Excessively Excessive

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SpiderJerusalem:
How do you weed out the female characters that are there for the service of the male characters when your entire test is based on something as flimsy as these parameters? It reduces EVERYTHING to a standardized level, thus making everything weak if it doesn't fit the narrow margin. It puts a character that might spend the entire movie nude, being objectified and put down on the same level as a strong female hero simply because words are not exchanged for some arbitrary reason.

I don't suppose you have a specific example of a female character who is objectified and put down by men, yet never speaks about it to anyone? Because so far all I've seen from you is pointless conjecture about how a hypothetical scenario could slip through the Test's net - as if Alison Bechdel is some omniscient calculator capable of encompassing all things everywhere.

The fact of the matter is that sometimes, it really is as simple as two women being able to have a conversation about something other than men.

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

SpiderJerusalem:
How do you weed out the female characters that are there for the service of the male characters when your entire test is based on something as flimsy as these parameters? It reduces EVERYTHING to a standardized level, thus making everything weak if it doesn't fit the narrow margin. It puts a character that might spend the entire movie nude, being objectified and put down on the same level as a strong female hero simply because words are not exchanged for some arbitrary reason.

I don't suppose you have a specific example of a female character who is objectified and put down by men, yet never speaks about it to anyone? Because so far all I've seen from you is pointless conjecture about how a hypothetical scenario could slip through the Test's net - as if Alison Bechdel is some omniscient calculator capable of encompassing all things everywhere.

The fact of the matter is that sometimes, it really is as simple as two women being able to have a conversation about something other than men.

What in the hell are you talking about? In real life? In movies? If a character like that (for example, say in Striptease) did talk to a friend about it in the film, guess what, she wouldn't pass the test. Because, hey, they're talking about MEN. Had she gone to her friend and said, "gosh, Mandy, I sure do think that today I will go the store and get that dress I've always wanted" she would have passed and all would swell. Right back to the fray of being ogled at.

as if Alison Bechdel is some omniscient calculator capable of encompassing all things everywhere.

Which is exactly a part of the problem. She isn't. Yet her test (carried on by others), attempts to act as if they were an authority on this subject because of this standardized testing process.

What are you even arguing, exactly?

Things that are meaningless on their own may being meaningful in the aggregate. Since when is this even controversial?

If you're a week late paying a bill once, it isn't generally a big deal. If you're habitually late with your payment... (and saying "hey, that one time I payed on time" isn't going to help out much)

SpiderJerusalem:

How do you weed out the female characters that are there for the service of the male characters when your entire test is based on something as flimsy as these parameters? It reduces EVERYTHING to a standardized level, thus making everything weak if it doesn't fit the narrow margin. It puts a character that might spend the entire movie nude, being objectified and put down on the same level as a strong female hero simply because words are not exchanged for some arbitrary reason.

The same way you weed anything out. You examine the data, particularly outliers, more closely.

You are grossly overestimating the general populous. Most people do not consume enough of "medium x" to be able to look at trends, etc., just like most people aren't able to study the same cohort of smokers for 20 years looking for health problems. I'm glad your pack-a-day aunt lived to 109, but that isn't an earth-shattering counterargument.

If someone wants to use this test as "The Ulitmate Last Word on Women in Media," then they are wrong, not the test. If I fail using a screwdriver as a hammer, you're going to blame the screwdriver?

Who is making this argument to only ever use the Bechdel test and to ignore everything else? This is just seeing if there are hoof prints, it isn't telling us if they were horses or zebras.

Also, words mean things. A test that accurately and reliably measures what is supposed to measure isn't broken.

SpiderJerusalem:
What in the hell are you talking about? In real life? In movies?

Now you're just being obtuse. The Bechdel Test refers to fiction. You are, presumably, also referring to fiction. But rather than engage in sincere dialogue, you're still tossing about meaningless speculation in lieu of concrete examples that prove your claims that the test is "broken".

To illustrate: In Striptease, Erin's character arc progresses in relation to either her ex-husband or Ving Rhames' character. She has very little to say that isn't about one or both of them. Ergo, it fails the Bechdel Test by virtue of depicting a fictional female character whose existence is entirely defined by men.

To illustrate further: the Legacy of Kain series also fails the Bechdel Test, as there is only one prominent female character in the entire series. This does not reflect on the quality of Legacy of Kain as a whole.

And finally, Baldur's Gate passes the Bechdel Test irrespective of your main character's gender, because potential female party members talk to each other about topics besides you.

Which is exactly a part of the problem. She isn't. Yet her test (carried on by others), attempts to act as if they were an authority on this subject because of this standardized testing process.

