Jimquisition: Creative Freedom, Strings Attached

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Creative Freedom, Strings Attached

Freedom of expression is not freedom to express without challenge. A game is within its rights to include any content it does, but that content is not sacred.

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I find the concept of not buying a game for not having your gender playable a bit weird but if that's what makes people happy

(edit, skipped the outro so Jim already addresses him sounding sick)

Thank you for holding back on the whiteknighting in this episode at the very least and one of those few instances when both sides of the coin are presented with their pros and cons.

Why should the main character be male/why not?
Why should the main character be female/why not?
Then of course we have series like Final Fantasy that instead asks
Why should the main character be male but look female and dress like a female/why not?

I also agree on that statement that just pure subjective opinion and then standing your ground on said opinion doesnt mean youre right or entitled to it, just that its yours, and not particulary special and definitely not free of criticism, which some retards think per default equals "censorship" and such.

I like the color yellow for example, i can state this and say that its my choice and that if im at full freedom in creativity i will most likely use something pandering towards that part of the color spectrum.
Then of course you are also obligated to recognize and acknowledge that people will, can and should also be able to question this choice without you simply throwing a hissy fit like youre an MS paint furry artist on DA.

"Why do you like yellow? What do you have to say to people who do not like that color? Why would you not choose another color? What makes this color superior or other inferior to yellow?", and so on.

Just because i may like, or even agree with your opinion doesnt mean its shielded and valid just on that basis of being subjective and your own.

After PAX and what happened there, I think we can all agree that this needed to be said.

Marohen:
After PAX and what happened there, I think we can all agree that this needed to be said.

Shysh now, im still hard at work on my BeerxSterling fanfic after seeing the sweaty sexual tension in the video.

Mandate of Heaven sounds like a game that wouldn't have a female protagonist. Y u so sexist Jim?

Hades:
You sound a bit weird today Jim. Still suffering from Pax Flu?

I recorded this on Friday when I was possibly at my worst. I almost didn't record as I was choking on my own filth while trying to talk. Sorry it was so noticeable in the final recording, I did my best, and Friday was basically my deadline.

Jimothy Sterling:

Hades:
You sound a bit weird today Jim. Still suffering from Pax Flu?

I recorded this on Friday when I was possibly at my worst. I almost didn't record as I was choking on my own filth while trying to talk. Sorry it was so noticeable in the final recording, I did my best, and Friday was basically my deadline.

No problem, glad you recorded anyway. Best wishes for you recovery.

You know the old adage, "Everything you say before the word 'but' doesn't count." I, for one, am glad you decided to use the word "However"
Thank god for Jim.

P.S. I think you sound really good with the Pax Plague.

It is true, yes. Freedom of expression comes with the freedom to criticize, and you should always be aware of that sort of thing. However that does not necessarily, in my opinion, mean it's ok for people to attack or verbally assault others for their statements. Presentation means a lot in an argument. Saying "I don't like this kind of thing" is fine. Asking "Why did you do this?" is fine. Going "What the eff is wrong with you? You have to do it this way!" or "You effing blarking carg, this is hideous, go dump your crap in a fire" is NOT. Feel free to criticize, and feel free to be harsh, but don't be aggressive.

Why should a game be criticised or scrutinised simply because it doesn't have a female protagonist?

if only more people understood that concept that freedom of expression doesn't mean freedom from criticism. it would alleviate a lot of frustration worldwide.

To throw a wrench into this...

It's impossible for a playble character (when playable) to have a gender other than the players. The player is part of the playable character, and the physical absolutes that defines the genders are impossible to measure on virtual character. Than logic follows that what the player identify as defines the gender of the playable character.

Edit: What I'm saying is that if Half-Life 2 is played by someone identifying as female, Gordon Freeman is female in that case. If played by someone idenifying as male, Gordon is male.

Anyone else have immense trouble finding this video? I ended up having to check Jim's twitter to see if he'd been too ill to post an episode, where I finally found a link to this. EDIT: Nevermind, in the time it took to type this post, the video is now on the front-page where it belongs

I liked the message that was being said here. I've a flatmate who oft complains about the lack of female protagonists in vidya-games and on the whole I'm in complete agreement with her. However, I'll just be playing a game and she'll come in, watch and soon start making bitter comments about the protagonist's male gender and how they easily could have just been female. I never really know what to say to her, because while I don't necessarily fully disagree I'm never able to construct a proper argument that extends past "well if it could have easily been either gender, then surely the difference would only be aesthetic" or "I'm pretty sure the developers if it was a she you'd just complain about how she wasn't fleshed out enough". Next time I'll just be able to point her to this video, where there is a lot more thought put into the topic than I could possibly give on the spot. (It can get pretty tiring, because I'll just be bumbling words and she'll be spouting all these quotes, that I've heard a million times by now, from these tumblr posts where the person has had plenty of time to type and formulate their argument)

Hope you get well soon Jim

Watching Jim Sterling preach is making me feel all religious.

