Hard Light Productions Forums

Off-Topic Discussion => Gaming Discussion => Topic started by: Iain Baker on January 08, 2019, 12:07:08 pm

Title: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 08, 2019, 12:07:08 pm
Hi everyone!

My first article for a ‘proper’ bona fide video games website. Looks like the last two year’s hard work is starting to pay off.  Fingers crossed I’ll start getting paid to do this one day.

I have highlighted a female character from the HLP stables as an example of a female character done well. Can you guess who that is?
Enjoy!

http://coin-drop.com/dumb-and-exploitative-character-design-in-video-games/ (http://coin-drop.com/dumb-and-exploitative-character-design-in-video-games/)
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 08, 2019, 01:08:02 pm
That reminds me, has anyone drawn fanart of what Noemi Laporte actually looks like?

For some reason, I imagine her as African/Asian.

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Ghostavo on January 08, 2019, 01:35:04 pm
Isn't Poison a transvestite?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: DefCynodont119 on January 08, 2019, 02:08:59 pm
Gosh those comments. . .  :ick:  It's almost like none of them read it beyond the title. . .  Can't say I expected more tho.


Nice article! Ehh, It's not a terrible article. I Like your point about whether or not it's appropriate for the setting.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 08, 2019, 02:59:55 pm
Isn't Poison a transvestite?

It depends on which region s/he is in. IIR in Japan she is a cis gender female, in America she is a transsexual woman. Or it might be the other way around, I cant remember which off the top of my head.

One region had an issue with beating up women in video games back in the '90s, and as she is an enemy in Final Fight, you beat her up a lot. (Since its a side scrolling brawler, you beat up many copies of her - because, er 'game logic')  :p


So in that region Capcom said. 'Its ok, she is a transsexual woman, so technically you are still hitting a man' or words to that affect. #Game industry logic  :lol:
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 08, 2019, 03:08:24 pm
That reminds me, has anyone drawn fanart of what Noemi Laporte actually looks like?

For some reason, I imagine her as African/Asian.

Going by the short stories linked below, she is originally from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and is described as being dark skinned. So yeah, pretty sure she is African.


Morrigan in the Sunglare
http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/dickinson_03_14/ (http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/dickinson_03_14/)

Morrigan in Shadow
http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/dickinson_12_15/





Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Nightmare on January 08, 2019, 03:33:53 pm
That reminds me, has anyone drawn fanart of what Noemi Laporte actually looks like?

Yes, but that was never "official" as it never was confirmed BP-canon by the team, never became part of the mod and later went missing. This includes several other characters as well.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 08, 2019, 04:15:15 pm
Gosh those comments. . .  :ick:  It's almost like none of them read it beyond the title. . .  Can't say I expected more tho.

I agree with the comments, personally. These kind of articles are always objectively terrible and never add anything of actual value. "Oh no, sexy and/or scanditly clad female characters! How terrible! Just look at how awful these all are! How exploitative". Ayyy, okay. I couldn't make it half way past this article without rolling my eyes.

Sorry Iain, I'm just going to be super blunt with you here. If this is the kind of content that you want to write about, I sure as heck hope you aren't going to get paid for it. The internet has too many of these kind of ****ty, valueless articles decrying the evils of sexy female characters in games already. We don't need more of this kind of low level garbage.

Seriously. Let's take this absolutely dreadful golden axe example that you provided:
Quote
Bikinis are not sensible attire, however, for fighting sword-wielding skeletons, (or the fire-breathing dragons!), in a war zone straight out of Conan the Barbarian. Unfortunately, no one told Golden Axe’s Tyris Flare this.
1. It's a stylistic art choice, you dingus. Basically every character in Golden Axe wears barely any armor, aside from some helmets and shoulder pads. Most of the male characters are bare chested to show off their amazing abs and muscles. The Conan the barbarian comparison isn't all that far off.
Which brings me to 2. What's this dumb double standard you're going with here? You mention how Tyris wears a bikini, but then just casually neglect to mention the MASS OF ****ING MUSCLES that is Gilius who is center stage of the picture, wearing nothing but a speedo?
3. I played the hell out of Golden Axe as a kid. I grew up just fine.
4. There is nothing wrong with the stylistic choice of Golden Axe. Heck, there is nothing wrong with any of the examples you provided. You can like or dislike them, but there's nothing wrong with them.
5. Games are amazing in that they can choose to be not realistic. If every character in any game ever, wore nothing but historically accurate armor, **** would get stale quick. It would be uncreative as all heck.

Quote
I am no prude.
Suuuure. But here you go, writing a low effort article decrying how there are female game characters who show off skin.

Quote
Is this really what we want?
Yes. Yes I do.
I can't speak for everyone, neither can you, but there are plenty of people out there, who are not in mortal distress about female characters wearing silly outfits in video games.
Imagine being so bothered by this that you go out of your way to write an article about it. Kind of sad imo.

Quote
I don’t want my youngest daughter seeing Cammy’s camel toe,

Why? What's the worse that can happen? Is she going to suffer mental trauma? Will she die? Will she turn into a delinquent or a hooker when she grows up because she saw Cammy's camel toe as a kid?

Quote
or dressing up as her for Halloween. Indeed, my youngest has been an outspoken critic of such portrayals. If an eight-year-old girl can see this is a problem, then perhaps we should take note.
Oh nooooo, why won't anyone think of the chiiiilllddreeeeen???
Did you just unironically make this argument?
Yeah wow, I sure hold the opinion of a 8 year old boy in high regard! He sure knows a lot about the world! He sure knows a lot about woman and about the portrayal of women in games! I bet he's not going to change his opinion about any of this when he hits puberty!
We should all just take a moment and ask the nearest 8 year old about what they think about games that are outside of their age catagory and then base our opinions off of this.  :lol:

I was going to point out that he's 5 years too young for the Teen ESRB rating that street fighter has but then you proceed to write this gem:
Quote
At least the aforementioned games are aimed at a teenage-to-adult audience, so it could be argued that children would not see these portrayals. This is complete BS, of course, since kids see all sorts of things that are not ‘age appropriate’, even if their parents make every effort to prevent this.
Haha oh heck off.
"There can be no adult content because kids may see it" Again, did you just seriously make this 'argument?'
Seriously? For real? How is anyone going to take your seriously?

I could spend several hours picking apart all the things that are just wrong about this article. But it would be a waste of my time, because there's already ton of these utterly basic and unimaginative articles already out there. Good grief. Please. Just stop writing this kind of trash.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Det. Bullock on January 08, 2019, 05:08:25 pm
@Spoon: There is a difference between being a prude and kind of raising an eyebrow at the fact that female characters in games have to often be a piece of ass first and a character second.

Miranda Lawson in particular was something that really made me go "Really, Bioware"? It didn't help that after some really well written and heartfelt dialogues you had the dialogue wheel drawing attention to her arse. And Mass Effect 2 is basically a gigantic fanservice pack for the entire setting, you get from a hardcore sci fi setting with everyone wearing head to toe tactical gear or spacesuits in combat to people wearing skintight or skimpy clothing and no more of a fricking breathing mask in an alien environment with no breathable air.

PS: Cammy's design also really perplexed me to no end, especially the perpetual wedgie. And some at Capcom probably got the point since she made a cameo in another game series with a very similar attire only wearing military shorts over the leotard. A pity because I actually like her story, her moveset, her original stage and most of all her theme song.

Regarding Mika, she's kind of meant to be a flamboyant wrestler so while a bit of a stretch her outfit is not too out of place.

PPS: there is also the issue that a naked man is very rarely framed in the same way as a naked woman is and games, probably because they still think their audience is essentially horny male teenagers, are hit really bad by it, they aren't sexualized because sure as hell they aren't subjected to continous crotch and ass shots. There are exceptions of course but they are really few and far between while with women you could just throw a dart while blindolded and hit an example of weirdly out of place sexualization. Sometimes it's like games are perpetually stuck in the 90s era of comic books in that regard.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Thaeris on January 08, 2019, 06:32:56 pm
ROFL

People can and most certainly should voice their opinions. Furthermore, these opinions ultimately do seep into the market environment (for better or worse) - television is both a good and bad example of this, as are games. Opinions matter more when there's little-to-no market choice, but that's no longer an issue in the market. That's the first point.

Concerning parents... parents need to understand that media is made by adults. Sometimes childish adults, but adults nevertheless. Unless Fred Rogers is making your children's games, you have every reason to wonder about the contents of those games. Seeing as market choice is no longer an issue in choosing game media, you need to do your job and make sure that what you put in front of your children is something you feel is suitable for their consumption. Because, like, it's your job. That's the second point.

Concerning exploitation, it's always debatable, but refer back to the first point. All of your "bad" examples sold well because they were "bad." If you don't want that content these days, buy something else. People like smut, perhaps to their detriment, but that fact is unlikely to change. However, the examples you give in your article are probably not as exploitative as you suggest - all of those ladies (don't know about the cartoon character) are tough, and will beat you to a pulp or blow you to bits in the games they are from. They are fantasy characters from fantasy games, and their personalities seem to fit. The settings they inhabit are often profane or lude, and then filled with violence. If you want a simulation of realism, you should have never played those examples in the first place. That's the first part of my third point.

Concerning realism when it comes to exploitation, I'll throw my direct opinion on the matter in the ring now: realistic games are unlikely to have girls, let alone pretty girls, in the thick of it. Historically this is an anomaly when it happens - the reasons are simple regardless of who chooses to get offended: most ladies are not hard-wired for that sort of thing, they're not as well adapted for it as their male counterparts, and it's not a good choice when it comes to continuing the species. Therefore, unless your lady character is flying around in an aircraft, behind a rifle from cover (Soviet snipers are a good example), or well protected with something like a tank, front line combat is a bad idea. In actual conversation, soldiers I've known have scorned the notion of ladies in front-line action. Because we're men, we are in general hard-wired to want to protect the ladies - if something were to happen to them, we tend to abandon what we're doing to help. If it's a life and death situation, that psychology could result in a lot more people getting killed than in a situation with all men. [There's also a really dark side you could bring up about the side fighting against the female combatants, but I won't go there.] So, unless you've got a game centered around say, partisans fighting occupation, I'm going to argue that putting ladies in a realistic portrayal of direct combat is it's own flavor of exploitation, because it's kind of an affront to history and human nature, possibly even human survival. It might be viable in some settings, but not many. That said, if you want more realism, be prepared to have less interesting female characters in games involving combat... and it seems that most games involve combat. The point continues!

Personality is possibly a point of exploitation, but I'm not sure any of those games you highlight demonstrate this really well... BUT, perhaps there is an example: I've not played Tomb Raider in any guise, so the taste of feet might find me for this comment - but, didn't Laura Croft start out as a tough gun-slinging archaeologist regardless of her sexualized design? Didn't she then eventually become somewhat... abused?.. by the last trailer for a Tomb Raider game I recall seeing? If that perception is accurate, how is that good for a character who must be an action star? You're possibly taking a character who has been made unfit for combat, and might not even want to be there... and then you put them in that exact situation? There's certainly room for stories like that, but in its own way, is it any better than what you rail against? At least the characters in the fighting games seemed like they belonged there, because clearly getting into brawls was their thing. They have personas, no matter how shallow, that warrant them being where they're at. I'm thus going to conclude that putting a character where they don't belong or should not belong is both dumb and exploitative, and you didn't touch on that at all when it comes to women in games. Fantasy games have fantasy women for a reason: Take away the fantasy and it's either unrealistic or abusive. That's my third point in total.

So, to wrap this thing up, if the best you can do is complain about a lack of clothing on women in fighting games, you've not done much to advance your cause. Lude fantasy will always be there, but I think trying to make things more realistic in your choice of games is actually worse in this case, because it opens up the women for some actually horrific abuse that no decent person would want to see. If you need fantasy with more conservatively dressed women, I must imagine that it's out there somewhere.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: MP-Ryan on January 08, 2019, 06:39:53 pm
With all respect to Iain, while I don't think the article is terribly well written and some of the arguments aren't well-thought out - Golden Axe is a genuinely bad example based just on the cover art - I also think Spoon above is completely off-base.

Games have a historical habit of being authored, built, and designed predominantly by men for a male audience.  Thankfully this is changing, but I don't think it's at all prudish or unreasonable to note that games still have a tendency to be illustrated for the male gaze, and there are many examples of this throughout the gaming world.  There is a difference between personal style, and gratuitous skin just for the players' titillation.  I don't tend to play a lot of games with the jarring examples given in Iain's post, but I have a pretty excellent set of examples that I can draw on from recent RPGs.

Let's use Miranda Lawson's character from ME2 as a bad example, because I think Iain is spot-on here.  Miranda's dress preferences and explanation are absolutely fine in the context of scenarios that make sense - where they are absolutely not fine, however, are in known combat missions.  It makes zero sense.  OTOH, Dragon Age did this right with Morrigan, who is scantily-clad, but it is clearly a character attribute that does not lessen her personality in the slightest, and actually makes sense in her case - she's a badass wild mage perfectly capable of protecting herself using magic and doesn't need a lot of clunky armour or heavy clothing if she doesn't feel like it, and I'd welcome anyone to even try to give an example of Morrigan's dress cheapening her character.  It'd just be silly.  Isabela in DA2 is another character with certain perhaps questionable clothing choices, but again, in character it makes perfect sense and there is nothing wrong with it.  Compare to Lara Croft in the original Tomb Raider games - not only do the outfits make literally no sense, but simple issues like proportions make it clear the intent is objectification and titillation, not any respect for the character.

The problem is not that female characters are scantily clad - the problem comes about when that clothing and other design choices' purpose is quite obviously objectification instead of a character feature.  And frankly, if some designers - I'm looking at the numerous questionable anime-style titles popping up on Steam here - want to build games essentially around objectification and that's clear up front, the fact that there's a market for it means they'll get made.  On the other hand, games that want to be recognized seriously for their storytelling as artistic works need to confront this historical issue because their audiences are a lot bigger and more diverse than the "we want to see tits and asses" crowd.

I think Iain's construction of the argument is somewhat clunky - with all respect - but his basic point that games can evolve and do better in the diversity of the manner women are presented is legitimate.  Hell, games could do much better in representing diversity generally - when was the last time you saw a game with an even moderately-overweight protagonist, male or female? (On that note, I tried to make my DA:I female Inquisitor a little bit chubby in the face on purpose).  Yet another thing I thought The Witcher 3 did moderatetely well - while NPC models are re-used, the main cast does not consist entirely of tall, slim, fit, and attractive people.  And before anyone leaps in with an "oh, that's just an SJW argument," OUR world is made of up a diverse cast of people that do all kinds of amazing things - why would it be realistic to believe that such diversity would not be prevalent in a fictional world?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: MP-Ryan on January 08, 2019, 06:46:34 pm
Concerning realism when it comes to exploitation, I'll throw my direct opinion on the matter in the ring now: realistic games are unlikely to have girls, let alone pretty girls, in the thick of it. Historically this is an anomaly when it happens - the reasons are simple regardless of who chooses to get offended: most ladies are not hard-wired for that sort of thing, they're not as well adapted for it as their male counterparts, and it's not a good choice when it comes to continuing the species. Therefore, unless your lady character is flying around in an aircraft, behind a rifle from cover (Soviet snipers are a good example), or well protected with something like a tank, front line combat is a bad idea. In actual conversation, soldiers I've known have scorned the notion of ladies in front-line action. Because we're men, we are in general hard-wired to want to protect the ladies - if something were to happen to them, we tend to abandon what we're doing to help. If it's a life and death situation, that psychology could result in a lot more people getting killed than in a situation with all men. [There's also a really dark side you could bring up about the side fighting against the female combatants, but I won't go there.] So, unless you've got a game centered around say, partisans fighting occupation, I'm going to argue that putting ladies in a realistic portrayal of direct combat is it's own flavor of exploitation, because it's kind of an affront to history and human nature, possibly even human survival. It might be viable in some settings, but not many. That said, if you want more realism, be prepared to have less interesting female characters in games involving combat... and it seems that most games involve combat. The point continues!

If your game is about historical wars between Western countries from roughly 1600 to 1990ish, then yes, portraying large numbers of women as front-line combatants in organized military units would not be all that realistic.  But that's a pretty tiny, narrow range of games and subjects.

On the subject of female capability generally as combatants, however, well.... I work in law enforcement.  Fully half my colleagues are female, many of my trainers are female, and a good number could take me, you, or pretty much anyone else I've met apart.  The above quote is nothing but stereotypical tripe outside of the limited context I acknowledged because in a fictional title you can literally do pretty much whatever you feel like.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: DefCynodont119 on January 08, 2019, 08:10:57 pm
I don't really have a strong opinion on this issue, But after Re-Reading the article there are definitely some tonal mistakes in the piece.
(It's too direct and condescending)  (Title is clickbaity)

And I haven't played any of those games so I had no context for the example characters.
(After Reading the other posts it does seem like a few of the examples aren't helping the argument)

Hopefully this criticism is constructive.

So upon further inspection mr. Baker I'm gonna downgrade my earlier "Nice article!" comment to a "Ehh, It's not a terrible article."



Anyway, I will say that a character's appearance should serve the character's overall design and setting FIRST, all else second.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Nightmare on January 08, 2019, 08:19:40 pm
(Title is clickbaity)

Well that's what you probably have to do if you want to get paied for writing articles. The same mechanism of attention grabbing probably goes for game developers aiming at the mass market.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Firesteel on January 08, 2019, 08:48:41 pm
Possibly because I've been around the discourse too long (since it's at least partially my job to be there), this feels very five years ago. I don't think it's bad to talk about this stuff but these are all examples that get cited to a ridiculous degree.

I'm not saying we should give fighting games passes on character design and sexualization, but as far as they go vs a lot of the other stuff, they're less problematic in my eyes on a visual design standpoint than pretty much everything else you cited. (Though that quote I'm too tired to find the source of about how all the female characters in one of the Street Fighter games having less health is a whole 'nother ball of wax).

The only other character I  have any stake in at all that you talked about is Miranda. Compared to Bayonetta, she's laughable in comparison. I wouldn't find her outfit design so cringe-worthy if she was a sexual or exhibitionist character like Bayonetta, but other than saying "she's designed to be perfect" that's about the extent of her sexuality unless you explicitly romance her. If she'd been dryly inserting double entendres places and being a tsundere, the outfit would have made more sense. (Those camera angles tho, dear god Bioware, I was in the demographic you were pandering to when that game launched and I still found it cringe inducing).

My biggest comment is that you went after such well trod, low hanging fruit (even my example of Bayonetta's pretty old) and I don't feel like you're adding much to the conversation. Admittedly I just got done drafting a conference paper so my standards are in a completely different space right now but as I said at the beginning, this feels outdated.

