is talking about?

    If you can't avoid it, then it is a problem that the game design community needs to address. If it is very easy to avoid and is actively criticized by art critics, then...why are we looking for it in games where it might not actually exist like Bioshock 2. It would be easy to avoid and to trust critics to tell you when it was mindlessly applied (like war in a Michael Bay movie).

    If you go through your Steam library and over half of your games have this sort of trope, I do also wonder if it says more about you as a gamer than the pervasiveness of the trope too. I am closer to 5-10% and I think several of those handle it well.

  10. #3130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    I didn't say you HAD to. Just that you're going to get criticised if you don't..
    Perhaps I should have said something more like "ought to make a point" or "have a moral duty to make a point" or something like that. I mean that if they include something like this just because rather than to make a point, then you will criticize them, whereas I will not think it worthy of criticism.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  11. #3131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    Games are often dumbrrr because often they make very strong argument without knowing it.

    In Civilization you can't not invent religion. You don't receive a bonus from playing without inventing religion.
    In Civlization, you can conscript people 1000 years before inventing conscription.

    In many games, your only interaction with the world is to shot bullets to it. You are somewhat like Shrike from the Hyperion novels (Dam Simmons)..

    In a MMO you can save 5 miners, but saving 6 miners is a waste of your time. Even if you dedicate all your game time to save people in that mine, from the rapewolves, you will neve save the miners. You can't change the world.

    On chess, your objective is to kill the king.

    You can only win Risk trough war.

    On RPG games, bad people make bad things, and people with good motives do good things.

    On Reus, on the tutorial you are asked to exterminate a civilization because it growns too fast.

    Almost all XXXX ( exploration, expansion and conquest) games have "racist borders", so you can't have a planet where White Humans and Black Aliens live on it.
    This is something I spoke about recently over on SU&SD. I don't think it means games are not art; there are any number of pieces of art with unintentional messages. But it is worth discussing.

    We have this habit of seeing things like chess as neutral because they are abstract. Or like RISK because they are inexplicit. And then when something like Arcipelago comes along that explicitly engages with slavery and oppression in mechanical ways ... people accuse it of exploiting those themes because their first response is that it made them uncomfortable and dealt with taboos.

    But I think what's important is how it deals with them. What we don't say is just as important as what we do say. Having our children play RISK without ever communicating the problems with war is a huge mistake. It's foolish to see that as neutral and small simply because it is silent.

    Conversely, it is not the use of these themes and tropes that makes a game sexist or problematic, but the usage. I would almost rather have games that use these things to lazily show villainy than that pretend it's all sunshine and roses or pretend these things aren't sinister. At least "being a pimp is bad" is something, right?

    Of course then representation of women comes into play and we run into all kinds of problems. I'm not denying that.
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  12. #3132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    Games often they make very strong argument without knowing it.
    Indeed. Despite the quibbles below I think this is a very insightful and important point.

    In Civilization you can't not invent religion.
    I suspect this is accurate. Of course it depends on what you mean by 'religion'.

    On chess, your objective is to kill the king.
    Actually the objective in standard chess is to place the opposing king in such a position that he cannot avoid being captured on the next turn, at which point the game ends. The king is never actually captured -- it's all very genteel.
    Last edited by Lethe; 28-08-2014 at 06:19 PM.

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    Papa and Yo is also set in a fantasy world. Using fantasy to show victimization conveniently avoids sexualization for the most part, but it is quite a limitation. What you are losing is the entire world of realistic or semi-realistic depictions of the fringes of society in games. You are asking for games to refrain from showing abusive behavior toward women at all unless appropriately couched behind symbolism. (This is really like Hollywood censorship codes from the 1920s/30s).
    I can say it last time but you of course will ignore this as you are doing all this time: 95% of "violence against women" in games can be removed and these game won't change a bit, why ? beacuse that what it is: a background, a filler, a lazy shorthand, with no point to make, no observation , no stimuli. There is no realism to gain or loose here , nor is censorship of reality involved.

