RE: That Heroes Of The Storm Interview

Well, my Heroes of the Storm interview ended on a strange note, didn’t it? You don’t know the half of it, either. You weren’t actually there. As I attempted to explain why designing female characters that look as empowered as their male counterparts is absolutely not about political correctness for political correctness’ sake, the room’s atmosphere seemed to me to become extremely curt. Browder seemed highly resistant to engaging on the topic, and sounded particularly severe when saying “We’re not running for President.” Because clearly, that’s the only scenario in which this sort of thing really matters. When you’re trying to make kissy faces at the camera and win hearts by pretending to care about The Real Issues.

Now, I don’t know if Browder meant for it to come across that way, and he could well have misinterpreted the bottom line of my questioning. If so, that’s fair and understandable, and I apologize for using him as an example. Also, I very much appreciate that he said he’d at least take the feedback to mind. But the attitude he seemed to express is an incredibly prevalent one both within the industry and among its closest followers, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss it in detail.

Actually, you know what? “Discuss” is too nice of a word. I want to tear this mentality limb-from-limb, leave it without even a single drop of blood to spill. I want to ruin it so thoroughly that its mere memory prompts bile to singe the back of people’s throats raw. Why? Because it’s a hurtful, sad, and above all else cynical way to view what is – more often than not – an effort to give more people a sense of belonging. Acceptance. Something everybody wants more than just about anything else.

It’s the dismissal du jour, the rhetorical backdoor exit that leads straight into a pit of spikes. “Ugh, stop being so political. It’s just a game, bruh.” But to write these issues off so flippantly causes tremendous damage on multiple levels. For one, it pre-supposes that the majority of people pleading for inclusiveness aren’t doing it for the benefit of other people or because they feel they’ve been unjustly left out, but simply because they want attention or power. Often both. They want a soapbox for their “message,” a mountain to stand on so those mean, doodie-faced boys will finally have no choice but to notice them – or those poor girls they stood up for will finally think, “TRANSACTION COMPLETED. NOW I WILL PRAISE MY WONDERFUL WHITE KNIGHT AND SLEEP WITH HIM BZZT BLEEP BLOOP.”

It’s a grossly simplified view that assumes people are nothing but screechy bundles of base desires. No nuances, no personal stories, no legitimacy. Just cold, mechanical “politics” – self-serving goals and a willingness to use other people as stepping stones to achieve them. And developers who support these “political” gamers? Cowards who are simply afraid to ruffle feathers with edgy content that reinforces antiquated beliefs and useless, boring stereotypes. It’s all so simple, isn’t it? So, so simple.

Newsflash: nothing is simple. Nothing is black and white. Especially not people. To assume otherwise is to live in a dome of willful ignorance, a pristine bubble of false safety that’s doomed to burst the second you stop reinforcing it with increasingly flimsy supporting evidence. Do people do things for the wrong reasons sometimes? Certainly. I have no doubt that some gamers do argue for better treatment of women in gaming because they want a tangible reward for their troubles. Or because they’re bitter, and they want to make life difficult for their supposed “enemies.” But to believe that’s where all – or even most – people fed up with gaming’s boy’s club mentality are coming from is to view large swathes of humanity in such a bitter, cynical light that it’s just… just…





Sad. Tears-welling-in-my-eyes-as-I-type-this sad. One of my greatest fears on this Earth is that I might someday sink to that level of cynical jadedness. I worry about it every day.

The second half of that original dismissal is equally damning. Countless others have cut down the “It’s just a game” argument (or variants like Browder’s “We’re not sending a message to anybody. We’re just making characters who look cool”), but – even as games become more and more culturally powerful – it keeps rearing its ugly tangle of hydra-like heads.

So, briefly, let’s break this down: most of us would say games are art, yes? Or, if not whatever your entirely arbitrary definition of art is, then important. Significant. Better in some ways than TV, film, or literature. Gaming has hit the big time. Gaming is legitimate. But it’s like the most quoted dead uncle in human history once said (shortly before dying, as he was wont to do): with great power comes great responsibility.

The act of creating something and propagating it among millions of people absolutely sends a message, whether you intend to or not. Maybe you weren’t trying to express any specific viewpoint or hurt anybody’s feelings, but implicit messages still peer up from just beneath the surface. Like it or not, if someone plays games as their main hobby and they constantly see women dressed in objectifying fashions or slotted into subservient roles, that’s going to infiltrate their norm. Male or female, bodied, gendered, or whatever else, being exposed to something constantly affects people. The effect is far less impactful for some than others, but it’s always there.

To claim otherwise is to essentially strip gaming of its supposed cultural legitimacy – to go from “We are important; treat us that way, damn it” to “Haha, nope, never mind. Just a game. No biggie. Can’t be influential or thought-provoking after all. Ebert was right, hurrah!”

You take the good and the bad. Despite what some games might be (rather worrisomely) trying to teach us, you can’t always get your way.

Oh, and here’s the real kicker: this stuff matters in MOBAs. Tangibly and overtly so, no less. MOBAs like LoL and DOTA are infamous for their often toxic communities, and women – unsurprisingly though very depressingly – get the special insults. “Jokes” about their inherent inability to play well, very specific swears, crude references to body parts, “humor” about weight, propositions – all of that good stuff. And again, while scantily clad, disempowered female character designs alone aren’t going to “turn” someone sexist, they do contribute to an environment in which it feels more natural to disregard or otherwise demean women.

Some might cry afoul of “censorship,” but come on, really? A) These character designs are not at all crucial to these games’ plots or playability and B) if anything, they serve to pull people out of the moment by being so preposterous. In fairness, the biggest offender, LoL, is taking slow baby steps toward improving, and DOTA, I guess, isn’t nearly as bad as it could be. Blizzard, meanwhile, has so far offended far more in word than in deed, but even then its track record kinda speaks for itself – and not really in a good way.

So no, this stuff isn’t purely “political” – nor in many cases is it political at all, in the literal or derogatory sense of the word. To insist otherwise is to vastly undermine both gaming as a medium and, you know, your own species. This should probably go without saying, but stop that. Stop that right now. You’re not helping anyone, least of all yourself.


  1. yusefsmith says:

    For all of you who will post saying “No big deal, this is nothing to get offended over!”

    Please post your Official List of Offensive Things, so that we don’t get offended at something you enjoy / don’t care about.

    After all, it’s up to you to decide what offends everyone else.

    • Deathmaster says:

      Here’s my list of things that may offend me:

      Hence why I think everyone else should suck it up.

      • John Funk says:

        Aren’t you a big strong manly (probably straight, white) man.

        • hennedo says:

          The idea here was that since there is nothing that offends, the person must be on top of the “doesn’t have to deal with other people’s shit” heap. That position is filled, in the European/US context but it translates globally, by white, well-off, men. So, yeah, sexism is an issue in many cultures/ethnicities, but it is most pertinent to point out in response to OP that not being offended by anything is usually the privilege of a select few (those white men).

        • TAW07 says:

          Yep, mirin?

        • bobccock says:

          If you’re white, male and straight you can’t be part of the pity party.

        • Danorz says:

          the problem comes when people get individual discrimination confused with institutional discrimination

        • Geebs says:

          That’s not affirmative action, that’s just stupid trolling.

        • Tssha says:

          If you are white and male you don’t have anyone shitting on you with impunity. You are, let’s face it, the majority. So you won’t see the soul-crushing condescending attitudes of your bosses at work, as you try valiantly to prove yourself when none of your colleagues have to do squat other than their assigned work and show up every day and not fail a drug test. Believe it or not, white people don’t have this problem.

          They also don’t have the problem of never having anyone in popular media to identify with, they automatically get acceptance if they’re reasonably well-dressed and mannered, and don’t have assumptions leveled at them like “they must be bad at this, they’re white and male”, or “it’s not their fault, they’re white and male, they don’t know any better”, or “I wish white male people would stop trying”, or “stop complaining, so many other people have it worse than you”. All disempowering stuff, that no one says to white males EVER.

          That’s why you’re privileged. Because you never have to deal with this, that’s why you don’t get it. And you know what, I don’t have to put up with this shit either, because I’m just as privileged. But at least I have empathy with the people who do have to put up with this shit.

        • Jimbo says:

          White males are the majority?

        • xao says:

          “All disempowering stuff, that no one says to white males EVER.”

          Unless of course you’re a white male nurse. Or a white male living in China. Or a gay white male. Or a white male anywhere that white males aren’t the dominant cultural norm. I’m sure you’ve done your due diligence to ensure that other posters have never been culturally disempowered, right?

        • John Funk says:

          Actually, I was a white male living in China for a while, and they LOVE you there. That’s not to say that there aren’t societies in which foreigners aren’t looked down upon (Japan is very xenophobic if you try and live there in many ways) but that’s… well, again more xenophobia than racism.

          And a white gay man being looked down upon is homophobia, yes.

          Basically, this isn’t saying that white men are never allowed to have personal problems. Of course they are, life sucks for everyone. But whatever your situation, it’s actually probably a safe bet that you would be worse off being a black man or a gay woman or whatever have you.

        • Fenix says:

          Thank you Tssha.

        • mtomto says:

          I read a lot about RPS whining about female game characters… it bores me honestly. There are bigger problems in gaming.

          This *IS* a poor attempt of being political correct, and killing creative freedom in the process. Some game characters are exaggerated in proportions and look for a reason – it’s fun, appeasing and just nice looking. It’s not rocketscience and stop trying to make it rocketscience.

          If we turn it around to the male characters, I should be questioning my own body? It’s not a problem for me with big muscled manly game characters – so female proportions aren’t a problem either.

          I’m thinking this is just RPS trying to stand out from the crowd with an agenda. Seems a bit too personal and destructive to the actual website…

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          “flang says:

          So if I were a short, fat, poor Jewish guy who was constantly shit on at work by my boss and constantly mocked and ridiculed by others in society, you wouldn’t empathize with me because I’m still a privileged white male?”

          Here’s a crazy idea: rather than probing someone’s thoughts for the tiniest weakness and then attacking that weakness with mean-spirited abstractions just to score points in a rhetorical game where no one’s keeping score (because it doesn’t exist and wouldn’t fucking matter if it did), try reading it as if it comes from some actual valid experience. Then try accepting the challenge of trying to approach the world with a bit more empathy, curiousity, and patience. Would that really be so awful?

          The counterexample you offered (in total bad faith) actually happens to be a pretty good example of intersectionality, a key concept in discussing oppression and privilege.

          If we all stop going at this like it’s a war, we might actually learn a few things.

        • fraek says:

          Let me get this straight. The writer and all his supporters in this thread are saying the male characters aren’t sexualized just as much as women in Blizzard games?

          Sex sells, but I don’t see the school marms in this thread talking about sex in games generally being bad. Only: ‘Male sexual drive is Bad. Female sexual drive is Good.’ See the difference? Me neither…. It’s just sexism in reverse, but, hilariously, they think everyone else is the sexist.

          The statue outside of Blizzard offices:
          link to

        • Zyrusticae says:

          My goodness, fraek. It’s impressive how you could get things so very wrong.

          For your edification, let us consider that the grand majority of games do NOT, in fact, sexualize their males, but instead empower them. Yes, the ridiculous hulking musculature of male protagonists in games is quite terrible, but it’s not nearly as terrible as the casual sexualization of every female in every single game ever (with very scant few exceptions). It’s not just off-putting to anyone with any sense, it’s also horrifically creatively bankrupt. It’s cheap. It’s lazy. It’s lowest-common-denominator design. And that should never, ever be encouraged, ever.

          If you want to know what “sexualized males” look like, consider this example. How many video games do you see with characters like that, males specifically designed to exploit female desires? Strangely enough, I can’t think of any that haven’t come from Japan! And that’s part of the problem – in the West, games are marketed almost exclusively to straight males (and maybe homosexual females). The only games in the West that could be said to be targeted at everyone, rather than males exclusively, are largely MMORPGs. And that’s just poor. We can do better. And oddly enough, games in general just seem to do better when they aren’t going for such bottom-of-the-barrel appeal.

          Consider the case of Dark Souls, for example. The game has no errant ridiculous sexualized armor or clothing whatsoever. And it hasn’t detracted from its appeal in any way. It’s a brilliant game throughout, not just because of its finely tuned gameplay, but because it maintains a stringent atmosphere throughout, with zero compromises. And better yet, the armors actually look aesthetically superior, despite not showing any skin! MIND-BLOWING!

          So, please. Let’s DO encourage developers to work harder and not stoop to such base, thoughtless “design”. We can only benefit from their efforts.

        • harbinger says:

          “My goodness, fraek. It’s impressive how you could get things so very wrong.
          For your edification, let us consider that the grand majority of games do NOT, in fact, sexualize their males, but instead empower them.”

          “Sexualization” and “empowerment” are interchangeable depending on your viewpoint: link to
          Just ask FEMEN or the “SlutWalk” people.

          ”the casual sexualization of every female in every single game ever (with very scant few exceptions)”
          That’s blatantly untrue; nowadays they are rather the exception and at most 3-5% of all games that get released. Go to Steam or Desura and tell me to how many titles from the last 100 releases or so that applies.

          It’s almost like a ritual that RPS gets all outraged and indignant about every single title that this applies to, like they’re being paid by Christian conservatives to dam the amount of sexualization in todays culture.

          ”It’s not just off-putting to anyone with any sense, it’s also horrifically creatively bankrupt. It’s cheap. It’s lazy. It’s lowest-common-denominator design. And that should never, ever be encouraged, ever.”
          That’s like your opinion, there are games that I would buy specifically because their design is like that. I also watch some movies and TV series because they have attractive actresses in them. It’s not really a main criterium, but it plays into it.

          Furthermore you aren’t talking about real people, but fictional characters. If a certain work doesn’t appeal to any particular person, then it might just not be for them.

          ”None of the girls or women I’ve ever met in my life have been bothered by these types of fantasy depictions in games.”
          In fact they are even railing against some of them. The main artist for Skullgirls for instance is called Mariel Cartwright and likes to draw these: link to

        • Jexiah8bit says:

          As a white, straight, man who is also far under the poverty level and struggling to get thru community college with my wife, I can tell you that we get shit on just as hard as everyone else these days. Racial discrimination, gender discrimination, no longer exist down at this level. We are all screwed by the man now. So don’t single us out, unless you are specifically talking about the rare few RICH white men who care about profit over everything else. Guess what? Their position as dominant is shrinking too. And nothing has changed.

          • jalf says:

            Sorry, but that’s a fallacy. “We have it hard, and therefore no one else has it harder”.

            Unless you’re on the receiving end, you’re not really in a position to say whether things like racial discrimination is a problem. No one is saying that you have it easy, but you could have it worse. In most of the world, being poor and white is tough, but not as much as being poor and black is.

          • jrodman says:

            The money you inherit from birth is a big component of privilege. You might have relatively little of that.

            But that doesn’t mean that gender and race and orientation and so on are NOT big components of privilege. You can’t deny that, and if you think people are denying that your financial background doesn’t matter it’s fair game to challenge them.

          • harbinger says:

            Here, this will explain the concept of male privilege to you, don’t worry you’ll understand quickly: link to

          • The Random One says:

            So male priviledge is how, even though men are twice as likely to be homeless, ten times as likely to be arrested, and everyone thinks they’re pedophiles, they still somehow manage to be paid about a third more than women on average and are portrayed as the leads of a majority of modern media? Thanks for the explanation, harbringer.

          • tetracycloide says:

            No, you absolutely cannot tell us that because you have no experience with it. In fact telling us you ‘get it’ because of your personal situation is another excellent example of how you completely and totally don’t fucking get it

          • Kropotki says:

            “Sorry, but that’s a fallacy. “We have it hard, and therefore no one else has it harder”.”

            “Proletarian women have a different attitude. They do not see men as the enemy and the oppressor; on the contrary, they think of men as their comrades, who share with them the drudgery of the daily round and fight with them for a better future. The woman and her male comrade are enslaved by the same social conditions; the same hated chains of capitalism oppress their will and deprive them of the joys and charms of life. It is true that several specific aspects of the contemporary system lie with double weight upon women, as it is also true that the conditions of hired labour sometimes turn working women into competitors and rivals to men. But in these unfavourable situations, the working class knows who is guilty. …

            The woman worker, no less than her brother in misfortune, hates that insatiable monster with its gilded maw which, concerned only to drain all the sap from its victims and to grow at the expense of millions of human lives, throws itself with equal greed at man, woman and child. Thousands of threads bring the working man close. The aspirations of the bourgeois woman, on the other hand, seem strange and incomprehensible. They are not warming to the proletarian heart; they do not promise the proletarian woman that bright future towards which the eyes of all exploited humanity are turned. …”
            – The Social Basis of the Woman Question, Kollontai (1909)

        • Wulf says:

          Logged in purely to thank Tssha.

          As a disabled, gay male, I’ve been putting up with this crap all my life. Being fat? Well, you get some shit for that, too, since I’m also that (depression has that effect). How about being short? Not really! I’m short due to my body not producing hormones as it should, so I’m very short and it’s never been brought up.

          But how about having to convince people on the phone that you’re actually a guy? You don’t sound like one because of a hormonal issue which can’t easily be fixed without making you sick (too late for proper repair), so you have to spend an hour on the phone trying to convince a bank manager that you are who you say you are. Which often leads to incredulous laughter and people passing the phone back and forth.

          When was the last time you had to deal with that?

          If I could JUST be a short, fat white male, then I could deal with the rest of it. Though being gay, being disabled, having hormonal imbalances, poor health (which makes me look like a target because I’m likely not able to put up much of a fight), and the rest of it? Look, how about we trade bodies for a bit, yeah? Walk a mile in my shoes, live a year of my life.

          Now toss in how I can have nasty panic attacks due to septo-hippocampal damage, so people laughing at me can make me freak out badly and have nasty panic attacks. How about that? When was the last time you had to deal with that?

          When was the last time you had to struggle to look normal just so people wouldn’t give you shit?


          So yeah, I’m bitter. It’s stuff most people don’t have to deal with and thus have no empathy for. I have to pretend to look less sick, I have to hold back my anxieties and eccentricities caused by brain damage, I have to remember to not mention that I’m gay in certain company, I have to try to keep up with people who have no disabilities lest I’m given shit for things completely beyond my control. And it’s exhausting. It’s completely exhausting, just trying to pretend to be as normal and everyday as those who aren’t given shit, just trying to fit in with the mainline enough so that I don’t have the hive turn on me and give me anxieties.

          I’m bitter, and it’s made me hate people in general. I’ve even learned to hate straight, white video game protagonists, because I don’t want to play the kind of hive minded creature that would turn on and hassle a person to death just for being different.

          So I feel more comfortable playing as women (Remember Me), as a black guy (The Walking Dead), or as random animals or aliens.

          I’m absolutely neurotic because of how the straight, white metric treats people like me.

          Yeah, you have nothing to be offended by because you’re too busy giving other people shit.

        • Wulf says:

          Also, I’ll say this again…

          Anyone who thinks that most women are okay with this doesn’t talk to women as if they were real people. I actually do, imagine that. I talk to them on tumblr, I have interesting discussions with them about this. And from what I’ve seen, the majority feel physically ill when they see their only choices of characters to play in games. They think on how the average straight, white male perceives them — the perfect example being in the post above my posts.

          They imagine this sicko, this creeper just drooling over them, having sexual fantasies about them, and just fapping off to them. Many of them will play unattractive male characters just to get away from that, though they’d prefer to play as women. They also ask questions like where the non-hourglass women are — body-builders don’t have an hourglass figure, in fact, most women don’t. In fact, most women in video games look like their sternum is about to snap. Unlike the average straight, white male gamer, women are actually familiar with their own anatomy.

          So, yeah. There might be a randy, horny minority that wants you to fantasise over them, but most women would prefer you NOT do that. Can you even begin to empathise with that? Of course not! You want women to be horndogs who obsess over the idea of men fantasising over them. That makes reality easy for you, right?

          And let me add onto that: Rape victims.

          They were asking for it because they were dressed that way.

          I know that seems like a weird tangent, but the person above my posts is like a crime waiting to happen. They see women as sexual objects, they see women as wanting men to fantasise over them, they likely see women as being things that want big, strong men to claim them. That’s the mentality of a rapist, right there. And way, way too many straight, white men have that mentality. There are just too many damn rapists waiting to happen.

          Offended? Tough. I deal with worse most of my life, as I’ve pointed out. As do the women who even have to think about men like you.

          So, yeah. Whilst a minority might be horndogs, the majority have clearly expressed on numerous social media networks that they’d rather not have this happen. Try talking with a woman. Actually ask one how they feel about this. Ask a woman if she wants to be sexed up, to be an object for you to claim, for you to fantasise over, ask her if she wants to be sexualised for your amusement.

          Ask ANY woman this.

          See how that goes for you.

          Have fun.

        • tetracycloide says:

          It’s called privilege. The more of them you have the less you can relate when someone else doesn’t.

        • Nick says:

          “And way, way too many straight, white men have that mentality.”

          Yeah, there’s certainly no rape in, say Africa or Asia, its just the straight white guys, all of them, damned rapists waiting to happen.

        • Zyrusticae says:

          ““Sexualization” and “empowerment” are interchangeable depending on your viewpoint: link to
          Just ask FEMEN or the “SlutWalk” people.”

          Except for the part where, for the most part, the choice is made FOR you. It’s really quite the stretch to say that sexualizing the female body in almost every instance you can could actually be empowering on any level. For that matter, there’s the issue of all these heavily sexualized female characters having THE EXACT SAME BODY TYPE, which is really the worst part about this. At least the male bodies in those pictures are achievable (through constant and vigilant exercise and a particular diet). The female bodies, on the other hand, are more often than not anatomically impossible without extensive surgery. This is what happens when you exercise heavily as a woman. Ever see THOSE in video games?

          Also, that picture helpfully proves my point about the fact that most male characters in video games are NOT sexualized on any level.

          “That’s blatantly untrue; nowadays they are rather the exception and at most 3-5% of all games that get released. Go to Steam or Desura and tell me to how many titles from the last 100 releases or so that applies.

          It’s almost like a ritual that RPS gets all outraged and indignant about every single title that this applies to, like they’re being paid by Christian conservatives to dam the amount of sexualization in todays culture.”

          You really seem to have misread my post, because my issue is not with the sexualization itself, but rather the casual sexualization used thoughtlessly even in games where it doesn’t make sense.

          I will admit a certain amount of confirmation bias in that I tend not to look too much towards games that aren’t big-budget or highly popular, so perhaps the industry is actually doing pretty well in this. Doesn’t mean that the ones really sucking at the whole deal shouldn’t be criticized for it. League of Legends in particular is REALLY bad about this. There are a whole bunch of characters in the game who would look much, much better if they weren’t so thoughtlessly executed. It wouldn’t be as much of an issue if that were actually a part of the game, but it isn’t. These are supposed to be combat-capable women, and only a scant handful of them actually look the part. It’s just bad.

          “That’s like your opinion, there are games that I would buy specifically because their design is like that. I also watch some movies and TV series because they have attractive actresses in them. It’s not really a main criterium, but it plays into it.

          Furthermore you aren’t talking about real people, but fictional characters. If a certain work doesn’t appeal to any particular person, then it might just not be for them.”

          Wow, you DEFINITELY misread my post. I don’t care about them being attractive or not, I care about them being designed in a way that is obviously built towards the male gaze AND NOTHING ELSE. It’s perfectly fine for characters to be attractive, everyone wants to be attractive on some level. The problem is when you have boob windows and skin-tight pants in otherwise serious games, or when big T&A is the only option for female characters (this is a particularly big sticking point for me – I WANT to be able to play female characters with subdued assets, but very few games actually allow this). All I’m asking for is for some thought to be put into the designs instead of always defaulting to the same cheap getups time and time again.

          I mean it’s not like you can actually fault games like Dark Souls for having good-looking, fully-covering, combat-practical armor, can you? Yet so few games actually pursue that. It’s just weak. We can do better.

        • Kropotki says:

          “If you are white and male you don’t have anyone shitting on you with impunity. ”

          As a actual Socialist who has actually read and studied leftist literature, this is where modern Social justice really, really starts to piss me off.

          Really? Identity politics is all there is now? Class issues don’t exist anymore? White men can’t be shit on for not conforming to the “idealized” version of a white male? I work as a skinny, white, nerdy male in the goddamn Construction industry and I get bullied and shit on all the goddamn time. Guess what the girls get, baked goods cooked for them and presents daily as every guy tries to suck up to them due to not many women being in the construction industry.

          I love how you third wave feminists completley discard the lessons of the famous first wave feminists you all like to circlejerk over like Kollontai, Zetkin, Goldman. You all constantly use quotes from them, but none of you actually bother to read anything they wrote.
          Here is a quote that actually sums of the beliefs of many of the radical first wave feminists that maybe you should read:

          “Class instinct – whatever the feminists say – always shows itself to be more powerful than the noble enthusiasms of “above-class” politics. So long as the bourgeois women and their “younger sisters” are equal in their inequality, the former can, with complete sincerity, make great efforts to defend the general interests of women. But once the barrier is down and the bourgeois women have received access to political activity, the recent defenders of the “rights of all women” become enthusiastic defenders of the privileges of their class, content to leave the younger sisters with no rights at all. Thus, when the feminists talk to working women about the need for a common struggle to realise some “general women’s” principle, women of the working class are naturally distrustful.”

          I love how some of you actually berate someone in the working class, struggling, for being a “white male”. What do first wave feminists say about this?

          “Proletarian women have a different attitude. They do not see men as the enemy and the oppressor; on the contrary, they think of men as their comrades, who share with them the drudgery of the daily round and fight with them for a better future. The woman and her male comrade are enslaved by the same social conditions; the same hated chains of capitalism oppress their will and deprive them of the joys and charms of life. It is true that several specific aspects of the contemporary system lie with double weight upon women, as it is also true that the conditions of hired labour sometimes turn working women into competitors and rivals to men. But in these unfavourable situations, the working class knows who is guilty. …

          The woman worker, no less than her brother in misfortune, hates that insatiable monster with its gilded maw which, concerned only to drain all the sap from its victims and to grow at the expense of millions of human lives, throws itself with equal greed at man, woman and child. Thousands of threads bring the working man close. The aspirations of the bourgeois woman, on the other hand, seem strange and incomprehensible. They are not warming to the proletarian heart; they do not promise the proletarian woman that bright future towards which the eyes of all exploited humanity are turned. …”

          I’m saying it again and again. Modern identity politics is the cancer that has killed the left.

          Great job guys, lets spend all our political capital crying about why there aren’t as many women f**king every one the ar*e as there are men, while the TPP is about to come into existence. I’m already starting the slow clap.


          The sheer hypocrisy of you bourgeois feminists is astounding.

        • Ich Will says:

          @Kropotki – so, you’re OK with terrible women characters in games because some women at your work get given cakes by creepy guys trying to fuck them. Gotcha.

        • Bootstraps says:

          Kropotkin was completely irrelevant to socialism even in the 1880s. You can be certain that anyone who adopts his name as an alias in 2013 is pseudo intellectual internet anarchist, whose reading begins with Wikipedia and ends with Tumblr. 90% sure this poster is a frustrated ex-public school boy, who after treating us to his vacuous second-hand opinions about women in media, will spend several hours beating off to the most horrendous pornography the internet has to offer without feeling even a flicker of irony. In other words, nothing to see here. Move along!

