Escapist Podcast: 090: Nintendo Bails on E3 and Dragon's Crown's Breasts

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I'd say any of the games in the Gabriel Knight series have great poetic (and relevant) names to the games:

Sins of the Fathers
The Beast Within
Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned

Omikron: the nomad soul is a game whose name always intrigued me, yet was a horrible letdown.

Grim Fandango and Shadow of the Colossus are also impressively evocative titles. Beyond Good and Evil is also quite a good turn of phrase.

Tito doesnt get how "Half Life" is related to the game?... Im really surprised, I would have said that was one of the most obvious titles. The game is set in a nuclear (/"anomalous materials") research facility, and the whole main plot kicks off directly in the middle of, and as a result of, you the player performing one such experiment on a mystery nuclear material.

Mai'dah Id suggest should go play the Black Mesa mod. Great way to get the Half Life vibe without having to put up with the really old graphics and certain gameplay/level design problems of the original. Although its hard to get the same experience of how amazing HL was these days because of the number of great ideas that have become pretty standard nowdays.

As for the "boobs on boxes" discussion, I definitely agree with Susan's hesitation. Im highly skeptical that the research showing boxes with females on the covers sell better is because of a cause-and-effect situation. Personally I think its much more likely to be the opposite way around - we know that game executives believe in that theory, so it seems just as plausible that when publishers have a high cost, high profile, big marketing AAA title they are going to be more likely to put a female on the cover. Unless you could compare exactly identical games with different covers like Susan suggested, it seems to me that games get females on the covers because they are high selling, rather than games being high selling because of females on the cover.

Hmmm, many points to hit on this podcast.

Gay comments: I think a big thing is that whether or not one believes being gay or such to be wrong or right, it is still generally feels insulting to be called gay when you are not. An odd conundrum.

Sexy characters: I really like how you discussed it on this podcast, nuff said.

Game Names: Ummmmm, Final Fantasy is a pretty cool title I guess with an interesting story around it. And the irony of it. Hard to think of individual titles that just stand out on their own without just being fairly quickand direct description of the game...hmmm. Persona is a pretty cool title too, I guess?

Box Art: Anime chicks on the box certainly make me take a gander at the back of the box at least. ;)
But then, I just like anime. Overly sexualized chick on the box art more often averts the eyes away on the assumption that it's likely a dumb game if that's the tactic.

I did buy a game once because I thought the character looked like Link. And man Dark Cloud was gooood. Marketing lessons:

Step one, put a sexy chick on the cover.
Step two, if not a sexy chick, put someone that looks kind of like a more popular character.
Step three, profit.

Hmm, I feel I would be more inclined to looking at random games if they had the original japanese box arts. >.>

Well, I'm sure localized box arts are a huge discussion for another time.

Susan Arendt:

Yep. I know a guy who will, if given options, always pick the game with the most scantily clad/large breasted girl

Susan! I thought you were an editor! If an individual is 18 or older (and female), then they are a "woman." A "girl" would imply this person is younger than 18. It would be creepy to have scantily clad/large breasted girls on boxart.

Sorry, I know this is real issue and should be taken seriously, but I couldn't resist.

Favorite name for game: A Boy and His Blob

Favorite game title.
Final Fantasy 10 2

DERP, not only are they not final, because there are 10 of them. They're not even final in and of them selves because this one has a direct squeal.

But Final Fantasy 13 3 is going to come out soon so I don't fucking know.

Another favorite title is Prince of Persia Sands of Time.
I would not have bought that game if it was called anything else.

When you mentioned adblock during the the last podcat, i turned noscript off. Unfortunately this caused the site to reload so the podcat restarted. Still worth it though, keep up the good work :)

On the market research for game marketing, the samples are to small or too targeted to really represent the market in the same way that Nilson ratings fall down having maybe 1000 boxes out there for a population 300 million (in the US)

Has anyone mentioned Mortal Kombat? It's such a cheesy title and you know right away what you're getting into.

StriderShinryu:

cynicalsaint1:
Quick side note, Greg may be thinking of Hilde (Soul Calibur 4 & 5)

image

I've always thought she looked pretty awesome myself.

I believe he was actually thinking of Charlotte:

image

Right name, right genre, wrong game. Charlotte is from the samurai Shodown/Spirits series.

