The Sunday Papers

It's hard to do alt-text gags for the same image every week.

Sundays are for sending emails, to set in motion the wheels of future words about videogames. Let’s inspire ourselves first by rounding up some of the week’s best writing from elsewhere.

  • Margaret Robertson recently asked on Twitter for recommendations for story-creation games, and she’s rounded up the advice in Once Upon A Wonder: A Story Game Guide. This is your daily reminder that there are more interesting games than you’ll ever have time to play:
  • Dog Eat Dog is a game about colonialism and identity, the first task of which is described by its author Liam Burke as “As a group, you work together to describe one of the hundreds of small islands in the Pacific Ocean”. One player takes on the role of *all* of an occupying force, representing “their capable military, their quisling government, and whatever jaded tourists and shrewd businessmen are interested in a not quite pacified territory,” and all other players become individual Natives, responding as best they can to the actions of the colonizing power.

  • I am a fan of playing games with your own particular set of rules, and so any article about same is up my street. Over at Look, Robot, Grant Howitt plays Far Cry 3 his own way:
  • ONE. No additional weapon holsters – I would carry one weapon at a time.
    TWO. No upgrading or purchasing weapons from shops or vending machines – I would only use weapons that I found in the field.
    THREE. No additional ammo pouches – my bullet stockpiles would remain low throughout the game.

    I was going to live off the land.

  • Does playing videogames make you more morally sensitive?
  • The current study found such guilt can lead players to be more sensitive to the moral issues they violated during game play. Other studies have established that in real life scenarios, guilt evoked by immoral behavior in the “real-world” elicits pro-social behaviors in most people.

    “We suggest that pro-social behavior also may result when guilt is provoked by virtual behavior,” Grizzard says.

  • No-one is coming to take away your shitty toys‘ is about internet drama and the real meaning of censorship. It is also, mainly, funny.
  • To summarise: Rami made a tiny blip of a post about boob physics in The Witcher 3 being referred to internally as “eye candy” and then some asshole made a concerted effort to complain about political correctness, denied that there’s any structural privilege in being a straight white man in America, and then made the bold claim that racism (and presumably sexism, ageism, et al) only persists because of people who keep bringing it up and calling others out on it – this fascinating notion that we live in a post-prejudice age, soiled only by the whining of people of colour, women, homosexuals, etc, who cling to the ‘victimhood’ of ages past, who for some reason believe documented history and observable systems of causality are to blame for their disadvantaged social/economic/political position. Yes, our ancestors forged global empires on the flagellated backs of slaves! Yes, womens rights over their own bodily integrity have been violated by male-dominated political institutions throughout history! I agree, all of that stuff was terrible! But that was YESTERDAY! Didn’t you get the memo?! Starting TODAY we’re all equal! Other than in an ongoing series of freak, one-off incidents which I don’t think we should read anything into. Now, let’s never mention this again and just continue as normal until trickle-down economics has evened everything out.

  • Shut Up & Sit Down have released their second sci-fi special, which means 35 minutes of japes and boardgame reviews. Top japes.
  • So Mars is under attack from Reiner Knizia, right, and Team SU&SD are the only ones who can stop him. We also welcome back Susie Pumfsk, and Brendan is an alien!

  • The BBC released a virtual reality tour featuring newscaster Fiona Bruce. Steve Hogarty at PCGamesN covers the news and finds other, similar projects:
  • In 1986 engineers at Sinclair generated a fully three-dimensional, artificially intelligent clone of Peter Sissons, which activists at the time described as “a sentient program, one that it could be argued has its own thoughts and feelings, with deeply troubling philosophical and spiritual ramifications for the entire human race. What happens next may be the measure of our species. Have we become God? Or something worse?”

    Researchers trapped virtual Peter Sissons inside 3D Monster Maze for several gruelling weeks until, in a tragic and unexpected twist, the confused and terrified program learned how to shut down the maze’s safety protocols. Now vulnerable to a violent self-deletion, Peter Sissons walked calmly into the monster’s waiting jaws with a quiet dignity he had never been programmed to have.

  • Check out this hot No Man’s Sky fan art.
  • This Eurogamer article by Richie Shoemaker tells the story of Thorolfur Beck, the co-founder of CCP and original designer of EVE Online who was fired before the game was released. It has quite the opening paragraph:
  • Thorolfur Beck has enjoyed – or perhaps we should say endured – an intriguing career trajectory. He’s been a global ambassador for kids TV phenomenon LazyTown, laboured on a Reykjavik building site, produced Iceland’s 2006 Eurovision Song Contest entry and spent six months working in a psychiatric hospital. We should add that all these disparate entries on his CV come after his five-year stint as Eve Online’s very first lead designer.

  • I hadn’t watched this yet when writing last week’s papers, so here it is now. Feminist Frequency has a new video up, titled ‘Women As Background Decoration’. It’s good.
  • Everyone wants to write like Barney Ronay. If you’ve been following the World Cup, the least you can do is read him: We should be apologising to England, not the other way round.
  • Music this week is The Ghosts of Bush, a hauntological album whose creation is as fascinating to read about as the music is engrossing to listen to.

    ‘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.

    Thanks to DiamondDog who recommended this in the comments last week.


    1. KDR_11k says:

      Regarding calling boob physics eye candy, I think the term would be used just as much on tree physics or other elements of the game that are not relevant to the gameplay. That’s just what you call those things, stuff that pretties your game up without actually making it play better.

      • basilisk says:

        It’s still crass, though. Not a big deal, particularly considering it was an internal document, but I think we can agree the remark is in poor taste.

        The article is lovely, though.

        • RedViv says:

          Yeah, there’s somewhat of a difference between calling trees and grass and shiny textures “eye candy” and reducing the appeal of a scene to “Look at dem boobies we done!” in instructions.

        • KDR_11k says:

          Maybe I’ve hung around game artists for too long but to me “eye candy” is practically a technical term. Mind you, software has brought us technical terms like “promiscuous mode” or floppy/stiffy disk (the latter is South African slang for a 3.5″ diskette).

        • Shadow says:

          Calling it crass is rather oversensitive. Eye candy is eye candy, whether it’s boob physics, a nice landscape (a “lovely open world” is described before the physics comment) or a well-designed weapon model. It makes me facepalm hard that one can’t even imply a nice thing about a female body (not even a fictional 3D representation of one) without catching flak.

          • pepperfez says:

            No, trafficking in commodified sexuality is about the crassest thing imaginable. That’s not to say it’s the worst thing ever (it’s not, duh), just that this particular development decision doesn’t deserve a spirited defense from ridicule (and that’s all that was aimed at it in the first place).

      • CobraLad says:

        Game has you collecting cards with naked ladies after you bed them. Also, its based on downright pornographic series of books, but it manages to sex up things.
        This game clearly enjoys female nudity, and i dont know if its wrong or not.

        • KDR_11k says:

          That seems to be common in a lot of SciFi and Fantasy, Asimov was supposedly criticized for NOT including gratuitous sex scenes in his books. As a response he added one and turned it into a cultural and political fight under the sheets.

        • grom.5 says:

          “Downright pornographic series of book” ?

          Maybe my definition of pornographic is heavily twisted by the internet but did you read the books ?

          Geralt date and flirt with maybe two or three characters (Yennefer, Triss and maybe another sorceress) in the whole series and it is far from the level of GoT (which I don’t call either pornographic).

          So, or you’re a bit puritan, or you had your hands or a strange translation…

          • dE says:

            Nah I think it’s pretty safe to say CobraLad never even got close to the books. They aren’t pornographic and far less descriptive than some of the other standard fare in fantasy. Maybe it’s a reference to the Narrenturm books by the same author, because they start with one of the most ludicrously over the top sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a book.

            But I’m not entirely sure how anyone could consider that pornographic. Comedy more likely. Maybe it’s also a jab at Elric of Melnibone, which some consider to be the inspiration for the Witcher but… a) something tells me CobraLad doesn’t even know it exists. b) it’s not pornographic either.

            • Laurentius says:

              It was the doing of polish rabid Sapkowski’s fandom, they were telling him that everything he writes is so perfect and his erotic scens are so great that he actually belived it himself thus Narrenturm scene.

      • Jackablade says:

        It could have been worse. We used to call it “visual delight” back where I used to work, on games that were never particularly visually delightful.

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        The context is a description of what the player sees, to wit, “we talk to [–] and she gives us a task: remove the [–] from the [–]. (Boob physics eye candy, appropriately prepared dialogue),” and that somewhat displays a rather dubious relationship towards breasts.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Moob physics: eye candy, or eye brussel sprouts?

        • pepperfez says:

          Well, brussels sprouts are good for you, so I have to go with “neither”.

      • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

        “It happens with everybody: mankind in general loves to be affronted, have you noticed?”

        – Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment

        • slowking says:

          Wow. So Raskolnikov doesn’t say this, Svidrigalov does. And as a justification for assaulting his wife. Some translations conclude with, “especially women.” Some just change “mankind” to “women kind.” So, uh, I’m not sure what you’re going for here. I would advise that famous works of literature aren’t just collections of aphorisms wrapped in moral authority.
          Of course, if you are taking the context of the book into account with this, it seems that yes, there is something monstrous about the self-justifications of folks confronted with the knowledge that their actions likely harm, in some way or another, other people. Especially if those same people wish to persist in those action. And Svidrigalov is quite a monster.
          For those interested , this is in Chapter 1, Part 4. Or just read the whole book.
          So… At least thanks for prompting me to comment, for the first time ever, on RPS.