    Yes, there are going to be scummy games just like there are scummy movies, but there are some that truly cannot be made if your standards exist and it is a shame to lose those.
    Yeah, you know it's bullshit. What standards ? What games are we loosing here ? It's such a nonsense. If all games that are used in this video would have had these scenes, moments, npc cut then what ? Would they turn unplayable ? break in two ? loose all atmosphere ? gameworld that stoped being realistic ? What a tone of crap but I'm done with this. I only hope that people who made games actually listen to what she has to say and not people like you.

  14. #3134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naramsin View Post
    What a tone of crap but I'm done with this. I only hope that people who made games actually listen to what she has to say and not people like you.
    Glad we could keep this rational and civil. "people like you" ::eyeroll::


    To actually address your arguments though, there is no way to prove those games lose nothing. It is like saying a movie having nothing to do with the core history of the Holocaust (X-Men First Class) should remove all background scenes showing ethnic cleansing/genocide not directly related to its main character arcs. Justifying this removal because it is a comic book movie doesn't really make a difference because you are removing something from the movie that was put there for a certain kind of context. Simply noting that it wasn't on the same level as Schindler's List because it was a comic book movie, even if it perpetuated a twisted version of those victims by analogizing them to mutants, wouldn't justify removing that background.

    Would X-Men First class be watchable without those scenes? Certainly, but would it have lost something essential to it? No one can truly answer this and that is why I haven't answered your question. You can't know, I can't know, and art critics could debate for decades over it. (Just look at all the sexism interpretations of famous literature that come out of academia every single year).

    It is really beside the point if the game keeps functioning as a game if you remove tropes unless you truly believe games are just toys and that, as mentioned above, toys by their nature must steer clear of taboo subjects.
    Last edited by Misnomer; 28-08-2014 at 06:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    In as short a time as possible, convince me this person is villainous/reprehensible. Oh and because our main mechanic is violence, make this happen on the fringes of society where people with beliefs condemned by mainstream culture are more likely to appear and justify atypical violence by the player character.

    Is it really that shocking that prostitutes exist or are used in that sort of setting?

    Yes, it is lazy to always resort to this, but it is a trope in the sense that WW2 shooter or space marines is a trope. Even drug trade and usage is a trope in those situations. It is a justification for violence through an overused setting. Since the main mechanic is violence and we have limited justifiable situations for violence in our culture, we should expect to see these tropes. Maybe women as victims should be used less? It seems odd to ask for more victims to include children and the elderly, but that is probably fair if the point is an efficient villainy trope.

    Still, it is important to note that these villainy and violence tropes make inherent logical sense to the player not because they are common and acceptable in the everyday world, but because they are not. This is where Sarkeesian's point is paradoxical. If domestic violence is too common to work as a villainy trope, are video games sexist for using it as a quick identifier for evil?
    Misnomer, you're not arguing the same point as everyone else. You want videogame stories to be allowed to include violence against women, and no-one is arguing that that's a problem. The problem is that they include violence against vulnerable, objectified women, and that in the context of the continuing story, that violence doesn't matter.

    The trope Sarkeesian is problematising is very effective at telling a story. And also very common. And lazy. But the problem is that it treats the women as disposable sex/morality objects. The fact that there are other lazy tropes does not change the fact that treating vulnerable women as disposable sex/morality objects is harmful.

    So, again, Sarkeesian wouldn't demand that no game feature violence against women. She wants games to treat the subject with dignity, to humanise the victims of men's violence against women, and to generally treat victimised women as people rather than objects. If the developers actually felt (and communicated to us) sympathy for the plight of all these abused women, took them seriously, there wouldn't be a problem.
    Last edited by Grey Cap; 28-08-2014 at 07:09 PM. Reason: Caught up with discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    I suspect this is accurate. Of course it depends on what you mean by 'religion'.
    There are boardgames that have two deck of cards, one of positive things, that help you win, and other with negative cards that make your victory harder to achieve.

