The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for baking scones and playing videogames. Endless Legend? NEO Scavenger? MGSV: Ground Zeroes? Bayonetta? I can’t decide. Perhaps some fine writing about videogames will help point me in the right direction.

  • Kill Screen write on the architecture of Silent Hill 2 in The Basement’s Basement. One day Adam is going to turn up at my house and force me to play this game.
  • Silent Hill 2’s architecture, along with its iconic blend of fog and darkness, is its main antagonist. Returning to the game after all these years, it’s surprising to find that its enemies are barely a threat, its puzzles mostly “lock and key” affairs and its bosses require a single tactic—point and shoot. But navigating its dim hallways, cramped rooms and sprawling titular town can be a challenging affair. Overlooking a detail in the dark, forgetting to check a door, even missing the map for an area, forcing you to go by memory—these are the game’s central struggles. Perhaps this is due to the ambiguous nature of much of the game’s environments: There are more locked doors than open ones, more dead-ends than ways ahead. Sometimes it almost feels like poor level design, especially when you find yourself in a corridor of 10 locked cells, rattling each handle as you go. But there is sense behind this system, if not sanity—this is videogame architecture that is as unhinged as its broken doors.

  • The latest Embed with… is good stuff, with Cara in Japan in search of an indie development scene. She finds Ojiro Fumoto who, inspired by Western indie games, is making a game called Downwell. It’s a Spelunky-style roguelike platformer about descending a well with guns for shoes.
  • “When do you get time to develop Downwell?” I ask, the waitress delivering our food. Ojiro’s in his final year at Tokyo University of the Arts. He told me on the way here he is studying opera singing, probably the first time any game developer has ever expressed an interest in opera.

    “I don’t have many classes. I spend most of my time developing. I have lots of freedom since I’m not married or anything. I don’t have much money but I don’t need much money either. I think I decided at a good time to become a game developer.”

  • Douglas Warrick wrote a primer to Twine this past week, which does a good job of summarising the strengths of the text game platform and offering examples of it being put to good use. Lots that’s worth playing, if you haven’t already.
  • Star Court by Anna Anthropy is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for a gateway into Twine games. By virtue of their text-heaviness and the ephemeral attention spans of browser-game players, Twine games seem to lend themselves to shorter formats. There are plenty of brilliant Twine games that take weeks to explore, but plenty also that overestimate the player’s ability to devote more than a single evening to a text-based browser game. Star Court is only as long as it needs to be. It takes about ten minutes to make your way through a single playthrough of Star Court, although you’ll want to give it a couple more goes to see what you missed.

  • Kotaku’s Jason Schreier looked at Ubisoft’s interproject “game developer limbo“, a place where employees not currently attached to specific game projects are sent while they apply to other game teams within the publisher. Sort of grim, how-the-sausage-is-made stuff.
  • This is “interproject,” a little-known department at Ubisoft Montreal that houses developers who are between games. When a Ubisoft game is shipped, or cancelled, the company will sometimes send employees to interproject, where they wind up applying for new positions within the company, occasionally helping out other teams, and watching movies all day until they’re reassigned… or laid off. Anywhere from 50 to 100 employees might work in interproject at a time, according to people who have worked there, and though they’ll sometimes be dragooned for game teams that need extra help, they spend most of their days doing whatever they want.

  • Bayonetta is brilliant, Bayonetta 2 is apparently great also, but the main character is troubling to many. Maddy Myers considers the monster-fighting hair-suit wearer in an article on the male gaze: Femme Doms of Videogames: Bayonetta Doesn’t Care If She’s Not Your Kink.
  • In other words, “male gaze” is a phrase that makes a lot of assumptions, and none of them make sense in the context of games. When we use this phrase, we assume the game’s developers are male; this is true most of the time, but not all of the time nowadays (thank goodness). We also pretend to know what “all” men might like to gaze at—women’s butts, apparently? I doubt that. We discount the interests of non-men entirely, since any enjoyment they might have is considered “unintentional” on the part of the creators, and therefore irrelevant.

  • Polygon went big on the making of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare this past week, charting the formation of developer Sledgehammer with the kind of pomp and breathless awe normally reserved for rags-to-riches indies or the creation of Doritos tacos shells.
  • “I remember being asked all the time, ‘What’s the main mechanic?'” says Schofield. “And I would say, ‘Well, there’s two things. It’s about the advanced soldier, and the main mechanic is the exoskeleton.’ And Bret Robbins, who’s my right-hand man on everything creative here — he and I were getting frustrated. Because we were like, ‘Well, we keep saying this over and over.’ And I remember [Activision Senior Vice President] Rob Kostich saying to me, ‘You really believe in this exoskeleton?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, Rob, the boost jump and everything else we’re starting to do — it’s the real deal.’ And once Rob and then Eric gave it a thumbs up, everybody just got behind.”

  • The Case of Charles Dexter Ward failed to hit its Kickstarter target, meaning the first game to boast an official HP Lovecraft license will lay dormant for another eon. This Kickstarter update offers a mini post-mortem of why it maybe didn’t find the funds.
  • Many of you have been saying we should relaunch the campaign, but this was our best shot. There’s no way we can achieve again the momentum we had during the first three days. I can’t stress this enough: the announcement of Charles Dexter Ward was huge. Between our pre-launch campaign, buzz on Twitter, local and international celebrities supporting us, our own posts that went viral, and a massive article in the second-biggest newspaper in Argentina, I estimate well over 100,000 people heard about Charles Dexter Ward. And again, that was only during the first three days of the campaign. It boggles the mind, then, that barely 2,000 people have backed the game — with such a strong launch and the evident appeal of the project, a year ago we’d easily have reached $400k.

  • Idle Thumbs are hosting a new podcast. In Designer Notes, Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson interviews game designers about why they make games. The first episode is with Rob Pardo, the former Chief Creative Officer of Blizzard.
  • A collection of screenshots from Half-Life 1 engine custom maps.
  • There’s been a bunch more Every Frame A Painting videos since I last linked the series, which dissects cinematography in film. I enjoyed this most recent video, which will convince you there was subtlety to be found in Snowpiercer.
  • Music this week is not 1989 by Taylor Swift, because I haven’t got it yet. Instead I’ve been bouncing to parts of the new Yelle album. Start here.

    112 Comments

    1. Pixieking says:

      Absolutely can’t recommend Every Frame A Painting enough. Went through a bunch of them a few Sundays back, then pledged to the guy’s Patreon when it went live. It’s interesting pulling-in what Tony says about movies, then trying to apply the same thoughts – about left/right, camera pans, editing – to games.

      Also, absolutely can’t recommend Taylor Swift’s latest album enough. It’s slightly Avril Lavigne in places, but not enough to detract, or make it “not Swift”.

      • SirMonkeyWrench says:

        In a similar vein to EFAP I’d like to recommend revui at link to youtube.com, it hasn’t been updated in ages but it offers some rally fascinating, in depth analysis of game user interface design.

      • disconnect says:

        Yeah, 1989 is pretty great. Although it’s a bit annoying that one of the imho stand-out tracks (New Romantics) is only on the deluxe edition. Like when Ellie Goulding relegated Stay Awake to the Tesco-exclusive version of her album. ffs people STOP DOING THAT

        Then again Yelle didn’t put L’amour parfait on their album at all so whatever

        • Pixieking says:

          Mmmm… I know what you mean about deluxe exclusives. I go back-and-forth liking/hating New Romantics, but I love the incredibly soppy You Are In Love, and would be horrified if I picked up the non-Deluxe edition without it on.

