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  1. #3201
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Eight Rooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthile View Post
    I wonder what these kind of people think. Do they really believe this will lead to games where there is nothing but paraplegic half black, half Native American women in wheelchairs doing nothing but read Jane Austen and denounce The Patriarchy?
    Probably. And the black (!) helicopters will turn up to take them off to Gitmo the moment they say a naughty swear on the internet.

    I giggled at a few of the sarcastic tweets doing the rounds at the moment. "We wander the ruins of a once great civilisation, picking through the shells of discarded consoles for scraps to barter for food. 'Videogames', sighs a voice on the wind. 'We warned you!' cries another. At night we cower in fear in the shadows as the women hunt us", and so on.
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  2. #3202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    At night we cower in fear in the shadows as the women hunt us
    Sounds like a night out in Newcastle.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  3. #3203
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    An interesting observation. It raises the possibility that a reason I'm ill-disposed to this sort of thing in gaming is that it's a bit more, well, centre-stage in gaming at the moment that the equivalent in other areas, presumably because gaming is fighting for some sort of "cultural acceptance". Perhaps that is just a natural thing that will just pass away eventually and I'll be able to ignore it again like I ignore it in every other area.

    I suspect the main reason I'm ill-disposed is the worry that it'll damage or take away things I like, but this is something for me to consider as well.
    I've found it to be swings and roundabouts. It's something that crept up on me through University, going to queer/feminist/socialist art fairs or events and hanging out with people who aren't embedded in geek culture. Something's will become richer when you see more interesting subtext and some things will be slightly ruined, it also opens up things you'd never have read or watched before.

    You also get used to people not agreeing. You'll read something about Star Wars being an expression of the medieval traditional roles one week and another a feminist reading of Princess Leia as a badass the next. It doesn't remove Star Wars, or really change if you like it. Just makes it more interesting to watch again while conscious of other people's opinions.

    Though I have ruined Lord of the Rings for myself, but that was about 10 years ago. I have a friend who is a die hard fan of it despite acknowledging all the problematic parts that offend her.

    It's just the normal way people approach things in other mediums I think.

  4. #3204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthile View Post
    I wonder what these kind of people think. Do they really believe this will lead to games where there is nothing but paraplegic half black, half Native American women in wheelchairs doing nothing but read Jane Austen and denounce The Patriarchy?
    I want to play this game!

    I think raising these issues should make better games - the examples of use of violence against women are basically just kick the dog, and kick the dog is just bad writing. Let's be honest - you can have fun with video games without there being any real story - all you need is a gun and some monsters running at you and you know what to do. If you are going to have a story at least put some bloody effort in!

    I imagine the majority of people who make the games mentioned in the video aren't rabid misogynists, they're just not very good writers.

  5. #3205
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Though I have ruined Lord of the Rings for myself, but that was about 10 years ago. I have a friend who is a die hard fan of it despite acknowledging all the problematic parts that offend her.
    When I first read Lord of the Rings I assumed either Merry or Pippin (or both, I can't remember exactly - it is over 15 years ago) was female, just because surely there must be some women in this?
    Last edited by GGG; 29-08-2014 at 11:56 AM.

  6. #3206
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    It's just the normal way people approach things in other mediums I think.
    I suspect you "overestimate" most people. Chances are that most people watch something or read something or listen to something, maybe chat about it with some friends, and that'll be about it. That's broadly what I do. I would guess this is probably even more true of things where the story isn't really the main feature (things like songs and video games would often fit that description).

    When I first read Lord of the Rings I assumed either Merry or Pippin (or both, I can' remember exactly - it is over 15 years ago) was female, just because surely there must be some women in this?
    You probably couldn't make any of the "big guns" in Lord of the Rings women without spoiling the Eowyn arc, but Merry and Pippin are fair game, and Legolas too.
    Last edited by NathanH; 29-08-2014 at 11:47 AM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  7. #3207
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGG View Post
    When I first read Lord of the Rings I assumed either Merry or Pippin (or both, I can' remember exactly - it is over 15 years ago) was female, just because surely there must be some women in this?
    There's that, though that had to be pointed out to me later. The thing I got cross about when I was 18-19, as I was reading lots of history books about political movements and theory, was how traditionalist it is.

