The Sunday Papers

Jim’s moving house. You can tell, because if you lean your ear in the direction of Bath, you can hear the screaming. So he’s asked me to compile this week’s Sunday Papers. But don’t worry, I’ve learned the ul and li tags, so it should all be fine.

  • One of the rules of gaming is that if you wait enough years, eventually people will tell you about the disasters. Not Rockstar. But despite this, gaming’s best investigative journalist, Simon Parkin, set out to discover what actually led to Rockstar’s “Hot Coffee” fiasco eight years ago. “Now, sex was the “natural” progression, as he put it to Kolbe, an essential topic for games to cover if they were to claim the creative freedom afforded literature and cinema. Obscuring sex from the world of GTA: San Andreas would be a betrayal of vision, a self-moderating disservice to the game, to the entire medium.”
  • Daniel C. Starkey writes a moving piece about his remarkable mother, and how he has inextricably connected her to his Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect games. “When I finished the final game, I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t really want to talk about it much. I needed time to figure out why I felt the way I did and why this ending in particular was so hard for me to really understand. I think I got it now, though. Finally.”
  • Sometimes I think The Sunday Papers could just be links to Nightmare Mode – it really is a fantastic site for intelligent gaming discussion. This piece by Cara Ellison, Romero’s Wives, follows on from the #1ReasonWhy conversation.
  • What’s inside Peter Molyneux’s Curiosity cube? Madness, if Pocket Gamer’s diary is anything to go by. “Put bees on it, Molyneux. Put bees on it, man. I put bees on it, so why can’t you? Bees.”
  • City Of Heroes demolished the streets of Paragon last week. Alec lamented the lost of his character, The Entomologist, here. I really haven’t paused to allow myself to think about the loss of mine, Nitefall – she was the first self-created character I ever cared about, and it feels… it feels just awful that the code behind her existence no longer exists. Brrr, don’t want to think about it. But Richard Cobbett has, chronicling the last few hours of the wonderful MMO for Eurogamer.
  • Jim forgot to include this final part of Ian Bogost’s Persuasive Games series last week. So here it is now. “The sensation of being split between the television and the handheld computer feels strange and awkward. But isn’t this precisely how all of us feel today, all the time? Torn between the lush absorption of newly cinematic television and the lo-fi repetition of streams of text and image on our mobile phones and tablets?”
  • There’s been a bit of fuss about the generic, unrepresentative cover art reveal for BioShock: Infinite. A game that many are hoping will be something unique has gone with a grumpy man holding a gun. Wired’s take is certainly coming from one that does its best to ignore any complexity as to why people are frustrated, but in speaking to Ken Levine they get some interesting answers. “My salad dressing. If there’s a new salad dressing coming out, I would have no idea. I use salad dressing; I don’t read Salad Dressing Weekly. I don’t care who makes it, I don’t know any of the personalities in the salad dressing business.”

Music this week comes from the jumpiest of all the jumpy bands – Math The Band. It’s a new one!


  1. Hoaxfish says:

    also, Patrick Moore is dead: link to

    Even if Gamesmaster wasn’t big on PC games, it was still big for games on TV in the UK.

    • Bremenacht says:

      Oh no. That’s a bit sad.

      They’re going to have to ‘Savile’ him now, aren’t they?

      • RedViv says:

        I don’t assume that there is much to reveal here, other than the political dinosaur ideas that are in such stark contrast to what most look up to. Which he never even hid.

        • Andy_Panthro says:

          I can’t be positive it was about Patrick Moore, but I’m assuming John Walker was talking about him when he tweeted:

          “And a racist, homophobic, misogynist and deeply unpleasant star winks out.” (@botherer)

          So I guess there are sides to him that I wasn’t aware of.

          • RedViv says:

            Well, yes, that’s the dinosaur side. But nothing he ever hid.

          • wodin says:

            My nan called black people what could be termed racist was that it or not.

            To me I think he was great.

            A great british eccentric..

            What bugs me more is people taking some high moral ground. I bet Mr Walkers grandparents or depending on how old he is great grandparents where as racist as Mr Moore…..but he wasn’t happy when they winked out though as he put it..again a generation thing..

          • John Walker says:

            Patrick Moore was the Chairman of the United Country Party in the 1970s, campaigning against all immigration. He was a vocal member of UKIP until he died, campaigning for the same. He was a homophobe, and from his position of influence attempted to spread misinformation about the spread of AIDS. He was a fervent supporter of Enoch Powell, and endorsed his “rivers of blood” speech. His views on women, and their role in society, were grotesque. He endorsed and campaigned for a number of politicians based on their bigotry.

            This wasn’t your gran saying, “I met a lovely sambo in the shop this morning.”

            Blaming the time people were from is also completely unfair. There are countless extraordinary campaigners against bigotry from the same generation.

          • fish99 says:

            I agree Wodin, I’ve heard the older generations of my family say things I’d consider racist, and I found it shocking at the time, but sadly that’s just the world those generations were brought up in, and I’m not going to condemn them for being a product of their age.

          • AmateurScience says:

            But it’s still worth highlighting that certain previously acceptable words and phrases are no longer deemed so in today’s society. Sure my gran’s probably not actually racist, but I still try to (gently, she’s 93) admonish her when she uses unpleasant terms.

            Re: Patrick Moore, all this does rather highlight that most people are a bit more complex than ‘good’ or ‘bad’, he did great things for pop science, which should be celebrated, and had some seriously unpleasant views on immigrants, women and homosexuals, which should not/cannot be ignored.

          • jon_hill987 says:

            There is noting wrong with campaigning against immigration, it’s not that the people are the wrong colour, but that there are too many bloody people in this country already.

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I think there’s at least some leniency for his racist views, given that he apparently lost his fiancée during WW2, as well as fighting in it. That’s not to whitewash those views. It’s extraordinary for someone to be from that era and not harbour at least some of those ideas.

            For all the stuff I’ve watched him in on TV (i.e. Gamesmaster and The Sky at Night), I never saw him actually endorse those private views.

          • Ich Will says:


            Are you aware there are far more British ex-pats than non-British immigrants in Britain?

            If every country were to expel “foreigners”, the population living on British soil would increase.

            Also, do you really want to be one of the few happy to admit to being less enlightened than neolithic people, who travelled the known world and settled freely into other cultures and on the whole were welcomed.

            Restriction on immigration is a short term fix for a problem that doesn’t really exist. Banning people who weren’t born in Britain from ever being able to live in Britain would make our culture utterly shit and I for one would become an ex-pat and leave you to wallow in your incestuous filth. Or, cut through from the source of the Tamar to the Bristol channel, declare Cornwall no longer part of Britain and kick the emmits out, whilst welcoming every other nationality who wanted to make it their home.

            @Hoaxfish – I don’t think fighting in the 2nd world war or losing a loved one would give him any excuse for his ideas, many men suffered just as much but not too many of them cling on to the views that they held at the time.

            Anyway, he shouldn’t be demonised for his views, no need to saville him but we should be aware that what he believed and preached to anyone who would listen should not be given positive press just because he is dead.

          • NathanH says:

            Given that Moore was quite happy to campaign on particular subjects, I think it’s fair game to attack him for that, much more than it is to attack some old person who’s basically a bit racist but well isn’t everyone else that age and they don’t say anything to anyone outside their family do they.

            On the other hand, when the man has just died it is probably better not to be so aggressive.

            Also I think it’s quite reasonable to put a lot of blame on the time someone was brought up. It’s really hard to fight your way out of the fog of assumptions that your culture throws at you. Some people manage to do it, but I think that is something to praise those people for rather than blame those who can’t.

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I only meant it in comparison to “modern” racists. WW2 had a mass of propaganda to reinforce the negative view of foreigners, as well as actions to back it up, people labelled as “cowards” for not fighting, etc. Modern media condemns racists, and in some cases will drown out measured discussion of immigration/european issues because of those associations. The latter puts racism in a much more negative light, and a much more niche culture… usually taking the form of blatant thuggery.

            It is not always as easy to “fall out” of an opinion as it is to fall into one, since it can basically ask you to disregard what you understood to be “correct thinking” at the time you learnt it (especially if that’s the first “opinion” given to you on the matter, rather than having a mix of influences telling you different things)

          • Ich Will says:

            @Hoaxfish, don’t forget that he not only lived through the war, but the discovery of the concentration camps and the subsequent backlash against right wing extremism. I don’t think many people fell out of their opinion as much as saw the reality of their vision at it’s most disgusting and did an about turn rather promptly back towards a more moderate version of right wing politics.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Ich Will

            From a purely green perspective, the UK is presently grossly overpopulated. We’ve a 6th of the population of the US and a 49th of the land mass. Long term sustainability in terms of continuing to be able to feed ourselves is a growing issue for us as a nation in the next hundred or so years given present infrastructure is largely built around diminishing fossil fuels with no real alternative energy sources out there that able to match present levels of consumption. Run cars on electricity you say? How do we generate all the extra electricity? Run cars on biofuels? Where do we grow all the plants? Plain truth of the matter is right now we’re riding the crest of the energy wave, in a few hundred years our ancestors will marvel at our frivolousness. Immigration is a smoke screen to a broader issue, that of a long term need to manage our population internally (regardless of immigration/migration) so we can sustain ourselves in the future. We should really have a population around the same level of Sweden or Norway in truth.

          • Phantoon says:

            I say be aggressive against this as ever since it was just as unlikely he’d read these comments as he would if he were alive. Sanctity of the dead is for the living- the dead really just don’t care, no matter what religion you go with.

            It’s because of this that I’m a fan of entropy. Hateful bigot dies, because everyone will die, and social justice causes get another tiny boost. Eventually, the bigotries we are familiar with will be largely gone. Not to say we won’t be bigoted in the future, just it’ll be different things. Like aliens.

          • Llewyn says:

            “And a racist, homophobic, misogynist and deeply unpleasant star winks out.” (@botherer)

            A comment which says as much about John Walker as it does about Patrick Moore.

          • Consumatopia says:

            grossly overpopulated. We’ve a 6th of the population of the US and a 49th of the land mass.

            The US is grossly underpopulated. And a good chunk of our land is desert and mountains.

            Of course the United Kingdom has too many people to be able to grow all of its own food or supply its own energy. But expecting that kind of self-sufficiency from a set of urbanized islands is absurd–the UK will always have to supply other goods and services to trade for food and power, just as, for example, the island of Manhattan always will.

            The green issue points in the opposite direction than the one you imagine–look here: link to

            Among developed countries, Notice how the big, empty places like US, Canada, and Australia do compared to “overcrowded” Europe. While overpopulation of the planet may bad for the environment, concentrating all of those people in areas of high density seems to be good.

          • InternetBatman says:

            @Llewyn And most of what it says is good. The sooner the truth is spoken the less damaging the cult that builds around the departed.

            Public figures in the US didn’t say anything Reagan when he died and now we can’t stop hearing about a financially responsible man who lowered taxes on all to fix the economy, spread democracy around the world through the strength of his communication, and then fought communists till their empire collapsed.

          • fish99 says:

            I’m not a fan of UKIP or their policies, but they are a legitimate political party, whose main goal, for the UK to withdraw from the EU, aligns with most of the Tory party, and yet you seem to be lumping them in with the BNP John. It’s also pretty low to attack the guy the day his death was announced, rather than when he’s alive to defend himself.

            The point is his view are far more prevalent among people of that age. Also as other people have pointed out you’ve ignored anything good he might have done, like inspiring generations of astronomers.

          • wodin says:

            Actually John my Grandad was a Blackshirt and my Nan constantly complained about the Nig Nogs next door (they weren’t even black but Indian I think). They were amazing grand parents I couldn’t have asked for better or had better times with them..I’m sure you’d have thrown a party if you’d known about it when they died…as would Phantoon, who come across as someone who would commit mass murder for a so called better society…you can’t judge moral values of an older time with those of today..and today it’s become so PC and liberal it’s had a detrimental effect, just look at the way kids are for starters..

            A product of their some Military History memoirs (both WW1 and WW2) and it’s full of racism…especially from the working classes..only the Gentry did the odd fight for rights treat them equal arise…

          • Llewyn says:

            @InternetBatman: The sooner the better indeed – when those people are alive, in fact. Cowardly little jibes about someone on the day of their death say that the commenter is a spiteful, petty and impotent little man.

            The 32 years since the demise of the United Country Party would have been a more meaningful time for public criticism of Moore’s unpalatable politics.

          • Kadayi says:


            I’m not entirely sure you quite get what sustainable means. It’s all very well to say that ‘the UK will always have to supply other goods and services to trade for food and power, ‘ but unless you’ve the actual means to transport these things it doesn’t translate. Our entire fossil fuel based infrastructure (planes, trains, cars, buses, lorries) cannot be maintained in the long term or adequately replaced via electric vehicles, because there simply doesn’t exist the means to be able to generate the requisite amount of energy dollars necessary to match even existing fossil fuel levels of consumption. There will invariably be a contraction in terms of transportation. Certainly we’ll be able to run things like electric trams & trains, but everyone having electric cars? That’s a fanciful indulgence. There’s a great documentary out there called ‘The end of suburbia’ It’s a few years old now, but it digs a little deeper into the issue.

          • Ich Will says:

            @ Kadayi


            You’re welcome

          • Consumatopia says:

            The UK is close enough to Europe that power lines and cargo trains can reach it. And if you’re talking about the “end of suburbia”, what you’re talking about is the end of the USA as we know it–lots of people scattered in the exurbs driving between their mcmansion and a spacious corporate campus in an industrial park that only recently used to be a farm. If you really are getting rid of all the cars, you would need to have everyone squished in together in the cities, so they can walk to work and the store, with the only people out in the country being the bare minimum required to grow food and extract energy.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Ich Will

            You might as well say warp engines at this in point time. Until someone actually manages to build a fusion reactor, it’s all for nothing.