Tell you what: find a formula that can accurately anticipate all possible variables in any given situation, and we'll use that instead.

The Bechdel Test is a useful tool for illustrating precisely what Yahtzee's referring to: basic inequality of representation. Nothing more, nothing less. But since you either can't or won't see that, I don't think there's any point in furthering this discussion.

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

Now you're just being obtuse. The Bechdel Test refers to fiction. You are, presumably, also referring to fiction. But rather than engage in sincere dialogue, you're still tossing about meaningless speculation in lieu of concrete examples that prove your claims that the test is "broken".

And now you're just misrepresenting what was written. You, yourself, posted an example that I contradicted regarding this movie and illustrating precisely why the test is broken. If everything is laid out on the same level, regardless should they be, you will always get broken results. That's why people are fighting against things like the SAT's in the states.

The Bechdel Test is a useful tool for illustrating precisely what Yahtzee's referring to: basic inequality of representation.

And it is at that broken. How is this not getting to you?

It's not about quality.

It's not about which is a better movie.

It's about the test, itself, making something important nothing but an overtly simplified banality that (if we're to believe the posters in this thread) nobody can agree on as to it's purpose, or disagree with it completely.

4173:

The same way you weed anything out. You examine the data, particularly outliers, more closely.

You are grossly overestimating the general populous. Most people do not consume enough of "medium x" to be able to look at trends, etc., just like most people aren't able to study the same cohort of smokers for 20 years looking for health problems. I'm glad your pack-a-day aunt lived to 109, but that isn't an earth-shattering counterargument.

So which one is it? Do we trust the public to weed out the data, to look closer, to understand, or are we grossly overestimating the general populous? Because if someone truly cares about the matter, they've already given the Bechdel test a look and found it wanting.

So who then does it serve?

I wish people would just stop crying at the words 'Bechdel Test' and pay attention to what actually matters:The point Yahtzee is actually trying to make.
And frankly, i agree with his points, This industry has no self-control, it's all about excess and overdoing things...I still don't know how to change this, seeing as we all throw our money at the industry that keeps betraying us at every step.

SpiderJerusalem:

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

Now you're just being obtuse. The Bechdel Test refers to fiction. You are, presumably, also referring to fiction. But rather than engage in sincere dialogue, you're still tossing about meaningless speculation in lieu of concrete examples that prove your claims that the test is "broken".

And now you're just misrepresenting what was written. You, yourself, posted an example that I contradicted regarding this movie and illustrating precisely why the test is broken. If everything is laid out on the same level, regardless should they be, you will always get broken results. That's why people are fighting against things like the SAT's in the states.

The Bechdel Test is a useful tool for illustrating precisely what Yahtzee's referring to: basic inequality of representation.

And it is at that broken. How is this not getting to you?

It's not about quality.

It's not about which is a better movie.

It's about the test, itself, making something important nothing but an overtly simplified banality that (if we're to believe the posters in this thread) nobody can agree on as to it's purpose, or disagree with it completely.

4173:

The same way you weed anything out. You examine the data, particularly outliers, more closely.

You are grossly overestimating the general populous. Most people do not consume enough of "medium x" to be able to look at trends, etc., just like most people aren't able to study the same cohort of smokers for 20 years looking for health problems. I'm glad your pack-a-day aunt lived to 109, but that isn't an earth-shattering counterargument.

So which one is it? Do we trust the public to weed out the data, to look closer, to understand, or are we grossly overestimating the general populous? Because if someone truly cares about the matter, they've already given the Bechdel test a look and found it wanting.

So who then does it serve?

Both/Neither.

As I see it, it's only useful for medium sized groups. An example would be along the lines of (completely hypothetically) the 20 highest grossing movies of the summer, or something. The group is small enough that the presenter can directly address exceptions/loopholes/technicalities etc. but large enough that the disinterested consumer may not have noticed the trend/attitude/atmosphere etc.

This is just my particular take. I'm not saying it is great and vital. I'm not saying this is how it was originally intended to be used. I'm certainly not saying that it is used, if I am correct, this way all that often.

Frankly, I'm arguing about "broken" more than I'm defending the Bechdel test specifically.

The Bechdel test demonstrates that an inequality exists in certain sectors of popular culture. That's all it does, that's all it purports to do, that's all it was ever intended to do. If you have a problem with that, then the problem is yours, not the test's.

SpiderJerusalem:
And how are you still not seeing the problem with the test being simplified then?

One might say I'm simply failing to see a problem that isn't there. You very much want to be against this test for some reason. Perhaps you're one of those folks that turns a bit angry at any intimation that male and female characters aren't exactly handled in an equitable manner, I don't know.

