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March 22, 2011 8:12 AM   Subscribe

The Duke Nukem series is certainly not known for its positive portrayal of women. In the previous game, (NSFW) women were either strippers, prostitutes, or trapped in alien cocoons, begging you to end their pain. The new game starts off showing Duke getting an implied blowjob from twins in school uniforms. The strippers and clubs are back. But when a multiplayer mode called "Capture the Babe" requires you to abduct women and lets you give them a "reassuring slap" on their buttocks if they "freak out", have the developers simply gone too far?
posted by ymgve (301 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I refuse to be outraged over this entirely fabricated issue. Actually, the game sounds pretty funny.
posted by shii at 8:16 AM on March 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


What shii said
errr..
posted by slater at 8:17 AM on March 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


I guess that's a rhetorical question?

Duke Nukem was always juvenile, but games weren't mainstream media when the first ones were released, and they weren't nearly as graphic. (Due to limitations of the technology, not the restraint of the developers)

I have a strong suspicion that the only reason people are asking the question is because a marketing board somewhere wants more hype for their release. I'm not even going to jump on the "it's fifteen years late" band wagon, because it's not really "the same people" doing it anyway. It's just franchising to make bucks off another shitty cookie cutter game.

...I miss side scrolling platform games.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:18 AM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Yay videogame misogyny! Just what we need more of!
posted by kmz at 8:18 AM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Somehow we need to prevent this game from ever being released.

As a gamer, this sort of thing makes me angry. It's hard to defend my hobby when there's juvenile shit like this casually being thrown in.
posted by yeti at 8:19 AM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't know what the developers were doing for the half century we waited for this to be released, but it is now clear that it involved a lot, a lot, of porn.
posted by geoff. at 8:20 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow it's almost as if a game that's going to be insanely shitty because it's fifteen years past its prime is looking for a shit ton of free publicity or something
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:21 AM on March 22, 2011 [34 favorites]


Duke Nukem is Duke Nukemy.
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't buy it.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:23 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have come here to be outraged and kick ass...but I'm all out of outrage. Or something.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:23 AM on March 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


DUKE RAPEM
posted by liza at 8:23 AM on March 22, 2011


I think we need to take a step back here, guys. It has yet to be stated exactly WHERE said "babe" is being taken. For all we know, they are on their way to the bridal registry to pick out some lovely dinnerware for their small, but comfortable suburban apartment.
posted by Krazor at 8:24 AM on March 22, 2011 [25 favorites]


have the developers simply gone too far?

Aren't the Duke Nukem developers kinda famous for not going far enough?
posted by DU at 8:27 AM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm gonna go outside now and play a nice, simple game of frisbee.

32bit color, 100fps, awesome lighting and shadows.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I refuse to be outraged over this entirely fabricated issue. Actually, the game sounds pretty funny.

Yeah jeez baby can't you broads take a joke?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:27 AM on March 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


BALLS BALLS BALLS
posted by orme at 8:27 AM on March 22, 2011


As a gamer, this sort of thing makes me angry. It's hard to defend my hobby when there's juvenile shit like this casually being thrown in.

Why do you have to defend your hobby ? My dad spent nearly every weekend catching fish and then letting them go. My uncle built an intricate model railway that nobody other than his family ever saw.

Point is, if you like your hobby, then like it. You don't need for it to appeal to my, or metafilter's particular values.

I appreciate that this new Duke Nukem exists. It's a good chance to talk to my son about stupidity in American culture and introduce him to Deus Ex.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:28 AM on March 22, 2011 [31 favorites]


As a gamer, this sort of thing makes me angry. It's hard to defend my hobby when there's juvenile shit like this casually being thrown in.
posted by yeti at 10:19 AM on March 22 [+] [!]


That's like saying all movies are porn because there are porn movies. Games have a rating system for a reason.

Censoring this or blocking it's release because you somehow think it reflects poorly on games in general is just not a good idea.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:28 AM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


This sort of thing is perfectly consistent with the juvenile, absurdist, misogynist yet fairly hilarious premise of the entire Duke Nukem franchise. If you find it offensive, don't buy it!
posted by killdevil at 8:29 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think we need to take a step back here, guys. It has yet to be stated exactly WHERE said "babe" is being taken. For all we know, they are on their way to the bridal registry to pick out some lovely dinnerware for their small, but comfortable suburban apartment.

If the developers stole my idea for Duke Nukem: Crate and Double-Barrel, I will be so angry.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:29 AM on March 22, 2011 [54 favorites]



As a gamer, this sort of thing makes me angry. It's hard to defend my hobby when there's juvenile shit like this casually being thrown in.
posted by yeti at 10:19 AM on March 22 [+] [!]


