Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

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Treblaine:

CrystalShadow:

I'm saying that the in context reason for a female warrior wearing what amounts to a bikini under her armour is vastly different to the most likely reason the developers of Super Metroid chose to have an ending where she is posing in her underwear.

There's little narrative reason for such a character to be depicted in that way, which raises the question of why such a scene exists. it's structured as a 'reward', and that feels a little off, regardless of whether I think there's anything wrong with sex or not.

It's tacked on, and out of step with the rest of the game. And that does disturb me somewhat.
But to get to why I refer to it that way, I meant innocent as opposed to deliberate.

That is, even though it's possible to find a rational in-context reason for depicting Samus in underwear/bikini, it looks as though it was done for the sole reason of it being 'sexy'.

It's like depicting a scene of someone getting out of the shower - Of course any normal person would be naked while taking a shower, but if you show this in a film, are you doing so because it makes sense for someone to be naked in such a situation, or because people might be aroused by it?
That's what I'm getting at here.

Look it's fan-service. I'm mature and secure enough not to start going on about how "it's a little off" having the blatant fanservice in Twilight series.

Just don't start acting like heterosexual attraction is something sinful or defiling of innocence. That doesn't make sense to mean "innocent as opposed to deliberate."

And yeah, for straight women and gay men, it's not much of a reward, but it's not like it's any punishment. But it's not exactly a significant reward for the straight male or lesbian player either, otherwise google-image search would be worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox. It's just a little something, it's not like it's persistent throughout the game.

You don't seem to get "fan-service" it's not supposed to trick the player. It's also a throwback to the original Metroid by how they revealed you'd been playing a woman all along, with such limited pixels and memory of 8-bit graphics and cartridge they of course decided to show her in a bikini.

And the suit would have to come off occasionally for narrative reasons... to remind that she's a woman, you can't even tell that walking metal thing isn't an alien or a robot. I'd really like a story about a humanoid robot, but if you're going to have a human, putting them in a metallic suit always... it's little different than if you had a robot.

And yeah, shower scenes are usually fan-service, except I think the shower scene in Apollo 13 where she loses her wedding ring down the sink hole, symbolism there for fear of losing her husband.

Well, it is what it is. It means little in the end, but that doesn't stop it feeling out of place to me.
And if you really want to get technical about it, you're reading far too much into a minor comment.

Interpreting this to mean something far beyond what I actually intended by it.

Maybe you'd understand it a little better if I had phrased it differently, but that would've required a much lengthier explanation that the handful of words I used originally.

Basically, it was intended to signify something along these lines:
Showing Samus in a bikini has a secondary purpose that exists entirely outside of the narrative of the story, but reasons could be devised for why it might make sense within the narrative.
However, the actual real-world reasons for why this scene exists are probably based almost entirely around this secondary purpose (eg. "Fan Service"), and is unlikely to have any real other reason aside from this secondary purpose.

Ultimately, I meant 'innocent' in terms of it being something whose intent was something that made sense in context, rather than something which required a concept of what the developer and/or audience for the game were expecting.

But of course these things are always a matter of interpretation, and that can lead to problems of it's own.
Consider for instance that somewhere in my photo albums I have pictures of myself as a young child, running around naked. - Which is something young children do a lot, funnily enough.
There is nothing in these pictures existing besides the obvious point that parents like to take pictures of their children, but if you start second-guessing the intent, you could also reach the conclusion that whoever took these pictures is some kind of pervert that likes seeing small children naked.
That would be completely wrong, but therein lies the problem of having to consider the intent of the creator when looking at things like this.

If I saw a woman in a bikini in reality, I could still be guessing at why she chose to wear it, but I'd know me seeing it is entirely down to my own intent, and some degree of random chance.
If I see this in a film or game, then the creators of whatever I'm playing or watching become a factor as well, and thus it's less clear why I'm expected to see this. Does it have some significance to gameplay/plot/etc? Or is it really only there because the creators thought the audience might like it in and of itself?

Anyway, fan service in and of itself isn't that big a deal. (Though I've seen my fair share of it that's either just plain creepy, or sometimes just plain rediculous.)
But despite it not being a big deal as such, it can still detract from whatever it's been tacked on to, by virtue of having been done in a careless manner.
Just like sticking a joke in the middle of an otherwise very serious drama can feel completely out of place, putting fan service or the like somewhere where it wasn't expected can really detract from something, rather than add to it.