          • The Godzilla Hunter says:

            Also, I would not call Raskolnikov a wise and morally upright man.

          • pepperfez says:

            Surely we’re being Poed here, right?

          • Arren says:

            This comment made my fucking day. Thanks.

          • tormos says:

            slowking, this is the best first RPS post I’ve ever seen

          • SeventhEdition says:

            I find it ironic that your so insulted by this.

          • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

            Heh…well, I knew if I included the bit about women that would have caused some serious indignation on here. And I knew if I excluded the bit about women that would cause outrage from the Russian Literature majors. The fact that you had to create an account just to respond kind of proves the point of the quote though, doesn’t it?

            • slowking says:

              Here are the things I “loved” in creating an account and responding:. being right and being pedantic. I found being affronted, in whatever measure, somewhat less pleasant. So, I used posting on RPS to replace my “affrontedness” with those other feelings. In a way, I also enjoyed the possibility of delivering an affront to you. And that’s the thing: Svidrigalov is source of the affront. But to justify his evil behavior, to be able to continue to to feel pleasure in harming and “affronting” others, he contends that his harm is a source of pleasure for his victim. That’s pretty messed up. He then universalizes that contention to all women.
              Thanks again! This has been fun for me! Also, not a “Russian Literature major,” just a concerned citizen.

            • Sleepy Will says:

              Wait, what? You’re persisting in taking inspiration from a fictional child molester and rapist?

              In the spirit of your post:

              “You speak like a fool”
              – Gimli, son of Gloin in The Lord of the Rings.

              please note, any reply will be followed by my reply of “See, you’re proving the quote correct”.

      • Bradamantium says:

        Well that’s reaching a bit, isn’t it? To begin with, it’s a little distressing if women’s bodies are addressed with all the same concern and attention as…trees. Following that, why wouldn’t they call Geralt’s now-more-carefully-pockmarked-and-stubbled-than-ever face eye candy? Or anything in the game that’s not related to current upheaval in the industry and community at large.

        It’s really not a big deal, all things considered. Predominantly male team does some predominantly male stuff, what a surprise. Like the article states, it wouldn’t have been anything at all if someone hadn’t leaped to defend their right to breastacular eye candy. Please, don’t continue to defend it.

        • Asdfreak says:

          As somebody else already said: They probably do so, it’s become a technical term. We call Cloth physics, shiny materials and body deformation on impact eye candy as well. If it is not necessary, but looks nice, it’s eye candy. “Boob Physics” are just as well. It’s just so confusing how everybody starts to get all worked up about these two words, even though they don’t even know their meaning in the context. Suddenly everybody starts a wall-of-text war about all-men-are-misgonists vs feminism-is-evil and everything there is inbetween. It’s getting really annoying on RPS, especially because noone actually discusses anything, you just post each other to death.

          • pepperfez says:

            A quibble: No on has staked out “All men are misogynists” here, they’ve argued that the games business is sexist and inhospitable to women in various ways. That’s a much, much milder position than you’re putting opposite “Feminists are evil,” which has in fact been claimed with some regularity.

        • KDR_11k says:

          Well, both are objects in the engine, both are made of polygons, textures and shaders and both get physics applied to them. Ultimately the thing you program into the computer is just that, a thing made of components. Whether those work together to look like a man, woman, monster, door, wall, tree or whatever.

          But yeah, the list is too short to really be explained as “this is a list of the systems we need operational for this scene”.

      • Viroso says:

        Eh, I read the first Witcher game had women trading cards, for each lady that banged Gerald. So, you know.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          I like to imagine that everyone in the game world gets a card whenever they have sex. There are married people with hundreds of duplicates. And Triss has a whole bunch of Geralt cards in a drawer at home.

          • The Random One says:

            “Dammit, when am I going to complete the whole set?”

    2. Anthile says:

      Surprised to see The Quest for an African RPG didn’t make the cut.

      • welverin says:

        Clearly Graham doesn’t get US Gamer over there.

      • Jac says:

        Great to read stories like this. I used to be filled with the same hopes and dreams from playing snes rpgs, wish I’d pursued them. Hopefully it works out for these guys… The shots of the actual game don’t give a great first impression though I have to say.

        Does make me wonder though how many undiscovered games are out there in the world.

    3. RedViv says:

      Shitty Toys article is delightful.

      • KDR_11k says:

        “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of people roll their eyes at ‘political correctness’ and pose this kind of exaggerated rhetorical question about how it’s impossible to please everyone; this idea that if you took everything that could possibly ‘offend’ someone out of your creative work, you’d end up with an insubstantial beige soup of nothingness.”

        The closest to that beige soup I’ve seen were the two Chinese indie games in my Steam library, just games about blocks shooting at other blocks with cartoony bullets and not a human or a politician in sight, not even using money. So no way to offend the Party.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s a good-un.

      • Asdfreak says:

        It’s just a bit sad that she quotes all of this and does not even respond to all those points. She makes the same mistake about every article and comment on both sides make: Dismissing ALL arguments of the other side because some of them are obviously bullshit.

      • steviebops says:

        I don’t get why people heap praise on things just because hey agree with the general idea. Shitty Toys is the epitome of the prickly ‘fuck you’ attitude that pervades discussion. How do you expect to get a point across if you drive people away?

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          When the people you’re driving away are total shitstains, who gives a fuck?

          • FrumiousBandersnatch says:

            Judging from the tone of your comment and the fact you have not been driven away, i would say this is clearly not the case.

            • Ergates_Antius says:

              Your comment makes no sense.
              Firstly, it’s clear from my tone that I’m not the type who would be annoyed or driven of by the tone or premise of the article. From your response, I’d guess that would be you.
              Secondly ” i would say this is clearly not the case.” makes no grammatical sense in that sentence.

              Try again.

    4. minstrelofmoria says:

      @Shitty toys: it’s a balance. You have the right to say my favorite game is misogynistic garbage. If I think my favorite game isn’t misogynistic or garbage, I have the right to say said game isn’t misogynistic garbage. Then we can yell at each other, feel superior to each other, and convince each other of nothing. It’s kind of like talking politics with that uncle you only see once a year.

      (I’m kind of curious what happens if I think my favorite game IS misogynistic garbage. That would probably happen to me sometimes if I were more of a shooter fan.)

      • BooleanBob says:

        Guilty pleasures. I have a few.

        • altum videtur says:

          What the fuck even is a “guilty” pleasure?
          Am I supposed to be ashamed of the things I like just because they are fucked up? I am very much doubtful of that. I might be cautious enough not to advertise my love for the Marquis De Sade’s literary brutalities or something like Blood Meridian but I haven’t the slightest twitch of conscience over the fact itself.

          I would think such things are better reserved for things that aren’t opinions because those don’t really mean much of anything. I’ll feel guilty when I hurt somebody, which is often.
          But maybe I’m daft. Scratch that. Definitely daft. Still can’t see the point.

          • RedViv says:

            There should be nothing guilty about genuinely enjoying something as long as you can seriously address its faults. Say, anyone ever enjoying H.P. Lovecraft’s writing should by now be aware that his absolutely tremendous racism, even for its time, was a huge part of it.
            Going on as if things that are a problem to people would not exist, not acknowledging them, getting angry at people mentioning them, that’s the shit that’s weak.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            Pizza is not a guilty pleasure, unless you were massively overweight and a burden on the NHS.

            Smoking is not a guilty pleasure, unless you inflict your horrible smoke and smell on people who choose not to smoke.

            Not having a shower is not a guilty pleasure, unless you’ve run a marathon and you’re in a car with a bunch of other people stuck in traffic.

            Playing frisbee in the park is not a guilty pleasure, unless you are so rowdy and aggressive that people can’t play with their children in the park.

            Do you see?

          • BooleanBob says:

            “Am I supposed to be ashamed of the things I like just because they are fucked up?”

            .. sometimes I feel ashamed of things I like, just because they’re fucked up. Maybe the feeling is triggered by the thought of what others would think if they knew that I liked them. Shame is, after all, a social construct. Or perhaps the guilt comes from the thought that a better version of me wouldn’t like these things. That might be or not be true. RedViv’s post above mine is very interesting, although I’m not sure whether addressing something’s faults, be they severe enough, mightn’t necessitate (intellectual, or total) disassociation with the offending thing in question. Regardless, the guilt persists. Not all emotion can be rationalised away.

            “I haven’t the slightest twitch of conscience over the fact itself.”

            No, you’re obviously totally chill about it. The tone of your post, and the need you felt to type it at all, makes that clear.

          • Dave Tosser says:

            Blood Meridian and the works of De Sade aren’t video games and are thus completely acceptable for academic discussion.

            …A 120 Days of Sodom game would have a lot more than just “eye candy”, I’m sure.

            • steviebops says:

              Have you seen Salo? Amazingly well-made, but it’s leap from book to screen is shocking.

              For once I’d say I’m not sure it’s suitable for a game adaptation.
              The only non-emotive reason I can think of to justify that is that the depravities on display are unique to the characters., who are the only real agents with power.
              The victims and soldiers could be other choices for a player-character, but again, not much agency there.