What I do know is that you're not being rational in this. And at this point, you're so entrenched in your anti-test position, that it's not a matter of logic anymore. You're emotionally invested in not being wrong on this, emotion being the enemy of reason.

My hope is that, recognizing that, you can take a step back and reassess. No one's keeping score here.

How can you sit there and claim that it's OK for it to be simplified (as if the people reading about the test and looking at the results were kids.

Not kids. No one said this test was for kids. It is for people who, perhaps like children, aren't aware of what they don't know. Many people really, truly aren't aware that there is any difference in the standard treatment of male and female characters. Usually, those people are males. We only tend to really notice an inequity when it's not in our favor -- just human nature.

How do you weed out the female characters that are there for the service of the male characters when your entire test is based on something as flimsy as these parameters?

See, this is the thing you keep saying you're "not saying." You're making this test something it isn't. It's not supposed to weed out all of those female characters. This is an x-ray, not surgery. It's just there to point out some of the general symptoms.

One of the symptoms of stroke is loss of balance. Does that mean every person that experiences a loss of balance is experiencing a stroke? No. Another is slurred speech. Does that mean everyone that slurs their speech is suffering a stroke? No. Does it mean everyone experiencing both is in the throes of a stroke? No.

You can go down the list of the handful of major stroke symptoms. And it's possible to have all of those symptoms and not be having a stroke. Does that mean such a list is completely useless, and can never be helpful to anyone? (Anyone who says yes is an idiot, by the way.)

If you go down that list and you have most or all of the symptoms, it means you should consider more carefully whether or not you (or the person you're observing) are having a stroke. It might mean go see a doctor just in case. But it's not a diagnosis.

This "test" is no different.

It puts a character that might spend the entire movie nude, being objectified and put down on the same level as a strong female hero simply because words are not exchanged for some arbitrary reason.

No it doesn't, because this test says nothing about "levels." You're adding that. Once again doing exactly the thing you keep telling us to stop saying you're doing (but you're doing it anyway). It's simply pointing out a different problem.

The problem isn't the sexual objectification of women. The problem is the more subtle marginalization of women, and the default to the male perspective. That can happen in the titty-fest gratification movies, or it can happen in the latest Oscar bait. Because it's not about the obvious problems. It's about pointing out the less obvious ones.

Nobody ever said it was. Stop pulling that into this.

You have my word that I'll stop bringing it up the instant you stop doing it.

No, this test has done nothing of the sort. I've viewed movies for a damn long while with an eye for good characters, regardless of gender. The test is what it is, a broken, overtly simplified attack point for people who refuse to discuss a matter at length, but would rather reduce it to simple bullet points and say "there, look, it's a problem", without realizing that their contribution is only harming themselves.

Sorry, but this test was designed exactly for people like you, and it has done its job perfectly. You're absolutely the perfect example of what this test is supposed to do. But because you hate the idea of the test, you would certainly never admit that to yourself or others... but there it is. You've proven that this test:

1. Successfully generates discussion on what constitutes fair female representation in movies.
2. Causes people to look back over movies they already know through a different lens.
3. Does so by using a simple set of rules to very generally indicate a problem.

You're the proof.

I hope the last line will come true; "Eventually publishers have got to understand that the only excess that's guaranteed to work is being excessively good."

In an attempt for Yahtzee to identify the roots of the issue of feminine portrayal in media and remedy them he just gave us another reason to flip out over the "women" issue.

Counter intuitive or ingenious in demonstrating our ignorance?

You Decide!

EDIT: Also, Hold the phone. Can't the Bechdel test be applied to guys as well?

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

The underlying point of the Bechdel Test is that, in many media, female characters are defined primarily by their relationships to men. If a work of fiction fails the Bechdel Test, it's because, whatever other characteristics have been assigned to the women in that story, the men are more important. It's not about performance, it's not about strength, it's about whether or not female characters can stand on their own and have conversations that aren't about the men in their lives. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that male characters rarely have that problem.

Mass Effect 3 passes the Bechdel Test. Assassin's Creed does not. This isn't to say that one is better than the other, just that the former represents women more fairly than the latter. That is all.

the AC series might be like that intentionally, as in the 1500's women had no rights. if ubisoft wrote the same way, in a completely modern game, would it still fail?

Arc Light:

As an aside, the comment, "it's always difficult to rid ourselves of such basic, instinctual things, in the same way human beings will probably never shake off instinctual racism," is so mind-numbingly ignorant that it's almost beneath contempt.

