The Sunday Papers

Good haul, this week.

Later today I will be disappearing into a pen-and-paper session of Numenera, to pretend to be a cross between E. Honda and B.A. Baracus. Unless those dice rolls fail me, in which case I will be Austin Powers-ing my way through it. In any case, better round up the week’s best games writing first.

  • Let’s begin this week by talking about YouTube. Mike Rose at Gamasutra asks, is YouTube killing the games press? This is filled with interesting quotes from developers on whether traditional websites or YouTubers helped sales of their game more, though it does focus the conversation on ‘which type of coverage is best for developers’ rather than what’s best for people playing and buying games.
  • Getting covered by a big-name YouTuber is now essentially the dream of many game developers. The publicity someone like TotalBiscuit, NerdCubed or Northernlion can bring you compared to mainstay consumer websites like IGN, GameSpot and Game Informer is becoming increasingly significant.

    A year ago, I would have advised any developer to get in touch with as many press outlets as possible, as soon as possible. I still advise this now, but with the following caveat: You’re doing so to get the attention of YouTubers.

  • One of the people fighting the good fight is Kim Richards at Yogscast, who has written a heartfelt post about the petty fight between words and video, and the too-casual dismissal by peers and viewers. You should check out her channel, too.
  • And then there’s the ever bubbling argument about WORDS VS VIDEO, which to be honest, breaks my heart. Mainly because I’ve spanned both professions in my seven year career in the games industry. I really don’t understand this need for division and boundaries, for the hatred and complaint. As a friend said recently – you get good writers and bad writers. You get good YouTubers and bad YouTubers. Please don’t tar us all with the same brush. I think that sometimes, it’s very easy for people to forget the amount effort, drive, passion and sheer hard work that goes into what we do. Communication is key. Why not talk to us, rather than snipe from Twitter accounts? People should always talk to each other, not at each other.

  • In search of YouTubers who provide careful analysis of videogame design? Try the LevelHead series, which picks apart levels in various indie games to uncover its strengths. I’m particularly fond of this examination of a single 1001 Spikes level.
  • I find most games-that-weren’t-made stories pretty tedious, but this is a kind of pre-history: before CD Projekt Red made The Witcher, there was another game in-production based on the same books, led by Adrian Chmielarz, best known as the design lead on Bulletstorm. Robert Purchese at Eurogamer tells the story:

    Money changed hands – “good money for Poland in 1997”, “ridiculous” by any other standards – and the licence was signed. Sapkowski took the money and kept to himself, which was something Chmielarz at first interpreted as ‘giving space’, and then – after a number of unanswered letters (Sapkowski didn’t do email) – as ‘he doesn’t give a s***’.

    “Honestly, at that time, he just didn’t care about games at all. I think he thought something like this: ‘Extra money is coming my way. Nobody cares about games so it’s not going to destroy my character in any way. Yeah, let’s do it.’ All it was was extra money to him which is fine – totally fine! I don’t blame him. That’s actually pretty smart.” After all, he got his money regardless of whether the game appeared. And it didn’t.

  • Most notably this week at Eurogamer, Tom ‘Tom Bramwell’ Bramwell admits that he is a sexist. This is a well-written piece, not really about Tom, and important for the pledge at the end. (Is it too pat to say me too?):
  • This is a realisation that has slowly dawned on me over the last few years. Without really meaning to do so, I have been going around saying and doing things that demean women and casually downplay the importance of issues of gender discrimination all my life. It’s a horrible thing to recognise about yourself, gradually or not. I try to be a generous and caring person and I am pretty sensitive, so the idea that I have been ignorantly treating half of the people I know and love in this way makes me feel awful.

  • My only window into the Twine community is through the writings of other people, so I don’t know the veracity of anything included within Electron Dance’s latest article. But it is interesting, and sounds pretty much like every other community I’ve ever been a part of:
  • Unfortunately, as someone who has used Twine to teach and continues to promote it as a tool for classrooms despite his own frequent lack of faith, this means these issues comes up faster than they would for other tools, engines, or software libraries. The reality for most people using Twine is that there is often a very real cultural war being fought over who gets to create and how they label their creations. Many of the frontline battles for power to dictate and manipulate definitions have been, are currently, and probably will continue to be fought, discussed, and argued around Twine in the coming years.

  • Andrew Pellerano at Gamasutra writes an interesting article about the danger of game options, and argues that offering choice in some instances serves to make them less accessible, not more, by fracturing the playerbase. The proposed solution suggests not, but can this same criticism be applied to multiplayer games less concerned with being competitive?:
  • That setting legitimizes the scrub’s complaint. They no longer have to learn. Instead they can say: “if the game lets you turn off seeking arrows, then it must be a valid way to play.” In their mind, they have made TowerFall a more expert game by removing auto-aim for babies. In reality, they have undermined a core design tenet of the game. Remember that TowerFall only wishes to be a game about positioning and head games. It does not wish to be about parabolic trajectory simulation.

    When you allow players to undermine core design tenets, you fracture your player base. In TowerFall’s case, you get experts who play with seeking arrows and experts who play without. Every kill now comes with a caveat: “In my rules that wouldn’t kill me.” The statement drips with superiority. No middle ground will ever be found between these players, they are simply incompatible.

  • Duncan Harris’ Dead End Thrills column might have come to an end at RPS, but his good work continues on his own site. Recently he spoke to the designers of SUPERHOT (SUPER. HOT.) about the art design of their slow-motion bulletscapes:
  • Iwanicki: One of the very first inspirations for SUPERHOT was to make it more like theatre. We knew we had limited resources, so that was the best reference. The modern artistic theatre is very strange; once movies were invented it had to go a different, more symbolic way. So, if you have a helicopter in a scene, you don’t bring the helicopter into it because you can’t afford to. You have a shadow, you have a sound, even shooting from the helicopter – but it’s told with subtle cues. It’s like the shark in Jaws.

    Surma: Though sometimes you do have to show it. There’s one level with the helicopter where it’s not seen, but then this is a game about stopping time. The helicopter has a rotor that can move and then stop when you stop time – how could we not have that? You stand still and you see the blades, the shadow of it crawling through the geometry of the level – awesome stuff. Some sort of modelling is necessary there.

  • Rainbow Six Siege is very much My Kind Of Thing, so I was excited before reading this PC Gamer interview with one of its designers. Then, at times, perplexed while reading it:
  • PCG: Are there going to be objectives other than hostage extraction?

    Witts: It’s not going to be our only game mode. That’s not to say there won’t be different hostages. Right now we have a feature called the “living hostage,” so she reacts to the environment around her. As an explosion goes off, she shields herself a bit. Then a gunfight happens around her and she shields herself and stuff. She really reacts to the environment and we want to stress that further in further iterations. If we have any other type of hostages, we can call her [the hostage NPC shown at E3] Olivia, maybe we have a hostage named Bob or something, and Bob reacts maybe a little differently than her, but the gameplay’s overall the same. The hostage rescue, we can have some creativity there, but any other game modes we’re going to have, we are going to revisit previous game modes people love about the series and stress them and bring them to the forefront.

  • Some people experience trauma and afterwards are traumatised. Weak asses. Cool people experience trauma and then become who they were meant to be. Leigh Alexandar at Gamasutra nails this and many of the other problems with the E3 Tomb Raider trailer. “What did they do to you?: Our women heroes problem.”
  • “I know it’s upsetting, what you’ve been through,” whispers another treatment figure to the heroine of Infamous: First Light, another game with a ponytailed heroine shown at E3 2014 last night. Like Lara, she wears a cozy hoodie, curls in on herself. We like to peek through the windows and behind the shower curtains and into the doctor’s appointments of our fragile heroines and voyeuristically thrill at their damage, looking forward to their moments of revelation and revenge.

    It seems that when you want to make a woman into a hero, you hurt her first. When you want to make a man into a hero, you hurt… also a woman first.

  • Where can I, mysterious woman, sit alone at a bar in my best dress and drink?
  • I am in love with the romanticism of BBC history, so this slideshow is all too brief.
  • Bush House, the Central London building that served, for some seventy years, as the home of the BBC World Service, was originally a trade center. Built in the early nineteen-twenties, it was commissioned and financed by the American industrialist Irving T. Bush, designed by the American architect Harvey Wiley Corbett, and dedicated “to the friendship of English-speaking peoples.”

  • It’s terrifying how easily people are compelled towards conformity.
  • Every Cloudface GIF on a single page.
  • Edit: Update to include Simon Parkin’s Kiss That Changed Video Games from the New Yorker. It’s the story of how same-sex relationships came to be included in the first game:
  • During The Sims’s protracted development, the team had debated whether to permit same-sex relationships in the game. If this digital petri dish was to accurately model all aspects of human life, from work to play and love, it was natural that it would facilitate gay relationships. But there was also fear about how such a feature might adversely affect the game. “No other game had facilitated same-sex relationships before—at least, to this extent—and some people figured that maybe we weren’t the ideal ones to be first, as this was a game that E.A. really didn’t want to begin with,” Barret told me. “It felt to me like a fear thing.” After going back and forth for several months, the team finally decided to leave same-sex relationships out of the game code.

  • Relevant: this post from a Reddit user about what The Sims meant to them as a teenager. This is why we want more diverse and inclusive games.
  • Music this week is BOY. Their sole album came out in 2011 but I only just discovered it, and it’s Feisty. As in, it’s reminiscent of the work of Leslie Feist. Do listen.

    253 Comments

    1. kwyjibo says:

      Eurogamer is down.

      Referee points to the spot. Penalty!

      (it’s up again)

      • Gap Gen says:

        Sends in Polygon, gets shot down by RPG fired by local militia.

    2. Geebs says:

      Local Man Hates Self, Blames Society

      • stonetoes says:

        Self-awareness and self-improvement are not the same as self-hate. Tempting to believe that they are, I suppose, so we don’t have to bother changing to accommodate others.

        • joa says:

          It would be nice if the self-awareness were accompanied by less self-flagellation.

          • Eight Rooks says:

            Tempting to believe it’s excessive, I suppose (or that it’s anything as dramatic as “self-flagellation” at all), to make it easier to dismiss the sneaking suspicion that maybe this is the right thing to do, and that we should be doing it too, and the majority of Eurogamer commenters (up until the point I got sick of reading the comments, at least) should be ashamed of themselves.

            • RedViv says:

              The wonderfully horrible thing on display there is the very reason for why feminist breaking up of gendered attitude is SO necessary: these guys react with utmost disgust at the very notion of considering empathy and self-examination instead of growing the “thick skin” and an oversized ego MENS are supposed to have.

            • Geebs says:

              Being introspective is natural and healthy. Using that introspection in an attempt to change yourself into someone with whom you are more able to peacefully coexist is healthy. Recognising problems in yourself and then projecting them on to others is solipsistic.

              Every generation believes that it can do better than previous generations, right up until it accidentally acquires a sense of perspective and becomes the next previous generation. This is usually prefaced by an ugly bout of looking down on other people.

              Some time after this point in the trajectory of emotional maturity, people finally learn to live and let live.

            • joa says:

              The whole article is Bramwell’s ego. It’s all a posturing ‘look at me and how superior I am to those other guys’.

            • InternetBatman says:

              Every generation (at least the aggregate since the 1200s, maybe earlier) has actually been doing better than the last generation on pretty much every measurable metric. Deriding those efforts as not knowing when to live and let live is fairly silly.

            • Geebs says:

              Quite apart from the likely confirmation and selection biases in that assessment, the overall shape of society is not the same thing as how you relate to people as individuals. “The structure of our society is bad, let’s change it” is fine, “I am bad and therefore you are bad; if you’re different from me that just makes you worse” is insufferable toss.

            • Gap Gen says:

              InternetBatman: There’s a Cara Ellison article from earlier this year arguing that gender representation has actually regressed, or at least stalled: link to pastemagazine.com

              As for the Bramwell article, I kinda agree that it seems a little too “I have repented!” (also, pretty late into the women in gaming movement, it has to be said). The acknowledgement that you have prejudices and are open to re-examining them should be a thing of basic human decency, although I don’t know if it was Bramwell’s intent to solicit internet pats on the back or just an admission of guilt and a punctuation mark in an ongoing career.

            • Geebs says:

              Bear in mind that this (Tom) is the same guy who, only last week, suggested that the only sure way to improve representation in video games would be to make the publishers answerable to a Cultural Correctness committee consisting of (Tom and his twenty-to-thirty-something white male Western European or american friends +/- token ethnics and females), who would judge whether an individual game reached appropriate standards of inclusiveness for release.

              Yes, Tom, that is a brilliant idea. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that every time throughout history this has been tried, it’s gone swimmingly for all concerned.

            • Gap Gen says:

              Seriously? Huh.

            • InternetBatman says:

              “Quite apart from the likely confirmation and selection biases in that assessment, the overall shape of society is not the same thing as how you relate to people as individuals.”

              The overall shape of society is how individuals relate to each other in aggregate.

              “The liberal’s paradox. Liberals see a problem with the world, a problem of oppression and unfairness, that should be rectified in order to deliver equality and opportunity to everyone. So how will we get there? Let’s use authoritarian control methods to censor and manipulate culture to fit our own perception of what is right, fair and just.”

              That’s the just, necessary, and proper exercise of the law. The US as a society used authoritarian methods to desegregate much of the south, and it certainly used even more authoritarian methods to get rid of slavery. The social contract guarantees that eventually the many will use legitimized force against the few to protect the rights of all. It is a paradox, but there’s nothing terribly liberal about it unless proper governance is only a liberal value.

            • Stardreamer says:

              Oh Joa. Oh…no. No no no.

              1) the point of talking about it isn’t to get everyone to agree it’s to get enough people to agree so things change. Some minds will never be shifted so it’s pointless looking for full consensus. That said, it’s truly hard to disagree that sexism in the gaming industry exists when the evidence stacked up in a pile could rival Mt Everest for size. It takes a really determined mind to not see that!

              2) Go on. Say it. Don’t be a wuss. “White Knight”. “Guys” will probably do anything to get a woman’s affections, or to look better in their estimation. Real men, however, genuinely care and don’t really give a flying fig what anyone thinks of them. I detest this “white knighting” thing. As if men can’t do any-fucking-thing without it being in reference to a woman! It’s insulting on just about every level.