    2. Low Life says:

      The Astronauts, developers of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, released a silly infograph of the game’s sales, and some deeper analysis of their sales figures. Indie studio sales figures are always interesting.

    3. aepervius says:

      “We also pretend to know what “all” men might like to gaze at—women’s butts, apparently?”

      Indeed. All male and female have different taste and what is attractive to some is repulsive to other. Full disclosure mixed with a bit of TMI : female butt (or anything male’s) leave me mostly cold. I like to see long leg in stocking, but I am uninterrested into plastic / rubber, and what attract my “gaze” are middle aged women big breast. So when i look at bayonetta, I see nothing much attractive and the infamous crotch or butt pause , well let us say I find them unattractive. In fact the try-hard to sexy-up female character usually have the opposite effect, make an armor with big breast decoltee in RPG and I am kicked out of the game back in reality, immersion broken and me wondering why the heck the artist went that way. Same way male character which looks like muscle packets, those disgust me “uncanny valley” like as belonging to a specie I do not recognize as human.

      Assuming that all male gamer are attracted to such picture or sexed up female is actually wrong. We are different and we do not have the same kink, the same attraction to certain part of the female/male anatomy. Some of us are simply kicked out of immersion when those details come up. I would preffer much a normal looking armor and a normal speaking woman.

      Same for female actually, assuming all female are generally “disempowered” or feel “objectified” by such picture is not true for all.

      The bottom line in the sexism debate is that both side simply takes a few example then over generalize to the gender as a whole. Well you know the idiom which people like to tout too much “the plural of anecdote is not evidence” ? This is the case I would like to see it applied. Some male may find it titilating. But not all. Some female may find them objectifying and disgusting but not all.

      Frankly the first hint you see a debate has become politized and is shifting away from reality, is when people over generalize single characteristic to a whole gender or a whole group of people, as we see often in RPS and other outfit putting all gamer (or all gamer supporting gamersgate) into the same bag as if it was a single cloned person.

      Now after that much TMI, let me be clear : I support game maker making sexed or unsexed up characters art BOTH. It is a matter of free speech. If people don’t like it (and I do not like it) then it is a matter of buying/not buying or expressing an opinion.

      But if you want to fight sexism, you are probably fighting the wrong fight. Gaming is only a subset a relatively minor part of the society, sort of mirror reflecting the whole society sexism. If you want to fight sexism, gaming is the wrong media to concentrate, video, film, music and book are far more pervasive as media and have a far more effect than video game.

      My two cents.

      • Melody says:

        I don’t agree, and I actually think the term “male gaze” is still extremely appropriate and useful as a critical tool.

        The fact is, one counter-example doesn’t disprove anything, yes individual men, and indeed individual people, never fully embody the idea of manliness (or womanliness? Is that a word?), but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a strong idea of what men should be like. That idea exists, and all men are to an extent pressured to conform to it. Not all do, not all to the same extent, but it’s there. Same goes for women.

        If you’re able to express yourself mostly unaffected by that idea, that’s great, but that pressure makes it so that other men may not feel free to do that, in fear of being emasculated and ostracized by their peers, in fear of not conforming to the ideal. That’s the whole meaning of “gay” used as an insult: you’re not a “real man”.

        Another example: we can assume that sexualized women appeal to lesbian women as much as they appeal to heterosexual men (although I believe lesbian sexuality is different from heterosexual sexuality, despite the desired gender being the same); that’s not entirely false, but that doesn’t disprove the concept of male gaze, because lesbian women “don’t exist”, the game has not been made to cater to them, they’re just an unintended side-effect.

        Finally, sexist should be confronted in every field, and that includes games. For many people games are the primary form of engagement with wider culture, more so than films and books etc, and I don’t think it concerns as small a part of society as you say. Everyone should do their part, especially in their preferred areas, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our part in gaming.

        I hope I don’t have to argue that sexism is indeed a problem within the gaming community, or that trends and ideas in media we consume affect us. Arts and entertainment may be a reflection of society, but they don’t have to be, and it works the other way around as well: arts and entertainment can have an effect on society, can change it.

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          If you’re able to express yourself mostly unaffected by that idea, that’s great, but that pressure makes it so that other men may not feel free to do that, in fear of being emasculated and ostracized by their peers, in fear of not conforming to the ideal. That’s the whole meaning of “gay” used as an insult: you’re not a “real man”.

          i’m not certain that is a concern in the sense that i feel that their is a lot of accepted disagreement on what is sexy to someone, (legs, bum, breasts, dom, sub etc) she even links an example from gamefaqs.

          (just staying in the sphere of male heterosexuality, I believe their is vast acceptance of male variance in terms of being a topic of disagreement, if you want a test of this find a group of straight male friends and ask about kim kardashian or nigella lawson, and you’d see what i mean about how much disagreement will spill out)


          a good example of sexual variance

          porn is probably the best bench mark and if say compared to Hollywood movies, you’d have to say that pron was far more diverse (size, shape, kink, ethnicity), if an overweight woman is in a Hollywood movie, it becomes a talking point, and yet no one considers BBW (or big handsome men) to be worth any commentary at all.

          Porn exists entirely in a sexual framework (anything else is secondary) and shows that the concept of a hegemonic conception of sexuality (as she talks about not “all males” being of the same proclivities) really doesn’t hold water, it’s as varied and niche’d as it possibly can be, it could almost be described as cosmopolitan, sex so niche’d to the point that some depictions (to an non intended audience) won’t even register as having a sexual component at all.

          • Modifier says:

            Here I am scrolling through the page, and carefully reading through each comment to find links to one of my favourite, if not the favourite, author, journalist and debater. I strongly urge and implore, no that won’t do, I demand that all of you immediately seize to do what ever it is you were doing and immediately view any of his debates, of which you can find on Youtube. By the time you have done that, chances are you’re IQ will have raised considerably.

            Once you have done that, go and watch some more, then have a look at his collection of books available. Christopher is certainly one of the most interesting people to listen to, and his arguments are well refined, passionate and witty.

            Okay, I’m done for now. It’s just been good to see him on Rock Paper Shotgun comments.

            • anHorse says:

              “chances are you’re IQ will have raised considerably.”

              Indeed Hitchens fanboy, indeed

            • Arren says:

              He’s “you’re [sic]” hero…

            • Modifier says:

              I’m not a fanboy by any means, I know exactly what it would take for me to be in complete disagreement with him, where as a fanboy of anything would defend what ever it was regardless. I just find myself in agreement with his views for the most part, because he feels and shares my opinions on many of the same things. Seeing as this appeared on a comments section of a generally intelligent hivemind, I thought I may as well give some recognition to this man, in the case that anyone would be interested.

