Jimquisition: Neutered

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Some people in this thread seem to be a bit too all or nothing about this.
Perhaps Jim is being taken a bit too litterally.

There's room for all kinds of games in the gaming industry. That said, not every game needs Gender Select, or a female character option, BUT, the industry needs to mature into a media that welcomes many kinds of gamers and be more common about it. It needs to stop relying on the default white guy that's around 30, and branch out more into other ethnicities, and the other gender. I know they -can- do this.
Samus, Lara Croft, and pretty much every other memorable female protagonist we remember fondly are likely creations of guys.
We've seen a handful of assorted ethnicities in gaming, but I don't think we've seen enough.
I mean am I really to believe bullshit like Naughty Dog can't make a decent female protagonist? Or that Rockstar with it's writing team, and a taste for the controvercial can't make a female lead in GTA?

Honestly, Jim has a somewhat unique perspective on this. How often has a game starred a character that had Jim's build?

Saints row 2, 3, and 4 don't give a damn about what you look like, it empowers you to play all the same. As offensive as some of the jokes in the game are, the game lets you in on them with a more relateable character, not just in how the character looks, but how they sound, too. The game has 7 voices that you can pick from. 4 male voices (including the more self-aware joke voice of Nolan North) and 3 female voice, and pitch alteration!
That's part of the beauty of the series.
No, not every game, needs to go that far, but they can damn well TRY to be more inclusive more often than the industry allows!

Creepifying read there on Sarkeesian and this Susan Wilson...

JimB:
Just so we're clear on this, it's understood that I used those three examples to be representative of, well, pretty much the entire world, right?

Yes, of course. They are just terrible examples. In TV and VG you can find diversity but the vast majority is just terrible. These examples mostly represent tiny fractions of the world. If a child bases it's moral reasoning on these things, it's simply narrow-minded. Now I know white, privileged, straight men have made these things difficult to escape but I won't let them have all the responsibility.

The difference is, that's a behavior, not an identity. Behaviors are easy to train out of kids, because behaviors carry easily observed consequences they understand. Identities don't really work like that.

You are right, I did a bad job there. Also, I didn't become a bully, a plumber or have a need to choose my romantic interests on an idea of a damsel in distress. Identities really don't work like that.

but is not nearly as responsible about the messages it sends regarding gender politics...which is a sentence I know I need to unpack but I just can't bring myself to have this argument again right now. If you care enough to ask, I might get into it tomorrow.

I'd like that.

Father Time:

leviadragon99:

1: I'm not saying it's a unified front by the community, far from it, it's a handful of misanthropes, but they're still numerous and loud enough to be a problem, to do everything they can to drag down the image of the rest of the community with them.

2: Oh yes, because knowing the topics someone is going to speak about is all you need to pre-emptively rebut them. Wait for someone to actually say what they're going to say before jumping in arguing about it, because HOW they talk about the points may surprise you, and then your commentary ends up irrelevant. Going by past experiences of their work is not absolutely reliable, as someone can still do something different, take a different viewpoint since they've grown as a person, or as the situation has changed, or tackle different aspects of the issue that you didn't consider instead of the old ones she didn't feel need to be said.

I can't even remember people making points against specific arguments before the videos started. But you know she's got a list of tropes that she's going to attack so you can defend them in a general sense and that'd be relevant.

leviadragon99:

And are you really trying to say that people on the internet shouldn't be allowed to make money from the content they produce?

Who said anything about allowed? I think she didn't need any money to do research, that it could've been done for free. That's it. I never called for kickstarter to remove her page.

leviadragon99:

4: Y'know, people who immediately assume someone is talking about them when there's accusations running around about certain people being douches without naming any names or trying to paint everyone with the same brush? Yeah, those kinds of people do tend to be either the ones the accusation were talking about, or so pathetically unable to work out that the calls of sexism aren't directed at the whole community that they may as well be,

So if you mistakenly believe they called you a sexist you're a sexist? How's that work? And I'm talking about calling the games sexist. They enjoy the games, they think the criticisms are completely without merit, so they become part of a backlash.

leviadragon99:

5: Yes, there was thankfully some more civil and intellectual discourse... eventually. But you can't deny that a significant amount, perhaps even the majority was mindless pettiness.

Sure I can. Mindless pettiness is subjective, and I don't think the majority were attacking her for no reason.

leviadragon99:

7: See... having a game that caters to certain likes or dislikes, preferences of content or type of play, is incredibly different to having one that outright makes it clear that someone isn't wanted, or just has little enough thought put into the mechanics and narrative that it comes off that way

Why? Isn't whether it comes off that way subjective?

leviadragon99:

8: How are Cod and Halo NOT prototypical gun-bro games exactly?

COD is ... I think, haven't heard the term gun-bro before. Halo has guns but they're all fictional sci-fi guns and its most famous weapons are a sword, a grenade and a hammer.

leviadragon99:
Nintendo has always been something of a wildcard, one of the few survivors of an even earlier era, a company primarily based on another culture's perspective, and one that exists primarily on long-standing franchises, saying they buck the trends is no great surprise.

They still count though and I'm fairly certain they outnumber COD games (not a hard feat, just have more than one game released a year).

Again how mainstream am I allowed to go? Does Bioshock count? Does the Last of Us? God of War? Hitman? LittleBigPlanet? Kerbal Space Program?

1: You were the one defending the practice of pre-emptively trying to counter her arguments in previous comments, now you say that defending them in a general sense is viable? No, I disagree, you need to wait for what someone actually says before you drag out the tired, pre-baked ready defences.

2: Okay then... how many people on the internet NEED to make money from their content? It's entirely possible the kickstarter was a way of supporting herself while she took time off from her real work to do that research. Again, I've seen people kickstarting for all manner of things, you don't have to donate/approve, but what does saying they don't have to do that even accomplish?