        • WrenBoy says:

          Youre revealing significant ignorance regarding Kropotkin there. What on earth makes you think he was ever irrelevent? The man was a giant.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          @ Flang
          Poor Jewish guy? Now your just being ridiculous.

      • Yglorba says:

        Telling everyone else to suck it up indicates that you have been offended by this discussion, you know. Pretending you’re not offended by getting snide about it and claiming you’re an invulnerable tower of emotionless void doesn’t fool anyone.

        It’s fine to be bothered by things; it’s fine to say “hey, I want a game to look and feel like this, and not like that.” That’s natural! It’s part of what reviewing and discussing games is all about. But when you get all “nah brah shut up and suck it up, be like me, NOTHING offends me!” what you’re saying is that you like things how they are and are offended by people who are requesting that they change.

        That’s all right, but you should say that honestly and not couch it in this ridiculous prancing “WHY ARE YOU SO OFFENDED, HOW DARE YOU BE OFFENDED” spiel.

        • Machocruz says:

          Maybe it just annoys him. Irritation, annoyance is not offense.

      • The Random One says:


        Ah, now I can read its three items

        – Good stuff happening to people I don’t care about

        – Things being changed in a way that doesn’t benefit me personally

        – Being forced to think about things I don’t care about but would make me look bad to admit

        So now we have our list. Please adjust your blogs accordingly.

      • GROM says:

        Seeing I’m not native english I’ll have some ausie explain my feelings about being offended for me

        skip to 3:20 and enjoy some brilliant logic.

        EDIT : aaaaaand replied to the wrong person :/

      • alphyna says:

        Have you maybe ever heard about this little thingie called “compassion”?

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Ha, go con his grandma out of all her savings, wave the cash in front of his face while dancing the macarana and see if he “sucks it up”.

        Anyone who claims that nothing offends them is lying or giving away that they have literally no imagination.

    • Danorz says:

      here’s my list:
      1. strawman logical fallacies

      • yusefsmith says:

        And what strawman would that be? Half the comments on the last article started with something like:

        “You shouldn’t be offended by this because….”

        Some of the reasons were:

        “… there is more offensive stuff out there.”

        “… I know a girl who likes this sort of thing.”

        “… there’s more important issues in the world.”

        • Danorz says:

          yeah, i was actually talking about them, sorry

          e: trying to pre-empt some of the responses you were going to get but it totally didn’t work

      • hennedo says:

        You’ll need to be more forthcoming. I would assign the quality of “straw-man arguments” to the comments arguing that sexual objectification should be talked about less/isn’t that big of a deal/doesn’t bother this girl I know. If that’s your flavor then I’m with ya.

        Edit: Okay, looking down, I like your flavor. :)

    • bobccock says:

      Things that offend me:
      -People that get offended in someone else’s stead
      -Things that have nothing to do with video games in the context of video games

      A wise man once said; people who get offended deserve to be offended.

      • tormos says:

        Because obviously when I’m a dick to you and you get mad about you’re the bad person, right? Like how people who get mad when they get cut off in traffic are considered evil. Truly, that guy who was angry after I ran up to him in Safeway, kicked him in the nuts and flipped him off was history’s greatest monster.

        • bobccock says:

          There’s a difference between being insulted and being offended.

          Drawing bigger tits than you think is politically correct in a game where most men are 7 feet tall brick shithouses is not an insult.

          “Fuck you, you bleeding heart white knight” is an insult.

          Edit: And I find it particularly baffling that you’d put physical harm on the same ground as well.

          • jrodman says:

            You know what’s offensive? Insisting that anyone who is offended by sexism isn’t speaking for his or her own person. That’s fucking offensive.

          • WootMcGyver says:

            As a man who isn’t 7ft tall and built like a brick shitter, I don’t find large, muscular and ruggedly handsome characters offensive. At the same time though, I enjoy ridiculously large tits on my female toons. It’s not because I’m sexist, it’s not because I enjoy the objectifying of women, it’s because boobs are awesome. Lets face it: video games are full of fallacies because reality sucks. I have never been, nor will I ever be as cool as Jim Raynor. The character is distilled awesome, larger than life, etc. etc, because an average man doing average things isn’t interesting.

            Side note: The entire reason why I signed up for this site is because of the comment above. It was well thought out and masterfully written – well done sir.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            The difference being, the bigger your muscles, the more respect people tend to give you, whereas if you are a woman with breasts that are either “too big” or “too small”, you get less respect from a significant proportion of the population. Add that over a lifetime, remembering that it gets kickstarted in highschool, well known for being a cruel environment and maybe you can understand that your analogy does not work.

      • The Random One says:

        So since Nathan himself was offended by the character designs and this is something that has to do with videogames because it’s a medium that does it all the time, you’re not at all offended by this, right?

      • Ada says:

        So you… hate it when people understand and empathise with other groups of people…..?

    • OfGloriousLife says:

      Why are people honestly still trying to make the offense argument?

      Reality check: EVERYTHING OFFENDS SOMEBODY. You have it completely wrong when you think that people are telling you that you shouldn’t be offended. The perpetuation of that thought only hints at some form of self-centered ignorance and a HUGE inferiority complex. And if people ARE telling you not to be offended, they’re quite wrong, too.

      You have every right in the world to be offended. But, ultimately, if you desire that said offensive things must be stricken from the process of creative expression, no matter their context, based SOLELY on the criteria that they offend some people, then stop creating.

      No, really. Stop making anything expressive. Because if you argue that this one thing should go, then everything should go, because, literally, EVERYTHING IS OFFENSIVE TO SOME PEOPLE. Hell, we have more violence in games than anything mildly offensive to women, guess how many people are potentially offended by that? Where’s your banner against…well, the majority of AAA franchises and THEIR material? Think about it.

      This is simple logic, and it’s puzzling how so many people still refuse to get it. And it’s even equally puzzling how these unethical journalists still push this bastardized dialogue. This is nuts.

      “Sad. Tears-welling-in-my-eyes-as-I-type-this sad. One of my greatest fears on this Earth is that I might someday sink to that level of cynical jadedness. I worry about it every day.”

      YOU WRITE ABOUT VIDEO GAMES. If you really care about the state of world affairs, pick up a camera and document a warzone. Fantasy worlds are not indicative of your concerns for humanity, and to say otherwise is, in itself, a fantasy.

      • Lowbrow says:

        Usually, and this may just be me, when I’m not emotionally engaged in an argument I don’t CAPITALIZE MANY WORDS. Why won’t people realize that the ones being butthurt are the people who always arrive in droves whenever someone mentions female character designs to scream about how everyone shouldn’t be offended? Politely asking a question about a topic is “angrily demanding an option for people who don’t like boobs.”

        Is there a space for those of us who don’t like characters, male or female, to look stupid/impractical? I don’t like the 90’s comic unnecessary pouches thing, would I be allowed to bring that up in an interview? Or would that be pushing too much on my anti-pouch agenda.

        It’s amazing how much people claiming to push for free expression jump down the throats of anyone expressing criticism or asking for an explanation of the artistic choices. It’s part of of free expression, and if you can’t defend your position when questioned in a polite open environment you might have a shitty position.

        • OfGloriousLife says:

          So, you started off your counterargument with a blatant strawman which makes the unfounded statement that I’m “butthurt.” Nice academic lingo there, by the way. I had to look that one up.

          Then you perpetuate this weak argument with the tired idea that art is about representation or “safe spaces.” (Dude, a lot of men in games get their nuts blown off. Who the hell is safe?) This is entertainment, not politics. Representation doesn’t mean the right to vote or own property.

          And it’s not “free expression” we’re defending, it’s reasonable arguments. You don’t have one. And you have to see how ironic it is that you’re bickering about how others are bickering about your bickering. Again, weak arguments with no weight that lead nowhere.

          Again, you can dislike this stuff. You can ABSOLUTELY be offended by it. Be offended until your bleeding heart is content — nobody can or will stop you. But that’s all that’s going to happen, and you’re not going to achieve anything from it. The world has every reason not to be physically moved by your offense because, get this, it’s NEVER WORKED.

          You’re making the same exact argument Christian’s made during the birth of rock & roll (they were ignored), you’re making the same arguments ignorant parents and conservatives made regarding violence in games (they were laughed at), and so that’s going to be your one and only reality. Minus the echo chamber of others who merely want a good coddle for their offended sensibilities.

          Perhaps this is the perfect inspiration (and I’m not kidding) to go out and make the kinds of games you’d like to see made? No, really, go out and do it! Fuck yes! I’ll play the shit!

          But expecting other creative individuals to care or change their work over something that has no inherent affect on anyone is…it’s just childish. And lazy.

          • alw says:

            So if you don’t think you can change someone’s point of view, you should just shut up? Did I get that about right?

          • Docslapper says:

            “But expecting other creative individuals to care or change their work over something that has no inherent affect on anyone is…it’s just childish. And lazy.”

            But it does have an effect.

            A good (female) friend of mine compares it to choice of music: if you fire up a game and hear some soothing classical music, that creates an impression on you about what sort of game this is and who it’s aimed at. If you’re a death metal fan, then your immediate first impression will be that the game is not aimed at you and you won’t enjoy it.

            Game art is the same, for the same reasons. Opening the game to find half-clad babes with improbably large boobs immediately sends a signal to female gamers that this game is not aimed at them.
            Which is fine if it was the odd game, but if 90% of the games do this, then we lose women as gamers. I like women, I really think I’d have a better experience gaming if there were more women playing. So this affects me personally and I think people who propagate this shitty attitude are morons.

          • OfGloriousLife says:

            “Which is fine if it was the odd game, but if 90% of the games do this, then we lose women as gamers.”

            I’m assuming you don’t have a source for those statistics.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            Lest anyone be without context, that demand comes from the Fine and Upstanding Gentleman that just produced this gem:
            “(Dude, most men in games get their nuts blown off. Who the hell is safe?)”

          • OfGloriousLife says:

            What are you talking about? It doesn’t say that.

          • Lowbrow says:

            I can’t tell if you have poor reading comprehension or are confusing my post with others you have read. For instance, no one spoke about “safe spaces” which is an entirely separate concept from simple “space.” I don’t know where the nuts being blown off argument comes from, which furthers my argument about your irrational posting.

            You talk of strawmen, but you clearly are responding to different arguments than the ones I made. For instance, I never said I was offended. I think that these depictions are simply in poor taste, and I don’t see why your ilk gets so butthurt when people point it out.

            Expecting other people to care how I feel about something is called “not being autistic.” It’s a natural part of the human condition to express your opinion and expect to be heard. What’s truly “illogical” is to expect people to censor themselves because you don’t feel like discussing the topic (everyone on the internet is convinced they’re the “logical” ones, I think the word you should be using is “right” as you are making an emotional appeal).

            It’s funny how you’ve managed to convince yourself that your knee-jerk “I like it so it’s OK” sentiment has managed to convince you that you’re somehow on the bleeding edge of civilization. You are the patron of a minstrel show, not a rock band. You are sadly mistaken if you think you are on the upswing of a trend and not the thinning of its battleship curve (you’ll probably need to look up battleship curves too, it’s good that you’re learning).

            Also, at the beginning of your post you confused a “strawman” with a personal attack, also know as an ad hominem. Your butthurt mentality comes across in your writing, but it doesn’t necessarily make your arguments on fact wrong. It just makes you a hypocrite when you talk about other people being offended. And we all know how hypocrites reason…

          • OfGloriousLife says:

            “I never said I was offended.” Holy crap, you’re the second person that hasn’t figured out that my point is a response to someone else who was speaking quite clearly about offense. Retorts are naturally a defense for the original point I was contradicting. That’s how it works when you enter the conversation.

            “Expecting other people to care how I feel about something is called “not being autistic.””

            Please, empathy has very little to do with whether or not one retains the capacity to care about a piece of fiction’s emotional effect on someone…nor doesn’t being “autistic” have anything to do with a lack of empathy. That’s…actually a hilariously ignorant generalization. You might want to learn the difference between autism and sociopathy (which I’m assuming is what you were aiming for.) Yikes, dude. You’re trying to come off as a kind-hearted progressive, yet you make a blatantly ablist comment without even knowing it. Pretty funny.

            “What’s truly “illogical” is to expect people to censor themselves because you don’t feel like discussing the topic”

            I’m here discussing it now, aren’t I? And it’s a bit ironic that you bring up censorship when the discussion actively revolves around people’s work and whether it should be a certain way (or not be at all).


            again, very ironic given the subject. People who don’t have knee-jerk reactions typically don’t have many gripes with offensive material, big tits, poor representations, or a lack thereof. They just play the game, whatever it is.

            “You are sadly mistaken if you think you are on the upswing of a trend and not the thinning of its battleship curve…”

            How arrogant. So, is that what this is about? You feel you’re on the front line of some cultural shift in the medium, when there is practically no evidence of any sort shift, at all (by the way, this change you allude to has literally nothing to do with game design, but rather narrative…so it’s even more far removed in that sense). I admire your tenacity to swallow whole the usual message from the press that you’re amidst the ranks of warriors, those fighting for the greater cause of a medium that we all love so dearly…blah blah blah.

            Nothing’s changing, dude. Devs don’t read this shit, because it’s often so malicious and libelous — Blizzard’s candid reaction is but a hint. This is all an echo chamber. Writers doing a fine job of convincing themselves that their tepid ramblings send a chill throughout the creative spines of those pulling the strings.

            All arrogance. We’re all a part of one big circle jerk. Game companies are on the other side of the wall ignoring it all and doing whatever the fuck they want. Truth.

            “it’s good that you’re learning”

            Nice attempt at condescension. I’ve seen better, unfortunately. Keep trying, though.

          • Lowbrow says:

            Your inability to differentiate arguments is somehow a lack on my part? I addressed specific comments you made and you responded with arguments that had nothing to do with my post. That is not a reflection of my writing, and if it’s happening a lot to you it seems like a sign of poor communication skills or sloppy writing.

            Understanding and responding to social cues is a classic problem for people of the autistic spectrum. I used the words I intended.

            Once again you display an inability to differentiate “your work would be a lot better if you didn’t dress your soldiers as strippers” from “this game should not be sold in stores.” Your ever-escalating hysteria (there’s a word with an interesting history for this conversation) in attacking anyone expressing a negative opinion of the stripper-clothes artistic movement does nothing to further your cause.

            “People who don’t have knee-jerk reactions typically don’t have many gripes with offensive material, big tits, poor representations, or a lack thereof. They just play the game, whatever it is.” This is a real gem. There are humans(androids?) who don’t have knee-jerk reactions to anything? And they all have the tastes of frat-boys, and/or have no opinions of the games they play? Is the idea here that no one should be expressing any opinion about the product they are consuming/considering consuming?

            ” You feel you’re on the front line of some cultural shift in the medium, when there is practically no evidence of any sort shift, at all (by the way, this change you allude to has literally nothing to do with game design, but rather narrative…so it’s even more far removed in that sense).” You didn’t look up battleship curves! =(
            The change has already started, and your argument that narrative has nothing to do with game design is quite a leap.

            Your misuse of literally proves that you are horrible person, and support everything that’s wrong with the world.

            If you honestly believe that this conversation will change nothing, why take part in it? Your motivations are a mystery to me. You seem like a kid who grew up on Heavy Metal cartoons and think it taught you how the world works.

          • OfGloriousLife says:

            ” You seem like a kid who grew up on Heavy Metal cartoons and think it taught you how the world works.”


            Christ, this is funny.

          • geerad says:

            “Devs don’t read this shit,”

            Hi, I’m a dev. I read this shit.

          • OfGloriousLife says:

            I should have clarified that I meant AAA games. I apologize. Obviously people aren’t really talking about indie games when it comes to these conversations, as indie devs don’t suffer from many of the same concerns and restrictions that large studios do.

            And they don’t retain the same degree of reach, so, when it comes to influence (negative or otherwise), we’re talking about popular, big-budget games.

            Usualy, devs don’t care to entertain these conversations because it’s become such an emotionally fused topic, and so much shameful vitriol has been flung in their direction that it’s smarter to avoid it.

            Also, marketing and PR tells them to shut up.

            You have these wonderful writers to thank for that. They dramatized the shit out of the conversation so much that they scared studio workers away from it — workers who worry MUCH more about job security than puffed-up journalists.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        “Why are people honestly still trying to make the offense argument?”

        I don’t know. Why are you? Why did you spend paragraphs on it immediately after telling others not to?

        This needs to be said again and again: this is not about people being offended, it is about people in power reinforcing cultural standards that treat certain other people like they aren’t full people.

        If you left flaming turd on my doorstep, that would be “offensive.” Defending misogynist culture is actively, literally making society more hostile than it needs to be for my niece, my girlfriend, women everywhere. It’s also making life harder for me, to a lesser degree, because it’s propping up bullshit standards of masculinity.

        So for the record, you are making me a weird combination of bored, angry, and ashamed, not offended.

        • OfGloriousLife says:

          I ask why people are using the “offense argument” as an engine for why something should/shouldn’t be or why it should merely be different. Again, offense is a thing that I acknowledge exists. I get offended…regularly. That’s it, though. It’s silly to expect it to get me anything.

          “this is not about people being offended”

          It’s not? Did you not bother to read what I was responding to? Freaking fail, dude.

          “Defending misogynist culture is actively, literally making society more hostile than it needs to be for my niece, my girlfriend, women everywhere.”

          Yeah, and I assume it’s rooted in subjects and depictions in games that others deem inappropriate? That’s what is influencing people to behave/think poorly? So…just like all the violence in games then, yes? You’re obviously willing to make that same argument, since they are both born from the same area of non-existent fantasy.

          Also…got any proof of this? That’s a pretty condemning statement toward artists if you believe their work actively harms society. That’s actually a VERY big accusation. You better have something to back up that claim, bud.

          “So for the record, you are making me a weird combination of bored, angry, and ashamed, not offended.”

          Then stop talking to me. Didn’t I already point out the obvious freedom you have of just walking away? Why continue to eat something that you think tastes like shit?

          Not very smart.

          (And before you say the obvious “you’re doing it, too,” I’m not the one complaining about the conversation.)

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            Not sure why I’m even bothering with someone who thinks “freaking FAIL dude” counts as grown up conversation, but…

            “So…just like all the violence in games then, yes? You’re obviously willing to make that same argument, since they are both born from the same area of non-existent fantasy.”

            Are you discussing this with me, or just transcribing the conversation you’re having in your head? No, I am not obviously willing to make that argument – because it’s completely unrelated. Misogynist traditions in art and culture exclude some people, actual living people, from taking part as fully as other people. When this happens across media – as it does – it reduces the space in society in which certain people are treated as if they have agency.

            Now unless you know any recent murder victims who play video games, I don’t see how that same process applies to video game violence at all.

            But then, it doesn’t really feel like you’re in this discussion for any reason than to win points by (hopefully) shutting people down with (hastily played) rhetorical maneuvers… Probably because you’re privileged enough to never have to think about any of this, and to pretend people are daft when they say they have. It’s boring, played out, and frankly so much more effective at stifling free expression than all the supposedly “offended” people you’re so worried about.

            You don’t know everything, and you don’t have to. Relax.

          • Lowbrow says:

            You’re really making this so much more belligerent than it needs to be. Do yourself a favor and edit your argument to take out all the parts trying to prove how you’re smart and the other guy(s) are stupid. Find the actual point you want to make and stop worrying so hard about “winning” the argument. I think you’ll find it a better discussion, even if it doesn’t get you so riled up.

            EDIT: GunnerMcCaffrey summed it up quite well while I was typing that.

          • OfGloriousLife says:

            “Not sure why I’m even bothering with someone who thinks “freaking FAIL dude” counts as grown up conversation”

            Yawn. The fact that you don’t know that the “tonal argument” is one of the oldest logical fallacies in the book tells me you’re not very great at this sort of thing. Sigh… Anyhow.

            ” No, I am not obviously willing to make that argument – because it’s completely unrelated.”

            The degree of affect that fantasy has on any given individual’s means to psychologically cope with said fantasy is not inherently different in any circumstance. Basic psychology deems that fantasy, in general, is harmless and derives from the same mental plane of appeal and reason — our ability to distinguish its non-existence from our very real one. In short, fake is fake, fantasy is fantasy, and any issues with it are personal and not at the fault of said fantasy.

            If anyone has an issue with an idea, that’s literally that person’s issue, not the idea, specifically. It’s not victims blaming, either; it’s just how we, as conscious individuals, view the world around us (even fake worlds). Some of us can handle it, others can’t.

            So, to assert that one degree of fantasy, in all its depictions, is inherently more harmful than any other (even violence) is just plain false. No substantial evidence has been provided that shows, for example, the fake depiction of rape as intrinsically more harmful or detrimental to a person’s mental state as anything else so physically traumatic — decapitation, torture, disembowelment, you name it.

            Oh, sure, it may SEEM that way, because we’ve had it pounded into our heads just how awful these particular things are, but they are declarations based on strong, inward conviction and nothing else. If these things were harmful, we’d certainly know about it. It’d be everywhere. It’d be big news.

            And, again, you claim it’s simply alienating. And? As I stated before, EVERYTHING has that potential. Statistically everything is potentially alienating to someone. That’s a piss-poor argument to make as to whether or not something should or shouldn’t be.

            “it doesn’t really feel like you’re in this discussion for any reason than to win points”

            You’re right. My heart and emotion aren’t in it. How silly of me.

            “Probably because you’re privileged enough to never have to think about any of this”

            Yeah, OK, and? I hope you realize that does not refute a single point I’ve made. I know people think it’s a “get out of jail free” card, but debate is not so easily and cheaply shut down. And…it’s pretty funny that you actually have to ASSUME I’m privileged. Like, you can’t prove it, but fuck it, you’ll play the card, anyhow. Grasp at them straws.

            “You don’t know everything, and you don’t have to. ”

            Again, this makes no sense. Essentially, you’re telling me, “Chill, dude, you don’t HAVE to be right.” What? Why? How is that, in any way, related to any of the several points I’ve made. And, if I am indeed smarter than you, and, again, if I am indeed boring you with what you’ve already heard (and blatantly ignored), why are you still here?

            I’m rather enjoying myself. You guys are making this easy. But, if you’re miserable, you’re only proving my point that this stretches beyond your capacity to exercise self-control and leave the crappy situation.

            Very, very common sense.

          • Lowbrow says:

            Dunning-Kruger Effect: The Comment.

          • OfGloriousLife says:

            Consistent strawman arguments: The RPS commentor

          • Lowbrow says:

            You need these (from wikipedia):

            1. A straw man, also known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a common type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.
            2.An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.

            Though neither really fit, ad hominem is much closer to what you’re trying to claim.

          • OfGloriousLife says:

            “(from wikipedia)”

          • Ich Will says:

            OfGloriousLife, You started out by saying that everything offends someone. You went on to say that in order to not offend anyone, creative freedom will be eliminated and I cannot disagree.

            I do think though that you have made the assumption that everyone who writes about this is calling for that thing to be banned. They are not necessarily. Sure some people are and we can all go ahead and ignore them. But some people are merely stating their opinion, something that is, by the way very valuable for a developer of any size. It’s not fair to attack these people and try to make out that their opinion is somehow wrong or less valid, even if it contains logical inconsistencies. Opinions are like that and if we could have full unrestricted access to anyone’s mind, we’d find plenty of inconsistencies in their opinions.

            Now, when someone accuses a game of misrepresenting females, that is almost certainly their truthful opinion. What is more interesting is why that person felt the need to complain – did they really want to play the game but the skimpy clothes put them off? Do they believe that constant stereotyping of women is a bad thing for society in general?

            What I don’t understand is why so many people who all feel that the same things are bad and the same things are not so bad constantly pitch themselves against each other. Can we all agree the following:

            1) There is nothing wrong or sexist about titilation.

            2) A poorly written character in a game can ruin the game.

            3) A shit-tonne of games all pull out the same boring poorly written tropes – sexy woman in skimpy armour, slab of meat marine et al.

            4) If I were to eat steak every day, eventually I would not want any more steak and would complain every time it was served to me.

            5) Steak is teenagey titillation.

          • Longtime Listener says:

            And there is big difference between saying “I don’t like steak” and ambushing an interviewee with an irrelevant and highly loaded question about how their steak recipe is destroying the world and how they should be ashamed of themselves.

            It’s the difference between “I don’t like thing, so I won’t buy thing” and “I don’t like thing , so you must change thing”.

          • Lowbrow says:

            And here we go with the histrionics again. “Ambush” my left foot. If Nathan really is this crazy agenda-driven Question-Asker, then it was hardly an ambush. It’s their fault for not doing their research if they were caught flat-footed. If you baste your steak in coffee I expect you to be able to answer why you did it, not “we’re not trying to make a souffle here.” The fact is that the question was reasonable and polite. The lack of a thoughtful answer was Blizzard’s fault.

            Did you feel that asking Sarah Palin what papers she read was an ambush question too?

          • Longtime Listener says:

            Did you read the interview? His question had zero lead in, he asked it after the PR man motioned time was running out and well just read the question again

            You have some interesting alternate outfits for heroes. Roller Derby Nova, especially, caught my eye. On its own, that’s totally fine – just a silly, goofy thing. A one-off. But it got me thinking about how often MOBAs tend to hyper-sexualize female characters to a generally preposterous degree – that is to say, make it the norm, not a one-off at all – and StarCraft’s own, um, interesting focus choices as of late. How are you planning to approach all of that in Heroes?

            Look at how loaded that is not to mention how the roller derby Nova is basically her normal costume just with neon knee pads and a crash helmet . It’s a ridiculous premeditated question that had no bearing on the interview which had until then been pretty insightful. Its as pointless and loaded as any ambush question could be.

            Are you saying that you want interviewers to be prescreened? Because that’s whats going to happen after this little stunt.

          • Lowbrow says:

            I’d call most of that quote lead-in, with a question at the end. I don’t see anyone in here butthurt about shifting from story to business plan much more abruptly, so why is this particular question suddenly an issue for people? I don’t see why otherwise reasonable people (presumably) get so upset on the rare occasions this is brought up. Would having a few Brienne of Tarth-ish characters in the games really destroy the medium for you?

          • WootMcGyver says:

            Question: If I’m not offended by 7ft tall, ruggedly handsome, built like brick shitter dudes, then why are women offended by characters with ridiculous tits?

            You know what? I think we should remove anything that can be construed as an attractive attribute from every character ever developed, so no one feels inferior to fictional characters created expressly for enjoyment. After we’ve accomplished that, we should then cover our bodies with cloth from head-to-toe so there’s no chance of anyone being objectified ever.


            Seriously guys, would you rather have a game with amazingly attractive characters, or one with bland looking characters?

            Also, since we’re discussing minorities within the gaming community (how many women are on your friends lists?), what about all of the busty women of the world? Wouldn’t they find it offensive if the only characters portrayed were women with average busts? Wouldn’t editing out all of the busty characters everywhere give them body image issues which would then result in a spike of breast reduction surgeries?

            There are dozens (if not hundreds) of ways that this article could be argued for and against. After spending the last half hour of my life reading the posts here (which I want back btw), I’ve gathered that most of you are arguing for arguing’s sake. I’ve also come to the conclusion that the author is self-righteous to the point of being laughable, and that he needs to come down off of his soap box and join the rest of us in reality.

            Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but since my DotA download is done, I think I’m going to go enjoy some muscular dudes and busty chicks trying to kill each other.

        • Longtime Listener says:

          Perhaps you should be asking Grayson.
          Who called it “Disgusting”, “Harmful” and “Objectifying”. Sounds like he’s taking offense.

