Author Topic: Female characters done both wrong and right.  (Read 2059 times)

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Offline Spoon

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

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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...
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.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 07:07:55 pm by -Joshua- »

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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).
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 07:12:09 pm by MP-Ryan »
"In the beginning, the Universe was created.  This made a lot of people very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move."  [Douglas Adams]

 
Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 07:18:10 pm by -Joshua- »

 

Offline Spoon

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

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

 

Offline Spoon

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

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 01:38:26 am by MP-Ryan »
"In the beginning, the Universe was created.  This made a lot of people very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move."  [Douglas Adams]

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

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.
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Offline Iain Baker

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
this has gotta be the worst thread on HLP, or at least GamDisc, in like 5 years
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Offline The E

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
It's always so good to hear from you about which threads are good and which ones aren't, Hoover. So helpful.
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Offline Nightmare

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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:

 

Offline Spoon

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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 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.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 01:25:48 pm by Spoon »
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 Colonol Dekker

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
I'm a dawn fanboy and she's not overly sexualised.


(More's the pity)

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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Female characters done both wrong and right.
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.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 05:07:04 pm by MP-Ryan »
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