3: Not quite, but it's a warning sign, if you know yourself not to be sexist then why get in such a tizzy about claims that some people in your community are? And if you enjoy a game and think someone is mistaken in their conclusions about it, then be civil in your rebuttals, there's a proper way to show disapproval or disagreement, and again, we're not talking about those that were debating intelligently on the topic, we're talking about those that were screaming obscenities, I think it's fairly safe to say people whose first resort was that kind of behaviour didn't have any worthwhile input into the discussion.

4: But then were the majority attacking her for a GOOD reason? She doesn't have any actual power to take away allegedly sexist games, nor has she even been saying "this game is sexist and should not have been made", so why all the vitriol? What, indeed is the point of attacking her like that? So, when you take away the people disagreeing with her and trying to have a meaningful discussion about it, what percentage of commenters do you believe would remains?

5: Subjective yes, but there are certain trends, patterns and fairly broadly accepted logic, and if you manage to offend say... roughly half of humanity, I think that's a margin of subjective opinion worth paying attention to. If we refused to change offensive things because they're only offensive to some people rather than 100% of them, then blackface would still be okay, among so many other things we now have the collective insight to realize are not cool.

6: So? It's still the type of game that attracts the frat boy demographic to play the multiplayer endlessly and nothing else, I must admit I don't know how much online douchiness was thrown back and forth when Halo was still being played by the masses, but it falls into the same general sphere of gaming.

7: I'm not saying there aren't plenty of games out there that aren't modern military shooters or otherwise multiplayer focussed shooters, just that shooters have risen to a disproportionate prominence in the community, in how we seem to the outside, in how people who play only those games seem to think the community should be.

Jimothy Sterling:
Neutered

Why do gamers defend their favorite titles from criticism with such volatility? According to some, it's because they don't want to see their genitalia removed.

Watch Video

Inclusion and exclusion are very different things. Dragons crown had both women with huge boobs and women who did not have huge boobs. Those objecting to it were largely objecting to the inclusion of women with huge boobs, and demanding that they be excluded. Similarly, those objecting to Ivy from Soul Calibur were demanding that women with big boobs be excluded, not that women with small boobs be included, because women with small boobs were already included.

Generally what the people objecting to you, Jim, are objecting to is not the demand for inclusion, but the demand for exclusion.

Am I alone in finding the irony where Jim complains about the lack of creativity in games, yet then seemingly champions suppressing it for the sake of not offending people who probably aren't going to buy the game in the first place?

Jim, please. The horse is dead. Talk about something new for once.

Love how Jim keeps referencing an item that isn't in Saint's Row 4, because it made getting classification hard and got bad press, as an example of games not getting neutered.

If people want more creative freedom in video games, we actually need to deter from the backlash of "this game is sexist/racist/whatever". Simple marketing dictates that if there's a demand for a certain game it will sell. A games developer should be free to include whatever they want into a video game and not have to justify it. Case in point for Dragon's Crown; nobody really questions the gross exaggerated designs for anyone other than the Sorceress. The Amazon is more muscle-bound than most "fit girl" fetishists would appreciate, the Dwarf is anything but a "male power fantasy" etc. The developers shouldn't need to justify their creation (in the same way that modern art doesn't need to justify its existence even though some of it really ought to).

The flip side to all of this is if you create something that is distasteful to the majority, it won't sell. Telling Rockstar that they need to include a female lead in their story-driven game is unfair and if their lack of a female lead IS an issue, the game won't sell as well. In the case of Dragon's Crown, this backlash only worked in its favour. A game I has no knowledge of is something that I may check out soon enough and I imagine this is the case for more than a couple of thousand people.

Creating an industry standard checklist of what must be included will only drive gaming backwards. There are two avenues you can go down if you feel a certain game type is under-represented. The first is to vote with your wallet; buy the games that you like, avoid the games you don't. The second is to get involved in making the games you want. If there's a market for your game, it WILL sell.

Heavy Rain made money. Mirror's Edge made money and got a sequel. The first Mario RPG spawned 7+ successful sequels.

Mr. Jim Sterling,

So this is certainly a hot topic. Video games and the portrayal of women by 1970s standards! It is a noble cause for sure to portray everyone equally in a since, and it has been argued that video games don't do the same to men that it does to women(anecdotal, a friend of mine says she "juices" for Kratos and his muscles.) simply because sausages are not being flapped about in the open breeze.

My experience to this debate in video gaming actually started when the Cyberpunk game trailer came out. The now infamous still frame of a somewhat attractive woman draped in a nightgown and surrounded by corpses, with bizarre cutting utensils coming out of her arm painted a haunting picture. But when I scrolled down to the comments, I saw people screaming their heads off in internet fashion about the portrayal of women in videogames... and even a few claiming that no one would dress like that in Cyberpunk.

Cyberpunk, a game where Cyberware is the new mercedes and the elite can have their new Chrome personalized, hand crafted and signed...but all at a price, as the more inhuman you become the less attached to humanity you become... which brings us to the plot behind that video. There are questions to be asked, surely. Who is she? why did she kill people in the middle of the streets? Why does she have such extensive modifications?

but the outcry was that of a different question...how dare there exist a setting where this could happen.

Sorry to pull from the first page to respond here, but the amount of these videos that have to talk about these same topics over and over again just really show how much hammering of the same points really needs to be done to get some things through...

Monxeroth:
Its really only neutering in some cases in the sense that: Oh, we dont get to have a G-cupped playable character in this game, OH NOES MY CREATIVITY.

Then again on the other hand in some cases it does have a fair point to dismiss the criticism when its not relevant in any way to the actual game.
For example: Does the sorceress breasts somehow lower the quality of the game? No, no it does not. Only mechanics and actual faults with the game can lower a games overrall quality in my opinion, not subjective personal nonsense like the artstyle not being appealing or the music not being received well by some. Whether you like something or not, its not a valid reason to critique a game for.

"How dare someone make a game with an artstyle that i dont find personally appealing, this game sucks"

Legion:
I both agree and disagree.

I agree with the point you are making, but at the same time you seem to be countering a point that doesn't seem to be exactly the one being made (at least from what I have really seen).