              5) “Social justice Warriors”. Wish I had my bingo card; I’d have just won the jackpot! If you can’t talk on a subject without reference to lazy, dismissive terminology then best not open your mouth at all, son. And kindly stop confusing we lovers of social justice with the worst imaginable behaviour of your favourite comic-book dictators. Its rude, ignorant and a waste of everyone’s time.

            • jezcentral says:

              I’m not sure this is quite the sub-thread to mention this, but surely you don’t have to go ask the way back to c1910 cowboy movies for Dastardly? Thus sounds more like Dick Dastardly tying up Penelope Pitstop. Hey-elp! Hey-elp ! etc etc.

              Anyway, person realising they could be more inclusive: Good Thing.

            • Geebs says:

              The overall shape of society is how individuals relate to each other in aggregate.

              Not sure I agree with that. The overall shape of society as is pertains to (the things I’m assuming you’re referring to as objectively improving since the 1200s) is more related to what people are prepared to admit to in public, which is a different thing. Bearing in mind the tendency for every group of people throughout history to aggrandise themselves by demonising a) the previous generation of their society and b) those other guys across the border, forgive me if I remain cynical about real societal improvement.

              These days, the same enlightened western europeans you seem to be suggesting are the best generation of humans the world have ever seen have shifted their intolerance from women, other races and the non-heteronormative and taken up hating old people instead. They have two key advantages as scapegoats – you can feel superior to them because their encroaching cognitive impairment means they tend to say more regrettable things, and when you get tired of them you can dump them on the state. Progress!

            • joa says:

              Stardreamer: I don’t disagree that sexism exists in the game industry, and in life in general. I just think it’s a lot more complicated than a lot of people here make out, with their simplistic “evil culture/men oppressing women” narrative. Getting people to agree to change is one thing; getting people to jump on board with your entire blinkered ideology is something else, and I hope that people adopt a more nuanced and critical view instead.

              2) Like it or not men are evolved to try and impress women. It’s instinctual. I’m not saying men only adopt feminist views for that reason, but it may be part of the reason for quite a few men. Men are also evolved to have protective feelings for women. Why do you think you care more about feminist issues than about say, homeless men, for example?

              5) Have a look at the comment right above yours where InternetBatman suggests that the many will use force to silence a critical minority.

            • Frank says:

              It’s like born-again Christians and Alcoholics Anonymous graduates. It’s a depressing cliche. They’re so sure of their wisdom now; they were probably equally sure of their righteousness before; and will be able to view themselves as heroes for whom all is forgiven no matter what they do, with the help of their name-drop totems.

              Nonetheless, I’m glad he’s editing Eurogamer. This crusade will no doubt bring in new voices and perspectives and make for better reporting. I just hope he brings more to the table with his own writing than self-reflection.

            • Geebs says:

              Except for the fact that eurogamer used to have a writer who was able to combine a clear message against sexism with an ability to treat their audience like adults, and who managed to keep the snark good humoured even when clearly a bit sick of it all. Looking back, even though the comments that replied to that writer’s articles were often stupid, they were a lot less irascible and defensive. Real shame.

    3. Focksbot says:

      Auto-aim in Towerfall should be turned off because it makes things harder, not easier. If you’re playing the campaign mode, when the screen is filled with ghosts and wotnot, an arrow neatly aimed at one enemy gets sucked towards other nearby enemies and ends up carving a path between the lot of them!

      • KenTWOu says:

        That Towerfall article… I think it’s very useful for multiplayer experiences only, where we already have lots of factors which could split your gaming community: platforms and input devices, time zones, locked regions, low ping, different modes, maps and DLC map packs, etc. But single player games and especially stealth games, that’s another story. They should have advanced options to attract more players to the game.

    4. edwardoka says:

      Sundays are for writing the first sentence of the Sunday Papers in the third person, prefixing it with the phrase “Sundays are for”.

      • Premium User Badge

        Graham Smith says:

        Sundays are for shaking loose the bonds of old running jokes and sentence constructions. New horizons await.

        • edwardoka says:

          Sundays are for being thoroughly put in my place!

        • Stardreamer says:

          It’s the lack of consistency that got me. Changed your bloody minds about what a Sunday was for every bloody Sunday!

          I’ll be glad to get back to not giving a fig and just pissing the day away as I usually do.

    5. AngelTear says:

      About the Gamasutra article about Youtubers, I do believe it all simply comes down to the fact that video is more easy to digest than written content, like a quote in the middle of the article says.

      I’ve studied most of my life, but during a period of my life signed by trauma and anxiety, I couldn’t muster the concentration to read, but I could consume video content and it temporarily calmed me down, or at least distracted me. That has nothing to do with video being more or less effective a communication form, it’s just that video goes on whether or not you’re paying adequate attention to it, whether or not you’re truly understanding what’s being said, whereas if you lose concentration on a written page you just find yourself staring at the screen, having to start reading the sentence over.

      I still prefer written content for a number of reasons, though. I actually think it’s more effective at delivering complex information that takes time to digest, or sentences that require 2 or 3 read-overs to fully understand. Then again, I’m also not interested in Let’s Plays, and the only 2 Youtubers I follow do games criticism/reviews with commentary rather than straight up LPs. And even then, they do videos not necessarily because they thought it was the better format for what they wanted to say (I know some would only like to use short game clips as supplement to written content, eg to show the part of the game they are talking about), but simply because that same content in written form didn’t reach the same number of people, and that makes me a bit sad.

      • AngelTear says:

        On a related, Youtube-y note, Anita Sarkeesian’s new Tropes vs Women video came out, focusing on “Women as Background Decoration”.
        link to feministfrequency.com

        I’d argue it’s the weakest video of the series thus far, I didn’t really agree with certain application of theories I do otherwise agree with, but it’s still very interesting. The ending is especially strong, as it talks about the influence that sexism we are exposed to in media has in real life.

        • Big Murray says:

          So that’s five videos in two years then …

          • thedosbox says:


            So that’s five videos in two years then …

            I expect you’ll be manning the ramparts for every single game that moves it’s release date?

            Excellent.

            • Big Murray says:

              If a game I’d kickstarted was only 25% complete 18 months after its intended release date, I’d at least expect an explanation?

            • Baines says:

              I did find it funny, even if it was coincidence, that RPS stopped running articles about Kickstarter projects that ran past their promised delivery dates right after people started asking why RPS refused to question/mention Sarkeesian running past her promised delivery date. (Well, first RPS used the “we cover video game news, and that isn’t video game news” response. Then it stopped running articles about late Kickstarters.)

            • Premium User Badge

              tigerfort says:

              @Big Murray: You mean an excuse like “we got over 25 times our funding target, so we increased the proposed output from five ten-minute summary episodes to a dozen lengthy discussions, some of them long enough to need breaking into multiple half-hour segments”? The “damsels in distress” video alone is 50% more recorded content than was promised for the original kickstarter funding goal. More research, more writing, more recording, more editing – all of which is real work that takes time.

              Notably, a fair few of the other KSs that we’ve seen over-run their original timeframe by vast amounts were also hugely over-funded, and also plunged that money into extra content. Why didn’t Crate Entertainment just hire more people to complete Grim Dawn to the original deadline? Because they believed they would produce a better product – a product more in line with what the backers wanted – by sticking with the team that the backers had signed up to support. I think that’s fair.

              ETA: Please note, before anyone brings it up here, that this is totally unrelated to whether you think Anita Sarkeesian is right, or even competent. It doesn’t matter whether you think the videos are good – producing ten times as much content is still ten times as much work.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Her backers appear to be extremely happy with her work though. Surely thats as much as can reasonably be asked?

            • Geebs says:

              Not that you could tell that from the comments on her videos of course….

              (I’m just being snarky, she has every right to exist and express herself, and her backers have every right to give her money to do so)

            • Philomelle says:

              Are they? Because she keeps stubbornly locking all comments and backer updates so we cannot tell how backers actually feel. Meanwhile, the comments page on her Kickstarter is mostly about how she’s been stealing content from fanartists and Let’s Play authors without ever explaining herself, while googling her name gives you articles such as this one.

              Believe it or not, a lot of feminists cannot stand her because of constant sensationalism, stolen content, references to research that she never ever backs up, as well as occasional statements that reveal she doesn’t actually play the games she claims to research.

            • WrenBoy says:

              Its true that I was making an assumption there. I still assume that the overwhelming amount of backer dollars supporting her come from satisfied supporters but I would be interested to know any reason I should think otherwise.

              I guess what I was trying to say though is that while anyone should be able to criticise what she says, only the backers can say whether they are getting value for money.

            • Philomelle says:

              Because if you check the comments on her Kickstarter, the most recurring topic in recent years was not the quality of her work, but her complete inability to communicate with backers on any topics, including ones she should be commenting on.

              The point is that Anita Sarkeesian is doing absolutely nothing to improve women’s portrayal in games beyond releasing a bunch of ill-researched videos filled to the brim with stolen content and unsourced research, featuring games she hasn’t actually played. She never once commented on actual immediate issues concerning women’s treatment in the industry, to the point where it looks like she’s completely ignoring everything beyond what she shows in her videos (which are tiny isolated snippets often taken out of context). And people are starting to catch on to that.

            • Lemming says:

              Of course they’re happy she’s preaching to the choir. Nobody is actually learning anything.

            • Baines says:

              I still assume that the overwhelming amount of backer dollars supporting her come from satisfied supporters but I would be interested to know any reason I should think otherwise.

              The overwhelming amount of backer dollars supporting her probably come from people who want to hear a YouTube and internet-appointed authority ‘confirm’ the opinions that they already believe.

              That doesn’t just apply to her. If someone like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly ran a similar project, you’d see a similar effect.

          • thedosbox says:

            If a game I’d kickstarted was only 25% complete 18 months after its intended release date, I’d at least expect an explanation?

            Well, I assume you’re a backer and can ask her yourself? Otherwise, why would you care? It’s not like you HAVE to wait to watch the videos until they’ve all been produced.

          • Frank says:

            I kickstarted, and the quality has far exceeded my expectations. The research she’s put into it takes time, you know.

        • aoanla says:

          I have completely the opposite opinion of it: I thought the trilogy of “Damsel” videos were all slightly problematic in their arguments, and the two more recent topics (“Ms Male” and “Women as Background Objects”) were much more strongly argued.

        • RedViv says:

          The one big problem I have with this one is that she counters a lot of earlier well-stated points about the sneaky seeping nature of harmful tropes getting into people’s minds, with it supposedly being worse because of interactivity now. That part does not matter in the slightest and only opens the door for the silly little “OH but VIOLENCE is totes okay or what???” langers. Unnecessary for her line of thought in the video as well.

          • steviebops says:

            ‘langers’ – Are you from Cork by any chance Baiii?

        • Philomelle says:

          I’ll be always waiting for the discussion to be picked up by someone who isn’t a chronic liar severely uneducated in the field she’s discussing who picks up individual moments to create wildly sensationalist articles. I was still interested before, but then she claimed that Bayonetta is directly responsible for causing sexual violence against women in Japanese subways without presenting any sort of data or even having actually played the game at any point, and I was completely done.

      • Big Murray says:

        I agree that video is a more pleasing format than written articles a lot of the time. It worries me what the knock-on impact of this for the development of indie games is though. If you’re trying to get the attention of YouTubers … then we’re going to start getting games which are specifically targeted at YouTubers. And that’s concerning, given that the majority of them (looking at you, PewDiePie) represent a kind of ADHD generation of not paying attention to anything with deep storyline or narrative impact.

        • Ayslia says:

          I’d just like to point out that PewDiePie was the only major LPer to cover To The Moon, as far as I know. Not saying he’s great (personally I haven’t watched any of his vids), but maybe it’s something to take into account?

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          Weird that you would imply anything without a ~deep story~ is for an ADHD “generation” (and way to go insulting people with that condition, champ). What about something like Crusader Kings II?

        • Asdfreak says:

          I don’t know what LPers you talk about, but Pewdiepie is probably the most unrepresentative of the bunch. Actually, most LPers don’t cut as much as he does, and the big german LPers for example all go much more in depth. None of the big ones have made one of those horribly cut videos, and it’t not so extreme with the english non-Pewdiepies

      • BooleanBob says:

        Speaking anecdotally, I find reading much easier on the ol’ attention deficiency than watching a video. I can tab between 3-10 different articles and work through them quite happily over the course of a couple of hours, but ask me to sit down and watch any video longer than a couple of minutes and I’ll be shifting in my seat, hovering over the timer to see if there are any credits I’ll be able to skip, subjecting the crap on my desk to an impromptu feng shui..ing… truly, generation youtube, thine ways are mystery to me.

        • strangeloup says:

          Came here to say basically the same thing. The only regular use I have for video is for training/tutorials, for software where it’s much easier to give a demonstration; to show rather than tell. I find video is a pretty good way of learning — especially having recently come across Udemy, which has video courses on a ridiculous number of topics — though I prefer to also have some written material I can refer back to, rather than trying to find the specific bit where Thing X is explained if it slips my mind.

          In terms of gaming, I suppose this translates to videos that show where you might find something hidden, or a way to get past a certain challenge, when such things would be considerably more difficult to explain in words. Of course, it’s also good to see a game in action if you’re on the fence about buying it; watching someone actually play the game is usually more likely to give you a realistic idea of it than any number of trailers.

        • Scurra says:

          Yes, I’m in this camp. I hate videos (and, indeed, most spoken presentations) because I have to go at the speed of the speaker, not at my speed. It’s not quite as bad in a real-world situation because a good speaker will take note of the audience and change their approach accordingly – whereas a video has no idea of this at all. Let’s Play videos are perhaps less egregious in this respect since they go at the pace of the game itself, but even that isn’t the same as the speed that one plays the same game since each person has a different perspective on what they are looking at or considering. Not to mention that most videos give the impression of being ad hoc and it takes real skill for someone to make something that is tightly thought out look impromptu (cf. something like The Office compared to the recent glut of “scripted reality” shows.)

          • malkav11 says:

            I do feel like for most games video is the optimal format for Let’s Plays, because part of the point (for me, at least) is to vicariously experience the game (ideally with informative and/or entertaining commentary) and most games need to be seen in motion in real time to really be experienced. Text games and largely static ones excepted, of course. Also a lot of RPGs/JRPGs work just fine with periodic screenshots, reproduced dialogue and videos for cutscenes, at least of the older eras. But for most games, video makes sense.

        • Frank says:

          Ditto. Unless the video respects my time to a ridiculous degree (like zero punctuation, a dev commentating or maybe a Starcraft match), I’d rather skip through a write-up. I can’t stand those Yogscast folks, lolling about in Minecraft, attempting to become internet personalities or something. Ugh.