Though at the end of the day the situation with Super Metroid doesn't amount to much to worry about, except that it feels kind of unnecessary.

Well, whatever. Thanks for making a mountain out of a molehill for me. ;p

Well, I like your offer Jim, though I am in Australia. In light of the topic, it is true, but so is much of gaming culture. The Sarkeesian incident (speaking of which I am actually interested in watching it when it comes out, to hear a different take on the issue), the Bakhtanians vs super yan incident, and the fact that, outside Lara croft and Dora the Explorer, I cannot think of any other major leading female characters in videogames, let alone any with love interests. It is an issue that needs to be addressed, and if it is not addressed internally, by gamers, developers and publishers, the market will stagnate and new IP won't develop.

Back from obscurity and not posting in months.

Yeah, something is wrong wrong wrong with the industry. And people wonder why there are so many "dudebros" and "meatheads" or whatever to call in the industry today. This is why. The game industry needs some diversity pretty darn badly. Because as it stands most "AAA" developers, are making games nearly exclusively about white heterosexual males who look something like Ben Affleck(is that how you write his name?) or manlier.

Back in the 16-bit era, there was plenty more diversity than this. It is almost like, somehow, sometime after the 16-bit era. People started going right after the stereotypical "frat-boy" demographic. This sounds like a cliche claim about "dude-bros" and "frat-boys". But looks, it's true! I cannot think up a better hypothesis than this.

What happened? Something is very, very very wrong with the gaming industry today. Get me some ladies, gaming industry. There's too many dudes on the dance floor.

EstrogenicMuscle:
Back from obscurity and not posting in months.

Yeah, something is wrong wrong wrong with the industry. And people wonder why there are so many "dudebros" and "meatheads" or whatever to call in the industry today. This is why. The game industry needs some diversity pretty darn badly. Because as it stands most "AAA" developers, are making games nearly exclusively about white heterosexual males who look something like Ben Affleck(is that how you write his name?) or manlier.

Back in the 16-bit era, there was plenty more diversity than this. It is almost like, somehow, sometime after the 16-bit era. People started going right after the stereotypical "frat-boy" demographic. This sounds like a cliche claim about "dude-bros" and "frat-boys". But looks, it's true! I cannot think up a better hypothesis than this.

What happened? Something is very, very very wrong with the gaming industry today. Get me some ladies, gaming industry. There's too many dudes on the dance floor.

Because Ben Affleck is noted for his heterosexual dude appeal, of course.
Seriously, a steadily increasing majority of main characters - particularly third-person characters, who are on thus always on screen - are conventionally attractive males, and that's to capture the *male* gaze? Suuuure it is.

Mr.Squishy:
Okay, so I'm confused here.
Some people are saying that female characters shouldn't be prevented from having the same traits as male characters and that traits aren't necessarily gender-specific. Okay, yeah, I get that, makes sense. One guy put it very well, I won't bother paraphrasing him to the word, but basically he said that there isn't any significant difference in how you write a male or a female character.
But then I see someone saying that there are ways of writing women that are 'incorrect', and basically serve only to make a man with tits. Now hang on a second, what?
What the hell kind of sense does that make? And how did we get this split and self-contradictory? Why do these kinds of threads always spiral off into batshit insanity?
Please, answers are appreciated.

The problem stems from two different thoughts within feminism, and they both have good points.

One school of thought purports that the only way to gain true equality is for the gender lines to be eliminated, to destroy the idea that some traits or behaviours are "manly" and others are "womanly" and to assign all kinds of traits to both sexes.

The other school of thought supports gender constructs and instead seeks to end the denigration of the feminine. Their reasoning is that "male" qualities are exalted and valued, while "female" qualities are denigrated, ignored or devalued, and therefore the kind of interpretation they wish to see of female characters is one that fits common conceptions of femininity and womanhood, but who is not hampered by those qualities (for example, that her delicate, soft and sensitive qualities make her an asset to the team instead of a burden).