      • emcl says:

        I dont think these characters are born out of a need for artistic expression for expressions sake. Leaving out scales that cover the whole body except for on T&A isn’t a stream-of-consciousness free form design but a design dark pattern. Having these characters run around on my screen is jarring and ruins the experience for me even if merely for the reason that the artist has been disingenuous.

      • deependdriver says:

        Riiiiiiiight because minstrel shows are doing really well this year and Spielberg is going to remake Birth of a Nation. Offensive things are never removed from the artistic landscape.

    • Longtime Listener says:

      “It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”

    • Etnos says:

      Ugg I’m offended by the futility of a vanal-righteous game-journalism. Honest motivations lead to actual journalist to write about the true problems of humanity: People dying in Africa thanks to post-european colonialism, Thousands of immigrants dying crossing the souther US border every year, Chinese government not granting basic human rights.

      The kind of journalism express in this interview it is a good remainder of self-obssesed myopic developed country citizen looking for some sort of guilt clean and auto validation. Lads and Gents a true first world problem.

      • AngelTear says:

        Except, errr… those problems are not really relevant to gaming, and this is a PC gaming website. The most you could say is “why don’t you put part of your profits towards addressing those problems”, and even then, it’s more a business question than a true gaming-related question.

        On the other hand, games are cultural products (entertainment or art, they’re still cultural products), so RPS asks about related cultural issues that surface in and around games.

        Also, feminist issues may not be as “tragic”/basic as dying of starvation/curable diseases and all the other issues you seem to refer to, but take a look at the figures concerning violence and abuse towards women, just to mention easily quantifiable data (broader ideological and cultural issues run deeper and psychological damage is not as easy to turn into raw data), and you’ll realize it’s not so futile either.

        First world problems are a very different thing. Like wasting thousands of dollars on a Dota2 courier skin, as I argued a few days ago in the comment section.

    • ete says:

      Personally, I find it offensive when there are great creative people making things that they enjoy being harassed by wannabe journalists who tell them what they think they should do with their talent.

      • segr says:

        I agree. That is more worriesome than any article about some mysterious sexism they are pushing.

    • pickupthatcan says:

      Thank christ RPS is dead in the water after this. Nobody wants to read your shit ass TUMBLR SOCIAL JUSTICE whinefest articles anymore, but please continue your kotaku level developer shaming.

      I’m glad that as a female gamer i have the BIG STRONK rps writers trying to shame nasty devs for including sexy outfits. thank you for standing up for me, thank you for pushing your nonsense neo-puritan values and social justice messages into video games. You are a paragon of truly uncompromised and wonderful journolism.

      Nah fuck off rps and your white knight bullshit and fuck your shit ass tumblr leach crowd, This is why we have creative stagnation because douchenozzles like rps here insist on trying to tell developers what to do. Tell me what other mediums allow critics to question an artists vision? In movies you’d be laughed out of the room in photography you wouldn’t even get a word in.

      Please yes more rps more buttblasted social justice whining this is what your readers really want

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        It takes a special kind of stupid to come to a website and create a commenting account just to tell them you’re not going to go come here any more.

        Nobody wanted you here any way, just go away you worm.

        • segr says:

          I also made account here to just say that she just nuked every overly sensitive offended person here from orbit. Owned by a headshot! Also i also hope that RPS gets “shotgunned” to hell because these ridicolous articles.
          Next thing i am gonna make an account on Polygon and gonna tell John Funk to get bent. Seen him here acting retarded too.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        Paging Dr. Everyone Complaining That People Being “Offended” Is Ruining Discussion. I’m assuming you’ll want to weigh in here, as we’ve located Patient Zero. [crickets]

        I already enjoy reading RPS, but now every time I read RPS I will think of this comment and read with a joyous fervour.

      • Mathaw says:

        And just think, you’ll be old enough to buy your own games soon!

    • wontonphooey says:

      Blizzard doesn’t owe it to you or anyone else to use their franchises as platforms to advance your brand of social justice.

      I don’t like Twilight but I respect the author’s right to write about completely unrealistic male protagonists that offend and alienate me, even at the risk of allowing her to perpetuate harmful stereotypes in young adult literature.

      • segr says:

        Thats the way to make an a comparison. You just owned some retards!

    • FatherTime says:

      That cuts both ways. If we see nothing offensive about a certain video game you can’t decide for us to be offended.

  2. Utsunomiya says:

    The act of creating something and propagating it among millions of people absolutely sends a message, whether you intend to or not. Maybe you weren’t trying to express any specific viewpoint or hurt anybody’s feelings, but implicit messages still peer up from just beneath the surface. Like it or not, if someone plays games as their main hobby and they constantly see guns used in glorified fashions or as an only mean to win an argument, that’s going to infiltrate their norm. Male or female, bodied, gendered, or whatever else, being exposed to something constantly affects people. The effect is far less impactful for some than others, but it’s always there.

    You know, this is actually fun. I should do games journalism too!

    • subedii says:

      Posted this in the last thread, but seriously, I do feel it’s a really good summary of the whole argument as to why “we’re not sending a message” is such a ridiculous response.

      • RedViv says:

        Should be watched again and again and again and again until these kids in adult bodies get it.

      • Lemming says:

        So I watched, and I’m not really seeing why you are holding this in such reverence. His central argument about the hypocrisy of ‘gamers’ ( a phrase he hates, but then uses to make his flawed point), doesn’t work because it assumes that all gamers are thinking the same thing. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that the gamers saying ‘games are art and should be taken seriously’ are not the same ones that are saying ‘hey, they are just games keep the politics out’. When you realise that, you realise he doesn’t even remember why he hates the phrase ‘gamers’ within seconds of saying he does.

        • subedii says:

          His central argument about the hypocrisy of ‘gamers’ ( a phrase he hates, but then uses to make his flawed point), doesn’t work because it assumes that all gamers are thinking the same thing. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that the gamers saying ‘games are art and should be taken seriously’ are not the same ones that are saying ‘hey, they are just games keep the politics out’.

          (Well for starters I don’t “revere” the author or his video, I just think it’s a good dissection of the topic. That hopefully out of the way…)

          No he’s talking about ‘gamers’ as a subculture. It’s a not a statement that literally every unit falling under the self-designation does this (any more than talking about say, power structures means EVERY person in aforesaid power structure), but it’s a behaviour that’s seen in most any place that ‘gamer’ communities exist. The simultaneous narratives that “games should be just as valid in society as any other medium” sitting happily alongside “don’t bring YOUR political discussions into MY games”. Frankly I’ve seen it a lot over the years. And in particular on this topic. And speaking personally, I don’t believe it should be one of the really obvious aspects that has come to define ‘gamer’ culture.

          Be that as it may, I feel you may be homing in on this item and not looking at the main talking points of his. So even then, fine, if you disagree then go ahead and call him a hypocrite (I’m not being facetious, if you disagree then it’s probably right to call him a hypocrite). With that passed, let’s look at the actual main topics being discussed in that video (and to forestall a potential next argument, even if you also disagree that these are his main points, that’s fine too. These are the ones that I brought in the video for, as I felt them relevant to this discussion).

          The reason I bring up the video is because he goes into the exact same stuff I’m seeing in this thread, the exact same arguments are cropping up.

          – The Blizzard rep (and his defenders) made the “We’re not making a statement” defence, which I have no qualms in saying is near complete bull and I posted the video because I felt it’s taken apart fairly well in the video (and you’ll note, is specifically what I referenced both times I posted it).

          – That you should be abjectly “neutral” in all conversation and criticism of games and talk purely about mechanics, not about other aspects and how they relate to a wider discourse on the game, its presumptions, and how those are or aren’t reflected in (and affect) society.

          – (Related to above) That talking about these issues is “bringing your own baggage / agenda” to the discussion and this makes you a wrong party.

          I’ve seen all three of those (and a whole whack of others) in this thread and the previous one. Which is why I feel what Errant Signal said is apt to bring in here.

      • Frank says:

        Thanks. I’m impressed that he made that whole argument without once reverting to sociology jargon, and I find I agree with everything he said.

        On the other hand, besides Civ, I don’t like any of the games or genres under discussion (ganster sims, MOBAs, godawful shooters), and I’ve always been bothered by Civ’s infinitely-lived-autocrat definition of civilization, so I don’t know what it’s like to have a reason to feel defensive here… Actually, when it comes to games I like that are “problematic,” as sociology douchebags would probably say (Jagged Alliance 2, maybe Riddick), I like those games so much that I’m interested in reading/hearing almost any dissection of what’s going on in them.

      • harbinger says:

        And this is a particularly great rebuttal to that piece, especially in regards to the “gamers” straw man: link to

        I never gave much about games being considered “art” and never wanted to appear “cultured” by playing video games (Where does he even get that idea from, does that actually work for somebody?). I frankly never even gave much of a toss what other people thought about me playing games and still don’t. All I wanted was for them to be engaging and fun and I don’t particularly care about how many people play “games” either, since I’ve long since learned that mass market appeal often means bad games.
        This goes the same for movies (there are hundreds of exploitation movies and “horror” movies I’ll enjoy just the same whether they are considered art or not), music, TV, books and anything else too although they were considered that long before I was born, it was always the self-important commentators and would-be academics that are pushing for that.

        These are the same arguments used in this very article above by the way.

        “Cultural legitimacy” is always limited to a select group of snobs. It’s the same false dichotomy that Clement Greenberg used in his “Avant-Garde and Kitsch” essay where he championed cutting edge modern “art” like Duchamp turning a urinal into a fountain against the “Kitsch” art that the public was actually interested in (art that actually looked like things, took skill to make, and reflected real human sentiments). Nowadays whatever is considered “art” or not is also highly subjective, some people can convince others that portions of fecal matter smeared across a canvas is “art” and make them pay a lot of money for it.

        Because a few snobs don’t like something, that something must change and become a placeholder for whatever passing fads the pretentious elite are into right now. This is not to say that everything that is popular is great, but that the cry for “cultural legitimacy” is really just insecurity wrapped in snobbery and most often employed for reasons of self-validation.

        Classic art has never been afraid of popular appreciation either. Shakespeare wrote for money and was a known panderer, as were many classical painters.

        I don’t really tend to define my life around my entertainment, I believe some of the late problems might have something to do with a “what am I doing with my life”-syndrome some of these “game journalists/commentators” go through, while a lot of players just play games to have some good fun blowing things up, immerse themselves in a well-built RPG worlds or challenge their skills and motor functions in the latest Jump&Runs, a lot of “gaming journalists” try to always find some sort of deeper hidden meaning or message behind what is them basically peddling wares to the masses. They want it to have meaning and they want it to be “art” so they can find validation and self-justification in what they are doing and thus gain in importance.

        But the reality of the matter more often than not is that they write rather simple 300 word articles after playing 2 hours of a game and watch it get uploaded onto a website plastered with advertisements for said products they are supposed to be critical of (but are often meant to whet appetite for), so that teenagers or 20-somethings can skim over what they’ve written or look at the score and decide whether or not to pay their advertisers.

        What these types of people also still (alarmingly and continually) fail to realize is that games like products in a lot of other entertainment mediums are fictional works.
        There was literally a disclaimer before some games that they were works of fiction, saying things like:
        “This story is fictional. Any and all similarities to characters, groups, or other entities in real life are coincidental.”
        Maybe we need that back? link to

        These works don’t have to represent the political views of their creators in any way, if their creators are good in fact they likely won’t. Josh Sawyer of Obsidian fame put this rather well when asked on the subject of rape in Fallout: New Vegas:
        ”Anything that has been traumatic for an individual can be a trauma trigger when portrayed in a fictional environment. Fallout’s recurring theme is “War never changes.” Rape is an element of war (often a conscious and intentional tool of war) and is often an element of post-apocalyptic fiction used to show the depravity of humanity in the absence of law (e.g. The Road Warrior features rape directly, albeit viewed through a telescope). F:NV features two major powers engaged in an extremely brutal conflict with myriad small groups (like the Fiends) taking advantage of the chaos. They engage in a full spectrum of cruelty against each other including crucifixion, limb mutilation, torture, booby trapping wounded soldiers (and corpses), mass irradiation, enslavement, and yes, rape.”

        Nor do I think that he endorses cruelty, crucifixion, mutilation, slavery or any of the other things that appear in the game.

        Turning games political is what some people (including the author of this article) want them to do, as a way of social engineering and propaganda by making games like Gone Home and lobbying for self-censorship for anything depicted that they disagree with or certain depictions of culture and worlds that they deem acceptable to be displayed only, without realizing that for instance a Post-Apocalyptic world full of flowery tolerance, love and respect for fellow man makes for a rather shit setting overall with not much potential for conflict.

        I hardly think that Counter Strike is meant to endorse planting bombs or GTA is meant to endorse killing sprees and the general criminal behavior displayed therein.

        This is literally what was said by the violence in games crowd, compare:
        ”And again, while scantily clad, disempowered female character designs alone aren’t going to “turn” someone sexist, they do contribute to an environment in which it feels more natural to disregard or otherwise demean women.”

        With the NRAs:
        “The National Rifle Association remarked that video games played a role in a “culture of violence” and detachment that can ease the path to violent behavior.”

        That all said, “gaming” is already a multi-billion dollar industry surpassing the movie and music industry so they must be doing something right and have gained a lot of that so-called legitimacy through economical prowess, and RPS are neither the defenders nor the arbiters of it or what is and isn’t in “good taste”.

        • LogicalDash says:

          Good news! Blizzard doesn’t care about sexism, so you’ll get just what you wanted. Unless you mean to complain about the mere fact that other people are talking about something you do not want to talk about, which makes you seem pretty thin-skinned. UNLESS! Perhaps you were being literal when you said that these discussions are “social engineering” and “propaganda,” and you think they will in fact make changes in the state of the industry? I think that would be excellent, myself: more variety in character design is better for gaming generally, and minorities in gaming in particular. But you seem not to consider that a good thing? Perhaps you imagine that a demand for more inclusive character design implies a demand for a change in the design of the game as such? You cite Gone Home; do you think Nathan Grayson wants Heroes of the Storm to become a puzzle-free adventure game? There are probably some people who want that, and they may agree with Nathan on this issue, but you seem to have confused the lot of them.

          • Lowbrow says:

            He talked about straw man arguments and then wrote this gem:

            “What these types of people also still (alarmingly and continually) fail to realize is that games like products in a lot of other entertainment mediums are fictional works.”

    • Sakkura says:

      Constantly seeing women depicted semi-nude and/or in subservient roles does not make me a sexist, just like constantly seeing shooty stuff in games does not make me a serial killer.

      It might have other effects, but I think it all depends on how you approach it. And the problem is that the mainstream dudebro gaming community has a lot of sexism running through it. That’s why so many games use boobs and such, and that is a problem. Just not the kind of problem he was suggesting there.

      • Grayvern says:

        Assuming an equivalency of impact between differing actions and messages in games is silly; you are conflating the effect of violence in videogames boondoggle with the ability of games to effect us at all.

        Killing is a much less normatively acceptable activity than sexism, racism, jingoism, etc.

        This aspect of debate on effects always infuriates me; while we decry the asinine assumptions of reactionary people to videogame violence we are ignoring, for instance, that the more relatively subtle messages of jingoism in Call of Duty’s campaigns may be influencing or reinforcing peoples views.

        • Yglorba says:

          Also, it’s reasonable to have violence in a game about violence. If you don’t want violence, you probably shouldn’t be playing MurderSimulator 2012.

          On the other hand, it’s jarring and out of place to have overwhelmingly sexual exploitative art in a game with no sexual themes at all. Having completely out of place sexualized costume designs for most of your female characters sends a very different message because it treats the outlook underlying those things as normal, especially given its ubiquity — as you can see in a lot of the comments, which say things like “well, that’s just how it is!”

          • Grayvern says:

            Also that the characters committing violent acts are depicted in roles that are associated with allowed killing, heavily justified with exigent circumstances, or out and out portrayed as horrible people.

          • Sakkura says:

            I actually said this WAS a problem, yet somehow you seem to be assuming I was saying it was NOT a problem.

        • Sakkura says:

          Killing is not a less normatively acceptable activity than sexism or racism. Jingoism, okay, but that’s really beyond the scope of this discussion. Killing is something we pay people to do on an industrial scale. Mainly overseas, but sometimes at home as well. Sexism or racism is something that is actively discouraged by society at large, although it can flourish in subcultures (such as gaming culture).

          • SuicideKing says:

            Actually, quite the opposite for a lot of the world. Sexism and racism (sexism especially) is silently (or sometimes openly) accepted and enforced by a lot of societies, including mine.

      • Lamb Chop says:

        thinking about it at the level of individuals already undermines it. “I’m not a sexist” posits a weird kind of essentialism that is also wholly inwardly focused. It’s not about who or what you are; it’s about the many social and cultural norms and institutions we all influence and participate in that have sexist or gendered undertones and it’s up to us to be conscious of them and to decide how much to push back against the parts of those that are problematic. Stepping out and claiming an amoral position, as Dustin Browder wants to do, isn’t possible for anyone, let alone a cultural touchstone for a large community. It doesn’t make him, or anyone else, a “bad person” but that really isn’t the point here.

      • The Random One says:

        The real problem is not that seeing women like that makes you a sexist, but that if you are sexist it makes you think you’re right.

        • Sakkura says:

          I don’t know that it makes you think you’re right (you probably already do), but it certainly keeps you in that groove for the time being. That’s why I said “the problem is that the mainstream dudebro gaming community has a lot of sexism running through it. That’s why so many games use boobs and such, and that is a problem”

      • Lemming says:

        not really comfortable with you grouping together sexualisation and subservience.

        • Sakkura says:

          You’re not comfortable with it? So? At least tell me WHY you’re not comfortable with it.

          To me, both are problematic aspects of the depiction of women in gaming culture. So I think it’s entirely valid to group them together.

          • Lemming says:

            I didn’t think I’d need to clarify but ok, I’m not comfortable with you lumping them together implying they are bedfellows, or even the same, because that’s how it comes across, and it may encourage a whole slew of other comments assuming the same thing, at which point everyone who doesn’t have a problem with sexulaisation, is assumed to be some kind rapist. Get it now?

          • Sakkura says:

            That’s absurd. I said “and/or”, which pretty clearly indicates one can be present without the other.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            Because when you sexualise something you are constructing it as something for your use. Now this always happens to some extent, I sexualise my boyfriend and use of him sexually, but this is a small and occasional part of the way I think about him as a complex person with needs, desires, motivations and subjectivity, and he also does this to me making it reciprocal. The problem is that women in society and by reflection in computer games are depicted frequently and totally as objects existing only for the sexual gratification of straight men.

          • harbinger says:

            “Objectification” is a thing most people seem to use wrong in about any context based on video games (aside from when they talk about things like booth babes).
            link to
            The term, even in philosophical and “feminist” context doesn’t apply to anything other than living human beings. It has to do with the dignity granted to every human being grounded in the Declaration of Human Rights and the idea that people should generally be treated with proper respect and not as purely utilitarian.
            And there are different kinds of “objectification”, if you see and treat certain people as simply instruments within your daily routine e.g. “guy who makes me coffee”, “guy who sells me paper”, “guy who flips my burger” that is already another kind of objectification.

            The above article describes this as:
            In social philosophy, objectification means treating a person as a thing, without regard to their dignity.
            According to the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, a person is objectified if they are treated:
            as a tool for another’s purposes (instrumentality);
            as if lacking in agency or self-determination (denial of autonomy, inertness);
            as if owned by another (ownership);
            as if interchangeable (fungibility);
            as if permissible to damage or destroy (violability);
            as if there is no need for concern for their feelings and experiences (denial of subjectivity).”

            You can’t treat a videogame character that way since it doesn’t have any human rights, dignity or anything of the sorts and only exists within the confines of the story in a fictional world its creator created. That’s why you can shoot, maim and cut up NPCs as much as you want in the first place.
            As such most video game characters are literally “objects” with singular purposes instrumentalized within the story.

            There’s a lot of people using some of these words rather carelessly without proper context.

          • Sakkura says:

            “when you sexualise something you are constructing it as something for your use”
            Sure. But the same goes for eg. depicting women as sandwich-makers. It’s just a different type of use.

      • harbinger says:

        Yes, as I said above and I think it deserves repeating, this is literally what was said by the violence in games crowd, compare from this RPS article:
        ”And again, while scantily clad, disempowered female character designs alone aren’t going to “turn” someone sexist, they do contribute to an environment in which it feels more natural to disregard or otherwise demean women.”

        With the NRAs:
        “The National Rifle Association remarked that video games played a role in a “culture of violence” and detachment that can ease the path to violent behavior.”

      • LogicalDash says:

        When you’re talking about a game that Blizzard is putting out to its already titanic fanbase, there’s no “might”. It WILL have all the effects it CAN have–somewhere or other, on someone or other.

    • DirtGunfrey says:

      This is an excellent point.

      RPS despises it when the media talks about violence in video games without the science to back it up. Is there science saying that the sexualized depiction of women in video games alters our perceptions of women? If there is, the article should reference it.

      I’m on Nathan’s side here. I think Blizzard pushes the envelope and they should be more responsible. But he should be careful of blanket statements and generalizations like the one he made here about how it affects people.

      • David Bliff says:

        For the record there is absolutely, positively no shortage of evidence whatsoever of the negative effects of hypersexualized or objectifying images in media. The difference between representations of (women’s) bodies and violence are largely that when people see violence in media it’s (usually) contextualized as bad, either within the piece of media itself or by the culture as a whole, whereas unrealistic bodies are more easily internalized and are, well, idealized at worst or undiscussed at best.

        tl;dr: Yes, there’s lots of science behind this stuff.

        • Geebs says:

          I’m sorry, but the “there’s science that backs my point up” argument needs references, otherwise all you’ve done is capsized your own point.

      • Asrahn says:

        I present to thee, a sliver of the research done. The Proteus Effect.

        link to

        Science stands on RPS’ side in this.

        • rock_paper_shotgun says:

          I read the paper. I guess the takeaway is that if a female avatar is “slutty” then the male player will treat her in such a manner (I’m inferring this from the research because it doesn’t actually address this issue specifically)? So it would be good to have avatars that do not actively promote those kind of reactions from men? So should women not dress in a “slutty” manner when they go out for drinks with their friends?

          This is highly confusing. And before you might desire to argue that they are different, they are clearly not different situations. The article and the science is showing how real world physical perceptions can be manipulated by a digital representation. So in a way it boils down to teaching men how to react to a “slutty” women. Perhaps?

          At the heart of it I wonder what it is that females gamers want? Do they want to play ugly fat female avatars? Would it be acceptable to have a sexy less scantily clad avatar? If the study is truly valuable, then giving women the choice to cloth their sexy female avatar in different ways should probably be enough? I guess I am not sure. What I am trying to say is that what the study shows is that attractive avatars give the player more confidence. Which is a good thing. The question is, what is the “ideal” female representation that gives a women confidence while keeping her from being a “slut”?

          Any women out there with feelings about this? Because I get the feeling that RPS is full of guys.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            I’m not sure how you managed to draw that conclusion. The paper’s conclusion was that avatars affect people’s perception of self, not others. Try applying that to games where female avatars are mostly sex objects with barbie doll bodies and ridiculous outfits.

            Now the paper focused mostly on the positive aspects, and hey, it’s nice to identify with being sexy or beautiful. But a lot of the avatars out there are simply crass. It’s incredibly icky to feel like an object for other people to stare at. Weakness, sluttiness, uncomfortableness (heels, LOL) are other uncool things, especially when compared to male avatars that´don’t get nearly as negative a treatment.

            I’m not sure if I agree completely with the study though, seems like a bit of a chicken and egg thing. We choose what we want to be (when there’s a choice) and those choices both reflect and reinforce our self image.

          • Geebs says:

            That paper made no attempt whatsoever to get even a representative sample of human beings – their study population was colleges students in their early twenties exclusively. That’s enough to discount their findings even before they start trying to do significance tests in a non-random population.

          • Asrahn says:

            “I’m not sure if I agree completely with the study though, seems like a bit of a chicken and egg thing. We choose what we want to be (when there’s a choice) and those choices both reflect and reinforce our self image.”

            Chicken and the egg becomes irrelevant when our choices are limited to only sexualized characters. Plenty of games out there that gives us the “buff man” and “busty woman” options, and no other – meaning that if one wants to play a female character you will inevitably end up with a sexualized one whether you want or not. There is little choice involved there.

            “That paper made no attempt whatsoever to get even a representative sample of human beings – their study population was colleges students in their early twenties exclusively.”

            If you were familiar with the way science is conducted, you’d know that students are the most popular and most widely used group to experiment on. This is for a multitude of reasons, such as diversity in gender and background – not to mention that they are easily accessible, conveniently so at an institution.

            “That’s enough to discount their findings even before they start trying to do significance tests in a non-random population.”

            No, it is not, and what? Having a random population is basically the only way to ensure that a study of this kind even has any semblance or chance of being representative for the population. If you don’t have a random respondent population, the chance for validity errors are too high. Significance tests are done with random samples as well, so I’m not really sure what you’re drifting at. Attempt to replicate this with an older population if you’d like and see if you get different results – until then, the Proteus Effect stands as interesting science.

          • Geebs says:

            I know that the social scientists do it this way, but ease of access is a terrible excuse for lazy sampling. Similarly I suspect Student would be rolling in his grave at somebody trying to prove a new social theory with a t-test. Interesting idea but not science.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        There is loads of evidence that the media reflects and propagates sexual attitudes. It is an accepted part of media theory. What you are asking is if there is a direct causal link between media and individual behaviour, and there isn’t because the way media influence works is not that simple. Women are sexualised in computer games because they are sexualised in our patriarchal society, and this in turn reinforces that social attitude.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      Not buying a game that you think offends you sends a far stronger message. Writing articles to increase comments won’t help anyone.

      If games that are ‘offensive’ won’t sell, things will change. Fortunately the people who are easily offended by this are barely buying games anyway.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        Yes, inaction is the ultimate solution!

        …come on, dude.

      • Urthman says:

        Are you new to the internet? Gamers complain about everything they don’t like in games, because they want developers to make games that they like.

        I hate quicktime events, bad voice acting, and female characters designed to appeal to little boys who don’t know what a real woman looks like. They all suck, and I want game developers to do better.

      • Mathaw says:

        Missing the point entirely.

        There is a significant subset of gamers (myself included with most other adults) that find a disconnect in the immersion when your shielded, armoured knight is running around with a lass in a bikini. I don’t get my rocks off from CG boobs so it does nothing for me.

        However that’s not WHY women shouldn’t be hyper sexualised in video games – it’s a much broader social problem. Women shouldn’t be needlessly sexualised anywhere, so this just perpetuates the problem.

        There’s an easy test to work out if a woman’s boobs should be on show in a piece of media (for the good of all players), simply ask yourself would it be appropriate for the male characters to be dressed similarly?If it would then fine, make everyone sexy and be done with it. And let me stop you there… muscle bound hunks are not necessarily comparable to broads in bikinis. Conan style characters are, sure, and if if you stick a lass in a bikini next to a guy in a bikini then fair play, that makes sense. But simply having a chiseled jaw isn’t synonymous with having your tits out. You can have attractive characters with envious body builds that aren’t hypersexualised. It’s hardly the holy grail of game design, it;s just what happens when you don’t have a bunch of basement-dwellers running the art department.