When I see people complain about games being restricted I don't see them meaning in the sense that they will have less creativity. They tend to mean that they will have less creative freedom. That by caving into people saying "This is bad" or "You shouldn't be doing that" they are paving the way for people to dictate what developers can and cannot do. That would be stopping developers from making the games that they want to make and they will end up only making games that the loudest people want made, so as not to get any backlash from it.

I suppose the Mass Effect 3 ending is a good example. They chose to make the ending as it was originally and people complained about it extremely vocally. So they released the extended cut. Many people argued that by caving into the people complaining the developers gave up their creativity, because they didn't make the ending that they thought the game should have, they gave in and created the ending that the complainers wanted.

I think the fear is that if enough people start complaining about certain features in games, it will become considered socially unacceptable to have those features at all. In some ways that is actually a valid point. If people complain non-stop about sexy female characters, then eventually they are going to stop being made at all, because developers don't want the constant outrage over it from tarnishing the games reputation and giving it negative press.

It is a similar point to the one you made last week in fact. Developers don't want their fans ruining their success by harping on at a single negative review, and likewise I sincerely doubt that the creators of something like Dragons Crown wanted people only going on about the female character designs. They put a lot more into the game than titillation (I am assuming here, I haven't played the game nor do I particularly want to) so by people only dragging down the discussions to complain about the boobs, they might be put off creating such designs in the future.

People often say they don't wish to stop these kinds of things being made, only to have more choices and variety when it comes to games. A much better way of doing this is to praise the ones you like, rather than rant and rave at the ones that you don't. If people who like buxom characters praise them, games will have them. Likewise if people prefer their female characters more reasonably proportioned, then they should be discussing them and praising developers when they do make them. This will encourage them to make more.

Which doesn't happen very often to be honest. Even when developers do make decent characters to appeal to a wider audience they still get complaints. Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us all got sexism complaints based around how they created their female characters, and how is that going to encourage more variety? It's just going to put people off and in many ways that does dampen creativity.

Holy Hell that post was a lot longer than I originally intended.

To get to Monxeroth's point first, here's the thing: It really DOES matter that the sorceress in Dragon's Crown has breasts larger than her head. It does matter that the dwarf and the amazon look more like cosmic horrors made of muscle than humanoids. I'm completely not interested in playing that game because of it. (And to answer the person a few posts above mine, yes, those two characters do offend me, as well.)

The art style, simply put, makes me sick, and I'm not going to play the game for that specific reason.

And this, in turn, leads me to the larger issue that Legion talks about...

This sort of criticism DOES matter, and so does the conscientious effort of people like Jim to avoid using sexually-loaded terms as if they were completely natural. In the most abstract sense, it matters because what's the point in having a website based on criticism of games and movies if criticisms that talk about how bad choices were made in making some game or film are somehow INHERENTLY wrong?

The core argument you're making assumes that the creator of a game is always right, and no criticisms should EVER force a change. Even if Mass Effect 3's reception was overblown, why, exactly, is it wrong to say so when you think the reasoning of the starchild at the end was obtuse, ridiculous, or otherwise detracted from your enjoyment of the game? The effect that the players of the game were SUPPOSED to have gotten from the Synthesis ending was that you had accomplished your objective of saving the universe from the Reapers, but the cutscenes, as they were actually SHOWN to the players conveyed that the players had actually failed, and everything the players were trying to protect was destroyed. That's a failure of storytelling to convey the actual message they were trying to convey - and that's probably a graver sin than a game-breaking bug, in terms of a story-driven game.

If you take this sort of slippery-slope argument seriously, what you're basically arguing for is an even worse censorship of criticism than there is going on of art, in the name of "protecting art from criticism", when, as Yahtzee put it, criticism is a force of good. Criticism is the correcting, nurturing force that shows artists how to overcome the flaws in their works. If BioWare had really, truly thought the original version of the game was the only true way to express their vision of the game, they probably wouldn't have changed it the way they did. And the way they changed it was to try to tell people that, "no, no, really, we didn't mean to show that everyone died, and we completely forgot that we previously said that an exploding mass relay would completely annihilate the Earth, so that didn't happen either."

But really, we all know that's not the real reason this argument for "freedom" here... What this is about is a certain sub-set of people wanting to keep having their fanservice-filled softcore porn games even when they know that's exactly what it is they are defending, and that there's really no place for it in our culture in general.

If, for example, we were arguing that no creator of media should ever have to answer to criticisms of their work, it opens up questions of just what works you really would accept: How many people here pine for the days that Minstrel Shows with blackfaced actors making just one overly long joke about how stupid black people supposedly are? How many people bemoan the lack of "creative freedom" we have to make flagrantly racist or anti-semitic jokes or screeds? Or, for that matter, "Separate But Equal" water fountains? Because the people who used to make those things sure did bemoan them... because they were racists and anti-semites.

Now, no, I'm not calling you racists, and I'm not making a 1:1 comparison on how much "wrongness" there is in liking blackface and liking games that are only a half-step from softcore porn, but the basic problem here is an utter lack of empathy for the other side of the argument on these things. The notion that maybe these things do genuinely offend people who aren't easily dismissed as "just easily offended people who make a living off of stirring up controversy" is the core reason WHY this topic seems to need to keep being hammered home.

The basis of the argument Monxeroth makes explicitly, and is fairly omnipresent in the subtext of most of these arguments is that, if YOU don't find something offensive, then it's wrong for anyone else to find such things so.

But, again, just a couple generations ago, overt racism was considered perfectly natural and acceptable in casual conversation. Nobody then really wanted to question whether their overtly racist and Social Darwinist theories were simply myopic points of view brought on by an unwillingness to consider that maybe some point of view other than trying to pretend whatever little sub-set of the population was the absolute perfection of humanity, and all mingling with "lesser" types would damage their "purity", either. I'm just saying maybe CONSIDER the notion that what you grew up being used to having the license to say and do isn't necessarily right JUST BECAUSE you could get away with it before, and you don't feel like changing.

