So, that escalated quickly
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.
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
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
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.