      • GetHisEyes says:

        The key here is to disarm the defenses around the ideas, beliefs, and positions that people hold as part of their individual and/or group identity, since attacking these is taken as a personal attack and tends to preclude productive discussion. By divorcing the idea from the individual, it can be ruthlessly examined and dissected, allowing for productive discussion.

      • Bradamantium says:

        The difference, I think, comes in when it’s no longer just “You don’t like this? Hm. I like this.” and turns into “STOP IT, YOU’RE CENSORING ART. DEAD OR ALIVE XTREME BEACH BOUNCY BALLS NEEDS BOOB PHYSICS.” Everyone has the right to an opinion, but it’s the strange sense that someone else’s opinion might irrevocably damage gaming as a medium that things get out of hand.

        • MattM says:

          Fear of censorship getting out of hand is perfectly reasonable. Its happened in the U.S. with the Hayes comic code and it is happening with the MPAA’s anti-sexuality stance. In Russia mention of a homosexual relationship is considered sexually explicit enough to be worth protecting children from it. Possession of pornography is illegal in many countries.

          • Asdfreak says:

            On the other hand, a lot of americans see everything as censorship and don’t even know what it really means. There is this strange notion, especially amongst the republicans, that when someone is against something you like, it’s censorship. Thats the impression I got from my trip in to the US at least. Also, there is a culture of extreme emotionality that has infested the internet, where, in every discussion, another opinion is of course allways extremist. What, he does not like an aspekt of what I like? He must want to censor it!!!!!^1eleven

            • pepperfez says:

              The frustrating thing is that the people most likely to call for actual censorship, rather than just make fun of things they think are lazy/dumb/gross, are the people least likely to criticize sexist media.

          • The Random One says:

            The Comics Code Authority and the MPAA are super weird things though, where they can’t stop your comic/movie from being made, but can stop it from being distributed, which effectively amounts to the same thing. IIRC the CCA died when Stan Lee openly defied it for a PSA comic about sexual harassment, and the weird things the MPAA does are being slowly dug up, although there doesn’t seem to be any real change forthcoming, from within or without. It’s also worth noting that both of those bodies had/have disproportionate power because they controlled US media and the US has a disproportionate weight on world culture.

            Still; it’s madness to argue there’s a relationship between these two bodies and a bunch of separate groups of people who do have neither any control over the industries they criticize nor giant piles of money to push around. In fact, the fact that Microsoft outright forbids any games with an ESRB rating of AO to be published for their consoles makes them more powerful censors than any feminist group.

    5. caff says:

      Please RPS give Steve Hogarty a job! Would love to see his writing here.

    6. Geebs says:

      Oh, the Guardian, never change; it was totally a combination of the Tories and middle class privilege. I wonder if we can work Thatcher in there somewhere?

      • Dave Tosser says:

        But I can’t see the North from my London penthouse!

      • steviebops says:

        I was actually amazed that England’s exit was due to social problems – who knew?!

        Seriously though, RPS, the Guardian? Despite all the mockery of the yanks, the UK has an even stranger divide between Left and Right media.

        Does RPS feel the need to identify with Guardian readers?

    7. Drake Sigar says:

      It seems very North Korean to have a team apologize to the nation because they simply weren’t good enough. Are we throwing them in the dungeons next?

      • 0positivo says:

        Is that what’s going on in England? Blimey, then what should we italians do to our team, stake them all?

    8. Wulfram says:

      I think to that the censorship article over-simplifies things a bit. It is possible for something to be censorship without there being state action.

      I mean, people complain of censorship too early. Someone simply saying “I didn’t like X” is obviously not censorship.

      But when you see campaigns that target any major publisher who lets certain things be published – when the target goes from X, that I do not like, to Y that distributes it – then I think that is looking quite like censorship. I don’t think I know exactly where the line is, and I don’t necessarily think censorship, particularly non-state censorship, is unhealthy when it targets things like homophobia. But dismissals of non-state censorship of things we disagree with because no one is getting locked up feels like something that could rebound against us.

      • Geebs says:

        I don’t think the argument over the definition of censorship really adds anything – it’s sophistic pedantry at it’s worst. I get a bit troubled by self-censorship though – the idea that a highly experienced, successful, eloquent MiddleAgedWhiteGuy is shouted down into oblivion because he’s self-evidently too entitled to express an opinion; and that the same guy actually believes that argument,

        • joa says:

          Indeed. What is euphemistically called the “right to criticize” often results in people being fired from their jobs, having livelihoods destroyed. Can you honestly say you support free speech when you inflict those things on people who disagree with you?

          • InternetBatman says:

            Game reviews also result in people fired, lives destroyed, etc. Should we support game reviews?

            • Geebs says:

              Better than calling yourself an “activist” and (random guy on the internet who is probably, like, 15) an arsehole without ever actually risking anything.

              (Hum, got my inter-threads mixed up: I think the guy to whom I was referring at the start of the thread is pretty consistently brave with his opinions and am annoyed that he got shouted down by a bunch of people who are more deft with social networking but have no other useful skills)

            • joa says:

              That’s more an issue of cut-throat business rather than freedom of speech though. I guess you could argue that game reviewers should consider the consequences that their negative review might have on the livelihoods of the developers. But at least for me, there’s a difference between someone merely expressing a negative opinion, and someone actively and specifically going after someone to get them fired or to harass them or something. That’s the difference that bothers me.

            • steviebops says:

              In their prime, game reviews weren’t social agenda, they were a guide for consumers, offering an opinion on the merits of a game.

            • tormos says:

              if what you wanted is buyers guides, why are you posting on a site that was founded on a manifesto that was profoundly opposed to them?

          • KDR_11k says:

            Who’s getting fired? I don’t see any repercussions happening from the whole women’s rights debate. The firings usually happen when some employee is being such an asshole on the internet that he’s tainting the company’s image (e.g. Adam Orth who told critics of the XBone DRM scheme to “deal with it” and was booted when MS realized that consumers weren’t happily bending over this time). Yes, sometimes people get sacrificed to the mob but that takes a large, politically significant mob like some parents’ association, this isn’t something that can be sold to politicians as “think of the children”.

      • InternetBatman says:

        On the other hand, a move to prevent people from trying to start those campaigns because some people seem them as censorship would be censorship in and of itself. Boycotts and negative PR campaigns are a natural extension of free speech and the free exchange of ideas. If the complaints of those partaking did not have some validity, then they would only gain traction with a small group of people and thus not be worthy of notice.

        • Wulfram says:

          The complaints don’t have to have validity, they need to be agreed with by a decent chunk of the audience. Which is, or has been, true of many things that I’m not willing to grant any validity.

          Of course such campaigns are a natural part of free speech, and they can do good things. But the participants should be prepared to acknowledge the power they are seeking to wield and accept moral responsibility for it, rather than minimising it.

          • InternetBatman says:

            By engaging in such a campaign they are using it for moral purposes, and thus inherently accepting moral responsibility, unless the people who join such campaigns do so for crass purposes.

          • steviebops says:

            ‘But the participants should be prepared to acknowledge the power they are seeking to wield and accept moral responsibility for it,’

            Bloody hard to get an anonymous mob to even think that way, let alone act on it.

      • jc14can says:

        What people mean when they tediously explain the legal definition of censorship is that they only support free speech as far as legally required, not as an actual principle. No one’s getting thrown in jail…which is too bad so anything short of that is a ok. It’s disturbing.

        • tormos says:

          what we mean is that freedom of speech isn’t limited to creators. I am in favor of free speech as a principle, as evidenced by the fact that I support creators rights to make shitty games that offend me and the fact that I utilize my freedom of speech to criticize their products.

          • joa says:

            You’re not in favour of free speech as a principle, because you believe it’s OK to make a culture so repressive to expressing certain ideas, that to do so is to commit career suicide. That’s not a culture of free speech. That’s just the majority, or those who shout the loudest, imposing their views on everyone else.

            • InternetBatman says:

              A culture of free speech is not the same thing as a culture of freedom from consequences. The idea that the two are related is utterly false. Also the idea that we should criticize the critics for offering criticism is no less repressive.

              You’re merely deciding that the rights of the criticized to avoid consequences for their speech outweigh the rights of those doing the criticism to offer free speech.

            • joa says:

              If you think that one of the consequences of expressing your opinion should be losing your job, and that that state of affairs is good, then your view is exactly what I’m criticizing.

              A situation where merely *expressing your opinion* will have such extreme negative consequences for you is not a good one. And that’s how I interpret freedom of speech, not as purely a legal thing where the government shouldn’t censor you, but also as one where everyone tolerates other people’s speech. They may not agree, and argument and criticism is good, but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

              The fact that you think people expressing unpopular opinions are inviting people to harass them in the real world, to agitate for their employers to fire them and so on, and that these are just the natural consequences of expressing an opinion, is fucking disgusting.

            • InternetBatman says:

              A. People have different definitions of free speech; not supporting your absolutist definition of free speech is not the same thing as supporting free speech.

              B. The consequences of criticism need to be entangled from the existence of criticism itself; they may or may not be just. Frequently they are, sometimes they are not.

              C. I said nothing about harassing people, indeed, since you favor the idea of absolute freedom of speech you should be supporting people’s rights to harass other people. Otherwise you’re supporting limitations on speech, and thus aren’t really devoted to freedom of speech. [See why that argument sucks] But yes some acts which would be covered under freedom of speech should be fireable. I would justifiably fire a someone who showed up to work wearing a klan uniform. Why? Because it’s hateful, stupid, and stands in the way of actually doing work. If a worker told a customer to fuck off, I would probably fire them too.