Thanks to the industry still pandering to the same people, talking about this stuff is important, but we have plenty of newer, more interesting things to talk about.

For example, why are people more okay with 2B in Nier Automata? Some of it is of course because of Yoko Taro's propensity for being horny on main (just look at Kaine in the first Nier) but it's also because both 2B and Kaine are more than just their visual designs, which are at least marginally better integrated with their characters than Miranda's.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: 0rph3u5 on January 08, 2019, 11:27:13 pm
My first article for a ‘proper’ bona fide video games website. Looks like the last two year’s hard work is starting to pay off.  Fingers crossed I’ll start getting paid to do this one day.

Congratulations, Iain.

Now I am going to read it :)
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 01:40:44 am

Even having been the boy that these designs all cater to, they were all so over the top that they never really registered for me. The discourse tends to center around the basic stuff of "videogames should move beyond this" vs "videogames should continue to do this exclusively" but even if you think the latter surely you can see that these character designs are just... really bad?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 04:00:09 am
@Firesteel

You say that about Miranda but don't forget Tali's romance being all about the logistic and medical difficulties of getting together and do you see how much she's risking because she wants youuuuuuu.

Oh and Garrus's adorable awkwardness, but he gets a pass <3
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Phantom Hoover on January 09, 2019, 06:16:25 am
For example, why are people more okay with 2B in Nier Automata? Some of it is of course because of Yoko Taro's propensity for being horny on main (just look at Kaine in the first Nier) but it's also because both 2B and Kaine are more than just their visual designs, which are at least marginally better integrated with their characters than Miranda's.

also to be honest it's because yoko taro's work is always full of weird, insane and disturbing **** so having a woman run around in negligee is a lot less tonally offputting than ME2's camera constantly trying to give miranda a colonoscopy, and a lot less boring than every fighting game full of ripped dudes and bikini models
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 09:11:00 am
Gosh those comments. . .  :ick:  It's almost like none of them read it beyond the title. . .  Can't say I expected more tho.

I agree with the comments, personally. These kind of articles are always objectively terrible and never add anything of actual value. "Oh no, sexy and/or scanditly clad female characters! How terrible! Just look at how awful these all are! How exploitative". Ayyy, okay. I couldn't make it half way past this article without rolling my eyes.

Sorry Iain, I'm just going to be super blunt with you here. If this is the kind of content that you want to write about, I sure as heck hope you aren't going to get paid for it. The internet has too many of these kind of ****ty, valueless articles decrying the evils of sexy female characters in games already. We don't need more of this kind of low level garbage.

Seriously. Let's take this absolutely dreadful golden axe example that you provided:
Quote
Bikinis are not sensible attire, however, for fighting sword-wielding skeletons, (or the fire-breathing dragons!), in a war zone straight out of Conan the Barbarian. Unfortunately, no one told Golden Axe’s Tyris Flare this.
1. It's a stylistic art choice, you dingus. Basically every character in Golden Axe wears barely any armor, aside from some helmets and shoulder pads. Most of the male characters are bare chested to show off their amazing abs and muscles. The Conan the barbarian comparison isn't all that far off.
Which brings me to 2. What's this dumb double standard you're going with here? You mention how Tyris wears a bikini, but then just casually neglect to mention the MASS OF ****ING MUSCLES that is Gilius who is center stage of the picture, wearing nothing but a speedo?
3. I played the hell out of Golden Axe as a kid. I grew up just fine.
4. There is nothing wrong with the stylistic choice of Golden Axe. Heck, there is nothing wrong with any of the examples you provided. You can like or dislike them, but there's nothing wrong with them.
5. Games are amazing in that they can choose to be not realistic. If every character in any game ever, wore nothing but historically accurate armor, **** would get stale quick. It would be uncreative as all heck.

Quote
I am no prude.
Suuuure. But here you go, writing a low effort article decrying how there are female game characters who show off skin.

Quote
Is this really what we want?
Yes. Yes I do.
I can't speak for everyone, neither can you, but there are plenty of people out there, who are not in mortal distress about female characters wearing silly outfits in video games.
Imagine being so bothered by this that you go out of your way to write an article about it. Kind of sad imo.

Quote
I don’t want my youngest daughter seeing Cammy’s camel toe,

Why? What's the worse that can happen? Is she going to suffer mental trauma? Will she die? Will she turn into a delinquent or a hooker when she grows up because she saw Cammy's camel toe as a kid?

Quote
or dressing up as her for Halloween. Indeed, my youngest has been an outspoken critic of such portrayals. If an eight-year-old girl can see this is a problem, then perhaps we should take note.
Oh nooooo, why won't anyone think of the chiiiilllddreeeeen???
Did you just unironically make this argument?
Yeah wow, I sure hold the opinion of a 8 year old boy in high regard! He sure knows a lot about the world! He sure knows a lot about woman and about the portrayal of women in games! I bet he's not going to change his opinion about any of this when he hits puberty!
We should all just take a moment and ask the nearest 8 year old about what they think about games that are outside of their age catagory and then base our opinions off of this.  :lol:

I was going to point out that he's 5 years too young for the Teen ESRB rating that street fighter has but then you proceed to write this gem:
Quote
At least the aforementioned games are aimed at a teenage-to-adult audience, so it could be argued that children would not see these portrayals. This is complete BS, of course, since kids see all sorts of things that are not ‘age appropriate’, even if their parents make every effort to prevent this.
Haha oh heck off.
"There can be no adult content because kids may see it" Again, did you just seriously make this 'argument?'
Seriously? For real? How is anyone going to take your seriously?

I could spend several hours picking apart all the things that are just wrong about this article. But it would be a waste of my time, because there's already ton of these utterly basic and unimaginative articles already out there. Good grief. Please. Just stop writing this kind of trash.
At first, I was quite shocked at you just going in hard with both barrels with no preamble like this and thinking is that really necessary? But on reflection, bravo. Bravo Spoon. This was exactly what was required here. If it wasn't a member of the site, I'd have had no such thoughts, so why should he get special treatment? In fact, it's more imperative that you do this, as you have more chance of having an influence because of being a member of this forum, especially as a prominent one. It's a rare opportunity that should be taken and I'm behind you on this 100%.

This is the kind of **** that gamers hate. And with damn good reason. I really can't add much as Spoon did it better than I could, but let the people vote with their wallets. If a character has generated a lot of fanart, then that tells you it was a good character.

Also, if you want to promote this kind of thing, you still can. I roll my eyes at female "armour" too, and I don't think anyone (or at least not many) would have a problem if your article was more along the lines of recommending games to gamers who get turned off by this than virtue signalling. Then you'd be putting info out there and leaving people free to choose what they do with that info without that this is bad and if you like it you should feel bad undertone running through it.

Choice of course is even better. If you have cosmetic options that don't effect stats, then everyone's a winner. While I much prefer practical armour, running around with a girl in a bikini cutting everyone to shreds is absurd, silly fun and there's nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 09:54:43 am
What gamers really need is the lead character undressing herself in front of the audience 2 minutes after starting a new game.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 10:24:03 am
@Lorric, cheers.
But you vastly overestimate any kind of influence and prominence that I might have. I'm just some guy who has strong opinions about nudity in games and who gets annoyed at people writing poor preachy articles.

also think Spoon above is completely off-base.
Nah, I'm pretty on-base.

What gamers really need is the lead character undressing herself in front of the audience 2 minutes after starting a new game.

He says, mockingly.
But I unsarcastically agree that it's a nice option to have.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 10:31:24 am
Yes, that is obvious :P
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 10:44:55 am
Yes, that is obvious :P
I mean, this kind of passive-aggressive style of posting I've come to expect from you, it's very Joshua-esque. I already figured what you were trying to get at, but I don't really get what kind of point you were trying to get across? So I'd just like you to be direct here, what were you trying to say exactly? Were you just being passive-aggressive for the heck of it? Were you trying to make some kind of point or?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 09, 2019, 11:10:04 am
If you want to look at porn, then go look at porn. Don't act like it should be in games. A lot of people don't want to see that. And sexual objectification is a real issue that impacts people negatively in the real world.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Enioch on January 09, 2019, 11:25:59 am
If you want to look at porn, then go look at porn. Don't act like it should be in games. A lot of people don't want to see that.

Then don't buy the game. Games are rated for a reason. A lot of people do want to see that.

Quote
And sexual objectification is a real issue that impacts people negatively in the real world.

Indeed. And when it's unsolicited, it's reprehensible in the real world.

We are discussing games. Fiction.

Also, point of order: I would argue that, for legitimate criticism of sexual objectification to be levied against a character and its creator, it is insufficient for the character's sexual attributes to be highlighted to an above-average degree. A fictional character can be heavily sexualised and still be a compelling, multifaceted character.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 11:32:04 am
If you want to look at porn, then go look at porn. Don't act like it should be in games. A lot of people don't want to see that. And sexual objectification is a real issue that impacts people negatively in the real world.
Don't act like it shouldn't be in games. Who the heck are you to decide that for everyone else? You're not my mom.
Also:
A lot of people do want to see that.

Also +1 to the rest of what Enioch said.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 09, 2019, 11:50:01 am
Like I said, if you want to see that, that's what porn is for. Keep it separate from other media. As an asexual, I find it to be annoying and distracting. I want to play a game with an interesting story, immersive environment, good gameplay, and challenging (but not frustratingly hard) objectives.

If a game is clearly advertised as a porn game, that's one thing. But if you have what looks to be an interesting and fun game it can be ruined by putting that stuff into it.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 11:59:21 am
Again, you don't get to decide that for me. I don't care what you want to see specifically in games, my dude. I also don't care what sexuality you have or what you find annoying and distracting. You don't get the right to force your likes and dislikes upon me or the rest of us. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The sooner you come to terms with this fact of reality, the easier it will be for you.

Quote
But if you have what looks to be an interesting and fun game it can be ruined by putting that stuff into it.
Or enhance the fun and interesting game even more. That's a matter of opinion and perspective.

Quote
And sexual objectification is a real issue that impacts people negatively in the real world.
So is violence, but I guess that's fine in games.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Enioch on January 09, 2019, 12:09:12 pm
As an asexual, I find it to be annoying and distracting.

That is a more than valid complaint. From your perspective.

Quote
I want to play a game with an interesting story, immersive environment, good gameplay, and challenging (but not frustratingly hard) objectives.

That is also a very valid set of preferences, and props to you for knowing exactly what you want as a consumer.

Quote
If a game is clearly advertised as a porn game, that's one thing. But if you have what looks to be an interesting and fun game it can be ruined by putting that stuff into it.

(As above) - yes, I imagine it could ruin a game for you.

But for me, and a lot of other people, it would not. It might even enhance the game, if done carefully. Also:

Like I said, if you want to see that, that's what porn is for. Keep it separate from other media.

Porn serves one purpose. The presence of a sexually titillating character in a fictional context, whether game, book, film or other medium serves a range of other functions.

Ultimately:

 
Quote
I want to play a game [...]

Make it, pay people to make it, or reward people who make it by buying it.

I'd love to play a game like that too, but I (and many other people) do not object at all to the presence of sexual content in our fiction. Not even our interactive fiction.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 09, 2019, 12:12:21 pm
As an asexual, I find it to be annoying and distracting.

That is a more than valid complaint. From your perspective.

Quote
I want to play a game with an interesting story, immersive environment, good gameplay, and challenging (but not frustratingly hard) objectives.

That is also a very valid set of preferences, and props to you for knowing exactly what you want as a consumer.

Quote
If a game is clearly advertised as a porn game, that's one thing. But if you have what looks to be an interesting and fun game it can be ruined by putting that stuff into it.

(As above) - yes, I imagine it could ruin a game for you.

But for me, and a lot of other people, it would not. It might even enhance the game, if done carefully. Also:

Like I said, if you want to see that, that's what porn is for. Keep it separate from other media.

Porn serves one purpose. The presence of a sexually titillating character in a fictional context, whether game, book, film or other medium serves a range of other functions.

Ultimately:

 
Quote
I want to play a game [...]

Make it, pay people to make it, or reward people who make it by buying it.

I'd love to play a game like that too, but I (and many other people) do not object at all to the presence of sexual content in our fiction. Not even our interactive fiction.

But do you have to put it in everything, even where it has no place being? (i.e. medieval armor bikinis)

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Enioch on January 09, 2019, 12:14:36 pm

But do you have to put it in everything, even where it has no place being? (i.e. medieval armor bikinis)


Have to? No. Should be able to? Yes.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 09, 2019, 12:17:34 pm

But do you have to put it in everything, even where it has no place being? (i.e. medieval armor bikinis)


Have to? No. Should be able to? Yes.

What about my right to play a game without such content?

I'm assuming that you are a heterosexual male (correct me if I'm wrong). How would you feel if you had difficulty finding a game that didn't have gratuitous male fanservice, and everyone insisted that you had no right to object to it?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Nightmare on January 09, 2019, 12:23:51 pm
Most if not all games are made for 1 purpose. And no, that's not spiritually enlightening. Not even to be fun. It's to make money, plain and simple. So as long as you don't earn incredible amounts of money, you'll have to take what's being given to you.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Colonol Dekker on January 09, 2019, 12:25:13 pm
Mass effect allowed male on male or male on female *if you chose a female lead*.    It didn't bother me.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 09, 2019, 12:32:19 pm
Mass effect allowed male on male or male on female *if you chose a female lead*.    It didn't bother me.

But were all of the male characters overly sexualized all of the time in every situation, regardless of what choices you made in the game?

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 12:34:01 pm
Yes, that is obvious :P
I mean, this kind of passive-aggressive style of posting I've come to expect from you, it's very Joshua-esque. I already figured what you were trying to get at, but I don't really get what kind of point you were trying to get across? So I'd just like you to be direct here, what were you trying to say exactly? Were you just being passive-aggressive for the heck of it? Were you trying to make some kind of point or?

It's not intended to be passive aggressive, sorry! I was just making a tongue-in-cheek allusion to Wings of Dawn, which I do not hold in contempt in any way (although I haven't gotten to the much maligned combat simulator missions yet :P ). If anything, I got the notion from it that it's not intended to be taken seriously?

But do you have to put it in everything, even where it has no place being? (i.e. medieval armor bikinis)
Have to? No. Should be able to? Yes.

The argument I always heard in favour of the medieval armour bikinis is that sex sells. And since we have this system that more or less forces big companies to strive towards, well, selling their stuff, they kinda do have to.

Or did have to, since there have been rather big shifts in the perception of what does and doesn't sell lately.

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Enioch on January 09, 2019, 12:34:37 pm
I'm assuming that you are a heterosexual male (correct me if I'm wrong). How would you feel if you had difficulty finding a game that didn't have gratuitous male fanservice, and everyone insisted that you had no right to object to it?

You are not wrong.

I obviously cannot state with any absolute certainty what I would feel in your hypothetical scenario, as my personal development in such a universe would probably have been different, but as I am right now, I believe that in such a case I truly wouldn't have a right to demand that such games not be produced.

I would have the right to express my displeasure and to encourage / reward the creation of games along my own preferences.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 09, 2019, 12:38:22 pm
I'm assuming that you are a heterosexual male (correct me if I'm wrong). How would you feel if you had difficulty finding a game that didn't have gratuitous male fanservice, and everyone insisted that you had no right to object to it?

You are not wrong.

I obviously cannot state with any absolute certainty what I would feel in your hypothetical scenario, as my personal development in such a universe would probably have been different, but as I am right now, I believe that in such a case I truly wouldn't have a right to demand that such games not be produced.

I would have the right to express my displeasure and to encourage / reward the creation of games along my own preferences.

How is that any different from what I'm doing?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Enioch on January 09, 2019, 12:44:54 pm
How is that any different from what I'm doing?

You are not limiting yourself to expressing your displeasure or to voting with your wallet.

You are actively demanding that such games not be produced:

Like I said, if you want to see that, that's what porn is for. Keep it separate from other media.

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Colonol Dekker on January 09, 2019, 01:01:18 pm
Mass effect allowed male on male or male on female *if you chose a female lead*.    It didn't bother me.

But were all of the male characters overly sexualized all of the time in every situation, regardless of what choices you made in the game?


That's subjective.    If I REALLY like krogans. ...........then maybe.


It's all horses for courses at the end of the day.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 01:20:38 pm
Good posts, Enioch.  :yes:

It's not intended to be passive aggressive, sorry! I was just making a tongue-in-cheek allusion to Wings of Dawn, which I do not hold in contempt in any way (although I haven't gotten to the much maligned combat simulator missions yet :P ). If anything, I got the notion from it that it's not intended to be taken seriously?
Ah okay, no worries then! I understood what you were alluding to, but it wasn't clear to me what exactly your intent with that allusion was. So I assumed you meant it in some kind of negative way.
Hope you're having fun with WoD!
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: The E on January 09, 2019, 01:25:12 pm
I agree with the comments, personally. These kind of articles are always objectively terrible and never add anything of actual value. "Oh no, sexy and/or scanditly clad female characters! How terrible! Just look at how awful these all are! How exploitative". Ayyy, okay. I couldn't make it half way past this article without rolling my eyes.

Gonna do the unexpected here and say that I'm actually with Spoon here. Sexualized characters are a difficult topic to talk about with any nuance (see Bayonetta as a prime example); There is a degree of prudishness to the discussion that, to my mind at least, tends to fixate a lot on visual design to the exclusion of any other consideration.

To expand on what he said about this quote:
Quote
Bikinis are not sensible attire, however, for fighting sword-wielding skeletons, (or the fire-breathing dragons!), in a war zone straight out of Conan the Barbarian. Unfortunately, no one told Golden Axe’s Tyris Flare this.

Golden Axe's art design is ripped straight from classic Frank Frazetta (sp?) artworks. It's from the covers of early heroic fantasy novels; that's what Golden Axe wants to be and wants the player to embody.
The titillation factor is part of it, yes; but not the only one, and not even particularly negative (at least in my opinion) one in that example.

Negative examples of bad representation of female characters are, IMHO, less about their art design and more about these character's role in the narrative. If your only (or only major) character in a game exists only to be fridged, or only as a damsel in distress, if she lacks narrative agency or is only characterized as "the girl", then that's more negative in my opinion than whatever clothes the artists decided to gave her. Characters can be both solid and titillating, both non-sexualized and thoroughly bad.

Quote
I can't speak for everyone, neither can you, but there are plenty of people out there, who are not in mortal distress about female characters wearing silly outfits in video games.
Imagine being so bothered by this that you go out of your way to write an article about it. Kind of sad imo.

This however, is where I am going to thoroughly disagree with Spoon (and Lorric, for that matter). Articles like these should exist. Feel free to not like them, feel free to roll your eyes at them, but don't tell us that this is not a discussion anyone wants or should have.