        Besides, you’re using a distortion of a very tired argument, that this is purely a marketing decision to make money because 14 y/o boys buy video games. They DO, you;re right, but that’s because they are the one’s that are marketed to. It’s a completely circular argument. There’s nothing inherent about the medium of video games that appeals more to boys, the marketing appeals more to boys.

        That’s why Nintendo sell SHED LOADS of units to middle-aged women… marketing.

        The only reason games (and traditional film and TV) have this problem is because the industries started as boys clubs. Boys making things for boys. That isn’t the case anymore, and so it has become a problem. Simply sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending that everyone else is wrong doesn’t change something that is actually blindingly obvious to anyone who opens their mind for even 10 seconds.

  3. Lemming says:

    Surely Blizzard are forced into their decision anyway, as this is a game where people play recognisable heroes from their catalogue of games? It matters little if LoL changed its heroes to be less hypersexualised, so there’s no excuse there and perhaps they should change them, but in this case Kerrigan, has to be recognised as Kerrigan.

    Put into that context, your reasonable stance may have got lost in what appeared to be a ‘why don’t you redesign that character that’s a recognisable brand and mascot?’ demand

    • onsamyj says:

      Comics change their characters constantly. Help, I can’t recognize Superman without red pants!

      • Lemming says:

        True, but games historically, do not do that.

        • Lowbrow says:

          I would argue they do, Prince of Persia leaping immediately to mind. Especially the older 2D games which switched to 3D. Someone had to decide how firm Solid Snake’s butt would be.

        • onsamyj says:

          Characters in games change significantly all the time. Historically. Seriously, you don’t consider transition from 2D to 3D dramatic? It is like X-Men shedding their black and yellow jumpsuits! Look at Sonic, look at Lara Croft. And we not talking “every couple of movies there is different actor for James Bond/Batman/Superman role”, we talking clothes/armor – they change them many times in one game.

          • Lemming says:

            Obviously, I don’t just mean any character. They have to be fairly iconic before it becomes a major decision to change their look. Lara Croft’s change was a big deal, it was PR’d as a big deal. But your Marios? Your Sonics? They don’t really change, and when you’re releasing a game based on people playing characters from other games that they already recognise, well deciding to redesign characters then is going to cause issues. Imagine if in the latest Super Smash Bros they decided to make Mario blonde and shave his moustache. Would it even be Mario then? That said, there’s no reason why alternate skins couldn’t be available in a MOBA game like this, and they probably will.

          • onsamyj says:

            Bottom line, they can change if they want.

        • Mathaw says:

          Are we to believe that these characters never change their clothes?

          You don’t have to redesign the character to give them an appropriate outfit. We’re not talking about sticking a Tauren in a full-body, free flowing cloak here. Just a neckline that doesn’t stop at their nipples.

          Admittedly the discussion is a little trickier with Blizz, because they’re a mild offender. Look to the LoL lineup for a more concrete example. Covering up their asses will make them no less recognisable, but would do great things for the reputation of the game amongst everyone. I don’t even think the 14 y/o boys would care that much, this isn’t the 90’s, they can get porn easily enough.

    • Geebs says:

      To be honest, the character which made me raise an eyebrow when the trailer first came out was Nova. They really did a number in terms of boobs-and-butt posing her and what the hell was up with all the early nineties badical ‘tude? I cringed.

    • AngusPrune says:

      “Forced” seems like an odd choice of words. They design their characters, and they need to be responsible for their own art design.

      Personally, back in the Warcraft 3 days Blizzard’s general depiction of women never bothered me. I mean, I the fawn was kind of sexualised and the archer had a fairly impressive cleavage line, but it never struck me as gross or particularly over the top. However, as time as gone on, more and more things they’ve done have started to get to me. Heart of the Swarm in particular with Kerrigan’s chitinous thong really caused my mind to hiccup to a halt and wonder what the hell they’re doing here.

      Whether it’s just because I got older, or they’re really getting worse, is something I leave for you to decide. But I’m starting to think Blizzard have a real problem, and their PR isn’t helping much.

  4. daphne says:

    Needs more #1reasonwhy.

    It’s mostly political, and in many cases it is political. Fight with all the fervor if you wish, but do not attempt to eat all the cakes. The political aspect of it is all that lets you get away with bullshit lines like “To insist otherwise is to vastly undermine both gaming as a medium and, you know, your own species.”

    Be thankful for that. You go ahead and tear “that mentality” limb from limb, and in turn, I’ll maul your face as you dare classify my apathy for your cause as “vastly undermining my own race. You can try and give me that “move-at-slowest-unit-speed” crap as if we’re a pack of RTS units trudging along, but really, I don’t need to care about this. I don’t need to care about this, because personally, I know I’m past all of this, and I know how to conduct myself so that yes, your sensibilties are shielded on my behalf from symbolic violence or power politics of any sort, considered and catered for.

    So you’re not my audience, and I’m not yours. And that’s fine. Your audience already agrees with you. But your self-righteous antics will not get you anyone that’s on the fence — your real targets. Sorry.

    EDIT: Also, why the fuck do you insist on actually propagating the objectifying screenshots and such in a post that voices a concern about them?

    • Keirley says:

      I’m so very tired of people writing multi-paragraph comments about how they don’t care about the issues discussed in an article that no one forced them to read.

      • daphne says:

        Seems like an odd thing to get tired of. You should get that checked out.

        Also, beginner-level reading comprehension would dictate that the multi-paragraph aspect of the comment pertains to Nathan’s bulldozer, if-you-don’t-agree-fuck-you approach, and not the ambivalence towards the issue itself.

        • Keirley says:

          My point is that you’re complaining that somebody is talking in a certain way about an issue you supposedly care nothing about in the first place. If you cared nothing about the issue then you wouldn’t be here, reading the article.

          If you don’t like the way Nathan approached the topic, fine. Just don’t pretend like you don’t care about the issue when you clearly, clearly, do.

          • daphne says:

            I see how I might have radiated that vibe, but do you think I would have used expressions such as “I’m past this”, “your sensibilties”, “shielding from symbolic violence and power politics” if I wanted to give an expression of not caring about the actual issue? I do care about and am mindful of it, but no, certainly not making a crusade of it.

            And yes, I’m also saying that being a bulldozer is not really the way to go if you want more people to care about it. This isn’t something like delayed European release dates where there’s communal euphoria in saying a collective fuck you.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        I’m so very tired of articles complaining about ‘offensive’ portrayal of women in video games no one forces the author to play. As with political parties who go after extreme policies that can never be achieved, just to keep having something to keep yelling about; it seems some writers here probably don’t care about solving the issue but more about getting attention. If they actually want to change something, games that don’t agree with their world vision should just be ignored instead of giving promotion. According to some people almost all gamers are female now, so ‘anti-women’ games will soon die out because no one is buying them. Right?

    • Lemming says:

      EDIT: Also, why the fuck do you insist on actually propagating the objectifying screenshots and such in a post that voices a concern about them?

      I’m sure the amount of readers looking for context for the articles outweigh those likely to have a wank about said article.

      • Jimbo says:

        Some of us managed both.

      • Lowbrow says:

        We used to have these speeches when I was in the Corps where the officers would talk about “incidents that happened” and go through all these rule changes that would be going into effect. It always annoyed me that I would have to dig around for scuttlebutt .

        In an adult discussion it’s ok to show the picture of something you don’t think is OK. what a silly argument.

  5. El_MUERkO says:

    But, but, but!!! THE COSPLAY!!! If they’re all sensibly attired for battle then I won’t get to appreciate nearly naked blue ladies with giant foam not-at-all-phallic swords! Really it’s art! This is a travesty, political correctness gone MAD!

  6. Danorz says:

    the problem with “gamers” is that they take any criticism as an attack on the whole medium at once and this really needs to stop.

    • RedViv says:

      Realising that one can criticise bad elements of something one likes without immediately HATING IT SO MUCH OMG is one of the most maturing things.

      • Geebs says:

        I, too, express my new-found maturity in terms of snarky comments about “man-children”

        • The Random One says:

          Snark is super mature. You’ll understand when you grow up.

    • jrodman says:

      Yeah, it’s true.

    • Mathaw says:

      This is the crux of the problem.

      The argument is populated by people that think the hyper sexualisation needs to stop, and those that purportedly don’t care.

      They’re passionate about not caring about things and simultaneously preventing progress for those that do.

      I don’t like to be cynical, but I can only assume that actually these people really like looking at CG asses, but are too embarrassed to admit it? I honestly cannot think of any other reason to defend the practice so fervently.

  7. Nim says:

    It should be well known to anyone capable of reading or even rudimentary thinking that sex sells! And Blizzard’s products sell very very well. The reason all of their female models look like stripperific fantasy ultra models are because they help sell products! It is capitalism pure and simple. Do not for a second doubt that blizzard artists are unaware of this. They know better than anyone how exploitative their designs are, they consciously design their female models for the single purpose of getting as much money out of horny dumbass teenagers as possible. There is no hidden agenda, there is no great conspiracy against women. It’s the art of making money, and Blizzard is swimming in it! They do not want some upstart reporter to rock their money-making boat. This is what you are up against and you are fighting from an disadvantaged position, so get a bit more clever when you try to push this well intended equality agenda. Things are changing industry-wise for the better but forcing opinions on developers during interviews are not winning any battles.

    • Danorz says:

      circular thinking

    • onsamyj says:

      Women have money too.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        Indeed. And that is the reason only women can fix this. If they care about these issues, they should not buy games that offend them anymore. That will get companies thinking and changing. Silly articles won’t.

        • nmarebfly says:

          If women did as you suggest and voted with their wallets by not buying games, the market would shift back to being mostly male and the problems would persist or worsen. Saying that they shouldn’t buy games that have parts they find objectionable ignores the fact they they might thoroughly enjoy everything else about the game and not playing it would be doing themselves a disservice. People should buy what they want to buy, and complain about the parts that they don’t like long and loud enough that the artists / publishers / authors take note. You don’t change anything in pop culture by taking your ball and going home to sulk. You can only change things by making noise, even when noone wants to listen to you. No work is sacrosanct, and no author is immune to criticism.

          • rock_paper_shotgun says:

            You assume that women and like minded men are not capable of starting their own gaming companies. Shame on you.

          • nmarebfly says:

            One, I never said anything of the sort and I’m honestly wondering if you meant to reply to a different post. Two, ‘well why don’t you write something / paint something / make a movie / design a game’ has never been a valid response to any sort of criticism. At the risk of repeating myself, just because you create content does not mean you cannot be questioned about or taken to task for what you’ve made.

            Look at it this way: the content *I* create might well be me saying ‘your art sucks.’ If you view all content creators as sacrosanct, that means you have no right to criticize my criticism. Except that now your criticism of mine is YOUR content, so I have no right to question it. This is repeats ad infinitum, so I don’t think it was ever true in the first place.

        • onsamyj says:

          I, personaly, want more women in gaming, both in developing and consuming. So, I want to encourage devs who do right thing, and boo those who don’t.

          I almost got to “and women are provoking rape?”, but I stopped myself.

        • Mathaw says:

          You’re a special one!

          So you think that games that are actively not marketed to women should not be bought by women to show the makers that they should make games for women?

          Something tells me that you didn’t think too much about that position before posting it?

    • rapchee says:

      if it makes someone think a bit of the issue, it was worth it. all the time it gets mentioned.

    • Zarx says:

      I would be willing to be the artists don’t actually think about how sex sells when they are designing characters both male and female. Most likely they are designing things that appeal to them. Sex does sell yes because sex is fundamentally biologically wired into all animals to seek out sex, and this means that things related to sex are appealing. So this tends to mean when artists try to create appealing designs they will add a sexual element.

      • Cam says:

        Those artists ultimately have to answer to project managers, whose #1 goal most of the time is profit.(they usually go out of business when it isn’t) It’s not a coincidence that pretty much every female character in LoL has splash-images where they stick their chests out as far as possible.(except for the ones that either are, or look like little girls, for obvious reasons) It’s done for the sake of attracting men, and dudebros especially have long been the most reliable customers for gaming companies; just look at how much money some people spend every year on the same FPSs over and over again. Sure, there are plenty of girls who enjoy these games as well, but men are spending far more money on them, and that’s why they market their products specifically at men, even though they’ll deny it if you ask them outright. The point is, these artists aren’t making their designs in a vacuum; their employers have expectations for them, and those expectations are usually something along the lines of “make sexy female characters with revealing clothes because they’re more profitable.”

    • Mathaw says:

      Sex sells, which is why I assume you’re in full support of having bulging cod-pieces in the next WoW expansion?

      Sweaty man cheeks busting forth from their leather bikinis? Totally appropriate.

  8. mpk says:

    More of this, please. I, personally, want comment and opinion like this piece to infiltrate the norm.

  9. Cyphran says:

    Thank you for pushing him on the issue. The only way ignorant people who cannot understand that people around them have thoughts and feelings too is by challenging them. When you guys ask the hard questions over and over to every Dev you can, maybe you’ll at least get through to somebody. Make them challenge their overtly self-centered world view.
    P.S. Don’t read the comments. = p

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      Thinking everyone else should take notice and change according to one’s own value system, also seems a pretty self-centered world view.

      • pepperfez says:

        Or it means you think your value system leads to the best results for everyone, and you want the best results for everyone. Which isn’t arrogant: It’s the only reason to have a value system in the first place.

      • Mathaw says:

        What you’re describing is empathy. Unless you’re a sociopath or autistic it should be a core part of what makes you a human being.

  10. Nenjin says:

    I’ve got to comment on one of those last photos, of the female posterior.

    It’s comparisons like that, which sometimes make me think one segment of the gaming population will not be happy until all female characters are designed wearing thick wool dresses that obscure every hint of their sexuality. Because if anything remotely displays the curvier bits of the female anatomy, it seems someone is liable to get offended.

    Plenty of people will agree gaming goes too far in its sexualization of the female form, to please its core demographic. On the other hand, plenty of media watchers are basically waiting to harp on whatever they deem offensive, even if (by comparison) it’s as tame as the jeans woman choose to wear in real life. I mean, see LuLuLemon pants that are more revealing than that on a daily basis. And women choose to wear them! Can we now stand in judgment of real life women because of how they choose to present themselves? Because they’re “wrecking the species” by embracing their sexuality.

    I mean honestly….what is a woman supposed to look like in a jump suit? Is the fact they even chose a jump suit, instead of a snuggie or something less form fitting, evidence of their willingness to exploit the female form?

    It’s article like these, that, while well-meaning, often go way beyond the mark trying to make their point, until I feel like they’re holding most games up to an unrealistic standard unless they are a: completely sexless and/or b: designed for children instead of adults.

    • nmarebfly says:

      You might notice that even if a guy is wearing a jumpsuit in a game, there is USUALLY not a circumstance where the camera swings behind him at a low angle to show off his wedgie. For some reason, this seems to happen a lot with female characters. Odd.

      • rock_paper_shotgun says:

        Somebody CLEARLY has never played a Metal Gear game :P

    • Tiax says:

      One of the most basic right of any woman is the right to be as dumb as some mens are.

      Therefore, nice one.

    • fuggles says:

      Two fold answer really. 1) if it was a male commando, would he wear that 2) likely wear something more casual, like a normal person or baggier and with more pockets like a military person. It’s not hard, its like that warface crap all over again. They should have a contest, or let rps design some secondary skins, for curiosity’s sake.

      • SillyWizard says:

        Did you know that in the real US Military, uniforms are not only cut differently for men vs women, but even within genders, there’s differences in cut based on size and body-shape?

        The more you know!

        • cekman says:

          Indeed they do! Why, just check out this photo of some female marines. Prepare to have your mind blown by how utterly different the uniforms and armor are from what men would wear. There’s just no comparison! And look how very, very sexy they are! Hell, these things make comic books and video games look tame in comparison. NSFW!

          link to

          And that’s one to grow on.

          • pepperfez says:

            Those obviously aren’t real Marines, they’re just some white knight’s fantasy of disempowered women.

        • fuggles says:

          Your point would only work if the male wore a skin tight unitard and thong, which would never happen, oh and high heels. I work in a uniformed service thanks, everyone fundamentally looks the same, hence the term uniform. There is no design need to be dressed like that with a camera right next to her ass.

    • onsamyj says:

      Women AFK not “embracing their sexuality” – society plainly suggest, through games too, that curvature of their bodies is only thing that matters, only thing that they capable of (well, and babies… okay, and cooking). So, yeah, you may be shocked, but we kinda need to fix that.

      • Nenjin says:

        I’m sorry onsamyj, but how does having a space female wear a form-fitting body suit imply her sexuality is, in your words, “the only thing that matters.” Is her XP framed as “sex appeal?” Does she have “sex appeal” instead of HPs? Deal damage based on sex appeal versus what weapon she carries?

        I see more of your perception bleeding through in your interpretation than what the screenshots or even the games actually say. I think it’s very likely some people see something sexual in game and automatically, based on their own experiences and preferences, start writing in the intent of the artists and developers. Because if you find something arousing in game, clearly, that was the one and only intent behind the whole presentation, right?

        Also I’d be interested to know how those screen caps were taken. There’s a difference between published marketing materials, or a carefully scripted CGI scene and someone loading up the game, zooming in on the ass, taking a picture, cropping out that which interferes with their argument, and going “Look how gratuitous and perverse this is!”

        • onsamyj says:

          They in game not because they have “shooting/piloting/other-space-y-stuff skill better than most people”, but because, surprise, they can be “sexy”.

          But, seeing as you clearly more aware of my thought process than me, you can continue to argue with yourself.

          • Nenjin says:

            You can say that about any character, in any video game, depending on what you decide to disapprove of. Marcus Whatsit is only in Gears of War because he looks good as an inverted triangle of a man. Master Chief in Halo only because he stood erect just so. Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2 because everyone (specifically, this very demographic) likes an intense looking nerd with a beard. As a friend of mine once said, “You can make anything phallic if you think about it long enough.” To the same degree, you can pigeonhole any presentation into a stereotype or exploitation depending on what you decide to cite as an abuse.

            So what is it specifically about HotS (or whatever game you’re directing your generalizations at) that shows they’re only there for their T&A? Do they just moan and coo in cut scenes instead of saying things? Does the story straight up tell you they’re eye candy? Or is it literally just that they have a nicely sculpted butt? Because that implies only homely characters without attractive features can be valued for something non-physical. Where do you draw the line?

          • onsamyj says:

            I draw line at diversity: you said about Gordon Freeman and Marcus Michael Fenix, and you, as a male player, can choose. There is comment here about characters in fighting games: there are buff males, slim males, fat males, clothed males, half-naked males, old males, young males, etc. And they all capable in their lives (in those exapmles: shooting aliens/beating each other up). But what about females? How they differ? Race? Hair color?

            You telling me, that It’s my problem, that I see females as only body? And you not like that, right? Ok, lets assume that you enlightened, but what you see beyond looks, pun unintended? There is nothing there! “Girl” is type of character in most games. Even in GoW series, which is not a good example, you can see somewhat different males (“he is tough because of that”, “he is tough because different reasons”) and “a girl”.

          • age says:

            And MOBAs do have diversity in female design. Its just not highlighted here because the article wants to cherry pick highlight a point.

            Leona, Lulu, Poppy, Sejuani, Kayle, Diana, Fiora, Lissandra, Orianna, Quinn, Lux, Shyvanna and Vayne are all female champions pretty much completely unsexualized. Similar story in DotA. Don’t complain about diversity if you’re unwilling to acknowledge it.

    • pepperfez says:

      Possibly she could look like a woman with a head in a jumpsuit? I mean, seriously, the shot is framed without her head in it so we can get an unobstructed view of her (inexplicably thong-clad) backside. It’s not that it’s super-offensive, it’s just dumb.

      • kleep says:

        Really? All I see is a person standing there. Why are you sexualizing a person wearing a tight jumpsuit which is what EVERY space person wears in that game? Are you really saying that low butt shots never occur for men characters?

        The problem lies with you, not the artists.

        • pepperfez says:

          Are you kidding me? Her butt is in the picture but her head is not. That’s weird framing. Even if that’s a capture of a moving scene, it’s weird that the camera is giving the protagonist a going-over. Anyway, find me the mega-release game prominently, non-comically featuring a man’s perpetually-thong-clad ass and I’ll retract my complaint.

          • nmarebfly says:

            That’s not his ass and you can see his face. Points for a thong, I guess. Oh, and he said ‘perpetually’ so finding a pic from a sex scene is sort of missing the point.

          • pepperfez says:


            I mean, that thong is literally part of Kerrigan’s body by the end, isn’t it (I have not played)? Anyway, it’s what she wears in every shot I’ve seen. Alistair is naked in captivity there, not on the battlefield all empowered-like. A loincloth isn’t his everyday uniform.

    • cekman says:

      RPS originally ran that screenshot, along with a wagonload of others, in this post:
      link to
      You might want to look at that for context, because its whole point is to point up the absurd double standard between the costuming of the male characters and the female character.

      One might also point out that there is a vast continuum between “thick wool dresses” and “skintight jumpsuit practically indistinguishable from nudity”. Or, worse, “glorified metal bikini that we are asked to believe functions as armor even as it exposes most of the torso and thighs of a character who is constantly wading into battle”. To be fair, though, you only get that in about 80% of games. 85%, tops.

      • Nenjin says:

        If we want to argue where something like that screen shot sits on the continuum of exploitation, that’s fine. From 1 being “genderless, sexless and androgynous” to 10 being “The worst you can imagine”, I’d put that at about a 5. Truly. Which is why I find its place in this line up a little…..reactionary? Of course that’s based on opinion and perception, for someone else that might easily be too revealing. But to me it’s not “Might as well be naked.” It’s a reasonably realistic portrayal, erring on the side of sexier than not. If you agree with me on its place on the continuum, then I’d question if a “5” really deserves this level of histrionics.

        Maybe what needs to happen when these kinds of threads come up is the genders of the artists, creative directors and all associated personnel need to be stated. Because I’d love to hear the discussion around when a female artist or art lead makes these kinds of choices. It’s easy to bash because we automatically (and in most cases, rightly) assume it’s a man doing these things. What if it was a woman making these same sorts of decisions? Would the collective we call her a gender traitor, or stand back and respect the artistic decisions she made because she’s actually a woman?

        Double standards cut both ways, IMO. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough examples of the latter to really illustrate this point. Maybe if there were more female artists and art leads, and this kind of stuff disappeared, we’d have our answer. Unfortunately we’re not at that place yet.

        • pepperfez says:

          Really? An alien/space marine/badass lady wearing a visible thong is average? I mean, statistically, you’re right, but that’s exactly the problem here.

          It’s weird that she’s wearing that.

          It’s not a crime against humanity, but it’s weird and we should be able to reflect on that. That we can’t, that there are pages and pages of pushback on calling it out as weird, is a serious problem.

    • Urthman says:

      Fact is Kerrigan just looks stupid with that thong giving her a wedgie. Lots of us are tired of every game looking that way and we want better artwork.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Well said, Mr Grayson! Thank you.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      A comment which has been left uncommented and one to which I’d like to chime in. Well done, good articles both, Nathan. And I’ll just leave it at that.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I’d just like to add my support for this.

      I’ve commented on these articles before with actual arguments and what have you, but really there comes a point when you realise that there will always be people that need to believe that there is nothing wrong with presenting women as sexual objects and presenting men as empowered heroic characters, whether it is because they are so unaware of their privilege that they think having it challenged derides them, or because they actively enjoy their position as empowered through their gender because they feel insecure in so many other ways.

      I’d really like it if RPS nitro ducked a vote up/down system like arstechnica so I could just read through and up vote the comments I agree with, might give a voice to people who would like to add support to a viewpoint but are just to burned out to make the same old arguments again.

      • SuicideKing says:

        I couldn’t have put it better myself.

        I’m sort of ashamed to admit that i’ve burned out and don’t have the energy to engage in discussions like these anymore…especially because the number of people who you can have a sensible argument with keeps deteriorating every time.

    • tigerfort says:


  12. Premium User Badge

    Gassalasca says:

    I am largely with you, Nathan, although, unlike in some other venues, in MOBAs the male characters seem to be almost equally hypersexualized. I.e. if they’re human-like, they’ll have bulging muscles etc.

    In other words, they look more or less equally silly “cool”.

    • John Funk says:

      False equivalence. Yeah, Tryndamere and Lee are shirtless and ripped but they’re still designed as male power fantasies, not (heterosexual female/gay male) sexual fantasies. They’re shown as badass, there to make you think “Man I want to be like that.”

      Whereas Zyra and Elise and Ahri are there to make straight male players think “damn, they’re hot.” Both male and female champs/skins are designed to appeal to the heterosexual menfolk, one as a sex fantasy and the other as a wish fulfillment fantasy.

      I would love for Riot to release ACTUALLY objectifying skins for the male champions to give the ladies and gay men some eye candy. Out-of-the-Shower Garen wearing a towel carrying a giant loofah. Banana Hammock Taric (link to

      • Yglorba says:

        If you want an example of how people react to actual male sexualization, think about how some guys reacted to the sexualized male Calvin Klein ads (one of the few really blatant examples of real male sexualization in recent cultural memory.) I know a huge number of guys who were openly weirded out by them.

        (It’s still not equivalence because the context is different, but looking at the difference between that and bulging-muscle Conan fantasies shows you how the latter isn’t really sexualized.)

        Although now I’m picturing an actually hypersexualized hero based on those male models. Wears nothing but tight boxers outlining his enormous shlong, his bare chest constantly glistening, just a bit, with perspiration. Heals and buffs allies by leaning in behind them and giving them sensual massages, or attacks with noticeably eroticized wrestling. Confuses, charms, and debuffs enemy heroes with come-hither looks…

      • Philomelle says:

        Curious observation: most of the male players I play LoL with actually do not care about Ahri at all, and often forget she exists in discussions. Meanwhile, most female players adore both her and her lore.

        Not an argument to the contrary of your statement. Just something I noticed.

        • negativedge says:

          curious observation: a high percentage of games I play that involve Ahri open with one or more of the players expressing their desire to rape her. it’s a much higher percentage for her than for anyone else. who knows why. welcome to league of legends.

          • Philomelle says:

            I’ve been playing League of Legends for two years now. In those two years, I have yet to run into a single person who made a rape joke toward Ahri in any games involving me. That’s despite her being one of my favored champions, alongside Diana and Sejuani. I honestly don’t know why your experience differs from mine that badly.

            I do sometimes end up reporting players for sexism, but only three got on my case for being a woman at any point. All of them got mass-reported. Riot is pretty harsh about that stuff.

          • negativedge says:

            I know they try, but it’s possible that they would have to try a little bit less if the mindset of these children wasn’t reinforced in the art of the game. It’s a bit of losing effort to tell people they can’t act like assholes to women when they’re playing as Sexy Maid Nidalee and laning against Sexy Teacher Fiora.

            I end up reporting at least one person for some reason or another in a strong majority of my games.

          • Philomelle says:

            So do I, but it’s never for sexism. I had people who threw temper tantrums over being asked to work with the team, people who splurged homophobic and racist slurs, spammers and trolls. But sexism is something I very rarely run into.

            Out of curiosity, on which server and in which bracket are you?

          • AngelTear says:

            Actually, if I were to re-design LOL’s characters to be less sexist, Ahri is the one I wouldn’t change. She’s the only one that makes sense as a sexy character, and that side of her, for once, is not just superfluous and objectifying, but it’s empowering for her, through her charm (her E ability). What I would like to see, is a male character with a charm ability, and not a fear ability. If it’s ok for Ahri to charm both males and females, then it should also be ok for a male character to do the same, to be so sexy as to charm other champions of all genders.