Yes it WAS Charlotte I was thinking of! Man, I abused the hell out of the samurai showdown cabinet at my local arcade.

bravetoaster:
Does anyone have a link to the box art study? At least from how it's described as being a study of a correlation between box art and sales... well, that's meaningless. Or, not completely meaningless, but, given all the other (uncontrolled) variables involved, just looking at 1) box art and 2) overall sales doesn't mean much.

Sure, here's the box art study I was talking about: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11199-012-0231-6

ill throw age of empires out there in the list of great titles the reasons being it sounds cool, and grandiose. while at the same time giving you a terrific feel for whats in store for the game.

Second podcast where you guys vent your frustration about people using Adblock. It's grating and hard to listen to.

My favorite title has to be Medieval: Total War. Told me everything I needed to know about that game.

After the last podcat, when I learned there were options to get rid of those annoying ads, I immediately signed up for Premium. Best 20 bucks ever, already saved me half an hour of ads. Glad your plea was received by the community well.

Never played it but Sins of a Solar Empire.

Meatspinner:
Second podcast where you guys vent your frustration about people using Adblock. It's grating and hard to listen to.

Yeah its so hard to listen to the 3 mins of dialogue, of 4 people who might be a little peeved because their paychecks are in the hands of a bunch of whiny, spoiled children.

Btw. when you're talking about sexy black woman. I just have to mention Isabela from dragon age 2, she was meant to be a gypsy-like I think, so she had a darker complexion. But my point is, there actually was a mod for the game, which was called Sexy Fair Skinned Isabela and it was a very popular mod. To be fair (pun not intended), her original skin texture wasn't top quality and she showed a lot of skin, so it may have also been a factor for the popularity, but you get the picture. If some higher up saw or heard something like that, no wonder they make them white, if some gamers actually go out of their way to make her white...

After the last podcast where you mentioned adblock I went and whitelisted this and a few other sites I respect and use frequently. When I listened to this podcast I noticed I still wasn't seeing ads, for some reason the ad block I was using decided I was insane to want to see ads and kept forgetting my whitelist.

I now have a new ad block.

Susan Arendt:

bravetoaster:

AkaDad:
I'll add Phantasmagoria as a great game title. I actually played it based on the name alone.

Speaking of diversity, I would much rather play a character that is opinionated, inquisitive, selfless, feisty, funny, and sarcastic, with A cups, as opposed to a vapid, self-absorbed diva with D cups. To me the former is "sexy" while the latter is not, no matter their physical attractiveness.

I think that the true sign of progress will be when cup size is irrelevant (which will probably only happen once developers are willing and able to create a more plausible variety of characters in games that are meant to be vaguely realistic).

Also, out of curiosity, are there really adults who play games based on how attractive the characters are? What kind of games/why?

Yep. I know a guy who will, if given options, always pick the game with the most scantily clad/large breasted girl. He also, perhaps unsurprisingly, has no idea how to treat women like actual people in real life.

That is just... kinda sad actually. Then again they made an entire MMO dedicated to that kind of guy so unfortunately we have to assume he's not alone out there.

And for something completely unrelated. Would it come of as creepy (in a stalker kind of way) to get a twitter account just to talk to the podcat crew? Because I really do not see myself using an account for anything else. Yet after getting the suggestion every week for almost 2 years I am starting to feel like following.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
The title really makes you think because it has a math equation built right in...

Seriously now.
image

Short buzzwords like this just evoke so much intrigue and emotion.
It's broad enough that you might have an idea what to expect and yet there's so many directions it could take.
The word alone sparks imagination which can be exciting.

For me the same holds true in all media be it televison (Lost), to even magic cards (Hatred).

Tombsite:

That is just... kinda sad actually. Then again they made an entire MMO dedicated to that kind of guy so unfortunately we have to assume he's not alone out there.

What the boobs balls did I just watch?

My favourite title for a recent game has to be Risk of Rain. Given that the game is a side scrolling rogue like platformer it's not exactly totally evocative of the game itself, but there's something about the phrase that just has a really nice ominous sound to it.

triggrhappy94:

Susan Arendt:

Yep. I know a guy who will, if given options, always pick the game with the most scantily clad/large breasted girl

Susan! I thought you were an editor! If an individual is 18 or older (and female), then they are a "woman." A "girl" would imply this person is younger than 18. It would be creepy to have scantily clad/large breasted girls on boxart.