This is the kind of **** that gamers hate. And with damn good reason. I really can't add much as Spoon did it better than I could, but let the people vote with their wallets. If a character has generated a lot of fanart, then that tells you it was a good character.

No, Lorric. This is what a particular subset of gamers hates. The idea that every aspect of a game is open to criticism, the idea that criticism can be delivered from viewpoints outside of what you have trained yourself to see as games criticism, that's what these "gamers" you speak of hate. Not this particular bit of criticism, not really. Bottom line: There are a lot of gamers out there. To assume that they all of them (or even a majority of them, or a sizable minority of them) would hate something is stupid.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 01:43:02 pm
I can't speak for everyone, neither can you, but there are plenty of people out there, who are not in mortal distress about female characters wearing silly outfits in video games.
Imagine being so bothered by this that you go out of your way to write an article about it. Kind of sad imo.
This however, is where I am going to thoroughly disagree with Spoon (and Lorric, for that matter). Articles like these should exist. Feel free to not like them, feel free to roll your eyes at them, but don't tell us that this is not a discussion anyone wants or should have.
Nah, we don't even disagree on this subject as much as you think we do. I despise people telling me what I can and cannot enjoy in game. Following that same line of thought, I would never be so arrogant to tell other people what they can or cannot have discussions about. Absolutely feel free by all accounts to have well thought out discussions and write well written articles about these kind of subjects.
I however don't think Iain's article checked any of those boxes, it just feels like a preachy rant about how sexualized female characters are bad and please think of the children. It doesn't provide good examples, counter examples or provide any deep good insights on what goes into character design. That's not a good point to start these kind of discussions from.

Golden Axe's art design is ripped straight from classic Frank Frazetta (sp?) artworks. It's from the covers of early heroic fantasy novels; that's what Golden Axe wants to be and wants the player to embody.
The titillation factor is part of it, yes; but not the only one, and not even particularly negative (at least in my opinion) one in that example.

Negative examples of bad representation of female characters are, IMHO, less about their art design and more about these character's role in the narrative. If your only (or only major) character in a game exists only to be fridged, or only as a damsel in distress, if she lacks narrative agency or is only characterized as "the girl", then that's more negative in my opinion than whatever clothes the artists decided to gave her. Characters can be both solid and titillating, both non-sexualized and thoroughly bad.
+1
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 01:59:10 pm
As Spoon says, it's about being told. That's not a discussion. And you already picked up on Golden Axe, dismissing a beloved classic game based on cover art. And even the cover art isn't a double standard. That's going to piss off a lot of gamers, including me.

When someone says something like I said about gamers, I don't assume it to mean they mean every single one. The article would not exist if it was every single one.

I think in this case a majority will. Maybe not a majority will hate it, but certainly dislike it. That's the audience the OP is writing to. He isn't serving the gaming community with this article, he's preaching to it. And it's just a bad article to boot.

Walk into any fandom and start telling them it's bad and they should feel bad for liking it and see what reaction you get.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Enioch on January 09, 2019, 02:01:21 pm
Walk into any fandom and start telling them it's bad and they should feel bad for liking it and see what reaction you get.

...but what if it is bad and they should feel bad for liking it?  :nervous:
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 02:06:26 pm
But nobody is "walking into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.

Reversed edit since this post had been responded to already
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 02:07:09 pm
Walk into any fandom and start telling them it's bad and they should feel bad for liking it and see what reaction you get.

...but what if it is bad and they should feel bad for liking it?  :nervous:
Then they have wandered so far into the depths of insanity that these poor souls are beyond help. ;)
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 09, 2019, 02:07:47 pm
How is that any different from what I'm doing?

You are not limiting yourself to expressing your displeasure or to voting with your wallet.

You are actively demanding that such games not be produced:

Like I said, if you want to see that, that's what porn is for. Keep it separate from other media.

That is incorrect. I stated multiple times that you can have your porn games, but do not try to put it in everything where it isn't needed or appropriate.

It seems to me that you are demanding that the kind of games I like should not be made, by insisting that sexual content should be everywhere.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 02:08:38 pm
But nobody is walking "Into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.
It makes no difference.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 09, 2019, 02:09:10 pm
@Spoon. Firstly, there is no need to be so rude. I will be refuting some of your comments, and you will note that I will be remaining polite and respectful throughout.

1)   Regarding Golden Axe. If you look under the image of the box art I have clearly written “Granted, Ax Battler’s posing pouch isn’t much better.” As in ‘he too is underdressed for going into combat’. The only character who is even halfway prepared is Gilius Thunderhead the dwarf.
 
2)   You appear to refer to my daughter as ‘my son’, despite calling her a ‘she’ in the paragraph before. Therefore, your comments about an eight-year-old boy were a little off topic. For what it is worth, I agree that what an eight-year-old boy thinks of women in videogames is largely irrelevant. However, the views of an impressionable young girl are something as a father I have to take seriously.

3)   Re that she is five years too young to be playing Street Fighter. I concede your point here, it was not my decision. Details to follow.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 02:09:54 pm
But nobody is walking "Into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.
It makes no difference.

Like, seriously, you don't have to like stuff like this, but now you're just grandstanding about "The Gaming Community" as if it's this humongous cultural force. How does that make you any different from what you accuse Iain of doing?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 09, 2019, 02:14:24 pm
So, that escalated quickly  :shaking:

Perhaps I had better explain some of the background to this. Firstly, I am not an SJW, far from it in most regards. However much of the videogame press is dominated by a leftist agenda, as has been correctly pointed out in some of the comments. Therefore, to stand a chance of making it in the video game journalism industry (in its current state at least) will require me to swallow my pride, ‘bend the knee’ and give them what they want.

I should stress that Coindrop.com are NOT dominated by a leftist agenda which is exactly why I have joined them. I am hoping that sites such as coin drop, the in development exclusivelygames.com and even my own Nomad’s Reviews site – which is strictly a-political BTW – will help to change the state of video game journalism in the future. But for now, I have to be realistic and hedge my bets.

So why do I want to become a video game journo you may ask?
The simple answer is Illness. About ten years ago I was hospitalised with a condition which has never really improved, and is never likely to. I tried to hold down my career in local government but the unpredictable nature of the condition (almost normal one hour, incapacitated the next, then perhaps back to normal for a bit) made this a losing battle.

I eventually had to concede defeat and accept that I would have to fit any future career around my condition, instead of trying to work my condition around my career.
Unfortunately, who I am today is pretty far removed from the 20 something who spent his weekends tabbing around the Brecon beacons with a light machine gun carrying kit that weighed almost as much as he did. Once on a badly sprained ankle, and then got his jaw broken a few weeks later in Sparring but got up and carried on fighting.

https://serve.media/a-comedy-of-errors-in-the-british-army-uotc-part-5 (https://serve.media/a-comedy-of-errors-in-the-british-army-uotc-part-5)

Realistically, I am reduced to work I can do from home, sitting at a desk, and which I can drop when I am incapacitated for a few hours, then pick up again once I have recovered a bit. This is why I am doing the freelance writer/ proof-reader / editor / web developer / Social Media Manager thing. I simply do not have any other options.

Videogames have been one of my main passions ever since I got my first console - the Atari 2600 – at the tender age of five(ish). Since I’m now ‘the wrong side of 40’, I have clocked in about 35 years of gaming, so it is a field I am pretty experienced in and knowledgeable about. Therefore, video games journalism seems like a sensible option.

The genesis of this article in particular can be traced to the summer of last year. My ex bought a Nintendo Switch and Ultra Street Fighter 2 to play on it. This she showed to our daughter. Personally, I would not have done so until she was a little older, but I was not there, nor was I consulted on the matter.
I should point out that my daughter is Autistic, like pretty much everyone in our family unit – myself included - and as such she develops very strong obsessions about things.

Before Street Fighter it was Mario. Now it has moved onto Sonic, but for a while Street Fighter was all she would talk about. I will be honest, it was a nice change from My Little Pony and the like, as it was something we could enjoy together and bond over. If her mother had already shown it to her then there was no point trying to hide it now, so I embraced it.

All was well until the subject of Halloween came up in conversation, and she said she wanted to go trick-or-treating dressed up as either Cammy or R Mika. I tried to steer the conversation away from these characters without drawing attention as to why it wouldn’t be a good idea to dress as them. “How about Princess Peach instead” I suggested “It will be cold in November and Cammy’s outfit would be very chilly.” That worked for a while, + 10 parenting points 😊

Since she is gifted and talented it didn’t take her long to figure out the real reason, after which she started to look at female characters in games with a new perspective, and a critical eye. She watches lots of video game related YouTube videos such as this one https://youtu.be/L14gL77kgCs (https://youtu.be/L14gL77kgCs) which drew her attention to Rouge the Bat, and her criticisms regarding her portrayal. Is she simply parroting what was said on this video? Possibly. If she is, then it highlights just how impressionable young minds can be.

The message she sent me recently is all the validation I need: “I like your article because it is encouraging kids to maybe not play as these characters you mentioned.” (Followed by a gif cartoon of a dancing sombrero wearing cat – she is eight after all 😉 )

The editor of Coin Drop was presumably happy with it or he wouldn’t have put it up, and the fact that there are so many similar articles in the mainstream video game press suggests I am not the only one who thinks this.

With regards to artistic choice and personal taste, this is true - if you don’t like it, don’t play/watch/listen etc.
Personally, I have zero interest in anime, comic books or Hollywood superhero films, since they are so unrealistic and implausible in almost every way. Therefore, I do not watch / read / play them. I am far more interested in historical accuracy, hard sci-fi and fiction that is more ‘grounded’.

This blog series probably does a better job of explaining this than I am at the moment. http://exploringbelievability.blogspot.com/p/articles-sorted-by-theme.html (http://exploringbelievability.blogspot.com/p/articles-sorted-by-theme.html)

The problem comes when you can’t avoid portrayals such as these without missing out on everything else the game has to offer. Did I really want close ups of Miranda Lawson’s ass? Not really, but ME2 was a fantastic game otherwise, so I wasn’t going to avoid playing it because of them. It would just have been nice to have had the option to not see them if you didn’t want to.

The same goes for games such as Golden Axe, Street Fighter etc.

One more thing - something which many people appear to have missed. I did not say sexualised characters were bad - only that they are often portrayed in the wrong context.

I did start out the article by stating that in VTMB there is loads of sex and nudity. Vampire lap dancers, vampire nymphos, people getting blowies from prostitutes, strip shows, porno video shoots etc. All of this is perfectly fine in this context. Hookers looking and acting like hookers in GTA - all fine, all in context. Strippers and burlesque dancers in the Metro games - again, all fine, all in context. There are probably other examples but I can’t be bothered to look them up right now.

If you have read this all the way to the end, then thank you for your patience. I am now going to blow $h1t up – digitally of course.







Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 02:15:06 pm
About point 1, it's tucked away underneath, the damage is already done. Even if it wasn't, you're still filing it under dumb and exploitative.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 02:16:40 pm
But nobody is walking "Into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.
It makes no difference.

Like, seriously, you don't have to like stuff like this, but now you're just grandstanding about "The Gaming Community" as if it's this humongous cultural force. How does that make you any different from what you accuse Iain of doing?
No, I'm talking about the gaming community as it's his target audience.

Though it does carry plenty of cultural weight.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 02:27:02 pm
No, I'm talking about the gaming community as it's his target audience.

Though it does carry plenty of cultural weight.

You're talking about the gaming community as if it's this one thing no? As this one big thing?

Otherwise I'd assume Iain target audience is just the people at coindrop.

Becuase otherwise I don't really know what you are referring to as "the gaming community". It doesn't actually exist.

Quote from: Iain Baker
Perhaps I had better explain some of the background to this. Firstly, I am not an SJW, far from it in most regards. However much of the videogame press is dominated by a leftist agenda, as has been correctly pointed out in some of the comments. Therefore, to stand a chance of making it in the video game journalism industry (in its current state at least) will require me to swallow my pride, ‘bend the knee’ and give them what they want.

Honestly, I don't think you're going to get far if you adopt such an attitude. As people from the "leftist agenda" (ugh, it's actually just people who enjoy video games criticism in all its aspects) have already pointed out, you don't really seem to understand the subject you're talking about to begin with. Please just be honest first, the rest comes after.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 02:32:04 pm
Quote
@Spoon. Firstly, there is no need to be so rude. I will be refuting some of your comments, and you will note that I will be remaining polite and respectful throughout.
You do you. You can't tell me what I will or will not make note of, however.

Quote
1)   Regarding Golden Axe. If you look under the image of the box art I have clearly written “Granted, Ax Battler’s posing pouch isn’t much better.” As in ‘he too is underdressed for going into combat’. The only character who is even halfway prepared is Gilius Thunderhead the dwarf.
Admitted, I mixed up Gillius and Ax's names. I could have sworn the dwarf wielding an Axe's name was Ax Battler. And I read pouch as crouch for reason.
Regardless, I still stand by my points regarding Golden Axe and how it's just a bad example.

Quote
2)   You appear to refer to my daughter as ‘my son’, despite calling her a ‘she’ in the paragraph before. Therefore, your comments about an eight-year-old boy were a little off topic. For what it is worth, I agree that what an eight-year-old boy thinks of women in videogames is largely irrelevant. However, the views of an impressionable young girl are something as a father I have to take seriously.
Uugh, that's my bad again. I apologize. Because your article just made me feel a bit angry, I have not read all of it as well as I could have. I skimmed over it, read it that you have a daughter (of an undefined age) and a 8 year old son in addition to that. That's what I based my text on. I did not mean to mislabel your daughter as a boy for any kind of weird of antagonizing way, it was just bad reading on my part.

I don't really see how an 8 year old girl is any more or less impressionable than an 8 year old boy when it comes to this subject, though.
What you decide to actually show your young children is absolutely your call and responsibility, though. No argument there.

But nobody is walking "Into a fandom" here lorric, this critique comes from within the fandom.
Talking about gamers as a big global thing, and games as one big fandom doesn't really work, I think.
Edit: I know that's also exactly what you've been saying, but I started typing this post and like a gazillion more replies happened in the meantime.

Like for example, I (like many here) am a gamer. But I don't generally play racing games, they are as far as it concerns me, in a completely seperate fandom.
If I go onto the internet and post some dumb article or make some stupid post about how racing games are truly a blight upon the industry, for they promote hazardous driving and encourage using vehicles that are bad for the environment or some nonsense like that. I don't think it's a stretch to say that I would be walking "into a fandom" here to tell them they should feel bad.
Or something.
I don't really know where I'm going with this or what point I'm trying to make tbh.
But there it is.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 02:34:08 pm
Right, you end up kinda adding to my point: Lorric talks about "Serving the gaming community" as if it's this one big fandom, which is something I fundementally disagree with in part becuase of the reasons you've just outlined.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 02:34:50 pm
Right, you end up kinda adding to my point: Lorric talks about "Serving the gaming community" as if it's this one big fandom, which is something I fundementally disagree with in part becuase of the reasons you've just outlined.
To add to my edit I just made:
Yes.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 02:35:24 pm
Okay, so I read your big post Iain. If you're just doing it to make money, I can respect that considerably more than if you hold those views yourself. But in your OP you presented it as if it was something to be proud of and in our interests to read. So which is it?

I wonder if you can at least try to put out content you think gamers woukd be interested to read rather than the garbage what is currently being churned out. Pour your passion into something and see if it gets any takers. This article will only hinder you trying to work for somewhere like exclusivelygames, as that is exactly the reason why it was created, articles like that.

It's possible to talk about this stuff without pissing people off and even having them like it. Check out the likes to dislikes ratio on this:

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 02:37:41 pm
Right, you end up kinda adding to my point: Lorric talks about "Serving the gaming community" as if it's this one big fandom, which is something I fundementally disagree with in part becuase of the reasons you've just outlined.
You're posting in a gaming community right now. And even within this place, people have different views. I don't mean it as one big fandom, but we do have that one thing in common: we love video games. In this case, Freespace is what brought us here.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 02:40:58 pm
You're posting in a gaming community right now. And even within this place, people have different views. I don't mean it as one big fandom, but we do have that one thing in common: we love video games.

But so does the entire world Lorric. It doesn't mean anything. It's certainly not worth any grandstanding.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 02:43:46 pm
I mean, look at this guy!
All this stuff about "The Gamers!"
It's actually my go to whenever someone starts celebrating the vacuousness of places like "exclusivelygames" tbh
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 02:45:12 pm
You're posting in a gaming community right now. And even within this place, people have different views. I don't mean it as one big fandom, but we do have that one thing in common: we love video games.

But so does the entire world Lorric. It doesn't mean anything. It's certainly not worth any grandstanding.
Actually, plenty of the World thinks games are **** and / or gamers are losers and virgins.

I do not understand what part of this you're not getting.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 09, 2019, 02:47:11 pm
How's what you are saying any different from the usual "Us Vs Them" political bull****?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 02:48:23 pm
I'm sorry but you've just lost me. I don't understand why our conversation is going the way it is.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 02:55:53 pm
Quote
The editor of Coin Drop was presumably happy with it or he wouldn’t have put it up, and the fact that there are so many similar articles in the mainstream video game press suggests I am not the only one who thinks this.
I personally feel the 'mainstream video game press' actually has done a very poor job of representing gamers with their views. Sometimes even going so far as to defend predatory practices like lootboxes. I personally have just switched to watching a few select youtube channels for gaming news because the 'mainstream' feels very disconnected with its audience.

Quote
Perhaps I had better explain some of the background to this. Firstly, I am not an SJW, far from it in most regards. However much of the videogame press is dominated by a leftist agenda, as has been correctly pointed out in some of the comments. Therefore, to stand a chance of making it in the video game journalism industry (in its current state at least) will require me to swallow my pride, ‘bend the knee’ and give them what they want.

I should stress that Coindrop.com are NOT dominated by a leftist agenda which is exactly why I have joined them. I am hoping that sites such as coin drop, the in development exclusivelygames.com and even my own Nomad’s Reviews site – which is strictly a-political BTW – will help to change the state of video game journalism in the future. But for now, I have to be realistic and hedge my bets.

So why do I want to become a video game journo you may ask?
The simple answer is Illness. About ten years ago I was hospitalised with a condition which has never really improved, and is never likely to. I tried to hold down my career in local government but the unpredictable nature of the condition (almost normal one hour, incapacitated the next, then perhaps back to normal for a bit) made this a losing battle.

I eventually had to concede defeat and accept that I would have to fit any future career around my condition, instead of trying to work my condition around my career.
Unfortunately, who I am today is pretty far removed from the 20 something who spent his weekends tabbing around the Brecon beacons with a light machine gun carrying kit that weighed almost as much as he did. Once on a badly sprained ankle, and then got his jaw broken a few weeks later in Sparring but got up and carried on fighting.
Sorry to hear about your illness. That sucks.

