In response to “Zero Punctuation: Achieving the Cross-media Transformation of Ludological Hermeneutics” from The Escapist Forum: I have to say, I couldn’t tell up until the very end if the author was actually analyzing Zero Punctuation for reals or as an elaborate joke, but that last sentence certainly dispels any doubt. As does the bit about earning a PhD at Miskatonic University, heh. It did make me wonder though how many people just gave up trying to read that in frustration – it’s obvious the goal was obfuscation, perhaps driven by a subconscious delight the author derives from forcing prospective audience members to dig out a thesaurus to decipher his work, and while I find that somewhat amusing, I used to know a guy who actually talked like this.

There was no part of his demeanor that did not shout “Yes, I absolutely think I’m way the hell better than you because I needlessly complicate simple interactions like buying groceries just to demonstrate my vocabulary, you miserable plebeian”. It was exactly as annoying as I’m making it sound; At least this article was a joke!

Gildan Bladeborn

It appeals to my high-minded idealism whilst simultaneously stimulating my elevated mental capacities, insofar as they are able to be stimulated, and led to mine ultimate reaction of mirth, to whit; contemplating the obfuscation the articulate article would impose upon lay-men, ne’er-do-wells, and other ignominous miscreants who aught bestow recompense for their enormities and plethora of other attrocities of ignorance that they propagate all too regularily.

~or~

I lol’d.

Zombus

***

In response to “You Asked, We Answered” from The Escapist Forum:I love you guys.

The videos got me here, the forums made me stay a while longer, but the staff, the people behind it all, really keep me loving this website. It’s great to read more about you all, and the life behind the website. Sounds like you guys (And gals!) have a blast at your office! If I’m ever in the area, I’m totally going to drop by.

Don’t worry, I’ll bring cookies. Cookies and love*.

*Warning: love might actually be muffins…or love.

Baby Tea

***

In response to “Loaded and Ready to Run” from The Escapist Forum: Good article, and interesting even to someone who already knows quite a lot about LRR.

I would like to reiterate something about LRR’s history which was touched on in the article and which has had a positive influence on my life: it’s surprising how much talent and creativity everyone has, and how much interest other people will take in it, if they just go ahead and do it. If you have a creative idea of any kind you should make it happen – without worrying about whether it’s good enough or whether it’s worth the effort – and keep on doing it as much as possible, because that’s the way to get good enough to make it worth the effort.

The LRR crew are a bunch of ordinary guys who started out small, but kept on actually making videos on a weekly basis, constantly improving as a result of the experience it gave them. This has been very inspirational to me in my own creative projects; as a result of LRR’s positive example, despite my incorrigible laziness, I have now made progress writing scripts for a hitherto nebulous webcomic idea and I am myself part of a sketch comedy group, as well as dabbling in a whole load of lesser projects.

ThrashJazzAssassin

***

In response to “The Escapist‘s Bold Experiment” from The Escapist Forum: Honest to god, the magazine layout throwback of this particular issue brought a tear to my eye. Hearkened back to the days when I had no idea anybody out there thought about games on the same level that I did, because no websites catered to those thinkers. Then I believe it was Penny Arcade that pointed me in the right direction, I can’t be sure, stumbled on to you folks and I fell in love the moment I read the first article (I believe it was on the subject of Psychonauts?).

Talking about great gaming moments is a lot like dancing about great literature. There’s bound to be something lost in the translation. Which is why I was so impressed by those articles that simply dealt with someone’s favorite gaming anecdotes. They without fail always did a fantastic job of really conveying the moment without losing much of the magic. That’s hard to do! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve tried to communicate the magic of Shadow of The Colossus to non-gamers only to receive blank stares in return. It’s not their failing, it’s the fact that Shadow is a videogame and not a traditional story. It’s strengths are in the medium of videogames. But by golly you folks always did an excellent job of really communicating those strengths in print!

Happy anniversary folks!

AgentNein

***

In response to our “Happy Anniversary” Issue .PDF: I just wanted to make a special effort to tell you how beautiful and thoughtful I found your Issue 261 Anniversary pdf to be.

Like everything else I have come to truly love and respect about The Escapist it went into that realm of excellence that your work occupies. A lonely realm it is, too.

Thank you all for the joy I get from your publication. That there are so many thinking people in the gaming universe is demonstrated by your editors, writers and so many of the reader’s comments that offer their intelligent observations to your pieces that add greatly to the whole.