      • Geebs says:

        I would be interested on seeing the figures on sales generated by advertising purely through appearing in articles about internet games coverage and advertising in order to complain about your unacceptable lack of coverage and advertising, and the disappointing lack of sales from same, like the race the sun guys.

        Edit: increased length of run-on sentence

      • malkav11 says:

        I find it to be 100% the opposite, which is why I am so frustrated by the increasing prevalence of video as a medium for communicating information. Of course certain things (how a game looks in motion, for example, or a trailer for a movie) have to be presented that way, but it is not, not, not, NOT the way to communicate any information to me that you don’t have to present that way. With text, I can read a paragraph in a matter of seconds, digest it almost as quickly. I can access it on virtually any device or location I care to name. It loads immediately, but is trivially kept for later if I need to. I can easily quote it for reply, sample it for passing on choice bits to others, target specific ideas. Video is none of these things. But really it most comes down to the first bit. If you transmit your information by text, I can read it in a couple of minutes and be done. Present the same ideas in a video and I’m committed to the entire running length of the video, invariably an order of magnitude more time spent for the same information. I find that actively disrespectful, and frankly, you’re going to need to be saying something I really want to listen to for me even to bother. I certainly don’t, for example, watch Kickstarter pitch videos. The project page either tells me what I need to know or I don’t back it. Simple as that.

        • Martel says:

          I also agree. I tend to find myself skipping around in videos a lot simply because they can’t keep up with what would be a moderate reading pace.

        • choie says:

          I’m that way too. I am embarrassed to admit I haven’t even followed the Cardboard Children’s Top 50 Board Games videos. I was so glad there was a text breakdown last time so I could read Robert Florence’s thoughts rather than watch a guy speaking to a camera. Yes, even if that guy IS Rab.

      • Bart Stewart says:

        Several of the comments in the video/writing part of this thread are similar to comments I made to Mike Rose’s Gamasutra article. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who finds more value in written analysis than in videos.

        I’m sure it’s true that there is good video-form games journalism just as there is bad written games journalism. But that argument doesn’t address the two things that keep me in the “written” column: 1) I can more easily find good written articles than good videos (for my personal definition of “good” games journalism), and 2) I can read faster at my own pace than I can listen to someone talking at their pace.

        In a way this reminds me of the debate over whether games are better when designed to satisfy the creator’s personal interests (auteur theory), or when they’re focused on what the game’s likely players enjoy doing. I think there’s room for both of those approaches, just as I think there’s room for both video and written discussion of games. But my personal preference is for games and games journalism that deliver what interests me.

        Art games, and video descriptions of games, are usually far less about my interests than about the creator’s. Commercial games, and written games journalism, don’t always meet my needs, either… but the odds of their doing so are higher. So that’s where I go.

    6. DanMan says:

      I’m kind of angry at “repenting sinner” stories. Same as “I quit smoking/drinking” stories. At least half of it is attention whoring. What about all the people who’ve done the right thing all along? Who’s giving them attention? Actions speak louder than words.

        • DanMan says:

          Exactly! Noone’s there to pat you on the back, but the guy who wasn’t smart enough to realize how wrong he’s been all along gets admired. I’m sorry, but I’m just not having any of that.

          I’m speaking in general here. Not exactly picking on the EG guy.

          • RedViv says:

            No, the guy who realises that he sucked more, sucks less now, will suck, but aims to improve it anyway and points out that anyone is capable of awfulness and should look at their self more closely, that person gets admired. Change in the formerly non-excellent-to-others is good, very good indeed.

            Being a decent person is its own reward in how people treat you. Being decent also includes not even wanting anything special, just for other people to be decent too.

            • pepperfez says:

              Being a decent person is its own reward in how people treat you.
              Not so much in the context of internet arguments about gender, though, where being decent is rewarded with hundreds of comments calling you a white-knight-social-justice-warrior-feminazi-etc.

            • The Random One says:

              Few things make me happier than being insulted by horrible people. That’s how you know you’re doing something right.

            • RedViv says:

              Precisely.

          • Gundrea says:

            Oddly enough this was covered in the Prodigal Son.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        Do they really? Could you explain what particular actions everyone’s supposed to be taking to combat entrenched/unconscious prejudice, then? That won’t be met with a flood of knee-jerk brain-dead NUH UH THAT’S RUBBISH EVERYTHING IS FINE SHUT UP SJW SCUM? Because it seems to me that when, say, RPS wanted to start walking the walk without having to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining themselves first, that’s all they got in return (or, well, far too much of it). And hey, look, when Eurogamer (or their figurehead, at least) try and explain themselves first, the majority of the responses they get are exactly the same thing. So if there’s some mysterious third way floating about, please, do tell. Until then I’m pretty confident an awful lot of people on the internet are simply prone to acting like idiots whenever anyone suggests they’re not in complete control of their own actions/they don’t know their own mind one hundred percent, and should maybe do something about lifting themselves out of the happy little rut they’re in.

        • DanMan says:

          Again, action instead of words. Next time you hear your buddies / co- workers do sexist jokes about a woman, even if she’s not in the room, don’t approve of it by joining the laughter or saying nothing. Tell them what they’re doing wrong instead. Don’t go on the Internet and write an article about it that won’t be read by the people you’re trying to address anyway.

          You will not be the popular person though, I guarantee you. So be prepared.

          • pepperfez says:

            But people reading articles on gaming websites are exactly who Bramwell and the writers at RPS want to address! This idea that calling out shitty behavior in person is admirable but doing it in writing is contemptible…just doesn’t make much sense.

      • InternetBatman says:

        There was a pretty good article on gamasutra about the validity of options in game design. I highly disagree with the author, but it starts an interesting conversation.

        link to gamasutra.com

        • Josh W says:

          Not sure whether Graham edited this in or whether you didn’t spot it at the time.

          Regardless, it reminds me of how fun I found the old mutators for unreal tournament, or indeed options for SSBM. To me, it’s quite fun to be able to play a different game within the same game, shifting everything about a bit, even if you do prefer playing for example, “low gravity instagib CTF” or “no items 4 stock” games as your main thing.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        Overcoming a hardship, self-imposed or otherwise, is praiseworthy. Worrying about other people receiving attention instead of yourself because you think you’re perfect, not so much.

        • DanMan says:

          What took you so long? ;)

          Of course the experience is important for him. But that’s it. Then you just got to live it, and lead by example. Don’t go preaching to the choir how you’ve finally seen the light.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            the topic itself is interesting. The problem is often that i can’t see the dumb shit i am doing/believing. Because i am just assuming i am doing the right thing, because i think i am a good guy, so if i wasn’t doing the right thing i would know and wouldn’t do it, right?
            I was hoping for a bit more insight, what assumptions he had, how his sexism informed his world view, what changed and so on, something i could learn from maybe, but it basically it boiled down to: once i was sexist, now i am not. Don’t be sexist.

            But judging from the comments it doesn’t seem like he is preaching to the choir

            • AngelTear says:

              Actually, it boils down to: “I was sexist, I still am, but I wasn’t really aware of it, and I’ve become more and more aware of it, and I’m trying to not be sexist, so now I’m slightly less sexist but I’m still sexist even though I don’t mean to be and I’m sorry.”

            • blind_boy_grunt says:

              I guess that’s probably my problem with the article. He tells us he is sexist and tries to be not, but all he has are two examples that are several years old. When did he say/do/write something sexist and changed his mind in real time. Because going back and seeing that you once were an idiot is easy. To realize you are is difficult.
              If he is trying to give his readers advice the article is useless, if he is not it’s just a repenting sinner story and “Of course the experience is important for him. But that’s it. Then you just got to live it, and lead by example. Don’t go preaching to the choir how you’ve finally seen the light.” applies.

            • The Random One says:

              Hmmmm. Contrast and compare.

    7. BooleanBob says:

      I think Leigh is right on a lot of the points she makes in her article. I always felt Nu Lara was a bit of a false dawn for female representation in gaming; whatever the strengths of the approach, however much depth it lent to the (putatively) one-dimensional sex symbol, wasn’t it curious/creepy that it also justified being able to watch a woman being put through hours of close-up ‘n’ sweaty suffering? I dunno, I think I preferred it when Lara was a badass just ‘cus she was.

      On the other hand, I think it’s telling that Leigh has to reach right outside of the medium to find a contrasting male protagonist who enjoys a more well-rounded characterisation. The gruff, gravel-voiced anti-hero is a much-lambasted stereotype in gaming for a reason: most male leads are terribly flat, one-note “Hero’s Journey” cyphers. When this template is applied to female characters in games (as was more common prior to the Great Dad Developer Revolution), they are dismissed as being nothing more than Men With Tits. I think gaming needs much better characterisation (and stronger narratives generally) across the board. That said, the article is right to point out that gals in games have a bigger deficit to make up than the guys.

      • RedViv says:

        The problem is that she is realistically portrayed (in the narrative bits, thanks to gameplay/story segregation through getting in a writer to tie things up very late in the dev cycle), while 99.999% of Gruff McManshoot persons are absolute rubbish. Contrasting her and, say, Martin Walker of Spec Ops: The Line, would be a very different thing.

        • aoanla says:

          Indeed: what we need is not “women who have less realistic responses to the punishment that the average video game protagonist goes through”, but “more men who react more realistically” (and more varied protagonists in general, but talking about the dichotomy in male v female protagonists). Nu Lara Croft (other than the slight fetishisation of her being injured) mostly has the problem that she’s being compared to male leads who are basically The Terminator.

          • Eight Rooks says:

            I agree with the gist of what you’re saying – I think – but “slight” fetishisation? Jesus.

            • aoanla says:

              British understatement, poorly timed. (To clarify: it’s clear of the guys writing the game *really* liked seeing Lara get hurt. And we disapprove of this.)

        • Gap Gen says:

          I remember an early trailer where Croft slides down what seems like an entire mountain, being hit by every blunt object on the way down, but I guess realism is a flexible term in gaming.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        It was pretty neat being reminded oh, yes, that’s one more reason Bioshock 2 was the best of the franchise so far – it had a daughter figure to rescue and protect who arguably didn’t need it, and it made her mother the Big Bad but also repeatedly stressed she wasn’t entirely wrong, that she wasn’t irredeemably evil and her nurturing impulses came from a good place. You could argue it strayed a bit too far into “Hormones be makin’ wimminz crazy” territory as a result but I’d say it did try its best to counter-act that. Elizabeth was nothing more than a walking plot contrivance in comparison, functionally and narratively useless. (EDIT: Never played Burial at Sea, mind, though from what I hear that had its own all-new set of problems.)

      • joa says:

        What kind of female leads would Leigh Alexander be happy with? It seems she dislikes both the traumatised woman becomes warrior story of new Lara Croft, and the old Lara Croft where she did all the fighting and killing and stuff and that was it.

        • steviebops says:

          Nothing would please that woman.

        • pepperfez says:

          The old Lara wasn’t just about fighting and killing – she was also significantly about tits and hotpants.

      • mpk says:

        Men With Tits

        As Leigh points out, I think the biggest issue is that it’s still men who are doing the majority of the writing in games. And when they do bring in a female writer – such as Rhianna Pratchett on the first TR reboot – it’s men who are making the artistic decisions over and above the level to which the writer can influence.

        Male writers may sometimes get it right* but stopped clocks and all that. I can’t help but feel that writers in the games industry, being wrapped in the bubble of teenage testosterone and marketing demographics**, will struggle to ever create a female character that fully escapes the problems currently besetting them.

        *Jim Cameron managed it with Ripley in Aliens, dropped the ball with Sarah Connor in T2 and then ruined things completely with Jamie Lee Curtis’ character in True Lies. Can’t comment on Kate Winslet. Then look at Fringe and Olivia Dunham who was, for me, a well written, rounded female character in a role that would traditionally be male. At least until season 3 when she became all about her relationship with Peter.

        **BILL HICKS WAS RIGHT

        • joa says:

          So what’s to be gained by criticizing men for a skill they inherently lack? No man really understands what’s going on in a woman’s mind, so any female characters written by men will always be approximations. Sometimes they’ll get it right; more often they will get it wrong.

          • mpk says:

            So what’s to be gained by criticizing men for a skill they inherently lack?

            You shouldn’t stop trying, just because you’re rubbish at something. Otherwise, how do you get better? That’s what’s to be gained from criticism.

          • Gap Gen says:

            It’s kinda weird to say that a male game designer understands the mind of a WWII combatant or a far-future space marine but not his female colleague’s thoughts. I suspect rather that what they understand are tropes that have been moulded over the centuries, and stepping far enough outside those tropes is a difficult process that requires a lot of thought, which many game designers writing stories aren’t very experienced in. Another issue is that many big games are designed by committee with marketing angles in mind, so anything even remotely difficult or out-of-the-mainstream is out of the window from the beginning.

            • joa says:

              The differences between a man now, a man who fought in WW2, and a space marine are ones of culture, upbringing and experiences. That’s the kind of thing you can learn about. However the differences between men and women are a lot more fundamental than that.

              I’m not saying that men can’t write good female characters. They can and they do, especially outside of games. But the reason men are generally bad at it is because they are men, not because they are lazy and sexist or whatever.

            • Gap Gen says:

              Mmm, nah, I’m gonna call bullshit on the idea that male and female brains are so different, or indeed that sexual differences are much greater than the differences between individuals, that a one cannot write about the other convincingly.

            • AngelTear says:

              A few weeks ago a commenter linked to this.
              link to scientificamerican.com

            • joa says:

              Have either of you lived in the real world? Women think differently from men! There’s a reason the trope is so popular – in comedy, in books, in films. It’s because people can relate to it, because it has a shitload of truth in it.

            • The Random One says:

              Yes, people react to it positively because the false notion that men and women are intrinsically different has been internalized by them, and they feel good to see this false notion being shown on mass media without commentary. It’s the same reason why people used to react positively to portrayals of flaming homosexuals and savage black people.

            • Cockie says:

              Did you read the article joa? You know, the thing explaining actual scientific research that disputes what you’re saying?

            • derbefrier says:

              did yYOU read the article Cockie or just skim it and look for things that conformed your preconceived notions? The article makes no conclusions about anything other than “We dont know anything for sure but this data sure is interesting”

              I think its probably a mix of everything, culture, hormones, and all that. the article makes no definitive statement wither way, and thats the truth it only offers some information and ideas on how to interpret those findings its talking about in the article(it even explicitly states to be careful how you interpret these things that there are no absolutes).

