Stolen Pixels #58: Xenoeroticism

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Stolen Pixels #58: Xenoeroticism

Mass Effect is chock full of high concepts and ideals, but you're probably too distracted by the hot alien prostitutes to notice.

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Very funny. I hadn't even thought about the male/female ratio until this.

Shamus Young:
"fling poo at enemy"

This is totally offtopic, but I still see poo-flinging as a reasonable way to defend my person.

I always saw Mass Effect as a sort of pretentious Flash Gordon : )

Finally, someone pointing out how shitty the writing in Mass Effect is. I don't get why people go crazy for this game.

haha, good work Shamus.
What do you think of the game btw? I assume you're playing the PC version?

I think Mass Effect is a pretty good example of how not to interweave sexual content into your video game. The game does seem to bend over backwards in order to force the player into a sexual encounter.

Darn you Shamus, you made me register just for this!

I wouldn't know a female Elcor if I saw one; with the way they speak, I'm not sure a human could tell without asking (or indelicately checking "under the hood".) Given how much more inclined the Elcor ambassador is to peace-making than the other ambassadors we see in the game, she may very well be a female Elcor. There were what, all of four Elcor in the game? Who knows if any were female?

The Salarians are, in fact, mostly male - and matriarchal, so their females are all back home running the Salarian empire. Although they look like salamanders, they probably should have been insects.

And while I'm also not sure I'd know a female Krogan if I saw one (they're reptilian, so mammaries are unlikely), given the genophage it would be unsurprising to me if the Krogan were a misogynistic patriarchal society that kept women locked away "somewhere safe".

But there is, in fact, no excuse for the Turians (I'll excuse the Hanar for having only three or four representatives in the game.) And it's actually kind of funny how much Liara tries to dispel the image of asari oversexuality when everything else in the game reinforces it. Yeah, I'm not buying it.

krellen:
Darn you Shamus, you made me register just for this!

I wouldn't know a female Elcor if I saw one; with the way they speak, I'm not sure a human could tell without asking (or indelicately checking "under the hood".) Given how much more inclined the Elcor ambassador is to peace-making than the other ambassadors we see in the game, she may very well be a female Elcor. There were what, all of four Elcor in the game? Who knows if any were female?

Yeah, this is something. When you can't tell the difference between a male and a female chimpanzee, what're the chances that you can spot the visual differences between the sexes of a species with an exoskeleton? Tho', the pronouns thing is actually quite salient, so Shamus might be right after all.

I'm still impressed that, so long after the fact, you're finding fresh things to say about Mass Effect. I was a little suspicious when you started on it, but you haven't done all that badly.

An interesting point about the male/female ratio, I made many of the same assumptions as krellen in regards to every race other than the Turians, for whom there is no excuse.

I loved the octopus punchline. In fact, the Mass Effect jokes have been really good. Kudos!

I never thought much about the gender ratio because as Krellen mentioned, at least the Salarian and Krogan have a good excuse. Given the chance of stillbirth with the Krogan, I pity their females and Wrex alludes to this in some lines. The Turian get an official handwave: They got into time and budget restraints before they could make a second model.

Also, I can buy the Asari consort to some degree, as her job is more spiritual then physical and somehow fits the Asari image. The pole dancers however are just plain idiotic. They should collect at Bioware for the poor soul who came up with this to get him a hooker. Obviously, he needs one.

And who knows whats under the Volos encounter suit. Maybe a Vorlon. Hey. Volos ... Vorlon ... wait a minute!

Eagle Est1986:
haha, good work Shamus.
What do you think of the game btw? I assume you're playing the PC version?

He's playing the 360 version. You can read a lot about what he thinks of the game at his blog.

Also, I (from what I've heard, I've never actually played the game) don't get the Asari. If they're an alien race from another planet and only have females, why would they be compatible with other male species? I dunno, but I don't think I'd even try to go for a blue alien, even if she looked hot.

That "octopus" bit was nice, straight out of left field :).

As a fellow nitpicker, I'm sure you'll understand my need to point this out:

Quakers don't have churches. They have meeting houses.

I always found it odd that aliens in the galaxy always seem to want human women. Weird.

I Lol'd.

CUnk:
Finally, someone pointing out how shitty the writing in Mass Effect is. I don't get why people go crazy for this game.

and yet the writing is still miles ahead of many other games, misogynistic overtones or not...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I'm gonna make a game where all of the heroes are women over the age of 55, who have gray hair, and can kick ass.

They'll be adored and fawned over by young men with bare chests and rippling biceps.

It's only fair...

Leslee

lesterley:
I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I'm gonna make a game where all of the heroes are women over the age of 55, who have gray hair, and can kick ass.

They'll be adored and fawned over by young men with bare chests and rippling biceps.

It's only fair...

Leslee

i'd buy that game... it sounds hilarious!

krellen:

But there is, in fact, no excuse for the Turians (I'll excuse the Hanar for having only three or four representatives in the game.) And it's actually kind of funny how much Liara tries to dispel the image of asari oversexuality when everything else in the game reinforces it. Yeah, I'm not buying it.

How can you tell the difference between male and female Turians? Voice? Does their vocal equipment change between genders like ours? Do you know?