Humanity's predilection for instinctual discrimination is quite well-documented, and there are zero indications of it diminishing any time soon. I fail to see how his comment is in any way ignorant.

OT: I sincerely doubt the AAA industry will take the cue from indie developers that quality matters more than quantity. Chances are they'll take whatever aspect they felt made an indie game good, and promptly continue to excessively enlarge it.

To get back to the article: I think the rule of "more" is kind of an inherent rule of sequels in general.

The first movie of a series, or the first season of a show, or the first book in a series, or whatever, might just be about saving people trapped in a building from terrorists, or stopping the President from getting assassinated, or killing a couple of vampires, or something like that. But each sequel has to be bigger then that. By the second or third book/movie/season, you're going to be Saving The World from nuclear weapons/evil gods/The Dark Lord/ whatever. Think of almost any series of movies, books, or television show; anything from 24, to action movies, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Each season always has to be Bigger then the one before it.

Consider the high percentage of big video games that are long-running franchises, and I think that explains a lot of the whole "excess" thing he's talking about. It can also happen within a video game; each section of the game, each chapter, has to be an acceleration to the chapter before in order to come to a big climax, as the threat level increases and your character gets stronger. Each phase of the story has to be scarier then the one before it. Each new power you get has to be bigger and flashier then the one before it. So by the time you get to the end of the game, things tend to get a little absurd. (Think about the final moves in classic final fantasy games, where the "each move has to be more cool looking then the one before it" rule gets to such absurd levels that every round of the battle you're blowing up the sun or something equally absurd.)

I'm generally getting bored of excess in games. It's not really the graphical quality but things like action sequences in games that try to one-up each other. Bombastic is the perfect word for it. But that word has the wrong reputation. People use it to describe something that's good, but the word means quite the opposite. It means something which is big and impressive but has no meaning behind it. We should be trying to avoid games being bombastic. A developer should feel bad for his game being called bombastic. It basically means the game is just full of stupid meaningless explosions with no artistic merit.

bullet_sandw1ch:
the AC series might be like that intentionally, as in the 1500's women had no rights. if ubisoft wrote the same way, in a completely modern game, would it still fail?

Bear in mind that Lucy Stillman and Rebecca Crane are both part of the "Desmond" storyline, which is set in the present day. But even if you set that aside, it's not an issue of rights per se: there are women like Maria and Caterina Sforza who participate in the Altair/Ezio segments, but per the specific parameters of the Bechdel Test, they don't have any significance independent of the protagonist. They exist in the story only in relation to him.

As for Ubisoft as a whole... to be honest, the only game I can think of that meets the Test's requirements is Beyond Good and Evil. It's been a while since I played Heroes of Might & Magic V or VI, but if they had any female warlords conversing with female lieutenants, that would also pass.

WoahDan:
While I agree with Yahtzee that the pursuit of excess is the problem ,I don't really see the situation improving either. After all the underlying problem behind this is that the executives don't get what makes a good game, and given that this problem is common to ALL creative industries ( or rather, executives not pushing for quality as they know that that is an unreliable way to make money) I don't see it being fixed any time soon.

I noticed this when taking my game design classes at college that I was learning a lot more of how to make "excessive" animations, graphical tricks, or how to make something look "realistic" than focusing on core mechanics of a game--or how some games are good while others are not so good. I think the major problem here is triple-A games are influenced more by marketing and attempts to "one-up" the competitor in sales.

Activision releases "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" a few years back and it was a massive success. Prior to that, Microsoft released the "Halo" series on their proprietary console, and it was a massive success. This leads to other developers/publishers to think that they need to mimic these games to earn more revenue, instead of focusing on making an interesting game. So they focus on making their "game" more flashy and pretty than the competitors, relying on trailers and "awesome scene quota" numbers to follow so their game could sell well. In turn, this makes them slowly (at least to most gamers' opinions) turn their games into films with less interaction and more emphasis on trying to impress us.

Indie games seem to have similar problems that they want to take a familiar game, but make it "bigger" or flashier, in some cases. Since "Minecraft" was released I have met an instructor at my college that wants to make an FPS, block-building sandbox world similar to "Minecraft" but made in C#/XNA. I'm sure there are some similar indie games that try mimicking "Angry Birds" but make it more flashy. It may only be a matter of time before Activision, EA, or Ubisoft release their "Minecraft" clone.

I like how everyone is still talking about the 4ch/Goonswarm events. Because, of course, attention wasn't the intent at ALL. They were totally focused on attacking women. Yup. Couldn't possibly have been attention. All of these people across the world giving them shitloads of media attention isn't encouraging them to go do the same thing again.