            • Cockie says:

              Yes, I read it completely. It says differences in the brain are linked to individual personality rather than biological gender. While I agree that this doesn’t mean (and doesn’t state to mean ) that every difference in personality is nurture rather than hardwired in the brain, it does dispute joa’s notion of “all women are different than all men because of biology”, which was my point.

        • Rizlar says:

          BILL HICKS WAS RIGHT

          Good advice in general.

        • AngelTear says:

          I can’t help but think that in literature, plenty of male writers can write good female characters, whereas in game someone like Rangar Tornquist is an exception. At the beginnings of french feminism, male philosopher Derrida was said to be a major example of feminine writing, which could arguably be more difficult to achieve for a man than a simply well-written female character.

          Is the problem due to the quality of the writers, rather than their gender? (Gender equality is good, I am aware of the male bias in the industry, I believe male writers get more opportunities than their female counterparts of equal skill etc, but I have problems with the idea that we need female writers for the sake of their being women)

          • mpk says:

            That’s a good point. Perhaps my view is a bit simplistic.

            You’re certainly right that the quality of video game writing,on average, leaves a lot to be desired.

          • Philomelle says:

            A major problem, I think, is the nature of the protagonist.

            In the movies, the protagonist can be anyone the director wants because the audience looks in on the story from the outside and don’t have to associate with the protagonist. In the games, the player is the protagonist and so the writer ends up designing a character they feel the audience can easily associate with. And as most game writers are male, while even more simply design a character by committee because writing is a small priority to them, the end result is that most protagonists are male because writing a female character would involve going out of one’s way.

            It’s the same reason why I have to go out of my way in order to write a compelling male character; I simply enjoy associating with a female one most of the time.

            I feel FarCry 3 and Bioshock Infinite should have been major wake-up calls for the writers in that regard, because they explicitly attacked that tendency to write an easy-to-associate-with character by ultimately manipulating the player into playing as and associating with a horrible human being. I also feel that is why I liked God of War (where Kratos exists not for the players to impose themselves onto, but for them to become a part of his journey) and Wolfenstein: The New Order (where BJ constantly expresses discomfort with things he has to commit, forcibly tearing the player out of the gleeful adrenaline high and making them think about the game’s events). Because ultimately, female characters aren’t the only ones who suffer from the current state of writing in gaming. Male characters do too, because the pool of traits they are drawn from is miserably small.

            What we need is for writers to start creating stories where the story is written as a journey for both the player and the character, not tailored into a theme park for the player via imposing themselves onto the protagonist. Once writers start creating characters who are effective by the power of being well-written and interesting, rather than by the power of being vessels for the player, we’ll see a rise in good protagonists of both genders because writers will stop drawing character traits from a very narrow pool of “easily identifiable with” ones.

            • DanMan says:

              That’s only true for some games. You’re neither Mario nor are you Lara Croft. You are Shepard though. Why? It depends on who makes the decisions.

            • Philomelle says:

              Neither are you Booker or Jason, yet both games worked because they manipulated the player into projecting themselves onto the protagonist.

              Just because a character has a set appearance, name and backstory, doesn’t mean they weren’t designed for the player to project themselves onto. Please, actually read my comment before arguing about it.

            • HadToLogin says:

              @Philomelle: Infinite bored me too much to talk about Booker, but I didn’t really feel to be Jason – it was more like I was there, which made those few moments when they took control from me kinda annoying, when he was talking different stuff than I was thinking.
              That’s why I didn’t choose other ending – price was too high and going against stuff I decided at start.

            • dsch says:

              You (and everyone else in this debate–not to pick on you in particular) should read some serious film theory, much of which is concerned precisely with identification.

              As for the wider debate of “am I a bad person if my character does something bad in a game,” it’s a continuation of a long philosophical tradition about the ethics and aesthetics of representation (mimesis), starting with Aristotle asking why it is we enjoy watching horrible things on a theatre stage and if that’s a good thing, which is itself a response to Plato’s condemnation of poetry (because it makes people more emotional and less rational). The modern tradition of this question starts with Kant, Schelling, and Schlegel, who variously argue that tragic representation is a way of realising the ethical nature of man. Thereafter, probably every major continental philosopher engages with the question of representation in some way. But all of this is moot because the current debate in the gaming press takes its cue from the feminist blogosphere, which, despite feminism itself deriving from and interacting with the philosophical tradition, is mostly ignorant of its own roots. What makes the “feminism/social justice in games” debate kind of pathetic is that it’s about three or four times removed from actually thinking about the issues involved, and yet it takes itself so very seriously.

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          Worth pointing out that Pratchett has defended her work and expressed her disappointment about Leigh’s article though, so I don’t think “men” are solely responsible for the E3 trailer issue. You also want to be careful about denying a woman’s agency in your attempt to defend her. That’d be ironic.

      • Wraggles says:

        I think the only real problem with Leigh’s argument are the two particular characters she chooses to focus on, as they are some of the instances of greatest improvements in gaming lit. I view nu-raider as simply being put on parity with many existing male characters. She is put in a hostile environment and survives, she “mans up” in that she acts the same way many male characters do when presented such an environment. hell she has her own woman-in-freezer moments in that her friend is missing/kidnapped repeatedly. Maybe this is poor character building, but can we not just call this “type” of characterisation as an endemic problem suffered by both genders in video games. If anything the nu-raider has some decent nods towards the realities a woman would suffer in such a scenario as opposed to a man (near rape scene is something a male protagonist would not have had, to not have it would be to ignore a certain reality of the situation).

        And Fetch? Really? her entire motivation stems from the death of a man. Whilst she is directly responsible for his death, she pushes that guilt onto drug dealers and goes on a vengeance spree as a direct result of it. Does that not turn the woman-in-freezer trope on its head. Hell I’m not really sure, because I haven’t even nearly unpacked the implications of her dependency on her brother/substance abuse/his death by her hands/her being manipulated by Augustine. Regardless is this not what we want from characters, that they be interesting and have DEPTH, hell we should just praise second son for not having comically evil choices for its evil side (except that first decision), and having the balls to do DLC based on its female main character (who is interesting!).

        Sometimes I feel critique goes too far, and rather than acknowledging legitimate progress, and kindly asking that designers/writers go that extra mile, it jumps straight to declaring everything as problematic. Writers are currently doomed if they do and doomed if they don’t, either they create confident killers with no motivation and get torn apart for a lack of character depth, or they attempt to describe why someone is a murderer of 100s, and get labelled as sexist. (Like is Joel from last of us really woman-in-freezering, the daughter is not his motivation guys, he just withdraws from the world, then after being forced into interacting with Ellie, projects onto her. She has her own agency and survives her own trials, by ignoring that are we not doing her character and their more complex relationship a disservice).

        This post is getting long, but I’d like to just say, that in reality there’s ALWAYS going to be a dissonance between mechanics and gameplay. There is just no “reasonable” character that can come from gameplay that involves the killing of 100s. The current method of explaining it away is to either handwave over it by giving us a badass with no motivations (or a greater-good objective), or to try and create a vengeance(woman-in freezer)/survival(nu-raider)/psycho(spec ops) backstory. All of those will in some way be problematic. Each of those characters HAS to be an extreme.

    8. mpk says:

      Leigh Alexander remains one the best videogame voices out there.

    9. kael13 says:

      The two girls over at Yogscast do an admirable job of dragging up that channel from its pit of childish silliness. Now I realise kids are their primary demographic, but it wasn’t always. Kim and Hannah at least try to add some sense of professionalism and have fun without all the inanity.

      edit: now that I read her article, that’s exactly what she’s talking about. Seems that Youtube really puts people out there in the public, much more so than they’re use to. More so than with written articles. I suppose once there’s a face and voice attached it changes things. Just about every Youtuber I follow or have followed has had problems with abuse from their audience; to handle it you need a truly thick skin. I don’t envy them, but I would say reading unfiltered comments and email is bad for your health. My advice would be to have a proxy person to delete all the rubbish for you.

    10. Stellar Duck says:

      Oh, wow. The comments on Bramwells piece are something.

      It was very good though and it struck a chord in me. Thanks for linking it!

      • Gap Gen says:

        I thought Bramwell was softballing the notion that people react defensively when it’s pointed out that they’re prejudiced, but reading the comments it seems that a large portion of Eurogamer commenters are indeed that dense.

        • Geebs says:

          Meh, he would have had my support on the premise that the EG commenters are a rather defensive lot if it wasn’t for the part where he pre-emptively tried to control the discussion by saying what he thought his commenters would say, and that these arguments were self-evidently wrong. That’s playground logic. I thought that the people who responded to that with “well fuck you then” were well within their rights, because that’s all he left them with.

          • Gap Gen says:

            I suppose RPS took the time to handle each of the classic responses to this kind of argument in an article, rather than dismissing them out of hand, although I will say that indeed, none of them really address the argument itself; of Widge’s list in the comments:

            1) This isn’t as important as something else.
            2) Bloody white knight – you’re just trying to impress women.
            3) It’s historically accurate.
            4) Stop attacking the developer’s creative vision.
            5) Stop trying to censor people.
            6) This is political correctness gone mad – what’s next? Forcing X to do Y?
            7) Bloody social justice warrior.

            1 is a misdirect (of course there are many issues, but it’s weird to say that you can’t care about multiple ones), 2 and 7 are strange ad hominems, 3 is fair in certain contexts, granted, 4 is weird (oh no, critics might criticise), 5 is factually incorrect (it’s not censorship to criticise or to delete comments from your own website), and 6 depends on the argument made, but it’s probably, I’m guessing, overstatement. (Widge also missed “it’s just a game”). I don’t think it’s unfair to dismiss all except 3 out of hand, and even then you need to handle historical context with care, and you’re not immune to criticism in any case.

            • WrenBoy says:

              1, 3, 5 & 6- I agree completely
              2 & 7 – While these are not useful comments and I am not defending them, its unlikely they are ad hominems unless you think they are trying to say that since it is known that Tom Bramwell will say anything to impress the ladies we should dismiss this article out of hand. I think what is actually happening is that the assumed commenters wish to insult Bramwell because of the opinions he holds.
              4 – Surely criticism can also be criticised. For example I saw some criticism of Gone Home complaining that the game was unhelpful since the protagonists were priviliged white people. I think this was an unreasonable attack on the developers artistic vision.

            • Premium User Badge

              Joshua says:

              “3 is fair in certain contexts, granted”

              It should be mentoined that women actually played a much larger role in *any* historical context, much more then the public perception seems to think (A result of people thinking that we are more advanced then we were 50 years ago in every regard – It turns out that many historical cultures actually were a lot better at that gender equality thing then we are today).

              Two pieces on this exemplify this:
              “Women have always fought, disarming the women, cattle and slaves narrative”
              and
              “PSA: Your default narative settings are not a-political”.

            • Gap Gen says:

              Wren: I think 2 & 7 are generic “insults” by this point, and are unlikely to reflect anything meaningful, but I do accept that certain criticism is flawed and can be criticised (although underlying that is the fact that no-one is going to legally force you not to say certain things unless it construes hate speech, libel or incitement to violence).

              Joshua: Well, for example, no-one’s expecting you to make the Prime Minister of Victorian England a woman, say. Like I said, it depends on context, but you’re right that certain cultures are and have been more (or less) egalitarian than ours.

            • Geebs says:

              Hey, I’m not saying that I don’t think that those arguments are dumb, but this sort of classification of response, in the context of the whole “I’ve had an epiphany, before I was wrong but now I am RIGHT” vibe kinda just gives the reader the impression that any dissenting view is going to be characterised as one or the other and dismissed out of hand.

              This quite apart from the fact that I think people learn better through expressing their beliefs and then realising how stupid they look in print, than they do through being told how bad and stupid they’ve been up to this point. To do so implies that your target lacks intelligence and empathy, which may be true of what they say but usually isn’t true of who they are.

            • joa says:

              I think all those arguments have some merit. No, perhaps not merit in the sense used by obnoxious internet debaters who know all the Latin names for different kinds of logic errors, but they have merit for a lot of people.

              1) The time spent discussing this is absurd. Especially since you’ll never get everyone to agree because it’s so subjective and everyone has a different set of values that influence how they view the subject.

              2) It’s a good point. How many males adopt a feminist viewpoint in some vain attempt to impress women? It doesn’t even have to be a sexual thing. A lot of them are probably just doing it for some appreciation or recognition, because they have absolutely nothing else to offer as men.

              3) This one’s obviously a good argument if you’re trying to write something historically accurate.

              4) Also a good point. Why does writing need to agree with your political viewpoint? We (or at least I) happily read books and watch films with severely outmoded views. But you would never think to criticize some old book or film for being sexist or racist – it would be absurd. That’s not what you’re appreciating in entertainment or art – it’s the way the story is told not what the story is.

              On the censorship angle, if social justice warriors had there would be massive expansion of hate speech laws to cover basically anything critical of their ideology.

            • njursten says:

              Actually, why does even bullet 2 matter? Sure, it might be a bit stupid, but to point it out does not counter any single argument – assuming it’s even true. It does not counter any claim at all. You’d just be attacking his character.

              “because they have absolutely nothing else to offer as men”… Nice. :P

              Regarding bullet 4, I think books have a bit more width than games. The gaming industry is much less mature. It’s still quite young. I mean, the problem isn’t that you’re not allowed to have female characters without depth, but it’s rather pants if a majority of releases do it. Also, comparing current game criticism to that of old movies aren’t really fair. You’re saying newly released movies aren’t getting any flack?

              joa, please stop it with the exaggerations. SJW’s aren’t crazy people out to ban everything they don’t agree with. If there are any people like that at all, they sure are a minority.

            • steviebops says:

              ‘it’s not censorship to criticise or to delete comments from your own website’

              I’d disagree on the deletion aspect. It may not be state censorship, but it is damaging to open discussion.

            • Muzman says:

              “2) It’s a good point. How many males adopt a feminist viewpoint in some vain attempt to impress women? It doesn’t even have to be a sexual thing. A lot of them are probably just doing it for some appreciation or recognition, because they have absolutely nothing else to offer as men.”