            And where’s ‘Europe’ getting the energy from to fuel the UK in this vision of yours?

          • miuqnbsab says:

            10.1 inches Andr oid 4.0.3 Rockchip2918 1.0GHz Tablet PC with external 3G, Wi-Fi, 1080P HDMI playback, capacitive touch! Christmas is coming! This is a nice gift! Super Stick! 30% off! I like link to

          • Ich Will says:

            @Kadayi – I wasn’t talking about fusion, just the fact that there’s enough hydrogen on this planet to fuel us at current acceleration in consumption for 30,000,000 years – we have the means to generate the fuel efficiently enough – the only issue we have is in transporting the stuff. And humanity has never built pipes across the globe to transport fuel, or loaded ships up with it to move it or trains or trucks or planes. Nope that’s never… oh wait, we did that with oil and the only challenge to do that with hydrogen is the logistics, and the fact that oil is still cheaper.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Ich Will

            You need energy to get energy out of hydrogen.

            link to

            It’s a false economy

          • KikiJiki says:

            I think that tweet reeks of immaturity, cowardice and a bullying mentality considering that the dead can’t explain or defend their viewpoints. If you want to saddle up your moral crusade at least have the human decency to challenge people who can debate/fight back.

          • bill says:

            @Ich Will:

            Not to mention that many of those ex-pats will have families that they’ll want to bring back with them.

            Then again, the current government and the ukip-ites have done a great job of introducing draconian anti-imigration rules that effectively exile a lot of ex-pats who have wives.

            I know two on the RPS forums alone..

          • Ich Will says:


            Thanks for linking to a 7 year old study. It is way out of date. Current thermodynamic efficiency is 60-80% (Fossil fuels are about 20-30%) So, yes, the state of technology at the moment renders it twice as efficient at least. The only reason it is not cost effective at the moment is the fact that the infrastructure already exists for oil.

            But by all means, spend the next 30 years doomsaying, the rest of us will enjoy ourselves

          • Kadayi says:

            @Ich Will

            Something more recent then? How about this: –

            link to

            Yep still inefficient. There’s the possibility we might get the extraction process sorted, but it’s not a certainty. That we’ll run out of oil is though. Still of course you could present your own evidence that we’re sorted as a counterpoint.

          • Kadayi says:

            @Ich Will

            Something more recent then? How about this: –

            link to

            Yep still inefficient. There’s the possibility we might get the extraction process sorted, but it’s not a certainty. That we’ll run out of oil is though. Still of course you could present your own evidence as a counterpoint.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            There is noting wrong with campaigning against immigration, it’s not that the people are the wrong colour, but that there are too many bloody people in this country already.

            If by “this country” you mean the South East of England then sure but don’t assume that applies to the rest of the UK.

          • Odexios says:

            Edit: wrong thread

      • Unaco says:

        Well, to be honest, he was a bigoted, sexist, racist, homophobe… as well as being a brilliant populariser of Science, and his work for GamesMaster. I don’t think we should sanitise our memory of him, but at the same time I don’t think we should demonise our entire memory of him for the things we didn’t agree with.

        • RedViv says:

          If anything, it’s a good example of why appealing to authority is such a bad thing to do in any discussion.

        • wodin says:

          Well said…Mr Walkers comments are as abhorrent as Mr Moores opinions..

          • Oban says:

            I believe Mr. Walker has really missed his true calling as a leader of such protests against freedom of speech: link to
            I am sure he would have excelled at it.

          • John Walker says:

            I *beg* your pardon?! Whom am I attempting to censor?

          • Jenks says:

            Surprise, unintelligent feminist college students, and a bunch of guys hanging out with them trying to get laid. Fight that patriarchy, “ladies.”

          • Oban says:

            If you watched the video you might have some indication as to what I was reffering to. Because there seems to be some similarities between your fervent opinions on that certain topic, continued dismissal of anything that might even register as a counter-argument, amount of ridicule and venom you throw out at anyone that doesn’t entirely agree with your points and this specific protest group and how they comport themselves.

            This happened about two weeks ago in Canada: link to to a man who has spent the better amount of his younger years fairly entrenched and in support of the feminist movement: link to

          • Muzman says:

            Oh crimony. More bros here to save the world from feminism. So many lately. Is this the cause du epoch or something?

          • Jenks says:

            Please, if watch that video and don’t think those people are fucking idiots, I feel sorry for you.

          • Ich Will says:

            Why do we insist on treating teenagers opinions with as much weight as fully functioning adult opinions, despite biological proof that their brains haven’t finished developing, just because they have moved into a dorm and are free from parental influence.

          • El Stevo says:

            I’m still struggling to understand what relevance the video Oban posted has to do with the topic at hand, and what it has to do with John Walker.

          • Kadayi says:

            Agreed. The man’s literally just passed and Walkers delighting in it. What a vile little man he truly is.

          • Jenks says:

            @Ich Will
            Agreed completely. The police should recognize the people tossing the heinous verbal assaults don’t have fully developed adult brains and disperse the crowd immediately.

          • Phantoon says:

            Naw. John isn’t reveling in it. His words come across as bitter about the old guy.

            I, on the other hand, am happy another bigot died. I’m gonna bust out the kazoos when Pat Robertson bites it. To zoom to the logical godwin’s law conclusion, the Nazis did a lot for science, too. But they were still Nazis.

            And anyways, straw feminism at some point took up the mantle of real feminism, which is ridiculous. Feminism is not, and has never been, “MEN ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE ILLS OF THE WORLD, KILL ALL THE MEN!”. It’s been about equal rights, and equal opportunities. In fact, this nu-wave feminism reeks of sexism, and not even against men. It’s women hating women as they claim they can’t do anything because men took all the power, despite women in high places of power routinely doing fantastic jobs. Someone smarter than me explained this a lot better, but I can’t find their words now.

            Nor does it need to be a trade. It doesn’t have to be “well you can have equal pay if I get a fair shake in court for custody”. Feminism should be about equality, not about furthering the gender divide.

          • Muzman says:

            Jenks, people protested the opening of Ocean’s Eleven for it usurping the proper definition of ‘cool’ from the Brat Pack in the public consciousness.
            People slightly overdoing it in protests isn’t new.

          • Kadayi says:


            As ever your contrarian viewpoints and ceaseless ability to debase yourself never fail to amuse.

          • Jenks says:

            Muzman nothing you’ve said suggests you’ve watched the video.

            This sounds like Phantoon:

          • sinister agent says:

            Right, because someone’s reasoning is irrelevant, and what matters is their demographics. Why listen to what someone has to say when you can judge them the second you see them, eh?

          • Baines says:

            Phantoon mentioning that the Nazis did a lot for science, but were still Nazis reminded me of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast.

            When Carlin covered Ghengis Khan, he started with the realization that while he wouldn’t write a book about the achievements and benefits of Nazi Germany, and such a book would be rejected by people, no one bats an eye at covering the positives of Ghengis Khan, or any other similar historical figure. The difference isn’t the acts performed, but rather the time that has passed and the lack of connection between people now and the actors then. We aren’t connected to the victims of the Khans the way that we are still connected to the victims of the Nazis. But that latter connection will fade with time as the Nazis fall further into history.

          • InternetBatman says:

            @Oban So disagreement means censorship? Even though he has the power to remove dissenting voices from the site and doesn’t?

          • Muzman says:

            Jenks, how’s this? I’ve watched the video.

          • Ich Will says:

            @Jenks – or just kettle them till they are cold, hungry, miserable and want to go home rather than harassing everyone with their underdeveloped opinions

            @Sinister Agent – I did listen to their message very carefully and came to the conclusion it was stupid and their voice is not one which society needs yet. The reason for this is the fact that their brains are not fully developed, give them 5 years or so and lets see what they have to say then. Notice how 25 year olds and over very rarely protest in this manner and also notice how people who change the world are usually over 25.

          • aldo_14 says:

            Well said…Mr Walkers comments are as abhorrent as Mr Moores opinions..

            Mr Walkers comments are still factually correct, and as worth noting for posterity as the countless praise of Patrick Moore. Otherwise, people will read his obituary and assume that the praise includes implicit support of his homophobic, racism, etc.

            There are plenty of scientists – both dead and alive – that I would like my daughter to look up to, and be inspired by. Patrick Moore is not one of them, and I wouldn’t have been aware of it without John’s twitter post.

          • Kadayi says:


            Best shelter her from anything Winston Churchill whilst you’re at it then.

            link to

          • Odexios says:

            @Kadayi Winston Churchill was a horrible man, no doubt about that. Might have been a good politician, though I strongly disagree with his political views, but undoubtedly a terrible man. I find really hypocritical this idea of not speaking ill of the dead. Just like James Watson (who’s still alive) must be remembered not only for his important role in the discovery of the structure of the DNA, but also for his racist ideas, so it’s important to remember who Patrick Moore was. Besides, I understand the desire to express happiness when someone we deeply loathe for some reason dies. I’m not sure I’ll be able to refrain myself the day Berlusconi will die.

        • Jigowatt says:

          Agreed. I’ve come across a lot of people on Twitter who seem to be effectively telling people not to mourn his passing because he was a racist, sexist, homophobic dinosaur. Whilst I think it’s important to acknowledge his abhorrent views (and they certainly shouldn’t be glossed over), he was still an inspiration to many people. His long-running contribution to science broadcasting and education should be celebrated, even if his disgusting personal opinions will not be missed. (Believe it or not, it is possible to appreciate someone’s work without approving of their political opinions).

          • Lambchops says:


            I can admire the acting during Peter Lineham’s appearances in the Thick of It, I can listen to the music of Michael Jackson and so on.

            By all accounts we should not shy away from highlighting these people’s flaws and holding them to account for them but that doesn’t at a stroke destroy their more valuable contributions whatever they may be.

            If we went through a list of great achievers and vetted them for being perfect human beings we’d be depriving ourselves of a lot of great work. People are flawed and complex and should be treated this way. John’s right to call out Patrick’s flaws and less than savoury opinions just as others are right to laud him for his work in broadcasting. There’s a world of difference between, say, Moore and Savile.

          • Unaco says:


            I agree, it’s what I was trying to get across… Except for where you discuss John’s comments. It appears to me that John is only considering the negative aspects of Moore’s life, rather than looking at the positive and negative. Similarly, so soon after his death the press will only laud him for the positive. Each side makes him out to be Black or White, rather than the grey that he was.

          • Phantoon says:

            There’s better people to be inspired by. Was he an inspiration for a lot of bigots, or naive people that didn’t know he hated all the people that weren’t exactly like him?

          • Jigowatt says:


            Just because someone is uninformed or unaware of something doesn’t make them naive.

            He was an inspiration to people who watched The Sky At Night, in which he conveyed a passion for astronomy and introduced many people to the wonders of the night sky. That doesn’t make him a good role model as a PERSON, but his role as a popular figure of science education and as a television presenter should be recognised. Whereas his views on racial or sexual equality etc should be reviled. One does not cancel out the other! I’m simply saying, as others are, that people are complex, and should not be white-washed one way or the other.

        • aldo_14 says:

          Well, to be honest, he was a bigoted, sexist, racist, homophobe… as well as being a brilliant populariser of Science, and his work for GamesMaster. I don’t think we should sanitise our memory of him, but at the same time I don’t think we should demonise our entire memory of him for the things we didn’t agree with.

          Whilst I understand the point, as someone married to (in Moore’s words) a ‘parasite’, I’m not sure I can do that. (NB: I had no idea that Patrick Moore was, frankly, a dick before today. Now I do.)

          • Phantoon says:

            I wouldn’t want to hold this guy in high esteem only to find out he was a totally bigoted jerk, especially in public. That’s stuff I’d want to know.

          • wodin says:

            Phantoon..your a fool…you’ve no idea obviously about different moral values over the generations..your someone who sounds like they’d commit mass murder for a so called better society. You are no better than the ones you think you stand above with your high moral principles, yet your a cold calculated sociopath, lacking in empathy and unwilling to except difference when it seems to be of a lesser value to your own.

            Your the modern Mary Whitehouse..a do gooder…your Political correctness gone mad…you sit in judgement on others yet you are in no position to judge..your “morals” are as dangerous to society as the ones you ridicule and want to eradicate..I dislike you and what you stand for more than the older generations morals and paint yourself to be Lilly white..purer than pure..bullshit. Your of no more value to the world than Patrick Moore..infact he was more value to the world than you will ever be. What right do you have to sit in judgement the way you do? What makes you think your so much better than the people you reveling about when they die? Your actions and words here are as sick as any racist, infact racism from older and past generations is excusable..your obvious delight at the death of someones Dad, Granddad, Husband etc etc is abhorrent. Yet you’ll be oblivious to all this as you think you stand morally above all. You bang on about people hating others who aren’t like them..yet you do the same..if you want to take a true high moral ground you except and love all no matter what they think or feel, then you can be like Jesus “Judge not ye be Judged thyself” I think thats how it goes. SO if you want to be a truly pure person then follow those words, otherwise your as bad as the ones your judging.People like you in past centuries have committed genocide for their so called better society.

    • Jimbo says:

      RIP Sir Patrick Moore. A great man and a remarkable life. I suspect many of us would have very different views if we had lived his life. It’s easy to judge from the comfortable and safe times we have had the good fortune to be born into.

      • sillybotherer says:

        I don’t have any particular impulse towards either lionising Moore or vilifying him as I don’t feel he is a figure of any particular relevance to me. However, I think John Walker’s comments are petty, disproportionate and inhumane.