I'm really glad for the "However" part. I was about to lose faith in Jim's divinity. Faith restored. :P

ZiggyE:
Why should a game be criticised or scrutinised simply because it doesn't have a female protagonist?

Why shouldn't it?

You need to understand the motives for the question being asked over, and over again. It's diabolical. The implication is that, even if this is the story the creator wanted to tell, that is not good enough anymore. There is a small, but vocal segment of gamers who will harp on it endlessly, and even get their work published on "major" gaming sites such as Kotaku, even over a perceived slight, putting a spin on it that paints the creator in a bad light.

If someone is asking the question without an agenda, of course that is fine. But most people who are asking the question have a not-so-hidden agenda, which is to serve a dose of shame to the creator and to plant a seed of negativity to achieve their own vision of what games should be.

Absolutely right that you have the right to ask questions and criticise but you are NOT entitled to answer. If it I was the creative director of something and I got some question about why I haven't included X, Y and Z, my response would be: "To offend as many people as I can, of course!!" :D

The creator should be free to create without fear of censorship?

image
Yeah...

I kid, I kid!

I agree with Jim on this one. I'll always be sad to see the lack of a female protagonist but I'd rather have a game written to include a female over one that just includes one simply because people might like the option of a slightly different character model.

Goliath100:
To throw a wrench into this...

It's impossible for a playble character (when playable) to have a gender other than the players. The player is part of the playable character, and the physical absolutes that defines the genders are impossible to measure on virtual character. Than logic follows that what the player identify as define the gender of the playable character.

I'm calling bullshit on this one.

I know some people can only play a game when they feel like they are the character they are playing but I (and many others) don't work that way. I like to understand my character but I recognise that they are a separate entity.

I don't feel like I am Gordon Freeman in Half Life any more than I feel like Joel from The Last of Us. Not being female didn't stop me from understanding Nilin's story in Remember Me nor did it hinder me from feeling fear as Heather in Silent Hill 3. I play as females in Elder Scrolls games because I like to have a different experience and attempt to make choices I wouldn't normally.

OK, so I don't have the mind of a female and quite possibly I have no idea how one would react in given situations... but that doesn't mean I can't roleplay as my individual interpretation of a female within the confines of a game world.

Sorry to hear you got sick at PAX. I'm still suffering from Dragon*Con AIDS since last Monday (going to the doctor in a few hours actually).

Good episode as always, though this topic seems to be a complete no-brainer. The sad part is that you have to spell this out for some people :/

I actually know a person that wont play a game as a female. Its very weird. Thing is a game shouldnt be insulted just because its a male character only. In rpgs you can (in most cases) play as male or female. In others the game is based around characters and story like GTA5, its the story they wanted to tell and making one a woman wouldnt work for them. BUT. Due to more and more woman playing games and showing more interest in them, its something that should be taken into account during planning stages. If a woman main character doesnt fit the idea of the game, fine.....its their game, money and choice. But i think it should be a consideration when developing and planning a game.

Freedom of speech kinda includes freedom to criticize by its very nature, doesn't it? Yeah, you can say what you want, but so can everyone else, and that means they can criticize you and/or your work. Saying what you want, but denying other the right to criticize is something of a double standard, really.

This whole argument is similar to which came first, the chicken or the egg?

In the end, while I still think women have been left out of the spotlight as protagonists and that it's not a bad thing to question why not, I just feel as though it's going to become a redundant question. Sure, there will be the occasional answer of, "Producers made us" but there's gonna be a majority of answers that fall under, "I dunno, just felt right/fitting/reasonable/like what I wanted to do".

Don't force it, don't not do it for the sake of fear either.

Hades:
I find the concept of not buying a game for not having your gender playable a bit weird but if that's what makes people happy

I personally liked this line I saw when perusing the God Mode boards on GameFAQs:

My feeling is that if they don't want to invest the effort to include my half of humanity, they apparently don't want my money enough.

Granted, God Mode shouldn't really make money anyway (bad, unfinished, buggy game), but the point seems fair enough.

Granted, she also talks specifically about characters you make yourself, which wouldn't include the Puppeteer argument.

In any event, if the maker feels so strongly about the "why should boys only play boys and girls only play girls" thing, he should try and make a strong protagonist and only allow female avatars. Wonder if he'd still make that stand.

Monxeroth:
whiteknighting

I think we've thoroughly beaten the term to death now.

Hades:

No problem, glad you recorded anyway. Best wishes for you recovery.