              It is not a good point. It’s the most pissweak ad hom avoidance of argument conceivable. It plays exactly to any implicit boys club mentality. Anyone who uses it has basically outed themselves as a vacuous provocateur with nothing to really say and only interested in outing ‘gender traitors’ as being no better than themselves. They should probably accuse the person of having girl germs or cooties or your regional equivalent next as that would be about as substantive.
              You should probably answer that rhetorical question there since you have all this data on the subject back there, I assume.

      • Lemming says:

        I’ll happily own up to my comment on there and stand by it( Lemming81).

    11. kwyjibo says:

      I go to games for my entertainment. I go to games writing for information and opinion.

      Now people go to Youtube for their entertainment. PC Zone may have had jokes, but now the tail wags the dog. It may be unfair to tar all Youtube with the same brush, but your leading light is shrill overacted nonsense of $4M/year Pewdiepie, draw your own conclusions.

      Even smart analysis is chore. You can watch TotalBiscuit labour over 20 minutes to make points he could neatly sum up in a paragraph. Who has time for this shit?

      • Gap Gen says:

        When I was a kid with long summer holidays, I absolutely had time for that shit. Plus like you say, it’s entertainment for its own sake, not an optimal information transfer system.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Agree that PewDiePie and TotalBiscuit (and most everyone else) are rubbish, but I do like Robbaz and his neatly edited videos.

    12. Big Murray says:

      I would argue when it comes to Leigh Alexander’s article that it’s not always a case of hurting a woman to make a man a hero. You can substitute “woman” with “parents” or “children” quite easily, or by just having them go through some kind of wartime experience where they’re forced to kill. I’d contest that it’s a problem with women … I’d say it’s more a problem with how we view masculinity. We put an emphasis on a man going through “legitimate” pain, and that pain has to be the loss of a loved one or being forced to kill. A man having emotions or trauma outside of these legitimising circumstances is viewed as him being “a pussy”.

      Also, Lara Croft becoming a strong badass as a result of going through trauma isn’t problematic for how we view women. It’s problematic for how we view video-game characters. How many male characters also embody a ridiculous notion of only being a total badass because they’ve gone through some kind of trauma? The list on the top of my head is overflowing.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        You’re not entirely wrong, IMO, but you’re kind of ignoring the point there, no? If you substitute “parents” or “children” it’s almost always “mother” or “daughter”, and if a man goes through trauma not only is it (almost) always a woman’s death that serves as the trauma, once it’s happened it’s essentially over and done with. A woman has to writhe in psychological, as well as physical agony for our amusement for a good long time.

        • mpk says:

          Steve Cortez’s struggle with the trauma of losing his husband stood out for me in Mass Effect 3 because, while he obviously wasn’t the first sufffering male character I’d came across, he was the first gay male character. I’d never previously been exposed to that in any fiction I’d consumed.

        • Big Murray says:

          I’d argue that it’s not “always almost immediately done with” anymore for men than for women. Max Payne and Alan Wake, off the top of my head. I’m also lost for games which put women through trauma more than men. It seems that Tomb Raider’s come along and a lot of people have started saying “women are always treated like this”, but I can’t really see any of the female protagonists who are treated like this beyond Tomb Raider.

          Regardless, I don’t really see how this is a problem. There are fewer female protagonists than men, which is why there are more examples of the “going through trauma makes you a badass” trope for men than women. As is my argument with most of Sarkeesian’s videos, most of her arguments depend on the assumption that the trope is bad when applied to women while ignoring that it’s also a “problem” when applied to men.

          • gwathdring says:

            I would agree. There is a different attitude about female characters, surely, that permeates audience reactions and game marketing. But within the article’s own arguments we see something of a problem–male characters are constantly having their bad-assery explained or justified or motivated by trauma.

            There are a couple of important distinctions, and maybe it was my poor reading, but I feel those distinctions were implied rather than made explicit in the article. As has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, when men encounter this sort of trauma, the trauma tends not to be dwelled on. They overcome the trauma and use it as a fire to motivate them. The trauma loiters in the background, coming back in for important emotional moments. With female characters, trauma itself tends to be treated as a more defining aspect of their character. The trauma drags them down rather than motivating them. Male heroes tend to wear trauma like a jacket or a badge and heroes tend to wear it like a part of themselves or a prosthesis.

            That said, I think the proportional issues is really important. There are so many more male protagonists in fixed-protagonist games that we encounter a wider variety.

        • Lemming says:

          ” If you substitute “parents” or “children” it’s almost always “mother” or “daughter”

          That’s just simply not true. There are like, a fuckton of examples because it’s about even across the board, but I’ll leave you with one of the more famous ones:

          Luke Skywalker being driven by the death of his father, and then later, the redemption of the same. That’s from the super-sexist 70s, by the way.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            Yes, but by the time the prequels came out, we have that Anakin’s plot arc turns out entirely to have been driven by the deaths of his mother and lover respectively. Maybe the woman in the refrigerator thing is more recent, and followed a phase where the woman is generally absent from the story.

      • GameCat says:

        It reminds me of The Counselor movie. Main character played by Michael Fassbender is crying like 3 or 4 times in this movie, because he know he will lost his girlfriend and he can’t do anything (ordinary lawyer will not kill whole gang of Mexican drug dillers unless he is Desperado, hint: he isn’t) and I’ve seen many comments “what a pussy”, “he’s crying, LOL, what a shitty movie”.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I won’t discuss any major plot points here as I suspect a lot of people won’t have played it yet, but I was interested by how gender was handled in Wolfenstein: The New Order. It may be a game about a big muscly man fighting an evil man, most of the speaking characters are also male, and it has an easy love interest, but I don’t think it ever really has a damsel in distress moment or a point where its female characters are entirely objectified (and indeed, one of the female antagonists has a toy boy).

    13. Bradamantium says:

      You know, no offense meant to Mr. Bramwell or his journey of self-discovery here, but what’s the point of a long article that effectively says I Am Sexist? Potentially to trigger some self-examination in his readers, an I’m Sexist and So Are You and That’s Okay kind of effect, but we all know exactly how the internet’s anti-feminist dudebros will deal with that.

      I s’pose it’s an honorable attempt, but really, the only way to fight that kind of entrenched sexism is obliquely, not by running at it head on and trying to make people understand the way prejudice works. Because they will *not* understand, no matter how often good game journo fellas speak openly and earnestly about their sexism.

      • RedViv says:

        It’s not about instantly breaking the whole shitty house down, and otherwise not bother to do anything at all because what is the point.
        It’s about removing one board after another, loosening nails here and there, again and again and again.

        • Bradamantium says:

          Certainly, but articles like that seem to be more about looking at the whole awful structure rather than plucking at its boards, and calling that summation some kind of progress. I don’t think that we should ignore the issue because of the stubborn hordes, but that wearing it down rests in previews, reviews, interviews, critical examinations…not simply these navel gaze-y bits that try to tackle the issue as a whole all at once.

          • PikaBot says:

            If the homeowners keep insisting there’s nothing wrong with the house, you’re going to have a hard time getting in there to rip up the boards.

            This analogy is becoming increasingly tortured.

            • pepperfez says:

              The homeowners in this case are notorious slumlords refusing to meet basic housing standards and simultaneously claiming their paying tenants are in fact illegal squatters

              Analogies can always get worse.

      • Gap Gen says:

        It’s an interesting question as whether subtle, polite or direct, aggressive action works best, and you’re right that pushing too hard can pull people in the other direction, but I don’t think Bramwell’s article was too harsh on bigotry. Plus, I have to say that the suffragettes are a powerful symbol, even if they made a lot of enemies and even if they didn’t directly cause women to get the vote (which is open to debate). I’m not entirely convinced that you can combat entrenched bigotry without having strong advocacy and open admission that there is a problem in leading voices. What exactly is the subtle approach, if Bramwell’s weaksauce mea culpa without assigning blame on any of the readers is too direct and aggressive?

        • steviebops says:

          ‘without assigning blame on any of the readers ‘
          He pretty much called all men sexist. That’s of the major sticking points.
          The other being EG isn’t RPS, and the majority feel social agenda doesn’t belong there.

          • pepperfez says:

            This is exactly his point: Being called sexist shouldn’t be considered a vicious insult, because everyone is sexist. It doesn’t mean you hate or mistreat women or that you’re a bad person, it just means that you’re part of a society that normalizes unfairly different treatment based on sex.

            • gwathdring says:

              Indeed. We associate the idea of performing racism and sexism with being, at one’s core, a hateful person. The interchangeability of misogyny and sexism in many contexts is a nice example of this. But these are system issues that even the best and most sensitive and rebellious of us struggle against because it’s such a pervasive part of our world.

              We accept this with simple things all the time. We accept that people laughing or yawning encourages us to yawn. That people mispronouncing a word can lead us to mimic. That hanging out with people who care about a particular sport can cause that interest and attention and even excitement to rub off on us a little. We accept that we are to product, in part, of our upbringing and our parentage. But when presented with the idea that those same, simple and fundamental social forces can cause us to do bad things the recognition of which also requires us to cede social power to groups with less social advantage than us? That simple, fundamental understanding goes out the window.

              This isn’t surprising. It’s the sort of magical thinking that causes us to blame the ball and the grass and the skill of the other team when we miss the goal, but to celebrate ourselves when we do well. Confirmation bias is powerful. People who aren’t entirely disconnected from socialization want to be nice people whoa re nice to other people and are treated nicely; they don’t want to be Racist or Sexist. That, though, causes them to resist those labels as much if not more fervently than they avoid actual racist and sexist performance.

              It’s not surprising. It’s not a sign of weakness. But it’s a very difficult phenomenon to battle.

            • steviebops says:

              ‘eing called sexist shouldn’t be considered a vicious insult, because everyone is sexist. ‘

              Calling someone a sexist is an insult more often than not, so how should you react?
              He doesn’t say everyone is sexist either, just men.

              If he was trying to make the point you state, how did he fail so badly? And can it still be called well-written?

      • Freud says:

        His example of sexism was poor. So there was an act in a video game that showed cruelty to a woman in a flippant way. How about all the thousands of acts of cruelty in video games he’s committed to men in a flippant way? Many games have violence and use it in a pulpy, non-reflective way. It doesn’t mean the designer and player create/enjoy it to exhibit the worst hidden elements of their disturbed personality.

        And combing through his 15 years of writing to come up with proof of his sexism he finds a five year old quote that women nag?

        It’s public navel gazing self flagellation of the kind you see privileged people being prone to do.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Im not sure what the context was behind the Garry Newman tweet but I certainly found Tom Bramwells article to misguided in places.

        I think its correct to claim that video games are often sexist and to a lesser extent racist and I find it perfectly reasonable to try and improve this situation.

        On the other hand I think its misguided to do so by getting upset about something utterly trivial, such as a classic silent movie trope tucked into a corner of a game. I think its even more misguided for the author to attempt to justify this by apparently contradicting himself, stating in one paragraph that since he (and what he assumes to be close to 100% of gamers) are not educated enough students of cinema to put this in context but then in the very next paragraph telling us that he was aware that it was a famous trope when he first played the game. As did his gamer friends he discussed this with. Exactly how much context does he think he or other gamers need in order for this detail not be a contextless act of violence against women?

        I also think its a bit rich to proudly confess your sins, as Bramwell is doing, when the sins you are admitting to are so mild. His examples ranged from not-really-sexist-to-be-honest to very mild sexism. Either he is ashamed of his own past sexism because it includes far worse examples he doesnt feel comfortable admitting to or he is essentially boasting about his lack of sexism as if these are the most sexist thoughts or utterences he has had in the past fifteen years he cant really be that sexist can he?

        More generally I think social justice warriors often have a point but are also often misguided, and often far more misguided even than the linked article. The reaction on being accused of this is generally about as defensive as those underneath anti sexism articles on the web.

        Edit: Beaten to the punch by Freud

        Curses! Foiled again

        • gwathdring says:

          To a lesser extent racist?

          • WrenBoy says:

            I think that its more sexist than racist, yeah. You think its the other way round or much of a muchness?

      • steviebops says:

        The problem with Bramwell’s article, is that he projects his flaws onto all men.

        • pepperfez says:

          Ah, the talked-of #notallmen, seen here in all its glorious, mirror-like plumage…
          The reason Bramwell’s comfortable speaking for #allmen is that he’s not discussing his own flaws, he’s discussing a social climate that leads men to be oblivious to women’s experiences. If a man thinks he’s not a part of that, he’s almost certainly deluding himself.

          • steviebops says:

            I never used some hashtag nonsese, and I’d appreciate you not lumping me in with ‘MRAs’ or whatever to mangle my point and score some easy jab.

            Bramwell clearly refers to all men as sexist. That’s nit a climate of obliviousness, that’s men being actively sexist.

            ‘If a man thinks he’s not a part of that, he’s almost certainly deluding himself.’

            ‘A man’ or all men? Same point again, you can’t expect to make a sweeping generalisation anymore, and be taken seriously.

            • The Random One says:

              While you may not have overtly used the hashtag, I assure you (without knowledge, it seems) you have made the exact same point that it intends to make.

              While you seem to attack Tom for making generalisations, the observations that 1) modern society is very sexist, and videogame culture is even more so and 2) if you are part of a sexist society and do not observe it as being sexist, then it probably is because you have internalized that sexism are, I’d argue, both true. This is not a sweeping generalisation because it results from the society one lives in. It’d not be an insult to say that a white person who lived in 1950’s America, and who did not openly oppose segregation, was probably racist; nor would it be innacurate to say that a random man living in Ancient Sparta, who did not openly oppose the notion, probably had sex with young men. That is simply what was expected of them in that situation.

              Are there exceptions to this? There certainly are. Would these exceptions become angry at not being deliberately included as an exception, or simply understand that they are not included in the argument because their actions do not match what was described?

            • steviebops says:

              While you may not have overtly used the hashtag, I assure you (without knowledge, it seems) you have made the exact same point that it intends to make.
              By the unholy fuck that’s condescending! I have full knowledge of my actions ,and I fucking know what point I was making.
              It’s valid to combat incorrect generalisation, or do you only bother when it’s an easy win?

              ‘It’d not be an insult to say that a white person who lived in 1950′s America, and who did not openly oppose segregation, was probably racist.’
              It’s be a gigantic insult, and an absolutely abhorrent application of your twisted logic.

              ‘While you seem to attack Tom for making generalisations, the observations that 1) modern society is very sexist, and videogame culture is even more so.

              modern society is sexist – yes
              Video games can be sexist – yes

              I don’t argue that, never did. Go back to my point at the top, He generalises, and projects, and he’s wrong on that.