This is really all about not wanting to share the clubhouse because you've never had to share it before, not wanting to care about others because you've never had to care before.

To get back to the point about this argument always ONLY applying to the waterballoons in chainmail bikinis, I'd like to just point back to how little of the argument there was about how people complaining about how they don't want to play Saint's Row because it's all a bunch of immature scat jokes never got the same amount of backlash as the ones about people not liking a game because it's art style is best described by just saying "BOING! BOING! BOING!" with a pair of cantaloupes smuggled in their shirt. It's perfectly accepted for people to say they don't want to play games for those reasons, but not for the blatant sexuality they put in games, which really deflates the attempts at argument that try to put this as standing up for some grand, abstract principle that only ever seems to apply to this one specific sticking point.

This is a topic where people use these absolutes and abstractions to try to dodge the real issues at play, here. Yes, I agree that just sticking a female character into GTA V for no reason other than "DIVERSITY" would have been a mistake. Yes, I agree that just having a character gender selector isn't really going to help matters. That doesn't make for an excuse to say that no standards should be set or that nothing should change, however.

There isn't any reason that a female character couldn't be put into any GTA game that wouldn't have ADDED to the game or the story. These stories weren't exactly sacrosanct works of unblemished art to begin with. In fact, GTA IV's story was pretty much a total mess, since it tried to portray someone who would happily run around in the streets firing off automatic weapons just to get the Army to chase him to win a medal for the longest time spent with "six stars" as somehow being someone TROUBLED by all the violence he had seen, and in some way trying to get away from it. (The tone of Saint's Row and even older games like Vice City is at least more consistent as they would have the characters out-and-out declare THEMSELVES to be psychotic and loving it, since that actually fit how players were expected to act.)

To bring up another game as an example, while I suppose Skyrim can get SOME credit for allowing for all characters to be bisexual, at least in theory, it was done in the laziest possible way. (As far as I could see, this had to do with the dev team just not caring about getting it done right and releasing on time...) In that game, there was absolutely no regard at all for your gender or your partners, or even the fact that you got married at all. (One merchant woman character will even happily wish you well on your unwilling wedding to a hag creature in a daedra quest even if she's already supposed to be your wife with no lines changed.) Yet, for all this seeming utter gender equality, there isn't a single other character apparent in the game that is gay if you aren't the one involved in the relationship.

Compare this to, say, Dragon Age: Origins, where, if you play a female, they pretty deliberately made the devout religious woman the bisexual romantic interest for a lesbian player character, while the dark and borderline "evil" witch woman was strictly straight. They chose not to go with the obvious stereotypes of depraved bisexuals. (Although, granted, the male bisexual elf assassin kind of undermines that argument a little from the other angle, at least they spent some effort on it.) They tried to make up rationales for which characters would be willing to participate in what relationships. The sexuality was part of the story, there to enhance the effects of your choices you make with relationships to the other characters, rather than just being blatant eye candy.

It's not like there's no way to handle sexuality, the way that some people are trying to protest, it's just that there are far more mature and entertaining ways to actually include it in a game.

The Ar Tonelico series can actually serve as an example of both the right and wrong ways of sexuality. In Ar Tonelico 1, you have plenty of Getting Crap Past The Radar sexual references, but it becomes the most overt when, in the course of gaining the trust of the heroines, your hero goes on a Journey To The Center Of Their Minds, gradually working through the different layers of the heroine's psyche, and comes across what is, bluntly, their sexual sides when he goes deep enough into the mental world. There, the heroines (whose relationship is pretty much overtly boyfriend-girlfriend by the point she would allow the hero that deep in,) stop beating around the bush and flat-out try to seduce the hero directly. Because, you know, sexuality is a part of their humanity. (Or partly-humanity and partly-magic-cyborg... oh forget it, you get the point.) Actually talking about that isn't at all a negative thing.

On the other hand, the reward for going through those segments, aside from uncovering parts of the mystery of the character's background and new, upgraded spells, was a new costume, which notably contained some absurdly skimpy costumes for the heroines. (The seduction plot point gives the most overt example - making the heroine fight in nothing but a bath towel.)

The series really fell off a cliff with the third game, however, when they clearly went for more overt sexuality, and actually went as far as adding "combat stripping" as a game mechanic. If you want an idea of what audience they thought they were doing it for, they added a "panic button" you could push to hide the scenes when dialogue (and potentially the much more racy cutscene images,) and then added a trophy specifically for pushing it a lot named, "Nothing, Mom!" Note the "mom" part. They don't expect anyone who plays their games to have girlfriends or roommates, but to be prepubescent teens. Because that's the only audience they bother to cater to in that game. While not every one, almost all the failings of that game can be traced directly back to trying to pander more and more towards the 13-year-old crowd, and away from the headier topics of psychology that made the original games interesting.

For that matter, not all "sexiness" in character design is off-limits when you're designing for an audience besides just 13-year-old-boys, and I could point to characters like the main characters from the Atelier games, (from the same company, whose character designs really do go all over the place,) like Totori, as characters who are obviously designed for the purpose of attracting women gamers rather than male ones, and that involves throwing all the heroines in mini-skirts and far more insubstantial outfits than any serious adventurer would wear. (Although how utterly unsuited Totori was for adventuring could arguably be part of the point.)

Likewise, there was the outcry of "censorship" raised over Mugen Souls was over the company cutting out a scene where the player was tasked with tickling virtually nude underaged girls in the bath with various objects as a side game. When it was removed, as some of the critics pointed out, they had to actually look up what was missing from the game online to even notice it, since it added so little to the game as a whole.

In short, removing the absurdly pervvy part probably actually made Mugen Souls a better game for most people who WOULD feel really uncomfortable with a mini-game where they are tasked with rubbing dildos on underaged girls while they moaned. Because, you know, those people DO exist, and they aren't all "EVIL FEMINISTS OUT TO DESTROY ALL FUN" sorts.