Ignoring people doesn't work in real-life because they're right in front of you. On Teh Internets, ignoring people causes them to, functionally, not exist.

Voltano:

WoahDan:
While I agree with Yahtzee that the pursuit of excess is the problem ,I don't really see the situation improving either. After all the underlying problem behind this is that the executives don't get what makes a good game, and given that this problem is common to ALL creative industries ( or rather, executives not pushing for quality as they know that that is an unreliable way to make money) I don't see it being fixed any time soon.

I noticed this when taking my game design classes at college that I was learning a lot more of how to make "excessive" animations, graphical tricks, or how to make something look "realistic" than focusing on core mechanics of a game--or how some games are good while others are not so good. I think the major problem here is triple-A games are influenced more by marketing and attempts to "one-up" the competitor in sales.

Activision releases "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" a few years back and it was a massive success. Prior to that, Microsoft released the "Halo" series on their proprietary console, and it was a massive success. This leads to other developers/publishers to think that they need to mimic these games to earn more revenue, instead of focusing on making an interesting game. So they focus on making their "game" more flashy and pretty than the competitors, relying on trailers and "awesome scene quota" numbers to follow so their game could sell well. In turn, this makes them slowly (at least to most gamers' opinions) turn their games into films with less interaction and more emphasis on trying to impress us.

Indie games seem to have similar problems that they want to take a familiar game, but make it "bigger" or flashier, in some cases. Since "Minecraft" was released I have met an instructor at my college that wants to make an FPS, block-building sandbox world similar to "Minecraft" but made in C#/XNA. I'm sure there are some similar indie games that try mimicking "Angry Birds" but make it more flashy. It may only be a matter of time before Activision, EA, or Ubisoft release their "Minecraft" clone.

But all this is completely moot. There's no discussion to be had. Money talks and, right now, money is saying "WE WANT MORE OF THE SAME." That's the *ONLY* point that matters.

RvLeshrac:
But all this is completely moot. There's no discussion to be had. Money talks and, right now, money is saying "WE WANT MORE OF THE SAME." That's the *ONLY* point that matters.

Which explains why we see more and more women being put in bikini outfits, excessive graphical details to facial features that only show up on the camera for 3 seconds, or the plan to make a "horror" based game more broad to get a bigger audience by making it a co-op shooter?

It's a double-edged sword, I guess. On one hand we could point to the publishers/developers for making these insulting, boring, or "non-game-important" features in their game as they think it would sell. Yet we also pay out money to prove these publishers/developers right that we *DO* want the stuff that is insulting, boring, or "non-game-important" features. Several gamers wanted to boycott "Modern Warfare 2" because it was removing Dedicated Servers as a feature for the PC port--yet that still didn't stop that game from selling so well.

You are right that money talks and it tells publishers/developers that we just want the same stuff. But it also tells us that we're not so smart with how to say what we want with our words (i.e. spending our money elsewhere).

subtlefuge:

saintdane05:
Yahtzee, I was hoping for this debate to be over so we can start being immature again.

subtlefuge:
Arbitrary quantification of complex creative ideas. And to think there's a whole website that you linked to that's devoted to the dreamcrushers. It's mindnumbingly stupid. Like TV Tropes level stupid.

DOn't diss the Great, all Powerful God Tv Tropes!

What's it going to do, molest my avatar?

It probably already has.

Voltano:

RvLeshrac:
But all this is completely moot. There's no discussion to be had. Money talks and, right now, money is saying "WE WANT MORE OF THE SAME." That's the *ONLY* point that matters.

Which explains why we see more and more women being put in bikini outfits, excessive graphical details to facial features that only show up on the camera for 3 seconds, or the plan to make a "horror" based game more broad to get a bigger audience by making it a co-op shooter?

Er, yes actually those things are a direct result of money talking, supply and demand my friend.

The underlying problem behind much of the industry is not that money talks, its that it has too large a microphone. Execs will ALWAYS have influence and will usually use that influence for ill, that's just how the world works. Execs are always going to go after the latest trend, that's the most reliable way for them to make money (remember, whilst quality sells even the best team makes duds from time to time, and the risk of the game being passed up on by fans is ever present) and that fact is not going to change any time soon.

What can and hopefully will change is that hopefully designers will become more willing to say "that's nice but we are going this way instead" gaming needs to realise its a creative medium first and a business second, and those designers who have already realised it need to gain the freedom to act on that realisation.

[quote="Voltano" post="6.380660.14973151"

...or the plan to make a "horror" based game more broad to get a bigger audience by making it a co-op shooter?[/quote]

*Head desk* Damn it... I was trying to forget about that! No! God damn it! AHH!!!