          • Frank says:

            Hi — I hate Rockstar and Bioware and The Elder Scrolls; always have, always will. Not everyone has a taste for the brain-dead schlock and painfully boring mechanics found in mainstream AAA games, you know. And it is exactly these games that are always trotted out for their sexism.

            Well, yes, I am comfortable saying it is a problem I am not contributing (nearly as much) to.

    14. Horg says:

      On youtubers and reviews; Many years ago I started using youtube ”lets plays” and reviews to make purchasing decisions. This was primarily driven by the decline of traditional gaming press such as PCG (DA2 – 94%, never forget) and IGN (”literally unplayable, gave me cancer – 9/10”). Youtubers like total biscuit were a refreshing alternative, and once you found someone that had similar gaming tastes to yourself, were pretty reliable and entertaining. Recently, though, i’ve found myself moving away from youtube content. The production values might be going up but the honesty and reliability seems to be bleeding out. This might well be due to channel owners becoming aware of how much influence they exert over sales, resulting in over hyping everything they can get their hands on to impress publishers and draw in more business. I also speculate that the change in attitude might have something to do with the DMCA and youtube’s automatic takedown policy subconsciously deterring people from being negative. I believe the rule is still 3 strikes and your channel gets nixed, regardless of the validity of the claimant. Basically, I don’t think text based gaming press is going anywhere as long as sites can remain honest and consistent. RPS and various user review sources are my first call for gaming opinions these days.

      • kael13 says:

        Agreed. As the production values go up, the quality of the content has bottomed out. I remember all the hype a certain Youtuber put out around the release of a new batch of content for BF4. After they’d explored the new maps, that was it, you never saw BF4 videos again. Now usually this person would call a spade a spade and named his videos where he was paid to check out content ‘Selling out’, but now I’m wondering whether that was before or after the BF4 content…

        Either way, I still come to RPS for the definitive verdict in a Wot I Think. It’s reached the point where I can tell from the writing if I’ll like it or not, even if the reviewer doesn’t.

        • toxic avenger says:

          That’s perfect! I completely agree. A good reviewer is not always someone that necessarily enjoys the same things you enjoy, it’s a reviewer who through his diction and language. RPS really shines here, and is what keeps me coming back.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        That’s an important point. Most reviewers are so bad at explaining how a game plays and why it’s worth playing (or not) that it’s almost worthless reading their work. At least with a video you can see for yourself how a game plays.

    15. DiamondDog says:

      If you would like some sounds to go with those pictures of Bush House, there was a great album released a few years ago that was actually recorded there.

      ‘The Ghosts Of Bush’ was created entirely using the natural acoustic sounds of Bush House, the iconic home for the past seven decades of the BBC World Service which closed its doors for the last time on July 12th 2012. All of the sounds were captured in the small hours of the morning in empty offices, corridors, stairwells and other hidden corners by a Studio Manager working overnight. These recordings were then dubbed onto quarter-inch tape in the basement studio deep in the bowels of the South-East wing using two of the surviving reel-to-reel machines.

      Can read a bit more about how they made it and listen to it here: link to thefogsignals.com

    16. Wulfram says:

      Video takes too much time for me. I mean, I like having specific videos to illustrate a point, because obviously the actual game is likely video, but listening to a whole video review or whatever is more time than I want to spend.

      Tennis manages to have a pretty serious competitive scene despite the “Grass”, “Clay” and “Hardcourt” options. Indeed it adds to the game by encouraging there to be different types of player. But maybe Grass is for Scrubs…

      I feel like the sample size of women heroes is kind of low to really draw strong conclusions from.

      • Gap Gen says:

        One thing I really hate is guides to doing something as a video that could be written in a paragraph.

        • malkav11 says:

          That is so frustrating. It’s occasionally useful to have a video tutorial if it’s about, say, a specific motion that you need to perform, or something that’s really difficult to locate that needs every step along the way shown, or something, but usually a text summary with maybe accompanying pictures is all I need and a video is infinitely less useful as a reference.

          • HadToLogin says:

            Stupid collectible-guides videos. And Steam laking ad-block.

    17. Dave Tosser says:

      Is Youtube killing the games press? Honestly, the games press is an abyss of shills, sell-outs, and suck-ups, all too eager to throw big numbers at big games. They’re invited to paid press events or flashy industry shows where “journalism” writes itself. If we’re worried screaming internet morons are going to destroy the city upon a hill we’ve built, I don’t think we’re coming from the right perspective.

      I don’t need to remind you of what happened in October 2012. When you see games journalists at E3 whooping like big kids at pretty explosions, it sure does serve as a reminder that games journalism is most of the time just corporate PR written by people who couldn’t get employed in any proper journalism outlet. I bet you very few games journalists have an actual journalism degree, and the ties between outlets like IGN and publishers are pretty obvious.

      And let’s not even start on Polygon*, Kotaku, and anything Ben Kuchera writes. Why is Geoff Keighley even allowed to open his hack mouth? Games journalism is a place where the corruption is out in the open and openly accepted. We don’t care that there’s such interweaving between journalists and companies, and it’s expected to accept gifts from the people you’re writing about. It’s maddening.

      Now, with Youtube and Twitch and whatever, the ad revenue is far and above what you can get for rolling over for publishers. The thing here is that the content is completely different.

      The most popular gaming channels tend to have very little to say about games that’s positive, or very little to say about games at all. The focus is either on some little shit of a presenter who earns literally millions just by leering at a webcam and making crude observations, or on a series of someone going out of their way to break games in as many hilarious ways as they can. Maybe no publicity is bad publicity, but Youtube channels give themselves out to their audience rather than publishers, and that’s something I doubt publishers like.
      As worthless as the majority of games journalists are for anything approaching intelligent games criticism/analysis, they’re structured and familiar.

      But do people want long text reviews or do they just want to see five minutes of gameplay narrated by their favourite internet personality? That’s something publishers can’t keep up with, and it must piss them right off.

      The question of why publishers don’t just stick trailers on Youtube and why they even bother with somewhere like GameTrailers is obvious- GT is moderated. It’s got staff (Well, had staff before E3, heh) that’ll give you straight 10s, whereas Youtube is a swirling mass of opinions and voices and uncontrollable bastards who care more about glitchy physics and screaming at rubbish horror games to do anything even approaching traditional review feedback.

      Are there brilliant, investigative, clever, fun, interesting and worthwhile examples of games journalism on the internet? Yes. Are there the same sorts of Youtube channels? Yes. But the large majority of everything is shit and blunder, so do we want camera buffoons or tabloid-grade clickbait shills? Neither are going to go away, because one is essential to the corporate circlejerk and the other is essential to a whole generation of gamers. Or if one of them is going away, it’s going to be the Youtube band, as they’re at the mercy of whatever Google choose to do to cripple the platform.

      And then there’s Twitter…

      *Polygon, who slap numbers on consoles, change their review scores whenever the mood suits them/marketing campaigns stop paying them for good reviews, and made a smug documentary about themselves financed by Microsoft, along with their starting endorsement by Microsoft and BMW. And Ben sodding Kuchera.

      • Bradamantium says:

        “Honestly, the games press is an abyss of shills, sell-outs, and suck-ups, all too eager to throw big numbers at big games.”

        Where does all of this come from? Where is the shilling, the selling out, and the sucking up? Sure, I’ll give you that the numbers are too big, and that a ten point scale that only uses three of its points fails pretty miserably, but who gives a flying fuck about the numbers on reviews except for publishers, Metacritic, and particularly shallow gamers? It’s really not much different than any other sort of journalism focused on entertainment media. Or, really, any kind of journalism. I don’t know what it is people expect except for GOOD, HARD CRITICISM that translates to CLEARLY SHILLS BECAUSE THEY GAVE DRAGON AGE A 9 AND IT WAS OBVIOUSLY A 7.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          How dare your sir. Dragon Quest 9 clearly deserves more than a 7.

          Oh wait…

        • njursten says:

          I love metacritic. It’s a first filter to decrease the number of games I might want to take a closer look at. A real time saver!

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          Where does all of this come from? Where is the shilling, the selling out, and the sucking up?

          Have you paid any attention over the last decade or more? There are so many examples. You routinely hear of publishers pressuring reviewers and their editors about scores, there was Keighley and his Mountain Dew and Doritos, there was Jeff Gerstmann getting fired for giving a game too low a score, there are paid publisher trips for journalists. I’m sure it’s the same in other segments of the entertainment journalism business too, but so what? You’d have to be blind to not see how the games press is a mouthpiece of the publishers.

          • Bradamantium says:

            Keighley isn’t writing reviews and MD/Doritos aren’t paying for them, so that really has nothing to do with games journalism as a whole as much as the Spike TV and Call of Duty corner of gaming. Gerstmann’s GameSpot debacle is years old at this point, and Jeff himself clearly said it wasn’t really GameSpot’s call that he was fired, it was the corporate overlords. And that hasn’t been replicated since, publicly or privately, else we’d have seen a lot more writers losing their jobs.

            The vilification of the gaming press is, frankly, bizarre and misplaced. Some elements of it maybe aren’t at all up to par, but to say the whole of the thing is broken is plainly ignorant.

      • Lone Gunman says:

        “You need a journalist degree to be a journalist”

        Say what? That is a load of crap. As long as you can write and be objective then you are journalist material.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Well said, Dave. Well said.

        Publishers are running scared. For decades they had the market cornered in a wold where you needed millions in backing just to make your game available at Brick and Mortar stores. To say nothing of the graphics and fidelity needed to appeal to the generation of gamers they had suckered into believing presentation was everything.

        Then digital distribution came along. Things like Minecraft happened. And YouTube reviewers who weren’t beholden to publishers for early review code. Some of whom became so popular that people will wait until after release, to see a review from their favorite online personality, as opposed to blindly pre-ordering whatever plate full of mainstream gaming shit publishers are serving up this November.

        Their overhead costs are up dramatically. $1.1 Billion in revenue for $80 million in profits. Both Ubi and EA in that same boat. Their sales are down. I read somewhere recently that in the last 24 months brick and mortar sales of new games are down roughly 26%. And all the while Steam and digital distribution is blossoming, giving rise to a world where Indies no longer need millions to produce the physical media to get games to consumers.

        I hold out hope every year that it wont be long. Until a gaggle of people wake up one morning in November and realize they are tired of paying $60 for a cloned copy of Battlefield: This Year or Call of Duty: This Shit Again. Cause one bad year for those games, and the publishers will feel it. Firstly, because its getting harder and harder to recoup their E3/Marketing budgets. Secondly, because the vast majority of their resources is also committed to creating another cloned version of the clone they are showing off this year.

        And make no mistake, games media is struggling to hide their distaste for this stuff. The dissent is there. Its well hidden, often in the middle of articles and not in the scores. But its there. Combine that with other trends in the industry, like mobile and digital distribution, and unless they change their ways, the days of the big publishers are numbered.

    18. Babymech says:

      Anyone who tries to write seriously about “scrubs” has an uphill battle before them to actually be taken seriously. Anyone who writes: “A dad who likes to play with his younger daughter might disable seeking arrows for only himself as a way to make the matches more fair” has lost any chance of that happening.

      • pepperfez says:

        Would replacing “daughter” with “child” address your complaint (with that part, I mean – I’m right with you on talking seriously about “scrubs”)?

      • Frank says:

        Yeah, ever since I first saw Sirlin’s obsession with “scrubs,” my gut instinct has been to see those who use that word as idiots. The rest of that excerpt almost prompted me to read the article, though; sounds interesting.

        • Premium User Badge

          FhnuZoag says:

          It’s not worth it.

          That said, I think the article did crystallize me why I object to the whole Scrub thing. The thing is, opposition to scrubs is in itself a form of scrubbery. Ultimately it comes down to the belief that there are particular right, and wrong ways to play games, and the particular writer is doing things the right way (and not coincidentally, this Right Way always happens to be the particular mode of play that the writer is really good at and has worked hard to be good at), and why oh why can’t the wrong way just cease to exist?

          To me, ultimately a multiplayer game implies a contract between the players. And it’s fine *and interesting* for players to modify the rules of this contract, so long as they are well understood by all players. The point of playing the game is to have fun, not “interpret correctly the vision of the designer”.

          And you know, sometimes being able to react on the fly to changes in rules in an individual round can itself be an expression of skillful play. It is much more impressive to me if instead of being good at one particular frozen skillset, you have the ability to read a change in rules and understand its implications and tailor one’s strategy to suit it. Instead of wasting effort whining about how the change in rules deviates somehow from the ‘intended’ ‘pure’ vision of the game.

          • pepperfez says:

            I feel like this is really a consequence of the ESPORTS! mentality, where multiplayer games aren’t about playing but about competing. If you’re going to have a tournament circuit with prize money and sponsors and so forth, you need a concrete set of rules, and inevitably those who reject those rules are losers. On the other hand, if you’re playing games with your pals, whatever makes you all have more fun is best. It’s just that to an increasing number of people serious, competitive play is aesthetically/morally/intellectually superior and so you have things like “casual” being used as an insult.

    19. Scurra says:

      Of course it gets tedious pointing out that there are what feel like several gazillion games out there in which the protagonist is a female, and in which any sympathetic male characters are usually emasculated in some fashion (captured, incompetent, turn out to be villains etc.) and the hero women typically don’t need some trauma to drive them to action – although it’s true that they do occasionally need to rescue their husbands.
      But these games are quite clearly specifically targeted at middle-aged women (and are often dismissively referred to as “casual” games) and so rarely, if ever, make the mainstream coverage, which is dominated by games that are targeted at adolescent boys (and adolescent men, to be fair), which then gives the impression that the industry is badly unbalanced. I’m not at all sure that it is – people are just not looking in the right places.

      • pepperfez says:

        First, there are women who aren’t middle-aged and men who aren’t teenagers. Second, compare the amount being spent developing those games aimed at women and the games aimed at teenage boys and the idea of a serious imbalance becomes very compelling.

    20. almostDead says:

      Long War Beta10 is out people.

    21. domogrue says:

      Here’s a link that I’m surprised didn’t make it to the papers this week: the dev of Innuendo Studios talks about the phenomenon of Phil Fish:

      link to youtube.com

      Really great internet essay about internet fame and the game industry, and our responsibility as an audience/journalists.

      • AngelTear says:

        That was very interesting to watch, thank you for sharing.