And yes, sometimes there will be people who over-react. I haven't played the new Tomb Raider, but from what I hear, that argument was overblown. However, the invalidity of any one argument or any one arguer never applies to every argument remotely related to that topic. By the same token, nor does making an argument in defense of these games make you the same as the most overtly abusive people who rise up to defend these games, or does it make you "as bad as" the racist counter-example I put forward earlier. (Which would bring me back to this persistent "Anita Sarkeesian is EVIL, therefore sexism can't possibly exist" argument I keep hearing... but this post is long enough as-is.)

So... To talk about Anita Sarkeesian...

*Sigh*

On ANOTHER website's forums, because this topic can't come up anywhere without Anita Sarkeesian being pulled in as the ultimate feminist boogey(wo)man, now can we?

Honestly, I was almost driven to sign up for the forums here on the last show MovieBob did about how "nerd culture" is too exclusivist, which featured a video where Sarkeesian is never mentioned, and only appears for a couple seconds, and yet, within the first page of the conversation about a topic that only barely tangentially included her, there were not just "White Knighting of Anita Sarkeesian" accusations, but page-long rants about how we shouldn't be talking about Anita Sarkeesian because she's a "flawed messenger". You know, because the best way to convince people not to talk about someone is to thrust it directly into the conversation that wasn't even about that person.

I'm willing to give the people who try this line of reasoning a little more credit than the people who just throw out mindless insults about "white knighting". However, honestly, as much as you try to make your arguments seem more reasonable, every time people try to turn the argument into a "here is why Anita Sarkeesian is completely untrustworthy!" argument, and, by extension, an argument why ALL arguments about the sexism found in games are invalid, your arguments only have a thin veneer of reason to them covering the exact same "point".

Basically put, this sort of "shooting the messenger" approach is completely unfounded from the start, since it doesn't matter who is making an argument, it has no bearing on how valid the argument is. This would be like trying to argue that Christianity must be the One True Religion by arguing that Richard Dawkins is a jerk. Or arguing that Global Warming is false by complaining about Al Gore. It's a complete dodge of the real issues, and the fact that you have to resort to it reflects poorly upon your own abilities to persuade.

In fact, to pull that same comparison to the civil rights era back in, the same argument was made about Martin Luther King Jr. People who couldn't argue how segregation or the violence being done in the streets of Selma were in any way justified instead took to harping on how MLK was a "fraud" for having an affair, thus proving him not a perfect superhuman, and therefore, Civil Rights should be over. The same went with the backlash against the Black Panthers - some black people are angry and have guns, so obviously we can't let any black people have rights!

It's rather telling in it's own way, in fact, that nobody tries to come onto completely unrelated webshow's forums to talk about how Jim Sterling is "not at all qualified to talk about maturity in videogames" months or years after he posted his topics on the subject, but somehow, you can't talk about sexism in games at all without the "Evils" of Sarkeesian being the only acceptable topic.

I mean, there's plenty to argue about how flawed a messenger Jim Sterling is... but this somehow only becomes a topic when, again, the topic he is talking about is sexism. And even then, all the real spite is saved for him "defending Sarkeesian".

The fact that the hate is directed towards someone for just agreeing with a woman whose cardinal sin is talking about sexism is... well, proof of the sexism everyone's talking about. And I do mean "everyone", since it's hard to find game critics with shows like these that HAVEN'T done this topic at least once, yet.

Every time you bring her up, it really DOES prove her right. So what if she DID somehow "trick" people into showing how sexist they were with a YouTube video for the explicit purpose of making more money? She didn't force anyone to be sexist, she just profited off of it. And if that's such a horrible thought for you, maybe you shouldn't have made her so much money by shouting sexist obscenities for her to showcase and profit upon? Oh, wait, right, that's one of those other topics Jim Sterling already devoted a video to with this exact same resultant conversation, wasn't it?

It just proves how deaf the ears of those who are so concerned about "defending" the sexist practices of some game companies are, and why these topics keep coming up. If anything, that makes sure that some sort of "Sexism Profiteer" like you people keep claiming Sarkeesian to be would be completely set for life just starting up more kickstarters and baiting sexists into attacking her, doesn't it? At the very least, it proves that this hasn't been hammered to death enough to actually penetrate...

All this isn't to say that there aren't good arguments against Sarkeesian's points, I've seen some of the mistakes, as well, but that her very existence has become a cudgel to be used by people who desperately want to avoid any honest discussion of what it is they are defending out of this mass panic that is based on, deep down, the acknowledgment that the basic argument being made here really is right.

JimB:

MeChaNiZ3D:
I say what I want, and stick to those turns of phrase because I don't mean anything discriminatory and the critics need to realize that before they start pointing the finger.

Your point here seems to be that you have less of a burden to choose your words carefully as to convey your exact meaning as precisely as possible than everyone else in the world does to already know what you're thinking. I find this position insupportable.

My point is that I have less of a burden to choose my words as carefully as possible to convey my exact meaning in casual conversation or when referencing a commonly used phrase, just like everyone else in the world. I would go so far as to say people who identify and react to outdated or uncommon definitions are deliberately doing so and creating an imaginary problem of casual discrimination in a number of fields.

Would it be insulting or complimentary to actually beat the crap out of an actual person using a dildo bat?

I think you have a point here, but make it poorly.

Other people have pointed out that SR4 is kind of a bad example to use, especially considering that most games don't give you the freedom of character creativity. I agree with this: you should criticize other games not for failing to include character creation options, but for having the exact same characters all the time.

One of the biggest problems I have playing videogames is that I want to experience many different characters, not just the same ones all the time. And when it comes to female characters, there's only really one kind: the scantily clad one. Oh sure, there are exceptions - but the general idea in games seems to be that female characters exist as the eye candy, even when they're pulling off seriously cool shit.

I want to play females wearing plate armor that looks real. I want to play females that don't have enormous breasts and perfect asses. I just want to play females that are outside the pattern, for god's sake. Games like SR2, 3, and 4 are good on that front, but I'd like to see some pre-made characters fit these sorts of preferences.