        It would seem that Moore was an unapologetic “dinosaur” and that his views would be unacceptable in contemporary political discourse in the UK. However, my own and most people’s understanding of Moore seems to be founded on a Wikipedia article without any real knowledge of the man and his actions. While I disagree with Moore’s views regarding the issues Walker raises, I still would not revel in his death or make such crass and insensitive remarks. Furthermore, I’m not sure to what extent people have actually suffered as a consequence of Moore’s opinions and seemingly useless political activism. If Walker genuinely holds such passion for these issues, so much so that he can regard Patrick Moore as a mortal enemy whose memory should be pissed on, why does he waste his time populating frivolous blogs with his trivial words?

        I used to have a political attitude similar to John Walker’s when I was a teenager. While the essence of my views from that time has not changed, the way I treat political issues has certainly matured. Walker’s attitudes are representative of peculiar sort of lower middle class liberalism we have here in England. This attitude is shared among people who have a very limited experience of life, who are not well traveled, who are often educated to graduate level but usually not beyond, and, crucially, who do not routinely socialise with people from contrasting cultural backgrounds or social classes. These people reserve a level hatred for others who do not voice what they think are their beliefs comparable to that shared between enemy combatants in some atrocity fueled war. It must be tremendous to have such a feeling of self-righteousness without actually being engaged in any serious endeavour to better the world.

        Most people are not lower middle class white English liberals; why not proselytise outside of Twitter and gaming blogs and engage with a variety of real people to get some idea of just how irrelevant you are to any debates concerning issues that might affect people’s lives. John, it’s easy to be glib on Twitter but there are more dignified and impactive ways to redress the hagiography which usually accompanies public figures’ passing.

        Luckily, I don’t visit Rock, Paper, Shotgun to be informed on anything other than games.

        • flipflop mcbop says:

          I agree with this. It just dismays me to read opinions like this, it just seems to me that often it is considered acceptable to be outrageously disrespectful simply because the target had different views to your own and you have the benefit of an implied moral high ground.
          The world needs people with unpalatable views, they should be challenged of course, educated even. It’s through those debates that society is able to establish what is right. I would rather that than a sanitised version of the world as deemed appropriate by Mr walker and those like him. It’s as repulsive as racism itself.
          As far as I’m aware, Sir Patrick Moore never hurt anybody, least of all took to twitter to attack those who disagreed with him.

          I wonder how many times John walker challenges racists/homophobic/misogynist views directly, or is he just content with shouting into the internet with all the other malcontent’s?

          • Supahewok says:

            “It just dismays me to read opinions like this, it just seems to me that often it is considered acceptable to be outrageously disrespectful simply because the target had different views to your own and you have the benefit of an implied moral high ground.”

            It’s called tribalism, dude. We are all inherently competitive tribal creatures, forming groups in which we cooperate for the benefit of the group. It is easy, in working for the benefit of the tribe, to undermine the efforts of competing tribes, as OUR tribe is what has our #1 priority. Most people don’t want to admit this truth, claiming that we have grown up and matured past such medieval viewpoints. But if you keep what I’ve said in mind, you’ll find evidence for it everywhere, in the past and the present. Sports teams. Politics. Religions. Favorite Saturday morning cartoons. Genocides.

            Be wary whenever anyone brings up “them” and “us.” The greatest men in history are the unifiers, the ones who can look beyond their tribe’s needs and recognize the needs of others, and will moreover seek to accommodate those needs. Those men and women, both now and historically, are too, too few.

        • Kadayi says:


          Indeed. I’d think John would have half a point if the Late Mr Moore used his celebrity as a platform to expound his less than politically correct views at any given opportunity, however in truth this is the first time I’ve ever been made aware of any of it. Octogenarian bachelor having slightly questionable opinions is hardly a revelation, nor does it seem to be grounds to publicly dance upon the mans grave with apparent unbridled glee.

          • NathanH says:

            Occasionally you’d get a little story in say the Daily Mail about how Patrick Moore was denouncing something or other in a pantomime villain fashion. It isn’t clear to me how much he went out of his way to do that or how much it was just some hack looking to fill a space without much effort. Certainly it never made any big story that I ever saw.

          • DiamondDog says:

            I think “unbridled glee” is going a bit far, but John is displaying a callousness I’ve come to expect from him after his rather cold and ungracious comments about Hillsborough victims. Although it has to be remembered that John hasn’t said anything about Patrick Moore that isn’t true. He wasn’t just some grumbling old man, he was a right-wing bigot with some deeply unpleasant views. For some that is understandably enough to tarnish his good work.

            I just can’t stomach the rather petty nature of it all. Well done, you stuck the boot into a guy after he’s dead. Something to be proud of.

          • Kadayi says:


            “John is displaying a callousness I’ve come to expect from him after his rather cold and ungracious comments about Hillsborough victims.”

            Seriously? What did Walker say about Hillsborough and where?

          • Prime says:


            Does it matter in the context of this discussion about Patrick Moore? Or are we now putting John on trial for his opinions?

          • Kadayi says:


            I’m fascinated to hear exactly what he said. In the context of his admonishing of Moore for the crime of having unsavory opinions I’d say it’s worth knowing.

          • KikiJiki says:

            To be honest, Walker’s comments are just as vile. It’s a pathetic cowardly bully who feels able to insult dead people, regardless of their views.

          • DiamondDog says:

            It wasn’t anything serious, to be fair. It was just horrible timing and like I said, very cold. He apologised and deleted the tweet later on after trying to argue his point for a while.

            He basically did what so many other have done over the years and tried to blame the Liverpool fans for what happened, even though the inquiry and all the evidence refuted this. That day was quite an eye opener for me, seeing a lot of apparently liberal gamers showing a pretty disgusting prejudice towards those Liverpool fans.

            My point being that I’ve realised when he wants to be, John can be pretty heartless. It doesn’t stop me wanting to listen to what he has to say on RPS, it’s just unpleasant to see sometimes.

          • KikiJiki says:


            All the more reason to call out the Patrick Moore tweet as a hypocritical attack. It just goes to show that he’s no better, and in many ways a worse person than those who he’s attacking.

          • Supahewok says:

            @KikiJiki I too see no merit in insulting the dead. However, I’m also willing to let people make mistakes. Mr. Walker made a mistake in his show of disrespect, and has been pretty heavily verbally trounced today. Let us leave it at that. A mistake does not make him evil. I highly doubt he is a bad man. He is just a man, and fallible, like the rest of us. Unlike most of the rest of us, he is a man with an audience, therefore his success and his failures are up for scrutiny. He has been scrutinized; let it go.

          • DiamondDog says:

            No, John isn’t worse then Patrick Moore, not even close.

            I’m not about to attack John in this regard when he hasn’t said anything that isn’t true. Patrick Moore did a lot right in his life, but he was still an awful bigot who was politically active about his views, and writing it off as a generational thing is a complete cop out.

            My problem is that John’s righteousness can ring hollow sometimes.

          • Unaco says:

            Wow… that’s kinda bigoted of John. I guess if we applied his own standards, this would be what he was known for, and what we should know him for… He blamed the Hillsborough fans. Bit like Kelvin Mackenzie… ugh.

          • KikiJiki says:

            @Supahewok I can agree that that particular comment from John was probably a mistake and he’s paid for it, but really when you’re on a moral crusade the one sure way to totally discredit yourself is to be less than pure.

            @DiamondDog I disagree. Patrick Moore may have been a racist, homophobe and anything else. He at least directed his viewpoints at groups that could challenge him on it and fight back. By directing his venomous tweet at a dead person John has been a coward, a bully and in his own manner a bigot by being unable to accept another person, no matter their views.

          • DiamondDog says:

            I would like to stress he did back down and apologise about the points he tried to make. Which showed twice as much integrity and character than that fucking scumbag Kelvin MacKenzie ever has.

            It just shows that even enlightened nerds have their cultural blind spots.

          • Prime says:

            Folks, this has gotten uncomfortably personal and, frankly, not really any better than any of the comments or people featured above. Hillsborough is a hot-button topic and I dislike it being brought into this discussion for the purposes of vilifying one of our writers. I’m not excusing him or defending him – not my job to do – but I think there are better places to hold this discussion, and we could be conducting ourselves with more maturity and respect than the muck-raking happening here.

            John’s opinion on Twitter was, in my view, rather tasteless but we are supposed to forgive people’s mistakes, not spend comment threads digging up what else he said so we can express our mutual disgust or indulge in school-yard character assassination.

            Just my opinion.

          • Unaco says:

            I don’t really see what is immature and disrespectful about what we are saying here.

          • KikiJiki says:


            Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot.

          • DiamondDog says:

            @Prime I regret brining it up now, as it’ll just get twisted by people with agendas and preconceptions about John. But I did mention it in good faith and not in any attempt to vilify John, he said it in a public forum so I’m not trying to expose private thoughts here.

            Anyway, I’ll bow out and keep my mouth shut, I can see this turning already.

          • Kadayi says:


            It’s all very well to make christian appeals to forgiveness, but it’s somewhat hard to take them seriously given the unrepentant attitude of the man.

          • Prime says:

            @Kikijiki – If you can point to an example of where I’ve disrespected anybody personally I’ll apologise publicly. You, on the other hand, seem determined to put the boot in. and seem to prefer to attack people calling YOU out. Or was it not you calling John a “Vile, cowardly bully?”. Pot, Kettle, Pot Kettle…

            @Unaco – Am I being immature? Because I’m not the one discussing on RPS what a horrible thing one guy said about another guy/event. It’s like being back in High School listening to the gossips in the back row bitching about teacher.

            @Kadayi – I’m not Christian, but I do think the idea is central to people getting along with each other. What are you supposed to do when people around you make mistakes? Punish them?

          • Unaco says:

            No, I don’t think you’re being immature, and I don’t see how you could possible have come to the conclusion that I was saying that. I even specifically said that I don’t think that the discussion going on here is immature or disrespectful. We’re all being perfectly mature and respectful… no insults or childish language being thrown about. This was to counter your claim that “we could be conducting ourselves with more maturity and respect”. However, if you’re going to start throwing round accusations of being ‘high school gossips’ I may have to change my mind about how mature and respectful you’re being.

          • KikiJiki says:

            @Prime sorry, I should have been clearer, meant no disrespect to yourself with that comment, but I meant that John calling Patrick Moore a bigot is pot calling the kettle black.

            And yes it was me calling John a vile cowardly bully, because he is. There is nothing more cowardly than attacking someone who CAN’T fight back, and to denigrate someone in this way is bullying plain and simple and deserves to be called vile. This entire little episode has shown me more about John Walker the person than I cared to see quite frankly and I’m shocked and ashamed that anyone would stand up for that sort of behaviour.

            Your call to forgive and forget is a nice sentiment, but is going to get no traction with me when, as Kadayi points out John is totally unrepentant over his comment. At this point I think the only correct thing to do is to repeatedly and forcefully point out what a nasty little person he’s been here, while riding under the banner of superior moral crusader defending the rights of the downtrodden and oppressed everywhere, all sarcasm intended.

          • Kadayi says:


            I’m sure you’re not. But the idea is. Still you’re essentially asking people to cut John a break, when he’s quite clearly not remotely prepared to do the same. Surely a man should be judged the same standards he applies to others no?

          • Prime says:

            Unaco, Kiki, my apologies. It’s difficult to know when people are attacking you on the internet, etc. Got a little too defensive. My bad.

            The childish thing has nothing to do with language, Unaco. It’s the fact people are muck-raking and gossiping I find childish, that’s all.

            Kadayi, Kiki – DiamondDog has said over his last two or three posts that not only did John delete the offending Twitter post, he also apologised for arguing his points. That sounds very much like repentance to me.

          • KikiJiki says:

            @Prime – That’s re: Hillsborough. He’s quite happily continuing to hurl abuse and have abuse hurled at him over the Patrick Moore comment. Apparently because he didn’t specifically name Moore he’s in the right and not causing offense.

            As for deleting the Hillsborough tweet, I think it would show more integrity to leave it up and also have the ‘I’m wrong, sorry’. If you can’t own your comments then you shouldn’t bother making them in the first place I say.

      • asclark says:

        Indeed so – and to lump the UKIP innuendo in with the rest several weeks after the Rotherham debacle bumped even the leaders of the major political parties and Nick Clegg into admitting that UKIP is a mainstream party is somewhat odd.

        Moreover, vehement denunciations offer an emotional release and a feeling of shared righteous fury which no doubt is pleasant to experience – and surely we all have experienced this on the misfortunes of those with whom we disagree, of whichever political stripe – but do they really serve any useful purpose? In an interesting juxtaposition, I was listening to a programme on the Terror of 1794 at the time of reading – and such emotions can have rather ugly consequences if taken to an extreme (which for the avoidance of doubt I am not accusing anyone here of being even close to.)

        Yes, a lot of Patrick Moore’s views were shit. One of those views – homophobia – was a problem for me. I was a complete dick about it at school. Since then I’ve rejected that bigotry – but it was the calmer heads which prevailed in convincing me to back down there – angry denunciations only ever encouraged me to enjoy the feeling of being the one person in the right, arguing against the massed fools. Such denunciations therefore made me worse for a time. What is needed is a way for people with views like I had to come to genuinely realise they’re wrong and to change – not to simply hide them for fear of being thundered at by mobs on Twitter, only for the views to pop up the stronger for being repressed.

        • sillybotherer says:

          Hi asclark – a very reasonable and eloquent post. Out of interest, have you got a link to the programme on la Terreur?

        • bill says:

          UKIP appears to be the civilzed face of the BNP. They are entitled to their say, but I’m entitled to think that they are the Gerry Adams of the BNP.

          The UK’s lurch towards nationalism over the last year or two has been rather spectacularly scary.