Sorry, I know this is real issue and should be taken seriously, but I couldn't resist.

I use the term "girl" for females of any age. I rarely use the term "woman." It's not an editorial error, as much as you'd like it to be, it's a stylistic choice.

Tombsite:

And for something completely unrelated. Would it come of as creepy (in a stalker kind of way) to get a twitter account just to talk to the podcat crew? Because I really do not see myself using an account for anything else. Yet after getting the suggestion every week for almost 2 years I am starting to feel like following.

Not at all. Lots of folks do something similar. (Not just for us, I mean - they solely use Twitter to follow/respond to people in the media.)

Well I don't know why non-game enthusiast buy game. I assume people like us that are into the game industry look at gameplay videos and reviews to decide on game purchases.

From a marketing perspective they may look at it like this.
1. Most game players are male (at least they think so)
2. Guys are programed to look at attractive girls.
3. If we put an attractive girl on it they will give it a bit more attention.
4. If they give it more attention they will be more likely to by it.

Which makes sense. I generally find it odd as I would give a "time and a place" argument in this age of internet porn. So people don't need to get there hormonal jollys off on what they can get a hold of. So the reason of, there's hot girls in it doesn't really hold water as If they are in the mood they have the internet. So what how do the hot girls sell the game then as there are easier, cheaper and better options for that.

Weird thing to add, just because the whole "bad box art" thing hit upon this, but in English speaking Canada all products have to have information presented in English and French. This means that for marketing of some games that printing a case insert that meets Canadian language laws usually will also pass any requirements that the U.S. product labeling laws require as well. While we are only 1/10 the population of the U.S. our tech adoption rates tend to be higher (Broadband penetration is a great indicator) and we are willing to spend more per capita on entertainment (sad fact, go figure "socialism" and "hedonism" seem to go had in hand), so we are not-insignificant potential audience for most games. Hell, American football sells HUGE up here. Since EA and UBIsoft have huge presences in Canada (UBI owns what seems like half of Montreal sometimes) I could honestly believe that they might just come up with one packaging that applies to both countries and say fuck it and ship all that unnecessary french to the U.S. as well. That being said, worked 5 years at EB Games and never once saw a game with Japanese on it that wasn't imported, and way too many games had a Canadian wrapper shrink wrapped to the outside of the already sealed case. Goddamn I hated those...

longboardfan:
snip

Watch your tone friend. Constructive criticism is welcomed but your being combative and angry.

Eric the Orange:

longboardfan:
snip

Watch your tone friend. Constructive criticism is welcomed but your being combative and angry.

I really think that its time for people like the ones in the podcast to take their blinders off and take a good look around them. Laura Croft didn't have huge tits, Soul Hackers didn't have huge tits, Bioshock Infinite didn't have huge tits. I'm tired of hearing these tired tropes trotted out as fact when they ignore all the OTHER games released in the last four weeks, and instead focus on one game that has a really interesting style of artwork (and one set of huge breasts).

Please let them know that they would have more value as both entertainers and journalists if they'd stop blaming the audience and men in general for the occasional game with large breasts. It would be nice to be treated like a human being without being blamed for some nebulous thing like sexism in gaming, especially when its not supported by facts (like just looking at the artwork from games released). They'll find their 'variety' easily enough.

Lara Croft didn't have huge tits? Need I remind you that until the latest iteration was released, Tomb Raider was this:
image
Egad, some people have a short memory... They didn't even bother putting her FACE on the box, seriously...

The Escapist Staff:
Video game journalists are obsessed with food

No really? Like we hadn't noticed so far? ;) I was just laughing out loud when I heard this.

Thanks a bunch for the podcast this week, namely the discussion on the whole Dragon's Crown debacle. It's really the kind of thing that makes me sigh, there's a lot of stupidity all around. It's nice to know that the artist and Kotaku's journalist were able to come to terms and have a constructive discussion, though.

You guys said that the girly/big eyes/small mouth/etc was an acceptable stereotype in Japan, but it made me wonder. Is there no reaction to this representation of women in Japan? Does everyone really find it "totally normal" to have no "real" women in the medium? Granted, I'm all seeing it with my very Western eyes, but you have to wonder what the reaction out in the East is like...