              The idea that actions have consequences, including and especially speech is normal. Freedom of speech isn’t the same thing as the total abrogation of responsibilities for your own actions; I find the idea that people can say whatever they want to whoever they want unrealistic and juvenile.

            • joa says:

              Now you’re conflating a lot of different things. Wearing a Klan uniform to work is going to create an extremely hostile work environment for any black people working there, and other people too for that matter. That kind of “speech” obviously impinges too much on the freedoms of others.

              If you tell a customer to fuck off then your getting fired has nothing to do with freedom of speech, and everything to do with doing your job badly.

              I’m not calling for complete freedom from all responsibility when it comes to speech – I’m saying that there is proportionate reaction and there’s disproportionate reaction. And when it comes to the kind of incidents I’m talking about, where someone tweeted an offensive joke or someone made a joke about “dongles” to their friend at a conference, and then ended up losing their job, that’s disproportionate.

              I don’t favour what you call “absolute freedom of speech”, where literally anything goes and anyone deserves any reaction to anything they say. Maybe my idea of freedom of speech is more restrictive, but I think it’s more conducive to people actually feeling free to express themselves.

            • Geebs says:

              How about if your employee turned up at work wearing a nazi uniform….?

              (And then spent the rest of the day arguing with a troll on Facebook instead of finishing that game all those people paid for)

            • The Random One says:

              So how is it that a worker that shows up in klan uniform is being bad at their work, a clerk that tells a client to fuck off is being bad a their work, but a “creative” whose works offends a sizeable chunk of their audience, to the extent that said sizeable chunk rises up in a movement against those works, is being censored? Creating a creative piece for an audience is their work; if the audience disliked it so much clearly they are being fired because they did that work poorly?

              Talking about ‘disproportionate’ responses is also pointless because the disagreement also includes the extent to which the discussion is important. Surely to a sheltered straight white cis man a game (or any work) that has a small joke making fun of transexuals is not a big deal, and a call to boycott or fire its writer would be disproportionate response. But for a transexual who suffers multiple small dignities in their life and is then forced to witness another one when trying to enjoy a game, that might be something that calls for the biggest response they can muster. (Plus, sometimes someone just makes an annoyed tweet and it snowballs from there. There’s no one watching how big stuff grows until they can say “OK people, we have proportionate response, everyone simmer down.) If we could find an objective judge to tell us what the proportionate response should be we could just ask that judge whether or not we should be offended and be done with it.

        • GetHisEyes says:

          When you say “the principle of free speech,” you mean your principle of free speech, one that differs from the legal standard. I say this because in a society, freedoms are counter-balanced by the limitations of freedom one’s own freedoms impose on others. Case in point: if I had the freedom to say literally anything without ANY fear of reprisal from anyone for any reason, that would limit your freedom to refuse to associate with me on the grounds that you don’t like the ideas I express.

          What is your definition of the principle of free speech, and how does it reconcile the limitations imposed on the freedoms of others?

          • joa says:

            How does the freedom of speech limit anyone else’s freedom? Nobody is saying you can’t refuse to associate someone, ignore someone, or simply think they’re an idiot because of what they are saying.

            Where the line should be drawn is where people are afraid to say what they want because it would have an extreme negative impact on their life, e.g. losing their job, being harassed, and so on. That’s too far, and that’s not a culture of freedom of speech. It’s not that complicated.

            • GetHisEyes says:

              So you’re saying that I don’t have to associate or agree with someone who expresses views I find repulsive? Then why must I continue to financially support them or refrain from calling them out (and ironically limit MY freedom of speech) when they express such views? Those are limitations of my freedoms, and the limitation on my freedom of speech is particularly damning since it is self-refuting.

            • joa says:

              Indeed you should vote with your wallet and also criticize them!

              What I have a problem with is those who seek out people’s home addresses, write threatening letters and emails, contact employers and try to wreak havoc on someone’s professional and personal life. If you think that’s supporting freedom of speech, then you’re taking the piss.

            • GetHisEyes says:

              Threats, harassment, and violations of privacy can and do fall outside the protections of free speech. However, those can only go so far. Can I not send someone mail to their mailing address? Can I not call their publicly listed telephone number to voice complaint? Until it crosses the line to a form of violence, such actions are acceptable interactions between members of society, so I don’t see how you could restrict them in a principled way by a free speech justification.

            • joa says:

              Sure you can do those things. But when it comes to these high profile internet scandal whatever-gate type things, it almost always crosses the line. And that’s almost always swept under the rug as “freedom to criticize” or excused by saying that the person voicing the opinion needs to “take responsibility” for what they say – which presumably means enduring this mob justice, because it’s somehow justified by them voicing an unpopular opinion.

              The idea of this happening to them is no doubt pretty scary to a lot of people, and might force them to rethink saying certain things. By my definition, that’s not a culture of freedom of speech.

            • GetHisEyes says:

              Let’s take these internet controversies and look at them a bit more closely. To keep things on track, let’s filter out things like death threats, incessant home phone calls, posting of a nephew’s school information online, etc., as these are things which are beyond any reasonable definition of free speech and can be condemned on other terms.

              So someone says something controversial online, and lots of people respond on Twitter, Facebook, and so on. Some people might complain to their employer, in either a coordinated or an uncoordinated manner. They’ll get emails and maybe even phone calls. And it will suck. It will be stressful, and it will feel like mass harassment and persecution. Worse, they might lose their job over the whole affair.

              But think: has any individual critic done anything wrong? Again, unless they do something that falls outside of free speech, they are simply exercising he same right the original person did; the difference is in numbers. And unless we want to start censoring people saying “you can’t say mean things” or “I’m sorry but too many people have already responded,” then this is always going to be a feature in any free speech situation.

              I saw elsewhere that you advocated a culture of tolerance of controversial or unpopular opinions in order to truly be in line with the spirit of free speech. The problem with unqualified tolerance is that it is intolerant of intolerant things. In this case, we are paradoxically supposed to tolerate unpopular opinions but intolerant of responses to them.

              And this gets to the heart of the matter: just because a society holds free speech as a core principle does not mean it has to listen to anyone’s bullshit. It makes sense not to alienate the people around you, and that if you do, be prepared for the consequences.

              That is not censorship, that is not a violation of free speech in fact or in spirit. As xkcd so wonderfully put it, “It’s that the people listening think you’re an asshole, and they’re showing you the door.”

            • joa says:

              GetHisEyes, I don’t think it’s OK to filter out those things you mention to “keep things on track” because those things come as part of the “freedom to criticise” package. There are always people with a warped sense of right and wrong who will go too far with things, and they see their actions as good – as part of criticising this person they disagree with.

              You are right that the critics as individuals may not have crossed any line – but it’s totally within their power to be mindful of just how much criticism and hate that person has already received, and decide that by now that person understands just how many people disagree with them, and to leave it be. It may be well within their right to fan the flames, but they could exercise some judgement about it.

              I don’t think there’s a contradiction in saying we should be tolerant of speech. When I say tolerance I don’t mean agreement – I just mean staying above the belt in how you disagree and discuss things. I mean people shouldn’t be launching into hate campaigns or going after people in their private lives and so on. People can still disagree and criticise an opinion; they might find an opinion offensive and the person who voiced it odious or extremely ignorant, but I don’t think they should set out to materially punish that person for holding the opinion.

              I see you disagree with this, and as far as I understand you see the sort of mob justice, internet hate campaign thing to be a part of freedom of speech. But I think there is a real difference between voicing an opinion, however distasteful it may be, and going after a person with the intention of “punishing” them for holding an unpopular opinion. The latter is not a valuable part of freedom of speech, to me.

            • GetHisEyes says:

              First, I elect to ignore those things because they aren’t protected speech, and I’ll eat any fool who says otherwise because that’s completely stupid. I don’t think you can hold everyone responsible when someone goes to far unless they were actually pushing for going too far. Threats and other forms of speech as assault are neither central nor interesting, so I’d prefer to just ride past these distractions to get to the heart of the matter.

              Second, tolerance, when held as a reason rather than a means to an end, is liable to self-contradiction regardless of how you phrase it. To the point: you are asking that people restrain themselves to a standard of decency when someone says something considered indecent. There is a different standard for the would-be subject of the backlash than the people who react to the subject.

              Now for the controversial parts, which seem to be stuff like boycott campaigns, organized efforts to terminate employment, and other types of retaliatory action that doesn’t constitute criminal behavior. This is the part that particularly appears like overkill.

              The thing is that when you are in a highly public position, your actions no longer reflect only on you, but also the people with whom you associate. If I show myself to be an asshole, I hurt the people I associate with by coloring them with my actions, and forcing them to either defend me or throw me under the bus. And while someone can yell and scream for my termination all they want, their speech doesn’t cost me my job – only my employers do that.

              If you prefer a certain code of conduct in regards to how we handle reactions to controversial statements? Very well, but don’t try to justify it with free speech, let alone supplant free speech with your code. You are bound to make a fatal contradiction in there.

      • GetHisEyes says:

        How would you limit this form of “censorship,” where people organize to voice their grievances with a given thing, without impacting their freedoms to speech and free association?

        • Tasloi says:

          By doing exactly what the poster did here: providing a counter voice. The potential for self-censorship (which I believe is what’s actually meant here) diminishes when people feel supported rather than isolated.