            It’s ok to have some characters who are genuinely sexy in a game with so many champions, unless we do want to support anachronistically conservative views that some of our detractors accuse us of.

            What is more sexist, IMO, is rather that most female characters are sexy for no reason other than “why not”, and the exceptions are just too few (Leona; Kayle, Poppy); or even worse, that any character who belongs to some weird non-human race is male.Think about it: Orianna is a robot girl but looks very much like a regular human. Zyra, Evelynn, Cassiopeia and Nami look a lot like humans, with their breasts showing off. Anivia is the only counter-example, and she’s just 1 in 100+. Compare Maokai and Warwick: they don’t look like men. Why is blitzcrank man by default? Why are Nasus, Zac, Alistar, Amumu, Fizz, Karthus, Kassadin, Fiddlesticks, Heimer (I could go on) men by default, even though they don’t show any particular sign that characterizes them as male?

            (I’ll drop this here, since it’s related link to )

            Another, gameplay-related criticism. It’s good that LOL has so many female characters, but think about their roles: how many female characters are actually tanky? I can only think of a few (Sejuani, Leona, Poppy). Women are relegated to fragile roles (adc, support, apc); sure they deal a lot of damage, but it helps reinforce the idea that they’re fragile and to be protected by men.

            I’ll say that again, together with some others here: the problem is not that a female character is designed as sexy, it’s that all (most) female characters are designed and sexy and (almost) only that, while male characters get to be a lot of different and interesting things.

          • Philomelle says:

            I imagine Nasus is male because he is an expy of Egyptian deity Anubis. Karthus and Kassadin are humans, it’s just that one of them died some time ago and the other has been severely corrupted by Void energies. There is still a person behind that heavy alien mask, however. Heimer and Amumu… well, they’re Yordles. There are a lot of female Yordles in the game, though obviously, Riot never designed them in a sexual fashion due to their child-like appearance.

            All that said, I wish Riot would design a seductive male character who uses his charm as a gameplay mechanic. Obviously we have Twisted Fate, Draven and Vladimir, but charisma is only part of their personality; it plays no effect in gameplay.

            The lack of female tank was acknowledged as a problem around a year ago, when numerous people complained about how all marksmen were female while all tanks were male. Leona and Graves were the first attempts to soften that issue, with Sejuani coming in on the tank side later, while the male marksman issue was given Draven, Lucian and Varus (who, I should note wears only a chest guard). It’s still a long way from being equally populated, but the good thing is that Riot acknowledged it as a problem and they’re slowly seeding squishy male chars and female tanks into the game.

            The issue of non-human females being “ladies in a costume” has also been called out. IronStylus, the designer behind Leona and Sejuani, actually complained about at length and feels it only squanders design opportunities for new skins because anything that can be designed for that champion will only be more “lady in a costume”. But with that, who knows when it will be fixed properly. We know Evelynn is being reworked completely, from her design to her lore. Maybe the result will be something interesting.

            ( Also, I’m sorry but I’d rather not even watch that video. Knowing that I gave a thief and a liar another point on her view numbers for a monetized video is upsetting enough. )

      • Lusketrollet says:

        They’re shown as badass, there to make you think “Man I want to be like that.”

        Oh-fucking-wow. Thanks for telling us all exactly how someone else were thinking when they designed some characters.

        • pepperfez says:

          It’s true! Artistic criticism is impossible because we aren’t psychic! Good catch!

      • SillyWizard says:

        False equivalence, eh. I guess that’s why this isn’t a thing at all: link to

        • John Funk says:

          Congratulations, you’ve hit on genuinely objectified men. It isn’t just the muscles+shirtless, it’s the entire way they’re portrayed. Welcome to the Female Gaze.

          Now imagine if every male video game hero was portrayed exactly like that.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Why would I do that? Since women aren’t 100% exclusively sexualized in video games. A lot of the time? Sure. And men are similarly unrealistic — frequently, but not exclusively.

            A few examples: Alyx in HL2; Jade in Beyond Good and Evil; Zelda; the Princesses in Mario games; Samus Aran; a variety of characters in games like Final Fantasy Tactics or the Fire Emblem series, who are totally capable characters but whose sexuality isn’t given a second thought.

            And I haven’t even played most games in the world! I’m sure there are quite literally dozens if not hundreds of female characters in games who are totally respectable.

            Since your problem was apparently that “every” female character in video games is hypersexualized, I guess you can rest easy. That’s not the case after all! So you can stop crusading, if you’d like, or you can crusade in the form of producing more acceptable alternatives for mass consumption.

          • Jenks says:

            “So you can stop crusading, if you’d like”

            He wouldn’t like. This is how they get off.

          • John Funk says:

            Oh good, it’s time to trot out the, like, 12 well-designed female characters of prominence in videogames. How many of them are old, or ugly? How many of them are overweight or otherwise unconventionally attractive? Even Alyx, Samus, Lara – good characters in their own right – are all still super hot.

            Sure, Nate Drake’s a good-looking guy but we have Sully in the same series, who’s old. Marcus Fenix isn’t going to be winning any beauty contests. Take FFX – which, for the record is one of my favorite games of all time – the male characters are young and pretty, more muscled but still attractive, a monster dude and an old guy. Whereas the ladies, you have… three conventionally attractive women, albeit attractive in different ways.

            Character designers are allowed to actually do interesting things with male characters. Female characters aren’t given that same luxury 99% of the time.

            This industry that I love is exclusionary to people who aren’t straight white men. I will not stop “crusading” as you put it for that to change.

          • Machocruz says:

            Nintendo has obviously been giving Samus’ sexuality a lot of thought. Or is it coincidence that she is both stacked to the rafters and her Zero suit, which they have her in in countless promos, is skin tight?

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        I hate to burst your bubble (not really), but you should think a second about what the male power fantasy is all about…. Yes, about getting sex. So both are in fact forms of sexualization. Like it or not, humans are at the very base just animals that have a strong desire to mate. In general, men find women attractive if they show signs of high fertility (breasts, ass) so they can have babies. In general women find men attractive if they show signs of strength and healthy genes so they can give them healthy babies and protect them.

        That’s why an extreme attention has been given to those things for thousands of year.

        • pepperfez says:

          It just isn’t an internet comments section without evo-psych.

        • alw says:

          Wouldn’t that be more a sexual fantasy than a power fantasy?

          • The Random One says:

            For the Archetypical Man That You Should Aspire To Be Even Though He’s Clearly a Psychopath, sexual and power fantasies are the same thing.

        • Ich Will says:

          I do not want to touch the debate going on here with a bargepole, but I will just point out that “Breasts and ass” are not signs of fertility and as human males, we are demonstrably not more or less attracted to “fertile females”. Further more there are no physicals signs of fertility, a woman’s ability to have children is not linked to any physical feature that you can see in polite company.

          If you believe that women with bigger breasts are better able to breastfeed (and other such nonsense like this), and you are prepared to perpetuate such false statements, you need to find some better education than that which you’ve already been given.

          Men and women tend to be attracted to features that their peers are attracted to. That’s right, its entirely subjective and influenced by fashion. Nothing biological about it.

      • Jimbo says:

        So what would sexual fantasy and wish fulfilment characters designed for straight females look like visually?

      • Freud says:

        Care to explain what a female power fantasy would be? They seem to be as awesome at killing stuff as the (more naked) men in these games, which is the key element of the male power fantasy here.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gassalasca says:

        Don’t you think that’s begging the question a bit?

        I mean I find the idea of a male player actually wanting to be more like some of the comically brawny beefcake caricatures equally ridiculous as the idea of female players wanting to look like Ahri or any other breasts-like-a-milking-cow female characters. Personally, I would like fewer of both.

    • bv728 says:

      Except that the bulging musclebound character is almost never portrayed as sexy. They’re portrayed as powerful. Google image search “Sexy Firemen” – go ahead, turn on safe search, I’ll wait.

      Compare the poses you see – the poses commonly shown are submissive, they’re looking up at the viewer, they’ve arched their back and twisted their hips. Their hips are commonly visible. They’re actually pretty similar to sexy lady pictures, in fact.

      How do you see those bulging musclebound characters in the art? They’re looking down. They’re completely covered. They’re in threatening poses or “neutral” poses, often when not threatening, they’re in Guarded poses, arms crossed over chest (and don’t get me started in arms crossed over chest – women in video game art seem to have a thing against it, crossing them under breasts, which is another standard ‘look at these’ indicator). In short, they’re dominant powerful figures who are not vulnerable or needy.

      • Reapy says:

        Do straight women like banana hammock and or arched submissive muscular poses? The ones I have met typically go for the empowered strong types that arent supposed to place expectations on male behavior, which they do. Men and women of every orientation get aroused differently.

        I mean, I get it, there is no variety, but games are plagued by shitty characters of all genders. The attention grabbing games often target males, the largest consumer base for games by far. I have no clue how to get them to write good characters. Nor include great female characters to boot.

        I can’t see pushes like this gaining any traction. As usual, like game design, indies will be the only place to push ‘new’ ideas into the AAA house. When someone does the minecraft of well written characters, maybe they will take notice, when the money is there for them to snag. AAA dev for the art and love is well dead.

        • Lemming says:

          I always thought the brooding antihero was the female fantasy trope. Jim Raynor fits that template pretty well. I wonder if any women would in chime in on whether they find Raynor attractive?

        • bv728 says:

          Mass media sexy aimed at women is bought by women. While you certainly can’t say something will be attractive to all women, there are common tropes in stuff designated “sexy” for women, and it certain seems to sell. Are you arguing that this is being bought by gay men, or are you just making the obvious and completely unrelated point that individual tastes may vary? Because as you acknowledge, it’s about the total industry.

          Secondly, women are about 50% of gaming spending, and have been for a while. It’s not new, it’s not unusual, but developers love to ignore it, or pretend they’re already serving female fans, because they have no alternatives. AAA and even AA development is largely dominated by people who see no issue with the constant ass shots, the women with high heels physically built into their feet, etc etc. Indie games aren’t changing that, ignoring it isn’t changing that, so when the opportunity presents, we should take a stand and make them justify their decisions.

      • thescribe says:

        So I just tried this experiment and I’m not getting your results, for as many pages as I went (until the search stopped being relevant) I got firemen in very dominant poses, lots of flexing and lifting things while wearing banana hammocks. For disclosure I’m a dude, but they seem pretty aggressive/dominant to me. I did find two very submissive, looking firemen but they were down even after ‘ladies in fireman Halloween costumes’ on the relevancy.

        Maybe google is filtering out the submissively posed firemen for me?

    • alphyna says:

      I don’t think you (or anyone else who uses this arguement) are entirely correct.

      Having huge muscles is *both* sexy and empowering. Having big boobs is *just* sexy. So if we strip sex away, overly muscled guys still do get something (they’re still strong, which means they don’t only serve those that they sexually attract, but also those who can identify with them). Overly endowed ladies get nothing.

      See? Not equal.

      • Reapy says:

        Being sexy is equally empowering, I’d say even more so in the culture we live in where honestly you don’t beat your way into money, relationships, or any form of power.

  13. akins286 says:

    Thanks for pushing this issue, it needs to be pushed.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      Off a ledge.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        Oh hi! Didn’t I meet you at the ‘Appropriate name awards’? You asked me why I was nominated and I said “because I’m called Eddy” and I asked you why you were nominated and it got a bit awkward…

      • Michael Fogg says:

        Into lava!

  14. John Funk says:

    It’s a strange tug of war. On the one hand, LoL has many more female playable characters than Dota does. It arguably has more confirmed non-heterosexual characters than Dota does and I’m wracking my mind but I can’t THINK of a black hero in Dota 2 (though you do have blue, green people, walrus people etc).

    On the other, LoL’s probably-gay champion Taric is generally played for laughs (he runs a theater production when not fighting and has an alternate costume that’s pink armor with legwarmers), even the sensibly dressed LoL ladies have alternate skins that show more of them than practical for the battlefield (Battle Bunny Riven, Heartseeker Vayne, Valkyrie Leona – I’ll give Pool Party Leona a pass just because Graves and Lee strip down too). And of course there’s the whole Zyra/Elise MUST HAVE LONG LEGS PERKY BOOBS AND SKINNY bodytype as the only one that’s allowed.

    Is problematic representation better than no representation?

    *That said, Lucian, though a token, is pretty neat and portrayed as aracial, even if the LoL community makes some pretty gross jokes about him. And there are the yordle ladies and Annie.

    • The Random One says:

      “Is problematic representation better than no representation?”

      Yes, but good representation is better than either.

      • Pixieking says:

        “Is problematic representation better than no representation?”

        I’d argue it’s debatable, to be honest. Having some representation at the start is good, but unless it matures, all you end up with is cliches and stereotypes, which perpetuate a negative (or, rather, non-positive) view of whoever you’re representing. A good example would be the “safe” gay character, usually stereotyped in movies as the main female character’s best friend, or a fashion designer.

      • John Funk says:

        Oh, of course. I would rather have an entire game full of Leonas and Quinns. I’m just pondering which is better between what exists NOW.

    • alexg says:

      Chen and Warlock are both intended to be black I believe, but in-game lighting can make them look somewhat fairer.

      • John Funk says:

        Warlock’s a stretch. But I can see Chen – his features are clearly designed to be “african” even if the skin tone looks weird in-game.

        OK, I stand corrected – thanks!

        • BooleanBob says:

          Dragon Knight is voiced by a black dude. Of course, you never actually get to see underneath the armour – even though his helmet is open-faced – so calling it ‘representation’ might be a bit of a stretch.

  15. jealouspirate says:

    How does this relate to violence in gaming? We don’t get bent out of shape about that. In fact, we go to great lengths to say that glorifying violence in games does NOT affect our “real world” behaviour. Aren’t we now making the opposite argument?

    • The Random One says:

      There are few people who believe killing people is normal, whereas there are many people who believe women being submissive/dressing for how they look to men/being judged only for their appearance is normal.

      • NotToBeLiked says:

        Those people are scum, just like racists or anyone else with extreme prejudices. Should normal people suffer the removal of some mindless entertainment because there are people around with dumb ideas?
        Also, people who think women inferior to men in some way, won’t change that idea because of video games. They are fundamentalist idiots who are usually beyond help.

        • The Random One says:

          You seem to believe that the only people who are sexist are people who live in rundown shacks with their Russian bride updating their PUA blogs. There are many people who don’t consciously think women are inferior, but have internalized the ideas that (to cite a few) they should be judged on their looks; they exist to serve men; they should be subservient to a male figure. Media that portray women in these roles increases the degree the which these beliefs are internalized, while media that challenges these roles decreases this degree until, hopefully, these beliefs can enter conscious thought where they can be challenged.

          People who are a little bit sexist are worse than people who are absolute scum, because they make the absolute scum think everyone thinks like them.

    • LogicalDash says:

      We’re talking about a multiplayer game in this case, so the way you behave in the game affects other people. It’s much more… logical… to call female players “slutty” if that’s how their avatar looks to you.

      If you’d like more women to play, give them more characters they’d like to play as.

    • Awesumo says:


  16. MellowKrogoth says:

    Oh god, this topic again. Listen, I agree that’s women being automatically designed as sexy pin-ups in most games is occasionally annoying. It probably reflects in part the still mostly male audience of games, and maybe even reflects latent sexism in our society.

    But, on the other hand, just look around you. Women dress in a way more revealing way than men. When going to classy parties, women’s way to “dress up” is actually to reveal more skin and emphasize their shapes, while men show less skin, rather emphasize their massive form and adopting a formal dress that suggests power or authority. Both sexes enjoy when the opposite sex dresses this way.

    So, it appears that the representation of both sexes in-game are just an extension of that, slightly exaggerated. Women showing off their natural attributes while men attempt to look powerful.

    Personally I see nothing wrong with that. In a game where realism is a major focus, sure you’d expect women warriors to wear something more like Joan of Arc. But when it’s not (i.e. most fantasy games), the character design just seems to answer the question “Describe yourself looking cool in a fantasy setting without any concern for utility”.

    As it is most women gamers don’t seem to complain about this state of things (besides the very vocal feminists that exist in every walk of life). A girl gamer I met at some convention actually suggested it would be more to her taste if we made the visuals of a game I was working on more like those of an Asian game she showed me, with extremely revealing female character costumes! And if more games were done for a female audience I doubt the female characters would be any less sexy, just look at girl toys and movies. Or even the mod community: many of the Oblivion/Skyrim female nude mods are actually made by females.

    • John Funk says:

      Chicken and egg. Also, think about what you’re saying: Do women dress up sexily because they always want to, or because society tells them that’s how they’ll be valued and found attractive?

      • Nenjin says:

        How about they decide that for themselves instead of us doing the typical male thing and telling them how it should be.

        • John Funk says:

          Uh, I’m not doing that at all. If a woman wants to dress super sexily and skimpily, that is 100% her right and choice.

          Female characters in fiction are not real people. They have no agency. An artist decided to put them in that to appeal to the audience.

          Stop comparing the two. It’s a very disingenuous argument.

          • Nenjin says:

            You broached the topic of what women in real life wear. You cannot backpedal from that now as though you didn’t say it. That’s what I’m responding to.

            Specifically, questioning whether they’re just wearing what society expects them to wear. Which I think is trying to place blame someplace, when we should be focusing on that it’s a woman’s choice and our preferences or view points should have little to do with it.

          • John Funk says:

            I was explaining to the dude I responded to why “but girls dress sexy in real life” isn’t really a good argument for fiction. That’s all.

      • dogoncrook says:

        You do realise that women fought pretty Damn hard to be able to show skin at all right? Your kinda ignoring that society only recently even allowed this expression. Society did everything in it’s power to cover up sexuality in most places for thousands of years. This may shock you but most women from the fifties or so, might call this liberation, warts and all, or at least progress. Hence why many feminists praise playboy for breaking the notion that women were only interested in being devoted dishwashers, and Sunday school teachers. Without society there would be no clothes in the first place, but for the majority of history I would say society has pushed for more clothes, not less.

        I won’t have time to reply so I’ll just add I’m not defending sexism, just that your notion of whats right may very well be sexist as well. I mean my grandmother would punch you if you told her society pushed her to wear less conservative attire. She fought for that, and she’s proud of it, and I’m sure many of the older people in your family would tell you the same. Not saying your wrong or anything, but this issue isn’t so cut and dry, just trying to point out there isn’t one mind of what is or isn’t sexist even among the feminist, and human rights movements.

        • John Funk says:

          It isn’t that “society pushes [women] to wear less conservative attire,” you’re right – there has been for millennia forces that value women only for their purity and chastity. And in that respect, being able to be half naked in a bikini is a hard-won right.

          But even if those standards have changed, the fact that women have traditionally been valued only for their beauty has not. Those standards of what is beautiful have changed, though.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Women defended the right to wear what they wanted to, not to dress skimpily, and they certainly didn’t fight and die so that men could have the right to depict them as sex objects for the use of other men.

          This is not about how women choose to dress, this is about how men represent and use them, it is male objectification not the female liberation that women fought for. Get your facts straight.

          • dogoncrook says:

            Women defended the right to wear what they wanted to, not to dress skimpily, and they certainly didn’t fight and die so that men could have the right to depict them as sex objects for the use of other men.

            Generalizing and all, but wrong on all counts. Those issues are not the crux of it, but they were without any doubt included.

          • harbinger says:

            “Women defended the right to wear what they wanted to, not to dress skimpily”
            I beg to differ: link to

            And you know, if you have such a problem with the depictions of women in media, including as often perpetuated by female artists and wanted by female gamers and general audiences as well as the way some people choose to dress I have a few hot tips of countries you can move to where you won’t have that problem.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            Dressing skimpily is part of being able to wear what you like, duh. But the purpose of the protests was liberation, that women wanted to wear what they liked and this included them wearing as little as they wanted.

            Men constantly portraying women as underdressed sex objects for other men to ogle is not liberation and has nothing to do with a woman’s right to wear what she likes, so don’t try that “you’d probably want women to all wear burkas, durrrr” bullshit.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Eddy my friend, i admire your persistence, i’d have given up quite a few posts ago.

  17. animeirl says:

    As someone who studied media influence in college these people are doubly infuriating because they’re dismissing nearly a century of rigorous scientific study when they attempt to shut people up by saying that they “don’t have a message.” It’s rather ironic considering most of them probably consider evolution deniers to be absurd and delusional despite committing a very similar intellectual sin because it threatens their current worldview.

  18. onsamyj says:

    Tough spacemarine and buff half-naked barbarian are bad stereotypes too. I’m not joking, one very smart woman once told me (well, not me personaly), that feminism is against all gender stereotypes. Not female stereotypes – gender stereotypes. All of them.

    Than’s why I often dismiss people (mostly guys), who cry about “naked pixels” – they do it for wrong reasons or they don’t get it. Trust me, I know how it sounds :) *he said from very high tower*

    Here you attack not nakedness, but dismissal of discussion itself, I understand, but… You can dress Blizzard characters apropritaly, they still be undeveloped cliches, created with (mostly male) fantasies in mind: they sell not sex, not only sex – they sell empowerment, often over someone (mostly, you guess it, females). So, I’m not saying that you wrong, but… I don’t know, the accent is not there it suppose to be, or something.

    And don’t get me started on just changing one set of stereotypes (“girls have to be sexy”) to another (“girls can’t be sexy”)…

    • Darthus says:

      @onsamyj: Well put sir. To ignore the fact that the vast majority of heroic men in video game media are ridiculously strong, large and hyper masculine, and the message that sends to men who aren’t naturally built like that is a little bit gender-imbalanced in itself.

      • The Random One says:

        There we go again. Sing with me:

        Women in video games show their boobs and breasts ♪
        Because that’s what they think men find attractive ♫
        Men in video games show their muscles ♪
        Because that’s what they think men want to be ♪
        Men are a fantasy for men to be ♪
        Women are a fantasy for men to stare ♫

        Wow, that’s an awful song! It doesn’t scan at all! Please don’t make me sing it again.

        • onsamyj says:

          Sadly, you need to sing it many more times.

        • Asurmen says:

          And how do you know that the muscles are there for male power fantasy, and not because the artist believes that’s what women want to see?

          • The Random One says:

            Because the shot composition in cutscenes and publicity frames men powerfully (center of the shot in the center of mass, level camera angle, muscles frame the picture, harsh lighting, character appears tense) and women submissively (center of the shot at crotch level or between the breasts, tilted or dutch angles, soft lighting, character appears relaxed even when not in a situation that would demand so). Guitar riff waaa weeerblnghblblblblwrblllllh.

          • Asurmen says:

            That is you assuming how and why the artist designed and posed the frame. I say again, how do you know it wasn’t designed like that for a woman and not a man.

        • jrodman says:

          On the plus side, I learned about unicode note characters.

    • onsamyj says:

      As I read comments here (stupid idea, I know), I see more people focusing precisely on this one aspect: now they arguing that they don’t want games about ugly normal-looking chicks people. Goddammit, Nathan, that’s all your fault!

      • Grayvern says:

        Your argument seems targeted to individual narrative stereotyping not broad gender based stereotyping.

        A moba or any game with little narrative, will have a hard time having enough depth to create characters with no stereotyping at all.

        Furthermore female characters can be well developed and still fall prey gender to stereotyping just as male ones can.

        However having a lot of characters, the art has some scope to defy expectation, and given that characters abilities often aren’t physical it’s entirely possible to have a very diverse roster that defies gender if not individual stereotyping.

        You are assuming people see no difference between showing skin and sexualized depictions, that there is no bias in whose gaze the characters are created for, differences of effect based on differing gender the homogenous nature of female depictions vs the variety male ones.

        Stereotypes of strength based masculinity are not necessarily universal there are many avenues to normative male success in society involving smarts, money power etc.

        Whereas the depiction of females centering on sexual allure speaks to a much more universealistic gender evaluation of women in society.

        You are also assuming that sexual depiction does not distract from any other qualities that the characters possess, especially apposite in a moba situation where women are occupying roles that are broadly similar and equal to the male characters with often the only difference being sexualiseation.

        I question whether the thrust of your argument in the initial post isn’t simply distracting from the issue, in the same way that discussion of intolerance often do in the face of barbaric regimes.

        • onsamyj says:

          I think interview with Blizzard here as example, so we can talk about all games. If not, than yes, you just need to make characters more visually diverse, nothing to argue about.

          I completely agree with you, but look at comments – they can’t pass beyond “naked girls are good/bad”, when problem is more than that. It’s about no stereotypes of any kind, no social pressure to behave in “appropriate” way, freedom and all that good stuff, but, maybe, some of them afraid that there is going to be no more porn if “feminists” win :)

    • onsamyj says:

      One more thing *cough*Anthony is smart dude*cough*: all stereotypes are just lazy. That’s alone has to be huge slap to any creative person. And no, “sexy [blank]” doesn’t count as “different [blank] type”.

    • LogicalDash says:

      You don’t have to pick. Blizzard can dress their characters up however they want to. They will probably release a lot of in-game items to let you dress them up how YOU want to.

      Providing more variety in the character designs is good business sense, really. Why exclude potential paying customers? But they don’t want to consider it for some reason.

  19. Darthus says:

    I’m not going to jump into the sure-to-be-ensuing fray of whether or not it’s ok to have hyper-sexualized female characters in video games.

    I am however going to say that there is a difference between asking challening, pointed questions about a game, and waiting until the very end of an interview when you’re being motioned to go to drop a hugely sensitive bomb on a game developer completely out of left field (can you find the natural transition in the discussion that led to that question? I can’t, it seems like Nathan had it up his sleeve and really wanted to put the devs on the hot seat to answer for industry’s ‘transgressions’)

    This is the exact same ridiculous stuff that happened around boycotting PAX that nearly caused a huge portion of the site to leave and led to a semi-apology on RPS’s part.

    I (and many others) began to read this site because it’s one of the few thoughtful PC gaming focused news orgs out there. Does pro-feminism, anti-racist, anti-ruthless capitalism content belong on a PC focused gaming website? That’s an open question. But I do think if it IS one of the pillars of the site, at the very least make it well know that you are not a PC gaming focused website and are instead a politically/socially activist PC gaming website. It would make it much easier for people to decide whether or not to read, and also for devs to know whether they should give you an interview.

    • Yglorba says:

      That’s… not how I remember the PAX issue going at all. My recollection was that the comments were largely supportive, at least here.

      • Darthus says:

        Selective perception I guess. I saw many who supported, but also saw many who said, “I don’t want to read this type of stuff.” to which others said, “Good riddance”.

    • The Random One says:

      This is a PC gaming blog. It posts about PC games. It posts about racism and mysoginy as it relates to PC games. It posts about new computer technologies as it relates to PC games. It posts about non-PC games as it relates to PC games (i.e. SteamDig is coming on PC! Journey isn’t! ;_;) It posts about Michael Jackson as it relates to PC games.

      The Border House is a site about feminism and equality that posts about PC games. RPS is a PC games site that posts about equality. The fact that you are so bothered about them talking about feminism (as opposed to, say, Michael Jackson) tells me more about you than about RPS.

      • Darthus says:

        It tells you nothing about me, so please don’t make assumptions about my viewpoints. I (unlike others) do my best to keep personal value judgement out of my writing.