I just don't think that 'bending the knee' just to get a games journalist writing job is terribly commendable, or as Joshua already said, an attitude that will get you very far. Nobody is going to want to read your articles if you're just writing them to fit in the frame that some vaguely defined leftist editor wants to see. The comments here and on the site itself sure don't seem to appreciate the tone a lot.

Quote
The genesis of this article in particular can be traced to the summer of last year. My ex bought a Nintendo Switch and Ultra Street Fighter 2 to play on it. This she showed to our daughter. Personally, I would not have done so until she was a little older, but I was not there, nor was I consulted on the matter.
I should point out that my daughter is Autistic, like pretty much everyone in our family unit – myself included - and as such she develops very strong obsessions about things.

Before Street Fighter it was Mario. Now it has moved onto Sonic, but for a while Street Fighter was all she would talk about. I will be honest, it was a nice change from My Little Pony and the like, as it was something we could enjoy together and bond over. If her mother had already shown it to her then there was no point trying to hide it now, so I embraced it.

All was well until the subject of Halloween came up in conversation, and she said she wanted to go trick-or-treating dressed up as either Cammy or R Mika. I tried to steer the conversation away from these characters without drawing attention as to why it wouldn’t be a good idea to dress as them. “How about Princess Peach instead” I suggested “It will be cold in November and Cammy’s outfit would be very chilly.” That worked for a while, + 10 parenting points

Since she is gifted and talented it didn’t take her long to figure out the real reason, after which she started to look at female characters in games with a new perspective, and a critical eye. She watches lots of video game related YouTube videos such as this one https://youtu.be/L14gL77kgCs which drew her attention to Rouge the Bat, and her criticisms regarding her portrayal. Is she simply parroting what was said on this video? Possibly. If she is, then it highlights just how impressionable young minds can be.

The message she sent me recently is all the validation I need: “I like your article because it is encouraging kids to maybe not play as these characters you mentioned.” (Followed by a gif cartoon of a dancing sombrero wearing cat – she is eight after all )
I mean, that's nice and all. That's parenting and all that.
But your impressionable daughter is not really an concern to the millions of adult gamers out there.

(I had to remove the smilies because for some reason the forum thought the text body was empty and would refuse to let me review the post while they were in there, weird)
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: The E on January 09, 2019, 03:18:45 pm
I should stress that Coindrop.com are NOT dominated by a leftist agenda which is exactly why I have joined them. I am hoping that sites such as coin drop, the in development exclusivelygames.com and even my own Nomad’s Reviews site – which is strictly a-political BTW – will help to change the state of video game journalism in the future. But for now, I have to be realistic and hedge my bets.

"strictly a-political", eh?

I wonder, what does that mean? Which topics are taboo on your site?

Can you do an apolitical review of a game like Cyberpunk 2077, which from its foundational material to its core themes is as political as they come?
Can you do an apolitical review of a game, any game?
Can you talk about the games industry and its monetization practices without going into the morality (or lack thereof) of the various models?
Can you talk about developers and their attitudes towards their employees or their customers without getting political?

Or does it just mean that you're not going to talk about "SJW" things, like how minority or female characters are represented in a game, or how a game deals with LGBTQ themes?

Personally, I think that "bending the knee" to some perceived form of orthodoxy is cowardice, of a sort. You don't need to virtue signal that you're part of the woke set; if you're not actually part of that group, articles like the one you wrote (i.e. rather superficial and years behind what the current state of the discussion actually is) are the result. They're sub-par work; you can do better by talking about topics you actually are passionate about. You may be out of line with what you think mainstream games journalism is, but I am given to understand that it is more important to have a defined position and a defined voice than it is to follow a trend, any trend.

Most games journalism isn't journalism. It's commentary and critique, and while that is a good and necessary part of writing about culture, it's mostly opinionating: As a result, "being unbiased" or trying to appear so is actually a hindrance and makes most of what you want to do utterly impossible. Consider this: The article you wrote here is one pretty much anyone could've written in the past few years. There's nothing really original about it, and as you've explained here, is actually misleading when it comes to figuring out who you as a writer are. You can dislike people like Jason Schreier or Patrick Klepek or Quintin Smith or John Walker or Leigh Alexander for their "political" opinions all you want, but these are all people who have sharply defined personas that come through in their writing, in the things they criticize and praise in any topic they comment on. They have, for lack of a better term, a brand; you don't, and you have a need to establish one.
(BTW, if you want examples of good games journalism-that-is-actually-journalism: Kotaku's series on Star Citizen is a prime example of such).

Quote
The editor of Coin Drop was presumably happy with it or he wouldn’t have put it up, and the fact that there are so many similar articles in the mainstream video game press suggests I am not the only one who thinks this.

Speaking of that site: Why are you uncredited there? As a journalist trying to establish a career, I'm not sure writing for an outlet that publishes your work under the "coindropcrew" byline is a good starting point. You need exposure (also money, of course, I do hope they're paying you); this isn't going to give you any.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Goober5000 on January 09, 2019, 04:35:33 pm
It's been requested that this thread be moved to Political Discussion.  Unfortunately this pretty squarely has a foot in both Gaming and Politics and a good case can be made for putting it in either place.  In deference to Iain Baker I'm going to leave it where it is unless another mod disagrees.

I don't want to see Gaming Discussion filled with political disagreements any more than the post reporter does, but this is only one thread.  At the same time, a lot of this material was extensively hashed out back in 2014 with GamerGate and its aftermath, so like others have said, this article is hardly breaking any new ground.

Most gamers want to be left alone to enjoy the games they like to enjoy, without interference from busybodies.  This was true of Jack Thompson in the 2000's and it's still true of Anita Sarkeesian in the 2010's.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 09, 2019, 04:54:44 pm
Okay, so I read your big post Iain. If you're just doing it to make money, I can respect that considerably more than if you hold those views yourself. But in your OP you presented it as if it was something to be proud of and in our interests to read. So which is it?

I wonder if you can at least try to put out content you think gamers woukd be interested to read rather than the garbage what is currently being churned out. Pour your passion into something and see if it gets any takers. This article will only hinder you trying to work for somewhere like exclusivelygames, as that is exactly the reason why it was created, articles like that.

It's possible to talk about this stuff without pissing people off and even having them like it. Check out the likes to dislikes ratio on this:


I was going to include this video actually, but I couldn't find a version that had a high enough resolution.

With regards to my actual position on the topic vs the money aspect - it is a little of both.

If I wanted to go Full Anita Sarkeesian on it I could easily have done so to score far more 'woke points'. I could have gone on about 'male gaze', 'presumed straight white male player' 'objectification' or how in some regions Tyris Flare's bikini is more of a G-String. I could have said no female characters in games should ever be sexualized, or ever show a bit of skin.

But unlike her I have a more balanced view on it, so I said it honestly as I saw it. Most of the points I was making were actually about the impracticality of the garments in an objective sense. I did point out at the start the sexualised and skimpily dressed characters are perfectly fine in the right context.

I think I underestimated just how much of a gut reaction people would have with this. As far as I can tell, I did not actually call out or shame anyone for liking portrayals like this, and I never would - each to their own and all that. But perhaps it didn't come across the way I intended, in which case it is on me and I apologise.

As I stated, I am mildly autistic myself, so tend to view everything in a logical and dispassionate way. I often do not 'get' how people can get so worked up over something, take things personally which are not personal, or why they read more into something than what has actually been said.

I think I will chalk this one up to experience and avoid any potentially emotive topics for a bit.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 09, 2019, 05:10:02 pm
Yes it's weird, I could not find that video even with a perfect search for it, only uploads by others. It isn't unlisted. I was able to find it within a playlist.

I guess there's nothing more to say then. No hard feelings. :)
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Assassin714 on January 09, 2019, 05:16:01 pm
I think people get a bit too defensive when aspects like this of games are criticized. They act like people are trying to censor them and shut them down instead of just expressing their own views.

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 09, 2019, 05:19:04 pm
I should stress that Coindrop.com are NOT dominated by a leftist agenda which is exactly why I have joined them. I am hoping that sites such as coin drop, the in development exclusivelygames.com and even my own Nomad’s Reviews site – which is strictly a-political BTW – will help to change the state of video game journalism in the future. But for now, I have to be realistic and hedge my bets.

"strictly a-political", eh?

I wonder, what does that mean? Which topics are taboo on your site?

Can you do an apolitical review of a game like Cyberpunk 2077, which from its foundational material to its core themes is as political as they come?
Can you do an apolitical review of a game, any game?
Can you talk about the games industry and its monetization practices without going into the morality (or lack thereof) of the various models?
Can you talk about developers and their attitudes towards their employees or their customers without getting political?

Or does it just mean that you're not going to talk about "SJW" things, like how minority or female characters are represented in a game, or how a game deals with LGBTQ themes?


All good points. Most of the video game related content on there at the moment is about video game mechanics and the history of video games from the early days up to the present day. (Or at least it will be when the history of video games series gets finished - I keep getting side tracked - my bad) These topics are pretty much a-political by default since they are factual. It could be argued that how some mechanics are implemented in game could be political, but that is not something I touch on.

Feel free to take a look for yourself. All feedback - including constructive criticism - is very much welcome. https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/
 (https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/)

The article I posted here was my first 'op-ed' piece. Considering the severity of the unexpected backlash it will probably be my last op-ed for quite some time. I think I will stick to writing the factual stuff I am best at. 
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: MP-Ryan on January 09, 2019, 05:47:39 pm
Nah, I'm pretty on-base.

I'm so glad I wrote a nuanced, contextual reply to your post and explained number of points of the argument that you appear to be missing in your drive to claim that article's like Iain's are useless only to get this pointless response.

Come on Spoon, if you can't discuss in good faith, then don't bother discussing it at all.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 09, 2019, 06:54:22 pm
Nah, I'm pretty on-base.

I'm so glad I wrote a nuanced, contextual reply to your post and explained number of points of the argument that you appear to be missing in your drive to claim that article's like Iain's are useless only to get this pointless response.

Come on Spoon, if you can't discuss in good faith, then don't bother discussing it at all.
I didn't ask you to write a long post, though. I'm not exactly under any obligation to reply to you. I didn't bother replying to you because as I said before:
Quote
That's not a good point to start these kind of discussions from.
that applies both to the article and my first post telling Iain how much I didn't like his article.

I'm just not terribly interested in having some long winded discussion about this subject with you, that's not why I made my initial post. It's highly unlikely that you're going to tell me anything I don't already know and I don't expect I'm going to convince you about anything either.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Snarks on January 09, 2019, 10:25:43 pm
I've never been particularly bothered by a lot of the serialization of female characters in games, since it's pretty easy to set the distinction of it being fantasy. Having been a teenage male at some point, that kind of artwork does draw attention, and I'm sure this has an impact on the macro scale when it comes to sales. That said, it is incredibly refreshing when a universe incorporates its character art in a coherent manner with the overall work. A game that tries to sell itself as being "realistic" with everyone wearing proper armor including the women really helps build immersion. Miranda from ME2 is a decent example of this broke with the established context of the universe, but other characters in the cast also broke this rule. But this idea goes both ways. If I'm playing something like Conan Exiles or other games inspired by a particular tone and art style, then I do expect to see both scantily clad women and men. Loin cloth and bikini armor is part of the overall feel there. Games that drop in a scantily clad woman while everything else (including the inherent fiction/fantastical elements) acts in contrast to it definitely cheapens the experience for me. Small exceptions are fine if it helps convey additional information. For instance, important Space Marines in Warhammer 40k don't wear helmets because seeing their facial expressions gives an additional emotional tone to the universe. If all Space Marines wore helmets, it would mute a lot of the raw emotions that the universe wants us to see.

But as E noted, more importantly is how the female characters are portrayed by writers, by how they conduct themselves in the greater narrative. The Witcher 3 is my personal favorite for creating rich and complex female characters that aren't defined solely by their gender. Characters like Keira, Triss, Ciri, Yennifer, and Philippa have strengths, flaws, and flaws that conditionally are strengths and vice versa. The Witcher 3 also doesn't drop or hide sexism (something which I feel Bioware often does). It addresses the notion that double standards do exist and gives us a convincing universe where women both benefit and suffer from the inherent sexism of its world, and by doing so, creates fascinating and nuanced narrative that can feel both natural and fantastical.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: MP-Ryan on January 10, 2019, 01:30:41 am
I'm not exactly under any obligation to reply to you. I didn't bother replying to you

Ah, but you did reply to me.  If you don't want to discuss it fine - then don't reply.  Don't give the discussion some utterly pointless sarcastic **** that contributes nothing to the actual discussion going on except extra scrolling space, especially if you're going to continue to double-down on arguments you've already made, which you've continued to do on this page, that were addressed earlier.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: The E on January 10, 2019, 03:03:47 am
All good points. Most of the video game related content on there at the moment is about video game mechanics and the history of video games from the early days up to the present day. (Or at least it will be when the history of video games series gets finished - I keep getting side tracked - my bad) These topics are pretty much a-political by default since they are factual. It could be argued that how some mechanics are implemented in game could be political, but that is not something I touch on.

Feel free to take a look for yourself. All feedback - including constructive criticism - is very much welcome. https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/
 (https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/)

Again, what does "political" mean, in this context?

My main hangup here is that you're setting up a false dichotomy where "political" and "factual" are at opposites. It is impossible (IMHO) to discuss pretty much anything in games in a useful way without veering away from the strictly factual.
As an illustration for this point, see Jim Sterling's 100% Objective Review of Final Fantasy 13 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1BiLrOGfpM). In it, Sterling lists a number of objectively true facts about the game -- but since he is, he can't tell you whether or not the game is actually good.

In your mission statement, you write:
Quote
Nomad’s Reviews is – and will remain - strictly a-political, a rarity it seems in today’s politically charged climate.

I aim for journalistic integrity. Therefore, all articles are based on facts and are free from any ‘agenda’.

You shouldn't (again, IMHO) make statements like "free from any agenda", because it's demonstrably false. You have an agenda, you have an intent in writing these articles, there are messages you want to promote and messages you don't, and it is more useful to me as a reader to know from the outset what your agenda is than to have to figure it out by reading all of your articles to get a feel for what your biases are.
Secondly, even when writing about purely factual matters, you are making editorial decisions: There will be facts you're going to decide to leave out to write out of your articles for any number of reasons, and every time you do that, you are making "political" statements.

Integrity and accountability are the cornerstones of good journalism. Adhering to them means being open about your biases and preferences; not to hide them under a veneer of factuality or to pretend that they do not exist in your writing.

Quote
The article I posted here was my first 'op-ed' piece. Considering the severity of the unexpected backlash it will probably be my last op-ed for quite some time. I think I will stick to writing the factual stuff I am best at. 

I don't think you should. Instead, you should write more of them: On subjects that you do feel passionate about, that you do have researched to a fare-thee-well. You had a good entry point to this topic via your daughter and her and your experiences. With a bit more work put into it in terms of researching what the state of the discourse is, what the state of the industry is in this regard, it could have been a better article. The way to become a better writer, after all, is to write more, to look at the reception your pieces get and figure out what to take away from it, and in this case, what you should take away from it isn't "leave op-ed writing to others" but rather "when writing an op-ed, try to get a better sense of what the discussion actually is, and figure out what my place in it should be".
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 10, 2019, 06:33:41 am
All good points. Most of the video game related content on there at the moment is about video game mechanics and the history of video games from the early days up to the present day. (Or at least it will be when the history of video games series gets finished - I keep getting side tracked - my bad) These topics are pretty much a-political by default since they are factual. It could be argued that how some mechanics are implemented in game could be political, but that is not something I touch on.

Feel free to take a look for yourself. All feedback - including constructive criticism - is very much welcome. https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/
 (https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/)



Again, what does "political" mean, in this context?

My main hangup here is that you're setting up a false dichotomy where "political" and "factual" are at opposites. It is impossible (IMHO) to discuss pretty much anything in games in a useful way without veering away from the strictly factual.
As an illustration for this point, see Jim Sterling's 100% Objective Review of Final Fantasy 13 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1BiLrOGfpM). In it, Sterling lists a number of objectively true facts about the game -- but since he is, he can't tell you whether or not the game is actually good.

In your mission statement, you write:
Quote
Nomad’s Reviews is – and will remain - strictly a-political, a rarity it seems in today’s politically charged climate.

I aim for journalistic integrity. Therefore, all articles are based on facts and are free from any ‘agenda’.

You shouldn't (again, IMHO) make statements like "free from any agenda", because it's demonstrably false. You have an agenda, you have an intent in writing these articles, there are messages you want to promote and messages you don't, and it is more useful to me as a reader to know from the outset what your agenda is than to have to figure it out by reading all of your articles to get a feel for what your biases are.
Secondly, even when writing about purely factual matters, you are making editorial decisions: There will be facts you're going to decide to leave out to write out of your articles for any number of reasons, and every time you do that, you are making "political" statements.

Integrity and accountability are the cornerstones of good journalism. Adhering to them means being open about your biases and preferences; not to hide them under a veneer of factuality or to pretend that they do not exist in your writing.

Quote
The article I posted here was my first 'op-ed' piece. Considering the severity of the unexpected backlash it will probably be my last op-ed for quite some time. I think I will stick to writing the factual stuff I am best at. 

I don't think you should. Instead, you should write more of them: On subjects that you do feel passionate about, that you do have researched to a fare-thee-well. You had a good entry point to this topic via your daughter and her and your experiences. With a bit more work put into it in terms of researching what the state of the discourse is, what the state of the industry is in this regard, it could have been a better article. The way to become a better writer, after all, is to write more, to look at the reception your pieces get and figure out what to take away from it, and in this case, what you should take away from it isn't "leave op-ed writing to others" but rather "when writing an op-ed, try to get a better sense of what the discussion actually is, and figure out what my place in it should be".

Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated. I have looked at the about page again and made a few adjustments. Please take a quick look and let me know what you think: https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/about  (https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/about)

Loved the video BTW :-) With regards to being a-political. It can be done - even in a highly politicised arena - by sticking to the facts as much as possible.