          • GetHisEyes says:

            That’s an excellent point: people can bang and shout all they want, but it only becomes effective when people or organizations change their behavior because of it. In other words, “self-censorship.”

            Perhaps you are right, that in providing a counter-balance, visible support for those under siege by public condemnation, that you might push back against self-censorship.

            However, this stance kind of reveals “self-censorship” as not really being censorship at all.

            I also wonder at a philosophy which comes to the defense of someone simply because they are taking crap for their controversial statements. Or is it simply supporting the things that you support when they come under siege, like the FOX News crowd coming to the defense of the Duck Dynasty guy? And if it is this latter option, then what happens when there isn’t anyone to defend someone who offends the public? Or is it such a bad thing that they experience the backlash in that case?

      • Bradamantium says:

        It doesn’t look like censorship at all until something’s actually censored. What game has actually been somehow changed, for the worse or to the exclusion of material, due to criticisms about sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. within the game? Censorship is when Australia’s powers that be decide their constituency is incapable of handling the same media the rest of the world gets. It is *not* when someone says “Christ, I wish there was more diversity in games.”

      • Viroso says:

        Ignore the word censorship and just ask, was it unethical, morally wrong? I don’t see anything wrong with the audience reacting to a product and the product being changed based on that.

        • Wulfram says:

          I’d have a problem with the audience going “You can’t show a black person kissing a white person” and the product being changed based on that.

          On the other hand I like the audience saying “you should show a man kissing another man” and the product being changed based on that.

          Which doesn’t make me a hypocrite, but does mean that I should acknowledge that the tactics used are basically the same, and the difference is that I agree with the latter.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        No. No, that is *nothing* like censorship.

        Heres the thing about campaigns – they only work if enough people get behind them. This means that a company will only ever pay them attention if the campaign represents a significant proportion of their customer base, and they believe that the campaigners are serious about what they’re asking for.

        What you’re complaining about there is, basically, a company listening to it’s customers and giving them what they want. Just because sometimes what they want doesn’t allign with what *you* want doesn’t make it censorship.

    9. Josh W says:

      Ah, games, we may not be able to make you feel love yet, but we can make you feel guilt like champs.

      (Champs who got there by cheating)

    10. PaceCol says:

      Oh Anita, as bigoted as always, with the standard cherry picking of data, and refusal to allow any disent. She would make a wonderful Daily Mail journalist.
      Its a shame that no reputable gaming site critically analyses her work because whilst she does raise some perfectly valid points, the vast majority of her work is laughably one sided.
      I wonder if she used her own screenshots this time?

      • Lemming says:

        Feminist Frequency has a new video up, titled ‘Women As Background Decoration’. It’s good.

        I seriously doubt it. *watches* Yeah, it’s the usual tripe.

        • Distec says:

          I read that and immediately thought “[Citation Needed]”.

        • InternetBatman says:

          I find feminist frequency so boring; it’s rare that I disagree with it, but that doesn’t make it interesting.

      • altum videtur says:

        The entire point is that not only does she NOT need to cherry pick her “data”. It’s blatant how endemic sexism in all its forms (which she discusses in detail) is. And she makes her presentation about it in the hopes of increasing awareness.
        A noble goal, you could say.

        Not that I give a shit. I agree with her pretty much completely but that don’t make me a feminist because I don’t actually want equal representation and treatment for women. I can’t deny it’s an issue for many, but I can’t find it in myself to actually care. I just read the books and write the things and play the videogames and watch the movies and hate the god that put me here and marvel at their sublime cruelty. Whatever wisp of anger I might feel over injustice is quickly smothered by indifference and my overriding obsession with violence and war in all its forms and off I go on some merry binge of the works of people whose material is magnitudes beyond what I could gleam any genuine meaning from.
        /tl;dr I have brain problems

        • Bull0 says:

          I don’t know about cherry-picking but because of the format of the videos – this kind of whistlestop tour with hundreds of different examples – I think occasionally some of the examples chosen are unfairly maligned, and better understanding of the context in which the scenes chosen are represented, or the rest of the content of that game, diminishes their negative impact / lessens the extent to which they illustrate Anita’s point. Still, they’re outliers, and the vast majority of the examples used are on point.

          Maybe someone should do a series praising GOOD representation of women in games – like, hey, maybe try doing it this way!

        • PaceCol says:

          Except she is not interested in exposing sexism “in all its forms”, just as she sees how it pertains to women.
          She started off complaining about how games were advertised 20 YEARS AGO!
          Certainly there are plenty of examples of modern sexist advertising that she could have used (I remember Radeon using particularly offensive imagery in the last decade), so why not use something more relevant? Unwilling to spend some of that $160 000 on what its supposed to be used for? Or has no-one else uploaded more modern images for her to plaguarise?
          In this very video she berates games for allowing violence against women, whilst not even mentioning that the vast majority of targets of violence in gaming are male.
          She did mention that modern games do now have male prostitutes, but then dismisses the notion that its demeaning to men in the same way she claims that female prostitutes are demeaning to women.
          She also finishes off complaining that gaming somehow sees women as less important than men, a concept WHICH THIS VERY SITE recently blew into a “sexism scandal” when the makers of Rainbow 6 claimed that they used a female character model specifically because people care more about women.

          She’s a hypocrit

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            “Except she is not interested in exposing sexism “in all its forms”, just as she sees how it pertains to women.”

            That’s because, put simply, sexism towards men isn’t a serious problem in our society. It doesn’t negatively affect the lives of the vast majority of men. It doesn’t really exist in any meaningful form.

            • xao says:

              I know a few male nurses who would vehemently disagree with this postulate. You can certainly make the case that it’s more important to combat sexism when it discriminates against women given it’s prevalence in society, but pretending the inverse never occurs just weakens your argument.

            • Ergates_Antius says:

              “A few…” exactly.
              I didn’t day it did exist at all, I said it exist in any meaningful sense, as it doesn’t affect the vast majority of men. There is no wide, pervasive ‘thing’of sexism towards men in society, just a handful of individual cases.

            • PaceCol says:

              No sexism against men?
              When men are routinely given larger prison sentences for the same crime as women? When men have their access to their own children restricted on the word of spiteful ex’s? When the education system is failing boys? When the suicide rate for men outstrips the suicide rate for women by 4 – 1, where the victim of domestic assault is 70% more likely to be a man, and there is less halp available to male domestic abuse victims? Where men are far more likely to be assaulted and raped than women?
              Whether men have it harder than women is an entirely different argument, but to claim that society doesn’t discriminate against men is at best naieve or ignorant, at worst willfully biased or blind.
              Open your eyes.

            • trout says:

              @ pacecol
              citations please!
              (this one struck me as being most highly dubious: “Where men are far more likely to be assaulted and raped than women”)

            • PaceCol says:

              @ trout:- interesting that you don’t ask anyone else to provide sources, preconceived bias perhaps. And, of course, a quick google search would show you as much evidence as you like because I’m guessing you will just discount any sources I provide for some spurious reason or other, but here goes.

              link to

              A newspaper report on a study published in the Journal of Family Psycology. The report itself makes even more interesting reading.

              On rape
              link to

              Admittedly, its the prison rape that skews the figure (and with more men being incarcerated than women…another case of anti-male discrimination?) but surely rape is rape?

              On violence
              Yes, men are also more likely to commit violent crime as well, but they generally target other men. A fact that seems to fly under the radar in modern media
              link to

              Does this mean we should ignore women when they are the subject of discrimination
              NO of course not. Thats moronic.
              Just as moronic as the current climate of demonising men and pretending that they have no problems, and there are no societal barriers set against them.

              But I would suggest you do your own research. And research widely, don’t just stick with the stuff pushed out by hacks like Sarkesian, or the MRA hacks either.
              Look up on youtube for “Girlwriteswhat”. You probably will not agree with her, but I’l be surprised if she doesn’t give you something to think about.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Yeah, using argument “games are sexist because players can kill women” forgetting they can also kill men (and she does that, quite often) is not cherry picking…

          • Reapy says:

            I felt like I was reading about jack thompson all over again. It is clear she is going for the wide audience of people that do not play games in her arguments, attempting to provoke a reaction from them rather than trying to speak to those who consume and play games. The wrong person got the money to do these videos I think.

          • maninahat says:

            If you watched the video carefully enough, you might have noticed she specifically brought up the point that “games let you kill men too” and goes into specifics about the difference:

            “Typically all the non-essential characters in sandbox style games are killable, but it’s the sexualized women whose instrumentality and brutalization is gendered and eroticized in ways that men never are. The visual language attached to male NPCs is very different since they are rarely designed to be sexually inviting or arousing, and they are not coded to interact with the player in ways meant to reaffirm a heterosexual fantasy about being a stud.”

        • Afred says:

          That’s called being an asshole :)

        • Gap Gen says:

          I wonder whether feminism needs to go back 100 years and start using low-level terrorism and disrupting major sporting events to get their point across. Storm the FIFA stadiums and spray the FIFA henchfootballers with menstrual blood, or something.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            Imagine how effective it would be if any other -ism did such things. You can stop wondering.

