Author Topic: Female characters done both wrong and right.  (Read 6195 times)

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Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
How's what you are saying any different from the usual "Us Vs Them" political bull****?

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
I'm sorry but you've just lost me. I don't understand why our conversation is going the way it is.

 

Offline Spoon

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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)
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline The E

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.
If I'm just aching this can't go on
I came from chasing dreams to feel alone
There must be changes, miss to feel strong
I really need lifе to touch me
--Evergrey, Where August Mourns

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.
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Offline Lorric

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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. :)

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

Shivans view most other species the way we view infectious diseases. They think they are doing good by curing the universe of them. After all, no one mourns the fate of smallpox.

The Final War For The Multiverse

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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/


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. 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 05:23:05 pm by Iain Baker »
Wanna check out my video games, technology and media website? If so, visit; https://www.nomadsreviews.co.uk/

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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.
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Offline Spoon

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Snarks

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 01:35:04 am by MP-Ryan »
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Offline The E

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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/


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. 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".
If I'm just aching this can't go on
I came from chasing dreams to feel alone
There must be changes, miss to feel strong
I really need lifе to touch me
--Evergrey, Where August Mourns

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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/




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. 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

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 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.
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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 06:49:59 am by -Joshua- »