Jimquisition: Accepting the Isms

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Yeah it's quite sad that a company never can accurately depict a middle ages society in a game again because then people lose their shit. But yeah i agree with you with you that skyrim is half-assed and i'm kind of dissapointed by it. Guess they were kind of cowards and didn't go through with the full middle-ages setting.

ooh... had no idea Movie Defense Force was with Jim. I skipped it before because I thought it had that idiot Bob doing it.

I don't see that Skyrim quest as being sexist against women, my problem comes when people do.

So from what i remember, the lady worships a god based around sex so that's what she does, these practices are frowned upon in the world of Skyrim, she has an employee who she works too hard and said employee wants you to harass her about it, as a form of payback for working her too hard.
So you show her proof that you know about her sex acts, she gets embarrased and begs you not to tell anyone and the employee is happy that you've brought her boss down a peg or two. The End.

There's nothing wrong there, hearing about someone having sex isn't sexist it's normal, at no point in the quest are you bribing the woman to give you a lap dance and sit on your face, and the game doesn't treat her as anything other than a person with a secret.

People being wrong and spawning arguments about it, is what makes me angry.

i was concerned jim was gonna knock religion for some odd reason this episode. Thankfully that didn't happen and we got a fairly good show.

Jim... the fear and over compensating fan isn't a problem of video gaming. It's a problem found in every God damn online forum. Every group is all to ready to circle the wagons, close ranks, and bunker down at the first sign of trouble.

I wouldn't blame gamers.

Oh and Jim, men can be whores to. But you already knew that (ZING!) (Mad respect don't ban me).

danon:
Yeah it's quite sad that a company never can accurately depict a middle ages society in a game again because then people lose their shit. But yeah i agree with you with you that skyrim is half-assed and i'm kind of dissapointed by it. Guess they were kind of cowards and didn't go through with the full middle-ages setting.

Game of Thrones is a good example of how to depict a middle age setting in a way that is both realistic, extremely violent and morally ambiguous without falling into misogyny and racism.

Jimothy Sterling:
Accepting the Isms

Games are racist. Games are homophobic. Games are sexist. And that's okay!

Watch Video

With respect Mr Sterling, perhaps these are people you don't fully understand, either. Because for some people arguments such as these are to be won, no matter the cost, including damaging the very gaming experiences that they purport to care so much about.

I recommend that you never put yourself in the situation of being the last man in a sinking boat with an activist and their cause, because you will be the first thing they throw overboard in a tight pinch.

JudgeGame:

danon:
Yeah it's quite sad that a company never can accurately depict a middle ages society in a game again because then people lose their shit. But yeah i agree with you with you that skyrim is half-assed and i'm kind of dissapointed by it. Guess they were kind of cowards and didn't go through with the full middle-ages setting.

Game of Thrones is a good example of how to depict a middle age setting in a way that is both realistic, extremely violent and morally ambiguous without falling into misogyny and racism.

A video game can't do that yet it needs to get out of this phase where people go insane when there are mature themes in a game. Books and movies and tv-series is over this phase for the most part. Think of what would happen if they tried to make a 50 shades of grey game. Yeah it would be the internet allcapsalypse.

The problem with this issue is that game journalists insist on saying that all these games are "offensive". The word is thrown around all the time but I seriously doubt that they are actually offended in specific cases of sexism or racism in games. Just because it has the potential to offend doesn't make it offensive.

themilo504:
I agree although skyrim does take place in a medieval like world so of course there's some sexism the fact that you can even play as a female character is already bizarre if you think about it.

Though I disagree that playing as a female character is bizarre, I do agree with this point. Jim, you're keen and insightful and usually the most rational on this site, but Skyrim is a medieval world, what's worse is that it's akin to Norse, Scandinavian and Germanic countries, who had legends of female fighters and all that but were known to be among the most hostile towards the female gender, so having quests and attitudes towards them should be fine, the problem with Bethesda's format is there's no way to turn quests around, you sometimes make choices but they're usually very linear and it's not like Dragon Age where you could take her side instead, which IS a problem.

