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Boys Of Summer: Beach Volleyball Online

It's important to carefully label nets with the location they are to be used. To do otherwise is to court anarchy.

Hey – Major MMO devs. It’s another sports-based MMO. Beach Volleyball Online is going into a closed Beta, and you can get keys from here. The sport of Beach Volleyball is, of course, how seeing exactly how outraged you could get an Edge Reader by sticking Dead Or Alive Beach Volleyball on the cover. ENORMOUSLY ANGRY. I probably should try and drag Edge’s Dave Taurus out of retirement to see what he makes of this. 8/10, I dare say. Trailer and – hey! – a few notes on the old Edge cover controversy for old-time’s sake follow…
The trailer’s fairly old and devs talk about it going into Beta last year in China, so you have to presume it’s a straight conversion to the Western market job.

Anyway – Edge magazine: The Girl Issue.

Edge is the flagship of British games journalism. It’s easy to think of it as this unchanging black monolith, standing in the middle of the landscape and slowly rotating. Like the Sentinel. Yes, exactly like the Sentinel. Like any magazine, Edge goes through cycles of what it is and what it isn’t. In this period, due to some particularly argumentative staff, Edge was the industry’s agent provocateur. It cheerfully went around burning bridges and starting fights. Sitting and watching from the side-lines, I found it all particularly amusing. Edge was doing the stuff which only Edge could get away with, which is how I’d prefer to see it using its power. Of course, it ended up running too far, the pendulum swung and it went into a more conservative period of This Month’s Rendered Bloke covers. And I suspect it sold better.

But yeah, this was a good one:


(Cover retrieved from this lovely chap’s gallery)

The issue, as is Edge’s wont, was a big riff on the perennial gender-issues question – the Women In Games Article Writ Large. And the cover… well, the cover’s all sort of clever. It’s a cover about objectification, about how women are treated in games. It’s not a cover designed to sell to new readers – though I dare say it’ll catch your eye – but one which is meant to provoke an response from their current ones, trying to shake them out of the self-satisfied malaise and making them question themselves. Really? There aren’t many women reading games magazines. This is a question aimed at the male readership. It’s meant to question the male gaze. It tries to make you embarrassed, saying you should be embarrassed and does it with the absolute minimum components. I mean, the centre third of a woman cropped, standing in a fairly neutral pose. What’s that compared to the majority of imagery in games? If this is bad, how bad is that? You should be embarrassed – at buying this, at being into this medium, at working in this industry.

What are you going to do about it?

Edge’s next cover was this, which cemented many people feeling that Edge’s staff of the period hated videogames and had a barely concealed contempt for its audience. I suspect the criticism was completely right, and the reason why the period was so invigorating was because that forced them into awkward areas that the flattering-mirror model of games coverage avoids – generally speaking – out of fear that their readership will resent being told something unflattering about themselves. And as the response to these issues showed, they will.

RPS, generally speaking, works on the opposite axis. We deliberately decided, as an antidote to the boring cynicism of most left-field internet coverage, to be powered by love bordering on open sentimentality. Games are amazing. But that doesn’t mean that occasionally I wish someone would slap the entire world around the back of its head, and that’s exactly what The Girl Issue did. As such, I still think of it fondly.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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