      • GetHisEyes says:

        I’m going to go ahead and let Cory Rydell and Grey Carter take this one.

        link to

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        I dunno, I was totally with her on the points of instrumentality, commodification and interchangeability, but she lost me totally on violability and disposability. The last two are applied to all NPCs, but the way she portrayed them in the video, any non-gamer would presume it’s applicable to only female characters. Yes, GTA protagonists face very little consequences to killing prostitutes, but that’s the case for killing anyone in that game, be it pedestrians or cops and army personnel. Yes, you can drag around dead women in Hitman and New Vegas, but that’s applicable to all dead bodies. She presented them with absolutely no context.

        Her argument should be about breaking the constant voyeuristic portrayal of women, not about limiting violence aimed against them. Because then it’s just benevolent sexism.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          You summed up my issue with the latest episode. I too thought it was actually pretty good up until the horrifically inaccurate “violability and disposability” section. It’s unfortunate that Sarkeesian’s made a habit of pulling that kind of misleading shit in every video she’s made so far.

          Case in point: to highlight her concern over sexual objectification of women, she specifically features a video shot in Sleeping Dogs where the character pays a male masseuse for a massage. Is Sarkeesian being willfully dishonest in cases like this, or is she really just not paying attention to the source material?

          • maninahat says:

            The point she was making is that interactions with female NPCs are often sexualized, whereas interactions with male ones are neutral – in the case of masseuses in games, the female ones will try to seduce you, whilst the male one shown in Sleeping Dogs simply offers you a regular massage.

            • SkittleDiddler says:

              Once the lead-in graphic for that particular section of the video phases out (at 26:00), Sarkeesian continues the previous discussion about sexualized violence against NPC representations of female prostitutes. Just seconds before the clip with the male masseuse plays, she switches gears and starts rambling about visual language comparisons between male and female NPCs (with no specific mention of prostitutes), which gives the impression she has prematurely dropped the “sexualized violence” topic. The sudden switch in topics only serves to muddle the message.

              At the very least, she needs to improve her scriptwriting skills and get a better editor.

      • Kohlrabi says:

        The problem I have with this video is that the depictions of brutality against female NPCs are no doubt evil, but the same applies to the equally possible brutal actions against male NPCs. Brutality in games *in general* is a problem. Cherry-picking possibilities to brutalize women while ignoring that the same is possible with male characters is misleading at best. Sadly it looks to be much more likely this is intentionally sexist, sensationalist, and misandrist. Fighting fire with fire.

      • joa says:

        I love how the video starts with a woman, presumably a prostitute, simply being sexy – and then the title sequence starts. As if this is just self evidently bad and no more needs to be said.

        Does no one else find that offensive? Many women work as prostitutes in the world. Many women like being sexy. It’s absurdly judgemental.

        • joa says:

          She even uses the term “prostituted woman” – she seems to have major issues with female sexuality. Surely she must get some flack from other feminists for this?

          The clips shown in the video depict things that while obviously simplified, do actually go on in the real world. Should works of fiction depict only utopian fantasies, or if they do depict the seedier sides of life, do they have to have the prostitutes or whoever as the subject of the game instead of just a side-character, in order to be politically correct? Who knows

          • tormos says:

            also you can be in favor of female sexuality and still oppose the violent and exploitative nature of prostitution as it exists in the real world. Some feminists also argue (like Anita seems to be here) that prostitution is inherently exploitative, even in the most ideal case. As it stands in the real world, there is a significant chance that any prostitute you see was forced into it, or has been a victim of human trafficking, hence the phrase “prostituted woman”

            • joa says:

              The violent and exploitative nature of prostitution I think is unavoidable, and you’ll find that same thing whenever people operate outside of the law. I don’t agree that’s it’s inherently exploitative. If a woman to have sex with men in exchange for money, what’s inherently exploitative about the situation, if the choice to do so is entirely hers? In the real world she may be pressured into that job, e.g. being short on money and needing to feed herself. But then that’s the nature of the real world, it’s never simple.

              I think women should be allowed to make those choices for themselves. What place has anyone else to step in and say, “hmm you know what this is exploitative, we’re going to stop you from doing this”. That’s what seems offensive to me.

            • Dances to Podcasts says:

              Redefining the name makes it apply to all, though, which is more than just a chance and therefore incorrect.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Just a suggestion, but maybe, as a woman, she has a better idea of what is and isn’t offensive to women then you do. I mean, she is a woman herself after all. And she probably knows more women than you do, and probably has more women friends than you. And has probably discussed this kind of thing with more women than you. So, all-in-all, it’s a reasonably safe argument that she’s probably in a better position to understand what women do and don’t find offensive. Do you not agree?

          • Distec says:

            I understand that, as a woman, she does have a perspective on these matters that the opposite sex may never fully appreciate. But no, she is in no capacity to define what all women find offensive. It is impossible for her to speak on their entire behalf on complex issues. In this particular case, prostitution is certainly not something that you will find unanimous opinion on. Whatever issue Anita has with it is her own, not women in general.

            I have enough anecdotal experience to know there are women who have many issues with her arguments, as much as I hate to trot that card out. And this would definitely be one of them. I also think it is well easy in these conversations to find group of people who all share and reinforce your opinions.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            I don’t see that she is claiming to know what all women find offensive. Nor that this is a settled argument.
            However what we see time and time again in these threads is men (and/or boys, hard to tell ages) responding to comments/articles by women saying that they’re wrong about what is offensive to women. As if they’d have a better idea.

          • joa says:

            Pretty strange response to what I said. I wasn’t talking about whether women are or are not offended – obviously some are and some aren’t. I don’t think Sarkeesian is the arbiter of what womankind do and do not find offensive. There are a lot of women out there who disagree with Sarkeesian and it’s not hard to find their writing on the internet. For that matter, there are many feminists who disagree with her.

            My point was more along the lines of, lots of women in the world work jobs that Sarkeesian seems to find inherently degrading or distasteful. There seems to be absolutely no acknowledgement of this in the video and no attempt to look at their point of view. There’s just Sarkeesian saying “these women are exploited”, “these women are prostituted”, etc etc. All through the video we’re shown clips of women displaying a sort of submissive sexuality and we’re told THIS IS BAD. Well what about all the women for whom this sexuality is a positive empowering thing?

            • pepperfez says:

              Those women are not, by and large, the ones jumping on every criticism of women’s representations in games. They are also not, by and large, the ones putting those representations in games in the first place. So when dudes keep showing up and saying, “But what about all the women who silently agree with me that everything’s fine?” it’s hard to take them seriously – hence the aggressively dismissive “Shitty Toys” article.

            • joa says:

              The point is not to say, “most women actually agree with me – ha!” But significant numbers do – and importantly women who feminists like Sarkeesian view as degraded or prostituted are quick to disagree. It’s that sort of paternalistic attitude that I don’t like – that Sarkeesian is going to explain these issues, as a presumably middle-class white woman, that she doesn’t have much direct experience of.

              And we shouldn’t listen to the women who disagree, because… they’re not making video games? What kind of sense does that make?

      • Stormworm says:

        I think I remember Destructoid having an article where one of their writers criticized her work.

        • Tasloi says:

          I’m aware of only 2 instances, the Destructoid article you mention and a video by some guys at the Escapist. Both were pretty basic too. This lack of analysis has always been remarkable to observe, but, you know: gamesjournalism.txt

          • Stormworm says:

            I’m guessing its the whole “you’re either with us, or against us” thing. If you are public figure, even a small timer, you dont want to be labeled with some of these terms people throw around. And that is exactly what is going to happen if you criticize her work.

      • quijote3000 says:

        She can’t use her own screenshots. She would need to (OH, NO!!!!!!) actually play the damn game, and that’s not something she is willing to do. Stealing let’s play videos is much easier.

      • Napoleon15 says:

        It greatly depresses me that the gaming press considers Anita Sarkeesian to be a good thing. This is a woman who uses steals other people’s artwork, uses their content without any kind of credit or acknowledgement and just piggybacks on the research done by others. She doesn’t create, she just regurgitates work done by other people and claims it as her own. And all this is without saying a word about her brand of crude sixth form student feminism. She made a ridiculous amount of money from her Kickstarter and apparently still can’t be bothered to actually take the time to do her own work and research.

        If people want to push the feminist agenda in gaming, at least get somebody who isn’t a complete charlatan to do it, and the fact that she got some down right disgusting abuse from the internet mob shouldn’t give her a get out of jail free card when it comes to criticism.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          The ‘It’s good’ line says a lot about RPS’s attitude towards games ‘journalism’ as well.

    11. ix says:

      Regarding the foot-to-ball, I think the simpler argument in the same vein is that they might have played better had they not been exposed to so much pre-game criticism all the time by all of their so-called “fans”. Nobody seems to hate their own team more than the English, evidence this quest to make them apologize for what was basically decent football.

      I’ve been watching a lot of World Cup this year and it’s instilled in me a new sense of how terrible the sport can be. The fans and their self-importance, the ref-blaming, the violence, the unsporting behaviour on and off-field (biting, constant whistling at the opposing team). And sometimes, the lack of diversity (many of the players in the Belgian team are of mixed heritage, but everybody else involved, including the presenters, always seems to be a 40-something straight white male).

      Makes you want to go back to watching e-sports.

      • c-Row says:

        Nobody seems to hate their own team more than the English

        Oh, I don’t know… us Germans are pretty good at that, too.

      • Gap Gen says:

        England team: Thank you for making people stop talking so much about football and getting back to their lives so I can interact with humanity again. Also for giving me a heady dose of schadenfreude over my countrymen’s wailings.