        That’s my point. Posting about “topics” is not what this is about. It’s about posting about societal opinions as part of news. Michael Jackson is not a societal/value based opinion. Feminism is. It’s the same as posting about God’s love in every article, or decrying games that depict Jesus in a negative light, as a rule on the site. Are you allowed to let your influences impact your article’s content? Of course, how could you not? But it’s when it becomes an overaching theme of your writing or all interviews that you do that it becomes less of an underlying frame, and more of a crusade.

        • LogicalDash says:

          You, ah, consider a persistent concern with equal rights for women to be a “crusade”? Like, a campaign of religious persecution?

          I guess I can see how that would work if you happened to belong to a religion that was OPPOSED to equal rights for women…

        • The Random One says:

          So when you call out RPS on posting too much about feminism that’s because they’re upholding their personal opinions to a level that damages their writing, while when I call you out on singling out feminism as a topic they shouldn’t cover I’m making unreasonable assumptions about your belief because you are completely neutral.

          OK then. Continue to be completely neutral in your writing, because that’s the way to write quality works. After all, everyone recognizes the best works of literature in the English language to be the Dictionary and the Encyclopedia.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      I agree. I also remember a horribly insulting, verbally violent attacking interview with the Hotline Miami devs.

      • Geebs says:

        I think Nathan came across as less horribly self-righteous in this one but he’s still a bit Paxman-ish; you don’t gain a lot from this stuff other than confirming that people don’t look all that good when you suddenly attack them in the middle of a conversation, especially where time was probably limited. You don’t learn anything at all about somebody’s thought process beyond their most basic threat response behaviour, which probably bears little relation to their actual views.

    • Frank says:

      Yeah, I think he asked it knowing the answer he would get, but, eh.

      Also I think you’re confused here: ” you are not a PC gaming focused website and are instead a politically/socially activist PC gaming website”… because, you know, the first label applies with or without the second one

  20. SillyWizard says:

    It’s stylized character art. They do it for the men (and the aliens/monsters/what-have-you) as much as for the women.

    If all (or most or even half) of the characters in these games were drawn to be reflective of what actual human beings look like, I expect it would be pretty boring. A handful of general body-types and a few variations on how overweight/underweight people can be.

    Game designers are in the business of making money (unfortunately), and to do that they need to appeal to people. There really isn’t much in the world that appeals to everyone. So you end up with comic book art-style in a game, because it’s more likely to be successful than a bunch of tubby character art in a game.

    (Speaking of which, who’s to say that one type of character art is less empowering than another? I’m just as likely to feel empowered playing a buxom succubus as by a dumpy housewife wielding a vacuum cleaner or whatever it is you want to have in the game/all the games.)

    I dunno. It’s just really uncomfortable to me when people feel like they have a right to poo-poo an artist’s choices. If you don’t like it, don’t support it; and if you end up without the game you want to play, go make the game you wanted to play. I’m sure a bunch of folks would be ecstatic to play a game filled with boring, real-life-esque characters. In the meantime, demonstrably more people don’t care to do any such thing.

    Leave them alone.

    • John Funk says:

      Except Riot is quite clearly capable of designing badass-looking women and outfits who don’t look like strippers. Spellthief Lux. Iron Solari Leona. Any of Riven’s non-Battle Bunny outfits. Quinn, the Yordle girls and Annie, redone Sejuani, Orianna (sort of).

      Falling back on “must be sexy” to be interesting is really lazy character design.

      • SillyWizard says:

        So LoL has non-sexy characters, too? Then what more do you want? No sexy characters at all?

        There are honest-to-goodness sexy women in the world. Why should they get short shrift? Maybe they want to be empowered, too.

        • John Funk says:

          There are, but a female fictional character doesn’t get to choose what she finds empowering, she wears whatever her designer thinks would A.) look cool and B.) appeal to the fans. A fictional character has no agency.

          Sexy is not bad. ONLY sexy all the time, that is bad. LoL has two types of models for its women: childlike (the Yordles, Annie) and tall/thin/curvy/big boobs (everyone else). …okay, and Jinx too. Three types of models.

          Even the “good” designs like Quinn and Leona still fit that general body type. Compare that to, say, Ezreal, Graves, Taric and Gragas off the top of my head.

          • kleep says:

            Why is “only sexy bad”? Because you don’t like it. Well guess what? I think X is bad so anything with X must be bad and I want all gaming companies to bow before my dictates because I am more important than everyone else.

          • John Funk says:

            I’m actually quite a fan of sexy people, both male and female, so your strawman arguments are kind of silly.

            We want a more inclusive industry. And that means trying to fight against sexism, racism, homo/transphobia, and so on.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Your continued statements about drawings not being able to choose their own attire are idiotic to the point where I have no response to make about it other than this one.

            Go read what Nenjin said to you.

          • John Funk says:

            So, you don’t have an answer for my point that criticizing oversexualized character designs is nothing like shaming women for their choice of clothing in real life. Good to know.

            Nenjin didn’t really have a point other than to make that fallacious argument above and try to argue that doing one was doing the other, so I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Criticizing character designs is not shaming a real life person’s wardrobe, nor is it saying that “sexy is always bad.”

          • SillyWizard says:

            I have no response to your repeated assertions that exploiting ink on paper (ie, making sexy drawings) is akin sexist because the drawings don’t get to choose what they wear?

            It boggles the mind. So I have no response to it other than: that’s a stupid thing to say. Please stop saying it at me. Or anything else, for that matter. Please.

          • John Funk says:

            Ok, I can’t tell if you’re being willfully obtuse and trolling or you legitimately don’t get it.

            Person A: “You’re telling women they can’t be sexy now? Some women like to dress sexy, are you going to make them dress all in burkas? Don’t feminists hate slut-shaming?”

            Person B: “That argument is silly and irrelevant because real people have agency and choice while fictional characters do not.”

            That’s the extent of it. I’m not sure why you latched on to it so hard.

    • warcroft says:

      Thats just it though, they do want to play the game, but Nathan wants the developers to make the game his way.

    • Viroso says:

      “If all (or most or even half) of the characters in these games were drawn to be reflective of what actual human beings look like, I expect it would be pretty boring. A handful of general body-types and a few variations on how overweight/underweight people can be”

      That exists. But when “female” becomes part of the equation, the variation becomes extremely narrow.

  21. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Nobody bats an eyelid if an actress on TV is playing a stripper and she’s dressed like a stripper. But if she was supposed to be a surgeon on a hospital drama and she dressed like a stripper and no reason or context was given at all, it would be ludicrous. Or demeaning in the case that the other surgeons (who are, for the purposes of this thought, men) are all dressed impeccably for their profession. How can you take the stripperette surgeon seriously? Yet “striperette” is the default state of female characters in gaming.

    Contextless sexualisation is asinine.

    • WhiteHawke says:

      This man has the right of it.

      I appreciate this article RPS, and while I think you’re trying to hard sometimes with regards to these issues, I think you’re completely correct about this one. This needs to be said.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      +1. Great comment.

    • RedViv says:

      And this is why this man was knighted.

    • tormos says:

      So you’re way funnier than me AND way more articulate than me? That hardly seems fair.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      Because a surgeon is real, and a wizard or any other fantasy character is not. If someone who dressed very ‘properly’ told me she was a necromancer, I would also not take them seriously. That’s why it’s not strange to have a fantasy personality have a fantasy look. If we wanted to take things seriously, most games would be boring. Not to mention most of the Medieval-fantasy based games would barely have any women in them.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Videogames depicting female soldiers also regularly have them dressed as strippers. Why do you think that is?

        Even with fantasy characters its possible to imagine the most practical attire for their imaginary profession. A lot of handwaving would be necessary to explain how stripper wear is the default clothing choice for imaginary professions.

      • LogicalDash says:

        I think Nova is supposed to be a commando. Her game was going to be kind of like Splinter Cell. It would be logical to dress her in a way that makes her hard to see, or at least in the sort of fantasy Stealth Suit nonsense that Sam Fisher wears. Instead we get her in very shiny latex?

    • harbinger says:

      Did you by any chance watch Dr. House? Did the very sexualized outfits of certain characters bother you oh-so very much that you couldn’t take these characters for serious, and what if neither dress “professionally” or if dressing that way can still look sexy due to specific body proportions?
      And those Spanish hospital soap operas are also ridiculously popular with the female audience.

      And I’m going to need a source for this:
      “Yet “striperette” is the default state of female characters in gaming.”
      as this doesn’t seem to originate in the reality I’m living in. Personally I’d love more sexy characters but from a lot of the games that have released and I’ve bought lately on the PC (Steam, GoG, Desura…) there are very, very few that contain them. Something like 3-5% or below kind of few.

      About 80%-90% of which RPS seems to be campaigning against that they shouldn’t be allowed to exist at all.

      • LogicalDash says:

        I watched some of House. I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

    • Longtime Listener says:

      And if more games were highly realistic procedurals you might have a point. When the vast majority of games barely pay lip service to realism, not so relavent. Characters swinging 300lb swords one handed, guys with no helmet shrugging off 15 bullets to the face, magic, sci fi bullets that cut through metal but not even singe human skin, nanotech skin suits etc etc etc

      It’s also worth mentioning that almost all actors both male and female are cast in large part on how they look. Because sexy/cool people are more interesting to look at that than Joe and Joanna Average. She may be dressed “properly” but she was still cast because she looks good.

  22. Wulfram says:

    Browder’s answer was lame, but I think that’s what happened when you feel like you’re suddenly being pressured to condemn a whole bunch of stuff, possible including stuff by your colleague,

    Though after a quick bit of poking around at HotS’s stuff, the female characters seem congruent with the male ones. Is Archer on the centre left less empowered than axe guy on the centre right? Gun lady on far right has a silly pose, but is that worth more than an eyeroll?

    • SillyWizard says:

      Seriously. A PR interview is not the place to blindside a guy about these topics and put him in a position where, even if he agrees with you, he’d likely get fired for going against the company line.

      Maybe the guy was acting annoyed because he agrees whole-heartedly with Nathan, and has been trying to fight the good fight for the years this game has been in development.

      Dick move, Nathan.

      • pepperfez says:

        Maybe PR flacks should start being prepared to justify their games’ depictions of women, just like they are for real-time vs. turn-based combat, DRM, graphics options, machine gun fire rates and all the other game design decisions that matter.

      • The Random One says:

        Not a dick move, just business as usual. The gaming press is under no obligation to act as the parroting advertisement agency the gaming industry would clearly want them to. No one would call out Nathan on being a dick if he had called out a SimCity dev on its fake online requirement, or an Ubi executive on their always-online policies, both things that have happened on this site.

        Objectification happens in games for many reasons, and one of them is, as many of its defenders point out, marketing. It’s easier to justify it if you say it’ll sell. But if gaming sites start to question these choices, then it’s not such a clear “make wimmin hot = sell to horny teenagers” equation any more. Do horny teenagers really buy these games because they have hot women in them? Is it worth having the latest news on your game’s Steam page being a damning RPS page? And is it worth alienating PC gaming’s foremost glorifed blog for some tits?

      • PikaBot says:

        If they haven’t expected and prepared for a question along these lines, their PR guy doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.

        The goal of the interview from Blizzard’s side is PR, but that by no means means that it’s ROS’ duty to go along with that.

        • SillyWizard says:

          It is if RPS genuinely has any interest in opening a dialogue instead of just churning up more materiel for one of these fight-fests they’re so fond of. (Thankfully, they’re less fond of them than some other sites, which is why I’m here and not there.)

          There are appropriate times and places to debate these things. Specifically, a time and a place where all parties involved are equally aware of what the topic(s) will be, and have an adequate time to prepare for a discussion.

          This was not that. This was, frankly, doing the topic a disservice by trying to shoe-horn it in to a totally inappropriate spot. Nathan knew that they were running low on time. He dropped the ball, anyway.

          What did he want. “Oh yes, you’re right. We’re actually going to make all of our character models sort of doughy and formless in one of the first updates. My boardroom of bosses at Blizzard are all total shits, and we’re not going to take it any more!”

          • PikaBot says:

            By your definition, there will never be an ‘appropriate’ time to discuss it, because they will never invite the conversation.

            It was a pertinent question, and the only reason it took the Blizzard reps off guard is because they were expecting the usual games ‘journalism’ conversation, which goes like this:

            “So how awesome is your game?”
            “SO AWESOME.”
            “Really, that awesome?”

            Deviating from that asinine script is not a fault on RPS’ part.

          • NotToBeLiked says:

            Indeed. PAX (you know, that pro-rape convention) has several panels each expo on the treatment of minorities in games. That gives everyone a chance to discuss the topic at length, and everyone has a fair chance to prepare to defend their point of view; instead of just one attacker blindsiding someone who was expecting to talk about something else.

          • geerad says:

            In your mind, is there no middle ground between hyper-sexualized and “doughy and formless”?

          • The Random One says:

            @NotToBeLiked: Saying that people should only discuss sexism at specifically designed places in conventions is like saying firefighters should only put out fires if they break out at the fire station.

        • Wulfram says:

          Talking about the characters in the game and associated artwork is absolutely fair enough and something that they should have been prepared for, but the question seemed to be overly eager to turn this into a very broad discussion that didn’t seem like it necessarily had much to do with the game in question.

  23. warcroft says:

    All women should wear Burkas. That will solve the problem.
    No? Is that too oppressive?

    Well Nathan, how about you tell us exactly what female characters are allowed to wear and how they should be presented.
    No, you cant can you? Because youre a male. You cant state how a female should look and dress because then youll be regarded as the sexist male. Exactly what youre supposedly fighting against here.
    Youre prancing around in the female side of the debate without giving any actual opinions or solutions because youre still a male. And a male can not tell a female how to look, dress or behave. Because otherwise youll be a sexist pig, yeah?

    Quit this whole man crusade against the ‘over sexualisation of women in games’ unless youre prepared to tell women how they should look and dress.

    • John Funk says:

      A woman in real life has agency to choose how she wants to look. If she wants to go around wearing a bikini, that’s what she likes and that’s what makes her feel good about herself. Go for it. If she wants to wear a hijab for religious reasons or whatever, again that’s her choice and she has the agency to do it.

      Fictional characters have no such agency. Riven didn’t get dressed in a bunny suit because it makes her feel sexy and powerful, she did it because an artist put her in that. And criticizing creators for their portrayals of characters in works of fiction in no way resembles criticizing real life women for their real life fashion choices.

      • warcroft says:

        Youre talking about fictional characters in a video game like they have rights.
        Youre saying theyre different to real life women, but should have the same rights in how they are presented.
        Youre criticizing an artist for how they are portraying their, THEIR, creation. Theres a term for that. Ummm, what is it? Thats right. Censorship.

        • nmarebfly says:

          That’s not what censorship is.

        • The Random One says:

          You mispelled “criticism”.

        • John Funk says:

          You’re the one who brought up real women as though criticizing an artist’s choice was even remotely akin to telling an actual woman how to dress. It’s not.

          If an artist wants to put his female characters in thong bikinis, that is 100% his choice and he has the right to do it. And I have the right to call him out on it, as does everyone else.

          • warcroft says:

            Oooohhh, ok. I understand now. Nathan and yourself dont actually want anything changed. You dont want to change the way artists portray their creations? You just want to criticize. Because telling them how they should portray women and rallying to get artists to change their characters, that would be censorship.
            Youre scooting a fine line between the two.

          • John Funk says:

            I can’t speak for my friend Nathan, but I imagine that he and I agree that an artist has the right to do whatever they want, and neither of us can tell him or her “No, you can’t do this.”

            We can say “I wish you wouldn’t do this, because (BLANK)” or “Hey, this is kind of shitty to people in a few ways, because (BLANK)” or “Do you think next time you might consider doing (BLANK) instead”?

            In the end, we’d rather change hearts and minds so that the artist changes his or her art him or herself.

          • The Random One says:

            Whereas many of the people who say criticism is censorship, when faced with an artist who decides to change their work (as in Hotline Miami 2 and Stanley Parable) are just too eager to say “No, you should change your work back to it was, because I know what your work should be better than you, and what your work should be is what it was before you made a change you wanted to make.”

          • nmarebfly says:

            > . Because telling them how they should portray women and rallying to get artists to change their characters, that would be censorship.

            This is still in no way censorship. FORCING them to portray people a certain way might be. Telling them to is not forcing them to do anything, it’s expressing an opinion that they are free to ignore.

          • harbinger says:

            “and what your work should be is what it was before you made a change you wanted to make”
            That’s really rich, he surely wanted to do that: link to (seeing as even afterwards he didn’t do it).

            Nothing like a full-blown media-attack implying he is a “misogynist”, “rape apologist” that opresses all womenfolk and has generally no morals and no regard for them in press, on Twitter, across forums and the Tumblr-sphere to help a creator find to his true vision he originally planned for his game but didn’t realize before the “friendly” reminder.

            Everyone was just “criticizing” him, about in the same manner that angry peasantfolk with pitchforks were “criticizing” some women a few centuries ago for being “witches”.

    • Viroso says:

      How many times have you seen female characters dressing super hot? Way too many times. Now think about all of the awesomest character designs out there. There’s huge variety of stuff. Concept artists explore and play with archetypes, try to evoke a specific emotion with a character’s design.

      Like, look at Street Fighter series. Akuma, Ryu, Blanka, Dhalsin, Honda, Bison, Vega, Balrog, etc… the male cast is all sorts of different, interesting things. Sometimes they take something that’s associated with masculinity and just do different things with it, the end result is pretty cool. Characters can be old and yellow, monstrous and green, fat, skinny, demonic, handsome, robotic, mysterious, etc etc.

      Now you get female characters and like 90% of them is a titillating outfit designed to show skin, not necessarily to be awesome despite of how much skin it shows, designed to be sexy basically. Hey, that’s okay. It’s cool. I think Morrigan’s (I KNOW NOT STREET FIGHTER) design is actually kinda cool. But the problem is that they just keep doing it over and over again.

      It’s repetitive as hell. Concept artists could be exploring different things. I dunno, like take the classic old wrinkled witch and do something awesome with it that isn’t necessarily turning her into eye candy. Find different ways to create female characters. Make them fat, monstrous, robotic, zombiefied, muscled, skinny, gorgeous, hideous, adorable, mysterious.

      But no, you go to a place like CGHUB and every concept artist there is just getting horny as hell when drawing women. I get it, I totally get it. You know, when I draw, I too like to draw hot chicks, it’s actually fun. It’s also fun to draw big deformed monsters, and that’s like the second thing you see the most on CGHUB, actually. But, like, first time people did those things it was awesome, second time it was fun, third time we got sort of fed up with it. I just wish they’d more often use all of the creativity and inspiration that they display to stand out and not keep doing the same shit everybody else is doing.

      • kleep says:

        I don’t get it. Usually people who are fighting in a martial arts tournament aren’t fat and decrepit. People who are space marines who have to run around fighting aliens aren’t fat and out of shape. Why would artists design overweight masters of karate?

        Further, the job of a video game artist is to make characters who people want to play. I’m sorry but while video games can be art, another MAJOR part is ensuring that people want to play their game so that they can MAKE MONEY AND LIVE. Why would you, as a designer, create characters who are overweight, gross and ugly? For NPCs it makes sense but not for the characters you play as, especially in fighting games like Street Fighter.

        Zero sense…

        • Pixieking says:

          “Further, the job of a video game artist is to make characters who people want to play.”

          So, perhaps women are turned-off by the hyper-sexualised female characters that are presented to them, and don’t play games that feature them? In which case, shouldn’t the industry attempt to be inclusive, and allow for this in their design?

          • kleep says:

            Why are all girls (you know girls can be lesbians too and humans can be sexual beings) turned off by seeing a female character wearing skimpy clothing?


            Can’t reply further so I am editing:

            There is no harm at all.. as long as the designers of said game thinks the character design fits there game world/professions of the characters/etc. I’ve always disliked how in Skyrim, Neverwinter (the MMO one), etc. all the characters are skinny. I would equally annoyed if all the character were fat. Not because I am prejudiced against skinnies or fatties, but because it breaks immersion. In real life, and I’m sure if Skyrim was real, not everyone is going to be super skinny. It just completely breaks immersion for me.

            But Skyrim is an open world game where there are all types of NPCs wandering the world. So in a game like that, it totally makes sense, in my view, to allow for an infinite amount of body types/sexes/armor. (Another factor we aren’t discussing is that many games have deadlines and I’d rather they focus on crucial aspects of the game so it is FUN and WORKS (SKYRIM!!!))

            But in games like Street Fighter or DOTA 2… I am not looking for immersion. I’d like character variety in these games tho so I don’t get bored using the same type of model over and over, but I want the character design to work within the roles of the game. Like I said before on this page.. it makes no sense for masters of karate to be overweight or wearing XXL t-shirts and long pants.

            So ya, variety is great. But again, it isn’t the most vital part of gaming. If I was a little person, should I be pissed that there are no little people in almost every game? No. I don’t expect the game to cater to every body type/clothing type because of various reasons… I could be going.

          • Pixieking says:

            Well, for a start, I didn’t say “all”. No doubt there are some women who like to play as characters dressed in skimpy clothing. But, equally, if you’ve spent the day being ogled by guys, or had pervy comments directed at you, or someone wolf-whistle at you, I doubt that you’d be much in the mood to play a character who is overly-sexualised.

            Also, the point of a lot of this is that there’s no choice, and that that lack of choice may be making the industry (and its consumers) consciously or subconsciously sexist, and far less inclusive than it should be. What harm is there – truly – in making the default skin for female characters something realistic and classy, with the stripper-skins unlockable? It’d be a step in the right direction, surely?

          • NotToBeLiked says:

            There are quite a few games out there that do not portray women in such a way. If women actually cared about it, they should just buy those games en masse. That will make companies notice, and they’ll follow the money. Articles like this do not help companies change, and are even likely to turn people in anti-feminists because they think feminism is such an extreme point of view.

          • Pixieking says:

            “There are quite a few games out there that do not portray women in such a way. If women actually cared about it, they should just buy those games en masse.”

            Are these good games? Are these the games their friends (both male and female) play? And why should a section of the populace buy games they may not have any interest in, just to make a point?

            “That will make companies notice, and they’ll follow the money. Articles like this do not help companies change, and are even likely to turn people in anti-feminists because they think feminism is such an extreme point of view.”

            Instead of the word feminism, why not use inclusivity? It is both less antagonistic, and closer to the spirit of what is being looked for here.

        • Viroso says:

          It’s a martial artists tournament where people fire hadoukens, in which every fight happens in a stupidly remote corner of the world and that’s actually all a facade to do I don’t know whatever the fuck it is that M. Bison wants to do.

          Logic has no place in it, only awesome. So they did things they thought were cool. And you know what I want to play with the weird guy, with the ugly guy. I’ve always loved these characters. Half of the male characters in the cast of Street Fighter 2 do not fit in some idealized male standard.

          We get Ryu, Ken, Vega and Guile and that’s it as a strong, powerful looking non-ugly to handsome man. Ken and Vega are even supposed to be good looking, while I feel that Ryu’s supposed to be more “standard”. The rest is Balrog, Honda, Dhalsin, Blanka, M. Bison, Sagat and Vega. The rest is guys who look plain weird, green, fat, scarred, ugly as hell. Street Fighter 2 was a massive success.

          So, why would you as a designer create such characters? Because they are fucking awesome. Raziel, in legacy of kain, back when I was a teen I thought he was extremely awesome looking. He’s basically a jawless zombie. Mario, THE most popular video game character ever, is a middle aged fat short guy. He’s the opposite of cool.

          There are many other examples of immensely popular characters that don’t cater to a power fantasy or anything people would want to be for that matter. Sonic, Mega Man, Earthworm Jim. There are also many characters people think are really cool, characters that actually play into power fantasies, but show huge variety in design. John Marston, Dante from DMC, Gordon Freeman, Altair, Kratos, Master Chief, Guybrush, Duke Nukem, CJ, Solid Snake, JC, Scorpion.

          Right there you already have more varied depictions of men than you have varied depictions of women in video games in general. You get handsome guys, ugly guys, average guys, guys you never see their face, charming guys, cocky guys, guys with a skull for their head, etc. John Marston is an ugly guy with a big scar across his face. Snake was turned into an old man in MGS4 and he was still awesome.

          I think the stuff you said there, none of it follows in the real world. You’re overthinking things to excuse them. You don’t need to do that. It’s very easily observable how there’s a stupidly low variety of female character design because unfortunately as soon as concept artists think “female” they think breasts.

          • Machocruz says:

            I’m astonished you even have to explain this again. Like your previous post about Street Fighter and odd looking males/sexy female went completely unnoticed by them. It’s maddening how dense people are.

      • warcroft says:

        Sagat is almost naked.
        Blanka is almost naked.
        E Honda is almost naked.
        Dhalsim is almost naked.
        Balrog is almost naked.
        Vega is mostly naked.

        Whats your point?

        • kleep says:

          I’m disgusted at how the perverts at Capcom designed Vega. And Ghuile with his skimpy shirt? Disgusting pigs.

        • pepperfez says:

          LOL feminists are so dumb they don’t even know Dhalsim is a sex object.

        • Viroso says:

          My point is stupidly obvious and easy to understand, you’re being facetious.

          But in case you need it again, here’s my point: FEMALE CHARACTER DESIGN IS BORING.

          It doesn’t have to do with how much skin is shown. I said that right there. It has to do with what they’re trying to do with the character.

          Let’s take the examples you gave, Sagat, Dhalsin, Honda, Blanka and Vega. Balrog is not nearly naked. Anyway, let’s see those guys and see what they did with the characters.

          Sagat, they made an imposing guy that looks battle hardened, they gave him an outfit that’s specific to his fighting style. Everything about his design makes sense. The scar, the eye patch. Sagat wasn’t designed to be sexy and handsome, he was designed to be imposing.

          Everything about Dhalsin’s design is meant to evoke that he’s got mystic powers. He has a skull necklace, he looks physically frail compared to everyone else but still manages to fight on the same level (because of his special yoga powers), his design is inspired on those guys that do insane things with their bodies.

          Blanka is meant to be a wild beast, and so he just walks around in his shorts, hunched over. He’s green, his hair is wild, he’s got crazy chest hair. Once again, the guy clearly wasn’t meant to be good looking.

          Vega, NOW he was meant to be good looking. He was given tight matador pants, and he’s obviously meant to look like a matador. Matadors are full of pomp, decorations, they are good looking. So is Vega, and once again that’s an intrinsic part of the character, he’s extremely vain.

          Honda is a sumo wrestler, he dresses as such, he looks the part entirely. It makes perfect sense for him to wear that outfit. As a matter of fact, Honda is wearing too much. He should be wearing way less. And, yet again, it’s obvious that Honda wasn’t meant to fit in more conventional beauty standards.

          So with all those characters we get a wide range of depictions. Imposing, serious, monstrous, mystical, vain. There is variety, their designs and their personality match, their designs and their fighting styles match, everything matches.

          Now just go ahead and look at the design of every other female character in the entire street fighter series. For every character where something interesting was done, something that makes sense, something that’s like what they did with Vega or Blanka, we get Cammy, and then another one, and another one. We get like, three Cammies.

          Does Cammy’s design make a lick of fucking sense? Does it say anything about the character? She’s supposed to be a clone of M. Bison, btw. What about Juri? She fights Tae Kwon Do. You look at Akuma you instantly know what he’s about, he’s the opposite of Ryu. You look at Oro or Gen and they look both awesome and dangerous, and their characters evoke something. Then you get R. Mika and it’s like, what the fuck is that? Sure it looks fun but… c’mon. Crimson Viper, Rose, Blair, Elena, Sakura, when you look at them you get a gist of what they’re about, but at the same time it’s a repetition of the same thing.