But are they Art?

*ducks and runs*
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:29 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I object to the fact that men in this game are portrayed as rugged, muscular men who wear cool shades and shoot big guns.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:30 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow it's almost as if a game that's going to be insanely shitty because it's fifteen years past its prime is looking for a shit ton of free publicity or something

So it this marketing concept. Misogyny in a video game hardly seems like a fresh idea to generate controversy.

If the developers wanted free marketing, it would have been smarter to include a door called Exodus that would show gay gamers how to get straight. At least it would bring Duke Nukem up to date.
posted by three blind mice at 8:30 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nobody's saying they want the game blocked. (I assume yeti was making a joking reference to DNF's history.)

I just think it's shitty.

(Also, it's good to know that misogyny is soooo hilarious!)
posted by kmz at 8:32 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looks really stupid, I won't play it, my kids don't want to play it, so it is a non-issue for me other than, "I hope no one else wastes their money on this."

That, and also that these games make good talking points with my kids. I like to get their take on these kinds of things, go for a reality check, make sure they realize how they are being marketed to, how some developers assume that since many gamers are young men they want this kind of stuff. Usually, they are the first to say, "They're just trying to sell more copies. The game probably sucks."
posted by misha at 8:34 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't take long for Metafilter to fill all the available slots.

[X] Offended DNF has GONE TOO FAR THIS TIME
[X] Offended DNF is considered Offensive
[X] Offended DNF has NOT GONE FAR ENOUGH
[X] Too Cool for School, don't even care

So I guess we're done here?
posted by jscott at 8:34 AM on March 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


[X] Blah blah rape
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:35 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


What about all the killing? If this encourages all those 16 year olds who would otherwise borrow Daddy's gun and go on a spree, to instead go to a strip club and ogle women, then it can only be for good surely?
posted by fistynuts at 8:35 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah I don't get why people are saying 'If this isn't your kind of humor, pass on by! It's a joke! Hardee har har!' I find it hard to imagine the same response if this game featured similarly offensive treatment of African Americans or homosexuals.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:35 AM on March 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Dukes gonna Nuke.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:36 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm considering canceling my preorder, but it feels kinda hypocritical. After all, I preordered the game while being fully aware of all the other misogyny in the game.
posted by ymgve at 8:37 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]



Yeah I don't get why people are saying 'If this isn't your kind of humor, pass on by! It's a joke! Hardee har har!' I find it hard to imagine the same response if this game featured similarly offensive treatment of African Americans or homosexuals.


Two out of the three games I've played in the last year, I looked up from and said, "Holy shit this is racist. How do they get away with this?"

I haven't noticed a lot of articles about it though. Maybe people just don't talk about it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:38 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why do you have to defend your hobby ? My dad spent nearly every weekend catching fish and then letting them go.

Your dad might have felt differently if there were a bunch of other guys out there that spent every weekend catching fish and raping them.
posted by rusty at 8:38 AM on March 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


The joke about gamers being unemployed anti-social loser living in their parents' basement is so stale. VIDEO GAMES ARE THE NEWEST ART FORM!
posted by KokuRyu at 8:38 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


[X] Offended DNF has NOT GONE FAR ENOUGH

Who checked this one off?
posted by DU at 8:39 AM on March 22, 2011


The game is a cartoon, its super inappropriate and overblown, that's the whole point.

I understand why people would get upset about it, but I cant really imagine why anyone would take it seriously at all.

The protagonists name is DUKE NUKEM, come on now.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:39 AM on March 22, 2011


This orange is bitter. ALL ORANGES ARE BITTER!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:39 AM on March 22, 2011


have the developers simply gone too far?

Let's ask Jack Thompson. He'd bring a respectable, balanced expert assessment.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:39 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I cant really imagine why anyone would take it seriously at all.

there are still people who buy rob liefeld comics too. believe me, they're out there.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:40 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a gamer, this sort of thing makes me angry. It's hard to defend my hobby when there's juvenile shit like this casually being thrown in.

This. The fact that the medium is dominated by trite, adolescent, space-marine power fantasies is bad enough. Adding puerile misogyny to the mix just wants me to say "fuck you" to the studios that churn this stuff out.

If you can't be artful, at least try not to be deliberately meatheaded, you know?