      • Philomelle says:

        I’m really glad that he called out Marcus Beer on being a gigantic asshole. He was so obviously fishing for page views by catering to the Phil Fish hatred fad that it hurt to watch.

      • toxic avenger says:

        I forget where I saw that video, but yeah, that is very well worth anyone’s time, regardless of your feelings on Phil Phish. Personally, more often than not I agree with Phish says. (I have not seen that “Indie Movie,” however). Typical (<-keyword) Japanese games are stuck in the past, many of which are extremely boring if you take away characters, art, and whatnot, while just leaving the "game" part. Much of gaming's target demographic–fans, if you will–can be pedantic assholes with no regard that the person on the other end of their infantile rants is a human being with feelings. As soon as that person flames back with a certain level of deserved vitriol, it's "Woops, because you're famous and got angry, none of the things you say are now valid."

        But what gets me the worst about criticism about Phish is all the taking him to task for comments about Youtube LPers. I just don't understand, and please, someone help me if you are so inclined, why so many otherwise thoughtful and intelligent gamers think that doing a Let's Play on a game like "Gone Home" is a morally just thing to do. Incidentally, many of these gamers also will tell you with a straight face that because they don't like the price of a video game, that somehow justifies the "theft" of said game. It's gotten to the point where people are no longer allowed to have opinions differing from the group think of "Gimmie gimmie gimmie," else be targeted with threats of violence, hyperbolic insults, racism, etc. Phil Phish, I guess, to me represents or symbolizes the metaphorical big middle finger to those people by saying "Hey, everyone has opinions: you shit on mine, I'll shit on yours."

    22. AnonGameDev says:

      As a game dev, I’m finding this shallow and facile discussion of sexism is absolutely terrifying. I’m currently working on an RPG set in 18th century India, a setting which fascinates me. One of the things I’m interested in exploring is the intersection of race and class before the colonial era, how two fundamentally class bound societies interact when their are racial differences in the mix. I think one of the things that makes games an interesting medium is that it’s interactive, it gives the player scope for self-expression. It follows then that if I’m making a game that explores issues of race, and especially if I’m making an RPG that explores issues of race, I have to allow scope for the player to role-play as a racist. Not necessarily through their words, and not necessarily in every conversation but often subtly through their demeanor and attitude. And that terrifies me. I’m very scared that what would be common place for a historical novel will be pounced upon not as an examination of historical racism, but as a game that is racist.

      To take the “Dastardly” example brought up in Tom Bramwell’s article, as well as the latest Tropes vs. Women video, what the developer obviously intended is an homage to the silent film era. It’s a playful take on a game mechanic that doubtless existed before the achievement was conceived, referencing a trope in the genre of movies the game was inspired by. I don’t believe the intent or reality of its inclusion are sexist, nor do I believe that choosing to take part in it makes one sexist, any more than I believe that choosing to roleplay a racist character in a historical setting where racism was a reality makes one a racist.

      Every time I read or see something like this, it makes me want to tear down all my work and make the safe sci-fi dystopian RPG that I have lurking in the back of my mind. A safe game that can’t possibly lead to trouble. I think that this is exactly the impulse that gives us games like Bioshock Infinite and AssCreed: Black Flag that present a very watered down version of reality to avoid controversy. I don’t want to be like them, but I really understand why they are as they are.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I think it’s possible to discuss this kind of issue sensitively and distinguish between representing something and condoning it. Actually, this is a problem for a lot of games, not just ones that touch on gender issues. Does Call of Duty depicting war mean that the developers are saying that war is fun and entertaining? Yeah, kinda. Even something like Spec Ops: The Line tries to have its cake and eat it by criticising war games while at the same time being one.

        Another thing is that saying “this game is problematic because of X” is different from saying that it shouldn’t have been made, or people shouldn’t play it. Saints Row III has some good handling of gender, despite the really weird decision to include a mission where you steal immigrant sex workers from a rival gang so they can work for yours. War games are fun because on some level we’re wired to fight, and all they do is remove the unpleasant aspects of conflict (similarly for kids’ stories about pirates, princesses, whatever).

        Anyway, kudos to you for attempting to tackle issues like race, colonialism and class. The setting certainly has a lot of scope to be explored, and I have no doubt you’ll handle it sensitively, even if you make some mis-steps along the way that you didn’t realise you made. But this is very different from making a game where you play an East India Company solider whose only goal is to gun down waves of nameless Indian sepoys, or have bonuses for firing on protestors or executing 10 mutineers with field guns. A lot of this kind of thing is down to subtext and the implicit commentary surrounding the things you depict in your game, and understanding that it’s a problematic subject is important – and conversely, depicting something without really thinking about the issues behind it is a sure way to make tonal missteps. I remember Kieron’s criticism of No Russian, for example, was not so much the level as the fact that it had no meaning in the context of the game; it was shock for its own sake, with no attempt to explore it beyond depicting an atrocity just because you can.

      • AngelTear says:

        I entirely agree, and that’s the major reason why i think Anita’s last video is her weakest.

        I can’t believe I’m defending GTA, but, I can’t for the life of me see what is wrong with *enabling* the player to have sex with a prostitute, then killing her and getting your money back. The game doesn’t ask you to do it, but, you can kill everyone you can see in the game, so why is it suddenly sexist if you can also kill prostitutes, or why shouldn’t they drop the money you just gave them? Of all the sexist things in the GTA series (and there are so, so many) this is the one I find the least problematic, maybe not problematic at all.

        The Hitman/Saboteur example: the only valid point she makes is that you never have to sneak through the male changing room in games, because male gaze etc. But, due to the mechanics of the game, you can always spy on every character, and move their bodies, during the entire game. Should they not allow to move the bodies of female characters?

        And even if a sexist act is represented, or in the case of gaming, not simply allowed but favored by the game design, its place in the greater narrative, the way it is represented, how aware the game is of what it is doing and how effective it is at pointing out to the player that what they’re doing is problematic, all these subtle details make all the difference between a sexist scene and a scene that contains/discusses/points out sexism without being sexist itself. Many of her examples are open to the same kind of criticism.

        • The Random One says:

          Hitman 2 was the first game I played which had penises in it. They weren’t specifically textured so they looked like fleshy sausages, and to see one of them you had to run up a hill on the first level and look at the peeing guy with a sniper scope, but still, penises.

      • aoanla says:

        And, following on from what Gap Gen said: I think context (or the lack of it) is an aspect of the problematic nature of the Dastardly achievement.

        Certainly, moustache-twirling villains in silent movies tied damsels to train tracks… but for a reason (usually because they were a damsel related to The Hero, who the Villain either wanted to hurt by proxy, distract from another plan they had by forcing him to rescue the damsel, or cause to risk his own life in saving her). While this is clearly unpleasant behaviour (and enforces all kinds of gender-trope-related-issues), at least the villain has a somewhat rational motive for his actions.

        The Dastardly achievement just has you kill a random woman with a train… because you can.

        (What I’m saying is that, if you’re writing a game where the Player is a Silent Movie style villain, then allowing them to tie damsels to train tracks in order to invoke the above trope is a more reasonable allowed action, in the pallette of actions you could allow them.)

        • Gap Gen says:

          And again, it depends on the tone of the game as a whole. It’s entirely possible that the rest of the game treats the role of women in the era with respect (following stuff like Game of Thrones, that views women as ordinary humans trapped in an inferior role rather than innately inferior than men), and that the achievement was a throwaway thing that some dev banged off on a 16-hour crunchtime shift. Or it’s possible that it’s indicative of a careless attitude towards sensitive issues at the studio as a whole. (I actually can’t say either way, I haven’t played the game).

      • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

        AnonGameDev, I just wanted to take the time to thank you for NOT doing a run of the mill sci-fi dystopia, and to urge you not to give up on a setting I’ve wanted in video games for a long, long time. You will inevitably be criticised, one way or another, even had you made the sci-fi RPG mentioned above, but I think there comes a point when one must just make the creative work one wants to make and to hell with the opinions of others. For ME PERSONALLY (of course, my morality is not universal), a good historical RPG is one that obliterates all traces of the present day mindset. In short, neither an RPG where you ask yourself “how can I stop the evil racism?” or “how many wallahs can I blow of a cannon today?”, but rather an RPG where you ask “how much tea does the Company require of me? How am I to get it? There is a famine going on, what should I do about it?”, and so forth.

        I think this is why Crusader Kings II succeeds so beautifully as a roleplaying game. At no point is the player asked: “do I, Presentday McModernsville, agree with arranged marriage?” instead, one assumes the mindset of a medieval lord, and instead ask “is this marriage beneficial to my house? How can I advance my family? How many babies do I need to murder in order to become King? Should I do that?”, and so forth.

        In short: moral dilemmas in a historical setting are immersive when they relate to period-specific moral dilemmas, less so when they relate to modern dilemmas projected backwards without regard to fact or precedent. I would love, love LOVE to see aspects of the debate on whether to suppress the Indian practice of burying widows with their dead husbands before their own death in your game, as that is meaningful to the setting. Making Robert Clive a woman for the sake of gender-balance would be somewhat less thrilling, and so forth.

      • steviebops says:

        As a fellow dev, don’t give up. What you’re doing sounds unique, and you don’t need design input from people who aren’t invested in the project, but rather in a social agenda.
        Make what you want to make, apologise for nothing.

      • Martel says:

        The fact that you are aware of it, are using it within context, and sound like a very reasonable person means to me that you shouldn’t be too worried.

      • toxic avenger says:

        C’mon, really? I find this all very hard to believe. It looks like you’re overstating the prevalence of feminism/race theory to the point where you see it’s a threat. I don’t think you’re fooling anyone: if you can’t tell the difference between discussing race (through art) and actual racism, then why do people even bother trying to better the lives of all of our brothers and sisters? You’re conflating the intentions of a fictional character for the intentions of a real life developer. But I have to hand it to you, seems like a very effective way to paint the so-called SJW as ‘equality Nazis’ and yourself as a victim.

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          if you can’t tell the difference between discussing race (through art) and actual racism

          I think he’s suggesting other people can’t do this and that’s what worries him about the game will be received.

    23. MadTinkerer says:

      “Let’s begin this week by talking about YouTube. Mike Rose at Gamasutra asks, is YouTube killing the games press?”

      The answer is no. Not while a significant number of the population enjoys or prefers reading. Not while criticism both on video and paper is booming.

      I read this site and a few others. I watch the most tasteful, analyzing, “nerdiest” video reviews as well as stuff like Angry Video Game Nerd and various video game themed sketch comedy. I listen to retro video game podcasts that have interviews with people who did stuff 30+ years ago.

      I don’t usually have time for Lets Plays other than Spoiler Warning (because Spoiler Warning is more like MST3k than most Lets Plays), but I super appreciate them, because it keeps the press and publishers honest. Youtube is an important part of the games press and has been for about five years.

    24. steviebops says:

      ‘This is a well-written piece’ – it really isn’t.

      • DanMan says:

        reply fail, sorry

        • steviebops says:

          Don’t be sorry, try,try again.

          The comments on EG tell a very different story. The prevailing air is of an Editorial team out of step with it’s audience. And that’s ok to a point, no one wants or needs an echo chamber. The problem is that Bramwell, and the mods there, go beyond condescension, into outright stereotyping.

          • dsch says:

            Taking a leaf from the John Walker book, then.

          • sinister agent says:

            If you think the comment sectons of ANYTHING are a representative sample of its readership, you are a fool.

            • steviebops says:

              ‘If you think the comment sectons of ANYTHING are a representative sample of its readership, you are a fool.’

              First of all, maybe a less insulting tone would help. Secondly, if the community on a site aren’t indicative of itself, what is?

            • fractallatcarf says:

              “if the community on a site aren’t indicative of itself, what is?”

              The VAST majority of people who read articles don’t comment; if you think that commentators are representative of the community then you are missing those who just like to read. Coming up with a good representation of the community is not easy — I don’t have an answer for that — but it is safe to say that looking *only* at commentators is not a good method.

            • steviebops says:

              If people won’t engage, there isn’t anything you can do. You listen to the people who will.

              If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice, and you might just be a fool for thinking otherwise ;)

            • Premium User Badge

              FhnuZoag says:

              Comment threads are not democracies. A comment is not a vote. If you believe that, then you must think that the Guardian is exclusively read by BNP activists, science magazines are exclusively read by creationists and climate change deniers, and slashdot is exclusively read by people who want to be FIRST POST.

            • steviebops says:

              It seems to me that the inference here is that EG comments are in fact contrary to the community.
              So the RPS comments are indicative of nothing? I could just assume the actual RPS demographic is Stormfront members then?

              Bramwell is back up on his horse today, and the community is spanking him for it. He retreated to Twitter-space with the mods the last time, I wonder if he’ll listen on his second strike out?

    25. steviebops says:

      Leigh Alexander – eughh.

      • DanMan says:

        It’s just an unreflected rant, isn’t it? In the comments she accidentally revealed that she hadn’t even done her homework.

    26. Michael Fogg says:

      I’m trying to understand why Bramwell thinks that when he had written that the NPC-girlfriends are nagging in the GTAIV review it was due to his sexist tendencies.

      • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

        If I had to nominate a biggest nagger in GTAIV, it would be Roman by a country mile. Using Bramwell Logic, I guess that makes me a racist.

        • Stardreamer says:

          Nope. Logic fail.

          There are no pre-existing derogatory stereotypes for male nagging. None. It’s not something we are considered to do; we do, of course we do, but the stereotype is that it is a female-only thing so the label never really gets applied to us fellas. Roman IS a nag. He’s a fucking nagging pain in the rectum in GTA IV, partly why I can’t stand playing it. But to call him “A Nag” is not sexist, racist or any other -ist because there is no derogatory stereotype of a man being a nag, Its the existence of the stereotype about women being nags that makes calling a woman a nag offensive.

          • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

            That’s complete drivel. So if I want to call a man who is a nag a nag, that’s A OK, but if I want to call a woman who is a nag a nag, that’s sexist? Some women are nags, just as some men (like Roman) are nags. What you’re arguing for doesn’t sound very much like equality to me.

            • Stardreamer says:

              Kindly stop putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say it was ok to call a man a nag, Calling a man a nag is just as dismissive to a man as it is towards a woman. The difference is it’s not SEXIST or RACIST or AGEIST or INSERTYOUROWN-IST to call a man a nag, for the reasons I described.

              If you want to herd me towards some kind of “oh god, women get all the special treatment” debate cul-de-sac, where you’re revealed as some kind of campaigner for “equality”, you’re going to have to think harder than that.