A very good example of this is https://www.youtube.com/user/ForgottenWeapons (https://www.youtube.com/user/ForgottenWeapons) He has created one of the most highly respected gun channels on the internet, and remains a-political throughout. He doesn't go down the rabbit hole of 2nd Amendment issues, gun control, bump-stocks etc. that so many other gun channels do. This is precisely why I watch him as opposed most of the others. He gives his thoughts on different weapons, ammo etc. of course, which are good for X, which are bad for Y etc. - but he does so in an objective way. There are things that will make a weapon objectively good or objectively bad, and the same can be said with video games. Aliens Colonial Marines was an objectively bad game due to its AI system being broken due to a typo in its code. (Which a modder fixed apparently - I will get around to trying it one day.) So that is what I am aiming for.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 06:44:27 am
Thing is, games aren't guns. They aren't machines made for a particular purpose, they are works of art. If you're going to stick to the entirely mechanical parts of games you're missing out on a lot of stuff! How can you talk about Wings of Dawn or Blue Planet without talking about these mods's respective storylines and aesthetic? How can you talk about Overwatch without its characterization? Games like Bioshock, Far Cry and Saint's Row bring up politics more or less constantly, they are inherently political works. If you don't want to talk about any of that, you'd be doing all these games a great disservice IMO.

And mind you, Forgotten Weapons actually does touch upon politics as guns are also reflective of the history and political situation of the country they were built in. It's even reviewed a gun that was made as a political statement!
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 10, 2019, 07:22:07 am
The only way to really talk about games apolitically is to only talk about games-as-toys and games-as-sport. And you really can't get very far with that. As soon as you start talking about games as art you're going to get political because art is inherently political. It might not be political in the very narrow space of "current US political hot topics" but it's still political.

You can talk about guns "apolitically" because guns aren't political. All the politics surrounding guns are tangential to the tools themselves. You can't do that with 'art' because politics aren't tangential here.

If you insist on games being apolitical then you're basically saying that games shouldn't make any statements aside from those so completely uncontroversial that they don't ever need to be made. Basically, toys for adults, press some buttons to "have fun" and turn your brain off. Which is fine sometimes but if all games were like that hey wouldn't warrant all that much discussion.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 07:32:17 am
Ah, but you did reply to me.  If you don't want to discuss it fine - then don't reply.  Don't give the discussion some utterly pointless sarcastic **** that contributes nothing to the actual discussion going on except extra scrolling space, especially if you're going to continue to double-down on arguments you've already made, which you've continued to do on this page, that were addressed earlier.
What is it with people trying to tell me what I can and cannot do in this thread?
I'll do whatever I want, Ryan. Stay salty.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Colonol Dekker on January 10, 2019, 07:52:22 am
Spoon.   I'm telling you to do whatever you want.    Haha,  your move now ;)


-  quick note, I bloody love cammy.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 07:58:08 am
Spoon.   I'm telling you to do whatever you want.    Haha,  your move now ;)


-  quick note, I bloody love cammy.
Give me your postal adress, I swear on me mom I'm going to send you a very long complaint letter on why you cannot tell me what I can do!  :mad:
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Colonol Dekker on January 10, 2019, 08:01:32 am
You can do whatever you want to  ;7
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 10, 2019, 08:45:01 am
I should clarify. I said Nomad's Reviews will stay a-political since it is right there in its mission statement. I prefer to remain a-political - or at the very least keep clear of the highly controversial subjects. Since I own the site I can keep it that way.

Take a look at this post to see the sort of content I like to create: https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/blog/terrifying-insecurity-how-developers-use-mechanics-to-make-games-consistently-scary (https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/blog/terrifying-insecurity-how-developers-use-mechanics-to-make-games-consistently-scary)

NB - I didn't say I would always be a-political however. How politicised my writing will be for other sites and publications will be up to the editor of the publication / site in question at the time. Being a freelancer means sometimes having to write about things you would prefer not to. Just like any job, there are parts you will like and parts that you will not. There will be days you may have to do things you do not personally approve of, but being a professional who is being paid to do it you just get on with it.

hope that clears things up a tad :-)

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: 666maslo666 on January 10, 2019, 09:33:52 am
Portraying women as oversexualized in games that otherwise aim for realism or consistency can be out of place. This is a very valid point.

But there is also a lot of prudish nonsense in the article otherwise.

1. There is nothing wrong with sexual objectification per se. Indeed, it is much better to be objectified than to not be desired. Women are the "privileged" gender in this aspect. Objectification can lead to some negative things, but as a whole, it is very much what is called a "first world problem".

2. Your kid will not be harmed by seeing nudity or mild sexual content. It is a myth and it just does not happen in real world. And worrying about sexual content while the kid plays a violent video game is doubly ridiculous (note link between violent video games and real world violence is questionable at best, too).

At least the author admits to being a prude right at the beginning..
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Det. Bullock on January 10, 2019, 10:27:00 am
Portraying women as oversexualized in games that otherwise aim for realism or consistency can be out of place. This is a very valid point.

But there is also a lot of prudish nonsense in the article otherwise.

1. There is nothing wrong with sexual objectification per se. Indeed, it is much better to be objectified than to not be desired. Women are the "privileged" gender in this aspect. Objectification can lead to some negative things, but as a whole, it is very much what is called a "first world problem".

2. Your kid will not be harmed by seeing nudity or mild sexual content. It is a myth and it just does not happen in real world. And worrying about sexual content while the kid plays a violent video game is doubly ridiculous (note link between violent video games and real world violence is questionable at best, too).

At least the author admits to being a prude right at the beginning..

Keep in mind that games have this problem tenfold compared to other media, only comics come somewhat close and in that case it's mostly superheroes. It's not even just about realism per se, there are plenty of unrealistic games where that kind of objectification feels very out of place and I've always found weird that stuff that would normally relegated to a 70s sex comedy is the norm in games across multiple tones and genres.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 11:03:43 am
Take a look at this post to see the sort of content I like to create: https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/blog/terrifying-insecurity-how-developers-use-mechanics-to-make-games-consistently-scary (https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/blog/terrifying-insecurity-how-developers-use-mechanics-to-make-games-consistently-scary)

Empowerment itself is a political term (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empowerment).

Quote from: Wikipedia
The term empowerment originates from American community psychology and is associated with the social scientist Julian Rappaport. However, the roots of empowerment theory extend further into history and are linked to Marxist sociological theory. These sociological ideas have continued to be developed and refined through Neo-Marxist Theory (also known as Critical Theory).

By bringing in these terms, you are invariably bringing politics into games - or more appropriately, discussing the politics of the games you are discussing becuase what is politics if not the mechanics of power?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 10, 2019, 11:28:13 am
Keep in mind that games have this problem tenfold compared to other media, only comics come somewhat close and in that case it's mostly superheroes. It's not even just about realism per se, there are plenty of unrealistic games where that kind of objectification feels very out of place and I've always found weird that stuff that would normally relegated to a 70s sex comedy is the norm in games across multiple tones and genres.

Mind naming some examples from the last decade? Because seriously, it's nowhere near as much of a thing as you're implying it is. Fighting games mostly use the same ridiculously overstylizied and sexualised design that superhero comics do. And they do it for men too.

Because I really can't think of that many examples that would be out of place in a Michael Bay-style summer blockbuster. Or any anime, really. So this "problem" has almost nothing to do with games as a medium. I think it comes from this weird desperate need for your medium to be taken seriously by old people who don't care about it. That and people being massive prudes.

So every game needs to be super serious to compare with other "serious" media even though almost nothing you'd find in games would be uncommon in either summer blockbuster or schlocky B movies.
And some people seem to confuse "sexualised" with just plain "sexy". Because even if your character is sensibly dressed for the situation god forbid she's actually attractive because that's just objectification.

If you're constantly blasted by sexualisation in your games then stop playing cheap "double A" Japanese games because that's pretty much the only place where you'll find it nowadays. And that's thankfully not changing any time soon.

Unless you think showing some leg or midriff with clothes that normal people normally wear in the summer is "oversexualisation" and that we should all go back to the Victorian dress code.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 12:20:58 pm
Mind naming some examples from the last decade?

God of War even has a wiki page dedicated entirely to them! (https://godofwar.fandom.com/wiki/Topless_Women)
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 10, 2019, 12:25:45 pm
Considering the greek mythology influence... not at all out of place. God of War is also about excess, you murderate hundreds or even thousands in the most brutal ways possible. So doubly not out of place. And since GoW 3 released in 2010 it just barely qualifies as being "in the last decade". If this is the best you can do then it's really not a widespread "problem" with videogames.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 12:27:53 pm
Well I was going to bring up the Witcher sex cards but nevermind that.

Let's look at the box art for graphics cards. (https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwir-OmL6-PfAhVBJ1AKHV61AMQQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fdandouglas%2Fstatus%2F621643132325728256&psig=AOvVaw1JLIwmcMZ-BLxG8SiC-h0d&ust=1547231042051291) Just google "Ati Radeon Box". I mean look at it! (https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/INTYGXnCipB1vqBqidN5N_MHgEM=/0x0:2406x1236/1200x0/filters:focal(0x0:2406x1236):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/4039118/palit-x700-box.0.jpg)
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 10, 2019, 12:30:52 pm
Witcher sex cards are bad sexualisation and generally just stupid but considering that in the books the franchise is based on Geralt has random sex all the time it's not something videogame specific(well, the stupid card implementation is).

2 and 3 removed the stupid cards and replaced them with rendered sex scenes(which is even more sexual than naughty cards). And since the first one is from 2007 it doesn't qualify.

And you also link me a picture of the girl Ati used to use for their cards which isn't even all that sexual(it's a not very revealing paladin-style fantasy armour) and hasn't been used for like 10 years or more, ever since the AMD buyout.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 12:32:16 pm
Has it occured to you that we might be seeing less of these in the last decade because the depictions in The Witcher and God of War were widely critiqued?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 10, 2019, 12:36:41 pm
If you can't even come up with plenty of examples from the last decade then that conversation doesn't need to happen. "Oh 11 years ago The Witcher had stupid sex cards" says NOTHING about the current state of the industry and doesn't signify any sort of problem with sexualisation in videogames. It's history now.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 12:43:18 pm
I suppose this is what I get for playing racing and strategy games for these past 10 years :P

Haven't even played GTA V! How's that game doing?

Quote
And you also link me a picture of the girl Ati used to use for their cards which isn't even all that sexual(it's a not very revealing paladin-style fantasy armour)

I mean, I freely admit I'm always a few years behind on the mainstream but c'mon. Don't tell me that isn't blatant titillation.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Turambar on January 10, 2019, 12:56:39 pm
I never get mad at Witcher because of the massive progress they made in their maturity going from witcher 1 to witcher 2, and then from witcher 2 to witcher 3 they still improved but not as much as the 1->2 jump. 


I tried to get into the GTA V campaign again but i didn't feel like vicariously living through the devs midlife crisis again.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 01:00:17 pm
I just opened up the article again and I got reminded that Quiet exists and why did I do this

How did I even forget
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 10, 2019, 01:04:26 pm
I mean, I freely admit I'm always a few years behind on the mainstream but c'mon. Don't tell me that isn't blatant titillation.

If an attractive looking but otherwise almost entirely covered up woman is your definition of oversexualisation then you're on a level of prudeness that I will never be able to reach or understand.

Because you're pretty much saying "any attractiveness is bad, you can't use good looking people in your products or marketing, my prudeness can't handle it".
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 01:04:52 pm
I EVEN FORGOT THIS (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/12/hideo-kojima-metal-gear-action-figure-squeezable-breasts)

WHY DID I REMEMBER???
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 01:14:25 pm
If an attractive looking but otherwise almost entirely covered up woman is your definition of oversexualisation then you're on a level of prudeness that I will never be able to reach or understand.

Because you're pretty much saying "any attractiveness is bad, you can't use good looking people in your products or marketing, my prudeness can't handle it".

Yo, you're making some rather rude assumptions about what I do and don't enjoy.

But seriously, this isn't "Using a good looking person", it's pretty blatantly "Look at these beautifully rendered boobs (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CKCFIaFW8AA9_Ig.jpg)". It's the whole "Men buy graphics cards, men like boobs! Let's show some boobs!" shtick. For a tech product!

Consider why I'm complaining about this and not, say, how Melisandre uses her nudity in Game of Thrones.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 01:36:11 pm
Yo, you're making some rather rude assumptions about what I do and don't enjoy.

But seriously, this isn't "Using a good looking person", it's pretty blatantly "Look at these beautifully rendered boobs (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CKCFIaFW8AA9_Ig.jpg)". It's the whole "Men buy graphics cards, men like boobs! Let's show some boobs!" shtick. For a tech product!

Consider why I'm complaining about this and not, say, how Melisandre uses her nudity in Game of Thrones.
I uh... barely seen any boobs?  :confused:
If "look at beautifully rendered boobs" is supposedly the objective here, it's doing a poor job at it. There are much better poses and outfits to showcase beautifully rendered boobs. This really does not go beyond the level of "attractive lady poses with her back arched while holding some kind of energy sword"

I mean, if it was a mech of sorts, you could literally apply the same line of thought: "Men buy graphics cards, men like mechs! Let's show some mechs!"

Stop objectivation of mechs!

I EVEN FORGOT THIS (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/12/hideo-kojima-metal-gear-action-figure-squeezable-breasts)

WHY DID I REMEMBER???
Yooo, where can I buy this?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 10, 2019, 01:53:44 pm
You can complain about Quiet all you want(and people did) because MGS5 uses a really stupid justification for  her walking around half-naked. The fact that she's a pretty massive outlier(and that Kojima is... weird and doesn't really understand how human beings function) doesn't really imply some sort of industry-wide problem.

Sure, you have your lewd games. They're not hard to find but they're also not really the mainstream games most people play. But you and some others are making the argument that you can't play games because as soon as you start one up you're immediately blasted by out-of-place blatant oversexualisation and that's just not true. Just stay away from the very clearly marked anime or lewd games and you'll be totally fine barring some rare exceptions.

And really, Quiet, one of the worst recent examples isn't even that far off from what Megan Fox does in the early Transformers movies so the "videogames are the only medium where this happens" argument doesn't really hold up.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 02:13:09 pm
That's the thing though, you ask for examples but you just dismiss them as irrelevant as soon as they come up. Like, I freely admit that I don't play most mainstream games, so I couldn't tell you how, say, MOBAs are faring on that front, but don't go "Give me some examples from the last decade" and then shift the goalposts as they are brought up (or if you bring them up yourself, becuase anime doesn't count anymore for some reason?) to just dismiss the entire conversation. I still think it's a conversation worth having. In part because I would argue that having this conversation in the past has had positive results you see reflected in today's games. In part becuase...

...

Have we talked about Riot Games yet? We're not *nearly* there yet when it comes to the games industry treating women as human beings.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 10, 2019, 02:16:04 pm
Take a look at this post to see the sort of content I like to create: https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/blog/terrifying-insecurity-how-developers-use-mechanics-to-make-games-consistently-scary (https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/blog/terrifying-insecurity-how-developers-use-mechanics-to-make-games-consistently-scary)

Empowerment itself is a political term (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empowerment).

Quote from: Wikipedia
The term empowerment originates from American community psychology and is associated with the social scientist Julian Rappaport. However, the roots of empowerment theory extend further into history and are linked to Marxist sociological theory. These sociological ideas have continued to be developed and refined through Neo-Marxist Theory (also known as Critical Theory).


I was not aware of that. Thank you for pointing it out. It is a pretty common term tho so I don't think will it be seen as overly political, especially since I suspect most people are unaware of its origins. I am open to suggestions re alternative terms to use instead.

PS - you stated you re-read the article and then remembered about Quiet. Can I infer from this that you skimmed read through it first time around? I'm not criticising if you were I should stress, I am merely trying to gauge how closely people pay attention to things. For example - I would have thought the YouTube thumbnail of the shower scene would have been pretty difficult to miss, but perhaps I am wrong.

Judging by some of the comments on here - and other places - it appears many people did not read it carefully, merely skimming thorough it, making incorrect assumptions based on this skim, then making comments / attacks based on these incorrect assumptions. This is the polar opposite of how I go about reading something. I always read something very carefully, usually twice, and fact check everything. But then I'm an Aspie, it is what we do.

Perhaps I will need to adjust my future content to make it more 'skimable' for a general audience. Any advice re how to best do this would be gratefully received.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 02:22:19 pm
Have we talked about Riot Games yet? We're not *nearly* there yet when it comes to the games industry treating women as human beings.
What does this statement even mean?  :confused:

https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/game-info/champions/

Please, point me to the 5 female champions that oh so offend your sensibilities.

So far your entire line of thinking basically seems to boil down to "female character is attractive and/or shows a bit of skin = this is bad"
And I just don't follow it.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 10, 2019, 02:28:55 pm
You gave me 1 example from the last decade. one. The other was from a box that's like 18 years old, a game that's 11 years old, and an 8 year old game where it wasn't even out of place.

You're the one shifting the goalposts from "oversexualisation is everyhwere and it makes it harder to enjoy games" to "there are these anime games where lewdness exists and I'm never gonna play them anyway but somehow it affects me".

This type of **** is expected and is a part of the genre. Pretty much everyone knows this. You're not gonna enjoy these types of games where sexyness is half the point of their existence if you're not into that. If you don't want to play Senran Kagura just... don't? Play Dynasty Warriors instead if you want fantasy ninjas killing hordes of dudes in a total crazy history setting. If a game has an extra unlockable bikini costume and that's not your thing then just don't use it.

At this point you're not even arguing that oversexualisation is a problem in games, but rather that sexyness in games shouldn't exist and that games that use sexyness as their main selling point are the devil even if you're obviously never going to play them unless you specifically want sexyness.


As for Riot Games. I'm just going to assume you're referring to the workplace scandal that propped up some time ago and how according to an ex-employee a lot of the developers were actually super sexist all the time. Assuming that this is true it still doesn't really mean much in the context of actual games. CDPR overworked their staff in crunch time making The Witcher 3. And that's a pretty bad thing. But it doesn't detract one bit from the quality of the game on its own.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 02:51:33 pm
Take a look at this post to see the sort of content I like to create: https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/blog/terrifying-insecurity-how-developers-use-mechanics-to-make-games-consistently-scary (https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/blog/terrifying-insecurity-how-developers-use-mechanics-to-make-games-consistently-scary)

Empowerment itself is a political term (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empowerment).

Quote from: Wikipedia
The term empowerment originates from American community psychology and is associated with the social scientist Julian Rappaport. However, the roots of empowerment theory extend further into history and are linked to Marxist sociological theory. These sociological ideas have continued to be developed and refined through Neo-Marxist Theory (also known as Critical Theory).


I was not aware of that. Thank you for pointing it out. It is a pretty common term tho so I don't think will it be seen as overly political, especially since I suspect most people are unaware of its origins. I am open to suggestions re alternative terms to use instead.

PS - you stated you re-read the article and then remembered about Quiet. Can I infer from this that you skimmed read through it first time around? I'm not criticising if you were I should stress, I am merely trying to gauge how closely people pay attention to things. For example - I would have thought the YouTube thumbnail of the shower scene would have been pretty difficult to miss, but perhaps I am wrong.