Thank goodness for the rise of indie gaming. When there's Minecraft, Spelunky, Dwarf Fortress, Cave Story, Knytt Stories, Braid...who needs the special-effects blockbusters? I'll take gameplay over bleeding-edge graphics engines any day.
posted by ixohoxi at 8:41 AM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Stagger: My unfounded speculation is that many gamers still consider themselves to be part of a subculture that is being put down by 'the establishment'; a notion fuelled by idiotic politicians and tiresome arguments about 'are games art?'

The reality is that games are more or less mainstream now, they're established, and they should stop ducking these questions of sexism/racism; but that would require gamers and game designers to realise they aren't rebels any more, and that would be a real blow to their self-esteem. And I say this as a gamer and game designer.
posted by adrianhon at 8:41 AM on March 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


Your dad might have felt differently if there were a bunch of other guys out there that spent every weekend catching fish and raping them.

Thats some expensive therapy required there. How exactly does anyones Dad feel about this?

Slippery?
posted by fistynuts at 8:41 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


What about all the killing? If this encourages all those 16 year olds who would otherwise borrow Daddy's gun and go on a spree, to instead go to a strip club and ogle women, then it can only be for good surely?

It does make me wonder why no one's upset that most of the game (as do most other videogames) focuses on killing. Abducting and slapping women is bad, yes, but so is killing, no? Why is only one worthy of outrage?
posted by desjardins at 8:42 AM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


The thing I hate most about this is that I can no longer make jokes about a Duke Nukem sequel that will never actually come out.

Spore and Chinese Democracy stopped being jokes once they materialized. Now what do I get to make fun of?
posted by giraffe at 8:42 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


there are still people who buy rob liefeld comics too. believe me, they're out there.

(poster of shittily-drawn foot flying in sky)
I WANT TO NOT BELIEVE
posted by Greg Nog at 8:42 AM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Offensiveness aside, I just can't get over how fucking STUPID this game sounds.
posted by naju at 8:43 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stagger Lee: Could you name those racist games?
posted by ymgve at 8:43 AM on March 22, 2011


Whoa, sorry, I didn't mean to imply that Chinese Democracy isn't a joke anymore. It's still a joke, but it's a different kind of joke.
posted by giraffe at 8:43 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Spore and Chinese Democracy stopped being jokes once they materialized. Now what do I get to make fun of?

HL2 Ep.3 sigh...
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:44 AM on March 22, 2011


I know a lot of gamers, but the only guy that I know that really, really liked the Duke series is also one of the kindest, gentlest men I know, with a dazzlingly smart wife with a Ph.D, and four beautiful, smart, well-adjusted little girls that love to babysit my boys.

Go figure.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:44 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing I hate most about this is that I can no longer make jokes about a Duke Nukem sequel that will never actually come out.

Spore and Chinese Democracy stopped being jokes once they materialized. Now what do I get to make fun of?
posted by giraffe at 11:42 AM on March 22 [+] [!]


well there is always Half Life Episode 3
posted by ShawnString at 8:44 AM on March 22, 2011


Bobby Fischer was a nutbar but somehow chess survived. DNF will likely be juvenile, but I suspect video games will survive as well.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:45 AM on March 22, 2011


damn BobbyDigital you beat me
posted by ShawnString at 8:45 AM on March 22, 2011


The game is a cartoon, its super inappropriate and overblown, that's the whole point.

It is interesting, though, that whenever something is said to be politically incorrect in a subversive or fun way, that tends to mean that it views women as objects rather than humans.

Who the fuck finds that fun?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:46 AM on March 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


damn BobbyDigital you beat me

I feel your pain.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:46 AM on March 22, 2011



Stagger Lee: Could you name those racist games?


I was playing one of the new resident evil games, where frothing, savage black zombies madly chased our very clean, and white-ish protagonists around.

And Red Dead Redemption, which despite some heavy handed morality in the dialogue and plot, left the protagonist shooting every single native american character in the game, with about much sympathy as they received in the now heavily criticized John Wayne movies of that bygone era.


It does make me wonder why no one's upset that most of the game (as do most other videogames) focuses on killing. Abducting and slapping women is bad, yes, but so is killing, no? Why is only one worthy of outrage?


The violence starts to feel more loaded when it's targeted against a specific cultural group, and when the circumstances of the protagonist start to feel less sympathetic.

That's not to say that the violence isn't always bad, but it starts to feel dangerous when it directly targets a visible subset of society.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:47 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something tells me that people will be saying, "Man, whatever happened to Duke Nukem?" while they're still only a third of the way through the game.
posted by Legomancer at 8:47 AM on March 22, 2011


I'm just going to go on record and say that on at least two occasions, I have slapped a stripper on the ass, once during coitus.