    The whole pure culture dating back to the ancient men of Numenor (I think it's numenor) and all the good guys being white and pure of race. Then all the intermixing has made the kingdoms of man weak etc. Then the bad guys on the side of Sauron are from the east and have vaguely arabic names. Once you spot it the whole thing becomes kind of creepy.

    Oh and the whole "simple rural people" are the best. Industrialisation is bad. It all just reeks of conservativism.

  8. #3208
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    I suspect you "overestimate" most people. Chances are that most people watch something or read something or listen to something, maybe chat about it with some friends, and that'll be about it. That's broadly what I do. I would guess this is probably even more true of things where the story isn't really the main feature (things like songs and video games would often fit that description).
    Maybe normal was an over generalisation, but it's how I've been used to discussing things since University which probably automatically qualifies it for "not-normal".

    EDIT: Though I guess part of the point is that for films or books this stuff is being published all the time. The critics and the creators are in a constant dialogue, even if fans don't all necessarily bother reading the criticism. The process is normalised in those industries. People don't go fucking mental over it.
    Last edited by Zephro; 29-08-2014 at 11:52 AM.

  9. #3209
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    Sounds like a night out in Newcastle.
    If the one time I went on a night out in Newcastle was any indication...yes.
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    If you are going to have a story at least put some bloody effort in!

    I imagine the majority of people who make the games mentioned in the video aren't rabid misogynists, they're just not very good writers.
    That's the real source of problems.
    Some people demand more women as main characters etc. It will change nothing except that we will see women in games more often.
    Replacing male character with female character will not turn magically your Call of Duty into All Quiet on Western Front. You will end with same shitty/medicore story but with more women.

    And the real tragedy here is that it's just impossible to have almost only high quality stuff. For every 1933 King Kong movie we have 5 Sharknados. For every Bram Stoker's Dracula we have 5 Twilight novels and so on.

  11. #3211
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Eight Rooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGG View Post
    I want to play this game!

    I think raising these issues should make better games - the examples of use of violence against women are basically just kick the dog, and kick the dog is just bad writing.
    But even that's not always true. Go watch Tyrannosaur - that literally starts with someone kicking a dog - and then tell me that's not an awesome opening. Again, I can bring up Dishonored - while technically that may indeed be someone being stuffed in a fridge, I didn't dismiss her because of it. I didn't stop thinking about her character because she was out of the way. I was aware it was fleshing out the plot in shorthand, and that it could have been done better, but at the same time I thought it was a perfectly valid way to set up a story - it's someone who's attracted the attention of very powerful men who resent what she represents and want her dead, and given your connection to her you end up caught up in the crossfire. I could think of ways to rewrite Dishonored and not show her death, or even keep her alive - as Zephro and others have touched on, it's fun thinking "How would I do this differently?" - but I'm not so sure that would automatically make for a better story/a better game. (Pretty sure some of them would cost a lot more, for starters, though of course that's a pretty mercenary excuse.)