    • Supahewok says:

      I tip off my hat to you sir, bravo. You opened up one of the biggest can of worms along the most tangently related lines to the orginal article posted that I’ve seen on any website outside of Youtube. I highly doubt that you at all meant it, and it was somebody else who brought John into it personally, but even so… my congratulations.

  2. Bremenacht says:

    “Obscuring sex from the world of GTA: San Andreas would be a betrayal of vision, a self-moderating disservice to the game, to the entire medium.”

    lol lol lol

    I didn’t read the EG piece but that quote made me laugh. There you go Nintendo: stop betraying our vision and stick some gravity-independent tits and a bit of fucking into your Zelda or Mario games.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I don’t think they’re saying it applies to any game but theirs. At all.

    • Davie says:

      That’s…not the point at all. The point is that books, films and finally even a lot of comics these days can be intended for adults and deal with adult themes in a reasonable manner. He’s not saying that having sexual elements improves games in general (and certainly not in the juvenile, middle-school manner we see from the likes of Team Ninja or whatever), he’s saying that it’s important that games intended for adults can deal with adult subject matter without everyone losing their goddamn minds over it.

      San Andreas was going to be rerated AO for the sex scenes, which hilariously didn’t even feature any nudity. It would be like classifying Game of Thrones or about 60% of novels released in the past year as porn, because they feature sex, except somehow even more ridiculous. Once people stop pulling stunts like that, then it won’t be an issue anymore. That’s what he’s on about, not “lol put tits in your game for art”.

      • Consumatopia says:

        In the parallel world where interactive fiction was commercially big, I wonder how an IF with about the amount of sex content as GoT would be rated. It seems like, given a novel, movie, and video game with the same sex scene, we’re most tolerant of the novel, less tolerant of the movie, least tolerant of the video game. So if you keep the interactivity but get rid of the graphics, would we see it as a novel or a game?

        • MattM says:

          I think that the text nature of IF would be more important than the interactivity and so people would be only be as bothered about it as they would be by a novel.

    • hitnrun says:

      I found it funny because we’re talking about Rockstar here. Cynically using the media for free marketing by calibrating content to generate calls for games to be banned (at the very real risk, at the time, of that actually happening) is not quite the same thing as “broadening the range of content.”

      Well, it is in the reductive sense, but now they’re cynically using the adult “gamer’s gamer’s” preening sense of maturity and insecurity about the artistic value of his medium in order to get them to misremember Hot Coffee, in the same way they once played the cable news talking heads. You’ve got to hand it to them, they’re pros.

      • Consumatopia says:

        Eh, you’re right that Rockstar was never going to anything particularly meaningful with sex in GTA, but I think you’re wrong about it being “cynical”. I think Rockstar takes itself and the GTA series seriously, even as the violence in their games is mostly shallow.

        Moreover, I think there’s something to the idea that if meaningless violence is okay then meaningless sex should be okay–so whether or not Rockstar was being sincere, they were still the “good guys” in that struggle.

        • Jackablade says:

          They did actually go so far as to hire someone to manipulate the British media to generate a controversy in an attempt to build publicity on the first GTA when it was initially released. That there is pretty cynical.

          On a related note, I’d recommend David Kushner’s “Jacked” book on the development of the GTA franchise. While it’s not quite as interesting story as the one told about id and Friends in Masters of Doom, it’s still pretty compelling reading.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Yeah, thinking again, you’re right that a lot of GTA’s design is pretty much pure attention seeking (and that book definitely sounds intriguing).

            My suspicion, still, is that the cynicism and warped idealism co-exist easily–they think that transgressing boundaries they expand the art of games, and conveniently enough these transgressions earn attention, and this attention only magnifies whatever art expansion they’re going for. True believers are perfectly capable of manipulating media attention, e.g. Michael Moore, Andrew Breitbart.

        • The Random One says:

          I think I agree completely with Consumatopia. Rockstar’s views on sex are childish and deliberately confrontacionaly, but they truly believed that having a level in San Andreas where you had to spank a dominatrix¹ (in a timely fashion, naturally) would usher gaming into a new world of sexual expression. Just like David Cage thought Fahrenheit would bring games into the mainstream and drive grandmas to buy PS2’s to enjoy his magnificent supernatural mystery. Curiously, both ended up at ‘press up rhythmically to hump lady’.

          ¹Yes, I know that if someone likes to be spanked they’re a submissive, not a dominatrix. Do you think Rockstar knew it?

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      Wow, you are fucking stupid.

  3. SominiTheCommenter says:

    To me that cover art says “We bend to the publishers will”. It’s not that the cover art is bad, it’s that Levine comes out as if he wanted a different cover, but the publisher wanted to sell the game to “frat boys”. If they conceded on that, what other things they made different in order to appeal to that particular audience?

    • vatara says:

      I tried to be upset about this, but I realized I couldn’t care less about the cover art. If that’s how they want to attract new people, fine with me. It’s not going to affect my game experience. But hopefully the game itself isn’t tilted the same way.

      • Baines says:

        But its not a particularly interesting cover.

        You want a cover that draws the attention of your target audience, but you want a cover that draws attention. You can look at the cover of Infinite and think “frat boy manshoot”, but you aren’t going to be thinking “That looks like an interesting frat boy manshoot”. It looks like every generic frat boy manshoot.

        As for the interesting bits being on the back, I’m not sure how many passers-by are going to bother looking at the back to notice.

        Call of Duty and Battlefield sell by name recognition. Same for Uncharted at this point. The cover might draw attention, but people then see the name. Take away the name recognition, and you end up with Fracture or Haze or WET or whatever other game that apparently didn’t catch people’s attention.

        • El Stevo says:

          You realise they will have performed market research about the cover, which counts for a lot more than your gut feeling about how people will respond to it?

          • Phantoon says:

            In his defense, there is not much science behind advertising. It’s mostly asking a specific group of people what they think.

          • El Stevo says:

            Asking a group of people what they think will generally give you better data than asking one person what they think other people will think.

      • Consumatopia says:

        It’s not that I’m upset about it, but it is annoying. If the rationale for the cover art is that there isn’t enough demand for “interesting” games so we have to trick people into thinking our game is generic in order to sell it to them, then that’s pretty dang annoying. If anything, the people it should really offend are the ones who want generic games. Maybe I just want a game with a dude having a gun, without politics or whatever? Hey! You tricked me! I didn’t ask for this.

        The point about not everyone keeping track of games media actually makes it more annoying–there probably are people out there who would want an “interesting” game who don’t keep track of games reporting–there are probably a lot of people who avoid games because they find most games boring. By making an unusual game look like a generic game, the chance to expand the audience beyond the “frat” demographic that already purchases plenty of games is missed.

        That said, I think the way Levine talks about it annoys me a lot more than the cover itself. The cover is someone wearing 19th century clothing, holding an oddly shaped gun, standing in front of a blimp and burning American flag, with the title “Bioshock: Infinite” painted with an American flag theme, now mostly worn off. I would say that actually does hint at the game’s themes pretty strongly. If you didn’t know anything about the Bioshock franchise, a game promising a combination of steampunk with American nationalism would look a bit unusual.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      He who pays the piper, picks the tune.

      I expect the publishers have quite a lot of involvement, if only because their money decides what games get made by the AAA industry (in general, obviously there are exceptions). They want to maximise their return on investment, and see the “frat boy” demographic as a very valuable one.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      “If they conceded on that, what other things they made different in order to appeal to that particular audience?”

      I don’t get this reasoning. In negotiations, when you concede something you do it to get something else in return, not to slide down a slippery slope.

      • Llewyn says:

        I think the “something else in return” is likely to be millions of dollars in development funding. Creative freedom in the game and in the cover art are not two sides of the negotiation, with a balance to be found between them, but two elements of the same side – what the developer concedes in order to persuade the publisher to take the investment risk.

    • JackShandy says:

      “If they conceded on that, what other things they made different in order to appeal to that particular audience?”

      Mmm, they might have gone so far as to make it a linear setpiece-based shooter.

    • Lambchops says:

      He’s right as well, who in the core audience is even going to look at the cover art other than bemoaning it’s announcement. Most of them are just going to download it from their client of choice or order it from an online retailer. Odds are they aren’t going to randomly be browsing and spot it in a shop.

    • mpk says:

      If I buy Bioshock Infinite, I’ll buy it digitally. What does cover art matter then? Those who care most about the game and it’s box art are also those who are least likely to be attracted/put off by it.

      I think Levine made his point clearly, and well.

      • Prime says:

        He certainly did, but the view expressed is almost wholly that of the Big Publisher, AAA view of the gaming world, one that, as Indie Gaming and Kickstarter have loudly and clearly expressed, is not the sole driving force in gaming, nor even the most accurate. It’s their tired old, cynical model of appealing to the lowest common denominator which does nothing but push gaming into the same horrific risk-averse, production line cul-de-sacs that gaming has been nose-diving into for the last decade. This is the kind of cold, reductionist language you always get when huge amounts of money are involved.

        Also, by referring back to System Shock 2 Ken Levine sounds like he’s still bearing wounds from that title’s inability to do well at retail, as if that mattered more than making one of the finest gaming experiences in history. So now he’s learned that in order to get people to buy things you HAVE TO market it well, which means using psychological trickery, manipulation and spin to help people open their bank accounts. Hence the disturbingly large cleavage and generic angry-man-with-gun cover; that’s honestly what the team selling the game think will attract gamers who don’t read gaming press every month. They may even be right. But for the rest of us it’s an intensely distasteful, corporate way to do business, especially when there are so many better ways to sell a game.

    • distrocto says:

      > If they conceded on that, what other things they made different in order to appeal to that particular audience?

      Don’t worry, fratboys isn’t the only loudmouthed group of people they specifically had to bend over and compromise their initial design for the game for: link to

      • Baines says:

        Looks like a sailor suit. Are they now going for Japan and the anime fan market?

      • The Random One says:

        Oh no! They compromised the fact that a character had big boobs! Obviously this changes everything, as trailer clearly showed Elizabeth was always going on about her boobs and how big they were, therefore making them an important and inescapable part of her character. Why can’t people just learn game designers are put into place by God Himself and are completely unable to screw up, and therefore changing something they’ve done can never improve the final result?

        • distrocto says:

          Because the great arbiters of universal taste that manage to scream the loudest have it all figured out and should be followed unquestionably. After all having boobs in vidya will lead to gamers becoming serial rapists and increase the hatred of women hundredfold. It’s true, Anita Sarksomething said so and she’s always right, she has a degree in social studies and is generally very learned! And Fox News said similar things before her, if they don’t know any better who does? link to

          For that matter, could you explain please how and in what way having big boobs would have made her character worse, since you seem to have such an innate hatred for them? (Does that reflect what you think of women with large breasts in general, or is that only restricted to video games?) What would it have changed about the game if Ken Levine went with his original concept for the character? Would it somehow have changed the personality of the character irredeemably or possibly made the writing and characterization worse than it is afterwards? As far as I see it, the people going on for months about changing her need to give an explanation as to their obsession with a certain part of her virtual body, not the ones who were fine with what was intended and didn’t make any observations before she went through more changes than an Elton John concert.
          Why does someone like Levine need to explain himself in front of the feminist inquisition for the choices he makes designing his game? link to

          And how is it good that after months of constant pestering they yielded to a very loud minority, before that minority even got to experience the game at that? (Provided they have even the slightest interest in the game at all and aren’t just screaming because they’re on a roll.)

        • Prime says:

          Ignoring the extreme sarcasm in your comment, Distrocto, I choose instead to answer your question regarding the nature of the complaint over the offending cleavage.You asked for explanation: I offer this for your consideration.

          There is a generally acknowledged problem within gaming of representing females in games in very limited, very superficial ways. Too often design is focused on their breasts, only one out of hundreds of components that go together to make a human female. Too often women are defined by their physical characteristics, rather than people going to the trouble of crafting realistic, believable, well-rounded personalities and desire-sets for them.

          You probably have some very cogent and logical reasons to disbelieve such a problem exists, but for the moment set them aside and entertain the idea that someone who is not you actually, genuinely does get tired of being represented again and again and again mainly by their chest, their ass and their hair, mere body parts that are a loooong way from representing the entire person.

          Now imagine feeling like that, being sick and tired of not getting female characters to play or interact with that don’t revolve around male fantasies in some way, and then encountering the large, prominent cleavage of a girl who we are told by the designers is “complex”. If she’s so complex, why does her design short-change this by going to pains to show off her tits? The implication is that it’s ok to have complexity…as long as you have a great rack and doe eyes and are capable of being attractive to men that like to masturbate frequently. It’s not that she’s “not allowed” to have breasts, or to show them. It’s that gaming in general seems to default to exactly this type of female imagery in too many situations. There’s no balance between these images and more ordinary looking women, the type of women you no doubt see walking around where you live every day – it’s too far skewed towards the fantasy ideal.

          Let me reverse one of your questions. What does it compromise by NOT having the cleavage? If her character were fkat-chested, what would it matter? If she was a young boy instead, what would it matter to that character? Explain how it would matter in terms of story. If you feel loss at the sight of heaving bosom flesh I’d argue that it’s your over-inflated sense of importance in how you view that area – “breasts make me happy, I enjoy looking at them” – that is the REAL problem here. I enjoy looking at breasts too, for the record. They’re magical, beautiful things, and I enjoy very much whenever my girlfriend chooses to share hers with me, but it is ridiculous to suggest she do so all the time which, by no coincidence, is what gaming seems to be telling girls should be their most important and defining attribute.

          Why does someone like Levine need to explain himself in front of the feminist inquisition for the choices he makes designing his game?