              I generally like it when people recommend intelligent and interesting people, and have found quite a few recommended on this site alone. My wording of ‘You’re IQ will have raised considerably’ was really meant with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and most of the wording in the comment was meant in a playful way, although I probably could have made that more obvious. However, I don’t think that it’s to far from the truth to say that generally someone would be more knowledgeable when listening to him speak, on a given subject that he is familiar with, such as totalitarianism, which was literally his life’s work, which he also in extension lectured at many universities. So no, not in any regards a fanboy, rather someone who is excited to a familiar face from the field of journalism, but another part of it, who he respects and recognizes on a website that he also enjoys to read.

            • joa says:

              I like Hitchens. That man had style, and didn’t bend to any ideology.

          • Melody says:

            I’m sorry, i struggle to find an appropriate argument because I don’t see how specific people being attracted to specific things takes away from the ideological construct that is accepted as standard, as “normal” and that pressures everyone to conform to it.

            I’m just going to leave this here
            link to your-critic.com (Courtesy of Cara Ellison’s twitter, a few weeks ago)
            and not in a sign of disrespect or unwillingness to engage with you, but because, as I said, I’m at a loss for an appropriate response.

            • Rizlar says:

              I thought what they said was pretty interesting (although I’m not sure about the videos other than as illustrations that someone can find Margaret Thatcher sexy? which is indeed relevant). It didn’t even come across as particularly argumentative, so I wouldn’t feel bad about not finding a way to argue with them. They were just saying that men don’t seem to feel inhibited by the male gaze themselves in the way you suggest.

              The male gaze definitely exists in the way that portrayals of women in pop culture are very homogenous and objectified, but men’s actual sexual preferences seem to vary all over the place in a way that is socially acceptable.

            • Jamesworkshop says:

              i’m following from the ideas of the article that “male gaze” is a term based on assumptions of an monolithic group as opposed to the reality where intersections exist

              it lacks recognition of divisions among men and discounts a big variety of men and believes that “male gaze” might not pay close enough attention to complex social intersections, sexual style(i’m more submissive myself), class, ethnicity and might make simplistic assumptions about men.

              Just take the word heterosexual, it almost is meaningless when you address detail, women maybe the opposite sex to men, but does that tell you if a guy likes blondes, or very tall women, does it tell you if he wants to spank women, or if he wants to lick her boots?

              I just don’t believe that a monolithic pressure is making men into clones, otherwise porn would be cookie cutter instead of Rule 34

              Generally accepted internet rule that states that pornography or sexually related material exists for any conceivable subject.

              I think “male gaze” also has a limitation that sex appeal is not actually the entire preserve of appearance, as my point with Thatcher/Hitchens showed that male sexuality isn’t entirely visual (quite important with kinky-ish bayonetta) is bayonetta sexual only in visual language (collection of body parts) or does it included pathos (sexual pathos in this context) she speaks, she dances, she jokes etc

              does she knows how many beans make five in other words.

            • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

              But porn IS cookie cutter. If you go to the porn aisle of your local DVD rental, and find it hasn’t been demolished to make room for a Subway, you’ll notice that almost all porn is about skinny, tall, Caucasian women having sex with burly, hairy Caucasian men. The greatest deviancy you will find will be non-Caucasian performers, who will be very explicitly tagged (“Ebony beauty” or sth like it).

              Sure, there is stuff like Rule 34, and there are also a lot of stuff that deviates from it, like BBW, but those are considered by society to be ‘weird’ porn. ‘Normal’ people are supposed to like ‘normal’ porn. The fact that ‘weird’ porn probably has a lot more viewers than ‘normal’ porn (therefore defeating any definition of the word ‘normal’) is irrelevant; what’s seen as ‘normal’ is what is supposed to be normal.

              Likewise, the idea of ‘male gaze’ does not mean ‘men find this attractive’. It means that a certain work is framed in a way that would meet what a ‘normal’ (or perhaps ‘ideal’) male would be looking at. The ‘ideal’ male is attractive to tall, skinny women with large breasts and tight clothing, and is attractive to their sexy parts, which are their breasts, their butts and their tights. The fact that you, particularly, doesn’t meet that criteria is irrelevant. I don’t, either, and doubt a substantial amount of males do. Male gaze pretends to be saying ‘Look, it’s that thing you like!’ but it’s actually saying ‘This is the thing you want to like. You’d better like it, otherwise you’ll be weird.’ Lots of men fall into that trap and internalize those feelings, as well as the idea that people who don’t share those feelings are ‘weird’.

              (Which, incidentally, is why I disagree with the stated argument of that piece. Stuff like saying that you can’t tell if a studio is staffed only by men and therefore you can’t argue about male gaze is disingenious. Women can create works with male gaze in it, even subconsciously; you analize the results, not the process.)

              Or, to make a strange and overwrought analogy as I am known to: saying that male gaze doesn’t exist because you don’t like to stare at butts is like saying that your cousin sold pot and never got arrested, therefore prisons don’t exist.

            • Jamesworkshop says:

              then you clearly haven’t seen porn (porn in terms of being inclusive actually put tv, games, movies to shame quite frankly in terms of being representative, and with far less ridicule), again you’ve done exactly the same problem and ignored intersection, the challenge wasn’t about, does stuff get made for a perceived audience but that the perceived audience is more specific than just 3.5 billion people, bayonetta is fetishised as she said the character is of a certain appeal, nor is the audience just going to be men.

              look at it another way in a lifetime a single person will have sex with about a dozen people so about a dozen people naked, now add the internet and we have the experience of millions of humans all individually naked with symmetrical this and asymmetrical that, the force feeding of culture no longer applies, countries that controlled with state run media control have almost no dictating power in that area. we are far more choice orientated than blank slate canvases than was ever possible.

              only problem with this message medium is that actual examples would not be appropriate, but just look at how the videos get tagged and how sites have thousands of categories, quite a few defined by activity rather than based on how attractive a person is perceived to be in classical terms.

              the only correlations are simply down to the bipedial humanoid design, just think how few difference their are between men and women, same number of eyes, limbs etc you can’t really avoid commonalities because humans are all the same, my genitals might vary in size to someone else but it’s still the same basic design as you’d find anywhere in the world

              otherwise you’d need to argue that bayonetta was all things to all men and quite frankly the sales figures of the series are abysmal and don’t support that at all, the audience is tiny, it’s only by luck the game got a sequel, the public are not really sold on the franchise or the protagonist

            • Rizlar says:

              I think both of you (non-JamesWorkshop) are looking for an argument where there is none. Noone is denying that the male gaze exists as a way of describing the objectification/sexualisation/homogenisation of depictions of women in culture controlled by men. It’s just that the male gaze isn’t really accurate in terms of individual men’s desires, it’s something that came about in a systemic, not a personal way.

            • Jamesworkshop says:

              rizlar just a clarification do you mean argument as in topical viewpoints or inter-personal conflicts

            • Rizlar says:

              Either/or?

              It just seems like both of them think you are denying that the male gaze exists, which I don’t think you are.

        • commentingaccount says:

          Replying to “although I believe lesbian sexuality is different from heterosexual sexuality, despite the desired gender being the same”.

          It really depends on the individual. Myself, I tend to be attracted to women the same way most heterosexual men are. That isn’t to say that women in general don’t experience sexuality different and thus that effects my fellow women who like fucking women, but generalizing isn’t wise. It leaves out individual variation.

          • joa says:

            How would you know you’re attracted to women the same as heterosexual men are? Seems like a rather unknowable thing – as someone cannot really claim to know the thoughts/feelings of the opposite sex, as their brains work totally differently.