Personally, while I sympathise with the second camp in that there is most certainly a denigration of the feminine that must be redressed, I am firmly within the first camp. I support the destruction of the concept of gender, and all the baggage we associate with biological sex. I support the idea of women acting in traditionally male ways AND the idea of men acting in traditionally female ways, as a way to destroy the gender barriers without denigrating the feminine or overvaluing the masculine. Hence why I will always defend the "man with tits" trope (and its counterpart, the "woman with penis" trope).

I just had to say Mr. Sterling, in addition to approving of all of your lines of reasoning in this video I also find the jokes to be among your best. Kudos!

weirdguy:

Bhaalspawn:

Krantos:
I has to be said that a lot of games with female protagonists don't sell well simply because they're not that good.

Lets take a look at the big games in recent years featuring female protagonists:

-Metroid: Other M
-Mirrors Edge
-Hydrophobia
-Tomb Raider
-Amy
-Final Fantasy XIII

...I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones off the top of my head. Notice anything about them? Aside from Tomb Raider, they panned by critics and audiences alike. Not because they had a female lead, but because the games themselves were of questionable quality at best.

If publishers and developers want female protagonists to sell well, for gods sake put them in good games.

Also, if someone is honestly wierded out when their character kisses a guy, grow up. How do you think women have felt all these years playing as big burly men saving the princess of the day?

You forgot a rather popular blockbuster game that had a really good female protagonist. And recieved universal critical acclaim from over a dozen major news outlets and was considered a great work of gaming art, and a great VA to boot.

image

Why does everyone forget the Commander? Don't deny the Commander her credit!

because statistically only 18 percent of me3 playthroughs were female

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122880-See-How-Your-Mass-Effect-Choices-Compare-to-Everyone-Elses

So? BioWare still has an amazing character at hand here.

Also, have you taken a good look at Male Shepard? I looks like every action hero ever, and even his voice acting is so damn flat you wonder what the audio engineer's were smoking.

Male Shepard was designed so the audience can project onto him as easily as possible. Female Shepard is an actual character, with a much better voice actor.

females during the games industry where actually left out in the start the only real first female protagonist i can think of was Samus, the female protagonist THE area that game industries tend to stay far away from. personally i never see female soldiers out in the field in call of duty games modern warfare.

Bhaalspawn:

weirdguy:

Bhaalspawn:

You forgot a rather popular blockbuster game that had a really good female protagonist. And recieved universal critical acclaim from over a dozen major news outlets and was considered a great work of gaming art, and a great VA to boot.

Why does everyone forget the Commander? Don't deny the Commander her credit!

because statistically only 18 percent of me3 playthroughs were female

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122880-See-How-Your-Mass-Effect-Choices-Compare-to-Everyone-Elses

So? BioWare still has an amazing character at hand here.

Also, have you taken a good look at Male Shepard? I looks like every action hero ever, and even his voice acting is so damn flat you wonder what the audio engineer's were smoking.

Male Shepard was designed so the audience can project onto him as easily as possible. Female Shepard is an actual character, with a much better voice actor.

I'm sorry, but that last part, the underlined part to be exact, is just wrong. Shepard of both genders are designed to be projected into. Female Shepard is just a gender flipped Male Shepard.

Darken12:

Mr.Squishy:
Okay, so I'm confused here.
Some people are saying that female characters shouldn't be prevented from having the same traits as male characters and that traits aren't necessarily gender-specific. Okay, yeah, I get that, makes sense. One guy put it very well, I won't bother paraphrasing him to the word, but basically he said that there isn't any significant difference in how you write a male or a female character.
But then I see someone saying that there are ways of writing women that are 'incorrect', and basically serve only to make a man with tits. Now hang on a second, what?
What the hell kind of sense does that make? And how did we get this split and self-contradictory? Why do these kinds of threads always spiral off into batshit insanity?
Please, answers are appreciated.

The problem stems from two different thoughts within feminism, and they both have good points.

One school of thought purports that the only way to gain true equality is for the gender lines to be eliminated, to destroy the idea that some traits or behaviours are "manly" and others are "womanly" and to assign all kinds of traits to both sexes.

The other school of thought supports gender constructs and instead seeks to end the denigration of the feminine. Their reasoning is that "male" qualities are exalted and valued, while "female" qualities are denigrated, ignored or devalued, and therefore the kind of interpretation they wish to see of female characters is one that fits common conceptions of femininity and womanhood, but who is not hampered by those qualities (for example, that her delicate, soft and sensitive qualities make her an asset to the team instead of a burden).