    12. Jeroen D Stout says:

      This fear of PC is sort-of ironic, given how most large games go out of their way to remove anything that might shock their supposed target audience. I mean, just the other day, I feared I had to think playing a game! But I was happy to find the protagonist a white male still, comforting me in his gravel-pit voice, having no interesting thoughts, emotions or feelings apart from ‘shoot’ and ‘avenge’. For a while there was a women who has a large role, which was truly troubling for my brain but it turned out she got put in a fridge, so I could do a sigh of relief and continue fetch quests. Tell me, if we are not to use them, why were we born with brains?

      • Geebs says:

        Come to think of it: instead of writing (and then taking down) long-winded mea culpas, why don’t the gaming sites actually dock games points for being dull, formulaic and predictable, for a change? I mean, if you’re hitting publishers in the Metascore, they’d actually listen. Instead the affirmative action gets limited to opinion pieces where it doesn’t actually do any good.

        Why is that? I think we should be told.

        • BooleanBob says:

          There are a lot of problems which get called out in op-eds (rightly), but on which the big sites are curiously silent (or worse, ambivalent) when it comes to the crunch in their reviews and previews. EG put out a good crie de coeur against F2P mechanics shortly before the launch of the new-gen consoles.. then quietly waved through a whole bunch of AAA premium price games for the Xbone and PS4, each replete with f2p micro (and macro) transactions, with 7s, 8s and 9s.

          To be fair sexist tropes do regularly seem to get called out in their reviews though. And the comments never fail to underscore that the problems discussed are all too wearyingly real.

        • Frank says:

          Why? Because they don’t mean it *that* much. Their reviews’ role as a buyer’s guide comes first. The players who look at reviews don’t care, and most of them only look at the score against the graphics and say “f*** you, review site, those graphics are solid/awful, gimme my score of X”. Ever since GTA and Oblivion broke 90 on Metacritic (backed up by every review site worth reading), I’ve taken scores with a big grain of salt.

          Anyway, I agree with you. Let’s see Tom ‘Tom Bramwell’ Bramwell answer your question in his next op-ed, explaining his role as an editor (and not a player and user of the word “nag”).

        • LionsPhil says:

          Well, RPS make mention of it, sometimes, if they remember.

          Although it usually comes across as either having an axe to grind, or like some uncomfortable compulsion, depending on the reviewer. Focusing on, oh goodness, another white man, we’d better be Concerned about this, rather than “you’ve played this damsel-in-distress plot via this brown-haired generic unlikable dude a million times before, boring”.

          • Geebs says:

            I’m much happier with the idea that it just gets brought up in reviews of the eventual product – as I mentioned during TB’s meltdown, Ellie Gibson at Eurogamer used to be good at telling her readership that she thought they were smart enough to understand why (a stupid sexist trope) was bad. To which I say, “right on!”. Far more constructive than shouting at some random PR guy for a single sentence taken out of context.

        • steviebops says:

          ‘why don’t the gaming sites actually dock games points for being dull, formulaic and predictable, for a change?’

          RPS doesn’t use scores, and probably loathes the metacritic system.

          As for Jeroen D Stout, why do you still play games if it’s such an awful chore?
          It’s the oddest part of this trend, people blasting venom at games, and I wonder, were you ever going to enjoy it?

          I know more inclusion is nice, but the old adage is still true, if you want it done right, do it yourself.
          My actual reason for becoming a dev- to make a game I want to see.

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            I rarely play games, nowadays. I care much for inclusiveness of the medium even when the games are not ones I would like to play, because I know and care for people who are not happy at the moment. I would very much like to play games, however, so I hop this ‘trend’ (as you describe it) of games being more interesting continues.

            I already make games, and if I did not I probably would not continue to have such a vested interest in games. But because I hope to make the games I would like to play, I remain invested in the industry.

    13. Laurentius says:

      So of all people it’s piece of this Vlambeer guy. It’s too funny. When Vlambeer was caled out on fascination with Nazi esthetic in Luftrausers, all they were able to deliver was dodgy apolygy: “no, not really but if you think this way that’s fine, whatever” and never been bothered since.

      • Frank says:

        Sorry, I didn’t read everything. Can someone explain what this guy is talking about?

        (I’m referring to you as a “guy” not to presuppose your gender, but in the same sense that Vlambeer is a guy, which is not at all, since Vlambeer is — last I checked — two people.)

        • RedViv says:

          I think Laurentius’ words would imply that the article comes from Rami himself, which is not the case. He sent a clear message of understanding people who would have a problem with Luftrausers embracing Nazi chic, among other tropes around WW2 and Cold War aesthetics. Which is absolutely nothing that would counter the points made in the article that only uses another short criticism of his, aimed at the Witcher 3 devs using female body parts as center points in a quest setup description in design documentation, for a lead-in.

      • Bradamantium says:

        If that’s what you took away from Ismail’s response, then you might be coming up a little short on reading comprehension. Besides, I’d think that dueling ideologies about representation of a time period in human history has a bit more nuance and interpretation to it than “eye candy boob physics!”

    14. yonsito says:

      Thanks for linking to Ms. Sarkeesian’s latest video. It’s enlightening, as always.

      • Bull0 says:

        Honestly my biggest problem with those videos is that they’re boring. Vary your pitch and tone occasionally, Anita.

        *edit* This was meant to be a reply to the less pro-FF comment above, in this context it’s going to look exactly like I’m trying to piss on your chips. Sorry. I do think what she’s doing is worthy and important, and interesting, it’s just tough to sit through a whole video.

        • sinister agent says:

          Not an unfair criticism, really, and one I’ve seen several supporters make. I think it’s a bit more noticeable if you’re already quite familiar with games and/or sexist tropes, but while the content is sound, the presentation can be a little trying.

          • Bull0 says:


          • Rizlar says:

            It does feel like the videos are aimed at someone who has no prior knowledge of the issues. The old femfreq stuff was a bit more direct, less obviously intended to be super accessible. It is probably a good thing though, no point preaching to the choir etc, but it also means I tend to watch a video waiting for her to dig into the issues a bit more, which she eventually does, briefly, in the last few minutes. But yeah, I’m really not the intended audience.

            • yonsito says:

              I like to think that I am aware of the issues with the representation of women in video games. I also don’t agree with it.
              But I’m still surprised how common this misrepresentation is and how blind I am to it sometimes, simply because I’ve seen it so often and have come to associate it with the medium.

              Maybe I am part of the choir she is preaching to, but I strongly feel that video games need better stories and better story telling. And good stories need strong characters. Portraying women in this objectified manner is not only a moral issue, it is also a wasted opportunity.

            • Rizlar says:


            • Gap Gen says:

              That argument reminds me of Gameswipe; it’s not clear who Brooker was aiming it at, since avid game players wouldn’t really get much out of it, and I don’t know whether non-players would care. It’s a noble endeavour, nonetheless.

            • Dances to Podcasts says:

              “Maybe I am part of the choir she is preaching to, but I strongly feel that video games need better stories and better story telling. And good stories need strong characters. Portraying women in this objectified manner is not only a moral issue, it is also a wasted opportunity.”

              If you fix the story part, then everything else follows automatically. If you just focus on solving women’s issues, you’re still left with many other problems. The first approach simply makes much more sense.

          • Stardreamer says:

            Let’s not mince words. The presentation in her videos is crap. It lacks sparkle, energy…life. She’s locked into a very Academic mode of delivery, very wordy and plodding, that could easily be edited into something with more appeal; it’s not a money issue; I’ve seen productions with far less than she was granted by Kickstarter achieve far more engaging output, even when discussing subject matter of similar weight.

            Anita herself would also benefit from getting away from the rote monologues to camera. Frankly, she’s boring to watch, distracting from the very important points she’s trying to make. She’s lecturing us, and who among us hasn’t been bored to death by a monotonous University lecturer or corporate speaker at some point?

            Sarah Haskin’s Target Women series was a fun way of making the same points. Her pieces were well edited, fun, much shorter, and yet still got across the points she was trying to make.

        • dethtoll says:

          It’s tough to sit through a whole video because they’re dry, insightless and all too often poorly researched with any examples that run counter to the point she’s trying to make completely ignored. I understand (and support) the idea behind these videos and the initial backlash against her was almost cartoonishly ridiculous, but she’s shown a clear disinterest in actually meeting her mission statement.

          • yonsito says:

            I politely disagree.

          • Stardreamer says:

            I also disagree, but less politely.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            I note a distinct lack of substance in the disagreements. Moreso than the original post, at least.

            • yonsito says:

              Ok then, let me elaborate.

              First of all, I don’t find her videos dry. I think they are exceptionally well written and presented. There is less humour in this particular clip but the topic is also quite a bit more serious.
              Secondly, I find this video quite insightful. For instance, I have never noticed how common prostitutes are in the games I play. And when I listen to several of their chat-up lines in short succession, I find this not only immature but also quite distasteful. That was an insight for me.
              I was also unaware that you could kill those women in a rather gruesome way in either Dishonored and Deux Ex HR, two games that I played extensively.
              In my book, this really is classic video game logic for in-game objects (press “e” to use, press LMB to shoot) applied to in-game representations of women (press “e” to solicit, press LMB to kill). I don’t think this is where the industry should be, I think it can do better than that.
              This is also why I consider the video well researched. I know that there are games that do a lot better in this regard, but I don’t see how this invalidates Ms. Sarkeesian’s point. Her examples are well chosen in that most of them are well received games with high production values.