I'm not sure what the point of my statement was, I think I'm just bragging now.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:49 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Abducting and slapping women is bad, yes, but so is killing, no? Why is only one worthy of outrage?

Killing in video games is (usually) presented as being justifiable killing. You're not just wantonly killing random people; you're killling Bad Guys—often Very Bad Guys, and sometimes the embodiment of Evil itself. People (or creatures) who will enslave or annihilate humanity itself, if not stopped by force.

On the other hand, there's no such thing as justifiable misogyny.

There are certainly valid questions to be asked about the omnipresence of killing in video games, but there's a difference between "violence toward the forces of Evil" and "violence toward innocent people, specifically women, specifically in a way that's sexually degrading and makes a joke out of misogyny".
posted by ixohoxi at 8:50 AM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


I haven't heard much about RDR, but people were certainly not ignoring the racist undertones in that Resident Evil game.
posted by ymgve at 8:50 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


So it this marketing concept. Misogyny in a video game hardly seems like a fresh idea to generate controversy.

Didn't we also have the "run around and grope women and take a photo" promotion thing a year or two ago? And the lesser, but also throwback promotion of "You're mom will be shocked!" thing as well?

I'm not outraged, not because misogyny and sexism aren't an issue here- rather, it's fucking pedestrian at this point. This game isn't really pushing any new boundaries, it's just in the same old vein and a good reminder of how our culture (doesn't) deal with sexism.

And, of course, the discussion will fall into some bullshit trap of "free speech" vs. "censorship" when really the point isn't "Let's never make these kinds of games" as much as "Why do we make SO MANY of these kinds of games and what's that say about us?" Sure, videogames are generally escapist media- it's just pretty telling how much of that escapist power fantasy always falls back to white, straight males.
posted by yeloson at 8:50 AM on March 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


It is interesting, though, that whenever something is said to be politically incorrect in a subversive or fun way, that tends to mean that it views women as objects rather than humans.

Who the fuck finds that fun?


Everyone who patronizes strip clubs.
posted by dortmunder at 8:50 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's put it this way: this is all manufactured fake outrage, al-la Bulletstorm, designed to create controversy where there is none in order to get a buzz going (happening a month before the release? What timing!). Also given that BS was a one-trick pony, willing to be that this game will be mostly centered around Duke's one-liners with crap (and short) gameplay.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:50 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is interesting, though, that whenever something is said to be politically incorrect in a subversive or fun way, that tends to mean that it views women as objects rather than humans.

Who the fuck finds that fun?


It also portrays police officers are angry mutant pigs (I haven't actually looked very closely at the new one, I am just remembering 3d), and there were also flying space cats or something along those lines. The whole point of the game is that it is not trying to be subversive, its just fun cultural trash, you are the protagonist in a bad super over the top 80's exploitation movie. There is no greater meaning, just boobs and explosions, and women are objects in it, so is everything else, its not withing a 1000 miles of reality, nor is it trying to be, thats the fun.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:51 AM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was playing one of the new resident evil games, where frothing, savage black zombies madly chased our very clean, and white-ish protagonists around.

Oh, RE5 was rightly castigated quite a bit for the racist undertones. Of course there was the usual apologists too.

I find it hard to imagine the same response if this game featured similarly offensive treatment of African Americans or homosexuals.

Sadly, I think that's optimistic.
posted by kmz at 8:51 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


My pantaloons are bifurcated over this outrage!
posted by crunchland at 8:51 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aww man, I'm envisioning the ultimate troll of gamer culture : You first write the most bad ass multiplayer online first person shooter ever. It involves ever so slight roleplaying elements that reward users who play online enough with single player missions that actually carry a compelling plot. Yet, all that plot revolves around a gay man seeking revenge against a homophobic skinhead gang that murdered his lover. ll the gay guys are really buff while all the skinheads are strung out skanks. In fact, you end up seducing one or two secretly gay skinheads to further your progress.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:51 AM on March 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


I was playing one of the new resident evil games, where frothing, savage black zombies madly chased our very clean, and white-ish protagonists around.

Resident Evil 5 came out 2 years ago and plenty of people talked about whether or not it was racist.

As for the Duke Nukem thing, who cares.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 8:51 AM on March 22, 2011


it's just pretty telling how much of that escapist power fantasy always falls back to white, straight males.

But straight white males are the most oppressed group in politically correct libural murika!
posted by kmz at 8:53 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the heads up ymgve and Anatoly Pisarenko, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one noticing this crap.