OT: Yep. I was somewhat expecting this sort of EP after Lollipop Chainsaw. I was actually expecting it a little earlier, to be honest.

SpiderJerusalem:

Reading comprehension, you don't have it.

Where did I say that not passing the test makes anything a bad movie? Where? I said, very clearly, that the test is broken because it takes nothing but numbers into count and would pass any female characters, even if they were nude prostitutes that spoke of what are their favorite turnips, as long as they didn't talk about men and had names.

Next time, take your time and actually read what is there. Thank you.

Ever try being less hostile when trying to make a point to someone on the internet?

canadamus_prime:
That's all very well Yahtzee, but how do we change this pattern of behavior?

There really isn't at the core nothing wrong with wanting more. It's part of growing up that we raise our standards or want to experience new sensations or subjects that makes us dynamic.

As for changing this behavior? Well the first step is to acknowledge that there really isn't anything wrong for wanting more and having a section of the medium just give the people what they want.

The main problem people most people like the whole tropes vs women is that you see them want the characters set to their standards but not actually do any of the work to make the game that demonstrates how exactly they want to be represented. It's fine having a conversation about it but you don't get any real change by complaining(and yes that it what it comes down to) complaining about all the tropes that make you feel that a subject or hobby isn't "fair" to their gender.

The best way to change the behavior is to give the people that feeling of more. Okay we have video games that at a glance are shallow like DOA and Soul Calibur because the consumer doesn't want to spend a couple moments reading the instruction booklets. Then design a game that offers exactly what you want. The games are there en masse in the market that while not exactly given the big hype if you look at gamefaqs or game trailers but they are their in spades. The problem and solution goes both ways though, one part has to come from the developer and the other part has to come from the player to actually immerse themselves in the narrative and actually care and understand the backstory of each character.

Sure it is easy to take a game like The Last Remnant and laugh at it cause you watched the episode Unskippable demonstrating how terrible the opening scene is. But doing so demonstrates that the player or viewer doesn't actually care about the narrative and simply writes it all off and moves onto the next game not seeing that some of the best characters to the narrative are the women that kept me playing that game(to which was much better playing on the PC than the Xbox due to completely letting the player take 100% control). You see the same stuff in games like DOA, Street Fighter, KOF, and Soul Calibur. Fighting games get a lot of crap but the only reason people go "LOL BOOBS" and "Sexist dribble" is because the consumer doesn't actually analyze the product. It's like watching the feminist frequency video review of Suckerpunch. Watch her review and then watch Moviebob and then ask yourself, which review actually educated you on the director and his work? Which review actually talked about the movie's plot, narrative and design more in-depth? Which review didn't go out of their way to call the director a "parasite"? Takes two to tango and that's what the main problem I see when people complain.

They gloss over the material not able to address their bias or take the media driven narrative on a game seriously as evidence for their agenda.

So if you really want to change that demand for more you have to give the people more. Give them different experiences, stories, characters, narratives. But you can only do that when you stop complaining about the games that are out there and start actually making the games you think people will want to play. I volunteer at my local library and every day I see when I take care of the pick up list in the new section I see books that range from the entire spectrum. Trashy romance novels or guys and gals, left wing political books, right win political books, how to books, mystery, sci-fi. None of these authors(short of the political guys) spend their time complaining about all the other books they are competing against, they just start writing the book and see if it is what people would want and can sell.

EDIT: Also just a side note. Don't forget that games also need a children's and young adult section as well. Complaining about a Mario game or Kirby game and demanding that more or change of character just cause you are an adult is just silly. The entire Harry Potter series was a collection of children's books and millions of adults read the series and you know what? There is nothing wrong for a grown up man or woman to sit down with a children's book or young adult book and reading and enjoy the content. This also applies to games. Some games do just need to be about the insanity that we love growing up with.

I disagree entirely with Yahtzee's points, and believe he's off on almost all of them. He's seeing a problem where there isn't one.

People are making the "IDIOCRACY IS SO TRUE!" argument here, which isn't the case. There is absolutely NOTHING new in video game escalation - Character designs no more skimpy/sexualized/overdriven than they've ever been, even if the detail's improved. The plots are just as sensational (THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS!) and etc. Now that we have better graphical resolution, we do have a bigger ability to present even more bombastic stuff. However, we also get a LOT of tamer stuff. But big stuff is what makes headlines, and it's NOT a trait unique to video games: Comics have been doing it (Infinite Crisis on Infinite Earths?), Movies have been doing it, Anime has been doing it, books have been doing it, and even music's been doing it in its own form (Heard of the "Loudness War"?)