That having been said, there IS an attempt to shame people out of certain creative choices (for example, that upcoming puppet game where the guy said "Hey, I didn't make a female character because I wasn't feeling it" and then got a huge backlash because of it.) This applies to Dragon's Crown as well, and it needs to stop - saying "NO, you CAN'T make stupidly proportioned characters anymore, it's not RIGHT" only serves to frustrate the true issue - the lack of not-stupid-proportioned characters.

If you want better female characters, ask for them - but hating on the current characters in play isn't going to get you far. It's just going to draw the ire of people attached to them - and if the nerd community is good at anything, it's working up a good froth.

Is anyone else have difficulty accessing this content

Wraith_Magus:
So... To talk about Anita Sarkeesian...

*Sigh*

Snipped...

That was long but it was very good. I generally like debates like this, but someone has occasionally to step in and point out that a factual argument is not rendered invalid by a bad opinion of the person making the argument.

nuttshell:

JimB:
Just so we're clear on this, it's understood that I used those three examples to be representative of, well, pretty much the entire world, right?

Yes, of course.

Just wanted to be clear on that.

nuttshell:
I know white, privileged, straight men have made these things difficult to escape but I won't let them have all the responsibility.

That's fair enough. If social pressure crushes you, then you do own a part of it for not being strong enough to avoid being crushed, and that probably sounds sarcastic but I do mean it. I just don't think your part is necessarily as big as society's.

And just for the record, yes, white, straight, privileged men probably have been the biggest contributors to any system that favors white, straight, privileged men, but I'd like to make a general call for caution when discussing that, because while white, straight, privileged men may be the enemy in the sense that they are the biggest obstacle between equality and everyone who isn't them, I think very few of them are motivated by antipathy or anything other than simple ignorance. Just as it's not a black dude's fault he was born black, it's not a white dude's fault he was born white. Let's not get into blaming if it's at all avoidable.

nuttshell:
I'd like that.

sigh

Sorry, that sigh isn't directed at you. It's just a general dread of this concept, because it is impossible to talk about how badly women are treated without someone, usually someone I wasn't even talking to, taking it all personally and saying that I'm accusing him of being a monster, and also at least a couple of people chiming in about how they're personally good people so sexism isn't a problem any more. I'm just not looking forward to the responses here, is all.

Oh well, I invited this. Here we go.

Everyone hates rape. No one thinks it's a good thing, or a justified thing. If you ask anyone how they feel about it, they will immediately and perhaps violently respond in the negative because rape is awful. Society is very responsible about sending the message that rape is bad. However, it is also very irresponsible about educating people as to what rape is, because, if you'll let me invoke the eternally popular case of Steubenville, it is perfectly possible for boys to sexually assault an unconscious woman with their hands and offer video evidence of themselves doing it because they really do believe that what they did isn't rape. This is because we haven't yet taught enough people that rape is not simply a thing strangers in ski masks do in alleyways with a boxcutter held to a struggling woman's throat, but is rather a thing that happens when anyone has any kind of sexual contact with someone who doesn't consent. Sex with an unconscious woman is rape. Sex with a friend you won't let get out of your car until she's fucked you is rape. Sex with someone who says no that you ignore because she said yes fifteen minutes ago is rape. It shocks the conscience how many people don't understand that, and I'll bet someone will come along and prove that point for me by arguing about it.

Likewise, we pretend that we teach girls to be strong and to value themselves not for their appearance, but how many unattractive women are on TV? How many are in movies? Hell, I can't drive fifteen minutes down the highway (and god, I really hope this is just the area I live in and not some widespread thing) without seeing a billboard for a plastic surgery facility picturing smiling women telling me that beauty is power--not intelligence, not personality, not craft, but beauty--and that the best way to get it is to let someone cut my face with a knife until I'm pretty enough.

What I'm saying is, as a society, our words do not suit our actions, and people always learn more from actions than words.

MeChaNiZ3D:
My point is that I have less of a burden to choose my words as carefully as possible to convey my exact meaning in casual conversation or when referencing a commonly used phrase, just like everyone else in the world.

So precision is only necessary when the conversation isn't casual, and fuck everyone else because they don't deserve that level of effort or respect from you?

MeChaNiZ3D:
I would go so far as to say people who identify and react to outdated or uncommon definitions are deliberately doing so and creating an imaginary problem of casual discrimination in a number of fields.

I would go so far as to say words mean things.

The video upload is borked, not able to watch the vid Jim. You might need to take a look at the upload.

JimB:

MeChaNiZ3D:
My point is that I have less of a burden to choose my words as carefully as possible to convey my exact meaning in casual conversation or when referencing a commonly used phrase, just like everyone else in the world.

So precision is only necessary when the conversation isn't casual, and fuck everyone else because they don't deserve that level of effort or respect from you?

It's not that I either deign or not to be precise or put effort in or something, it's that in situations where I am not speaking professionally (where every meaning should be considered because people finding issue with it over stupid things is a problem), I can rely on other people to know what I mean a bit more. You seem to forget this is the case with everyone else as well. I don't expect people to alter their language when they talk to me despite there being a few casual phrases that contain insults pertaining to things that I am, because they're not in that context.

MeChaNiZ3D:
I would go so far as to say people who identify and react to outdated or uncommon definitions are deliberately doing so and creating an imaginary problem of casual discrimination in a number of fields.

I would go so far as to say words mean things.

I thought we agreed on this already.

JimB:
I just don't think your part is necessarily as big as society's.

I disagree. A person is directly responsible for the predictable consequences of it's own actions. Society can play a role but cannot be directly responsible.

Let's not get into blaming if it's at all avoidable.

I am pretty relieved to hear that no blindful hate was behind your post.

Everyone hates rape. However, it is also very irresponsible about educating people as to what rape is...