          They’re all meant to look hot. You know, like I said, it’s not about how much skin it’s shown, it’s about variety. Between Sagat, Honda, Blanka, Dhalsin, Vega and Zangief, all barely dressed dudes, you get more variety than between Viper, Rose, Elena, Sakura, R. Mika and basically almost the entire cast of Street Fighter.

          It isn’t a hard thing to understand.

          Male characters: Concept artists feel free to explore different archetypes and have fun with the designs, evoke a ton of different feelings.
          Female characters: All that’s said above takes the backseat to making them look hot.

          It’s not hard to understand.

          When we could have some more interesting characters instead. Basically, imagine if the entire male cast of Street Fighter were variations of Ryu. Wait, that already kinda happens doesn’t it? Incidentally I think the Ryu variations are some of the more boring characters, not nearly as interesting looking as Oro, Dhalsin, Rolando, Alex, Birdie, Gen, Gill, Hakan, Necro, Dudley, etc.

          SF is a fantastic example because not only did the designs in the series inspire countless other games but the trends in it also happen throughout a lot of other games.

          • warcroft says:

            Sorry, I meant Zangief. Not Balrog.

            And what youre saying is justifying what the males are wearing. But put the females in exactly the same clothing. . . how would that look? Not acceptable, right? Cammy is wearing more clothes than all the males I listed, but shes not appropriate?

          • kleep says:

            Hold on. There are physical differences between men and women.. do you agree? Why would a girl or a scrawny guy ever even be in the same ring as M. Bison? I am not saying women can’t be strong, but when faced in a physical battle, men, especially the top fighters in the world, are going to beat them. Would you agree?

            Why don’t we have MMA mixed sex? Or mixed sex boxing? Tennis? Football?

            I’m not sure why women are even in Street Fighter in the first place now that I think about it…. and you got me thinking. The only reason they have scantily clad women is eye candy! HAHA! I’m having an epiphany. But the alternative would be adding women, but making them have a back story of being genetically enhanced or naturally strong, and then giving them the bodies to fit that role when going up against Bison..

            Now I don’t know what to think!

          • Viroso says:


            I’m explaining to you how the design of male characters work on several levels. They evoke an emotion, they fit a unique archetype, they fit their fighting styles and personality, they send a clear message about the character.

            Basically they’re efficient.

            In fact you could very easily create a female version of all those characters and still make it work.

            What you didn’t get is that, for an instance, Cammy’s design. What does it say about her? What fighting style does it fit? What emotion does it evoke? What is going on there?

            The answer is obvious. So, once again, it doesn’t have to do with skin, it has to do with variety. Because you know, if there was only one Cammy, I’d be okay with it. But there are three, and the same thing they did with Cammy they did for every other female character.

            They killed variety because they wanted everyone to look hot. That’s the problem. It isn’t just one character in isolation, which is why I said “female character design”. That’s female characters in general. Seriously, it’s easy to understand, just look at the cast of the game.

            Just do as I said, imagine if every single male character was some variation of Ryu, that’d be boring.

          • warcroft says:

            So you agree there is no over sexualisation of women characters in HotS? Because their costumes are justifiable? Thats good.

          • Viroso says:

            @klepp. People shot fireballs from their fucking hands in street fighter. It is a fighting tournament where they choose to hold one fight deep in the amazon forest and another at a deserted temple. Then another in the middle of a busy street. There aren’t even fucking judges.

            They don’t need to add a backstory that make women genetically enhanced or whatever simply because the entire thing is a circus. Also, seriously, it’s not like ALL women are inevitably physically weaker than ALL men. And it’s not like every character in street fighter looks physically fit. Rufus is a character in that game. But it’d be really awesome if they allowed female characters different body types.

            The goals of street fighter character design are twofold:
            1- Create variety, characters that all types of players identify with, create a colorful, interesting, marketable game world.
            2- Cultural stereotypes.

            Unfortunately they just keep number 2 in mind when they design female characters.

            So no, women in the game do not need to be eye candy to justify their presence, that’s ridiculous. They’re eye candy because the concept artists liked that. It doesn’t have absolutely nothing to do with logical consequences of planning a video game about a fighting tournament. Plus, suggesting that if women have no place in something than they better look hot is just… I dunno, choose an insult to put here.

          • Viroso says:

            @worcroft you just keep missing the part where I talk about variety and how that’s forgotten when it comes to female characters because they want to make them look hot, or as you said, over sexualisation.

            Like, how do you keep not reading that?

            Variety for female character design: not present. I don’t oppose characters that look hot. I don’t like when that’s the only thing they can ever do.

            What causes limited design is because they want them to look hot, but the issue that affects everyone regardless of what they believe is that the trend for female character design is stupidly repetitive.

            Seriously man, it’s like, gosh. This isn’t rocket science.

  24. fangbreaker says:

    Way to be offended on behalf of a group that largely doesn’t care, Nathan.

    Oh and thanks for letting us all know that YOU think you know the best way for women to dress.

    • Tiax says:

      And thanks to you for letting us know how little you’ve understood about this whole issue.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      And thanks for letting us know how an entire group of people ‘largely feel’.


  25. Viroso says:

    Here’s how I like to frame this: Female character design is boring compared to male character design. If you don’t like the political side, I think you can relate to this. Can someone create a female character that’s super hot, awesome looking and sexy, yes, totally, go right ahead. But it gets boring after it’s done for the 100th fucking time.

    Simplest way to put it: as soon as “female” becomes part of the equation, concept artists do something like bald space marine or crazy hair huge sword JRPG hero. It’s fucking boring. Just quit being so god damn horny concept artists.

    • pepperfez says:

      It baffles me that this isn’t just common sense by now. Literally nothing matters to some people but making sure feminists don’t get anything they want, I guess?

      • Viroso says:

        It’s some knee jerk defensive reaction that kicks in and people just will try their hardest to contradict every single thing that’s brought up, like they have to defend their side no matter what, without even realizing what their side is. It is totally needless, nobody’s attacking anybody, it isn’t a contest either. People need to grow out of this.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      Very true. Unfortunately that’s not what these attack articles tend to be about. They tend to make the case that anyone who likes to look at women in skimpy outfits is automatically a rapist and hates women.

      I like to look at sexy women in sexy clothes. I like to *play* characters who have something interesting to say or a character that is not completely one dimensional. Those can be male or female, black or white, young or old, or anything else in between. What they wear or how they look doesn’t matter as long as it fits the character.
      Since there have been far more interesting male characters in video games, I think there should be more interesting female characters, but we’re not going to get there by attacking developers who portray women in a sexy way (and little else), but by supporting the developers who make games that have good female characters.

      • Nogo says:

        I know this topic is long dead, but ARGH!: “Unfortunately that’s not what these attack articles tend to be about. They tend to make the case that anyone who likes to look at women in skimpy outfits is automatically a rapist and hates women.”


        Most of us learned that we can like and enjoy something, while also being critical of certain elements and trends within it. YOU ARE NOT THE THINGS YOU LIKE! STOP IT!

  26. ChrisAlgoo says:

    Thank you for doing this, and for pressing Blizzard on their overblown, oversexualized character designs.

  27. SillyWizard says:

    Ugh I just got through reading the comments since I posted. I’m guessing another 40 things saying the exact same things have popped up since then.

    I don’t really know what there is to discuss. People are allowed to enjoy what they want to enjoy, within legal limits.

    People who want to change how Big Entertainment portrays anything are screaming in space.

    You can’t stop people from creating pop art which you don’t like. You can try your best at popularizing alternatives. No part of this discussion should be about making people change: it should be entirely about coaxing change (if that’s what you want) through your own hard work.

    Yelling at people for getting a kick out of Robert E Howard-esque man-fantasies is, at best, merely going to make them dig in their heels and tune out the rest of your message. Instead of vilifying people for having the capacity to enjoy simplistic entertainment, bring them your “better” alternatives, and show how those are more worthwhile.

    • Darthus says:

      This man speaks truth, as someone whose entire profession revolves around behavior change (Psychologist). And yet, I get the sense that many people who are yelling into the wind aren’t doing it primarily to affect people’s behavior but because it makes them feel less guilty or complicit by “taking a stand”.

      • pepperfez says:

        Or maybe because they have the whimsical idea that a lot of people asking for the same thing might be listened to? I guess they lack the psychological sophistication to understand that social change has only ever been effected by people steadfastly and heroically refusing to mention social change.

        • SillyWizard says:

          Social change has been affected by people doing shit about it and creating alternatives, not by putting the onus of alternative-creating on everyone else.

          • The Random One says:

            Social change has also been affected by popular opinion turning against things that no longer follow acceptable norms. That’s why you can’t make a blackface comedy nowadays.

            Furthermore, calling out problematic things helps define why they are problematic, and stops you from replacing the powerless damsel in distress non-character with the almighty flawless dude with tits non-character.

    • LogicalDash says:

      Getting people to acknowledge that a problem exists is a very important step toward solving the problem.

      The people who post in this thread are unlikely to have their opinions changed, but they are not the only ones reading.

  28. coffeetable says:

    Just adding another comment in support of Nathan and his approach in the interview. Every goddamn interaction with the people who promulgate that shit should have a similar tone.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Oh yes because that’s likely to be constructive.

      • The Random One says:

        Obviously being silent and nodding happily would be way more constructive!

        • SillyWizard says:

          Silence > Telling people they’re bad people for making cartoonish art.

          As I’ve suggested several times, the best response would be to create acceptable alternatives, instead of limp-wristedly whining about stuff that you don’t like.

          • Tiax says:

            Seems to me you’re the one who’s “limp-wristedly whining about stuff that you don’t like” by complaining about this whole issue and telling us how it would be much better not to do anything.

            Ironic, isn’t it ?

          • SillyWizard says:

            I guess it would be ironic if a few comments north of here I hadn’t suggested a perfectly reasonable alternative….

          • The Random One says:

            “Silence > Telling people they’re bad people for making cartoonish art.”

            Is it really?

          • SillyWizard says:

            Yes, really. Because being an idiot back at an idiot is not an effective use of energy.

            And since you’re apparently incapable of scrolling up a few inches, I was referring to this:

            “No part of this discussion should be about making people change: it should be entirely about coaxing change (if that’s what you want) through your own hard work.”

            That’s my suggestion for an alternative. You’re not going to convince me to get my panties in a twist about busty or muscly characters in a game by trying to make me feel like an asshole for playing StarCraft. You might convince me to care more about it by introducing me to a game with 3-dimensional characters that I grow to care about; by showing me that your way is better.

            (But since generally for me enjoying one thing does not preclude enjoying other things, chance are I’ll still not give a shit.)

          • The Random One says:

            Well, RPS has also covered Redshirt extensively.

            Also, while being an idiot at an idiot may not be very productive, I recommend instead to be a normal person at an idiot. Also, I disagree that being quiet is better: if you’re being an idiot at an idiot, you’re at least forcing them to show the whole depth of their idiocy, showing to onlookers how far the rabbit hole goes. (Of course, you’ll also show your own hole to people, but I’m not afraid of coming across as an idiot, as the sentence I’m writing right now is vivid proof. I only aim, often poorly, to be an amusing idiot.)

  29. Fattsanta says:

    Boringggg, I was looking forward to seeing a good interview on a game im looking forward too. Instead im bombarded with yet another boring article on another boring sexism topic. Boring.

    • segr says:

      I agree. When will those retards understand we dont want or need this garbage shoved down our throat.

  30. warcroft says:

    The title image in this story. . . the huge guy with massive muscles swinging the axe. Is that not stereo typing, over sexualising males in video games? Is that not setting an unrealistic portrayal of males?
    Yeah, it is. But who cares? No one. Because he looks ‘heroic’, but the female is ‘over sexualised’.

    Give me a break!

    • The Random One says:

      Women in video games show their boobs and breasts ♪
      Because that’s what they think men find attractive ♫
      Men in video games show their muscles ♪
      Because that’s what they think men want to be ♪
      Men are a fantasy for men to be ♪
      Women are a fantasy for men to stare ♫

      • tormos says:

        this song is stuck in my head and I don’t even know the tune.

    • houldendub says:

      Didn’t you know? Oversexualising males is a moot point because reasons. Some other reasons and over there, more reasons. Because I said so.

  31. Shieldmaiden says:

    I’m glad Nathan asked the questions he did. It’s what gaming journalism needs more of. Not just over this issue, but in general. The gaming press need to act like journalists and not third-party PR. Game developers talking to the press should expect difficult questions about their games and be able to answer them.

    • segr says:

      Everyone like Nathan should be sent to Polygon so they could have a big circlejerk site for this topic. Useless jorno!

  32. Quiffle says:

    What a waste of time. If people are that offended by what is essentially pop-art, there are plenty of other avenues to find entertainment that espouses both diversity and equality. And to decry games with fantasy themes (keyword: fantasy) is even sillier. Whether tasteful or not, each interpretation of that genre is a product of the creators’ minds, and not everything will mesh well with every single group because it’s supposed to be fantastical. How many people do you see getting offended over the archtypical, “swarthy, warlike race”? And why isn’t everyone who harp on gender issues not extending their arguments to everything that and everything else?

    Quite frankly, I think gaming Journalism should try to dig into more pertinent issues, such out just exactly why developers have struggled so much with making a genuine successor to MOO2, or the cure for the common CoD.

    • SillyWizard says:

      You ever get the feeling that some people can’t be satisfied with what they enjoy so long as there are other people enjoying something different?

      ROCK MUSIC IS SEXIST! We should only listen to oldies!
      OLDIES ARE SEXIST! We should only listen to classical music!
      CLASSICAL MUSIC IS SEXIST! It was only composed by crusty white men! FUCK IT! NO MUSIC FOR ANYONE!

      Glad that’s out of the way.

      COMIC BOOKS ARE SEXIST! We should only read books with no pictures!
      NOVELS ARE SEXIST! We should really stick to non-fiction, since female characters are endlessly hyper-sexualized and male characters are simply man-fantasies! (Which totally explains why romance novels frequently have burly half-naked dudes on the covers….)

      Problem solved.

    • lomaxgnome says:

      Except you’re missing the fact that part of the reason that CoD and its ilk now dominate gaming is because the creators, publishers, developers, and consumers all believe that the only consumers of videogames are mindless neanderthal “bros,” and to a certain extent they are right, because they continue to alienate any other potential audience. They aren’t unrelated, this is the culture that exists in gaming right now, and it isn’t getting any better.

      Blizzard has every right to design their characters however they want to. In fact, I hope they continue to do what they have, because personally I enjoy it. But people should be continuously asking them why they are doing so, and forcing them to be honest about their mind-states. They (or anyone else) can’t just play nice and say “we think it’s pretty and doesn’t matter” and just be allowed to continue unchallenged. Human nature requires things to be pointed out because our natural tendency is to ignore what doesn’t fit our current world view.

      • rhubarb-crisp says:

        i love playing dress up with my characters in games. games where i have to dress up my girls like whores are a pass for me. so fuck blizzard.

  33. Celebrochan says:

    *Sigh* So the author wanted to talk about gender equality, which IS a charged polarizing political subject. Blizzard was uncomfortable talking about it, not wanting to offend one side or the other and stopped the interview. The author took that as dismissal and forced the topic anyway and then rants about how offended they are. If the roles were reversed and someone wanted to talk to the author about something they didn’t want to talk about publicly they would react the same way.

    This post isn’t journalism, it is the author ranting because a company they like didn’t want to make a polarizing statement during an interview.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Well, to be fair, I don’t think the writers here are “journalists” by any definition of the word. There isn’t really a standard of quality that I’m aware of.

      Which, if anything, just makes this a less appropriate medium for topics like this than pretty much anyplace else.

      • pepperfez says:

        Indeed, serious journalism can only be carried out by people of sufficient intelligence and character to know that sexism is an invention of ugly chicks and beta males and that the decisions of game studios are above all criticism. It’s like these RPS people think interviews are different from press releases!

        • NotToBeLiked says:

          Well, a serious journalist would inform the interviewee about the subject of the talk. Because a serious journalist would want an in-depth conversation about it. He would not throw a complete curve ball at the interviewee at the end of an interview, knowing full well there was no more time for a proper answer. And to follow up on it with an attack article against someone who has no chance of defense is more a tabloid tactic…

          • The Random One says:

            Really? Because I’d say a serious journalist would save this question to the end, as he would be very aware that the tone of the interview might shift to hostile after it and it would be a good idea to get as many details about other aspects of the game before that, when the interviewee was more likely to be collaborative. But you’re right – I’m sure Mr. Bowden would have a lot of time to refine his final answer of “Uh-huh. Cool. Totally.” into a striking defence of his point of view if only that pesky PR hadn’t chosen that precise moment to end the interview. What a terrible coincidence that they run out of time just then!

          • Longtime Listener says:

            Except the PR man mentioned time was running out before Grayson asked the question.

            No a serious interviewer would not ask a heavily loaded question with zero lead in and the clock running down. Its classic ambush tactics. Right up there with Michael Moore jumping on people in the middle of the street when they’re trying to get somewhere and then calling them evasive.

        • segr says:

          Nathan aint no jorno at all. Guy is a drawer writer.

    • PikaBot says:

      They asked a pertinent question and pressed them when given a non-answer. That is EXACTLY was journalists should do – and sadly these days don’t.

  34. Pliqu3011 says:

    “Maybe you weren’t trying to express any specific viewpoint or hurt anybody’s feelings, but implicit messages still peer up from just beneath the surface. Like it or not, if someone plays games as their main hobby and they constantly see women dressed in objectifying fashions or slotted into subservient roles, that’s going to infiltrate their norm.”

    While I’m all for creating less sexualized/idealised female characters in games I’m not sure I agree with that.
    I thought we all agreed that violence in games does not influence people to become violent in real life, so why would sexism in video game character designs influence people to become sexist in real life?

    On a related note: from the perspective of pure character design I can somewhat understand though why you would choose for these, by all means, extremely exaggerated proportions for females, without meaning to be sexist or to sexualize. Big, round shapes are easily distinguishable, readable and recognisable, especially for characters in movement. For the same reason male characters often get huge muscles and chests. The bulkiness helps read the figure and makes them “feel” dynamic and organic, even when standing still.
    I’d like concept artists to innovate more though, and not take this “easy” way out. If we want more women to enjoy videogames, we’ll need to stop alienating them from the very start with 95%* of female NPCs/playable characters looking like photo models and pr0nstars. I don’t think many men would enjoy playing a game in which all males looked like those One Direction guys [or whoever’s considered “hot” or “cute” nowadays] constantly with their shirts off…

    (*imaginary statistic)

    • LogicalDash says:

      Call of Duty: Ghosts probably won’t get anyone to pick up a gun and start shooting brown people. But there will be idiots who think it might be on to something about the future invaders of the United States.

      Works of fiction can influence political policy. William Le Queux was a novelist who managed to persuade some thousands of British citizens that they had personally witnessed acts of espionage–and he used their letters to persuade the Committee for Imperial Defense to set up MI5.

      If a paranoid hack’s novel serialized in the Daily Mail can lead to the creation of an intelligence agency, what could a sexist video game do?

  35. Killstof says:

    Ah. One of those articles that basically state that I owe people that I’ve never met or done anything wrong to apologies or obedience. I have an idea. If you want games that cater to your tastes, make those games yourself. That is what the precursors to the people who made today’s “evil” games did. I have been playing PC and console games since I was 4, and I only recently have become aware of these subcultures of people who are trying to change the nature of the hobby (not sport, not art, not symbol of human civilization itself) by complaining. If you really think that young men will be browbeaten into abandoning their attraction to the female form (and being manipulated into buying things because of that attraction), you are an out-of-touch, silly person. If there was money to be made in creating games featuring sexy, scantily-clad men (which is arbitrarily labeled as “disempowering”), I have no doubt that game developers would not be above making those games. No one is stopping them. Or you, for that matter. I promise not to be offended, and you shouldn’t care if I am. I don’t have a right to never be offended by anything in this world, and neither does anyone else. The thing about “taking offense” is that too many people try to use it as a currency to fulfill their “wants.” Describing something you don’t like alongside a bunch of anger-fueled adjectives does not make you right simply because you are angry about something. You will probably have a more enjoyable gaming experience if you learn how to handle yourself in the caustic sea of anonymous online communication instead of moaning that the whole system (along with human nature itself) needs to change to suit you NOW.

    • pepperfez says:

      Allow me to offer you my unconditional apologies, Sole Non-Sexist Man Ever. You are truly an enlightened ubermensch and as such deserve all of your media to consist of nothing but sexy naked chicks. Who you will respect.

    • PikaBot says:

      And if you believe that that is anybody’s objective, YOU are an out-of-touch, silly person.

  36. RiffRaff says:

    political correctness isn’t about stopping you from making googly eyes at boobies (girl boobies or man boobies, whichever you like), its about being enough of a grown up to understand when boobies (or in blizzards case, arses) are and are not appropriate, and knowing when to turn your genitals off, and turn your brain on. So basically its about being an adult.

    I have to say that I have been critical of RPS in the past for its coverage of the whole sexism in gaming debate, not for bringing it up mind you, but more the angle you guys have approached it from (which I still think is unhelpful). But frankly I think its about time someone called this company out on their bullshit page 3 character designs.

    And its funny he brought up comic books too, because it reminds me of all the ms marvel (now captain marvel) fanboys who were upset at carol dumping that ridiculous fetish swimsuit for a proper superhero costume recently. Guys, even the comics industry understands that there is a problem with having (all) your characters look like they are on the set of a porn film. so when one of the bigwigs at one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world can only squirm uncomfortably, well, what does that say about the games industry?

  37. James_Russell says:

    I feel physically Ill after reading this article, Blizzard should be shut down and the people that make these rape simulators need to be arrested for hate crimes against women. The problem as always is with the straight white males, we need to fire over 50% of them from the games industry and make them a minority by hiring people from a more diverse background, and we need to segregate these bigoted straight white males online so they cant interact with the rest of society. Only when straight white males have been curtailed at every level of society will we live in a world free of bigotry, prejudice and hate.

    • pepperfez says:

      It’s true, once video game heroines are mostly non-fetishized, then we will have achieved the glorious eradication of the male race! For how can they withstand a world without space thongs and boob plate? How foolish that these RPS fellows beg for their own inevitable destruction.

      • Darthus says:

        Is every single one of your posts written sarcastically and ironically?

        • John Funk says:

          Sarcasm seems like an appropriate response to sarcasm to me.

  38. MeestaNob says:

    Doesn’t matter how many times you use it, the click-bait is always SUPER EFFECTIVE.

    • Quiffle says:

      Upcoming headlines:


      “5 best ways to make you more appealing to women while gaming!”


    • pepperfez says:

      It’s just beyond cynical for RPS to care about things that other people, their readers even, may also care about. How can I take seriously a publication that refuses to be irrelevant?

      Honestly, no sarcasm here, I’m pretty sure they (and I know I) would be more than happy if no one read or commented on these articles because there’s no real sexism in games or game culture. AND YET THAT ISN’T THE CASE.

  39. Commissar says:

    “Sad. Tears-welling-in-my-eyes-as-I-type-this sad. One of my greatest fears on this Earth is that I might someday sink to that level of cynical jadedness. I worry about it every day.”

    Do you put a tampon up your arse when your ‘girlfriend’ has her period so you can understand her pain too you pussy?

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      And there it is. Article, standpoint, entire movement justified.

      I need feminism because you.

      • tormos says:

        Goddammit, we all need feminism a little bit more because of that comment. I hate the internet so much.

    • Fenix says:

      Holy fuck, reading your comment made me squirm. Which is impressive because I haven’t even been that involved in this issue. Thank you for helping me choose a side, you huge bloated piece of shit.

    • segr says:

      Right on. Tell those crybabies the truth. Awesome comment.

  40. AReasonableMan says:

    Nathan, I hate people like you.

    No, it’s not because I’m a misogynist or rabidly anti-censorship. It’s because people like you think humanity as a whole is a bunch of fragile slobbering morons, utterly incapable of looking at things critically or differentiating between reality and fantasy. To believe that any reasonable person would be seriously hurt on any level by their character in a video game dressing skimpily is not simply asinine, it is offensive. So is asserting that young men seeing these designs will somehow “integrate them into the norm.” How fragile and impressionable do you think people truly are?

    Not only that, you presume that your standards are universal. That you speak for women everywhere when you say that virtual women must be covered up lest someone’s feelings be hurt.

    Do you want to know why your interviewee became nonplussed and irritated when you brought up your final line of questioning? Ignoring that continuing along the line once he had answered was highly unprofessional, it was because that line of questioning was irrelevant to him. It had nothing to do with the game that he was there to talk about, and he didn’t want to be dragged into a pointless debate about tits in the media.

    Do you honestly believe that having a scantily clad woman in a game is to “vastly undermine gaming as a medium and…your own species?” A tad melodramatic, don’t you think? I’d hate to see your reaction if a woman were portrayed as sexy in a movie, but thankfully that’s never happened. That’s why movies are art and games aren’t, right?

    • James_Russell says:

      you are a bigoted white male misogynist you hate women because you have no girlfriend you need to be banned and reported for hate speech

    • pepperfez says:

      Seriously, asking a PR rep something he doesn’t want to answer is utterly disqualifying in a journalist. And furthermore, I know that Nathan didn’t even care about his answer, because LITERALLY NO ONE cares about this gender stuff. I mean, if girls didn’t like it they wouldn’t play it, and they totally do, so sexism is fake. If Nathan would stop trying to ban games for a minute, he would realize that people like him are the reason women don’t play games, except they do play the ones with sexy girl heroes, because…

      christ, whatever.

      • The Random One says:

        “Seriously, asking a PR rep something he doesn’t want to answer is utterly disqualifying in a journalist.”

        Pfft mwahahaha. Really? Really? Do you even know what a journalist is? Because you seem to think they’re the people that interview celebrities on the Home Shopping Channel.

        I don’t think RPS folks are journalists, to be honest. (I’m always a bit too eager to describe the site as ‘a glorified blog’) RPS to me are critics that also report on new games and funny trailers. That’s OK, because the game press is only really worthy of the name ‘press’ by analogy and all of it makes perhaps ten articles in a year that are considered news. But you know what is the one thing that a real journalist doesn’t do? Think “Oh boy, I sure shouldn’t ask this person anything on this particular subject, because he’ll be really uncomfortable!”

        Where were these shining defenders of PR rights when RPS was grilling devs about always-online DRM?

        • AReasonableMan says:

          You are correct and Pepper is not, asking tough questions is exactly what journalists should do in interviews with public figures.

          However, this takes tact and an ability to understand your interviewee’s limits. Browder gave a reasonable answer and said he’d take the comments into consideration, only to be asked the same thing again, twice. To expect him or his handler to respond in any way other than “this is over, get out” is naive.

          It also requires an issue of actual import, and not this presumptuous and offensive line of reasoning.

          • The Random One says:

            Nathan did not believe his answer was reasonable, so he pushed on for a clearer one. He also clearly believed this to be a matter of import, and as Blizzard allowed him to ask questions, it is not unreasonable to assume that they would allow Nathan to choose what he believed was of import and what wasn’t.