          Yes, this is a common meme I hear around these parts. And meme it is – it’s not an original thought of yours by any means. The belief that anyone should be beyond question is ridiculous, especially when he or she is creating something for public consumption. If Ken Levine has chosen to engage with people prior to launch – which he has – then he implicitly opens the dialogue for scrutiny and questioning to occur. I sense you disagree with the people doing the questioning more than the questioning itself – those goddam feminazis, amirite? If that’s the case, get over yourself, buddy. Learn how to see from another viewpoint.

          And how is it good that after months of constant pestering they yielded to a very loud minority, before that minority even got to experience the game at that? (Provided they have even the slightest interest in the game at all and aren’t just screaming because they’re on a roll.)

          Yes, once again your disdain for what you see as a noisy rabble of trolling spoilsports (they’re not mere labels, they’re human beings questioning something they find objectionable) shines through, making my efforts practically doomed but what can I say – I like tilting at windmills, especially windmills perpetuating wrong-headed assumptions and bile like yours. That they’ve been listened to is A Good Thing. Elizabeth still has her cleavage, don’t you know. But now she’s going through some very sensible costume changes (Ever tried exposing flesh at significant altitude? It’s not warm!). So you’ve not lost ANYTHING bar a way to look at breasts throughout an entire game which sounds kinda like you want to play through a porn film?

          It’s not the people complaining that are creating the problem. They’re only highlighting a problem created by others and ignored/defended by people like you who won’t accept there even is a problem but simply argue against and belittle anyone who tries to draw attention to it.

          • distrocto says:

            Well you kind of lost me very early on because I don’t really recognize that “generality”, the largest amount of games don’t feature females with large breasts. It might’ve been true during the 90s, but nowadays every single game of the few that are left seems to invoke some sort of disproportionate backlash to go with it.

            Then you go on to say that apparently large breasts preclude “believable, well-rounded personalities” despite not proving any proof for either of your claims with the second sounding increasingly ridiculous. Do you think that they’d change the entire script and writing around Elizabeth because they made her breasts smaller? And for that matter do you think that by presenting a character as covered up as possible or dressed in rags it instantly makes them appealing and multi-faceted?

            As far as I can see there’s just a group of people who really seem to have something against “tits and ass”, no matter how it is presented. Further proven by the fact that these backlashes seem to precede the actual game releases by months if not even years nowadays, so they can’t really have any sort of context as if a character is “horrible and problematically designed”. That seems rather prejudiced and assuming of them and a bit sexist itself. (Sounds like “She has big breasts, now we know where the cells for developing her brain went, eh lads?”)

            Let’s say that I would concede on that point (which I absolutely don’t), how is it NOT the decision of the game designers making the game what THEY want to put in the game they are making, and why do you deem that persuasive tactics that bound on borderline harassment against some of the devs seem necessary to make them “see the light” or publicly shame them in front of everyone.

            I remember at the beginning of the year a conversation between David Jaffe and one of those “touched” journalists that seem to believe they are on a mission from god to prevent whatever they deem as “sexism” in games (which seems to be an awful fucking lot nowadays): link to

            The same thing with Ken Levine and other people (I posted that one interview above), they are supposed to “justify” themselves as if they are in front of some sort of grand tribunal because of every single design choice or everything they’ve ever said. And I’m frankly surprised that I seem to be the only one that seems to notice the perversion in that and how fucking insane and backwards that is? They are not supposed to *defend* themselves in front of you for any choices they made, they haven’t committed genocide, they just did something with their game you don’t seem to like and are presenting you with an entertainment product. Your choices are clear: buy or no buy, alternatively complain but keep the sense of proportion when doing so and do it respectfully, not as if they’re the last scum because they did something you don’t like or don’t agree with them in some points, similar to how John is blaspheming a dead man without any sort of respect or consideration.

            As for your second point, it doesn’t matter really, as I said they could’ve even replaced her character entirely with a monkey or a rat or something following your around, might’ve even fit better with the huge bird protector hunting her around the map.
            What DOES matter is that people seem to be outright DEMANDING they change the game so it appeals solely to their sensibilities and they seem to be doing it with every game, also the kind of tone and victimization that seems to be going on during that conversation.

            But again, the people demanding the changes because it’s so *absolutely imperatively important or else it’ll ruin the entire game* are the ones that have to offer an explanation, and it better be a damn good one, and no screaming “Misogyny! Sexism!” from the top of their lungs at the people who made the game and at the ones that are fine with the end product for half an hour.

            You seem to be bringing up the argument that “gaming seems to be telling girls that a certain physique is an important and defining Attribute”. What about the boys then, how many of them do you think have the muscular build and the abilities of the protagonists, what does that tell them? How many are trying to adopt the same kind of way to solve a problem like one of the protagonists? And if you seem to be so sure that these „negative attributes“ are being passed on to poor children (or even worse, to poor adults that can apparently not tell apart gaming from reality since Bioshock was a game rated 18+ and I very much expect the same to happen to Bioshock: Infinite) that don’t know what to do with themselves henceforth, maybe people should take a second look at those “gaming makes people to mass murderers/serial rapists/Stalin/Ghenghis Khan” and maybe FOX News and similar publications have always been right about that.
            Your arguments don’t have much in the sense of solidity and they don’t really hold up.

            I’m not going to dignify the last paragraph with a response, since being against imposed censorship by a loud group of people (similar to how they went around hundreds of years ago on a fad and started severing dicks off of antique statues because they were deemed “inappropriate” at one time or another) has absolutely nothing to do with “wanting to watch porn” and I highly doubt that there’re a great many wankers out there rubbing one out to a video game where you can see parts of the breasts of a character, since that would seem rather impractical and there’s many better options.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’m just stunned that they neglected to include any cleavage from the exaggerated cartoon girl. Seriously, how would all that boobage not help sell the game to the frat boy demographic?

      • Unaco says:

        I’m not certain, but I believe that the Elizabeth character has now undergone a redesign, after concerns, in regards to her breasts, were raised with the developers. I don’t think she is quite as… voluminous now. And the cleavage has been covered.

        Edit: There’s an image of the new design in the post above your own.

        • Xocrates says:

          The latest gameplay footage has both versions. I wonder if they actually changed it or if she changes looks at some point during the game.

          EDIT: Considering that they hired someone recently to do promo photos in the old costume AND the old version appears in the back of the cover, I would hazard that they haven’t actually redesigned her: link to

          • Runs With Foxes says:

            Levine tweeted that her different appearances are from different parts of the game. She hasn’t been redesigned.

            So now you have Elizabeth with the massive cleavage, and Elizabeth in the schoolgirl outfit. How is this game not being mocked relentlessly?

    • MistyMike says:

      It’s not just the publisher that wants to sell the game. The devs too, and they both in the same boat. A lot of copies need to be sold to cover the enormous costs of 3A games.

      Having said that, I think Levine is wrong to think that the cover art is a deciding factor, even for the folks who don’t read game press/websites rely more on word of mouth or peer pressure. And Skyrim managed to sell about 7 million copies with a minimalist symbol on the cover. They didn’t need to put the viking guy there, though he was used elsewhere in promo materials.

      • The Random One says:

        I was thinking of Skyrim as well. It sold like Skyrims and it had a minimalist cover. The first Bioshock also sold very well and also had a minimalist cover. Why go with what someone on the Escapist cleverly and alamingly accurately described as an Uncharted prequel?

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s probably just a situation where advertising is only vaguely related to the actual product to sell extra copies. They did that with Dragon Age and it worked then. The Fallout NV ads didn’t exactly show a ton of dialog either. I don’t have a problem with portraying something in a different light to get people to try it. The aficionados will appreciate it as long as it’s good, and some people need convincing.

      The only problem I have is when it’s so wholly unrepresentative of the game that it purposefully misleads you rather than concealing depth.

    • Wisq says:

      Personally, I think Levine’s defence of the cover art was ridiculous and nonsensical.

      I wanted the uninformed, the person who doesn’t read IGN… to pick up the box and say, okay, this looks kind of cool, let me turn it over. Oh, a flying city. Look at this girl, Elizabeth on the back. Look at that creature. And start to read about it, start to think about it.

      Right. So you want a cover that gets people’s attention long enough for them to look at the back. There, they’ll see some stuff about a girl, a flying city, a creature, and supposedly that’ll convince them to buy the game. But you don’t want to put any of that stuff on the front, apparently.

      So essentially, what you’re saying is, you want a front cover that catches the attention of the Generic Man-Shoot Buyer (but turns off the Interesting Games Buyer), yet you want a back cover that appeals to the Interesting Games Buyer (but probably turns off the Generic Man-Shoot Buyer).

      Has it not occurred to you that these might be incompatible? That the people whose attention you want to grab via the front are the people who might find the concept interesting and actually buy it after reading the back? That trying to attract two different audiences just means you won’t attract anyone?

      Honestly, if I didn’t know the Bioshock name and I were to look at that front cover, I would think it was probably some budget civil war shooter, or a game based on one of those terrible alternate-history civil war serial sci-fi writers I see in the bookstore, and give it a miss. (“Infinite” doesn’t help, either.) At least give me some indications of steampunk, of modern magic, of something that isn’t just “boring dude with a shotgun”.

  4. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Hmm, I saw Math the Band supporting Wheatus a while back. They were totally mental (Math the Band, not Wheatus).

    • Jackablade says:

      How is it that Wheatus didn’t disappear as soon as the brouhaha over whatever that dreadful track of theirs was died down?

  5. daphne says:

    Ah, Mr. Walker, you just had to link to the Cara Ellison piece. Some masterful masturbation going on in the piece and the comments there, I must say — does a good job validating those who already are aware of these issues and as such, is a powerful circlejerk — and not much else.

    Not that I can blame anyone for that. One can only do so much, right?

    • RedViv says:

      And your problem is…?

      • daphne says:

        I don’t really have a problem, not one that I can articulate with confidence. I just don’t want Ellison or the others who comment approvingly to feel good about it, because others will ensure that. And more crucially, because I believe that the piece does not help anything, does not contribute towards a solution to the problem at hand, is written for the consumption of those who already know, and certainly is not an example of the intellectual dialogue I see NM very often providing, as Mr. Walker correctly notes before linking to the piece.

        • Terragot says:

          Cara’s piece makes me unsure of what it is we’re supposed to hate now. I feel like I should be grabbing my pitchfork but I just don’t have a target to direct my anger at.

          • Carachan1 says:

            This is exactly how I feel. Exactly. Crushed by something that is listed in a hashtag on twitter, with no idea how to fix it.

          • Terragot says:

            Hadda’ be beyond words.
            Hadda’ be video games.

        • rampofdeath says:

          That seems a strangely petty and unpleasant way of looking at it. Why would you actively begrudge someone satisfaction or pride in a piece of their writing, on the basis that it does not ‘do’ what you arbitrarily think it should. It’s a poem, written on the basis of personal feeling and experience, not a political manifesto or legal challenge. Is Larkin a prat for whinging about mortality while not proffering a concrete way of evading it?

          • daphne says:

            No begrudging — I don’t have anything against Cara Ellison (in fact, I generally enjoy her writing), I just wanted to offer the opposite of praise as that’s how I felt about this piece and there are likely to be many other praising, validating voices. I didn’t want to be one of them for this particular example, and certainly I didn’t enjoy that this piece was linked to “intelligent gaming discussion”.

            Yes, my sentiment is most likely going to be unpopular, but I don’t care about that, I just wanted to voice my displeasure. Call me however you like.

          • rampofdeath says:

            I don’t want to call you anything, I just find your complaints formless and unjustified.

            If you don’t like the piece, by all means provide criticism and try to tease out why exactly it didn’t hit home for you. What you have done is take issue with it for failing to be something it never claimed or attempted to be. Your problem with the reaction and “praising,validating” is also external to the poem itself, clobbering a piece of writing for what others say about it isn’t convincing critique.

            Personally Ginsberg is a gaping hole in my reading, so I refrained from giving an opinion, positive or negative, as I felt I couldn’t fairly interpret it. The last thing I want to do is personally insult you for holding a view, and I accept you felt a negative reaction to the poem, but perhaps you need to work out why you didn’t like it, and express that more clearly. Or you’re welcome to accuse me of “masterful masturbation”–I like the alliteration by the way– if you’d prefer!

          • Skabooga says:

            Damn, rampofdeath, way to lay down the law. I’m very much in agreement with you.

    • Lambchops says:

      Hmm, funnily enough when reading that the thought running through my head after “why am I reading an adapted poem about the games industry?” was “who exactly is this for?”

      Nothing wrong with a piece of writing being for yourself of course . . . but

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      Yeah. I was reading it and what I mostly got out of it was that it felt a little….I dunno?


      College english class-y?

      Like, I get they mean well and it’s clever but it’s a little too twee and kind of make me want to make fun of it. But it’d feel like a dick move.

    • Faldrath says:

      As I read it (and since I’m not a part of the gaming industry/journalism, I might be completely off the mark), the poem speaks of “something in the air”, especially when we remember Ginsberg’s original piece. Lots of things happening here in there with no real unity but a common theme. And then, just maybe, a glimpse of hope (because “had to be” also carries a connotation of “it had to be this so we could do that”).

    • maninahat says:

      There’s something particularly tedious about people who describe self reflection as masturbation. Lampooning sexism thru personal experience is not self indulgence.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      Though complaining about people thinking the Ellison is good aside, because while I can understand why I just think you should feel bad about yourself for doing it and maybe read more books, that Starking piece made me all misty.

      Excuse me.

      I just need to go get something out of my eye.

  6. McDan says:

    What a great sunday papers collection this week. One of the few ones that I read all of the articles from. Top picks: Cara Ellison piece and Richard Cobbets City of Heroes coverage.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Cobbett’s oft good reading, and didn’t disappoint this time.

    • Skabooga says:

      Yeah, for someone who never had an account to City of Heroes, Cobbett’s piece was the next best thing to actually being there for the end.