    I know part of the debate is "Yes, but there's not really (m)any examples where these setups are gender-flipped". I know women aren't trying to steal my videogames etc., etc. But I do worry, even if it's just a little, that things get a tad skewed in the other direction sometimes. (Though as always, I can totally see why that would happen.)
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  12. #3212
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    An interesting observation. It raises the possibility that a reason I'm ill-disposed to this sort of thing in gaming is that it's a bit more, well, centre-stage in gaming at the moment that the equivalent in other areas, presumably because gaming is fighting for some sort of "cultural acceptance". Perhaps that is just a natural thing that will just pass away eventually and I'll be able to ignore it again like I ignore it in every other area.
    The difference is that, to a first approximation, nobody reads film or music criticism. There's the popular arena, and the critical arena, and only a very loose connection between the two. It's possible that gaming was too niche and undeveloped in the past to generate this kind of cleavage, and what we're seeing now are the growing pains that -- aided by other developments such as Youtubers/streamers -- will ultimately establish it. In film terms, what we have now are people wanting to see the trailer for the latest Michael Bay SFX extravaganza and being confronted by a discussion on Wadjda and the status of women in Saudi Arabia. The sooner these two crowds can go their separate ways, the better for everyone.
    Last edited by Lethe; 29-08-2014 at 12:41 PM.

  13. #3213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    But even that's not always true. Go watch Tyrannosaur - that literally starts with someone kicking a dog - and then tell me that's not an awesome opening.
    I can see what you are saying, but it is something of a fallacy to suggest that one counter example brings this sort of argument crashing down (some of the more rabid commentators (not here so much) could do with reading up on logical fallacies). Of course these tropes can be used in a thoughtful or subversive way, but that does require that they are given careful thought and consideration - the point of these videos is highlighting instances where they are not.

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    I don't think that you can really rewrite Dishonored intro into one where Empress death will not be shown to player without slowing down the game by throwing bunch of exposition.

    Dishonored needs like 5 minutes of interactive cutscene with some gameplay to show you the most important parts of the story, characters and give you some meaning for further actions.
    I think it's quite impressive and well crafted intro, especially compared to other AAA games.

  15. #3215
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Eight Rooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GGG View Post
    I can see what you are saying, but it is something of a fallacy to suggest that one counter example brings this sort of argument crashing down (some of the more rabid commentators (not here so much) could do with reading up on logical fallacies). Of course these tropes can be used in a thoughtful or subversive way, but that does require that they are given careful thought and consideration - the point of these videos is highlighting instances where they are not.
    I'm not saying it demolishes her central argument(s), nor do I want to suggest it invalidates anything she's brought up full stop, but I am saying that - in the parts I quoted earlier - she leans a little too much towards strongly implying (almost stating outright) that any game which does it is doing something bad and should stop, that anything less than a full-on sociological critique of the issues concerned isn't good enough. If you want to deal with alcoholism and domestic abuse, you go Papo & Yo or better or you go home, basically. I'm prepared to be proven "wrong", but right now I'm pretty sure I'm not over-reacting. Her choice of words seems fairly unambiguous.

    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    I don't think that you can really rewrite Dishonored intro into one where Empress death will not be shown to player without slowing down the game by throwing bunch of exposition.

    Dishonored needs like 5 minutes of interactive cutscene with some gameplay to show you the most important parts of the story, characters and give you some meaning for further actions.
    I think it's quite impressive and well crafted intro, especially compared to other AAA games.
    I am almost certain I could rewrite Dishonored's opening to never show the Empress's death, to never have you take part in how it plays out, and still have it just as dramatically effective, engaging, pacey, all the rest of it. I'm pretty certain I could rewrite the whole game to keep the Empress alive (actually alive) and still have the same central themes of revenge, of low or high chaos etc. etc. I am not saying this to be contrary, I am saying, much as I love Dishonored, I'd agree with someone saying it doesn't necessarily have to play out the way it does. The question is, for me, would that automatically make it a "better" story?

    Would you gain more than you lost, or would it just be "different"? Do writers really have some obligation to pick the path of least resistance, to try and avoid offending as many people as possible? I could rewrite The Last of Us to never show Joel's daughter dying in his arms, and yet hearing a kid riddled with bullets gasping in terrified agony as her father tries to keep her alive, knowing it's not going to work, was one of the most gut-wrenching moments I've ever experienced in any piece of creative media. Does that not count for anything if more than X number of people say "Jesus, I didn't need to see that"?
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 29-08-2014 at 01:12 PM.
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  16. #3216
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    I don't think that you can really rewrite Dishonored intro into one where Empress death will not be shown to player without slowing down the game by throwing bunch of exposition.