          • AReasonableMan says:

            In response to RandomOne below (don’t know why I can’t reply to it directly):

            It is absolutely unreasonable to expect the interviewee to answer whatever question or statement the interviewer wishes him to. The interviewee is there for a reason, in this case to talk about his game and its design. Of course the interview is going to end if he is being asked unrelated questions that might potentially harm his purpose for giving an interview in the first place.

            From a Blizzard PR/management perspective, had Browder given anything but the “we’ll take it into consideration and aren’t trying to offend anyone” response he gave, I would’ve fired him for botching the interview.

            And again, this is all besides the point. The stance Nathan takes is itself asinine and offensive.

          • tormos says:

            I’m 90% sure that everything pepperfez says is sarcasm. At least that’s how i’ve been reading it. If not I think I need to go be sad.

          • The Random One says:

            While you seem all to eager to say that his questions are meaningless because his stance was ‘asinine’. I’m sure that all the big wigs in gaming companies thought that the idea that games should not have DRM to be ‘asinine’. But I’m also sure that all of their devs and pubs and execs had some answer to those ‘asinine’ questions. As rage against DRM went on, DRM-free solutions got big and many companies were forced to come up with actual answers to those questions.

            You may say that you’d fire a dev that responded to anything other than that, but (forgetting for a minute that answering questions is not a dev’s job and it’d be wiser to just stop him from giving interviews) unless an explicit order is given not to broach a certain subject (the Press Sneak Fuck Rule) I imagine the best answer that can be given is one that doesn’t make you look like a moron. Now, clearly in your view RPS came away worst than Blizzard, but in my view it looked like the dev didn’t have an answer to a clear question and evaded it. Having “Uh-huh. Cool. Totally.” as an answer is pretty damning, although it’s clear that he expected his answer would be edited out. Could it really be said he gave the best possible answer? Could he, really, even without prefacing it with “GIVEN HOW MUCH OF A DICK NATHAN WAS BEING” since – even assuming, for the sake of his argument, that his stance was, in fact, objectively asinine – it can be assumed that many of us will share his stance and see Browden as being confrontational?

            Also, saying that devs shouldn’t answer nonsensical questions is something I consider a personal slight to Ms. Ellison.

          • AReasonableMan says:

            Random One, your analogy is faulty, and if you’re going to deride my view I’d appreciate it if you’d give an actual argument against it rather than appeal to a separate issue.

            DRM is relevant when you’re talking to a game designer as it is part of the technical aspect of the product. Asking a designer about the art direction is not even remotely the same or appropriate.

          • The Random One says:

            They are quite similar, in which they are something that happens in games that benefits a few people, while causing many other people to have difficulties playing the game or in many cases deciding not to. They are also similar in which RPS have tackled these issues by being hostile and to-the-point on devs, receiving mostly praise for doing so while attacking DRM while receiving a mixed bag of praise and hostility while attacking sexism.

            As for your point, if it was that Browden’s actions were what were expected of him in an interview, I offered an explanation of why I believe it wasn’t, as if the fact that this article now exists is not enough proof that his response did not generate good PR. If your point was that Nathan’s comments were asinine, they weren’t, but I won’t be able to convince you of so if the fact that about half the people on this thread agree with you hasn’t convinced you of this already.

        • Grape Flavor says:

          I think he was being facetious? Who knows…

        • SillyWizard says:

          I actually think Pepper shares your point of view. I just don’t think he/she/it is a native english speaker.

          • The Random One says:

            That seems to be the case, indeed. I have shamed myself and my future generations.

    • segr says:

      Right on. Tell those crybabies the truth. Awesome comment.

  41. Jimbo says:

    You stopped interviewing and started lecturing, so the interviewee -quite reasonably- shut you down. Talking at somebody like you’re there representing the college debating team doesn’t really work in the real world unless your aim is to be told to fuck off (which he all but did).

    I appreciate you and John want to be seen fighting this crusade and that’s great, very noble of you both, but you’d have more joy if you tried to be a teensy bit less full on about it and employed some craft or subtlety when attempting to hold the industry’s feet to the fire. Right now you both (and unfortunately RPS by association) just come across like those crazy guys wearing sandwich boards on the street corner; and all those guys ever get is ignored.

  42. strangeloup says:

    Gosh, I think I’ve nearly worn out my block button here.

    I also got thinking about Dota 2, and the character designs in that. The only female character that I’ve seen attract any animosity is Drow Ranger, and even then it was in a jokey fashion, taking the mick out of her goth/emo style voice comments. (One speculation was that she was the fantasy version of Evanescence’s singer, which nearly made me run into a tower.)

  43. Lowbrow says:

    As a man, one of the few areas that I get to experience having gender-based insults hurled in my direction is playing a female character in League of Legends. Though my handle is from a male Latin historian, people equate playing Orianna to being female. It was a strange experience, and I don’t know whether to be impressed by female players who deal with it or to wonder at what kind of psychosis would make playing the game worth all that crap.

    • jrodman says:

      Huh, in WOW it was usually the opposite. People assumed I was male no matter what I did or said, and if I was playing with multiple women I knew in real life other players would insist they were liars if the topic came up.

      This was almost worse. They were told they didn’t exist.

    • magogjack says:

      You do realize the reason they refer to you as female is because there is no reason to learn your name in lol right?
      I’m not defending what they said in the least, just, you know its easier to say focus Ashe, or Blitz needs to start hitting his pull, then (insert name) needs to build attack damage.

  44. Pow pow LAZERS! says:

    Jesus Christ! All this pointless arguing in comments section about nothing like bunch of women.

  45. Toasty_Tam_Lin says:

    It’s a rather pathetic indictment of the developers that the only way they can think of to make female characters ‘look cool’ is to have their tits and arse on show. Some of the more deluded commenters have claimed that the alternative to having vast swathes of flesh on show is to dress everyone in ‘thick wool dresses’. If you let your imagination roam, there are plenty of options in between those extremes. If you ask a selection of women what they like and want, you will get a range of answers.

    Personally, I quite like woolen dresses, which can be made to be very flattering if you know what you’re doing. If you ignore practicalities like being able to pull the waist down over the boobs, it can look look even more spectacular! You might also be surprised as to how good chainmail can look – it hugs the bodyquite nicely. And yes, bikinis and corsets can have their place too. They don’t suit me, and I wouldn’t much want my character in them. My girlfriend, on the other hand, probably would. Give us the choice!

    The main issue that I’m seeing here, in both the comments and from certain developers, is that women aren’t viewed as people. Commenters are making the personal tastes of one (cherry picked) woman stand for all. The developers seem to have the idea that the only attractive woman is one with her tits out. Some commenters are saying that we shouldn’t be offended because [insert bad analogy]. Yet clearly significant numbers of people do have an issue with this sort of treatment and portrayal, and those commenters aren’t stopping to consider why.

    Here’s the thing – if you don’t recognise that there is a problem, then you’re probably part of the problem. If you didn’t know about the problem, then you do now. If you’re vehemently denying that the problem exists, despite the people the problem applies to telling you, then you’re a bit of a twit. Congratulations to RPS for being willing to tackle the hard stuff!

  46. Jenks says:

    “Tears-welling-in-my-eyes-as-I-type-this sad.”

    I chuckled heartily. Worth the read.

  47. GROM says:

    You invalidated your whole argument by calling games art. If they’re really art you should respect the artistic view of the artist and his work, because if you want him to change his vision according to your political views well that’s exactly what censorship means. If you don’t like Picasso, don’t hang it in your livingroom.

    Also, how come we don’t become murderers from shooting millions of people in the face, but someone wearing a questionable outfit will make us more likely to become a sexist pig. I’ve played as countless hardbodied gruff superheroes but can’t be bothered to go to the gym even once. My GF loves scantly clad Tank Girl, yet she’s not a hypersexualised victim of fictional “skanks”. If you’re a sexist, (or a racist or a whatever) it’s more likely attributed to your upbringing, socio economic class and education than a mmo character wearing a chainmail bra.

    How do you actually think females should dress? do you think they all want to dress to your standard? have you thought about the fact that some women might like to dress sexy regardless of a society telling them they can or cannot? and who are you to tell them what is ‘appropriate”?

    • PikaBot says:

      because if you want him to change his vision according to your political views well that’s exactly what censorship means

      No, that’s criticism. Censorship is when you try to force them.

      • GROM says:

        Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet or other controlling body. (from wikipedia)

        The intent of his critique is to change their artistic views to his. It’s not because he hasn’t got the power that he would’t like them to censor their vision so it would fit his political view of how women should be portrayed. He is asking for censorship. the two terms are not mutually exclusive you know. A lot of goverments had critique on certain artforms before they censored them.

        • tormos says:

          Do you realize that the definition you quoted completely undermines your point? Nathan’s not a government, he’s a not-owner of a glorified blog. He writes words about what he thinks of games. Sometimes those are nice words and sometimes they are not. What he doesn’t do is tell developers what they can and cannot publish. Ergo he is a critic and not a censor.
          Furthermore, of course it’s his right as a critic to say what he thinks about a game, especially if games are art. Should John have been nice about that shit Adventure Time game earlier today in order to “respect their vision”? No, the game was shitty, and the character models in this game make it shitty from Nathan’s perspective and therefore he had every right to say “in this regard this game is shitty”

          • GROM says:

            So people who get paintings banned from expositions because they are offended by the nudity in them are just critics and not censors pressuring public opinion right? He might be a critic, but he’s asking for censorship and I’m not denying there are different degrees to this pickle. Also as writer at a fairly big pc centered gaming blog, I’d say he has some power.

            Edit : telling why a game is objectivly technically bad is something completely different from telling a game developer why he shouldn’t make such sexist games, wich is completely subjective to you as a person, your background, religion etc.

          • The Random One says:

            The difference is that those people want those paintings not to be there, or to be there with bits removed. Nathan wants the game to exist whole, but would prefer some things be different.

            If you take something away you end up with less (well… not always, but usually). If you replace something you sometimes end up with less, sometimes with the same, and sometimes with more.

            I daresay that replacing several identical women templates without several different women characters would be more. That’s the opposite of censorship.

            Edit re your edit: let’s save ourselves some headaches and assume we’re saying ‘criticism’ as in ‘art criticism’ and not as in the ‘product review’ that’s more used in the gaming press. I don’t think anyone here would argue that calling out a game that crashes to desktop every time is harmful to the medium.

          • Hahaha says:

            “The difference is that those people want those paintings not to be there, or to be there with bits removed. Nathan wants the game to exist whole, but would prefer some things be different.”


        • PikaBot says:

          How is it suppression if he hasn’t taken any action to suppress it?

          • GROM says:

            maybe I should have put asking for censorship? might have been clearer if this was a dutch website. I’m doing my best here.

          • PikaBot says:

            How is he asking for suppression, then? Who is he appealing to? What is the mechanism?

            If questioning someone’s artistic vision is censorship, then censorship has been defined so broadly that it is no longer a useful term.

          • GROM says:

            Oh please, at the end of the interview he has totally dismissed the view that blizzard has about their game and imposed his own unto them, and he clearly feels his is superior, Leaving no room for dialog. he even goes to great lengths using a blaming and emotional shtick to further fill the holes of his lopsided argument and give it weight. It’s the same bit the right wing or religious use to validate their oppression. Oh I’m not homophobic but it’s just that I’m offended when I see two men kissing and my feelings should matter too. Or I’m not oppressive I just think women should cover themselves up because otherwise they’ll tempt men into bad things and that makes me angry.

            Blizz were right to cut him off. He didnt want their fair answer, he allready knew where he was going with this and what point he was going to make. To expose the hypocrisy of the clearly mysoginist blizzard. Has He actually played games like world of warcraft wich has the most diverse female avatar creator of whole mmo-gaming, cows, dead women, burly dwarves, cute gnomes, normal looking human women without hypersxualisation, beefy orcs, and feral trolls compared to two elveraces wich in every modern fantasy ever have been pretty and ‘sensual”. There is a reason why wow has a lot of female players, it’s because they cater to women as well but you choose to be offended by the bodysuit wearing ghost/superempowered brood mother. way to have some perspective bravo.

        • geerad says:

          By that logic—and I am using that term loosely—you are censoring Nathan by complaining about his writing this article.

          The correct response to speech that you don’t like is more speech; that is what Nathan has done here, what you have done in response, and what I have done in response to you. None of us are censoring anyone.

          • GROM says:

            Your, his or my opinion are not art. and you and him are entirly entitled to yours, just as I am entitled to mine.

    • Niko says:

      “have you thought about the fact that some women might like to dress sexy regardless of a society telling them they can or cannot?”
      There’s no “regardless of society”, never.

  48. The Random One says:

    I imagine that by the next interview they’ll have a bland canned response to that matter, just as devs always have a bland canned response to why their games have crippling DRM. But it’s all good. Let ’em sweat a little.

    • Quiffle says:

      Assuming RPS gets a next interview.

      • The Random One says:

        Whether RPS in particular do or don’t is meaningless. They’ll have that response ready. They know they’ll need it.

  49. warcroft says:

    Lets back up here. . .
    Nathan, you got an interview with Blizzard. One of the biggest and highly regarded gaming developers in the world! They let you have an interview with them over their new MOBA. A game which will attract millions upon millions of players. You were given an opportunity to interview a couple of the developers, to ask anything you like . . . and you blew it. You blew it!
    You tried to be all edgy and opinionated over female sexualisation but they didnt want a bar of it and they shut you down.
    You blew the interview and everything that was said in the interview has been completely over shadowed by the sexualisation topic at the end
    You tainted your reputation with Blizzard for any future interviews with those developers. Then, you come back here and post a few articles trying to get readers on side so you can save face.

    You should have kept it about the games.

    • pepperfez says:

      If only he had asked about character designs instead of whatever totally unrelated thing he asked about. Devs love talking about character designs, right? Well, maybe next time, except there’ll clearly never be a next time, because all game devs are committed to never talking to anyone who ever asked about whatever completely game independent thing Nathan asked about.

    • Wednesday says:

      Only in the scum pit that is gamers could Nathan’s question be seen as “Edgy”.

      • Jimbo says:

        Are we still allowed to say “Edgy”?

        • magogjack says:

          No we are not.
          Wednesday has been taken behind a bunker and shot. We will now proceed directly from Tuesday to Thursday. “We” thank you personally, without your response the blighter might have gotten away.

          Remember, keeping slang relevant isn’t just a good idea, its the Law.

    • The Random One says:

      Yeah, Nathan! How dare you ask them about the mechanics, the story, the business model, how it fits into the eSports scene, how it compares to other MOBA games, what kind of players they are going for with it, what the unrevealed maps will be like, how much support to player-made maps they will make, AND THEN AT THE ENDING MAKE ONE QUESTION THAT MADE EVERYONE AWKWARD? I demand you bring that guy back and beat six thousand words of the importance of alternate outfits out of him!

      • warcroft says:

        But you wouldnt think Nathan asked other questions. Is anyone talking about the other questions?
        Nathan himself is the one who totally overshadowed anything else in the interview. Further overshadowing it by writing this follow up article.
        Nathan is the one who has made such a big issue out of all of this in the first issue. It could have been left as a non issue.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          It isn’t Nathan’s fault that they couldn’t answer a question, or that the question threatened them so much that the interview ended, it’s their fault for not having an answer. Just as it isn’t his fault that the comments focused on this one question out of many others in the interview. Nathan isn’t holding a gun to people’s heads forcing them to comment on his question about female representation, they are all commenting because they find it an important issue, whether or not they think it is important to argue against the equal representation of women in games or to argue for it.

        • The Random One says:

          If what you said was right, then the HotS interview would have a lot of discussion about HotS, and this article would have a lot of discussion about sexism. As it is, both have a lot of discussion about sexism. This is because people who fear and hate when sexism is brought up tend to focus entirely on it whenever it’s brought up (these same people will accuse RPS of being on a crusade). This is a silencing tactic; they hope that, by shutting down other discussion, RPS will decide not to push this subject. The fact that the interview was swallowed by sexism does not prove that the question was ill-advised, it proves it was badly needed.

  50. MobileAssaultDuck says:

    Nathan, you gotta remember, most guys just don’t understand it.

    It’s not that they understand it and are against it, they literally don’t understand the point you’re making.

    You could explain it over and over and over again, they’ll never get it. They’ll always see it as “the political correctness police” or some “leftest propaganda”, or “insert other silly phrase here.”

    Many humans are incapable of removing themselves from the equation and trying to look at things from a top-down perspective. They just can’t. Their brains do not work that way. These people exist in all facets of life, they are so firmly entrenched in the “me” that they cannot comprehend looking at a situation from outside the “me”.

    We cannot fix them, we can only try to educate the next generation to be better.

    These people will never be capable of seeing outside the “me”. It is a skill their brain never developed and never will. It is an utter waste of our time and breath to try.

    • The Random One says:

      It seems to me it would be an even greater waste to not try. Because then, what are you even doing?

      • MobileAssaultDuck says:

        Focusing on engineering the next generation.

        Everyone alive today will die. The damage they do while alive can be mitigated while we engineer the next generation to be superior.

        It’s about effort spent compared to gains made. The mind of a child is far more easily engineered than the mind of an adult who already has preconstructed and outdated ideals.

        Cut losses and move on.

        • The Random One says:

          But if we give up on this generation, what will we have to show the next one as the right path to follow?

          • MobileAssaultDuck says:

            We haven’t lost this generation. Many people understand and get it. Each generation is more progressive than the last, we’re already winning this fight, it’s just that this fight is generational.

            We, each individual, are meaningless. It’s about the mass. Look at society in centuries, not day to day minutia.

            We won the gay marriage debate in the western world, we’re winning the gender battle, we’re winning pretty much every battle their is in this war on regressive thinking, but you and I won’t live to see the war end. Our work will be carried on by the next, and then their work carried on by the next, and the regressives will be further pushed into a corner.

            They just get loud as they die, so they appear to resurge occasionally, but it’s just death rattles.

            An animal is loudest shortly before it dies.

          • The Random One says:

            Many people understand and get it, but many people, in this thread, don’t. Those people will also teach the next generation. If we don’t make a stand now, how can we expected them to make a stand then? If we don’t fight now, what right have we to demand they fight then? You call this the dying screams of an animal, but what if the animal is not dead, merely wounded, and will continue to live unless we kill it now?

          • warcroft says:

            @Duck. . . you have a lot of growing up and learning to do.

          • MobileAssaultDuck says:

            These people who don’t understand aren’t teaching the next generation. They aren’t teachers, or community leaders, or artists.

            They’re passing nothing of value on. Sure, maybe they’ll slop out a spawn or two of their own, but those spawn can only be hidden from the world for so long, and what happens when regressive children are unleashed into the world? They often very quickly become progressive.

            Regressive kids often become progressive, but progressive kids rarely become regressive. It’s a long term battle.

            The people in the thread who don’t get it, ignore them. One button press and they’re gone. They’re not going to accomplish dick. They’re going to be angry, small-minded regressives raging at the progressive march of society just like all the regressives of the past raged against the march of progress and failed to stop it.

            We are socially minded, they are individualists. We will always be better organized.

          • The Random One says:

            Are there no teachers that teach skewed worldviews and sincerely believe them? Are the hate-mongering bastards who drive people against gay people not community leaders? Is Mr. Browden, who started all this, not an artist, despite his disinclination to admit that?

          • MobileAssaultDuck says:

            There are some, but the people in this thread are not them.

            And those people that do influence society to regress, we cannot fix them, we can only point them out and ensure people know there is something wrong with their ideals.

            Which society does. When a teacher pushes regressive ideals, in most countries they are pointed out and disciplined.

            You may be looking at this through an American lense. You must look at through a world lense. The US is 300 million people quickly on their way to becoming a 3rd world country, their relevance on the world stage is continually diminishing and eventually we’ll no longer need to worry about them. They’ll implode in on themselves and that’s fine, they’re only 300 million, not even a full half billion.

            300 million, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing. Their empire is in decline, we will not need to worry about them for long. Society will continue along just fine without them.

            Regressives have a stronghold in the US, but in the rest of the civilized world regressive ideals are mostly dead. Sure, Greece is having a rise of regressive ideals with Golden Dawn, but even then it’s still a super tiny minority.

          • warcroft says:

            @Duck. . .
            Your solution for the world is to kill off people who are older than you and those that have a different opinion than you. And then start indoctrinating infants.

            When you grow up, get some real world life experience, maybe even have some kids of your own, you will change and realise that everyone is not on this planet to live how you dictate.
            The Nazis were socialists.
            Individualism is freedom.

        • Pow pow LAZERS! says:

          Thank the gods we have such brilliant, enlightened individuals who will mold the next generations.

        • warcroft says:

          “The mind of a child is far more brainwashable than the mind of an adult which has grown and educated itself.”

        • GROM says:

          1945 called, they want their creepy indoctrination programs back.

          • Hahaha says:

            Bigots being bigoted towards bigots.

            Still an amusing word that gets thrown around way to much.

    • GROM says:

      Offcourse, any constructive criticism on this article is just “those” people “not getting it”. Stupid sheep we are. Baaaah.

      • Jimbo says:

        Reminds me of that line from The Newsroom: “If liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so goddamn always?”

      • PikaBot says:

        Of course not. However, the comments here really are full of people who really clearly don’t get it.

        And that’s not their fault (or at least, by entirely their fault). It’s honestly difficult for guys to get it; it requires examination of unexamined assumptions that have been indoctrinated in them from birth. It’s not that they’re stupid, they’re just up against a very difficult task, the importance of which isn’t fully clear until after it’s done.

        • MobileAssaultDuck says:

          It’s not just difficult for guys, it is difficult for people who lack the ability to step outside themselves and look at a situation in a macroscopic way.

          A lot of people can’t step outside their own reference frame.

          The people who say things like “what do i care, I’ll be dead” or “it doesn’t offend me”.

          They cannot remove the “me” from the equation. They cannot look at time in centuries instead of seconds. They can’t see society as a giant ever evolving biomass, they see the individuals instead of the mass.

          People who get caught up in the minutia. People who cannot turn off the emotions for a few moments and try to look at the human race like a logic puzzle.

        • Jimbo says:

          I love that you are completely oblivious to how stupid you are making yourself look here. Please for your own sake just stop while you’re behind.

          • PikaBot says:

            So stupid that I’ve mistaken myself for the comment thread’s original poster!

            Oh, wait.

          • Jimbo says:

            Oh, Christ, I must have just assumed there wouldn’t be two people prepared to use the same ridiculous ‘my point of view is just too difficult for those stupid heads to understand!’ teenage rhetoric. Please assume that my previous comment is now addressed to both of you.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        Criticism is totes awesome, but there are a lot of people arguing in bad faith or downright non-sequitur.

    • warcroft says:

      No, wrong. People do understand.
      You making a comment like that is you just trying to put you and you opinion above others. Trying to inflate your own ego and self importance.
      “Many humans. . . We cannot fix them, we can only try to educate them.” Thats just you trying to say youre better than most people because your opinion is different.

      • Shooop says:

        In this case where the other people’s excuses are “You’re just trying to be offended so shut up! Don’t keep talking about this!” his is.

        That you agree with someone putting this in the same league with brainwashing only proves it.

    • AReasonableMan says:

      I hope you realize that not only are you making the sweeping and unfounded generalization that a majority of people aren’t as intelligent or enlightened as you (see: narcissism), you’re also promoting the use of brainwashing and youth indoctrination.

      Regardless of your opinion or ideals, this is absolutely sickening.

    • Mark says:

      The depth of your egomania and narcissism is so great it’s hard to know where to start but I’ll give it a go.

      I know you’re probably quite young or even just a kid and full of black and white ideas and everything clearly seems very certain to you now – but I can guarantee it’s an illusion and in 20 years time you’ll feel very different about a lot of things. Here’s a simple tip – blocking or ignoring people or opinions that do not perfectly align with your own current feelings is a surefire way to end up in an intellectual dead end. Nothing will disintegrate your ability to learn and consider and reason and understand faster than blocking out anything that you do not agree with. Life is grey, full of infinite shades and slices and angles and perspectives. You are not the sole possessor of a perfect enlightened philosophy – consult history for other figures that felt the same way and reflect how they are regarded now.

      If you look at history, it’s very easy to see that with almost absolute certainty many ideas and notions you hold very dear now will undoubtedly be seen as primitive and stupid in the future. Amongst your high opinion of yourself many things you think are pillars of morality and ethics and how people or governments or society should be run now will be considered laughable or stupid or as wicked as slavery is to us now.

      You should consider this before dividing the world up into Wrong People Who Will Never Understand and The Enlightened Few Bearers of the Truth. If you could stop talking like a cult member just for a second (“WE”, and “THEM” are particularly worrying) you could perhaps watch this video from John Gray about the myth of human progress. He actually epitomises the sort of philosophical thought that counters your ridiculous moral certainty. Enjoy and I hope you may learn something or can at least make room amongst your conceit for the possibility of learning something in the future, peace.

      • zal says:

        Assault Duck, don’t listen to them!

        they’re double agents in the war of ideology! they pretend to be a part of our group, to espouse our ideals. but Stand fast, its only through our our true superior strength, our ceaseless efforts on this most sacred battlefield of culture itself, that we can see that in their base need to settle, and compromise with THEM, the baseless regressives, that reveal themselves for what they ARE. Sabotuers, Partisans, appeasers!

        They want to hold you back, to weaken your strength and clarity, with their needless arguments and pointless conversation. Don’t waste time thinking of them or their ideas, OUR strength and purpose is too great, resonates with too much truth, to be dulled by doubt or introspection.

        Forge onward! you’re a loyalist to the culture war only WE can win, and our great future can only be found through conflict.. the time for parlay is past, EVERY DAY we are crushing them with our might, our certainty, with the inevitability of our truths.

        you must not stop,
        you must not listen,
        you must not hesitate,
        Its war now! glorious conflict!
        We, the strong, the right,
        crushing them, the weak, the imbecilic
        they are inhuman aberrations incapable of feeling our superior empathy. In our right hand is the scythe of reason, in our left, the scourge of empathy. we will flay them with our empathy, and we will reap them with our reason. Time is on our side, but it will be a long fight, and if we are to hasten that glorious day, we must not stop to bicker with them.

        Or you know, we could try talking it out like the grown adults we all are.

        • MobileAssaultDuck says:

          The forces of regress fight with the moral authority you are mocking at the moment. They never question, they never hesitate, they move forward with their ideals and forever damage the progression of this species.

          It is time the forces of progress do the same.

          There is no right or wrong, no good or evil, no destiny, no karma, no point or purpose. We choose which path to follow. We forge our own purpose. We define the subjective aspects of reality as we see fit.

          For too long the forces of progress have doubted and questioned ourselves. We have given ground to the regressives and their unquestioning feeling of moral superiority.

          I will cede that ground no more. I will not hesitate when they fail to do the same.

          They are my philosophical and political enemies and I will work to grind their ideology to dust with no remorse or pity. No hesitation or questioning.

          I will succeed, or I will fail, and the beauty is that the heat death of the universe happens either way.

          I am one small cog in a glorious machine and this cog will turn without hesitation.

          • harbinger says:

            This is brilliant, I’m not even sure if you are trolling or not but I definitely want some of the stuff you’re smoking.

          • The Random One says:

            “I will cede that ground no more. I will not hesitate when they fail to do the same.” says the person who suggests we give up on this and just try to raise our children better so maybe they’ll be less sexist.

            It was cool being all Socratic with you but now you’re just being inconsistent.

    • Lowbrow says:

      I think the easiest way to make guys understand this is to have them make a character in Monster Hunter on the DS and then tell them to imagine all their avatars dressed like that.