  7. Dr I am a Doctor says:


  8. Urthman says:

    Can someone tell me why Ellison’s piece is titled Romero’s Wives? Is it something about Stevie Case posing for Playboy?

    • Carachan1 says:

      It is written at the bottom of the poem.

      • Daniel Johnston says:

        Gaming when will you be angelic?
        When will you take off your clothes?
        When will you look at yourself through the grave?
        When will you be worthy of your million dreamers?
        Gaming why are your comment sections full of tears?

      • Urthman says:

        Ah. That wasn’t there earlier this week when I first saw that poem, I don’t think. Maybe I just missed it.

    • Unaco says:

      Helpfully, they explain at the bottom. It’s to do with an article in which Brenda Romero, John Romero’s wife, is referred to as “John Romero’s wife”.

      • CapeMonkey says:

        Specifically in the context “John Romero’s wife and studio kickstarting old school rpg” rather than “Wizardry 8 designer Brenda Brathwaite and studio…”
        link to

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          I honestly thought John Romero was still married to a teenage eastern european woman. So I was wondering what the fuss was about.

  9. Carbonated Dan says:

    Having been raised by a similarly selfless single-mother who has passed on, I empathise with Dan Starkey.

    I am also quite envious of him; games are yet to offer me such catharsis (beyond memories of playing Ocarina together) and in reading his piece I recognise the medium’s potential in this.

    On the subject of gaming’s portrayal of women, I would not be too harsh on developers; a form of reactionary misogyny is endemic to all popular media right now, with the most over-exposed books and films defining their female leads by the men around them – as if the only choice of value to a woman is who she makes her master.

    Whatever, I’d give good odds to seeing an Etheline Tenenbaum in a AAA game before any film or blockbusting book.

  10. Rictor says:

    I understand where Ken Levine is coming from with the Bioshock: Infinite cover, and it’s a completely reasonable decision. It doesn’t really affect the core audience aside from on an emotional level. It’s a token concession. As an adult I can accept that.

    But let me just say that I would love to see games not HAVE to depend on fratboys to be successful. There’s something demeaning about having to curtsy in order to attract the attention of people who, generally speaking, would buy CoD 7 and Madden 14 before ever considering a game like Bioshock. Gaming is clearly 100x more mainstream today than it was when System Shock 1 came out, and yet the core audience is still (apparently) not big enough to have games made primarily for it.

    • Stochastic says:

      I think you captured perfectly why people are upset by this cover.

      Also, I recognize the need to appeal to the “frat boy demographic,” but I think Mr. Levine’s argument rings hollow. The frat boy gamers he’s targeting aren’t necessarily philistine, libido-driven neanderthals (even if they do play Call of Duty). They’re human just like the rest of us and would probably respond to an original, compelling, well designed cover in the same way that “core” gamers would.

      • Supahewok says:

        ‘Fraid you’re wrong there. Got a friend who believes Skyrim to be the greatest game of all time, Starcraft II to have the best story of all time, Neverwinter Nights to be the greatest RPG of all time, (and before you say it, no he does not play user created content for NWN, he thinks it’s dumb to play with mods and such) and thinks CoD is the best FPS. He doesn’t understand how I can play turn based strategy games, (Edit: And know that I think about it, he wondered why anyone would play an adventure game when he saw me playing Broken Sword) and is put off by “old” graphics. (Specifically, ’95-’00, although I’m sure that would apply to even older games)

        Guess what? HE IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF THE INDUSTRY’S TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC. And he will judge a book by it’s cover; specifically, he wants more of what he’s got. So yes, Bioshock Infinite’s generic white guy in a badass pose with nothing much else would convince him to buy the game.

        And he is the most varied videogame player I have met in my dorm aside from myself, my roommate, and a guy downstairs who mostly plays 80’s and 90’s RPG’s. Which means I know dozens of people who are worse. For better or for worse, (from my perspective, I would say worse) the publishers know EXACTLY who their “target demographic” is.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      To be honest, I am actually beginning to find something more than a little distasteful about the shitting on the 19 to 21 year old market segment as a bunch of brutish sex crazed neanderthals for whom no game must be marketed towards ever.

      Though, if I wanted to make a dash for the high moral ground I would note that it’s also the only gaming demographic that also can’t handily be replaced by just saying White People.

      • Phantoon says:

        Yes, you’re right! This rot should stop! Because the target demographic for this is actually more like 15!

      • Consumatopia says:

        What you find distasteful is imaginary–the problem is not that “no game” must be marketed towards them, but that every game, outside causal or social games must be marketed to them. That this one demographic dominates the demand for any in depth gaming experience.

        I would clothesline your mad dash–we’re talking about disproportionately well-off young males. I doubt that any demographic of gamer, other than White People themselves, can be “replaced by just saying White People”, given the appeal of video games in Asia.

  11. Muzman says:

    I dunno why anyone’s surprised by the Bioshock Infinite cover. Bioshock’s cover art was shit and so is this.
    It was supposed to have some magnificent Art Deco piece looking like the gates of Rapture or some sort of inspirational propaganda poster or something – anything! – artistic and thematic.
    Apparently even that lame piece of shit was too oblique. Thus Dude with gun! Game about Dude with gun! Lenny like Gun! Lenny want play with gun! Kill man! Have Fun!

    I’m not that worried really, but the argument is bullshit. Plenty of movies are sold on ambiguous imagery to people who aren’t following the trades every damn week and they still do well. It’s the same old same old: Games are stupid things for stupid people and we want their money and this is how you get it. Later for that art and intelligence bullshit. If we trick a few knuckleheads into caring, all the better.

  12. Jorum says:

    From PC point of view – box art? What’s a box?

    • RedViv says:

      Quite reasonably short statement about why I don’t care. Unless there’s an especially nice box for the game (something to put into my ever-growing wall of steel cases, perhaps) there’s really no need to buy a physical product.

  13. I Got Pineapples says:

    The Bioshock Infinite cover art response…

    I try to at least see everyones outrage as genuine on these things but this one really, really reeks of the internet doing a thing to the point where the internet should be goddamn ashamed of itself.

    • Phantoon says:

      There are FAR better things to be ashamed about. But you must be new here if you think the internet has any shame left. Please, take a seat. Don’t drink the pina coladas, they’re not something you’d appreciate. Try one of these fan fictions- they’re not that awful, I promise.

    • Prime says:

      From my perspective, chaps, I think it’s immeasurably worse to come to a board specifically to express your personal contempt for the opinions of others but also to lump them all into one conglomerate entity known as “the Internet” so that scoffing at them becomes far easier. When we stop thinking of people as people is when the problems really start.

    • c-Row says:

      I think he’s got a point. Gamers these days apparently want to be upset about something, apparently just out of sheer boredom. And like any other demographic, they got their favourite persons/series/genres to be upset about just for the hell of it.

  14. Bobtree says:

    Crappy cover art I can live with, but recent game cases that are barely a rigid structure have really begun to annoy me. They’re supposed to protect the product! It’s a ridiculous place to pinch pennies and save the environment. I keep my games and want solid cases, not flimsy junk.

  15. MistyMike says:

    Can somebody ellucidate me who the hell are ‘frat boys’? I’m not USian.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      USians internet nerds are convinced they exist in a college movie where they were relentlessly bullied by ‘Frat Boys’ who drag their knuckles along the ground, drink beer and speak only in grunts.

      Now they are horrified that people who aren’t geeks of whatever stripe are currently playing the video games and, this is important, specifically games they don’t like. Clearly, these people are ‘Frat Boys’ and certainly has nothing at all to do with Nerd Gatekeeping, Like a male version of Fake Geek Girls, they are here to take the proud land of Nerdopolis (And hey, this time the girls get to play Nerd Gate Keeper as well so…hooray for progress for women, I guess) with their enjoying the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

      Alternately, they are members of US college fraternal organisations, which are kind of like clubs for students. Some of them are a bit obnoxious and get up to no good but to my understanding from actual USians, they mostly just supply free food, hold parties and occasionally engage in light charity work.

      • Phantoon says:

        I’m confused. I think I know even less about fraternities after reading your post.

        It came across as really hateful.

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          It kinda was.

          What they actually are is the second part: Clubs on Colleges.

          The first part is mostly about how every time someone says ‘Frat Boys’ in a disdainful tone, they are a terrible person.

          • formivore says:

            I think most of those disdainful people were actually talking about George W. Bush.

          • Unruly says:

            It really depends on where you are as to how you view frats. For instance, I live and work in a college town where the college just regained the #1 position on the Princeton Review list of party schools. We’ve been ranked in the top 10 quite frequently when it comes to that particular list, and it tends to show. In a lot of cases the hyper-jock attitude really prevails here. Not all the frats here are bad, in fact some of them don’t give us many problems at all, but others are a constant cause of frustration at my place of work.

            In reality, though, the problem isn’t frats themselves, but the attitudes that seems to concentrate in a lot of them. The “Dudebro” is a real thing, and some frats bring a lot of that attitude to a very small area. When that happens, frats as a whole get bad reputations and all frat members get labeled as the stereotypical fratboy. And not everyone that might get called a fratboy is actually in a frat – a lot of them are just colossal douchebags by nature. It’s for that reason that I’ve stopped using the term “fratboy” to refer to people that act like that and have started calling them “dudebros” or just plain “douchebags” instead. Coincidentally, a lot of the people that act like that around here tend to come from New Jersey and New York, so much so that I’ve started to become of the opinion that Jersey Shore is in no way exaggerated. I’m not saying there’s no one like that who’s local, because I grew up with and still deal with quite a few of them, but I usually have to deal with two from either of those states for each one that’s local. And a lot of the time when one of these dudebro-types gets in trouble, mommy and daddy try to jump in and claim that their son is a perfect little angel who doesn’t drink and would never, ever get in a fight.

            As a disclaimer, I work for the city in question, and have to deal with the college students, and the results of their “activities,” on a pretty much daily basis. Their activities frequently include smashing beer bottles in the streets, throwing beer bottles at passing cars, throwing beer bottles at passing pedestrians, throwing beer bottles at parked cars, smashing parking meters, bar fights, starting dumpster fires, dragging couches into the street and lighting them on fire, and running drunkenly into traffic. So I might be a bit biased when it comes to my opinions on this particular subject.

            Also, sororities can be just as bad as fraternities. You just don’t hear about it as often because it’s not expected of them like it is of fraternities.

      • Shralla says:

        And are filled with exactly the kind of people who would willingly join an organization in which they will live and dwell outside of classes before meeting any of the people that they would be living with. The reason that they’re comfortable doing this is because they feel they have nothing to worry about and that they will certainly have something in common with the rest of the people living there. And the reason that’s true is that the people who join fraternities are the average dudes who watch Two and a Half Men and football every sunday, because hey, that’s the majority of the population, and if you just so happen to be average yourself, why be concerned?

      • Consumatopia says:

        I wish I could find a video of the scene from “American Splendor” with Harvey ranting about “Revenge of the Nerds”

        It’s an entertaining flick and I can see why you like it Toby, but those people on the screen ain’t even supposed to be you! They’re college students whose parents live in big houses in the suburbs. They’re gonna get degrees, get good jobs and stop being nerds.

        So, yeah, there’s a lot of truth to what you just wrote–the idea that fraternal organizations are oppressing unaffiliated college students on American campuses, despite being a weird trope in American films (maybe it’s code for antisemitism?), doesn’t seem to have any basis in reality. Both nerds and jocks on a college campus are going to end up with more income and power than the average person.

        That said: young, white men with sufficient time and money to spend on video games are a disproportionately loud voice in video games culture. When people who aren’t actually on a college campus talk about “frat boys”, that’s probably what they’re thinking of. (And in Levine’s case, I assume they literally went to college fraternities looking for those consumers.)

        • formivore says:

          What is going on with the nerd self-hatred in this thread? I really don’t find it very cute at all.

          Are there really people who feel persecuted by frat boys? I’m not sure this a trope that actually exists. Revenge of the Nerds is a forgotten movie from 1984, but Animal House is still as popular as ever. I think there may be confusion here with nerds vs. jocks in K-12, which is a thing in American culture that actually exists, and is not just something invented by Hollywood. Well I guess you are imputing that confusion to other people.

          When you start talking about say a 15 year old who is being bullied, that they are white, male, and middle class maybe does not invalidate their experience quite so much.

      • Klaus says:

        Well said. I’m about sick to death of nerds and ‘nerd culture,’ it’s actually more exclusionary and hateful than anything I have experienced with jocks, dudebros, frat boys or whatever.

        • Consumatopia says:

          Sometimes it’s hard to separate nerd and dudebro culture. I would put Penny Arcade into both of them simultaneously.

        • Supahewok says:

          Eh. I’ve always viewed “nerd culture” as counterculture at best, like what happened in the US in the ’60’s. (Hippies, Vietnam protests, rebellion, lose of innocence, yah yah yah) It has always seemed to me the nerd culture started as many, many nerd groups trying to find people to hang out with because they didn’t care about sports and stuff like the other guys, and were persecuted for it. In some (many) circles on the internet, if you don’t have at least 3 good bullying stories, you can’t be a nerd to the established nerds, because you haven’t had to live through the crap they did. So you never “earned” your spot among nerdom.

          Naturally, the bullying and all bred quite a lot of resentment, and of the two groups, nerds and jocks, it was the nerds who discovered the internet first. Nerds had many years to entrench themselves into the Web, while the jocks stuck with their spots on the television. So the nerds were able to connect with each other across countries and the world, and developed a “culture” based on shared experiences.