As for your church simile, may I just point out that almost everyone who doesn't run the church is extremely pissed off at them for that and they are numerous priests, both young and old, who reprimand the cardinals and pope for their behaviour on the subject? Seriously, in a video about not blaming an entire medium/establishment for bad stuff that happens in it, you do exactly that. Love you Jim and thank God for you.

danon:

JudgeGame:

danon:
Yeah it's quite sad that a company never can accurately depict a middle ages society in a game again because then people lose their shit. But yeah i agree with you with you that skyrim is half-assed and i'm kind of dissapointed by it. Guess they were kind of cowards and didn't go through with the full middle-ages setting.

Game of Thrones is a good example of how to depict a middle age setting in a way that is both realistic, extremely violent and morally ambiguous without falling into misogyny and racism.

A video game can't do that yet it needs to get out of this phase where people go insane when there are mature themes in a game. Books and movies and tv-series is over this phase for the most part. Think of what would happen if they tried to make a 50 shades of grey game. Yeah it would be the internet allcapsalypse.

That is a ridiculous assertion. If a game was as well written and as conscientious with its subject matter as Game of Thrones is, it would be lauded for it. Case in point: Spec Ops: The Line, Walking Dead or Silent Hill to name a few off the top of my head. The only problem here is that a great majority of game writers are immature clowns who's only experience with narrative is the dribble of other immature clowns and we're stuck in a self-fulfilling prophesy that convinces the industry that good writing won't sell and isn't worth investing in.

Videogames have been exploring "mature" themes for decades now and, with the exception of some asshat coming every now and then to tell us videogames are the new tool of Lucifer to take our souls, they recieve a very similar treatment by the general public to other forms of media.

Mr F.:

AdrianRK:

Mr F.:

Man, I miss being young. I wish I was as young as you.

Because judging from your own logic, you must be about 12.

Look, I cannot believe I have to say this. Its clear to just about anyone.

An Academic (Anita being one. She lectures at Universities occasionally, etc etc) would not sacrifice her entire career over something as small as 150k. One and a half million? Maybe. You could live on that for quite some time and with shrewd investments may never have to work again. But 150k, not even enough to buy a decent house? Really?

Also, I love how you have somehow indicated that sexism stops at age 30. I would like you to meet my father at some point. Or some of the over 30's gamers that I know.

Oh, and as for her videos?

The breakdown on Lego and its shift from gender neutral products over to incredibly gendered and incredibly sexist products is one that went under a hell of a lot of radars. Her video on it predates most of the media attention it gathered and is quite the deconstruction. I, for one, found it rather informative. Yes, you can very simplistically break down most of her arguments to what you broke down most of her arguments to, but you can break down most international relations to "Countries don't like each other much and fight about it, or don't and trade stuff". Just because you can turn an argument into a more simplistic form, one which you can understand with your aforementioned 12 year old brain (Just making a link to your own post, friend), does not mean that the argument itself is simplistic or without merit.
OT:

I agree with Jim. I think its about time we can seriously discuss some of the issues with our beloved art form without a sudden tide of hatred based upon our judgments being more than gameplay related.

Ah.. the good old days of typical internet flame wars, where you personally attack people you don't know a thing about when you have nothing to say but you're bothered by their opinion

But onto the more serious part of your reply, I do think it's about time we talked about more serious things regarding our favourite pastime activity, like the fact that the people reviewing games get their money from the people making them, of the fact that a most of the game reviews are barely more than opinion pieces

But in your eyes the fact that women are shown in a negative light does not matter? Or perhaps the depictions of homosexuals etc, they dont matter? To a lesser degree these days the negative depictions of race within games, they dont matter?

In my eyes a bigger issue is within the very nature of the games we play. I do not really care about the reviewers or how they get paid, I take my advice from other gamers who share my interests, not internet celebutants. I do not bother buying or reading gaming magazines, bar this one, and the only "Reviewer" I follow whatsoever is Yahtzee who, at best, is an entertainer.