I just forgot about it again, becuase I'm just a bit forgetful! Sorry. I skipped over the Quiet part in particular becuase I had already seen it and didn't particularely need to see it again. This is a thing of beauty though (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87YXRvfMDlM).

Quote
The other was from a box that's like 18 years old
Radeon 5000 series is from 2009 yo. The 6000 series is from 2010. I mean, they're old, but they're not *that old*.
I'm getting old

Quote from: FrikfGeek
You're the one shifting the goalposts from "oversexualisation is everyhwere and it makes it harder to enjoy games" to "there are these anime games where lewdness exists and I'm never gonna play them anyway but somehow it affects me".

Oh right. Sorry. I'm not trying to do that, you may be confusing me with others in this thread who have said similar things but not the things I personally think, and I didn't do anything to make clear that I wasn't those people.

Quote
At this point you're not even arguing that oversexualisation is a problem in games, but rather that sexyness in games shouldn't exist and that games that use sexyness as their main selling point are the devil even if you're obviously never going to play them unless you specifically want sexyness.

What!? My entire piont was that "there are examples of objectification of women in the video games industry in the last decade". I didn't say anything about how I feel sexyness should exist in games, that was other people. No wonder this conversation hasn't been going well, ugh... forums...

What does this statement even mean?  :confused:

It's rather tangential, but I refer to Riot's sexism issues internally (https://kotaku.com/inside-the-culture-of-sexism-at-riot-games-1828165483).
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 02:58:42 pm
It's rather tangential, but I refer to Riot's sexism issues internally (https://kotaku.com/inside-the-culture-of-sexism-at-riot-games-1828165483).
Yeah, that's rather tangential indeed. Because you just jumped from the subject of ficitonal depiction of women to 'issues that real life people experience on the workfloor' without any kind of clarificaiton.
It's also one of those things where (I assume) basically everyone here would go "well yeah, that's bad and ideally that shouldn't be happening in real life." so uh...

Quote
Judging by some of the comments on here - and other places - it appears many people did not read it carefully, merely skimming thorough it, making incorrect assumptions based on this skim, then making comments / attacks based on these incorrect assumptions. This is the polar opposite of how I go about reading something. I always read something very carefully, usually twice, and fact check everything. But then I'm an Aspie, it is what we do.

Perhaps I will need to adjust my future content to make it more 'skimable' for a general audience. Any advice re how to best do this would be gratefully received.
People skimmed over it because they did not think it was worth reading.
What you should do instead is write articles that provide good indepth and insightful views so people will want to take the time to read it.

Also, you don't represent every autist out there.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 10, 2019, 03:37:59 pm
Btw, the game industry doesn't need to treat women like human beings. Or men. Because they're not human beings, they're bundles of pixels. Exceptions would be if those bundles of pixels are representing real people. Otherwise, they can be whatever you want them to be.

When a game comes into my possession, it's mine. That whole game World and everything in it. It exists solely for my amusement. That's the difference between video games and everything else. It doesn't matter what you do, there is no crime, there is no victim, there is no harm.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Nightmare on January 10, 2019, 03:42:32 pm
Btw, the game industry doesn't need to treat women like human beings. Or men. Because they're not human beings, they're bundles of pixels. Exceptions would be if those bundles of pixels are representing real people. Otherwise, they can be whatever you want them to be.

When a game comes into my possession, it's mine. That whole game World and everything in it. It exists solely for my amusement. That's the difference between video games and everything else. It doesn't matter what you do, there is no crime, there is no victim, there is no harm.

Still there are some guys called politicians who think otherwise.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 04:35:52 pm
Have we talked about Riot Games yet? We're not *nearly* there yet when it comes to the games industry treating women as human beings.
What does this statement even mean?  :confused:

https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/game-info/champions/

Please, point me to the 5 female champions that oh so offend your sensibilities.

So far your entire line of thinking basically seems to boil down to "female character is attractive and/or shows a bit of skin = this is bad"
And I just don't follow it.

Actually you know, I think I can make a decent argument here, to hopefully clarify the mess that I've made.

Let's do take a look at the league of legends champions! I haven't actually done that. Never even played the game!
Here's Ahri (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Ahri_4.jpg)
Akali (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Akali_0.jpg)
Caitlyn (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Caitlyn_0.jpg)
Camille (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Camille_2.jpg)
Cassiopeia (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Cassiopeia_4.jpg)
Diana (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Diana_1.jpg)
Elise (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Elise_3.jpg)
Evelynn (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Evelynn_0.jpg)
Fiora (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Fiora_2.jpg)
Irelia (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Irelia_5.jpg)
Janna (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Janna_1.jpg)
... Okay I can't link them all! Let me take some random samples

Lux (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Lux_1.jpg)
Sivir (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Sivir_3.jpg)
Karma (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Karma_1.jpg)
Soraka (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Soraka_0.jpg)
... Lemme stop before I get to Z.

No wait let me look at Z just for th... Right. (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Zyra_4.jpg)

Okay yeah I can see why I personally have a problem with how these character designs are playing out. I didn't cherry pick these characters, I just went down the list until I got bored.

They're all... kinda the same? Same body shapes - the same stereotypical "sexy" body shape to boot. They all seem to like those rather impractical yet oh-so-sexy poses too, and they all seem to enjoy wearing the same sexy clothes too! If I didn't know any better, I'd say these were designed by the same dude catering to one particular fetish. I do know a bit better: It's probably three dudes doing that.

My problem here is not "All things that are sexy or show skin are bad"! It's that they're all the same in a rather stereotypical sexy way, in a way that, say, Overwatch's roster isn't. They aren't designed to be cool, strong, cute, wilful, aloof, or the team mom. They are all designed to be conventionally sexy as their first consideration.

It's why Overwatch's character designs get mentioned so much, even if they aren't actually all that revolutionary: It's a mainstream game stepping away from character design that is entirely by men for men*. And I personally think that the games industry is better of by not being by men for men.

* By which I mean cis, straight men who favour a certain kind of conventional attractiveness that is popular in the west but that's too long for a short quippy political statement.

Btw, the game industry doesn't need to treat women like human beings.

I just would really prefer it if they did.

Quote
Or men. Because they're not human beings, they're bundles of pixels. Exceptions would be if those bundles of pixels are representing real people. Otherwise, they can be whatever you want them to be.

When a game comes into my possession, it's mine. That whole game World and everything in it. It exists solely for my amusement. That's the difference between video games and everything else. It doesn't matter what you do, there is no crime, there is no victim, there is no harm.

I disagree. Games are art. Art is both a product of a culture and it in turn goes on to influence all sorts of cultures. Why shouldn't we give games the same treatment we do books or films?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 10, 2019, 04:44:39 pm
Games are games first and foremost, not art. But they can certainly be both, and some games are made with being art first and foremost in mind.

But those shots of the champions you put up. Those are works of art. Maybe you don't like them, but art is subjective and in the eye of the beholder.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 04:45:52 pm
Games are games first and foremost, not art. But they can certainly be both, and some games are made with being art first and foremost in mind.

Which means I get to critique them right? That's all I am doing here.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 10, 2019, 04:54:05 pm
Games are games first and foremost, not art. But they can certainly be both, and some games are made with being art first and foremost in mind.

Which means I get to critique them right? That's all I am doing here.
Sure, but it's when you say things are bad like they shouldn't be made and enjoyed rather than you personally don't like them.

Oh and you asked about films and books vs games, the former are made to be read and watched. You can't play them outside of a gamebook. You play a game, and that shifts the focus. Those champions, I don't play the game, but while you might be able to point to similarities in their appearance, I bet they play much more differently, and that is what matters the most, because we play games.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 05:00:11 pm
Games are games first and foremost, not art. But they can certainly be both, and some games are made with being art first and foremost in mind.

Which means I get to critique them right? That's all I am doing here.
Sure, but it's when you say things are bad like they shouldn't be made and enjoyed rather than you personally don't like them.

Oh, I do think they're bad and that they should be made less becuase I think bad things should be made less.

Why do you have a problem with that?

Quote
Oh and you asked about films and books vs games, the former are made to be read and watched. You can't play them outside of a gamebook. You play a game, and that shifts the focus. Those champions, I don't play the game, but while you might be able to point to similarities in their appearance, I bet they play much more differently, and that is what matters the most, because we play games.

Why should that impact my critique of character designs?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 10, 2019, 05:08:13 pm
Games are games first and foremost, not art. But they can certainly be both, and some games are made with being art first and foremost in mind.

Which means I get to critique them right? That's all I am doing here.
Sure, but it's when you say things are bad like they shouldn't be made and enjoyed rather than you personally don't like them.

Oh, I do think they're bad and that they should be made less becuase I think bad things should be made less.

Why do you have a problem with that?

Quote
Oh and you asked about films and books vs games, the former are made to be read and watched. You can't play them outside of a gamebook. You play a game, and that shifts the focus. Those champions, I don't play the game, but while you might be able to point to similarities in their appearance, I bet they play much more differently, and that is what matters the most, because we play games.

Why should that impact my critique of character designs?
Because you don't get to decide that. Things aren't bad because you alone say they are. We all as gamers decide with our wallets. A wide opinion that a game is bad will mean that game sells bad.

Don't you care how a character plays? Are you here to play or watch? You're going to judge an entire game based solely on the appearance of some female characters?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 05:19:32 pm
You're wrong Lorric. I do get to decide that. For myself.

I get to engage with the art: I don't just read books. I think about them. I talk about them. I don't just watch films, I also think about them and talk about them. I don't just play, read or watch games, I engage with games. I talk to other people about games. I listen to other people talking about games. I read things from people that talk about games. I watch people that play games. In this very thread I made a whimsical remark about a game to the author of that game, to indicate that I'm having fun with his game, in the hope of stimulating him to do more with said game (or other games). I've talked to an author about his book on this very forum. I modified games, and then shared my modifications with the world. They admittedly aren't very good.

Games are culture. Why shouldn't I interact with 'my' culture?

And why are you so reductive about this? Surely you can see that games are much, much more then just a monetary transaction? How do I "vote with my wallet" for mods? For speedrunners?

Quote
Don't you care how a character plays? Are you here to play or watch? You're going to judge an entire game based solely on the appearance of some female characters?

I don't care how LoL's characters play. I am here to watch LoL. I'm not judging an entire game solely on the apperance of it's female cast, I am only critiquing said cast because a person who I respect asked me to. All the other judgements I have about LoL have solely to do with its fanbase. Which is awful.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 05:28:16 pm
Actually you know, I think I can make a decent argument here, to hopefully clarify the mess that I've made.

Let's do take a look at the league of legends champions! I haven't actually done that. Never even played the game!
Here's Ahri (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Ahri_4.jpg)
Akali (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Akali_0.jpg)
Caitlyn (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Caitlyn_0.jpg)
Camille (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Camille_2.jpg)
Cassiopeia (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Cassiopeia_4.jpg)
Diana (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Diana_1.jpg)
Elise (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Elise_3.jpg)
Evelynn (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Evelynn_0.jpg)
Fiora (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Fiora_2.jpg)
Irelia (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Irelia_5.jpg)
Janna (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Janna_1.jpg)
... Okay I can't link them all! Let me take some random samples

Lux (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Lux_1.jpg)
Sivir (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Sivir_3.jpg)
Karma (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Karma_1.jpg)
Soraka (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Soraka_0.jpg)
... Lemme stop before I get to Z.

No wait let me look at Z just for th... Right. (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Zyra_4.jpg)

Okay yeah I can see why I personally have a problem with how these character designs are playing out. I didn't cherry pick these characters, I just went down the list until I got bored.
You did kind of cherry pick, though. Because you went through the list and specificially linked to character skin splash art that help reinforce your point :P
Irelia's (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Irelia_0.jpg) default splash art or this one (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Irelia_1.jpg) have a different feel to the one you linked, but hey.

That being pointed out...

They're all... kinda the same? Same body shapes - the same stereotypical "sexy" body shape to boot. They all seem to like those rather impractical yet oh-so-sexy poses too, and they all seem to enjoy wearing the same sexy clothes too!
That's a fair thing to make note of, sure.
I don't personally see the problem with it, though. The game has 103 million monthly active players, of which according to data from 2012, roughly 10% is female. I'm probably not alone thinking this.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say these were designed by the same dude catering to one particular fetish. I do know a bit better: It's probably three dudes doing that.
Pretty far off the mark it seems (https://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/3anig9/all_designers_and_their_champions_list/) I guess you didn't know better after all.

My problem here is not "All things that are sexy or show skin are bad"! It's that they're all the same in a rather stereotypical sexy way, in a way that, say, Overwatch's roster isn't. They aren't designed to be cool, strong, cute, wilful, aloof, or the team mom. They are all designed to be conventionally sexy as their first consideration.

It's why Overwatch's character designs get mentioned so much, even if they aren't actually all that revolutionary: It's a mainstream game stepping away from character design that is entirely by men for men*. And I personally think that the games industry is better of by not being by men for men.
Oh no, you are so right, overwatch females are totally not of the same rather stereotypical sexy type. (https://howla.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/girls_of_overwatch_by_snoopsahoy-da4p4m1.png)
Aside from the pink haired russian lady, who is big and buff, they're all pretty 'stereotypical' attractive ladies. (Mei is not particularly fat, she wears thick clothes). But league also has a big lady (https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Illaoi_0.jpg).
You seem to be missing the point why Overwatch's designs get mentioned so much. It's not because they are not sexy and attractive, but because they're diverse and multi ethnic. And considering the vast quantities of porn featuring overwatch characters out there, I'd say a significant portion of the internet seems to think they're quite sexy too.
And if we're not limiting ourselves to just the female characters, then league has got some pretty weird and diverse character designs too. But that's always seemingly conveniently ignored when there is whining about attractive character designs to do!  :p
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 05:37:52 pm
You're wrong Lorric. I do get to decide that. For myself.
It's true.

I don't care how LoL's characters play. I am here to watch LoL. I'm not judging an entire game solely on the apperance of it's female cast, I am only critiquing said cast because a person who I respect asked me to.
I feel like I may have been burning through any kind of respect you may have had for me at a rapid pace :p

All the other judgements I have about LoL have solely to do with its fanbase. Which is awful.
This is also true.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Lorric on January 10, 2019, 05:38:35 pm
You're wrong Lorric. I do get to decide that. For myself.

I get to engage with the art: I don't just read books. I think about them. I talk about them. I don't just watch films, I also think about them and talk about them. I don't just play, read or watch games, I engage with games. I talk to other people about games. I listen to other people talking about games. I read things from people that talk about games. I watch people that play games. In this very thread I made a whimsical remark about a game to the author of that game, to indicate that I'm having fun with his game, in the hope of stimulating him to do more with said game (or other games). I've talked to an author about his book on this very forum. I modified games, and then shared my modifications with the world. They admittedly aren't very good.

Games are culture. Why shouldn't I interact with 'my' culture?

And why are you so reductive about this? Surely you can see that games are much, much more then just a monetary transaction? How do I "vote with my wallet" for mods? For speedrunners?

Quote
Don't you care how a character plays? Are you here to play or watch? You're going to judge an entire game based solely on the appearance of some female characters?

I don't care how LoL's characters play. I am here to watch LoL. I'm not judging an entire game solely on the apperance of it's female cast, I am only critiquing said cast because a person who I respect asked me to.
Sure, for you. Not for all of us.

Sure, I do all that too. But a game isn't a game if you can't play it, you can't play a film or a book no matter how much you think and talk about it. And unless it's fan created, it's not getting made without money behind it. All other considerations are below these. Maybe not for you personally, but for a maker.

Alright, fair enough in this specific instance, but it's part of the wider discussion.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 06:48:11 pm
Mind you, I didn't say Overwatch's cast wasn't sexy or attractive, just that they aren't sexy in the way that pretty much all of LoL's women characters are put out to be. You can see that right? Overwatch's cast has grown considerably, including Ana and Moira (which that picture doesn't include YOU CHERRYPICKING MONSTER :P), but it has grown in a way that is distinctly different from LoL. It's approach is different from LoL. It's trying to appeal to a wider audience rather then...

Well, what is LoL's audience?

Dicks?

But you don't have to take my word for it, off course. As it turns out... (https://kotaku.com/league-of-legends-champ-designer-gives-some-real-talk-o-1774500376)
Quote from: champion designer Daniel Klein
    League has a less than perfect record objectifying lady champions. There’s nothing wrong with a champion putting her sexuality front and center if that’s what they’re about. MF and Ahri? Makes total sense.

    The problem isn’t that there were some objectified women, but that there was NOTHING ELSE (if not a child/yordle). Restricting body types is limiting to us as creators. We can only make the one type? Screw this.

    Our more recent ladies have been much more interesting. From Kalista’s monstrous looks to Reksai being an actual monster...From Illaoi’s badass broken-bones-teach-better-lessons-than-sermons looks to Lamb’s ethereal animal-like take on gentle death.

    Those takes not your cup of tea? Cool! We already have 33 sexualized women in the game (I went and counted). I’m certain we will make a sexy lady again in the future. She will own it, and it will make sense for her.

    Taliyah is a young girl struggling with an elemental power unlike anything anyone’s ever seen before. She’s a girl struggling with protecting her loved ones from an ancient power vs worrying that SHE will hurt them. She’s a girl coming of age in a time of strife centered on her homeland, and her journey is one of mastery over her power. Where in that does it say “and meanwhile I’m going to get sexy for my date at the Shurima social”?

    Look at how cohesive all of Taliyah is. Who she is, what she does, what she looks like...They make sense taken as a whole. Why does she look the way she looks? Because it MADE SENSE.

So it looks as if people at Riot actually agree with me about my character assessments!

Daniel Klein was fired from Riot Games in 2018. Oh well.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: MP-Ryan on January 10, 2019, 07:00:47 pm
Boy, people sure do seem to take critique of their favourite medium personally.  Which is why I'm re-posting the following:

The problem is not that female characters are scantily clad - the problem comes about when that clothing and other design choices' purpose is quite obviously objectification instead of a character feature.  And frankly, if some designers - I'm looking at the numerous questionable anime-style titles popping up on Steam here - want to build games essentially around objectification and that's clear up front, the fact that there's a market for it means they'll get made.  On the other hand, games that want to be recognized seriously for their storytelling as artistic works need to confront this historical issue because their audiences are a lot bigger and more diverse than the "we want to see tits and asses" crowd.

I think Iain's construction of the argument is somewhat clunky - with all respect - but his basic point that games can evolve and do better in the diversity of the manner women are presented is legitimate.  Hell, games could do much better in representing diversity generally - when was the last time you saw a game with an even moderately-overweight protagonist, male or female? And before anyone leaps in with an "oh, that's just an SJW argument," OUR world is made of up a diverse cast of people that do all kinds of amazing things - why would it be realistic to believe that such diversity would not be prevalent in a fictional world?