            • Dilapinated says:

              “as their brains work totally differently” [citation needed]

            • joa says:

              Well I’m not talking about any specific scientific finding or anything, just saying that even if men and women may describe feeling the same way, the way they feel might in fact be quite different because it’s being filtered differently through a male or female brain.

            • Universal Quitter says:

              No, but if you already have a number of lesbian, gay, and bisexual friends in your life, that’s probably a good place to start from. Of course, you can’t experience other people’s feelings firsthand, but it’s hardly necessary to find commonality with other people. We use words for that.

            • Rizlar says:

              When you look at the variations in human brains, how different they are to animals and each other, differences in gender seem pretty inconsequential.

              Hormones however…. hearing a female to male transsexual talk about experiencing huge amounts of testosterone for the first time was really interesting. Experiencing an overwhelming urge to fuck everyone they walked past in the street, oo-err!

          • Melody says:

            Depends how you’re generalizing. Not generalizing leads to the end of discourse, you can’t talk about anything in humanities if you can’t abstract. The trick is abstracting without taking away from the individual.
            Saying that gaming is a sexist environment doesn’t mean that each and every gaming-related space is irredeemably sexist, nor that each and every “gamer” is sexist. It’s a useful and mostly accurate generalization, though, for recognizing and talking about certain pervasive problems.

            As for sexualities, I haven’t read enough on the subject to speak my mind with confidence, but if I had to justify why I said that, I’d say that, for instance, simply the fact that heterosexuality is considered standard and homosexuality is the “other” already makes the two significantly different, in approach, in openness, in how they relate to the world. The articulation of sexual desire itself is different as a result.

            • commentingaccount says:

              Maybe it’s because I’ve generally hung out with men mostly my entire life, but I basically express my sexuality much the same way they do. Homosexuality isn’t always a game changer in that regard. I’d argue it’s more due to culture than the nuts and bolts of the biology.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Agreed, I don’t have much to add on.

          The fact that, despite being a heterosexual male, unnecessarily sexualised female characters actively distract me (and annoy me too, though that annoyance is directed at the game’s creators, not the characters), doesn’t take away the fact that “ALL GUYS LIKE BEWBS IN THEIR GAMES” is the concept most game devs/publishers that use this marketing technique follow.

          Wow, long sentence.

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            link to youtube.com

            I think “male gaze” can even be applied to men even in a non-homosexual male perspective, if that was about video games, kratos would certainly make an appearance

      • dsch says:

        The article is arguing against a particularly literal interpretation of “male gaze.” The gaze is still very much a relevant term in film theory, and the idea that it is gendered “male” refers to the construction of the filmic situation itself rather than the specific sexual identities of the participants.

        Of course, this doesn’t invalidate the article’s criticism of the reductive use of the term in games journalism, and, more generally, the reductive use of feminist theory in mainstream culture.

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          yeah thinking about it a shorter way i’d describe her point is that “male gaze” has a simplistic interpretation flaw as it ignores male intersections, it lacks recognition of divisions among men and discounts a big variety of men and believes that “male gaze” might not pay close enough attention to complex social intersections, sexual style(i’m more submissive myself), class, ethnicity and might make simplistic assumptions about men.

        • joa says:

          Is male gaze really still that relevant in film theory? It seemed to be interpreted so generally in the past that it has been applied to almost every film under the sun, including those by female directors.

    4. Sam says:

      In the exciting world of Actually It’s About Ethics in Games Journalism, TotalBiscuit interviewed Kotaku’s editor in chief, Stephen Totilo. It’s lengthy but is just audio and is a civilised discussion rather than the traditional barrage of MSPaint red circles.

      It’s interesting to see the handful of ethical issues that the campaign dug up properly discussed. And gosh, they do seem really tiny compared to the rage they apparently provoked.

      “Actually it’s about a long festering misdirected resentment and anger among the traditional gamer community.” Not quite as catchy, but maybe more accurate?

      • Horg says:

        Absolutely worth listening to for anyone who was curious what GamerGate was all about, but didn’t want to wade through the massive amounts of misinformation and teenage angst to find the few nuggets of fact. I’d call the whole farce the closest thing games journalism has had to a tabloid sex scandal. Only instead of quietly dying out once the copies had been shifted, its been kept alive in equal parts by misguided crusading and concerted trolling.

      • MrTijger says:

        It seems to be quite correct, if we did a Venn diagram with people who support a certain movement and those that claim be “elite” players who complain about casuals I’m pretty sure you’ll find a large overlap if not more.

      • Frank says:

        Gah, TotalBiscuit’s tone just screams “I am a preening, condescending douchebag”. I wish someone less intolerable had taken up the task of talking about this. At least he lets his interviewee do most of the talking.

        Huh, I forgot Mr Grayson was a part of this.

        • Melody says:

          Then, can I interest you in Foldable Human’s take on the same subject?
          link to blip.tv

          • Frank says:

            Thanks, Melody. That’s a well-done video.I feel like I already had an intuitive sense of the mob’s grievances and outlook, which (as the video says) have been around for a long time. This “ethics” ploy is new, though.

          • Pliqu3011 says:

            Brilliant video. Thanks for sharing.

        • pepperfez says:

          TB has really assiduously staked out a position of pure mushy-centrist point-missing. Somewhere out there David Brooks is frantically taking notes.

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        Wisq says:

        I actually unsubscribed from TB this week, including cancelling the $5/month I was giving him via a Twitch.tv subscription. Essentially, I got fed up with him continuing to lend legitimacy to the GG movement and decided to take a stand in the only way I really could.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’ve often appreciated him covering the latest industry scandals and snafus, and taking them to task about it. But this dogged determination to dig up this supposed “corruption” in the games journalism industry, demanding that major sites “come to the table” and discuss these “pressing” ethical issues, is just playing right into their hands, creating a smokescreen to hide what the movement is really about. (Especially when almost every real current games issue comes down to ethics in game publishing, not journalism.)

        If he’s refusing to see this, despite all the evidence that I know people continue to present to him daily, then I can’t in good conscience continue to support him, neither monetarily nor with video views.

        • Premium User Badge

          X_kot says:

          Same here. I’ve always liked the consumer-advocate angle in his reviews, but his stance on GG is a huge turnoff. The entire debacle has made it difficult for me to talk about my hobby without addressing the egocentric-male contingent that is laboring under a persecution complex. Really hope we can get past this old stereotype one day.

    5. Viroso says:

      Bayonetta is sexual and fights angels. That’d be a fun situation to have a protagonist who’s kinky and proud of it, but how exactly is Bayonetta sexual? Does she ever express any sexual desire of her own during the entire game?

      That’s one of the problems I have. All she does is pose for the camera, doesn’t matter whose gaze it is. Sex was only added to the character for the audience’s enjoyment, beyond that they didn’t think of anything else for Bayonetta.

      Case in point, a number of increasingly kinkier costumes are given as rewards.

      That takes me to problem number two, that Bayonetta doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Sex is part of Bayonetta in the same way that it is part of most female characters in games, or characters in general. Sex is there to be looked at, and most of the times it is women who are made to be looked at in games. Looked at first, everything second.

      It’s not about a single character, it’s about the trend.