I am not necessarily bothered by your opinion. Just bits of it. The whole "Sarkeesian is going to throw away her credibility for a negligible payday" thing irritates me because I think it is based mainly on her having unpopular views and a vagina, a horrendous mixture with regards to the internet. That particular nugget is not necessarily aimed at you, just most people who share the opinion that she is nothing more then a scam artist who planned all of this in advance.

To me, a student of Sociology, Media and Cultural studies and Politics, issues of gender, sexuality and race within games are important and need to be discussed. They need to be discussed in a non insane manner, with people from both sides talking about this like adults. This website does make it hard, plenty of people simply do not think how women or LGBTQ customers feel simply does not matter.

However, I can understand why you think the issues of reviewing matter more. Lots of people do think that games should just be about games, that the only issues to be discussed are structural ones or ones that are to do with how games play and the stories they tell.

EDIT:

danon:
Skyrim which is set in a middle ages setting has sexist elements in it. Apparently it's sexist to depict the world as it is now. Well people just shout sexist about everything now without thinking so it's not surprising.

Or perhaps the fact that the world is quite sexist makes people call it out a lot more but due to your inability to see this you begin to think that people are calling out nothing?

Also, Skyrim is a fantasy game made in this current climate. There is absolutely no reason they could not have made it without the sexist quests. You cannot get away with it by saying its based in a different age so everything is ok. Seriously.

Plus if you read the crap around it the assumption is that men and women are treated equally in the Elder Scrolls universe, with both serving in the military etc etc. If it was based upon a medieval society, as you are claiming, then why the fuck is the captain at the start who sends you to the block a woman? Why the fuck do you ever see women in armour? Why the fuck is it equal on any level?

Strangely enough, if the game was truly based upon medieval societies and was depicted realistically, with men and women in the rolls they were forced into as a result of medieval society, the more sexist quests may have never been noticed. But since they created a supposedly gender equal universe and then added the sexist bullcrap from our own universe it is making a statement. Herp to the Derp.

Using the setting as a justification only makes sense if the setting is consistent.

This reply was nice, thank you.
I'm sorry if I came off as saying I don't care about misogyny in our culture, that's not what I wanted to say with my comment. I don't think that misogyny does not exist in our culture and in gaming, what I meant to say is that Anita's videos are not helping.

In my opinion, all she does is state the obvious in a very superficial way and that for this kind of discussions we need something more. You can disagree with me here, but I think she's just capitalizing on this need and nothing more, just like people who sell miracle diet pills to people who are obese.. they're not helping. And I personally don't like people who support her because most of them think they can just fix problems with the most minor of actions, like give someone money without doing any background check on her and her goals, and they think they have the moral highground because of this.

There are a lot of people who criticise Anita for her work (including women, like sex positive feminists), but you don't hear from them because they're all lumped up together with the sexist trolls.

Also, I don't think this discussion about sexism in video games is something new. It's been going on for some time on youtube and most gaming forums, but people like Jim like to make it out as if it's something new and cutting edge.

I think sexism in video games has its origin in typical gynophobia found in most immature males, especially in adolescent boys. Marketing teams are just capitalising on this and male sexuality. They ignore anyother groups of consumers because they don't think other groups of people would buy games

Things can change and probably will change, but change does not come from ridicule, sarcastic and condescending videos, or shaming game fans. Change comes from examples. The movie industry evolves not through harsh criticisms, but through better and better movies that set the bar higher and higher.
If people want to bring gender equality in video games, they should focus on convincing game developers that games not marketed to boys exclusively will sell

JudgeGame:
The US Supreme Court already ruled irrevocably that videogames are protected by the First Amendment to the same degree all media (films, newspapers...) are.
http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/the-constitution-and-you-video-games-and-the-first-amendment/

Emphasis mine. Other media is regularly censored in this country, and you're ignoring the other inconvenient fact that, even if your idealism wasn't completely divorced from cold, hard reality, it would still be irrelevant to the gamers who don't live in the US.

targren:

JudgeGame:
The US Supreme Court already ruled irrevocably that videogames are protected by the First Amendment to the same degree all media (films, newspapers...) are.
http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/the-constitution-and-you-video-games-and-the-first-amendment/

Emphasis mine. Other media is regularly censored in this country, and you're ignoring the other inconvenient fact that, even if your idealism wasn't completely divorced from cold, hard reality, it would still be irrelevant to the gamers who don't live in the US.