Spoon, Lorric, and a few others seem to be mistaking critique of the fact that games have a general historic habit of creating empty, scantily-clad female characters - or cheapening well written characters with ridiculous outfits and camera angles that simply are left without any sort of explanation - as an all out attack on their right to play games with empty, scantily-clad female characters.  Or well-designed, scantily-clad female characters for that matter.  Some of this seems to be backlash as a result of a belief that any critique of this nonsense is driven by prudishness.  Spoon seems to be on some crusade about people telling him what he can and cannot do (which, to be the bearer of bad news, is going to happen from time to time, but I don't actually see anyone, even Iain's original post, saying he cannot like the things being critiqued or ask for them to be made).

Which is all generally a pretty big over-sensitive mischaracterization of what's going on.

Games may and even should (in some cases) use nudity, sexuality, and attractive characters provided the character is well-written and their appearance is a part of the character.  Game designers can improve their craft by avoiding common lazy traps like objectification and titillation where the context does not make sense. This is a critique of games that aspire to be art on the level of literature, film, and other performing and visual arts - which, by the way, are routinely critiqued by their devoted followings on a daily basis too along these same themes.  If you guys want game makers to continue providing characters that are essentially computer-generated porn in games you want to play, there is certainly a market for that and a critique of games is not a call to ban that particular form of design.  What it is is a call for game designers - particularly serious game designers - to expand their portrayals of female characters beyond simplistic caricatures into fully-formed characters with depth.  These same critiques have appeared in for numerous other art forms through history, and judging from them I don't think you're at any risk of seeing your computer-generated eyecandy disappear.  Basically, I see a lot of petulant complaining that no one has a right to ban or decide what you want to see/play, when no one is actually talking about that kind of proposal at all.

(Post edited for some clarity).
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: -Joshua- on January 10, 2019, 07:07:16 pm
Sure, for you. Not for all of us.
Why do you need to reiterate that constantly? Sorry but this is getting a bit awkward now. My words are my words, you don't have to engage with them.

Quote
Sure, I do all that too. But a game isn't a game if you can't play it, you can't play a film or a book no matter how much you think and talk about it. And unless it's fan created, it's not getting made without money behind it. All other considerations are below these. Maybe not for you personally, but for a maker.

I think that's a very limited way of looking at a maker, and it's arguably a very limiting way of a maker to look at themselves, and I think that's a very reductive way of looking at yourself and the power you actually have as a person! It's a very materialist worldview (and thus very political), and I think it entirely ignores the website you are currently on: One which was made entirely possible by makers who aren't motivated by financial concerns. It ignores the vast swathes of free games out there, the creative stuff, the small stuff, the indie stuff, the open-source stuff. This stuff right here. If people voted for FS2 with their wallets, this would all be gone.

You'd destroy so much if you'd actually reduce all of gaming to glorified financial transactions.

Quote
Alright, fair enough in this specific instance, but it's part of the wider discussion.

Do you feel that wider discussion should be censured somehow? Not be held?
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 08:34:41 pm
Mind you, I didn't say Overwatch's cast wasn't sexy or attractive, just that they aren't sexy in the way that pretty much all of LoL's women characters are put out to be. You can see that right?
Yeah, I do, but all I've been arguing so far is that both cases are fine and as you no doubt saw for yourself when you went over the champion page earlier, they've also been adding a bunch of other more diverse characters too recently. Which is also fine.

Overwatch's cast has grown considerably, including Ana and Moira (which that picture doesn't include YOU CHERRYPICKING MONSTER :P),
Hey man, it was the first result on google :P

but it has grown in a way that is distinctly different from LoL.
There's also this thing I remember a dev saying how back in the early league days, they had so few polies to work with, in combination with the down view, that they had to exaggerate a lot of the body proportions on their ingame models. Which I think is a pretty valid point. It's a legacy that they have to carry with them into the present day and in my opinion they should just own that **** and make no excuses for it.

A few years later into the game's lifetime they added Sejuani (http://www.leaguesplash.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Sejuani-Classic-Ch.jpg) and then some time later realized that a lady who spends all of her days in a very frigid climate should probably be dressed for the occasion. (https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1215/1*dO9RdG76WwzlAt2XZFqxKw.jpeg)
So yeah lawl, they had some dumb design choices in the past and they've done a lot of character reworks of characters that were just silly. (Example: Sion)

It's approach is different from LoL. It's trying to appeal to a wider audience rather then...

Well, what is LoL's audience?

Dicks?
Ah yes, the mystical wider audience. Whatever that is exactly.  :p
LoL seems to have reached an overall wider audience than Overwatch, though. With 103 players of which 10%-10.3 million is estimated to be female vs Overwatch's estimated 40 million players of which 16%-6.4 million is female.
Of course, these are mostly meaningless numbers that don't really pertain to much on this subject. Because there is no saying how much any of the numbers can be attributed to game genre, art direction or character design. I'd wager that toxic player behavior in LoL in combination with a steep learning curve does more to deter people from playing than some boobs and ass.

I personally like the character designs of both games tho.

But you don't have to take my word for it, off course. As it turns out... (https://kotaku.com/league-of-legends-champ-designer-gives-some-real-talk-o-1774500376)
Quote from: champion designer Daniel Klein
    League has a less than perfect record objectifying lady champions. There’s nothing wrong with a champion putting her sexuality front and center if that’s what they’re about. MF and Ahri? Makes total sense.

    The problem isn’t that there were some objectified women, but that there was NOTHING ELSE (if not a child/yordle). Restricting body types is limiting to us as creators. We can only make the one type? Screw this.

    Our more recent ladies have been much more interesting. From Kalista’s monstrous looks to Reksai being an actual monster...From Illaoi’s badass broken-bones-teach-better-lessons-than-sermons looks to Lamb’s ethereal animal-like take on gentle death.

    Those takes not your cup of tea? Cool! We already have 33 sexualized women in the game (I went and counted). I’m certain we will make a sexy lady again in the future. She will own it, and it will make sense for her.

    Taliyah is a young girl struggling with an elemental power unlike anything anyone’s ever seen before. She’s a girl struggling with protecting her loved ones from an ancient power vs worrying that SHE will hurt them. She’s a girl coming of age in a time of strife centered on her homeland, and her journey is one of mastery over her power. Where in that does it say “and meanwhile I’m going to get sexy for my date at the Shurima social”?

    Look at how cohesive all of Taliyah is. Who she is, what she does, what she looks like...They make sense taken as a whole. Why does she look the way she looks? Because it MADE SENSE.

So it looks as if people at Riot actually agree with me about my character assessments!

Daniel Klein was fired from Riot Games in 2018. Oh well.
I've not been in the League loop all that much in the past two years. But a quick google search on his name (https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/7/17827796/riot-games-employee-depart-women-only-pax-west-event) showed me this. I can't formulate a very well informed opinion by just skimming through some article at 03:00 in the night but excluding the majority of your audience in the hopes that you can be more inclusive to a minority always seems like a terrible idea to me, and I think I've only ever heard it backfiring hard so far. Calling your players "manbabies" is probably not a great idea either ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That being said, I think it's cool that League has started adding all these different types of characters and I also think it's cool that they have a broad selection of sexy ladies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOxkGD8qRB4) already.

Spoon, Lorric, and a few others seem to be mistaking critique of the fact that games have a general historic habit of creating empty, scantily-clad female characters - or cheapening well written characters with ridiculous outfits and camera angles that simply are left without any sort of explanation - as an all out attack on their right to play games with empty, scantily-clad female characters.  Or well-designed, scantily-clad female characters for that matter.  Some of this seems to be backlash as a result of a belief that any critique of this nonsense is driven by prudishness.
Nah.

Spoon seems to be on some crusade about people telling him what he can and cannot do (which, to be the bearer of bad news, is going to happen from time to time, but I don't actually see anyone, even Iain's original post, saying he cannot like the things being critiqued or ask for them to be made).
MP-Ryan seems to think his opinion is very important and he is deeply wounded that Spoon just brushed him off earlier.

Which is all generally a pretty big over-sensitive mischaracterization of what's going on.
That's a pretty apt description of your post so far, yes.

Games may and even should (in some cases) use nudity, sexuality, and attractive characters provided the character is well-written and their appearance is a part of the character.  Game designers can improve their craft by avoiding common lazy traps like objectification and titillation where the context does not make sense.
Eeyyyy, remember how I told you earlier:
It's highly unlikely that you're going to tell me anything I don't already know
You're just stating obvious boring things here.

If you guys want game makers to continue providing characters that are essentially computer-generated porn in games you want to play, there is certainly a market for that and a critique of games is not a call to ban that particular form of design.
Nice strawman.

What it is is a call for game designers - particularly serious game designers - to expand their portrayals of female characters beyond simplistic caricatures into fully-formed characters with depth.

Negative examples of bad representation of female characters are, IMHO, less about their art design and more about these character's role in the narrative. If your only (or only major) character in a game exists only to be fridged, or only as a damsel in distress, if she lacks narrative agency or is only characterized as "the girl", then that's more negative in my opinion than whatever clothes the artists decided to gave her. Characters can be both solid and titillating, both non-sexualized and thoroughly bad.


Basically, I see a lot of petulant complaining that no one has a right to ban or decide what you want to see/play, when no one is actually talking about that kind of proposal at all.
Nah, that's what you want to see, because you're salty.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Scotty on January 10, 2019, 09:19:03 pm
That's also what I'm seeing as somebody who started the thread about an hour ago and read straight through, so it might have to do with the way you've decided to approach the discussion.  So far it's been pointlessly combative when it's not dismissive.  If you don't want to get a response in line with that interpretation, you may want to re-evaluate your approach.

Which also brings me to:
Quote
MP-Ryan seems to think his opinion is very important and he is deeply wounded that Spoon just brushed him off earlier.

Knock this **** off.  If you're here to discuss something, then discuss.  If you're not, get out.  The report on this thread helpfully reminded me I'm still a mod on this board, so consider this a suggestion with a little more weight behind it than 'please'.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 10, 2019, 11:42:03 pm
That's also what I'm seeing as somebody who started the thread about an hour ago and read straight through, so it might have to do with the way you've decided to approach the discussion.  So far it's been pointlessly combative when it's not dismissive.  If you don't want to get a response in line with that interpretation, you may want to re-evaluate your approach.
I don't mind an eye for an eye kind of discussions, though. MP-Ryan's last post was plenty combative and dismissive too. I mean, if you're just going dismiss my stance as "petulant complaining" then that's fine. But then it's not exactly fair to not expect me to respond to it.

Which also brings me to:
Quote
MP-Ryan seems to think his opinion is very important and he is deeply wounded that Spoon just brushed him off earlier.

Knock this **** off.
Knock what off, exactly? Ryan isn't discussing the point here either, he's just making these vague observations on what I'm 'supposedly' doing, misrepresenting what I'm actually saying. But when I respond to that in a similiar fashion you're telling me to knock that **** off. If you're going to barge in here to swing your moderator badge around that you suddenly remembered that you have, can you at least be fair and clear about it?

If you're here to discuss something, then discuss.  If you're not, get out.
Oh okay, I guess all of my previous posts don't count as discussing then.

The report on this thread helpfully reminded me I'm still a mod on this board, so consider this a suggestion with a little more weight behind it than 'please'.
A pretty pointless 'threat' to make, really.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Scotty on January 11, 2019, 12:10:01 am
I also think Spoon above is completely off-base.
Nah, I'm pretty on-base.

Hm, yes, this is absolutely not dismissive at all.

You can pretend you're being treated unfairly all you want, from the second reply on page two it's pretty clear who started it (at least between you and MP-Ryan).  So, like I said:

If you don't want to get a response in line with that interpretation, you may want to re-evaluate your approach.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: MP-Ryan on January 11, 2019, 12:19:56 am
Remarkably, Spoon, you've just managed to snark another couple dozen lines without again bothering to any of the actual discussion points that run contrary to your narrative throughout the thread.  Which, yes, I've read through several times.  Your position thus far can be essentially summed up as:
-Iain's post was bad.
-You don't want anyone to tell you what you can or cannot like (fair), or can or cannot do (unrealistic).
-Critique of Iain's type is a combination of prudishness or "think of the children."

Now, I expect that your thoughts on the subject are actually somewhat more complex than that (EDIT:  and in fairness, there's a glimmer of that showing in reply #43), but your mostly one-liner snarking isn't actually expanding on that any.  I AM actually discussing the topic, including the fact that both yourself and Lorric are being quite vocal and complaining about critiques of games without actually making an argument besides a vague notion that critique along these lines is bad because see above.  That's not being combative, that's pointing out that you aren't actually constructing an argument so much as having an emotional response to critique of something you feel passionately about - and yes, the correct adjective for that behaviour is "petulant."

You finish off with an actual point from The E ( which *you* didn't actually make anywhere) that I happen to agree with and stated myself on page 1.  Your position is unclear; if you don't feel like actually discussing it, then fine, but save us the snarking contentless crap, and don't be surprised when someone who does feel like discussing this topic in more depth raises the lack of a coherent counter-critique as an open question for discussion.

(Edited for clarity and to revise some text that may have come across as snarky myself; also, FTR, my moderator hat has been firmly placed in storage on the hat rack since page 1 of this thread).



Now, that aside, and moving beyond the content of Iain's original blog post, would someone who has expressed concern over the critiques care to clarify the visceral reaction to even fairly mild critiques of female characters in games? So far there's a lot of agreement that Iain's original blog post was flawed, but there's significant contention over the legitimacy of the basis and validity of such a critique in the first place.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Mito [PL] on January 11, 2019, 12:24:32 am
It looks as if you're personally offended by anyone who feels like not every piece of women nudity/sexualisation in games is a good thing.

On the other hand, you've done a really really wise thing with the optional WoD download not only from the standpoint of adult content - since some people might not like nudity or sexualisation in their game, just let them choose if they want to have it there or not. Praise for that.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: FrikgFeek on January 11, 2019, 05:40:22 am

Spoon, Lorric, and a few others seem to be mistaking critique of the fact that games have a general historic habit of creating empty, scantily-clad female characters - or cheapening well written characters with ridiculous outfits and camera angles that simply are left without any sort of explanation - as an all out attack on their right to play games with empty, scantily-clad female characters. 

Well, not for me. But this trend is, as you say, historic. Games that want to be taken seriously haven't been doing that for like 8 years or more. There are a few exceptions that always get flak for it but they're exceptions, not the rule. So when people "discuss" this "issue" they either bring up historic trends that have been resolved ages ago or just games where serious storytelling isn't the point and the sexyness isn't "ruining" anything.

And in general some people, like Ian in the OP article make accusations of sexism, not bad character writing.
If you're going after fighting games with cheesefest B-movie plots that clearly don't care about being taken seriously then clearly your complaints come from prudishness. So unless you're going after specific examples you're either stuck in the past or just a massive prude. Because this isn't a trend.

Or if your problem is with games and genres you don't play or optional sexy alternate costumes you don't use then you really are going after what others enjoy even though it doesn't affect you one bit.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Iain Baker on January 11, 2019, 06:08:00 am
FYI - since this thread has become a load of in-fighting between other members I'm going to be ignoring it from now on. If anyone wants to get in touch with me, or criticise me directly,  then PM me, since I won't see see any comments directed at me on here.

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Phantom Hoover on January 11, 2019, 12:33:21 pm
this has gotta be the worst thread on HLP, or at least GamDisc, in like 5 years
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: The E on January 11, 2019, 12:36:38 pm
It's always so good to hear from you about which threads are good and which ones aren't, Hoover. So helpful.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Nightmare on January 11, 2019, 12:41:11 pm
Well it's the kind of usually pointless discussion where both sides exchange arguments, of course fail to convince the other side, and hence continue with more or less personal attacks. :doubt:
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Spoon on January 11, 2019, 01:19:27 pm
Edited for clarity and to revise some text that may have come across as snarky myself
I was going to point this out to you, but I'm glad that you're starting to catch on to the fact that for all the complaining you've done about how I'm supposedly nothing but whining and being snarky, you've pretty much been constantly snarky and complaining while doing it. It's a bit ironic, really.

I AM actually discussing the topic, including the fact that both yourself and Lorric are being quite vocal and complaining about critiques of games without actually making an argument besides a vague notion that critique along these lines is bad because see above.
Aaaah, okay, I see. So you can just dismiss literally every post I've made so far as 'complaining' in a single sentence without actually engaging with any of it. While in the same breath saying that you on the other hand are totally discussing the topic.
Yeah, that's an interesting argumentive strategy you have there.

What's also interesting is that you consistently make this claim that I'm "complaining about critiques of games" which is consistently not what I've been doing. And I'm kind of puzzled why you've even come to this conclusion. But it seems to be your running theme of trying to diminish me, rather than what I've actually said so far. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


MP-Ryan, buddy, come here for a moment, listen. I'm going to run you through a few things, take you back a few steps into the thread. Then I'll clarify and restate my positions and arguments in all of the nuance that you desire. (And then you can just quote one part of it and reply with "Nah." because that would be a funny own). Because you're almost starting to catch on here:
Now, I expect that your thoughts on the subject are actually somewhat more complex than that (EDIT:  and in fairness, there's a glimmer of that showing in reply #43)
I mean, so far you've just trying to paint me as a simpleton who does nothing but complaining, but hey, let's put that aside for a moment...
if you don't feel like actually discussing it, then fine, but save us the snarking contentless crap
Ah ****, here you go again. I was discussing things just fine, but I guess it's just too hard for you to resist that sweet temptation of dismissing all of my posts completely like that.
But let's push past the bits where you repeatedly accuse me of not having a discussion while you're strawmanning my actual position on any of this and take you back to:

I didn't bother replying to you because as I said before:
Quote
That's not a good point to start these kind of discussions from.
that applies both to the article and my first post telling Iain how much I didn't like his article.
Clearly you didn't actually seem to understand what I meant with this. So let me elaborate on it:

Iain's article is a 'flawed', dime in a dozen, preachy and behind the times waste of space. I fully stand behind everything I said in my first post about it. Did I make my post while being angry? Yes, obviously. It's clearly a subject I have a strong opinion on.
But while I was hammering on why I think these kind of poorly written one-sided articles are terrible, you came in with an effort post, in which you immediately dismiss everything I've said as "completely off-base" without actually engaging with anything I said up until that point. Instead, you actually go off onto a different subject, not discussing the article itself (which all of my arrows had been aimed at) but wanting to discuss the subject of the sexualized visual design of women, and the history the games industry has had with them.
Not something I was particularly interested in pursuing at that moment, because as I quoted above, my first post and Iain's article doesn't set up for a very good discussion starting point for it and what you actually ended up writing in the body of post was nothing new to me.
But yeah, I found your way of just declaring me 'off-base' off the cuff like that, a tad annoying. So I retaliated in kind. Which clearly, you found a tad annoying too.
Off to a good start.