      Though to be fair, Bayonetta does smack angels with whips and the whole thing sometimes feels like the angels want it. But that’s mostly the gameplay part. It’s kinda like how Drake kills hundreds of men, that’s not who the character is, for the game he’s a relatable adventurer. That’s the character.

      • Jamesworkshop says:

        outside of visual elements i still find most characters in videogame land as being asexual to celibate, no marriages, no co-habiting, zero children, pretty much Christopher Nolans asectic warrior monk in his batman movies (even the dream states of inception are noticeably non-sexual)

        link to tvtropes.org

        “More often than not, a power fantasy featuring a female character is played up as comedic, rather than something that someone might actually find sexy. It’s a difficult line to walk, especially given that it isn’t a fetish that’s considered normal—at least, not when the dominator is feminine and the submissive is masculine. We have normalized the reverse, of course, but it’s surprisingly hard to find examples of femme doms in games that aren’t laughed at or leered at by the camera, or taken down a notch in some way by the narrative or their own creators.”

        I actually disagree her reading on that idea, it’s very rare to find male doms in pop culture and that includes games

        Actually, you might say you’ve only really encountered this trope when you notice that this is the only acceptable portrayal of BDSM on TV. If you want to know why, then try to imagine the opposite. The general populace tolerates the BDSM subculture on their televisions only when it can be Played for Laughs and no matter what you do, you can’t play a man tying up and flogging a woman for laughs. You just can’t.

        In Real Life, submissive female / dominant male is one of the most common fetishes and indeed possibly the most common. However, due to the surface resemblance of consensual BDSM to non-consensual abuse and the general lack of familiarity with Real Life BDSM among the general public, any full aversion of this trope seriously risks Values Dissonance unless it can be made exceedingly clear to the audience that the man has the woman’s full and explicit consent. And even then, it is still in danger of being shunned due to the belief that Girls Need Role Models and that submissive women are somehow “bad” role models rather than a reflection of one particular facet of human sexuality.

        • pepperfez says:

          If you consider the dom/sub relationship in a more general sense than visibly-kinky BDSM, then you get the overwhelming bulk of “normal” relationships in media representing male dom/female sub. In fact, male dom/female sub barely even registers as a fetish in contemporary society – it’s the default arrangement right up until something leaves a mark.

        • Person of Con says:

          outside of visual elements i still find most characters in videogame land as being asexual to celibate, no marriages, no co-habiting, zero children, pretty much Christopher Nolans asectic warrior monk in his batman movies (even the dream states of inception are noticeably non-sexual)

          Your comment reminded me of an academic paper I came across once on how despite the oversexualization of videogames hides the absence of actual sex. I can’t turn up a link of the actual paper that’s not behind a paywall (curse the moneyed gate of academia! etc.) but here’s a link to the abstract, which is probably easier to read anyway.
          link to digra.org
          The full paper the author, Tanya Krzywinska, later wrote on the subject is “THE STRANGE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SEX IN VIDEO GAMES.”

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            ah yes, i wish academic papers were free, like when you ask a graphics designer to work for free

            • LionsPhil says:

              Yeah, that’s not comparable at all.

              In academia, publishers do not pay you for your work. But they might offer you a discount to buy a copy of it back off of them!

              Open access is a thing. All of my papers are freely available.

            • Jamesworkshop says:

              I was making a facetious joke

              link to buzzfeed.com

              link to designshack.net

              -Anyone with a job in design knows the story well. Once people realize what you do for a living, favors will be expected. It’s just something small. It’ll only take you a second because you’re so good (flattery always helps).

            • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

              We know it was a joke. Phil pointed that it was not funny because you misrepresented the relationship between the two classes of people.

            • Jamesworkshop says:

              classes of people?

            • Nogo says:

              Holy geez, you just linked me to a buzzfeed article that consists solely of another link to an incredibly ancient, fake blog.

              Don’t do that, it’s rude!

            • Jamesworkshop says:

              what the flip are you talking about

            • Person of Con says:

              “Academic papers for free” is NOT what I was getting at–what I was getting at is that the incredibly high subscription costs academic journals demand from universities means that individuals without access to the universities don’t have any reasonable to way to access academic discussions. And that’s a shame, as it perpetuates the notion of a detached ivory tower. For the most part, academics are paid for their research, administrative duties, and teaching. While the actual publishing is often used as a benchmark for research, it’s not the research itself. I’m a huge supporter of valuing academic work–hell, I AM academic, so I have a vested interest. But a lot of academics would like to see their work both valued by their universities and valued by the general public, and the existing state of academic journals isn’t conducive for that.

            • pepperfez says:

              The worst part is that the price of the journals does nothing for the researchers who make them worthwhile. It’s all just profit-taking by the publishers.

      • Geebs says:

        Bayonetta is burlesque.

        There, I think that about covers it.

        • Chrysomore says:

          That may actually be the absolute perfect two-word summary of this franchise.

      • Chrysomore says:

        It’s mostly implied, albeit with sledgehammer force. A big part of it is agency, since, as mentioned, she has all of it in this game; if anyone’s being forced into submission around here, it’s NOT going to be Bayonetta. Just as importantly, though, the designers make it very clear our heroine is having FUN on these adventures, and she’s in on the joke at least as much as part of it.
        Even her props help reinforce these ideas, just lookit that oh-so-phallic lollipop: it’s TINY! She treats it as a wee, adorable treat, a mere plaything to be disposed of at her leisure, an attitude which carries over to that other great meta-dick, her guns. Unlike so many of her male counterparts, she doesn’t treat her weaponry like a sacred, seven-ton extension of her manhood; Bayonetta PLAYS with her guns, using them skillfully, and then casting them off the moment they fail to serve her purposes, like a cheap vibrator that’s lasted JUST long enough.
        It ain’t subtle, but some of it is pretty clever.

        • Viroso says:

          That made me want to play it again.

          • Chrysomore says:

            Hell, me too.
            Thinking it over, the playful interaction with ludicrous phallus-objects thing is a whole running theme/drinking game unto itself; I’d forgotten there’s also the bit where she prances about atop a giant missile, and her extremely casual attitude toward the care and driving of large, powerful vehicles, too.

            Bayonetta: Elaborately mocking your manhood since 2009!

            • Josh W says:

              I don’t seem much complexity in that though, if you look at what Bayonetta does, she is dramatic, sexualised and dismissive (as well as having the kind of high-energy-cool familiar from the old devil may cry games). So all that’s happening is that straightforward freudian imagery is being deployed to follow the same themes, or more specifically, the same fetish.

              And fetish is the key term, because I remember reading the blog with a sections where the introduction of different outfits is explicitly described as a concession on the part of Kamiya (one of the main creators) that he was appealing too much to his own fetishes, and wanted to be able to incorporate other people’s as well.

              Being unattainable, untouchable, or playing dismissively with male sexuality is not a contrast or note of deconstruction of the sexualisation, it’s an integral part of it, and the character exists entirely within the constraints of that fetish and that form of sexual appreciation. There’s no discord there, only chorus.

              On the ooother hand, I would say that Bayonetta does have an unnerving impression to many heterosexual men because it is a very pure expression of a kind of sexuality that adjoins the kinds frequently expressed in film/tv/games, but is fundamentally different. People can be drawn in by it’s similarity to the usual “male gaze” assumptions, only to find that it is doing things differently.

