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:
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
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.
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
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.