    Dishonored needs like 5 minutes of interactive cutscene with some gameplay to show you the most important parts of the story, characters and give you some meaning for further actions.
    I think it's quite impressive and well crafted intro, especially compared to other AAA games.
    It's not really a matter of showing it to the player, it's a matter of having the sole function of the empress being to die 30 seconds within meeting her (and 5 mins of the game starting, less if you ignore Emily) as nothing more than a prop to motivate the player. And then her daughter gets to play a vital role in an extended game of pass the parcel to give you a goal, and that's basically it for important female characters in that game! Even when they're the empress, they don't get to do anything except be props for actual characters to use.

    Now sure, Granny rags is theoretically interesting. She's also a side character of zero import to the actual story - she's a curiosity. And Lady Boyle? Well. For the chief financier of the entire conspiracy, she crops up in the story for about as long as it takes to stick a knife in her, says nothing, does nothing, and dies. (or worse.) Even the chief overseer, whose key involvement to the plot seems to be 'stand around' gets a little more dialogue and plot to him than that. Now it's certainly a weakness to the story that it's suggesting a plot far bigger than is actually there, and is visibly skeletal, and that applies to everyone, but it reaaaaally applies to the women in that game. And like I said, I like dishonored! But it's also lazy a lot of the time, and I'm more than happy to give it a look over my imaginary spectacles and write 'could do better' on its report card - which, not that I'm accusing you of this loss of perspective, but certainly a lot of other people - is really all that's happening in any of these videos, at worst.

    And as a last point, I think that's something I'd like to reinforce? The most that's been really said in any of these videos is 'doing these things unthinkingly, pervasively, and everywhere is kind of a shit thing to do. Maybe have a think, and make a better game for everyone as a result.' It's a symptom of the internet to see every argument as a fight to the pain, and every disagreement as vehement loathing.
    Last edited by Serenegoose; 29-08-2014 at 01:08 PM.

  17. #3217
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Eight Rooks's Avatar
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    The Empress was responsible for running the entire city, and building it to where it was before the plague. Does that not count for anything, just because no-one gives her a lengthy soliloquy? (No-one who means it, anyway.) Does it demean her because she couldn't uncover the conspiracy? After all, you couldn't either, if you discount the way the game resorts to the idiot effect/what-could-possibly-go-wrong and so on. Does Emily have to do anything more than she does? She's a pre-teen kid (I think?) who a great many people would quite plausibly see as nothing more than a political football. Does Granny Rags have to be a part of the main plot thread?

    I'm not saying you're wrong or anything, mind, just adding to the suggestion that maybe some of these things are not anything like as bad as Sarkeesian appears to paint them. They are problematic, they should be looked at, something ought to be done, but there is a clear division between this stuff and stripperiffic nuns with big, big guns, and I don't think it necessarily does the lady as many favours as she thinks to lump all these things in together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    And as a last point, I think that's something I'd like to reinforce? The most that's been really said in any of these videos is 'doing these things unthinkingly, pervasively, and everywhere is kind of a shit thing to do. Maybe have a think, and make a better game for everyone as a result.' It's a symptom of the internet to see every argument as a fight to the pain, and every disagreement as vehement loathing.
    I don't think I agree, and while I totally understand your last sentence, I don't think that's what I'm doing. (At least I haven't seen anything to really convince me I am.)
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 29-08-2014 at 01:24 PM.
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  18. #3218
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    No PhD ever gets past external examination without corrections or notes, no matter how brilliant or ground breaking there's always a few tweaks here and there that could make it better. Books and films go through editing processes and feedback from critics and fans informs the next projects people take on.