              So I would suggest it is not the knowingness that makes Bayonetta so significant, but it’s naivity. Because it focuses on overblown impact along it’s own strange trajectory, it’s in some senses a sensory feast, that can draw you in. But there’s this disconnect that remains when you can’t quite fully shift yourself into the game creators mindset, or decide you don’t want to, that leaves it both impactful and without impact.

              Subverting familiar tropes still leaves people with a way to orient themselves, “this is making some commentary on this thing I am more familiar with” etc. but this takes the raw materials and carries on as if the normal way of treating this stuff is irrelevant.

              In other words it’s exposing a wider cross-section of the gaming population to the experience frequently shared by those who don’t conform to appreciating the existing primary standards of sexualisation. There’s whole new sections of people going “this is obviously fanservice, but I don’t like it, what’s going on?”.

    6. Melody says:

      Already posted it on the forums, but the Queerness and Games conference videos are freely available on twitch!
      link to twitch.tv

      I haven’t watched them all, but what I’ve watched so far has been quite interesting. Mattie Brice also wrote a run-down of it all over at her website.

    7. cpt_freakout says:

      Good article there on the Ubisoft dev limbo. What saddens me is that it’s not at all surprising – these companies are exploitative as hell, and it’s one of those important questions about labor practices in the industry that get thrown under the rug of the next huge trailer. The author tries to balance it out – it has pros and cons – but it’s evident that this doesn’t really benefit the people sent there, not in the end, because they’re basically put on hold as disposable assets. They could be doing something else, getting other, better jobs perhaps, or they could be working on another Ubisoft game already through a transfer. Instead, they’re put on ‘seizure’, and are asked to basically wait things out, which can be psychologically damaging as the author also argues. I wonder if there’s anything we on the outside can do, but I guess it’s really up to those devs to stand up to their employers. However, it’s always good to know how an industry that makes stuff you like a lot works.

      • LionsPhil says:

        …interproject…can be used for personal training, skill development, and research and development projects.

        Honestly, it sounds like management need to step in and make sure that employees are using their time effectively. “Facebook games” and “watching movies” is not a good use of paid downtime, and slacking off completely like this reflects poorly on the company, doesn’t get good value for money, and doesn’t even benefit the employees because they feel as useless as they’re being.

        We have to fight in our (non-game) software house to actually get R&D time to persue broadening our tech skills and scratching wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if itches that can’t get prioritised onto mainline development. I struggle to have much sympathy if they’re squandering this perk so badly.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          We have to fight in our (non-game) software house to actually get R&D time to persue broadening our tech skills and scratching wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if itches that can’t get prioritised onto mainline development. I struggle to have much sympathy if they’re squandering this perk so badly.

          Sounds far too familiar.

          Poor games developers being paid to do whatever they like. The horror etc.

      • drinniol says:

        Or they could be fired!

        I think it’s on the employee if they want to skill up. Employees don’t exist in a vacuum, too – word probably gets through the grapevine on who the employees that use the downtime efficiently very quickly.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        What weirds me out is that they could turn this into a positive, something devs find appealing. The core notion that instead of being fired, you’re sent to a transition department is good: Ubisoft gets to keep the talent it hired (which is more important these days since they actually have local competition who could take the talent) and the devs keep job safety and have time to unwind and to look for new projects.

        All they’d have to do is renovate the building so it doesn’t look like a depressing place (downtown Montreal *shouldn’t* be depressing, that’s ludicrous), cut out the whole interviewing thing and instead instigate something more informal, and then put some structure into the department. Heck, if they were smart, they’d transform interproject into an incubator, like a full-time Google 20% personal project time or Double Fine’s Amnesia Fortnight. Let the devs use all the company’s assets and tech and make them draft concepts and build prototypes. If the prototype is actually attractive, make a small permanent team from it and let them run with it. If it isn’t, well, nothing was lost, as the devs were kept motivated, active and probably learned a thing or two along the way.

        • Josh W says:

          That’s exactly what I was thinking, the economic angle is brilliant, free time to do all sorts of cool things. The problem is the emotional and relational aspect; it is demoralising to feel that you are just being shelved, and must prove your usefulness again, and being put in an out of the way department that you need to interview your way out of is explicitly about that. But that kind of emotional framework can be flipped around according to the kinds of information and setting that you give to people.

          Imagine if people in interproject had access to general vague overviews of how different projects were going, allowing them to guess when they were likely to need artists etc. that way they would be able to actually feel like they were between projects, getting a bigger picture of how things were going, almost analogous to the picture that management get, although at slightly lower resolution. You could add things to help people get to know each other, and you’d be able to use it as an opportunity to build social links across the company. Even if someone is only in interproject for a week, the right kind of social facilitation could make them a passing visitor with interesting stories, and people working there could look at the projects that ubisoft currently has going, anticipate that they’d be there for a month or two, and know that they have space and time to start something small and new of their own.

      • Flatley says:

        That’s not an exploitative practice being described in the article; it reflects positively on Ubisoft that it’s willing to pay to hang onto its talent, even when the company is not directly benefiting from their work. Clearly, there’s nothing stopping the limbo developers from working on side-projects, taking courses online, updating their resumes, etc. etc.

        The things people will get upset about these days…

        • Arren says:

          Exactly this.

        • bglamb says:

          Yup. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that provides a huge amount of downtime to employees. A lot of us use it for personal development, sometimes we take it as basically free holiday if we’re burned out, and some sit around, moan about being bored and complain about how terrible the company is.

          Now I’m not the most self-motivated person in the world, by any means, and I certainly watch my fair share of movies on my downtime. But I don’t then fricking *complain* about the fact that I’ve been getting *paid* to watch an entire series of BattleStar Galactica when I could have been studying?!?!

          Personally I can’t really get my head around those who moan. If you want to do something productive then do something productive. If you want to work on a game, then just work on a game. You don’t need to be told what to do. You’re being paid to do literally whatever you want! It says something quite bad about you if all you want to do is just moan. From my experience if you went in and started telling these people what to do, they’d still moan.

          Getting to then choose a position internally via interviewing rather than being assigned sounds like a nice perk too! Especially when ‘not getting the job’ means going back to paid-party-land.

          From the sounds of it, Ubi have a good set up. They give people a holiday and then after a few months they ask people what they have got to show for themselves. I’m sure some people take a nice breather to get their head together, do some study or personal projects and then go to half a dozen internal interviews for projects they like the look of, showing off their new skills. Some people sit and moan and they end up getting let go, with 6 months more pay than they would have otherwise and a shed-load of new movie knowledge. Well, boo-fricking-hoo to them, frankly!