Anaphyis:
And who knows whats under the Volos encounter suit. Maybe a Vorlon. Hey. Volos ... Vorlon ... wait a minute!

At least I know I'm not the only one to notice possible parallels between Babylon 5 and Mass Effect. Some more I noticed
Commander John Shepard - Captain John Sheridan (accidental similarity?)
Ancient evil alien race hiding on the edge of the galaxy
Krogans and Turians - Narn and Centauri?

lesterley:
I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I'm gonna make a game where all of the heroes are women over the age of 55, who have gray hair, and can kick ass.

They'll be adored and fawned over by young men with bare chests and rippling biceps.

It's only fair...

Leslee

In that case, I recommend a movie called the Triplets of Belleville. It has quite a bit of what you described, even if it's slowly paced at times.

lesterley:
I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I'm gonna make a game where all of the heroes are women over the age of 55, who have gray hair, and can kick ass.

They'll be adored and fawned over by young men with bare chests and rippling biceps.

It's only fair...

Leslee

Why "over the age of 55" specifically? There's a distinct lack of female badasses over the age of 40 in modern games, you might want to start there.

On a possibly related note, am I the only heterosexual who was offended by the lack of male on male "interaction" in Mass Effect? (Ha ha ha... I know the answer that one!)

I was too busy putting a bullet in some alien brains to care about that but that definitely is an interesting point. You do travel with a female Quarian though. Your crew is a pretty ethnic spread of race among females. And think about where you are when you are playing Mass Effect. The space station is an intergalactic embassy, not a city for babes to be hanging out. Almost everyone in the station is a diplomat, soldier, or police officer. The Asari consorts are ultra expensive so it was like a privilege to be in that position. Mass Effect is supposed to make you feel special and not like some average joe.

Great Mass Effect jokes, Shamus.

krellen:

And while I'm also not sure I'd know a female Krogan if I saw one (they're reptilian, so mammaries are unlikely), given the genophage it would be unsurprising to me if the Krogan were a misogynistic patriarchal society that kept women locked away "somewhere safe".

Actually, I think there was a female krogan on Noveria: That merc Inamorda.

vdgmprgrmr:

Also, I (from what I've heard, I've never actually played the game) don't get the Asari. If they're an alien race from another planet and only have females, why would they be compatible with other male species? I dunno, but I don't think I'd even try to go for a blue alien, even if she looked hot.

Well, the Asari are compatible with other races because they get pregnant telepathically, meaning any race and gender can mate with them.

By Grabthar's Hammer what a joke

Actually, what we're talking about here is mostly the proportion of male to female voice actors employed in the making of the game. The Asari may _sound_ like women, and they look like escapees from one of George Lucas' teenage wet dreams, but the game makes the point that they are all asexual (and as they apparently have sex by thinking hard at your genes, I have trouble understanding how they even get their reputation for sensuality - the human way sounds like heaps more fun.) The only Quarian I've met so far looks and sounds female... through a full facial helmet that never comes off - who knows whats under there? The Salarians, Turians, Krogan etc. all sound male, but I'm not sure I'd even go so far as to say they look it. Turians look like bipedal grasshoppers; whats a female grasshopper look like?

Any use of human pronouns to describe aliens is bound to be inaccurate, but walking around calling everyone "it" is distancing and distracting. Given that the humans were going to arbitrarily assign them sexes, can you blame them for using the one that matches the perfectly accented American English coming out of their mouths? The Elcor and the jellyfish-dudes were the only things in the game that felt properly alien.

That said, Anaphyis is right; most of the rest of it I can deal with, but the all-Asari pole-dancers is just dumb.

Specter_:

Shamus Young:
"fling poo at enemy"

This is totally offtopic, but I still see poo-flinging as a reasonable way to defend my person.

Ironically, we have come full circle: Poo-flinging and nukes are both terrible systems of defense, but excellent deterrents to would-be attackers.

Shamus Young:

Specter_:

Shamus Young:
"fling poo at enemy"

This is totally offtopic, but I still see poo-flinging as a reasonable way to defend my person.

Ironically, we have come full circle: Poo-flinging and nukes are both terrible systems of defense, but excellent deterrents to would-be attackers.

Compairing nukes and poo. That's an interessting point of view. But it would make for a good closing statement on the "Evolution of war" ;)

"Octopus"... you're killing me man.

lesterley:
I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I'm gonna make a game where all of the heroes are women over the age of 55, who have gray hair, and can kick ass.

They'll be adored and fawned over by young men with bare chests and rippling biceps.

It's only fair...

Leslee

Comparing that "idea" to Mass Effect it gives me the distinct impression that you havent played the game. Or am I wrong?

As for the joke in question, it didnt do anything at all for me personally. Probably because Ive come to realise that the immaturity associated with Mass Effect comes from the gamer community, not the game itself. Well, apart from the dancers I suppose, but Ashley provides a nice counterbalance to that actually.

No... No, I think it's pretty obvious that it's written by a pretty immature person as well. If you've ever read Garth or something you'd recognize the pattern :)

Allan Foe:

On a possibly related note, am I the only heterosexual who was offended by the lack of male on male "interaction" in Mass Effect? (Ha ha ha... I know the answer that one!)

Possibly not. They have said that the sequel will allow Man-Shep the full range of options.

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