This is actually very interesting to me. I understand where you're coming from and I do see the same problem. However, I don't think, society can be made responsible for a lack of education on that (or any other major) problem, because so many mindless people don't want to talk about it in any way. If you point to society to do something about it, mindless, irresponsible people will cry much more louder for society to shut you up and anybody who dares speak of it. "Sensible infiltration" is what I would suggest...

I can't drive fifteen minutes down the highway (and god, I really hope this is just the area I live in and not some widespread thing) without seeing a billboard for a plastic surgery facility picturing smiling women

Really? That bad? Where do you live?

What I'm saying is, as a society, our words do not suit our actions, and people always learn more from actions than words.

And what I'm saying, is that society isn't a parent, a teacher or a moral guide.

MeChaNiZ3D:
It's not that I either deign or not to be precise or put effort in or something, it's that in situations where I am not speaking professionally (where every meaning should be considered because people finding issue with it over stupid things is a problem), I can rely on other people to know what I mean a bit more.

That's a cop-out. The words you choose are just that, your choice. You don't get to blame someone else for thinking your words mean what they actually mean rather than what you wish or understand them to mean.

nuttshell:
I disagree. A person is directly responsible for the predictable consequences of his own actions. Society can play a role but cannot be directly responsible.

Why not? Society is nothing but persons, a whole bunch of persons. Why can't we assign responsibility to each of those persons as well as the other one?

nuttshell:
I am pretty relieved to hear that no blind hate was behind your post.

I'm all for assigning responsibility, but blame is a waste of everyone's time. It's just an excuse to feel morally superior to whomever the blamer is blaming. Assign responsibility to each person who plays his part, but let's not let anyone get away with the intellectual laziness of assigning responsibility to a group as if groups are not just collections of individuals except in hypothetical or rhetorical situations.

nuttshell:
I understand where you're coming from and I do see the same problem. However, I don't think, society can be made responsible for a lack of education on that (or any other major) problem, because so many mindless people don't want to talk about it in any way.

That's kind of my point, though. Society is nothing but people, and if the biggest portion of us don't want to talk about it, then they can silence the discussion. That puts a greater burden on the rest of us to force the conversation, but it is just that: a burden. Not everyone is strong enough to bear it.

nuttshell:
Really? That bad? Where do you live?

Mid-Missouri. I have a job that has me traveling all throughout a radius of an hour's drive from the home office, and yeah, we love to tell women that they can be pretty if only they'll give a doctor thousands of dollars to cut the ugly away.

nuttshell:
And what I'm saying, is that society isn't a parent, a teacher, or a moral guide.

It isn't a parent, but it absolutely is a teacher and a moral guide. Maturation and learning don't occur in some vacuum devoid of influence from the surrounding environment. It's like...okay, personal anecdote, but it's just an example; it's like how I wasn't raised Christian but was raised in a Christian community. I was guilty and conflicted about that for decades, because I knew everyone else thought I was wrong and I believed them even as I believed my parents who told me it wasn't a big deal. I even spent bursts lasting for a few years at a time trying to be Christian, because I wanted to not be wrong about it any more. I was close to thirty before I realized I just don't have faith and cannot be bothered to pretend I do.

JimB:

MeChaNiZ3D:
It's not that I either deign or not to be precise or put effort in or something, it's that in situations where I am not speaking professionally (where every meaning should be considered because people finding issue with it over stupid things is a problem), I can rely on other people to know what I mean a bit more.

That's a cop-out. The words you choose are just that, your choice. You don't get to blame someone else for thinking your words mean what they actually mean rather than what you wish or understand them to mean.

It's not about attributing blame. What do words 'actually mean'?

I have difficulty believing the argument on inclusivity when it is on a website whose writers, video makers, and forum members championed exclusivity for years against "those filthy casual gamers".

jpoon:
The video upload is borked, not able to watch the vid Jim. You might need to take a look at the upload.

Same Problem here

MeChaNiZ3D:
What do words 'actually mean?'

Depends on the word, doesn't it? You're the one who says you refuse to stop using turns of phrase that people have criticized you for using because you think they have a burden to know what your actual meaning is despite the specific words you chose; I think that is nothing less than a tacit admission of the validity of those complaints.

PromethianSpark:
Is anyone else have difficulty accessing this content

I'm actually unable to watch any jimquisition videos as of last night. Plus, the image link to the series on the main page calendar is blank. 99% sure it's not on our end.

I sent in a report but I guess the people who handle that had the day off? And today off as well?

(and why isn't there a place in the forum to report bugs/problems? that's pretty unusual)

Rebel_Raven:
Some people in this thread seem to be a bit too all or nothing about this.
Perhaps Jim is being taken a bit too litterally.

There's room for all kinds of games in the gaming industry. That said, not every game needs Gender Select, or a female character option, BUT, the industry needs to mature into a media that welcomes many kinds of gamers and be more common about it. It needs to stop relying on the default white guy that's around 30, and branch out more into other ethnicities, and the other gender. I know they -can- do this.

Here's the thing though.

Let's say none of them want to do this. That left to their own devices and free from publisher intervention they'd all make games starring men. What should we do? Where does the blame fall to to make those games with women when there's maybe 100 different development teams if not more.

Rebel_Raven:

Samus, Lara Croft, and pretty much every other memorable female protagonist we remember fondly are likely creations of guys.
We've seen a handful of assorted ethnicities in gaming, but I don't think we've seen enough.
I mean am I really to believe bullshit like Naughty Dog can't make a decent female protagonist? Or that Rockstar with it's writing team, and a taste for the controvercial can't make a female lead in GTA?

I haven't played the last of us but does that girl not count? Or does it have to be a playable one?

JimB:
Why not? Society is nothing but persons, a whole bunch of persons. Why can't we assign responsibility to each of those persons as well as the other one?