          The founding in resentment and persecution is why I consider the whole thing to be counterculture. It was founded to be against “the jocks.” So it is quite understandable when there are hysterical responses to perceived “invasions” of nerd culture. Nerd culture grew out of a need for defense, and will always utilize that viewpoint first and foremost before anything else. Hence, it is a culture “counter” to the jocks or whatever you want to call the traditional, established culture.

          This is the main reason why I have never taken claims of “culture” as relates to nerds very seriously, i.e. when Rab Florence wrote an article for EG in which he claimed that certain games were “cultural experiences.” From that moment on, he lost me in his argument. (although the whole thing was rather pro piracy to begin with, because publishers are *evil*, so he never really had me to begin with) I don’t respect nerd culture. It’s too defensive of itself. It brooks no threats to itself, and is incredibly exclusive. Not to mention, it likes some of the most STUPID shit simply for the fact that it is “different,” i.e. an attack/defense against the broader culture at large.

          In my opinion, nerd culture has quite a bit of growing up to do before many, myself included, can take it seriously.

          Edit: I should probably add a little disclaimer: I don’t hate Rab. I actually like a lot of what he writes, because he has a wonderful way with words and is quite informative in Cardboard Children. Some of his opinions just rub me the wrong way. Don’t take what I said as a personal attack on him.

          • I Got Pineapples says:

            Pretty much entirely this, which also includes a good chunk of why I can’t take video game criticisim seriously.

  16. Pindie says:

    Cara Ellison? Could not care less.
    It’s Twitter, not real life.

    The sad part is people made insightful comments last time IMO about why the whole #1 thing is bogus.
    This is one bandwagon you guys should not be on. It barely even involves video games, it’s mostly about women who complain that other women chose different career.
    Oh yea, let’s explore gender roles, on a video game blog, weekly. Because this is Video Game Journalism.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      ‘Cara Ellison? Could not care less.’

      but you care enough to post about how stupid you find it, and that gender roles are not relevant to discussions of video gaming? how constructive of you

      • Pindie says:

        I am not happy about RPS covering non-issues.
        #1 people do not want to engage in any meaningful discussion anyway. It’s a hashtag campaign on Twitter, a fashionable bandwagon, not an attempt at starting a debate. It is potentially harmful IMO.

        • RobF says:

          Luckily, you’re not the sole arbiter of what is and isn’t an issue. You don’t get to decide that, man.

          But sure, be unhappy with RPS covering this stuff all you want, it won’t make it any less important to people because you say it isn’t.

          • Pindie says:

            To be fair RPS at least covers both sides of “debate”. They linked to article from that Valve lady.
            Interesting how people immediately dismissed it because “Valve is not the industry” cherry picking.
            Also interesting only female game devs can express valid opinions.
            Also the comments were divided on the issue.
            Leads me to believe the contributors also have different views on it. I hope.

            We have already discussed the #1 on two occasions if I am not mistaken, with better insight IMO, trying to establish if it’s an issue. It might have to do with fact that #1 thing is running out of ammunition after the initial barrage of hashtags and responses cycle.
            This poem being posted really does bother me because other than reminding people that #1 “is still alive” I see no purpose.
            Then there is the issue of preaching to the choir.

            So here, reasons why I am dismissive of the “article” and giving it attention.

            Also 1% thing. Catchy one liners become cliches and ridicule in few months. It’s good for short campaign only.

          • RobF says:

            It’s a hashtag, they have a finite lifetime. It was a momentary flash, the kind of thing that Twitter and the internet excels at. One tweet, another tweet, two tweet, three tweet, more. 1 Reason Why is just a collection of things that happened, things that happened to -people-, their experiences, how they were treated, things people said to them, things people did to them.140 characters blurted into the collective void for all to hear, except where people were too fucking scared to attach their Twitter accounts to their own experiences and stories, so confident that this “non-issue” would result in further attacks.

            Think about that before you call it a non-issue. People scared to tweet, to put 140 characters, a few words down on what happened to them on the internet because they know full well that there’s a load of little fuckers ready to pounce on them simply because it’s a woman on the internet and a woman speaking her mind. There’s no “other side of the story” here, man. There’s other experiences, sure bt there’s a gulf between that and “another side of the story”. Women live with this shit and they live with it daily. It’s not up for debate, it’s a thing that happens to women day in, day out, in games and on the internet because they’re women. It’s well documented, it’s collected, it’s visible, it’s obvious and it happens. And for a day or so, it was spoken about. Loudly, clearly and unequivocally because it’s far from a non-issue, it hurts people.

            So instead of calling it a non-issue, instead of claiming it bogus because you’re on the internet and it doesn’t effect you, just shut up and listen for once. Listen to what people are telling you because people are telling you they’re not happy and they’re being hurt, stalked, treated like shit, held back, attacked and more. It may be in 140 characters but shit, the delivery method does not matter. What matters is this happens and it fucking well shouldn’t.

            And to make it all slightly better, to make folk’s life a bit easier, the -only- thing you need to do, the only contribution you need to make to all this is to shut up, to listen and to not be a dick. Or if you’re not interested in what people have to say? Walk on. Go to the next post and be content with your life. There’s all the posts on the internet waiting for you out there. Letting someone else have their say won’t chafe, yeah?

          • RaveTurned says:

            *standing ovation*

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            after all those words I still don’t know what this #1 thing is supposed to mean

          • Unaco says:

            It’s something in the UK to do with which music single sells the most over the week of Christmas.

    • Skabooga says:

      Yeah! And what’s the deal with Bioshock box art article being linked here? An article about packaging on a video game blog? C’mon!

      • Pindie says:

        Why is it linked indeed?
        The IGN writer himself says he considers it not an issue, I guess it was a slow week?
        Usually cover art gets a few jokes in comment section.

        Everybody has an opinion. The developer tries to spin the narration. Nobody is impressed. Nobody changes mind.
        It is remotely gaming related since it involves a large chunk of fans of series, i.e. gaming community.

        I am not saying #1 is not remotely gaming connected, but I am saying it does not deserve the attention. I am also saying bad things can come out of it.

  17. InternetBatman says:

    This is somewhat terrible of me to think/admit, but I’m kind of tired of talking about misogyny and racism in games.

    I understand why journalists have a responsibility to talk about it, but it always brings out the worst people, and you have to respond, because they’re the worst. Eventually you notice that no one’s learning anything, the conversation becomes increasingly uncivil, and it’s all the same faces from the week before and the week before that. The people who don’t get it never will, and most of the people with good sense left the conversation long ago. And no one ever, ever admits their wrong. Links to reliable sources citing research become links to an extremist foundation pushing an agenda which in turn become opinion pieces. If academic or official sources are brought in, the response is more often than not skepticism towards the issuing source.

    On the one hand, I’m glad it’s going on because I think the other side is getting tired too, and people not commenting read the arguments and learn from them. You learn about yourself and the flaws in your arguments. Eventually it feels like the argument is a dog chasing its own tail or like you’re standing in the marketplace and there are too many soapboxes to get to the stalls.

    This also goes for the definition of RPG (it’s so loose anything beyond levels go up is meaningless, games can be better described by their view and mechanics); Games as art (I use creative expression and creator rather than art or artist to avoid the whole thing; and the definition of Indie (it’s broken now, EA broke it and the Humble Bundle helped, use self-funded or self-published).

    Sometimes you just want to talk about weird worlds, neat ideas, and cool things you’ve seen in games. The first Minecraft game I played was in a perpetually frozen world. It was beautiful, and I built railroad tracks all over the surface of the ocean. In Stacking I climbed inside a mummy walked around for a while just scaring as many people as possible before I got so far that it ended the mission. In Dwarfs!? I figured out how to beat the game on the hardest mode possible. You blow up the entire perimeter around the base and build guardposts. I got the 62nd world score out of a few thousand by letting it run while my partner and I hooked up. Aren’t games beautiful?

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      I’ve been thinking about this lately and I’ve been trying to find a way to phrase this in a way that isn’t horrible but speaking out against sexism and talking about gender issues is a thing the internet is doing at the moment, much in the same way about er…I’m gonna say 18 months ago, the Internet was really into LGBT issues. Then we had class for a while but that didn’t have legs for obvious reasons and mostly became people saying 1% over and over.

      And, while this social awareness is a good thing, it’s also going to be the central topic of internet narrative and pop up in the weirdest places (There was a week about a month ago where every single pop culture review I read talked about gender issues) for abou..I’m gonna say 6 more months and we find something else to distract us. I’m pushing race myself because that’s going to make everyone uncomfortable.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Are you trying to create an ugliness blackhole that’s sheer torture for everyone to look on?

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          Yeah, on re-reading that one was more than a bit shitty and dismissive of me and I should probably apologize to all concerned.

      • Tagiri says:

        I suppose it’s nice to have the luxury to sit back and think about things that affect other people’s lives daily as “internet trends”.

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          I’m completely in favour of talking about these things and perhaps am being more than a little glib but in seriousness, it’s the conversation we’re having at the moment and after a while, we’ll stop having it.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            But you didn’t say we should talk about it and its a shame that we’ll stop, you said we’ll stop talking about it so it’s wrong to do so in the first place.

          • I Got Pineapples says:

            You are, of course, completely right and I shall endeavour to be less dismissive in the future.

        • Pindie says:

          I have not heard a single game developer come forth and say “I have faced discrimination at work place because of my gender”.
          Now that would be news worthy.

        • InternetBatman says:

          To be fair, race, class, and gender are socially constructed concepts so there’s no reason they wouldn’t trend on the internet like any other idea. Hell, politicians use data of trending issues to tailor their image.

          • I Got Pineapples says:

            Yeah, I said it in a profoundly stupid way, but that’s kind of what I was getting at.. At the moment, the pop culture-y end of the internet discussion is trending towards gender issues.

        • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

          Speaking of internet trends: link to
          Turns out racism isn’t as popular as it used to be, and LGBT is rising!

    • Skabooga says:

      You must pick and choose your battles, certainly, and if you’re feeling fatigued by the whole discussion, it is a good idea to take a break from it and just focus your attention elsewhere. And I’m not suggesting that you are, but – don’t despair. The world is getting better, slowly but surely, and it always appreciates those who stand for love and justice, even if the effort seems small in the contributor’s eyes.

  18. Eddy9000 says:

    Could somebody who has posted above against covering gender portrayal, inequality of representation and marginalisation of minority groups in gaming please tell me why they think it is a bad thing that people campaign for more equal representation in computer games? Not why they don’t care about it or why they don’t think it’s important, but why they think other people shouldn’t, and how it affects them and the world around them negatively. Because so far it just sounds like people raging against a threat to their own privilege, a privilege given only by the disempowerment of others. Could someone give me a reasonable explanation why I shouldn’t support better representation for women, gays and BME groups in gaming? Because if you can’t I’m just going to link back to this post every time the issue comes up an say “you don’t have an argument aside from your own bigotry”.

    • MistyMike says:

      Seems to be that a lot of this campaigning comes across as Internet slacktivism in which people indulge to feel good about themselves and their supposed highly evolved morality. The whole thing about sexism in games has an air of a first world problem about it (citizens of developed nations who can afford to spend a lot on entertainment are offended a game is sexist. the horror! Meanwhile in India young women is doused in kerosene and burned alive for daring to refuse to marry the man designated by the family). Finally, it may be seen as a call to make games toothless and safe in their politcal correctness, instead of bastions of free expression.

      Not that I necessary agree with the above reasons, but that’s the gist of why people tend to oppose such preaching.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        My answer to this would be that if the ‘slack’ position is that women should be better represented in gaming and this is ‘morally evolved’ then good! I don’t see that as a bad thing.
        I don’t think media representation is a first world problem, all countries have a media, and it might surprise people but computer games are played in all countries, people in Africa don’t all sit in mud huts poking each other with sticks.
        And yes it certainly is worse to burn a woman to death than make a game about how your male character rescues a helpless woman. But I think through representing women better in games media we can challenge the kind of attitudes that allows these greater crimes towards women to happen. I also question how many people who challenge support for empowering the representation of women in video games spend time campaigning for the rights of women in the Middle East.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        Would also like to add that I think the ‘free expression’ argument is completely bogus. Representing women as empowered is not the safe option or else it would happen more often, the safe option is portrsying women as subservient to men. the free expression of games developers is already restricted by their feeling unable to create games with gay or strong female characters, campaigning for games to represent these groups positively does not impose any further restrictions on ‘free speech’ or creative expression. Also people who use the ‘free speech’ argument might want to look at John Stuart Mills ‘harm principle’ which forms the basis of modern ideas of liberty and describes that liberty should be restricted only if it restricts the liberty of others.

      • iridescence says:

        Well yes, I suppose it’s a “first world problem” but the vast majority of people postiing on the Internet about these issues live in first world countries. Do you really think a Twitter campaign about wife burning in rural India organized by people not at all knowledgeable about that culture is going to be at all effective?

        It just strikes me that the old “there are worse things going on in the world” argument is a useful justification for apathy and doing nothing. It’s far more realistic for people to protest against problems and issues they encounter in their own lives and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    • NathanH says:

      I can’t really say I’m exactly in the target audience for your demand, but I’ll try to give my perspective. My concern is not necessarily about the discussion happening but some of the assumptions in the discussion and some of the broad statements being made that might be dangerous. For instance you often see blanket statements about how video games are mostly sexist.

      I play only a small set of video game genres, mainly strategy games and western RPGs. Looking through my collection of games, I don’t see too much objectionable content. These genres seem to do rather well. There’s no stream of pathetic women needing my help (well, there are, but there are also streams of pathetic men needing my help). There aren’t breasts bursting out from all angles (occasionally there are, but occasionally never hurt anyone). Most women in these games aren’t relegated to eye candy.

      So my concern is not that the discussion are being had, but that they’re not particularly fair. I’m worried that everyone is thinking about what happens in AAA shooters, seeing what problems exist there, and then assuming the problems exist everywhere. That could become very stifling for genres that don’t really do too badly.