        • cpt_freakout says:

          Save me the snark of “people get upset for nothing”, please, we can have a good discussion without playing down on others’ concerns. Anyway, the thing is, these devs still have to apply for jobs inside Ubisoft. So yes, it’s obviously good for Ubisoft, but the problem I have with it, and which I see as exploitative, is that when sent to interproject there’s no way to tell if they will keep you or not. At least that’s what the article says. I mean, imagine any other job that’s also project-based. Now, you get sent off because a project is finished, while they could evidently just keep using your skills. You’re sent off to this limbo where, sure, you’re still getting paid, but since you don’t really know what’s going to happen there’s no real reason for you to look for another job elsewhere or do something else. So why not keep you in another project in the first place, if your talent is worth hanging onto? It’s not like every game demands completely different sets of skills from employees, but it does mean that Ubisoft can offer someone else the same job for less pay, for example. It’s keeping things flexible for itself, but not so much for the people it employs, because it’s a kind of patch on labor practices common in this industry (do a project, get fired), where there should be a complete re-haul towards job stability for as many people as possible.

          • drinniol says:

            It’s not like every project has an immediate opening for every other project that could possibly finish within it’s timeframe, either. Hence the application process. Many jobs have an internal application process that’s mixed with external applicants. It’s not unique to Ubisoft by any means.

    8. Anthile says:

      It’s not too difficult to see why The Case of Charles Dexter Ward has failed. Kickstarter projects are most successful when they fill a niche or do something novel. The other factor is name recognition but the problem is that Lovecraft has become more of a buzzword in recent years and the original story isn’t all that amazing to begin with. Something based on The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath or perhaps even At the Mountains of Madness would have been much more interesting.
      Overall the pitch was simply too conservative. Horror adventures are a dime a dozen these days, with Lovecraft or without. There are simply more interesting games to support. Moon Hunters, That Which Sleeps, Aegis Defenders or Serpent In The Staglands – these are all games I backed recently and all of these had much more of a wow factor.

      • Rizlar says:

        It’s still kind of horrifying that with all the supposed geek culture infatuation with Lovecraft there were less than 2000 backers for this: the first official Lovecraft game. Ah well.

        • Canadave says:

          I think a lot of that is overblown on the Internet, myself. The number of people in geek culture online who have actually read any Lovecraft is probably smaller than you think.

          (For the record, I’ve read a bit myself, it’s very atmospheric, but just isn’t my cup of tea overall, so I had no real interest in backing Dexter Ward.)

        • pepperfez says:

          “Geek culture” tends to pick up on the loudest, dumbest parts of its infatuations, and Charles Dexter Ward is among the quietest of Lovecraft’s works. I mean, are there even any tentacles?

        • MrTijger says:

          In all fairness, there seems to be a huge dropoff for any Kickstarter now, I think many people have turned away from the concept or at least much more careful with it.

        • Shuck says:

          “the first official Lovecraft game”
          One of the problems here is that “official” in this context is completely meaningless. (Some random guy, an extremely distant relative of Lovecraft’s, has, out of the blue, decided to lay claim to the work in order to make money licensing it out. That doesn’t recommend anything so licensed – it just means they used part of their budget on something nonsensical.) The Lovecraft influence, on the other hand, is pretty ubiquitous in modern horror games – or at least what most people misunderstand as the Lovecraft influence. It’s mostly reduced to tentacles, frankly. (Making the story this game is based on rather “un-Lovecraftian,” within that misunderstanding.) Also, almost all of Lovecraft’s work is such that it doesn’t really lend itself to direct adaptations in other mediums, so a game directly based on a Lovecraft story doesn’t really recommend it to anyone familiar with his work. (Although this particular story could be adapted as a film, I don’t see it as the great basis for a game, for instance.)
          All of that leaves aside issues of Kickstarter fatigue and a very crowded crowdfunding environment where a greater number of would-be developers are fighting for a much-reduced pool of funds.

        • Nogo says:

          If he’s right that 100,000 people saw it then that number is totally solid. When 2% of people who hear about your project just give you money you’re doing pretty well.

      • malkav11 says:

        I don’t think it’s entirely wrong to suggest that there is some Kickstarter fatigue going on. I for one was much more likely to back a videogame Kickstarter back in 2012. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly – this is obvious and not the major component, but backing games is even riskier than a traditional preorder. At least two games I put money (thankfully small) towards never materialized (Haunts, Unwritten), and at least one other released in absolutely unacceptable state (Starlight Inception). Some others aren’t out yet so the jury’s still out. Even those that released and were good weren’t necessarily what I was envisioning when it started. But more importantly, there has been little to no intrinsic benefit to backing videogames for me. I might get a small price discount, but at this rate I’ll usually see it on sale for less or in a bundle before I actually get to it. I’m not interested in playing betas or alphas. Extras are mostly not particularly meaningful and often available later anyway. So, yeah, making sure the project happens at all is still a pull, but I need to actually care about the project for that to be worth it. That means supporting a studio or developer I already know and care about (Obsidian, inXile, Dejobaan, Double Fine, etc), or a project that’s cool enough yet practical and levelheaded enough to be a must have. And a lot of KS projects right now just don’t make me care. Charles Dexter Ward certainly didn’t. I’m all for horror adventures but I don’t particularly need a specific one to exist, and I definitely don’t need a direct adaptation of an existing Lovecraft work. Make up your own, innovative and compelling Lovecraft-INSPIRED story and somehow make it still fun to experience, and I might back you.

        I still back a ton of boardgames and tabletop roleplaying games, though, because they typically give meaningful extras, are easier to purchase and track by going through Kickstarter than through other channels, and have a better track record in terms of actually delivering. And I don’t have nearly as big a backlog of boardgames. (Though it’s getting there!)

        • Philomelle says:

          To me, it was less that the game was an adaptation of an existing work and more that the entire pitch was badly put together. The pitch itself is enormous, but all of it is just words upon words. Words that often don’t mean anything, with adjectives attached to every single noun in what I presume is hope that this bloated “Lovecraft-ness” of the pitch’s writing would attract more people to the project. What the writer doesn’t seem to understand is that a lot of modern Lovecraft fans learn of his works through Wikipedia summaries and adaptations because that bloated adjective-laden writing is very hard to swallow.

          The gameplay is barely discussed and the footage from the game, combined with provided art assets, makes it impossible to say if they’re making a first or third-person adventure game. On top of that, the footage itself is a 1-minute trailer and three screenshots which contradict each other in the manner stated above.

          I didn’t back it for the same reason why I don’t back most other video game Kickstarter. There is way too little game there for a pitch based around a video game.

    9. Tams80 says:

      That ‘Embed with…’ article is a great. Well if your expecting just video games then it won’t be; but it does show an interesting side to the Japanese indie game ‘industry’ and is a ‘live’ example of how it is changing.

      • pepperfez says:

        There is a responsibility to cover poor, talented developers whose work you personally love. It is your responsibility to find these people and to dissect why their work is good, where it comes from. Everyone benefits from originality and perspective and the developer gets to eat at the end of it.

        Written by someone who Gets It.

    10. Csirke says:

      But… But… This is a PC gaming site! What is this article about Bayonetta doing here?

      Now I’ve read the article, it made me curious, I’d want to play the game, and I can’t :(

      • pepperfez says:

        WiiU is like the official console of PC gamers, so you might as well just get one.

        • Vandelay says:

          As a Wii U owner, I can agree with that. Not really sure why any PC owner would have picked up either of the other new consoles, but WiiU has plenty of unique exclusive games to make it worthwhile. Plus, Nintendo are the only ones that have shown interest in keeping their previous generation games alive and included backwards compatibility. A big plus if you didn’t already own a Wii.

          I don’t think it has fully utilised what the second screen on the gamepad could do, but hopefully in time.