Personally, while I sympathise with the second camp in that there is most certainly a denigration of the feminine that must be redressed, I am firmly within the first camp. I support the destruction of the concept of gender, and all the baggage we associate with biological sex. I support the idea of women acting in traditionally male ways AND the idea of men acting in traditionally female ways, as a way to destroy the gender barriers without denigrating the feminine or overvaluing the masculine. Hence why I will always defend the "man with tits" trope (and its counterpart, the "woman with penis" trope).

Thank you for clarifying that, it makes a bit more sense now.
And yeah, I basically agree with your stance.

EstrogenicMuscle:
Back from obscurity and not posting in months.

What happened? Something is very, very very wrong with the gaming industry today. Get me some ladies, gaming industry. There's too many dudes on the dance floor.

no. not too many duuuuuudes..

Yo, Jim, yo.

Whatever happens at Pax Prime ... take videos.

I'm surprised he didn't cover Lara Croft, and how yes she's popular and covers her own box art, but only became that way because a rendering flaw made her have huge tits and otherwise she would have been one of the thousands of game characters that nobody had ever really heard of.

Sorry about a slight bump, but I just want to know: what was that cyberpunky-looking game Jim kept showing in this episode with the female protagonist running around climbing and doing martial arts? That looks kinda cool...

DiMono:
I'm surprised he didn't cover Lara Croft, and how yes she's popular and covers her own box art, but only became that way because a rendering flaw made her have huge tits and otherwise she would have been one of the thousands of game characters that nobody had ever really heard of.

Not only is that not true but even if it was it's pure conjecture that such a minor and imperceptible detail (of such crude graphics) was the sole factor in turning Tomb Raider from abject obscurity to one of the most successful games of it's generation.

Have you no concept of the actual gameplay???!

It's like saying Nathan Drake's "half-tuck" is the only reason for Uncharted series' success.

bigfatcarp93:
Sorry about a slight bump, but I just want to know: what was that cyberpunky-looking game Jim kept showing in this episode with the female protagonist running around climbing and doing martial arts? That looks kinda cool...

Pretty sure you're referring to that same Remember Me that launched Jim's rant

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m82AF52mFi4 video so you can be sure, since Jim is sure as hell right about the lack of marketing, google has trouble spitting out the right thing.

when I looked at the Bioshock Infinite box I wondered why Elizabeth wasn't front and center on the cover. I shrugged my shoulders and thought it was just stupid designers designing box art.

Then I was wondering why every one was making such a big deal about the cover art. so I went to the poll and voted for the one with Elizabeth thinking these are really weird selections.

Then I watched this and realized I was not taking notice of this stuff most likely because I'm clumped in an out of date marketing model for so long I didn't notice what was being done right under my nose. I would prefer the box art to match the game and I'm pretty sure sales won't be effected if a chick is on the front cover.

Why do people keep on pushing this "moar females" crap onto every major gaming website? Females aren't prominent in "hardcore" gaming(read: the medium buget titles up to AAA) because it is male dominated through and through(most of the programmers and audience are males) and will probably always be, 90% of those games are male empowerement fantasies with varying degrees in quality. On the other hand, women are highly represented on the more casual front, lots of them play mobile,indie games. The Nintedo wii reached such high numbers in sales because its casualised look and feel, with games that could break away from the run and gun/sword and bash that most AAA titles seem to offer and it is no surprised that lots of women love this console. I own pretty much every gaming platform out there but when people in my group are bored, the girls almost always want to play Wii games even when presented with other console options. Argue about stereotypes all you want but IMO it is girls/women that made SIMS the huge success that it was and that was basically an advanced "let's play house" scenario. None of my male friends played SIMS(except for maybe 5-10 minutes to see the hype) whereas my female gamer friends LOVED THE S**T out of it and bought almost every expansion for the SIMS games.

If we want more women into the AAA business side of things then the huge number of women programmers and female audience fanbase will have to come knock on our door with something tangible, not to declare that the medium should change their ways and let them in. The guys making the games would change the way they portray females in gaming if girls/women were a huge part of their audience but THEY ARE NOT. This is something that the politically correct crowd can't seem to get to grips with. Sure, their numbers are growing as opposed to years before but it is still VERY SMALL on the AAA side of things. Simply put, there is almost no female audience to develop for in major AAA gaming. This is the "lost audience" that indies seem to lap up because, without the big publisher contrains, they can be a bit more freethinking in their approach. But big companies need to think about the bottom line and most of their audience IS made up of young males who would naturally have problems identifying with a young girl as their avatar.