    Dishonoured and Deus Ex Human Revolution are both really great games. They both for some reason have strip joints / brothels, with some thinly fleshed out characters in need of your help. Do either of them really benefit from them? I don't think so. Would they be worse games if those levels were set somewhere else? Probably not. Still great games though. Those bits are just a bit lazy.

    Now of course I find GTA pretty unpleasant to play because of all the shit with hookers, or punching out annoying women etc. The Hitman advertising with stripper nuns was fucking awful. Dishonoured and Deus Ex are both better than that, but that doesn't mean they're perfect or immune from critique.
    Last edited by Zephro; 29-08-2014 at 01:28 PM.

  19. #3219
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    The Empress was responsible for running the entire city, and building it to where it was before the plague. Does that not count for anything, just because no-one gives her a lengthy soliloquy? (No-one who means it, anyway.) Does it demean her because she couldn't uncover the conspiracy? After all, you couldn't either, if you discount the way the game resorts to the idiot effect/what-could-possibly-go-wrong and so on. Does Emily have to do anything more than she does? She's a pre-teen kid (I think?) who a great many people would quite plausibly see as nothing more than a political football.

    I'm not saying you're wrong or anything, mind, just adding to the suggestion that maybe some of these things are not anything like as bad as Sarkeesian appears to paint them. They are problematic, they should be looked at, something ought to be done, but there is a clear division between this stuff and stripperiffic nuns with big, big guns, and I don't think it necessarily does the lady as many favours as she thinks to lump all these things in together.
    Yeah, because it doesn't happen in the actual game. I'm willing to look at a characters backstory, but only if they're in it long enough to merit it. Saying she did all this is well and good, but her actions in the game as 'get knifed, look sad'. It's a limitation of the medium (I certainly wouldn't want 8 hours of watching her administer the city capably either) but not one we get around just by ignoring.

    And I'm not saying Emily should necessarily be more than that? Just contending that she also doesn't necessarily have to be that. They wrote every aspect of their world. If something is in there, then why it is in there is all under their control. They can't just go 'oh well, that's just her character'. Bullshit. They wrote her character. It's not some nebulous force of nature that they wrangled under control and nobody can look at them funny that all the ladies just happened to be useless and the whole level set in and around a brothel just sort of appeared. Again, I'm not saying none of these things can't be in, or automatically make a story bad, it just bothers me a lot when people excuse it with 'but that's the setting...' yes! That someone invented deliberately, and told deliberately! And thus, they can be expected to be criticised for it, if it's a bit lazy here and there.


    And none of this is really aimed at you specifically, but it brought some thoughts bubbling to the surface, so I wrote them.

  20. #3220
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    It's not really a matter of showing it to the player, it's a matter of having the sole function of the empress being to die 30 seconds within meeting her
    Sure, she could get more screentime but it would generate unnecessary tedious exposition/cutscenes instead jumping almost instantly into gameplay.
    Mind that games should operate with story quite different than book, movie or stage play. While I wouldn't complain about some more detailed story of Corvo and his time spent serving the Empress and his trip in search of cure for plague if it would be a book or movie.
    But in game? It's not wise move to slap 30 minutes of cinematics (fuck you MGS) before gameplay.

    About lady Boyle - yes, she isn't fleshed out character. But is it really bad? She was very rich woman who had affair with Lord Regent, a very powerful man. I don't think she would want anyone with much lesser position than he had. He was using her money and she could probably use him to make some new laws that would make her even more money (some law exploits etc.).
    Note that she didn't probably knew that Lord Regent was the one who hired the assassins etc.

    Also, given that not really surprising twist - Corvo was somewhat manipulated by other people and was executing (hehe) their orders without really thinking about what's he doing.

    Saying she did all this is well and good, but her actions in the game as 'get knifed, look sad'.
    Don't forget that she is also a Heart. You can learn something about her and city that way.

    Look at 12 Angry Men - the supposed killer and victim doesn't have even one frame of screentime or even any detailed characteristics. Does it make them unsignificant to a story?

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