Fighting games generally go for gratuitous sexuality and violence because EVERYTHING about them is gratuitous. Yeah, there are characters like Ivy (Who showed up back in the late 90's - certianly not a new trend)... but the Male Cast gets VERY similar treatment. And on that note, Capcom REALLY needs to add Katt from Breath of Fire II to their fighting game lineups, and not do anything stupid to her character design like give her pants or something. She's even an arena fighter in the game!

Scow2:
I disagree entirely with Yahtzee's points, and believe he's off on almost all of them. He's seeing a problem where there isn't one.

People are making the "IDIOCRACY IS SO TRUE!" argument here, which isn't the case. There is absolutely NOTHING new in video game escalation - Character designs no more skimpy/sexualized/overdriven than they've ever been, even if the detail's improved. The plots are just as sensational (THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY NINJAS!) and etc. Now that we have better graphical resolution, we do have a bigger ability to present even more bombastic stuff. However, we also get a LOT of tamer stuff. But big stuff is what makes headlines, and it's NOT a trait unique to video games: Comics have been doing it (Infinite Crisis on Infinite Earths?), Movies have been doing it, Anime has been doing it, books have been doing it, and even music's been doing it in its own form (Heard of the "Loudness War"?)

Fighting games generally go for gratuitous sexuality and violence because EVERYTHING about them is gratuitous. Yeah, there are characters like Ivy (Who showed up back in the late 90's - certianly not a new trend)... but the Male Cast gets VERY similar treatment. And on that note, Capcom REALLY needs to add Katt from Breath of Fire II to their fighting game lineups, and not do anything stupid to her character design like give her pants or something. She's even an arena fighter in the game!

I just want to thank for you wasting my time looking at the Breath of Fire 2 wiki reminding me how much fun I had with the BOF series. Owned every version except BOF 5(saw it and I wasn't in a position to buy it sadly).

Huh. A little exaggeration for comic effect aside, that's actually a really interesting and well thought out idea. (Not that that's unusual, Mr. Croshaw, perish the thought.)

As a primarily PC/Wii gamer, I probably don't notice this in quite the same way, but I can't help but think of the obvious parallel with movies. When stuntwork and modelling and real-world pyrotechnics were the order of the day, it was a lot easier to be impressed with action scenes in movies. Now that we're aware that that Ferrari power-sliding across five lanes of traffic as a semi-truck trailer flips inches over its roof was undoubtedly the product of a CGI lab... yawn.

Perversely, I suspect it's the things that don't grab us by the collar and shake us senseless these days that are far more likely to impress. Yes, we can give all the heroines 44-F busts and put them in outfits that make us wonder about how much spirit gum they must employ to maintain a "T" rating, or we can increase the particle counts of the lens-flared explosion that just rocked the brown-and-grey world... But I think in many cases what people find far more resonant is a world that feels vivid and alive, and explorable all the way to a distantly viewed horizon. Or even a level that didn't feel like it was force-marching the player through to the next barely-interactive "ooh-ahhh" set-piece.

canadamus_prime:
That's all very well Yahtzee, but how do we change this pattern of behavior?

By being informed consumers and buying games that are worth something.

Jove:
Is it just me or did Croshaw become a lot less funny and much more cynical? His views have been...well to put it kindly...sketchy at best. (Bechdel Test...really?)

The guy is even less popular here now in terms of views and comments, Jimqusition and MovieBob seem to be way over him here now.

The guy is the only reason I visit this site at all anymore, really. I only check out the other articles and videos when I've nothing better to do. Just sayin'.

MegaManOfNumbers:
In an attempt for Yahtzee to identify the roots of the issue of feminine portrayal in media and remedy them he just gave us another reason to flip out over the "women" issue.

Counter intuitive or ingenious in demonstrating our ignorance?

You Decide!

EDIT: Also, Hold the phone. Can't the Bechdel test be applied to guys as well?

It can. It will show (I'm pretty sure) that the majority of movies have important male characters who, occasionally, talk to each other about something besides girls.
The majority of movies does not have important female characters who talk to each other about something but boys.
While for individual films that's a-ok, I can't help but feel that there's something missing when EVERY (slight hyperbole there) movie does it.

We're talking about an activity whose very purpose is escapism and the problem is supposed to be excess?

The guy whose standard complaints about every Wii game in existence always involve graphical power is complaining about excess?