    Quite obviously religion in the civi games is "a good thing", since is on the "technology deck" that are cards that help you win the game.
    What is religion on civi? is a card with the word "Religion" on it, on the positive cards deck.

    City revolt in civilization is not a good thing. A city that revolt (too high taxes, all work, no fun) negative affect the player possibilities to win.

    The game could have been modeled differently. Maybe democracy can be a "technology" that is only unlocked when one of your cities revolt and all the other cities join the revolution for democracy.

    Religion could have been modeled as a negative effect. Like corruption. Making your whole civilization less efficient based on how religious its. The more religious your civilization is, the worse your science will be.

    It could have been many other things, ... like a "wonder" that give some bonus and malus to your cities. The bad with the good. "You get +1 happy citizen in every city, but science is 5% slower".
    Last edited by Tei; 28-08-2014 at 06:59 PM.

  17. #3137
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    If the developers actually felt (and communicated to us) sympathy for the plight of all these abused women, there wouldn't be a problem.
    What about sympathy for all that men you kill during CoD campaign? But these men are armed and women are not!
    Ok, is driving through female pedestrian in GTA worse than driving through male pedestrian?

    This issue cannot be solved by focusing only or mostly on one gender.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    Its possible that games are being sexist without knowing it. Like how Civilization is anti-atheist without knowing it. How all XXXX games are racist without knowing it. The Reus game is luddity and anti-humanist. Risk is pro-war. And FPS games are psychotic simulators.
    Yesssss. Right on the money. I'm not sure that it means games aren't art (as Gwathdring says, you can have an unintentional message and an intended message side by side in the same piece of art), but in one paragraph you've basically summed up 160 pages of discussion :D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Cap View Post
    Yesssss. Right on the money. I'm not sure that it means games aren't art (as Gwathdring says, you can have an unintentional message and an intended message side by side in the same piece of art), but in one paragraph you've basically summed up 160 pages of discussion :D
    Which is also not useful at all.

    If I don't know my game is sexist because the sexism is hidden, how do I intentionally design it not to be sexist? (See the spear gun discussion from Bioshock).


    This is probably answered by saying that awareness from videos like these allows you to continuously improve. I think that is the point where criticism of Sarkeesian's points becomes even more important. Who declares what is too sexist to be in a game? (For example, does Crusader Kings need to remove its patriarchal use of marriage the same way you would have Civ be more atheist friendly?)

    I feel for the indie studios who won't be able to afford the hidden meaning cleansing committees that large publishers will have (and probably do have).
    Last edited by Misnomer; 28-08-2014 at 07:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Misnomer View Post
    Which is also not useful at all.

    If I don't know my game is sexist, how do I intentionally design it not to be sexist? (See the spear gun discussion from Bioshock).

    I feel for the indie studios who won't be able to afford the hidden meaning cleansing committees that large publishers will have (and probably do have).
    When you make a work of art (or a piece of entertainment) I think it's likely you spend a lot of time thinking about it. Things like: "Why is the tank clipping through this bush? Is the gunplay satisfying? How are the boob physics coming along? Is my main character an unlikeable cockwaffle that the players are going to hate?" Either game developers will spend a few stray hours asking themselves "Is my game racist/sexist" or else their audience will.

    Since your argument boils down to "Game developers don't have time to think about the thing they're making, and neither should they be expected to" it is amusing to consider this thinking applied to other things a player might notice about a game. "Hey developer! You forgot to put in a ground texture in the third level." "Stop complaining, you! I didn't know there was a missing texture. How could I be expected to keep track of every little thing?"

    EDIT: Come on, man! There is no game police, making sure that nothing of a certain sexism level is purged forever from gaming. Neither do I want there to be. Some developers will strive to make the best games they can; some of them will try to avoid objectifying women. And the audience will be more informed about the world they live in. How can an opportunity to learn and discuss more about how the world (media, in this case) that we move through be so terrible to you?
    Last edited by Grey Cap; 28-08-2014 at 07:25 PM.

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