Because society isn't the sum of it's parts. It is the lowest common denominator of them. You cannot blame single individuals (with the exception of persons with power and authority) for the actions of a group, because they play such a small role if any. Now, if you want groups and people in power of these groups to take responsibility and let them take the roles of a parent, a teacher and/or a moral guide, you'll end up with cameras all over the street, Prism and Saints Row IV getting banned, for example. Our society needs law but law isn't morality. Morality can be found in sociology, psychology, philosophy and even in some religions. These fields could influence the law more but they are still there. My point is, if you are not ready for a revolution, you shouldn't give the current system more power to have over the lives of individuals by demanding they take responsibility. The system will elude responsibility and try to do stupid things that everyone seems to want, to shut them up. An individual can be a sensible person, open to reason and discussion but groups and persons with a strong connection to a group, are almost allways going to behave as ignorant, stupid, irresponsible brats.

Mid-Missouri. I have a job that has me traveling all throughout a radius of an hour's drive from the home office, and yeah, we love to tell women that they can be pretty if only they'll give a doctor thousands of dollars to cut the ugly away.

Sorry to hear that.

JimB:

MeChaNiZ3D:
What do words 'actually mean?'

Depends on the word, doesn't it? You're the one who says you refuse to stop using turns of phrase that people have criticized you for using because you think they have a burden to know what your actual meaning is despite the specific words you chose; I think that is nothing less than a tacit admission of the validity of those complaints.

More importantly, it depends on the context. As I have said before, neither side of a conversation has a burden to understand what the other is saying, it's a co-operative activity. But you can't use a word with more than one meaning without relying on the other person to interpret it correctly. It is not despite the words I choose as if I'm being deliberately obtuse, I'm using words in ways that are known and common, but some people attribute attitudes to their use that are not present, and it's my experience that they do this deliberately out of an agenda that I disagree with.

Neither of us are changing on this. I will read your reply if you make one, but otherwise probably let this thread be, unless you really want to continue.

jpoon:
The video upload is borked, not able to watch the vid Jim. You might need to take a look at the upload.

nothing in this video selection is working.

jpoon:
The video upload is borked, not able to watch the vid Jim. You might need to take a look at the upload.

nothing in this video selection is working.

Machine Man 1992:
I love how Saints Row lets you design your avatar to look exactly like you.

Indeedie - I like the fact that you can just about be anything human that you want to be. That said, I mainly use the stock characters because I can never think what to make them look like... that said, I'm glad the feature's there, and replaying Saints Row 3 again, I can see how inclusive they actually are; its surprising really that a game that goes out of its way to let you 'lolz' citizens, society as a whole, and normality in general actually manages to be so inclusive. I do hope Saint's Row 4 manages that too (and from what Jim and the escapist's review suggest, I think they have).

Stabby Joe:
Saints Row IV seems to be receiving a lot of "pre-hate", at least what I've seen so far, mostly because of story and gameplay changes. Despite that though I wonder how much it will come up here.

Indeedie - I watched Total Biscuit's first impressions, and he seemed to show the game has some glaring flaws...BUT he concluded that the game just tries to go out of its way to be so fun, and the dialog/story are good enough to make it an enjoyable experience.

TB isn't perfect, obviously, but he generally seems to manage to sum up a game in a way that you can tell if -you'd- like the game, not if he did or not. I think I probably will.

nuttshell:

JimB:
Why not? Society is nothing but persons, a whole bunch of persons. Why can't we assign responsibility to each of those persons as well as the other one?

Because society isn't the sum of its parts. It is the lowest common denominator of them. You cannot blame single individuals (with the exception of persons with power and authority) for the actions of a group, because they play such a small role if any.

I think you misunderstand my point. When I talk about assigning responsibility to persons, I mean real responsibility, not the blame of being associated with a larger group. The actions we all take are real, and they all ripple. If society is the lowest common denominator of its population as you say, then sure, some enlightened individual or another has in no way participated in endemic sexism...but that Bodhisattva also has not done enough to make society better than it is, so that is his responsibility as well. How much responsibility is not my call to make, and I'm not interested in assigning penalties, so don't mistake me there: All I want, all I consider to be responsibility, is people not pretending themselves blameless.

nuttshell:
Our society needs law but law isn't morality.

No. Law is social order. Morality has little to do with it.

(I just mentioned that to point out that you and I don't disagree on everything.)

MeChaNiZ3D:
As I have said before, neither side of a conversation has a burden to understand what the other is saying, it's a co-operative activity. But you can't use a word with more than one meaning without relying on the other person to interpret it correctly.

Look, can we drop the hypotheticals? I'm getting dizzy trying to talk about this without talking about this. What word are you using that has two definitions, one of which contradicts the other so much that it changes the entire meaning of what you're saying?

JimB:
All I want, all I consider to be responsibility, is people not pretending themselves blameless.

Yes, it would be nice, if people in groups would do that more often. Saying, for example: "Listen, we know we were dicks and we apoligize for it. We are doing everything we can to correct our mistakes." and actually doing something about it but they don't. They will try everything to distract the public from their mistakes, ignore and miscredit the critics, turn the mistake into some kind of virtue, play the unknowing victim or the underdog card, polirizing public opinion and actually doing some damage in the process, until they can finally go to the bank again. Almost every group that has ever made a mistake in it's lifetime hasn't stood up to admit it. Even when they admit, they usually sound like complete dicks about it. And I know of no group that hasn't tried anything of the above before admiting a mistake.

(I just mentioned that to point out that you and I don't disagree on everything.)

I am sorry, if my style and focus points of interest led you to believe that I had that impression...I actually believe we have very similar views and I enjoy this conversation as it helps me formulate my own views on this topic which I feel strongly about (society, group dynamics and morality).

deathjavu:

PromethianSpark:
Is anyone else have difficulty accessing this content

I'm actually unable to watch any jimquisition videos as of last night. Plus, the image link to the series on the main page calendar is blank. 99% sure it's not on our end.

I sent in a report but I guess the people who handle that had the day off? And today off as well?

(and why isn't there a place in the forum to report bugs/problems? that's pretty unusual)

All his videos still dont work and there hasnt been any Jimquisition uploads to the escapist youtube account in a while either.

Smells a lot like that time Extra Credits split with the Escapist...

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