This strikes me as a Physician Heal Thyself moment both for Yahtzee and for gaming websites. Maybe if gaming websites were a little less likely to promote the crap out of Russian Boob Mercenaries VI every time they get an advertising check and judged games on their content rather than by how many advertising dollars went into the game/whether the game had the best graphics on the market, more gamers might be inclined to give the indies a better shake.

SpiderJerusalem:

DVS BSTrD:

SpiderJerusalem:
The Bechdel test is such a broken system that I can't even begin to understand why people insist on bringing it up.

It essentially is counter-productive to the entire cause. Instead of looking at the female characters in movies as what they are (are they strong, determined, important, etc), and reduces them to, well, numbers. Like cattle.

Are there two of them, do they converse about something other than a man? Huh? That's it? What if there are two women who have a talk about a lovely pair of shoes. Wow, that sure is better than having a talk about a man.

By their logic, off the of my head, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a movie populated with incredibly strong female characters and performances, fails to pass this test because all the female characters who interact with each other discuss the main comatose character, who is a man in one way or the other.

Ugh, such a stupid system.

Not passing the Bechel Test doesn't mean it's a bad movie, it means it's male centric. That's like calling the Witcher 2 a bad game because it's misogynistic of Geralt to have casual sex with multiple women. In real life I'm pretty sure women talk about shoes, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that (unless that's ALL they talk about).

Reading comprehension, you don't have it.

Where did I say that not passing the test makes anything a bad movie? Where? I said, very clearly, that the test is broken because it takes nothing but numbers into count and would pass any female characters, even if they were nude prostitutes that spoke of what are their favorite turnips, as long as they didn't talk about men and had names.

Next time, take your time and actually read what is there. Thank you.

I would watch that movie just to see if they could actually string together a passable movie without relying on the spectacle of nude prostitutes.

Of course, should this actually exist, it would both destroy our human perceptions of reality and be another herald of the apocalypse.

Um... ok but here's the thing about the Bechdel Test. And this is coming from a woman btw. Let's see... what percentage of time am i (as a woman) around another women, and there are no men around, and the topic of conversation is not men. Sometimes. Usually, then the topic of conversation is about stuff (ie, clothing, shoes, purses, body image, exc) or gossip about other females, usually unfriendly gossip. How often is the topic of conversation something even remotely intellectual or geeky (again, when there's no men around) VERY VERY RARELY. And this is with me as part of the conversation and trying like hell to steer it away from men and shoes, so i can only imagine what it is normally like with more willing female participants. My point being this: women who hang out with other woman generally spend a lot of time talking about things that would make "feminists" cringe. Women who have intelligent things to say generally tend to prefer male company.

4173:

WoahDan:
Just because he referred to a broken measuring system doesn't mean his underlying point is wrong guys.

While I agree with Yahtzee that the pursuit of excess is the problem ,I don't really see the situation improving either. After all the underlying problem behind this is that the executives don't get what makes a good game, and given that this problem is common to ALL creative industries ( or rather, executives not pushing for quality as they know that that is an unreliable way to make money) I don't see it being fixed any time soon.

The best chance would probably be if a couple of crowd-sourced games become crossover hits in close succession.

Nope. If anything, crowdsourcing is almost like college: mostly funded by the people and whatever governmental funding they can get, and the end results taken to be abused by the corporations with none of the risks. If anything, they're probably hoping for the next big thing to come up so that they can then mercilessly steal the idea for their own profit and then run that idea into the ground for all they can get. Liked grassroots product A? Then try our product B! Because we have a ton of money, countless slaves who work for us just because they wanted a shot at making it in the industry, and an excellent, highly paid legal team, our product has all the bluster behind it of an aircraft carrier facing down a gunboat.

The main issue with sending any kind of strong signal to a desperate big company is that they tend to latch onto the most irrelevant or easily understood aspects pertaining to the successes they observe (like being on facebook, or trying to outfad or outnumber the latest skinner box, or being the most gritty and heavy hitting men with guns in the neighborhood, most of which places ridiculous emphasis on graphical fidelity while ignoring aesthetics), and then make that the driving force behind most of their business plan until the next thing comes along. They'll gladly march to the beat of whatever random concept they perceive as the most popular and pretend to get it on the surface, but they will never truly understand what it means, and will continue to use the idea as their all purpose tool regardless of context until it is ruined or they get bored with it and move on.

I wouldn't rely on those types of entities to get anything done in the long term. They're glorified game factories who just churn out what they think will sell, and as long as people keep giving them money, it won't matter if it's a phoned in, by the numbers bullet spree, or a game that pretends to have depth while leading customers on a wild goose chase for the content they desire, but significantly cheaper to make because they never intend to give it to them.

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