          • malkav11 says:

            Plenty? If you like Mario, maybe. I haven’t seen much that isn’t a Nintendo first-party title, and so far there’s no sign of the Nintendo first-party franchises I most enjoy (Metroid, say) and plenty of Mario-related stuff that I could not possibly care less about.

            I mean, compared to PS4 or Xbone, it’s a smorgasbord. But enough to bother getting a WiiU? Not as far as I’m concerned.

            • pepperfez says:

              If you don’t like Mario then you don’t like joy. This is a scientifically proven fact.

        • bigjig says:

          Ha ha, totally agree. The Wii U is pretty much a must have PC gaming peripheral at this point. There’s barely any overlap in games and all gaming experiences are completely different to what you get on PC, unlike the other two consoles. A perfect way to round out a gaming collection.

      • Jamesworkshop says:

        strong hints are to Bay2 being on PC at some point in the future, so maybe they will be a hostage to fortune

        • Philomelle says:

          The development of Bayonetta 2 was funded by Nintendo, so the chances of it being released on any platform other than Wii-U are those of a snowball in hell.

          There are way more chances of the original Bayonetta coming to PC, as there is word that a PC version exists within Platinum’s offices and is only kept from being released by Sega’s disinterest in the platform.

          • Phantasma says:

            What?!

            If this is true, it would be the saddest story i’ve heard for quite a while.

            • Philomelle says:

              Don’t quote me on the second one. A PC copy of Bayonetta existing within Platinum offices has been a persisting rumor for years, but it has yet to be confirmed. The thing with Bayonetta is that it’s actually optimized for Windows-based platforms (it runs much better on X360 than on PS3), so a PC version existing is a logical conclusion. I guess we’ll find out now that Sega is going through their old console games and releasing them on PC.

              But the first part is absolutely guaranteed. Hideki Kamiya went on record saying that Bayonetta 2 would never happen because of the original’s mediocre sales. It was Nintendo’s financial investment that made the game possible and if you know Nintendo, you know they get very vicious about protecting their exclusives.

      • Geebs says:

        Bayonetta is a good enough game to be worth getting a console box (not PS3 because the port to that platform is notoriously terrible).

        Basically, play Revengeance and, if you still want more, get hold of a 360 or wiiU and a copy of Bayonetta. That’s what I did.

    11. derbefrier says:

      for the punks out there Music this week should include the new Lagwagon Album, its been 9 years since the last one and its pretty good. Also the new Rancid album is good too both came out this week. now back to star citizen!

    12. Philomelle says:

      I keep running into the references to Killer Is Dead as a game where women are sexually submissive in that Bayonetta article and pausing.

      Have I played a game different from everyone else? I felt like Killer Is Dead entirely about the deconstruction of the James Bond archetype and observation of how inherently powerless that archetype is. The women in Mondo’s life are anything but submissive. Vivienne ignores everything he asks of her half of the time. His girlfriends often phone him in the middle of work, with Natalia commenting “I’m bored, so forget about work and come see me.” while Mondo is marching through the secret base of an undead musician who plans to drive the world insane with music. During the Gigolo missions, she politely averts her eyes and invites Mondo to stare instead of being distracted from him. Betty will laugh about how he’s being “far too obvious” before hopping off the chair and shaking her butt at him. And all of them have a huge delay on when the mood meter starts dropping, so it’s not unusual to look up from ogling and find them grinning at Mondo with a knowing look in their eyes.

      Yes, the Gigolo missions are male gaze-y as all fuck, but they’re ultimately all about women in Mondo’s life treating him as their personal power fantasy, their personal little James Bond who showers them with stares and gifts in return for a night together. He keeps being pushed into these awkward social rituals where his girlfriends want him to play James Bond to their femme fatale, essentially claiming that male power fantasy as a female sex fantasy.

      The game is about a lot of things, but it’s not about women being submissive because Mondo’s entire point that despite his cliche James Bond looks, epic sword skills and villain-stopping adventures, he’s completely powerless in the grand scheme of things and barely important even within his own social circle.

      • pepperfez says:

        Ehhh…I think you’re reading it against the grain (which is always an interesting approach!). It’s still stoic, detached Mondo being showered with sexual attention by multiple beautiful women. The James Bond fantasy is having women think you’re James Bond, not actually being a superspy.

        • Philomelle says:

          Oh, I won’t argue that he’s still being showered by attention. My point is more that I struggle to see how anyone in that game is submissive when the game is almost entirely about Mondo’s lack of agency.

          • pepperfez says:

            Oh! I was misreading you, then — I was thinking you were arguing against identification with Mondo being a sex fantasy, rather than against that fantasy being one of dominance. We’re on the same page, I think. (Note also how often Bond has sexualized violence visited upon him; he’s not consistently dominant either.)

            • Philomelle says:

              Hahaha, alright.

              Yeah, my point is ultimately that in all Gigolo missions, Mondo is a James Bond-flavored sex fantasy to women he dates. There is definitely no submission on his girlfriends’ part. Natalia tells him off for prioritizing his work over their dates even when he’s out fighting off an armada of evil zombies, Betty blatantly complains when he doesn’t try hard enough with his leering, and Koharu will sneak glances while he’s ogling her. The whole thing is so blatantly staged by the women he dates, even if it exploits the male gaze to show that.

              The only submissive one is Mondo, since he obediently does his job as a James Bond stereotype despite having no freedom to fix or change anything.

            • Person of Con says:

              I feel like I’ve adopted the pretentious horn-rimmed glasses role this week, since this is the second time in this comment thread I’ve linked to an academic paper, but here’s another on Killer is Dead’s gigalo mode: link to firstpersonscholar.com

              I haven’t played the game myself, so all I can say is that it seems reasonable, albeit a little apologetic.

    13. pepperfez says:

      Oh! I was misreading you, then — I was thinking you were arguing against identification with Mondo being a sex fantasy, rather than against that fantasy being one of dominance. We’re on the same page, I think. (Note also how often Bond has sexualized violence visited upon him; he’s not consistently dominant either.)

    14. Wowbagger says:

      The Sunday papers is fast becoming my favourite post on rps. It has some great articles that I’m unlikely to come across myself, so thank you kindly!

    15. bill says:

      Maybe I misread that Byonetta / Male Gaze article, but it seems like the author is arguing that ‘people should forget about male gaze because women also play games’. Which seems to be totally backwards.

      But the author also says that Male Gaze is frequently misused and then doesn’t define it, so maybe I”m misusing it.
      Or maybe they’re talking purely in the context of Bayonetta, but they don’t really say that and just talk about game critics using ‘male gaze’ too much. (Something I can’t say i’ve noticed, so maybe it is specific to bayonetta).

      She also then, seemingly, disproves her own point by talking about how influenced the game is by the very male gaze of it’s director, and other female game characters who are similar in that.
      Then at the end she basically says “I don’t care because I’m so desperate to play a female character that I ignore their ever-growing boobs, the focus on their butts and their clothes being ripped off”.

      So, as far as I can tell the article is actually: Male Gaze is so prevalent that I’ve learned to ignore it and Bayonetta is a good game.

      • pepperfez says:

        Yeah, it’s a great article as a personal reaction piece, but the argumentation is sorta wonky.