              So, there you have it. Polite disagreement with more words.

    15. Rizlar says:

      That Shitty Toys article is brilliant.

      • steviebops says:

        Nah, very hacky. Full of strawmen. I didn’t see the funny so much as another bitter journo.

        • Rizlar says:

          Please don’t overuse the phrase “straw man”. He has a lot of very strong points that are illustrated in amusing ways, not the same thing. But that doesn’t even matter because I don’t appreciate the article as some sort of comprehensive, peer-reviewed deconstruction of an issue, I like it because it’s a passionately angry rant aimed at fucking idiots on the internet.

          • steviebops says:

            Well ok then, you liked it. But it’s not really funny, and not really a sound argument.

        • GetHisEyes says:

          If you go to the Facebook thread in question, you’ll find this “strawman” to be VERY real.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Could you provide an example of one of these strawmen you mention? Just one.

    16. sinister agent says:

      I’m not surprised people often act better when playing games. Ancient life-simulator Alter Ego comes to mind – I’m sure just about everyone who played that wound up as a badass 80 year old rolling around in money and parties and happy memories of extraordinary kind, courageou, and/or erotic acts, because (a) the game rewarded you for it more often than not, and (b) it’s so very much easier to do the right thing in a game. Even games that don’t reward you with tangible things like resources or powers will more often than not acknowledge your good behaviour and probably have someone comment on it. And it’ll rarely cost you all that much.

      Compare that to real life, where the most noble and difficult things are very often done to no fanfare, and people will often fail to even understand why what you did was so ethical, and even attack and denigrate you outright for it.

      However, on the flip side, I can easily imagine that games do present people with ethical or philosophical dilemmas that we’d otherwise be unlikely to think about, simply because they’d rarely be relevant to our day to day lives. Even if you, for whatever reason, were thinking about or debating the morality of a particular issue as an intellectual excercise, it’s not really half as interesting or useful as being presented with a simulation where you’re actually DOING these things.

    17. Sarkhan Lol says:

      Oh man, the Witcher thing, they did that one demo and the dev doing the showing just couldn’t shut up about the fucking brothel. He just kept bringing it up, over and over, start to finish. It was so awkward and I couldn’t stop laughing into my facepalm. Still not sure if he was slyly trolling the presenter or whether that sort of thing’s just a natural requirement for/consequence of being a Witcher dev.

      It’s weird, because I think on an important level, the Witcher series does as good a job with the sexes as it does with its tortuous morality. It leaves a lot unsaid and a great deal inferred. Then suddenly you get playing cards with tits on them. Don’t get me wrong, I like tits! But yeah.

    18. Dave Tosser says:

      How is Dark Souls in any way “politically inclusive”? It does have a pair of giant jiggling tits that’d probably put off Sarkeesian, and there’s all those helpless monster girls you can kill, which we’re not supposed to do anymore. Benevolent sexism, what’s that?

      Got to go deeper. Quickly, someone throw me a political ideology that I can use to rate this thing’s inclusiveness. Whatever inclusiveness is.

      EDIT: I know! It lets you do the groundbreaking thing of playing as a female character. Like every other RPG since Knightmare II, but whatever floats your incredibly selective boat, Mr Flamebear.

      • dE says:

        Well for starters you misunderstood that sentence, but don’t let that stop you on your rant. Dark Souls is a point to prove that “hardcore” or “true” come out, regardless of the move to be more inclusive.

        But to give a bit of a counterpoint to your rant, because it’s also deliciously wrong:

        – Dark Souls does not gender armor. A robe is a robe, a platemail is a platemail and not suddenly a chainmail bikini because a female character put it on. If you want to run around in an evening gown as burly mc manlington, you can do that just fine.

        – In Dark Souls 2, the maincharacter is potentially trans-sexual. When you first load the game, you’re in a male body until you reach the point where the game asks you, the player, how you imagine yourself and from that point on, you’re that. No questions asked. The game could have just as easily let you setup your character before you load into the world, but they didn’t. In general, the Souls Series are quite open and non judgemental about trans.

        – There’s also the Sexchange Coffin: An early game relic that changed the character’s sex without telling the player. Many didn’t notice for several hours.

        – Aforementioned big boobies you take issue with are an illusion crafted by a young boy that was raised to be a woman: Dark Sun Gwyndolin. It’s an intended mockery of his sister and quite literally a play on tropes and clichés from Gwyndolin to manipulate the player to further Gwyndolins goals.

        – There’s one helpless monster girl in Dark Souls. She’s guarded by her not that helpless monster girl sister.

    19. Reapy says:

      Anybody watch the “Summer games done quick” marathon all week? It was pretty awesome to see a lot of old games destroyed either via skill or glitches. Really cool thing, had plenty of PC games in with the console stuff if that isn’t your bag, and on top of it all they raised a good 700k in donations for their charity.

      Surprised the event didn’t get a nod here, was really incredible to see a lot of the runs.

      • pepperfez says:

        There was a post about it, I believe, but I agree: It was fantastic and deserved wall-to-wall coverage everywhere. Ninja Baseball Bat Man with four players was absolutely glorious.

    20. dethtoll says:

      Rami was right about the eye candy thing, but when they started getting into it about race neither of them came out of it looking good.

    21. steviebops says:

      People still take Feminist Frequency seriously?

      • GetHisEyes says:

        Yes, and with good reason.

        • steviebops says:

          What reason?

          • GetHisEyes says:

            She makes interesting arguments, supports them well, and tends to be spot on for the most part (and for the rest, that is simply the space in which academic discussion occurs).

            • Stormworm says:

              Give The Gaming Goose a try.

            • GetHisEyes says:

              I did. I was… less than impressed. The videos weren’t devoid of value by any stretch, but it was frustrating to see decent work go into something that ultimately did not address particularly salient issues.

    22. secuda says:

      About “political correctness”, is it just me that see some similarities around those person that usually use those words? i mean are they angry because they cant use “N” word every day life? or smack random female but?

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        No, you’re pretty much spot on. “Political Correctness” is basically just not being a dick.

        • Distec says:

          I bet that’s a great statement to make when you want to feel superior to others. Must be pretty affirming.

          • GetHisEyes says:

            I don’t know if it is about wanting or needing to feel or appear superior, but if you value getting things right, then yeah, it’s a pretty great position to take.

            • Distec says:

              Pray tell, what is “getting things right” in this particular instance?

              Is it accusing people of being ass-slapping racists if they use the term “politically correct”? Because that’s not just some easy punching bag to justify your convictions and allow you to lord moral victory over those you disagree with?

              You will have to connect those dots for me.

            • Premium User Badge

              Phasma Felis says:

              All I can tell you is that at least 90% of the time that I hear someone criticize someone else for being “politically correct,” it’s because they were asked or told not to be a dick and they’re angry about it. Maybe not every single time, but I can tell when there’s a pattern emerging, you know?

            • Ergates_Antius says:

              Basically, the only time anyone brings up the term political correctness is when they’re complaining about it. And when someone it’s complaining about it, it’s usually because they’ve been asked to stop doing or supporting something, or to change something that is hurting someone else. Getting angry when asked not to do something that is hurting other people is a pretty dickish thing to do.

      • Strangerator says:

        “i mean are they angry because they cant use “N” word every day life? or smack random female but?”

        These are not controversial, because everyone knows and agrees that these are actually offensive. Nobody chanting the n-word is decrying political correctness, because they know it is wrong and offensive, and that’s why they are doing it. Likewise, dudes who objectify women are probably used to getting slapped, so are probably pretty clear what they are doing is offensive. Most women I know personally would chuckle at the term “boob physics” or at worst call it “over the top,” and I seriously doubt any of the white males discussing this issue actually know women who would take genuine offense to this.

        What annoys the crap out of people is when the “offensive” material is not called such by the group supposedly offended. People form these preemptive strike teams to try to get out in front of something “offensive,” whether the thing is offensive or not. Said strike teams, sorry to say, are not very diverse. They consist primarily of white males.

        The psychology of this behavior couldn’t be clearer.. the white male of course holds supreme privilege (so goes the common narrative of today), and thus naturally must tend towards disparaging of women, minorities, and every other group you could imagine. So it’s only natural you’d feel you have something to prove being white males (hello majority RPS and its readers!), and begin this bizarre overly-zealous crusade to stamp out anything to which even one person might take offense. In doing this, you’re trying to disprove the stereotypes about white males you have helped to create. “Hey look! I really care, look at me defending all these helpless women and minorities!” It is just painfully embarrassing to watch you do it, that’s all. And I get tired of seeing people who make innocuous comments getting dog piled as you play your little masturbatory games.

        Bottom line: if the term “boob physics” were as offensive as the n-word, then you’d have me and a good 99.9 percent of the rest of the world on your side saying they are wrong to use the term. It’s not, though, and I’m sure somewhere in your muddled thoughts you know this to be true. The Sunday Papers used to be about games, but now it’s about 75% percent pushing an agenda and absolutely boring.

    23. Gap Gen says:

      I liked the tiger tactic in the Far Cry 3 article. Reminds me of when I was told to kill a guy in STALKER, but he was aligned with a faction I wanted to stay friends with. My solution was to train a pack of wild dogs onto him, avoiding culpability but completing the mission.