For those that don't buy into my narrative, think about the most famous female gaming character: Lara Croft. She is basically Indiana Jones with knockers. She is a girl but the guys playing her don't really feel like they are a controlling a gender different than their own, in fact she is another male fantasy, combining the agility,endurance and overall badass-ness of a popular male character with a heaving pair of bossoms to tittilate them. Sure, you get decent female characters like Jade from BGE but they are VERY RARE.

In my experience, few female gamers behave like most of the guy gamers I know, which is to be interested in many gaming websites, read previews, buy AAA titles, try to be constantly updated on the games industry etc. Most game casually and aren't interested in future trends and such. And the ones that do take gaming a bit seriously are a bit more shuned by their group of female friends as sort of weirdos because "serious" gaming is still seen as a guy thing.

The inclusion of more girls/women into major gaming is a numbers game to me, it has nothing to do with changing attitudes with the drop of a word or two. Once you (somehow) get more women into tech fields, that churn out programmers/game designers and such, then you will MAYBE see a change in how women are represented in gaming because they may be represented on a demographic level, especially on the development sides of things(go to most development offices and it's a sausage fest most times). Until then it's just a couple of girls/women and their internet white knights shouting and throwing rocks at the boys treehouse represented by triple A gaming industry and achieving nothing but page hits in the process.

I think a huge majority of male gamers and developers are indifferent to females either working on making or playing video games, of course there are exceptions. This kind of misogynistic culture that the gaming industry seems to think is rife in this culture has been fabricated by big money. The metrics indicate that the world of gaming is male orientated; of course Female gamers are going to run into a lot of male focused games and game covers.

I don't really care if a company decides to scrub the chick from their covers or keep them as a flat uninteresting trope in the games. What bothers me is the assumption that all male gamers hate women, and that video game box art is so bloody generic.

I just wish cover art resembled the story represented in the games and the actual statistical data collected is updated and analysed to better represent today's Male and Female gamer.

Maybe I'm not thinking this through enough, but this basically says that if I enjoy a game that places a woman in such a role (sex object, or tool, or whatever) (barring stuff like DOA-X, that's the other end of the spectrum), that I'm a sad spineless wankmuffin.

And here I was thinking that games (can) have an escape from reality role, they allow you to do things you can't in real life, maybe because they're impossible (being a superhero?) or immoral (murder?).

So if that makes me sexist, does playing Mortal Kombat, Battlefield or Call of Duty make me a murderer? I mean, I enjoy looking at that T&A, and I enjoy shooting that camping son-of-a-bitch, but I don't give women less regard in life, nor do I shoot guys that bug me.

That said, publishers forcing game devs to change their vision is bullshit. I mean, I get that publishers want to protect their bottom line, but if a game developer has a desire to make a certain game, that must mean that like minded people would like to buy and play that game.

I learnt about Remember Me when Jim first mentioned it here (already a while back).
It piqued my curiosity specially when told that the game creator had to fight really hard to protect her protagonist (an Errorist named Nilin) from being turned into a man, under the ridiculous reasoning from the publisher that no male would want to play a game where a female protagonist would have a meaningful relationship with a man during the development of the story.
Basically smooching, I suppose, if at all.
I was really very curious to see how this relationship would be presented, how it would influence the story and gameplay. Will he just be a "hook", a "gentleman in distress", a "sidekick", or a true love interest that will make her character the more detailed and real to us?
My impression since then was that Nilin's relationship to that unclarified man was insdispensable to the story and had caused much discomfiture to some segment of the industry related to Remember Me's conception.

I bought it just to find out, and finished the game yesterday. There is not a single trace of anything of the sort in the whole of it.
The game is fun but quite shallow, as are Nilin's human relationships with any and all of the other characters in her story.

I have no idea what hurdles the complaining part (the publisher I believe) could have seen in this character. More than that, I have no clue of how any of those complaints could have even emerged from them. There is absolutely nothing in Remember Me that might've discomposed even the most demented of misogynists.

Very, very strange.

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