Ah, but you did reply to me.  If you don't want to discuss it fine - then don't reply.  Don't give the discussion some utterly pointless sarcastic **** that contributes nothing to the actual discussion going on except extra scrolling space, especially if you're going to continue to double-down on arguments you've already made, which you've continued to do on this page, that were addressed earlier.

I'd just like to point out that your post here, is basically telling me to **** off because I didn't engage specifically with the subject you specifically wanted to discuss. While not actually contributing anything to the actual discussion that had been going on until this point, just adding extra scrolling space. You didn't discuss with any of the other posts&posters up until that point and when you made another post on page 7, it was just full of mischaracterizations and misrepresenting my points and stance. But you get very irked with me that I reply to you, specifically, with a lot snark.

With all of that pointed out, I will now give you my thoughts on the thing you oh so desperately want to discuss. Fictional women and games. Not because I really wanted to, but since people now seem to think that:
It looks as if you're personally offended by anyone who feels like not every piece of women nudity/sexualisation in games is a good thing.
this is all my thoughts amount to, I'm going to elaborate on it.

But first let me preface it by saying that all of what I'm going to say is just strictly my personal selfish view as a straight white dutch adult male. It's the purest form of giving my opinion. I don't represent anything or anyone other than myself. I'm not very fond of people trying to speak for a whole minority or fandom or trying to clump 50% of the world's population into one monolithic opinion, so I'll try my hardest to avoid that.

This is such a stupidly broad subject that has many nuances, so it's tricky to even pick a point to start. Let me go with this thing I've seen brought up a couple of times in this thread a few times.
"Men designing games for men".
Whenever this is brought up, it's always with this seeming connotation that this is 'bad', somehow. But is it, though? The only way that I this is 'bad' is when this kills all diversity completely. But that has historically never truly been the case. Despite the gaming industry being build up by an overwhelmingly male crowd of developers (why precisely that is, I'm not sure, it's probably a combination of 'natural interest' (men have more of a tendency to like things, while women have a tendency to like people more) and social/cultural norms), the games we've had the pleasure of playing over the many years have been staggering diverse in its genres and themes. From RTS to FPS to RPG to Puzzle games to Simulators of all shapes and sizes. A lot these games are fairly 'gender neutral' and can be enjoyed by everyone.
And while it could have done 'better' with presenting the players with more diverse options for their avatar in certain genres, that was/is not always an option, due to all sorts of reasons. Technical limitations, budget restrains, the story, the type of game etc.

As someone who is a bit of a game designer myself, my entire thought process while making WoD has been this: "I'm going to make a game that I would like to play myself." which you can also translate as "A man making a game for a man." In my case, I just love to see anime girlies shooting pew pew lasers in a space sim. I'm very blatant in liking anime titties (they are objectively great. Real life boobies are also prrretty good) and the female form (it's very nice). While I also attempt to make an effort to have these girls be actual characters. A lot of game designers are probably like me in this regard. They want to make a game about something they're passionate about. Not trying to blatantly chase after a certain one type of audience with the explicit goal of excluding the rest. (Unless you're just in it for the money, in which case you gotta chase after that mystical 'wider audience'.)
Now you can tell me this is 'bad' and 'objectification' (which mind you, nobody has actually done so far) but I wouldn't get you if you did. The word 'objectification' is a pretty hollow word to me. I just don't see people or fictional characters as objects and I have this amazing super power called common sense, which allows me to make a clear distinction between fiction and reality. A super power I suspect quite a few people possess. So when I'm presented by a female character who is 'overly sexual and skimpily dressed' I don't suddenly start thinking less of real life women and I don't take kindly to some moral busybody telling me that I can't look and enjoy the view, because it makes me a women hating monster who 'objectifies' women.

But with that being said, we're currently in an kind of amazing period for games. On one hand you've got the AAA games industry who is churning out ****ty yearly releases* and employs incredibly shady predatory practices with lootboxes and the like. While on the other hand, the indie market allows for all sorts of people to enter the game development side of things. With multiple engines being readily available for cheap/free and distribution plaftorms like Steam (with all of its many many flaws) and GoG being easy to enter into and getting your game out there. The indie market is manging to churn out 'darling' after 'darling' with games like Celeste, Meatboy, Dead Cells, Slay the Spire alongside countless other really neat and enjoyable games.
The diversity amongst the games and devs themselves are at an all time high. If you don't want "Men making games for men" then the opportunities to start making a game yourself or to help fund those that do are legion.
 
(*And the occasional rare gems like for example the recent God of War)

Now I personally don't even play AAA games anymore. The most recent one I've played was CoD: IW, because Battuta likes it, because it does everything SQ42 will never do and because I was looking for a bit of inspiration for my own work. I'm all about indie games and the AA japanese releases these days.
Big AAA publishers are leaves that blow in the wind. They make their games with the seemingly singular goal of making as much money as possible. Appease the shareholders. Collect all of the money. They design their games by committee and focus groups, and considering the overwhelming majority of 'core' players are male, it's only a given they'll pander to them. If the gamer interests shifts to another new fad or suddenly only starts buying games that feature crippled chubby asians in wheelchairs, you can safely make a big bet on what the AAA industry will focus on next.

Now for the historically "problematic" female character designs. Frankly put, I don't have an issue with them. Now I prefer character designs that make sense for the setting, or designs that mesh well with the overall style that the game has going, whatever that style may be (example: Golden Axe). But even characters with silly outfits like for example Bloodrayne (https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1920&bih=944&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=Z9g4XPX9LM35wAK00rlY&q=bloodrayne&oq=blood+rayne&gs_l=img.12...0.0..86562...0.0..0.0.0.......1......gws-wiz-img.6L0Uebk2_HE) should have all the rights to exist. And what mostly gets me riled up is when prudes try to make a case that these kind of characters shouldn't exist because of vaguely defined reasons like them being unfriendly to women or think of the children. If this bothers you, then you are probably not the intented audience and instead of trying to get everyone to conform to your standards and sensibilities, it's better to just play one of the thousands of other games that exist already. Or as stated above, make your own, or help fund something that more appeals to you.

Now what I'm not saying, but for some dumb reason MP-Ryan repeatedly seems to think that'm saying, is that I think you can't have these kind of discussion or write these kind of articles. I actually very specifically stated so earlier in the thread:
I despise people telling me what I can and cannot enjoy in game. Following that same line of thought, I would never be so arrogant to tell other people what they can or cannot have discussions about. Absolutely feel free by all accounts to have well thought out discussions and write well written articles about these kind of subjects.
He also repeatedly liked to state that I "only seem to think that critiques about these kind of character designs are 'only' driven by prudeness." While seemingly vaguely implying that prudeness has nothing to do with it. Utter tripe of course.
1. Prudeness undeniably plays a part in these kind of discussions.
2. A desire to want to sensible character attire and design is of course another facet.
There's also no doubt other 'concerns' but all in all these two things are pretty connected. Trying to dismiss one while claiming it's only about the other seems like folley.

Let's take Lara croft's design as example, since Iain put it into his article. I actually think this is an great example in how you can lose a lot of character by reducing the stylization and making the design more realistic.
(https://i1.wp.com/coin-drop.com/wp-content/uploads/old-lara-croft-2013-lara-croft-tomb-raider1.jpg?fit=1074%2C831)
The old design.
Instantly recognizable as Lara. Exaggerated body proportions, impossibly slim waist, prominent but very possible chest, teal/cyan shirt and two guns.
Poorly equipped for tomb raiding, yes. But games were kind of limited in their polygon count back in 1996. Lara's ingame model was 230 polygons in TR1. There's simply no technical budget left to add all these tools and elaborate clothing, tools which she wouldn't be using ingame anyway.
There has a lot been said (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lara_Croft) about her design. One of the first prominent female characters, strong female character, a sex symbol, etc etc.
(You know who also released in 1996? Duke nukem 3D. If you were to ask me who would be a 'worse influence' for men, I'd answer with Duke without hesitation)

Her 2013 redesign.
Kind of bland and generic is the first thing that comes to my mind. She shows less leg skin, has an more 'inoffensive' chest size. Nothing stands out when I look at her. She lost her iconic dual pistols. Has a bland grey tanktop shirt, and is still very poorly dressed for actual tomb raiding. The only difference being that she now has a axe tool for it. Yes, she is more realistic looking now. But I think she lost a lot of instantly recognizability and overal I'd would say her new design is just worse for it.


More choice and options are always good. Character customization is fantastic. Games that feature only a single protagonist are cool too, everything should exist. Very sexual characters? Cool, yes please. Very modest and realistic characters? Nice, add them to the list.

Has the games industry had a history with 'low quality overly sexualized' female characters in certain genres? Yes, there have been a few. Was this a problem or bad?
Only in that there was a period in which not a whole lot of other options existed to offset it somewhat. Because few options = bad. Sexualized characters = not by definition bad.

Games have this amazing luxery of not having to conform to reality and being able to stylize all the things. It's great, game devs should keep doing that.

I'm sure there's more ramblings and thoughts to give, but who the **** cares. I've covered the most basic points, I think.
Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: Colonol Dekker on January 11, 2019, 03:53:06 pm
I'm a dawn fanboy and she's not overly sexualised.


(More's the pity)

Title: Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
Post by: MP-Ryan on January 11, 2019, 04:43:03 pm
EDIT:  This is a very long, rambly, and in place repetitive post and I have to apologize in advance for it.  I'll try to be more concise in future responses.

Okay.  I'm going to respond to both FrikgFeek and Spoon here.

Spoon, first off, my original post was a direct response to your first response to Iain that contained a lot of "this article isn't good" but not a lot of "here's why."  You mainly nitpicked his examples rather than engaging the broader argument  Since then, it's like you see your name (and your position is explicitly not the only one I've responded to in the longer posts!) and immediately take it as an attack on your person and all you hold dear; made to "diminish you."   An introduction like "completely off-base" and here's why is not usually considered a reason to go to Defcon 1 and start the nuclear launch sequence. I think you're partially wrong in your assessment, but none of that was an attack on you.  As for the statement that I've ignored everything else you've contributed, no, I haven't.  But everything else amounts to a few lines - your main explanatory content was still (until today) confined to page 1.  At any rate, I'm not and never have been interested in a bunch of sniping, so let's move onto the content.

In both of your (the two of you) recent posts, I see a conflation between the critique that games still suffer heavily from the use of sex and sexual objectification to drive sales, and the separate critique that games have a (yes, ongoing) history of handling female characters poorly, both in dress/design and writing.  These are two separate issues, and Iain also confronted them in the same manner as a single one which is among the reasons I said his blog wasn't all that well written up front.  To get something else out of the way - yes, sexual objectification is still relevant to purely digital creations, not because the creations are people but because objectification is an image-based process insofar as sociology and psychology are concerned and mere representations of people are sufficient to trigger the same processes, whether or not you think they are consciously capable of it.

So, first, let's talk design because I suspect we're all pretty much on the same page there.

I would posit that the problem with the design and implementation of female characters has not necessarily been their manner and state of dress, but rather the combination of their appearance and behaviour.  I said it on page one, The E said it later, and it's come up a few times since - scantily-clad characters are fine if the character is written with agency, personality, and choices.  In short, female characters should be treated with the same kind of detail as male characters, and not placeholders for titillation.  Both genders (and others) of characters should also be treated with greater diversity, because there's definitely some ideal typing of male characters going on too.  Unfortunately, consciously or unconsciously, that has not always been the case.  FrikgFeek (and The E, earlier, and Spoon in his latest post) are correct in that this is a declining trend as the diversity of game makers has increased and the access of indie designers to the broader market has increased (meaning the concentration of these problems has dropped), but it's still happening - which is why critiques are important.  As I said earlier, games themselves suffer from the same issues as film over its grown as a medium of art - a lack of diversity of main cast members.  It's getting better, but the problem certainly isn't gone.  While I think Iain picked a few less-than-ideal examples, and his article didn't engage in the kind of in-depth critique this subject needs, he also wasn't necessarily wrong.  Which brings me to the issue of objectification, which is a word I also tried to avoid but now realize is worth confronting head-on because what the hell this is a messy subject regardless.

I realize that many of the people in this thread don't see representations of women in games as objectification based on the argument that they are not real people and they claim they can separate games from reality.  That's not quite the way objectification works psychologically, however.  Objectification is an unconscious process.  This is the old adage that "sex sells."  It doesn't mean you or I go consciously walking down the street thinking that because there's a sexy lady on the cover we are going to buy that thing - rather, we're talking about an unconscious process where advertisers and marketers knowingly correlate sexual desires with objects in order to sell them.  This kind of practice runs back at least a couple centuries, and quite possibly earlier (I took a pretty interesting class on the subject, but we only covered 20th century marketing history, so I'm most familiar with that).  We are conditioned from an early age to correlate sexual desire with marketing, which is why this is literally goddamned everywhere.  TV, social media, physical advertisements - despite 40-some-odd years of critique on this subject it's still pervasive, which is exactly why it's been pulled into games.  The problem here is not that I - or virtually anyone else making this critique - am a prude that doesn't want you to ever see boobs or pretty women in a game again.  The problem is that video games have the same cultural problems that exist everywhere else, but until recently have existed in a more concentrated fashion than in broader society because of the target market of people who buy video games (which, thankfully, is changing fairly rapidly).  But, for every positive change we see where poor representation is called out, we are also seeing a backlash.  While games themselves have, as you say, become staggeringly diverse over the years, the way female characters have been portrayed generally has not.  That's changed in the last 5-10 years, but slowly.

When critics call out representations of Lara in her earlier design as an example of disservice to female characters, they're pointing out that this was a character crafted by men, for men to view, capitalizing on sexualized imagery (and yes, I agree with your point about limitations of technology).  We're doing better now.  I'd argue the modern Lara is an all-round better character because she is more human and less ridiculously-proportioned; we traded recognizeability for humanity, and I don't view that as a bad thing.  Lara has gone from a shell designed to be a subject of titillation to an actual character with actual character development.

Joshua snagged the example of Quiet earlier, and its a good one.  Quiet was explicitly designed for the purpose of objectification - literally to be made into a figure.  The explanation for her state of undress is (as is not uncommon in Metal Gear games, let's face it) laughable, and her animation behaviour is quite obviously designed simply to titillate and excite a sexual response, not for character development.

This is somewhat timely, but I got an email today about the Humble Bundle sale, and I scrolled down the page literally right after I read Spoon's most recent post:  https://www.humblebundle.com/store/search?sort=discount&filter=onsale

On my screen, I have twenty titles displayed.  Fully seven of them are using sexual objectification as an advertising technique, regardless of the games' content or gameplay.  Even World of Diving, for the love of Pete.  I'll circle back to this.

Okay, so, the other thing is there's often hostility to critiques of objectification because, well, let's quote this one:

Quote
. The word 'objectification' is a pretty hollow word to me. I just don't see people or fictional characters as objects and I have this amazing super power called common sense, which allows me to make a clear distinction between fiction and reality. A super power I suspect quite a few people possess. So when I'm presented by a female character who is 'overly sexual and skimpily dressed' I don't suddenly start thinking less of real life women and I don't take kindly to some moral busybody telling me that I can't look and enjoy the view, because it makes me a women hating monster who 'objectifies' women.

Thing is, this isn't an issue of anyone judging you.  Or anyone individually, for that matter.  Objectification isn't a problem of individuals, its a problem of society.  The word itself has gotten a bad reputation due to misuse, but the issue here is that people are being used as objects to sell everything from - I **** you not - toothpaste to paperclips to motherboards.  You consciously may not think of this as objectification.  In fact, you're right - very few people consciously ever think of another person as an object.  But unconsciously, this affects our attitudes, emotions, and behaviour.  The point of this is to sell you **** (in many cases, stuff that is very much ****) and to do it in a way that you don't think its being used to sell you ****.  It's an insidious psychological process, but the problem is it extends beyond selling us all **** to influencing - subconsciously - attitudes.  Women in particular are heavily objectified even today, and it reflects in their broad treatment throughout society, even within advanced societies striving towards equality.  And every image used in this way, whether real or not, reinforces those unconscious processes in our brains that make deep correlations that we don't even think about, and which subsequently influence our collective behaviour and attitudes in society more generally.  THAT's why objectification is bad.

But wait!  Does a sexy female form in a game equate to objectification?  **** no.  I have't played WoD (and despite not being much of an anime fan it IS on my list including the NSFW package because why the hell not), but I daresay from what I've heard of it at least that objectification isn't going to be a problem I'm critiquing as I play through it.  Witcher 3 contained some very lovely (and naked, periodically) women, but (unlike its predecessors), they were treated as fully-formed characters with personality, choices, desires, attitudes, and will.  Does the fact that we may see Geralt getting it on with some pretty women mean the Witcher 3 objectified them?  For the most part, not really.  It certainly contained some sequences - the brothel, mainly - that were definitely there more for titillation than any actual gameplay purposes, but in general it managed reasonably well (it has some other diversity-related issues, but nothing's perfect).  On the other hand, let's take my new friend from the Humble Sale, World of Diving.  The cover art consists of a female diver in a full top and.... a weight belt?  I mean, that doesn't look comfortable, but let's look a little closer and see... oh, the gameplay is predominantly first-person, with appearance customization options. So yeah, here's an example of a marketer who decided the best way to sell their game was to get some skin on the cover.  Notably, she isn't even actually diving on the cover.  Interesting choice.

Circling back, though, does critique of female portrayal or objectification mean anything with this problems shouldn't exist or be made?  Well, not really.  The whole point of critiquing art is to discuss it and make it better, for everyone.  Female portrayal in games - and the wide variety of games made about, by, and for women - has exploded and gotten better over the years because of gender-based analysis and criticism.  That makes the art richer and more varied.  Objectification, as I've tried to dissect about - is a broad social issue in which games are just one small part.  Commenting about objectification in games doesn't make the industry bad or mean suddenly we can't have pretty, scantily-clad women (or men) in games anymore, and it doesn't mean gamers are bad people - it just adds games to the broader conversation about the way society uses sexuality to influence behaviour and the negative results of that and their repercussions generally.

Anyway, that's enough of a wall of text.  TL;DR:  Serious critiques (and Iain did try) about portrayal of characters and objectification in games, and female portrayals and objectification specifically, don't stem from prudishness, "think of the children," or some moralizing drive.  These critiques exist to treat games fully as an independent art form like any other, and equally deserving of constructive improvement to better serve a broader proportion of society even while narrowing into specialized markets.  I don't think any less of people who argue they want games with sexy women (or men); I think in many cases they're just missing a part of the larger issue that the industry as a whole has been having a fragmented conversation about.