Letters to the Editor

Once Upon a Time


In response to “We Are Heavy Metal” from The Escapist Forum: Stylistically speaking I’ve yet to see anything in a video game that comes close to Heavy Metal magazine. In fact I’d bet that most video game developers had never even seen a copy of Heavy Metal magazine. As well the stories in Heavy Metal could be quite complex, and complex storylines are not exactly something EA stockholders want to invest in.

It be nice to see a well thought out and designed video game in the style of Heavy Metal magazine but chances are it would be just superficial displays of boobs and exploding heads.


I don’t think there is anything wrong with “dark fantasy, science fiction, nudity and ultra-violence”, the problem is, whenever I see it it’s always done in such a boring way.

It’s not the content that makes a game childish or mature, but the way that they’re presented.



In response to “The Guitar Hero Effect” from The Escapist Forum: That is so funny, I was writing on a similar idea just the other day, on how games have influenced my musical tastes (specifically Tony Hawk and SSX Tricky – which I was bummed wasn’t mentioned…) and of course it eventually led to my thoughts on Guitar Hero and ‘The Guitar Hero effect’. But, you put it much more eloquently than I could. Great article!


What about that guy that was angry about it? Saying that the only way bands can get heard nowadays is if they have their songs in a videogame? It was some guy from a big band, but I’ll be damned if I remember which one.

At any rate, most of my favourite songs are from videogame soundtracks, but that’s because music isn’t very important for me and it’s just a secondary thing I enjoy when and stumble upon it.

I really need to play Guitar Band or whatever it is. Everyone keeps saying how it’s an awesome experience. To me it looks like a faster Simon Says with a soundtrack.

Now if you’ll excuse me.


The Random One


In response to “Vaginophobia” from The Escapist Forum:


there should be more scenes of dominate females having sex with men.

Dominant female sex is not necessarily a more ‘female’ friendly version of sex. It’s still just as aggressive as male dominated sex, except she has tits and bosses the guy around in another popular male fantasy.

I do love the comment earlier about how all us women can’t do complaining right because we blame the evil menz instead of writing letters. Thank you for a wonderfully patronising, sweeping and thinly veiled misogynistic comment :). Here’s a clue, maybe instead of getting your panties in a twist over *how* women complain about blatent overemphasis of men in games, you could actually think if they have a point to their complaints.

I don’t believe men are the scum of the earth or anything, I do believe however there is some seriously out-dated and biased scenarios in a lot of mainstream games. I suppose I should just shut up and go back to playing cooking mama like a good girl gamer…


The article seems to run the gamut from “should game design cater more to female gamers?” to “are vagina-monsters creating/nurturing a fear of women?”

My reaction to the first is a simple one: the fact that most big titles feature more “fight or flight” and less “tend and befriend” comes down to gameplay. It’s easier to create challenges to be escaped from or killed than it is to create interesting gameplay out of nurturing behaviour. Not to say it couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be done, just that it’s not a surprise that it is uncommon.

With the quote, “Our secular culture produces all kinds of fear, including fear of the female anatomy. If you watch any horror movies, like if you watch the Aliens series, the chances are whatever is horrible has to do with vaginas, pregnancy, childbirth, wet stuff. It’s just all there” it seems that Janet Jakobsen is mistaking “producing” with “reflecting.” Like many other works of art, societal fears are reflected in horror movies: People find the appearance of sexual organs on monsters disturbing, so if you want to make a disturbing monster, make it sexual. She also ignores the equally phallic imagery of the mouth of the full grown alien, not to mention that -story and theme wise- the movies are rather female-empowering.

Coming back to games, the point stands: if monsters or hellish environs are made to look vaginal, this does not produce a fear of the feminine, it is simply a reflection of a fear that is already there, and probably has been for all of human history.



In response to “Riot Grrrls Wanted” from The Escapist Forum: I grew up a huge Bikini Kill fan. (There’s my riot grrl cred.) There is always going to be a problem as to how women are treated and represented, regardless of if 12% of game designers or 120%. The thing is, You can reminisce about the good ol days of Huggy Bear and L7, but it’s still paramore who’s gonna bring in the dollars, and dollars are driving the industry. ANY industry.

Women in the game design community (or ostensible lack thereof) is probably not due to any kind of sexism or doubt on the part of the female designers capability. It’s more likely because there aren’t a lot of girls who are taking computer science classes. Hell, there aren’t even that many girls taking ITT’s dime-a-dozen game design classes. The fact remains that girls are a minority in the audience of games, and therefore even less have any desire to be involved with games behind the scenes.

If you’re talking about the image of women in the game communities, then get pissed at your fellow girls who look at gamers as just a herd of geeks who are easily impressed by anything that involves video games and estrogen together(excluding JRPG’s)

In summation: Bikini Kill is cool. Women should take a more active role in seizing the gaming “community” other than just pointing out “We’re girls AND we game!” Maybe if there was something like Experimental Gameplay Project but for budding female designers, then there would be an example to point to.

P.S. The riot grrl thing was a good analogy, but remember that it’s been cool to be a rockstar for fifty years, it’s only been cool to be a game designer in the last five.


I don’t quite understand this. You would think that boobs would be an advantage at best (with the more shallow guys), and no advantage at all in a worst-case scenario. Maybe most girls are more interested in things they’re “supposed” to be interested in, such as fashion and other crap. If male game devs don’t think your work is amazing, maybe you need to face the fact that your work just isn’t that great.

Bear with me for a minute, I’m not being sexist, I’m just pointing out that girls are a significant minority in the gaming world. So apparently 40% of game consumers are female. So what? Half of that is probably mothers buying their kid a game, or someone buying “Peggle” for their phone. Sure, there are plenty of casual guy gamers (hell, my school’s football team got excited over L4D2, MW2, and ODST).

Add to that fact that game designing is hard. Very hard. It’s not like any gamer can just jump into Unreal Ed and whip up a AAA quality map. I’ve been modding for 2 years now, and I still have TONS to learn before I can even consider “game dev” as a possible job. And even when/if I consider game development a possible job, I’d have to go find a school and learn there for a year or two.

Even if you get into a studio and start work on MW3 (god forbid), you probably aren’t going to be able to have enough sway to make any real decisions, regardless of your gender. So don’t expect to see Faith or Alyx gunning their way through waves of Russians. At best, you can hope for an entry-level position as a modeler or assistant level designer of some sort.


About the author