He doesn't need your wishes, he has the fantasy football gods looking out for him.

Akytalusia:
if only more people understood that concept that freedom of expression doesn't mean freedom from criticism. it would alleviate a lot of frustration worldwide.

Unfortunately, human beings tend to have a persecution fetish.

Goliath100:
To throw a wrench into this...

It's impossible for a playble character (when playable) to have a gender other than the players. The player is part of the playable character, and the physical absolutes that defines the genders are impossible to measure on virtual character. Than logic follows that what the player identify as define the gender of the playable character.

So you feel one cannot act the part of the opposite gender, then, simply because their perceptions may be coloured by their own.

ZiggyE:
Why should a game be criticised or scrutinised simply because it doesn't have a female protagonist?

I say the same reason a story should be criticized if it's about a man slaying a dragon to save a princess from a tower, or the same reason everyone gets on a game for being about a zombie apocalypse. It's been done so many times it's getting boring and generic, and nine times out of ten it doesn't have anything fresh or new to make it stand out or excuse the generic elements. Usually it's just more of the same dull boring stuff we've had an overload of. If a male character is extremely well written and I just love him (Lee Everett, Niko Belic, John Marstin, Jole, Yosuke, Kanji, Arcade Ganon, Boone) you won't hear a word from me about them being ANOTHER guy character because they're so well written their justify their existence. Most male characters don't.

I personally think, that like a lot of things that seem to attract outrage in the gaming community, the use of different protagonists is like the use of cutscenes. You can use them well, and you can make them awesome and gel really well - Or they'll stand out as shoehorned in for the sake of reasons.

I don't think that adding a female character to a game constitutes censorship though - Anyone who says that is a few gunmen short of a grassy knoll, and really needs to reevaluate their relationship with women.

Just saying.

Was that some exclusive GTA V content i just saw?

bug_of_war:
This whole argument is similar to which came first, the chicken or the egg?

In the end, while I still think women have been left out of the spotlight as protagonists and that it's not a bad thing to question why not, I just feel as though it's going to become a redundant question. Sure, there will be the occasional answer of, "Producers made us" but there's gonna be a majority of answers that fall under, "I dunno, just felt right/fitting/reasonable/like what I wanted to do".

Don't force it, don't not do it for the sake of fear either.

I think, quite honestly, picking a male hero is just the way most men think, and most game development teams are predominately men. They're men; they make games with male heroes. I don't think, for the most part, that there's any malice or agenda there... it's just the common "males are the de facto hero" stereotypes that are so fully ingrained in our minds and culture.

I remember reading some interviews with female Bioware team members who said that, ultimately, they got a bit tired of having to ask the question "but what if the player is female?" and having the men on the team having to actively remember that, yes, MaleShep wasn't the only gender, and male players weren't the only audience.

It's basically innocent ignorance. Unless someone, like myself, asks a developer "well, what about me?" they won't remember or even consider heroes of the less-represented gender.

Personally, though, I'll admit that as a girl gamer I'm disappointed by GTA sticking to men only, especially when Saints Row is letting me be an amazingly awesome female gang lord.

Reyold:
Freedom of speech kinda includes freedom to criticize by its very nature, doesn't it? Yeah, you can say what you want, but so can everyone else, and that means they can criticize you and/or your work. Saying what you want, but denying other the right to criticize is something of a double standard, really.

It does, but it seems people need to be reminded of it, especially the ones who scream STOP PERSECUTING ME when questioned said speech.

It's getting pretty damn surreal when people are being 'challenged' for things they didn't do creatively. At least when there is a sniper in a bikini it's something tangible someone actually made. Not to mention the spoken or implied accusations of misogyny.

Why do I almost always have to play as a human, and if not a human, then a huminoid? I feel like there aren't enough games where I can play as a cat or dog. At least call of duty it getting it right.

Seriously, I am a human all day long, why should have to be a human in the games I play?

I wonder how many people who are defending game developers like Hideo Kojima and saying, "It's their game! They can do what they want! They shouldn't have to change it! If you don't like it, don't play it!" also pitched a fit and demanded BioWare change the ending of Mass Effect 3.

Zachary Amaranth:

Goliath100:
To throw a wrench into this...

It's impossible for a playble character (when playable) to have a gender other than the players. The player is part of the playable character, and the physical absolutes that defines the genders are impossible to measure on virtual character. Than logic follows that what the player identify as define the gender of the playable character.

So you feel one cannot act the part of the opposite gender, then, simply because their perceptions may be coloured by their own.

No, I'm saying there is not a thing as a playable gendered character. Or at least be defined as non gendered.

Anyone else think that maybe Jim is just to lazy to thank God himself... So he asks us to do it for him?

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