And all of it flows back up the many streams to the top, the tone, insight and thoughtfulness flowing from the editorial pieces and comments of Russ Pitts.

The breadth and depth of consideration of all aspects of the gaming universe The Escapist has examined over the last 5 years puts it at the top of any media, print or electronic, of all time.

With all the encomiums and sentimentality for EGM (original) and other magazines, none of them can touch the body of work you have put together during this time. I truly believe that claim is solid and based in fact.

The work speaks for itself.

All that and Yahtzee too!

Thank you.

Best Wishes,
Taylor Pollock
Austin, TX
Wonkify

In response to “Rebecca Mayes: Love Song for Yahtzee”: Having watched Rebecca Mayes ‘love letter’ when it first came out, I’ve been mulling over why I found myself so bothered by it. Yahtzee revisiting it in passing in this week’s Zero Punctuation reminded me again of how much it bothered me and that I wanted to give a different perspective on the whole situation.

I’ve been fascinated by computers since encountering a Commodore Pet at my primary school at the tender age of 7. I’ve been playing computer games almost as long as that. Believe it or not, gender issues in gaming have been a concern for almost thirty years. (I remember reading an interview with Roberta Williams about the innovative approach to gender in computer games taken in The Wizard and the Princess.) I’m female, and I’ve been playing computer games for over 25 years. I’ve always been aware that computer games weren’t really about me. Somehow it never stopped them being fun, although what made the early text adventure games so easy to relate to is that they made little or no assumption about the gender of the protagonist, leaving the player free to be whoever they wanted to be within that world.

As to Rebecca Mayes, I’ve watched her videos from time to time, and musically she’s not my cup of tea. I don’t necessarily think that’s a problem, as I’m interested in commentary on games and wider social issues.

The thing that always made it very hard for me to get to the end of one of her videos was not actually the music. The problem I see it is that Rebecca Mayes hates games. She says they leave her feeling dirty and empty, so the question foremost in my mind after watching one of her videos is always “if you feel that way, why play?”.

This in a nutshell summarizes why Zero Punctuation succeeds, and Muses fails. Yahtzee, for all his adolescent posturing, joke (I assume) homophobia, and vitriol actually takes games apart because he loves the medium. Like the film Galaxy Quest, the humor works because the cynicism is underpinned with a deep and abiding love for what is being mocked. And that’s why I come back to the Escapist week after week to watch him rip a new one in several years worth of a large number of people’s lives.

Rebecca Mayes seems to believe that Yahtzee is sexist. I’m not sure how she can tell from his journalistic personality. It’s somewhat akin to disliking Anthony Hopkins on the basis of his performance as Hannibal Lecter. I see his mockery as directed more at himself and at those who write and play games that pander to a lowest common denominator. But seriously, why blame video games for this? They take the lead from the older more, established forms of media – cinema, comics, television and to a lesser extent books. A sleazy video game is no worse than a sleazy movie. But why judge the genre by the worst it has to offer?

BioWare get this very right. I still get confused when I see marketing material for Mass Effect. Why? Because in my head, Shepard is a woman.

To give a less shining example, Saints Row 2 trumps GTAIV despite much lower production values and sleazy remarks about stripper poles because somehow, when those remarks are being said by a badass female gangsta they just seem funny to me. There’s more to be said on this subject, but a lot of it has already been said on the pages of the Escapist.

The gap between mass market entertainment and real life has been present for a long while now, and to blame it all on video games – an art form only just entering its adolescence – seems ungracious. Yahtzee is shaped by the medium he loves, and to hate him for reflecting that medium seems to me to actually be akin to hating games.

Maybe Rebecca Mayes’ love letter is satire too, and I have misunderstood it.

In the video she does make herself out to be the kind of hateful psychopath she so often criticizes in her other work. Yet to me she seems to be blaming Yahtzee for the way the world is – which may do wonders for his ego, but doesn’t seem terribly fair.

The way to combat sexism in computer games is the same way that one combats it in any other form of art. Women and men in the industry need to push the boundaries by creating games that challenge our assumptions about gender.
Being able to play a female space marine or gangsta is a start, but it has to go deeper than this. We need more female characters who are people, and games that pass the Bechdel Test (that is they contain at least two female characters have at least one conversation about something other than a man or men).

I see no point in berating people for accepting the world the way it’s presented to them. I see a great deal of point in showing them that real people are more complicated than media stereotypes. That’s why I am looking forward to the continuing upward trend in the number of games that take this idea and run with it.

Alice Winter

Stop Killing the Foozle!

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