I'd like to know what your definition of censorship is.

danon:
Yeah it's quite sad that a company never can accurately depict a middle ages society in a game again because then people lose their shit. But yeah i agree with you with you that skyrim is half-assed and i'm kind of dissapointed by it. Guess they were kind of cowards and didn't go through with the full middle-ages setting.

It is not set in the middle ages. It is set on an alien planet in a fantasy land where dragons and zombies roam the world, and every other person has magical powers that allow them to shoot lightning bolts from their fingertips. And you think it was "cowardly" of them not to put rampant sexism in? Uhhh ... OK.

Personally, I like the way that Skyrim was written, and I'm glad it wasn't set in the middle ages. What's fun about the middle ages? A really accurate portrayal of the middle ages would have to include lots of disease and starvation and feudalist tyranny, and no talking dogs or giant crabs. You know what's fun? Dragons are fun. Shooting lightning from your fingertips is fun. Sheogorath is fun. And gender equality is fun.

As other people have said, the slut-shaming quest just feels out of place, because they took a sexist concept from our own universe and jammed it into a setting with a very different attitude towards gender and romance.

wizzy555:

ccdohl:

-Dragmire-:

.....Does it... Does it transform?

OT: I, and I imagine many reasonable people who make up the midground in these debates, try to stay out of negative game related fiasco's, the bigger ones anyway, due to both sides' most vocal people being so heated on the subject that progress to any meaningful resolution or understanding seems impossible, through internet conversation anyway.

I'm honestly curious. What is the other side? Are there people who argue an honestly misogynist point of view, or is it just a bunch of feminists critiquing the culture against trolls? I know that people criticize the feminist point of view, but I have never heard much what could be called debate points for misogyny in games, so much as a breaking down of the criticisms.

There is no "one" other side. There are multiple types of feminism and often they end up calling each other misogynists. There are of course genuine racists and misogynists too.

I realize that, but I'm saying that I don't see a real racist/misogynist argument on one side. It seems more like just a feminist critique, met by critiques of the critiques. Of course, we can't forget the vile trolls who hold the racist/misogynist pov, but we should just ignore them anyway.

boots:

danon:
Yeah it's quite sad that a company never can accurately depict a middle ages society in a game again because then people lose their shit. But yeah i agree with you with you that skyrim is half-assed and i'm kind of dissapointed by it. Guess they were kind of cowards and didn't go through with the full middle-ages setting.

It is not set in the middle ages. It is set on an alien planet in a fantasy land where dragons and zombies roam the world, and every other person has magical powers that allow them to shoot lightning bolts from their fingertips. And you think it was "cowardly" of them not to put rampant sexism in? Uhhh ... OK.

Personally, I like the way that Skyrim was written, and I'm glad it wasn't set in the middle ages. What's fun about the middle ages? A really accurate portrayal of the middle ages would have to include lots of disease and starvation and feudalist tyranny, and no talking dogs or giant crabs. You know what's fun? Dragons are fun. Shooting lightning from your fingertips is fun. Sheogorath is fun. And gender equality is fun.

As other people have said, the slut-shaming quest just feels out of place, because they took a sexist concept from our own universe and jammed it into a setting with a very different attitude towards gender and romance.

Don't forget the feces. Feces everywhere. Feces played a huge role in the middle ages.

Yes because games need to be fun and can't be about serious issues in history.

danon:
Yes because games need to be fun and can't be about serious issues in history.

You mean like the hundreds of lives that were lost when the dragons returned? I think that is treated very seriously. I shed a little tear every time an NPC got roasted.

Let me try to make this clear: Skyrim is not a historical game. It's not. You can tell if you look closely: all the wizards and and cat people give it away. It borrows some of its language from Norse legend and everyone fights with bows and swords (and magic) instead of guns, but that's about as far as it goes in portraying the middle ages according to Earth.

I can't get over the fact that you're genuinely sulking because Skyrim isn't sexist enough.