              Also, “some women are nags” shows you don’t actually understand much about the behaviour called nagging. It’s a form of attention-seeking women resort to when men close down avenues of communication. Nagging doesn’t occur in healthy relationships where both partners put in the effort to really listen to each other; it occurs in relationships where communication doesn’t work or is breaking down.

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              So if I said “all men are nags”, you would not classify that as misandry?

              As to your supposed “clarification” of nagging, I might just as easily say that men wouldn’t nag if women knew their place and did as they were told. Of course I don’t espouse that belief, so I can’t see in all honesty how you can seriously turn around and say “women only have to nag when men don’t do as they’re told”.

              In fact, ( and please be aware that I am attacking only your argument and not you personally) this entire narrative of oppressed and pure womankind working against devious or stupid men is incredibly tedious to me (not least because it seems to be spouted more by men than by women). It’s right up there with “why don’t women want nice guys such as myself?” on the list of childish ways to morally elevate oneself above others. If I think women have the same propensity towards intelligence and morality than men, is that not enough? Am I expected to do penance for an age where physical work was overwhelmingly prioritised, which for purely physiological reasons women were less able to do? I have no grudge against you, John Walker, or the entire feminist movement, but it boils down to this: you say womankind is oppressed, or at least negatively portrayed. I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you precisely *because* I believe women to be equal, and because I don’t believe 50% of the world’s population, of equal intellectual merit, could have allowed themselves to be fettered by a group equal in number and equal in merit.

            • gwathdring says:

              If it was a negative stereotype that was socially reinforced both as a slur and a proper role for men across wide portions of society, most likely (I can think of a few context where I would say “no” even then, but not many). Otherwise, it would depend more specifically on the context.

              The problem with this hypothetical is that male power isn’t routinely flouted and diminished by yet-greater female power. As such, the concept of misandry is sort of lackluster in all but the superglued-my-fingers-to-my-Latin-English-dictionary sense.

              Wordplay is not helpful in this discussion. Holding people to the denotation of the word misogyny and/or ignoring that people can talk about important things while misusing that particular word (and ignoring that that doesn’t invalidate their arguments full-stop) and then trying to throw out gotchas with the word misandry is not helpful in this discussion.

            • Stardreamer says:

              It would be a misandric comment, yes. But without the backing of a pre-existing stereotype in society that “all men are nags” (or, indeed, any of the other thousands of ways in which women are made to feel inferior), it wouldn’t carry much weight; I reckon you’d have a problem getting anyone to take it seriously.

              It differs for women because on a societal level, we joke and play around the fact that women can be horrendous nags. AND most of world society seems to have deep-rooted systems of bias against women. It’ll take you roughly three seconds to find a cartoon online of a woman nagging a man. I challenge you to find ANY cartoon of a man nagging a woman. They do exist, but only as very rare exceptions in a veritable sea of women-nagging-men tropes.

              (Ps: Thanks, gwathdrin, for pointing out that the concept of misandry does not have equal weight to misogyny when applied to the real world!)

            • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

              If women are equal in merit and number, then how is it possible for men to successfully oppress them? This is something I will never, ever understand about modern (2nd wave +) feminism. You seem to be diminishing the status of women globally by suggesting that they would willingly submit to oppression by a force no greater than they.

            • Stardreamer says:

              “so I can’t see in all honesty how you can seriously turn around and say “women only have to nag when men don’t do as they’re told”

              Again you’re putting words in my mouth. I DIDN’T say that men have to do as they’re told. I said it was about communication. All men have to do is Listen. Properly listen, not just hear and acknowledge the words being said. Try to understand the intent behind the words. What’s driving her to behave like this? If it’s something important you’re being nagged about, why aren’t you doing the thing she’s trying to get you to do? If it’s trivial, is that really the problem? It’s the dismissal that’s the problem. And when it’s dismissal because she’s a woman, that’s sexism.

              “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you precisely *because* I believe women to be equal, and because I don’t believe 50% of the world’s population, of equal intellectual merit, could have allowed themselves to be fettered by a group equal in number and equal in merit”

              So you’re blind to reality, then? Women are TELLING YOU, telling EVERYONE, EVERY-goddam-day, that there are problems all over the world for them in just about every sphere of our lives. And you’re sitting there disbelieving all of it because you can’t imagine how an entire gender could have “let themselves” be put into that position??? That’s a total failure of your imagination, mate. And your bloody ear and eyes. “There’s none so blind as those who will not see”. Stop feeling criticised and butthurt about being told you’re behaving like an ass: crack open that mind and try and understand WHY you’re being told that. Put yourself in their place. Practice empathy. LISTEN.

              I was in Tom’s place a couple of years ago. My current girlfriend has had to work hard to explain her experiences to me. Understanding is usually gained through experience; if we can’t experience, then understanding something by words alone is very difficult. I actually sympathise with people who struggle with this – it’s not easy to grasp. But when you do…it’s transformative. World-changing.

            • Stardreamer says:

              “If women are equal in merit and number, then how is it possible for men to successfully oppress them? This is something I will never, ever understand about modern (2nd wave +) feminism. You seem to be diminishing the status of women globally by suggesting that they would willingly submit to oppression by a force no greater than they.”

              Again, that’s your failure. All I’m going to say to that is look to history. Look for the mechanisms of control, where they came from and how they were applied. Start with Religion, go on from there. I’m not diminishing anyone; I’m trying to get people to understand that there IS a vast inequality, that certain men created it, and now other, unthinking men blindly continue it because they’ve been taught that this is how the world is, that rape jokes are funny, that women who raise voices to complain are just ungrateful, unshaven feminist bitches. If you can look at all of this and still say there’s no problem, and women are just making it up, well then you’re not just a sexist, or just ignorant, you’re a deliberate, calculating arsehole.

            • Stardreamer says:

              If I think women have the same propensity towards intelligence and morality than men, is that not enough?

              No. Because you’re not doing what you say you are. You’re saying “I respect you, women” but when they tell you how horrible the world is for them you’re not listening to them. You’ve admitted you don’t believe a word of it because YOU can’t grasp it intellectually. That’s not respecting their intelligence or morality: that’s dismissing theirs in favour of your own.

              Am I expected to do penance for an age where physical work was overwhelmingly prioritised, which for purely physiological reasons women were less able to do?

              Oh don’t be so dramatic, you hammy fop. I’m fairly sure the crimes of past generations won’t be retro-actively applied to you and yours. You can have that in writing if it will stop you fainting away at the mere possibility. All anyone is being asked to do at this point is, perhaps, try to acknowledge the problem as women see it, and maybe stop being an unwitting – or intentional – part of that problem. That’s it. You won’t be required to extract any sort of penance from your tortured soul, although if you want to I’m sure there’ll I could find a sizeable audience willing to view.

            • Premium User Badge

              FhnuZoag says:

              If women are equal in merit and number, then how is it possible for men to successfully oppress them? This is something I will never, ever understand about modern (2nd wave +) feminism. You seem to be diminishing the status of women globally by suggesting that they would willingly submit to oppression by a force no greater than they.

              Consider that for almost the entirety of history, well in excess of 99% of humanity has been held in total atrocious enslavement by a tiny, inbred, and by modern standards *insanely stupid* minority of nobles, across the vast majority of the nations of the world, with few to none significant examples of rebellion against that sort of social order.

      • Stardreamer says:

        Let me attempt to clear some of that Fogg for you, Michael.

        Please tell me which gender is stereotypically portrayed as having pronounced “nagging” behaviour.

        Go on, have a quick Google and see which gender is represented as doing the nagging, and which is portrayed as suffering nagging. Try the image search: they’re a hoot.

        Here’s the hi-larious Urbandictionary’s description of the word. Check out the related words for gender-specifics.

        Now, while nagging IS a form of behaviour that many females find themselves doing, it is not limited to females by any means (not that you’d have found any examples of it in the images searches). It’s become a derisive, derogatory label that is applied to women by way of dismissing them and/or what they’re trying to communicate. Mr Bramwell has finally recognised that by pandering to that stereotype for a cheap laugh, he was in fact being a sexist jerk, as are all men who pander to the same stereotypes.

        • Michael Fogg says:

          Ok then. I hope Tom won’t become known as the ‘nagger-guy’ from this day on.

          • Stardreamer says:

            He won’t. Roman from GTA IV has been crowned King Eternal of that particular competition.

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        Wisq says:

        Frankly, having just played GTA4, I think the biggest sexism offender by far is not that the women nag you, but that a) going out with a woman is by definition “a date” (even when everyone agrees it’s not) and is subject to stats collection under that label, and b) that any “date” that does not end in sex is considered a “bad date” according to said stats, even if everyone had a great time and nobody was angling for sex.

    27. Distec says:

      1 – I do not have the time or patience to listen to some lengthy stream-of-thought garbage from some guy who can’t even play the game right. I have a visceral, unpleasant reaction every time I try to look up a gameplay video with no fucking commentary and am greeted by some obnoxious personality that stammers, repeats himself, and struggles to open the first door in World 1 because he’s too busy yammering to actually pay attention to the game. Written words have a way of focusing your ideas and allow me to absorb information at my own pace. I can skim articles and search for terms. Trying to find any particular nugget of information from a Let’s Play or an hour-long podcast is practically impossible. Hate it hate it hate it. Obviously Nu media does not gel with traditional, classy preferences. I’m sure there are Youtubers who are exceptions to this, but in general I am not a fan.

      2 – Oh hey, there’s a trailer for a videogame and it has a woman in it. THERE ARE CLEARLY SO MANY PROBLEMS WITH THIS. I wish Lara Croft was a dimensionless one-note hero like all the other dudes in games. That would be such an awesome development. We won’t be equal until everybody’s equally shit.

      3 – Put a sock in it, Bram. I’d congratulate you on your noble endeavor if it didn’t seem like your intent was to earn “kudos” and your previously expressed opinions weren’t insane. I dunno, maybe if you were like some Misogysaurus Rex back in your wild days this would be cool. Instead you’re just eager to whip yourself in public for offenses that barely register.

      • dsch says:

        Re: 3. Social conformism to the dominant, uncritical form of pop-feminism is a powerful force.

    28. dsch says:

      Good God. Bayesians wringing their hands at “irrationality”.

      • Josh W says:

        I wonder whether a significant portion of the effect is not wanting to make “an obvious mistake”. The desire to present yourself as skilled at working things out can, in situations of consensus, lead you to follow the crowd, because uniform responses suggest that this is something simple that people can come to automatic agreement on.

        Fortunately, this doesn’t really apply to modern internet life, as there is always a naysayer for whatever basic attitude you can think of. Someone’s going to be the rebel, someone’s going to be questioning something basic.

        We probably have more problem building consensus now than we do in people blindly following it.

      • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

        We’ve had this problem since at least the eighteenth century, I’m afraid: radicals and liberals claiming a monopoly on both rationale and morality.

        On a personal level, I can deal with and happily co-exist with any ideology provided it doesn’t become dogmatic or strident, or claim to be the one acceptable outlet of human decency or critical thought. In the sixties, it was Marxism, by the eighties Neo-Liberalism. These days it’s the SJW movement, and the associated anti-SJW movements. Personally, I wonder why we can’t have a debate about ideas without having a debate about the moral character of the debater. I wouldn’t dream of shutting down criticism with “well then, you’re clearly a degenerate and not worth my time”, but that doesn’t stop others from using the almost identical “you’re clearly not a decent human being” line to act as a puerile stop to dissident thoughts.

        EDIT: This might have been better placed as a reply to your previous post, dsch, but it’ll do here too.

        • dsch says:

          The frustrating thing with the contemporary social justice debate is how philosophically bankrupt it is. The endless, black-and-white essentialism of those debates goes on in utter disregard of the entire Marxist critique of ideology and the continental philosophical tradition in general.

          • steviebops says:

            ‘goes on in utter disregard of the entire Marxist critique of ideology and the continental philosophical tradition in general.’

            I think life goes on in utter disregard of those :)

    29. kalirion says:

      Out of curiosity, is the old Mortal Kombat’s Jonny Cage’s “Nut Cracker” move considered to be sexist? I could be wrong, but IIRC it didn’t do as much damage (or any at all?) against female opponents.

      What if a game has a “groin shot” achievement that you can only get buy shooting male enemies in the groin and not female ones – is that sexist?

    30. Vinraith says:

      I guess it’s a generational thing but I have to say, I have to be very interested in a game before I’m willing to spend the time and attention to watch a video about it. Perhaps it’s a simple difference of being able to read while at work, but only being able to watch videos during off hours.

    31. Baffle Mint says:

      This is a well-written piece,

      I’m going to go ahead and say that, no, no it isn’t.

      My big objection is that acknowledging our own sexism doesn’t free us from the obligation to analyze it.

      Okay, that Red Dead Redemption achievement is a reference to flipping Dudley Do-Right cartoons, which in turn are a reference to older silent era comedy bits, which in turn were mocking cliches in Victorian melodramatic plays.

      Tying women to train tracks is a comedy cliche, not an example of some real oppression visited on old-west women.

      Look, we have google now; it took me five damn minutes to find an article on the history of the “woman tied to train tracks” cliche.

      Bramwell links to an insane twitter convo where Helen Lewis says ” Imagine if a game asked you to, say, re-enact a scene from Schindler’s List.” to which I have two responses:

      1. Re-enacting a children’s cartoon comedy scene is different from re-enacting a scene from a holocaust drama.

      2. Critics would love it. I saw how much they loved “Papers, Please,” the casual picture matching game about aiding an oppressive dictatorship.

      So why does it bother Bramwell? Because violence against women is never funny? Because he didn’t understand the context of the bit? What?

      His other example is that he once called some video game characters “Nags”, which, okay, sure, sexist. Also not particularly enlightening or interesting to read about it, given that it’s such a little thing and there’s nothing to say about it except “don’t do it”.

      Basically, one of his examples of his own sexism is so basic there’s nothing to say about it, and the other is only very arguably sexist, and instead of making the argument he just talks shit about himself. It’s unhelpful.

      • HadToLogin says:

        I guess most people would have problem with re-enacting Schindler’s List because “They will call me Jew-hater” and nothing else.

        And then they would start GTA, grab sniper rifle, go to some roof and shoot random people…

    32. Frank says:

      That discussion of the conformity experiment is excellent!

      And, you know that blog post doesn’t boil down to “it’s scary how easily people conform”, right Graham?