      A few weeks ago there was a comments thread about this, and at some point someone said something to the effect of either 1) most women in video games are kidnap-fodder and 2) most kidnap-fodder in video games are women. This might be true in FPS land, I don’t know, but in the games I play I have rescued thousands of people and many of them have not been women, and have met many women who are not kidnap fodder. But the statement was basically not contested by anyone and taken as obvious.

      This isn’t a huge deal really, but it’s not entirely benign, because if these discussions lead to condemnation of the damsel-in-distress trope in video games, that does have an impact on games that don’t really suffer from its overuse. I like a good damsel-in-distress scenario, the only problem is if it’s everywhere. The danger is that by making broad statements about All Of Video Gaming you’re going to stamp out innocent use of such tropes in genres where they aren’t really a bad thing.

      SO there is a long ramble that isn’t really anything to do with what you wrote, but it’s been kicking around my head for a few weeks now so I thought I’d go ahead and write it.

      Perhaps trying to be on-topic: I like that video games are aimed at me, so I selfishly want them to continue to be aimed at me and don’t really care if they’re not aimed at anyone else. That might be behind some of the protests. It’s a bit dishonest of them, but I have some sympathy. There aren’t many things that are aimed at me, so I understand the desire to protect them at all costs.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I do agree that video games have traditionally been disparaged (although given their mainstream popularity now I’m not sure if that’s still the case) and can see why any perceived attack on them might cause people who enjoy them like you or me to leap to their defence. Of course there are games that do not marginalise people (it would be a stretch to accuse my current favourite ‘super hexagon’ of this!), but I think the majority of games that do portray gender/sexuality do it in a way that empowers straight white men to the detriment of the alternative. There are certainly very few games with female or gay player characters.
        As for feeling that very few things are aimed at you, I can understand feeling like you maybe don’t fit in as an individual as I have felt this before (more during my teens, it gets better at 30!), but I think it might be the case that this is more an individual thing, as saying that as a man you do not feel represented socially seems a little of an oversight given as as a man you will statistically have more financial and work opportunities as a woman, and you are better represented in your countries educational, law enforcement and legal system as well as many other institutions. I might put it to you that no matter how underrepresented you feel as an individual, this would be moreso if you happened to be female. You seem like a thoughtful guy and I would modestly ask that you think about how isolated you feel, and how you’ve found solace and representation in computer gaming, and think about the fact that women are largely denied this area that is so important to you. This is why I support better representation in gaming, because I think gaming is great, important and helpful and I think is should be accessible to everyone. .

        • NathanH says:

          I agree, it’s just me being selfish, so I try not to give that very much weight, just remaining somewhat on guard in case things shift against me entirely.

          I do disagree with your statement above about how women are portrayed primarily in subserviant roles. I don’t think that’s true at all for RPGs. Similarly, the comment about how very few games have female player characters. A lot of games I play do. Indeed, whenever there is a choice I usually choose female. It’s true that there are few RPGs in which the player character is certainly female, though, which disappoints me somewhat because I’d like to play some games like that from time to time.

          Let’s see if my feelings about this actually are right, and look at the games I have installed.

          Male PC: 14
          Female PC: 1
          Male or Female PC: 43
          Male and Female PCs: 11
          Unspecified or N/A: 22

          • Eddy9000 says:

            It’s fair enough to disagree of course, I’m glad you’ve found games and gaming culture more accessible to women then I have, although there are obvious problems with presenting your own games catalogue as evidence. There certainly are some games that portray women well, but I don’t think that’s an argument against taking the position that games should portray them well, or raising the issue when games represent women poorly (I.e. hitman’s nuns). And I certainly don’t think disagreement over how well women are represented in games as is accounts for the torrents of vitriol that get spouted out on comments threads when people support better representation for women in games.

          • NathanH says:

            You’re quite right, I don’t think my argument is one that many other people identify with and use as justification for their rants. It was just tangentially related to your post and I felt like writing it. Thanks for reading.

            There is also an interesting distinction that occurs to me between a game portraying women well and a game being appealing to women. I think many of the games I play do not portray women in a bad way but I suspect they are also not particularly appealing to many women. I don’t know many female gamers, though, so I might be well off the mark here. It’s hard to speak with much confidence when most of the people you know are male gamers or female non-gamers.

      • Xocrates says:

        Hmm… I’m not sure I agree with your analysis, particularly because I rarely see the “damsel in distress” being mentioned all that much in these discussions.

        Frankly, I think the biggest problem is people (from both sides to varying degrees) misunderstanding the issue.

        The issue isn’t female characters in games being “pathetic”, the issue is that female characters are not only uncommon, but frequently barely characters at all, often only being defined through their male counterparts or through their sexuality. And in the occasions where they do have a character it’s not uncommon for it to be undermined by ridiculous and often pointless “sexy” appearances.

        There are exceptions, certainly, and the number is thankfully growing by the day, but even then we don’t have to look far to find problems. Even the “good” examples often have them.

        • NathanH says:

          Again, although that may be an overall trend if you look at All Of Video Games or perhaps All Of AAA Games, I definitely don’t see those features in the games I play. There are lots of female characters in many RPGs. Most strategy games in which the the sex of a character matters have plenty of female characters. The depth of characters in these games tends to be reasonably similar between the sexes. As I show above, over half the games I currently have installed feature female protagonists or potential female protagonists.

          As an interesting aside, one surprising game you could make a case for being rather objectionable is my favourite ever game, Baldur’s Gate 2. I doubt people really think of it in these discussions, but it turns out that of all your female party members, only two are not met in some sort of captivity (Imoen and Nalia) and these two get kidnapped later!

          • Xocrates says:

            The problem with statistics is that you can tweak them to confirm pretty much anything you want.

            Don’t get me wrong, I get why you don’t see the problem, but I get the sense you weren’t looking for it. Otherwise it’s doubtful you would let pass the 14-1 on the games with mono-gendered PCs.

            Also, counting just the PCs is misleading, because it lets you artificially skew the maths. What the proportion of relevant male to female NPCs? How are they characterized?
            And for that matter, did the game behave as it expected you to be playing as a male avatar?

            You keep mentioning RTS, and quite frankly I’ve played quite a lot of those and most of them were Heavily skewed towards male, even in the ones with female characters. Starcraft has one relevant female character, by Dawn of War: Dark Crusade 1 race out of 9 had female soldiers, and I hope I don’t have to point out the issue of stuff like Red Alert 3?

          • Nick says:

            And you rescue a fair few of the male ones as well (oh and Jaheria is imprisioned in the same place as you, as is Minsc)… its to give them a reason to go with you I think, or to give them a reason to be where they are (ie, a hero out doing stuff, got in over their head or whatever).

            Also for Viconia its because of her race rather than sex.

          • NathanH says:

            Xocrates: I didn’t mention RTS, I don’t have many RTS games installed right now. I didn’t count the units you control as being protagonists either because frankly I think that would be a bad idea, nobody would expect a gender balance there.

            As I said above, I think that the proportion of male and female NPCs in most RPGs, and the depth of their characters, are reasonably similar. There will be some ambiguity here because most games I play are in fantasy settings so the male/female roles might be justifiably different in some games (for instance, Gothic and Risen games tend to prefer rather traditional gender roles in their societies). But I look at Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Skyrim, Morrowind, Oblivion, New Fallout, etc, and I see a pretty good situation.

            For the “did the game expect a male character” question, I play most games female where I can and generally things never feel wrong.

            It occurs to me that I might filter out a lot of more objectionable games without realizing it. I of course have no way of knowing whether this is true. It just occurred to me because you mention Red Alert 3 and that is a game I have never had any intention of playing.

            I also agree that the ratio of games with no-choice male leads to games with no-choice female leads is not good and it disappoints me, but I can understand why it happens.

            Nick: Although you do rescue a few male characters, the balance is really noticeably different. I think that’s worth being concerned about. I’m prepared to concede Jaheira though, she and Minsc are only prisoners because of you, and if that was sufficient to count as kidnapped then anyone with your party at Spellhold counts too, so fair play.

          • Xocrates says:

            Oops, I believe I concatenated you mentioning you play Strategy games with all the times you said RPG to come away with RTS, my bad.

            But tellingly, all the RPG’s you mentioned were published/developed by two companies (Bioware and Bethesda) which admittedly are amongst the better ones regarding inclusiveness, but even then there is noticeable (though ignorable) male skew regarding NPCs.

            Also, why is it that “nobody would expect a gender balance” in RTS? Barring the ones based on real conflicts there really is no reason why they can’t. I understand that people wouldn’t expect most of them to, but none?

          • NathanH says:

            I think I concentrated on those companies because most of the other RPGs on my machine are pretty old and don’t really have characters with any depth at all, whether male or female—they just exist to dole out quests and so on. I overlooked things like Deus Ex and Witcher too I guess. Witcher is pretty controversial I suppose, but I’m not too worried about the occasional controversy.

            For gender balance in RTS units, I guess this is one of those strange things where you can’t just do something without looking like you’re making some sort of statement. An RTS with half the units female would be something Obviously Different, and being obviously different draws attention, and people probably don’t want that. It’s a bit like female-only protagonists. I want some major RPGs with female-only protagonists, but at the same time I understand that a game doing that would be a Thing, and maybe people don’t want to do a Thing.

            Interesting one: Elemental: Fallen Enchantress allows you to make units male or female. Also, the AI uses unit designs you’ve made, so if you make lots of unit designs and enforce a gender balance then the AI will follow suit!

            Anyway, time for bed. Another good Sunday conversations, cheers! Goodnight everyone!

          • Xocrates says:

            “I understand that a game doing that would be a Thing, and maybe people don’t want to do a Thing.”

            Which I believe is a perfect encapsulation of the problem.

            And yeah, cheers!

    • distrocto says:

      By your powers combined, I am link to .

  19. Radiant says:

    Please stop talking about Patrick Moore.
    Or Immigration.
    Or Grandparents.

  20. I Got Pineapples says:

    On re-reading this comments section, I have noticed I have been more than a bit of a dick. For this I apologise to all I have been a dick to and who have been offended by my being a dick and the terrible, dickish opinions I have seemingly developed over the past few hours, which I partially blame on sleep deprivation.

    So, again, I apologise.

    The sole exception to this are those relating to the Cara Ellison piece, which was in all honesty not very good in a way that has nothing to do with the topic and everything to do with it being genuinely and hideously trite.

  21. TheXand says:

    That poem by Cara Ellison was incredibly pretentious.

  22. Angel Dust says:

    The silly think about the whole Bioshock: Infintie cover art furor is that, judging form all the footage released so far, it looks very much like a game where your only meaningful interaction with anything involves shooting it in the face. So man with gun, with bright colours and burning flag(POLITICS!) in the background, is probably quite an accurate representation of the game.

    • Prime says:

      You may have a point there. For all of Bioshock’s sophistication and elegant design the essence of the game did boil down to ‘attractive shooter’. That could explain why I’ve only ever played it the one time, and why I have so little interest for Infinite. We erudite gamers do get carried away by a bit of elegance, probably because it’s so very rare, but that shouldn’t stop us from being honest with ourselves about what we’re playing.

      The cover image IS boring as all hell, though. And Ken’s opinion does rather assume that people aren’t ever attracted to anything they can’t instantly identify at first glance, which is complete nonsense. Never under-estimate an artful, intriguing cover image and the power of simple curiosity, Ken. With that cover as it stands it comes off as sheer bloody laziness backed up by two-bit marketing ‘acumen’.

      • c-Row says:

        From dialogues overheard every now and then at my local electronics market customers couldn’t care less about artsy cover art. Those educated on the subject – like you and me – already know what to expect from a certain game, but a well designed but non-descriptive artwork rarely convinces casual after work shoppers.

  23. Keroton says:

    I knew that rock paper shotgun is a site originating from UK, but what i didn’t understand that RPS is actually British site as in (pretending not to be) .UK

    You do realize that people outside of UK read this site, and that 85%+ people have never heard of Patrick Moore.

    Why would someone even suggest on a gaming site in a column called Sunday Papers that “also in other news Patrick Moore died”. I understand you are from UK and these things have impact on your life, but why can’t you take all that somewhere where it belongs not here.
    To make things even less interesting the topic is exclusively UK bound, because no one outside of that sphere hasn’t got a bloody clue who Patrick Moore is.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      I live in the Midwest US, and I know who Patrick Moore is. Just fyi.

    • Vinraith says:

      I may have no idea who Patrick Moore was, but I can’t fathom demanding that others cater to my ignorance.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Are you being serious? There are so many things wrong about what you just said I’m not sure where to start, but I’m going to go with a) people who own a website can write whatever they like on it, and who the hell are you to say what they should and shouldn’t write; I would follow it up with b) it is ridiculous to expect the British writers of a British website not to make references to British culture; and c) please tell me where you got the statistics that 85%of readers aren’t British.
      FYI Patrick Moores death is relevant to gaming because he appeared on a popular video games related TV show in the UK, I do apologise for the writers not talking more about TV shows in other countries that they have no knowledge about and instead reporting on things they do know about.
      This has to be one of the strangest posts I’ve ever seen here!

    • Zakski says:

      I love it when Americans expect everyone to cater to them, its kinda sad; the internet is for everyone and if things on the web don’t appeal to you, you are not forced to read them.

      Even more sad though, as Eddy points out, is making up statistics

    • Low Life says:

      It’s been a hell reading gaming news sites for the past few weeks. I have no idea what people are talking about – they don’t even sell Doritos in Finland!

  24. Shadram says:

    Cardboard Children? :(

  25. yesterdayisawadeer says:

    That music was bad. And the video was bad.