JudgeGame:

Don't forget the feces. Feces everywhere. Feces played a huge role in the middle ages.

Oh god, don't say that. You'll set off an epidemic of Skyrim poo puns.

Sigh abandoning thread have your happy funland games where all is color and rainbows.

Well, Jimmy Boy, the reason why some people are a bit irked when people cry ''sexism'' over a video game is because there are a few that (either subconsciously or consciously) feel that they can't win against an accusation like that based upon the fact that the public has a bout of righteous indignation anytime they hear about a topic like that. And god knows, you cannot reason with someone who's a self-righteous and very angry scrotum. Case in Point She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named's fans.

Calibanbutcher:

So, are you driving a really big penis to work?

And suddenly the term "Sex Drive" takes on a horrifying new meaning.

boots:

danon:
Yes because games need to be fun and can't be about serious issues in history.

You mean like the hundreds of lives that were lost when the dragons returned? I think that is treated very seriously. I shed a little tear every time an NPC got roasted.

Let me try to make this clear: Skyrim is not a historical game. It's not. You can tell if you look closely: all the wizards and and cat people give it away. It borrows some of its language from Norse legend and everyone fights with bows and swords (and magic) instead of guns, but that's about as far as it goes in portraying the middle ages according to Earth.

I can't get over the fact that you're genuinely sulking because Skyrim isn't sexist enough.

JudgeGame:

Don't forget the feces. Feces everywhere. Feces played a huge role in the middle ages.

Oh god, don't say that. You'll set off an epidemic of Skyrim poo puns.

I'm tired of all these oversensitive nancies ruining games. I want shit in my RPGs! I want peasants flinging their own poo at me as a weapon. I want to jump over streams of piss and diarrhea flowing down a busy street. I want every inch of the screen to be the same colour of brown as a result of the shit that is smeared all over it.

It's time for these casuals to get lost and let us enjoy videogames as they deserve to be enjoyed. Unless we are prepared to explore mature themes in videogames, we will never be able to make true art and it will never be taken seriously.

danon:
Sigh abandoning thread have your happy funland games where all is color and rainbows.

All colours and rainbows? Tell that to the widows and orphans of Helgen!

Oh wait, you can't. Because there are no widows and orphans. They're all dead.

What bothers me is how the kind of people you're describing who want to deny the presence of "-isms" in games are also usually the first ones to complain about how terrible shows like The Big Bang Theory (and other media) are and how offensive they are to geek culture. I certainly don't disagree with that sentiment, but it seems pretty self-centered and hypocritical to be so outraged at that, and then turn around and chastise us for trying to voice the same kinds of feelings for our issues.

And on a side note, as someone who identifies as a feminist, believe me: if I made a habit of avoiding every game that flirted with some sort of "-ism," about the only game I'd be playing is solitaire. So not only can you love a game while also realizing that some aspects of it are not too great for women, people of color, LGBT people, etc., it's actually a obligatory thing for a lot of us.

JudgeGame:

There is no implication of violence in those meat products.

Check your eyesight maybe. The image of people butchered for fresh meat implies violence pretty directly.

boots:

m19:

Contrary to popular belief most victims of violence are men. Yet we don't raise a stink about every depiction of violence in the media.

Hate to state the obvious, but you forgot to mention that most perpetrators of violence are men as well.

What's that supposed to mean? Because men commit violence they deserve what they get or something?

Also I remember seeing some questionable math in those rape stats somewhere. Especially the 1 in 4 stat. Like their definition of rape being very loose to include people that didn't even define what happened to them as such.

m19:

JudgeGame:

There is no implication of violence in those meat products.

Check your eyesight maybe. The image of people butchered for fresh meat implies violence pretty directly.

It's not violence unless it's enacted against a living being.

JudgeGame:

It's not violence unless it's enacted against a living being.

Well then your complaints about the torso are void.

m19:

JudgeGame:

It's not violence unless it's enacted against a living being.

Well then your complaints about the torso are void.