On the uneducated consumer's decision... Well, I've always been a huge fan of games, but for a very long time, my dad was the one who made the purchases (being the one with the cash to do so). Even when I was a teen, I never spent my allowance on games, because well, I was brought up to save and video gaming wasn't encouraged (at all). I only started reading up on games around 2006 when I was in college and starting browsing articles on the Escapist. That's when I started really knowing what games came out, what they were about. Before that, I went by general description and... the box art. And that was especially true when I was a kid. I particularly remember my sister and I talking my dad in buying Drakan: Order of the Flames because well "look, that girl looks ready to kick ass, and she's FLYING ON A FREAKIN' **DRAGON**, that's just SO COOL!!!" That's not the say that your average consumer reacts like a 14 or 15 year old, but well... Sometimes you just use the information you have which is the blurb and the art. That's it.
I'd love to see an experiment along the lines of what Susan said, though. Same game, same features, same extra goodies, different box art. Controlling the confusion factors in that kind of study would be a huge pain, though, but I definitely would be interesting. In any case, I don't recall FemShep's presence on ME3's box art hurting the game's sales...

Finally, where do we sign up to be part of the focus groups? Because if there's truly a lack of female players, then I volunteer. For science!

Thanks for the podcast, I look forward to it every week. :)

I think the Sorceress' design is hot as well, and there is nothing wrong with that. Game art is not all dictated by evil corporations, sometimes they draw what they find sexy. If a person does make something that they like in this world it is natural that someone will not like it for whatever reason, however, the price for getting in someone else's preferential business is a force of evil that could stifle the creativity of the artist. Let Dragon's Crown be what they want it to, and instead of hating, create your own game with whatever you find sexy.

I swear there is an alternate timeline where the forces of evil win more often and the sorceress pic never found its way to my eyeballs, that version of me saw one less beutiful thing that humans dreamed up. Heck, most of the hot stuff now is in anime style games because they are one of the last places the evil hasn't reached.

You are not alone Susan, I love the Duke as well, it was the most comfortable controller for my hands.

hickwarrior:
Well, first off, I felt very annoyed how frank and upbeat you guys were

Um...why? Most people consider being honest and positive to be good qualities.

oh dear god i feel really terrible because after you talked about adblock again i checked and you guys were not whitelisted when i thought you were and now i feel terrible. i shall walk the streets till i find a puppy to rescue to atone for my sins.

oh and cool game titles:
shadow man, the only game i ever bought because of the title and cover and my god was that a great game.
vanquish, the title just evokes something incredibly gamey, like an arcade machine should have written that on it and the game does deliver on that.

Susan Arendt:

hickwarrior:
Well, first off, I felt very annoyed how frank and upbeat you guys were

Um...why? Most people consider being honest and positive to be good qualities.

hickwarrior:
but which was helped by fire emblem: awakening. Playing that on hard/classic is a nightmare when under pressure, even though you can take your time in planning out every movement and attack you make. I guess I won't do that next time.

Like I said, it had way more to do with my frustration playing that game than you guys being happy. To put it differently, I was frustrated with how hard it was to keep certain characters alive in that game, but still strong enough to keep up with the entire army.

It's not a knock on you guys, keep doing what you're doing. It's great that you are so enthusiastic about videogames.

I hope that clears it up.

PS: I tend to be very OCD about keeping EVERYONE alive in Fire Emblem. Because of that relation system that fleshes the characters out. As well as keeping all my options open for all the different weapons, needed to combat specific enemies.

Once again
I feel that the Sorceress was designed as a witch
And if she would be implemented as a classical witch her design would make sense
Something along lines of Lamia from movie Stardust (but with sexuality multiplied by 10)
That movie perfectly captured what witches will do to keep their power and beauty
And when you do so much to keep yourself hot it somewhat makes sense to have very revealing outfit

Regarding changed roles in the games
I remember that in all Deus Ex games I always went with the Illuminati
Their plans made sense dammit
Sometimes conspiracy may have good intentions and goal of it may be majorly beneficial to mankind
(something people tend to forget)

P.S. Deus Ex is badass title too. And it taps into whole Deus Ex Machina pun. And this pun perfectly explains main plots.
LOVE that title :D

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