It's heavily implied that the torso was of a woman who was brutally mauled by zombies. It is outright stated that the body meat was taken from a morgue. One is violence, the other isn't.

m19:

What's that supposed to mean? Because men commit violence they deserve what they get or something?

What the ... what the hell is this in my mouth? Well would you look at that, someone tried to put some words in there!

Actually I was just pointing out that while men are disproportionately the victims of violence, they are also disproportionately the perpetrators of it. Moreover, the fact that men are also victims of violence does not make violence against women any less of a problem.

EDIT: Just to make this clear, people were not complaining about the Hitman trailer because it showed violence against women. People were not complaining because it showed women in sexy outfits. People complained because the trailer tried to turn violence against women into something sexy.

Also I remember seeing some questionable math in those rape stats somewhere. Especially the 1 in 4 stat. Like their definition of rape being very loose to include people that didn't even define what happened to them as such.

Tell me, does the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics ever show up at your office and tell you how to do your job? No? Hmmm, thought not.

Though if your job involves reading comprehension in any way, they might be justified in doing so. I said that 25% of women had been physically assaulted by a partner. Not raped. Though if you want to get into that, about 1 in 5 women in the US have experienced rape or attempted rape.

Yay! Jim mentioned liking Shadow Hearts! (All of my fanboyism).
Damn that is a seriously under appreciated game :/

But on the whole, yes, I agree. It's okay to acknowledge possibly inappropriate content in a kind without downright disowning it

franksands:
I think it depends, we should not always forgive a game for offensive material. If the offensive material is a core part of the game, for example DoA Extreme Beach Volleyball, which can be considered sexist and misogynistic and it's a core part of the game: we cannot take off the bouncing boobs and etc without virtually removing the whole game. I think that should be the rule of thumb: if removing offensive bits the game as a whole is still functional and engaging, it's acceptable.

I keep seeing DOAX brought up as a conspicuous example of games that people would rather not be judged by. Clips of it get shown in every Escapist video that broaches the topics of "offense" or "sexism" or "misogyny". And why? Because it features some girls in bikinis? Enough of the sham dismay and puritanism, please. Get all the people who claim to be "disgusted" by DOAX and then see how many of them watch porn online, that should reveal the extent of hypocrisy.

Anyway, the video. Isn't Jim basically doing a reverse-silencing move? Saying that it's fine to take any game, or any portion of any game, and shine the bright light of shrill left-wing morality on it regardless of context? And furthermore, we're no longer allowed to nip tired, or worn-out, or pretty-much disproved arguments in the bud. Every charlatan who fancies taking a pop at videogames to further their own agenda is now entitled to a platform for their views. Great.

And lastly, what's wrong with Earthworm Jim / Dave Perry?

I completely support Jim's stance against the all or nothing mentality, but I'm not entirely sure if that's really what gets everyone fired up. I once saw a comedian (sorry, I forgot what his name was) who said, "If you really want to piss off a nerd, nothing pisses them off more than when you get their obsession wrong." As a result, I suspect that a number of the immature knee-jerk reactions to claims of sexism stem more from guys suspecting that their favorite game is being judged out of context by an outsider, rather than some fear that accepting any legitimate criticism against the game will get it taken off the shelves. At this point, it's only a theory, but in my experience, accusations against a game I like are much harder to swallow when it seems like the accuser is missing the point. Would you be able to keep quiet if someone called Schindler's List anti-semitic because of the horrible things that are done to the jewish characters?

erttheking:
To be perfectly honest I think this website in general has made me more paranoid in general. I don't want to talk about racism sexism or homophobia in video games, Hell, I'm starting to reach the point where I don't want to talk about ANYTHING in video games because this website can be rather volatile. And I defended the Tomb Raider reboot, I didn't think that it was sexist, and I did jump on the Hitman trailer, because I did think that that was sexist. I have opinions I guess I'm just tired of massive flame filled debates that seem to go nowhere. I'm really starting to think that's all that goes on here.

Ugh, I know that feel. While these ARE important issues, and they do warrant plenty of discussion, it gets aggravating when those discussions don't seem to actually do any good.

Thought I might chime in on this giant thread.

Well said Jimothy. Your videos are getting better and better.

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