PS:, I didn't say the games came out this year, I said that I played them this year. These days I'm so far from "cool" and the cutting edge of games that it's not even funny.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:54 AM on March 22, 2011


this is the same game where you get to shoot 'pigs' in the face right?

but they are just, pigs from space, not to be confused with pigs in space or the NYPD ... right?
posted by fistynuts at 8:54 AM on March 22, 2011


Who the fuck finds that fun?

For some reason I keep thinking of Ralph Bakshi
posted by Hoopo at 8:54 AM on March 22, 2011


Jeffburdges: I love it, I was thinking of the same thing for Crate & Double-Barrel. It begins as a straight SHMUP, but slowly morphs into selecting china patterns, going into couples therapy, driving kids to soccer practice, and setting up IRA accounts.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:55 AM on March 22, 2011


> this is the same game where you get to shoot 'pigs' in the face right?

but they are just, pigs from space, not to be confused with pigs in space or the NYPD ... right?


If I recall correctly, the pigs you fight are human cops transformed by the aliens.
posted by ego at 8:56 AM on March 22, 2011


I'm against shooting Pigs in Space in the face.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:56 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, videogames are generally escapist media- it's just pretty telling how much of that escapist power fantasy always falls back to white, straight males.

This, and also, to make an earlier point more clearly: Why is it that 'escapist media' seems to cater to awful, dark, terrible notions in people? Why do some people want to escape into violence and hatred and misogyny? And why would that constitute a defense?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:57 AM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I tend to see pop-cultural detritus less as a cause of misogyny than as a symptom. I doubt that playing Duke Nukem will make you into a he-man woman-hatin' Bruce Campbell clone, but the game will probably sell like gangbusters to the sort of guy who thinks that capturing women like flags is THE BEST GAME MODE EVER.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:57 AM on March 22, 2011


...Oh, and the latter are the most difficult achievements, meaning the most gung-ho completionists will be devoting hours to balancing their virtual checkbooks
posted by leotrotsky at 8:57 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


But would you shoot them with mace?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:57 AM on March 22, 2011


*Reassures everyone*
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:57 AM on March 22, 2011


It does make me wonder why no one's upset that most of the game (as do most other videogames) focuses on killing. Abducting and slapping women is bad, yes, but so is killing, no? Why is only one worthy of outrage?

I'd suggest it's for a few reasons: One, that video games tend to be about a narrative of overcoming, of being the hero (or at least the protagonist) and generally speaking they'll usually try to present some sense of narrative which explains why the character you're playing is killing these people. It's a good point that violence is frighteningly prevalent in our culture but at least as presented in games it's the same as it is in action movies: you shoot because they're shooting at you.

Another reason is that killing isn't something expressed as pervasively in our culture as is violence against women or the objectification of their bodies.

But mostly I think it's this: As a society, we seem to have a reasonable grasp on when it is or isn't permissible to take human life but a whole hell of a lot of people seem to both refuse to acknowledge that they might be doing things harmful to women and also resist fervently any attempts to change those behaviors.

Just my take on it, though.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:58 AM on March 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


Don't worry guys. Nobody plays ctf. Case in point: Team Fortress 2.
posted by hellojed at 9:03 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another reason is that killing isn't something expressed as pervasively in our culture as is violence against women or the objectification of their bodies.

Are you watching CN or CNN?
posted by fistynuts at 9:03 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and there are plenty of people who think Grand Theft Auto and friends are symptomatic of white suburban male power fantasies. That particular controversy was the king of the internet back when GTA3 first came out. I expect the people who object to it are still around, but everyone's said what they wanted to say, and for the moment we're lacking an example of a game breaking new ground in imaginary violence.

Although, there was that one canceled game, Six Days in Fallujah, that gave the tactical FPS treatment to the War in Iraq... I remember lots of righteous outrage about that.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:04 AM on March 22, 2011


Killing in video games is (usually) presented as being justifiable killing. You're not just wantonly killing random people; you're killling Bad Guys—often Very Bad Guys, and sometimes the embodiment of Evil itself. People (or creatures) who will enslave or annihilate humanity itself, if not stopped by force.

This is more of a rationalization than an actual reason why killing is accepted in the context of a game. I would suspect that there are very few gamers that will only play FPS games where every single kill is justified in the sense that you are talking about. Doom's single player mode framed the story as being a space marine against evil demons from Hell, but players were just as happy to kill other space marines in a multiplayer Deathmatch. Video game players tend to be comfortable doing evil or socially unacceptable things (up to a point) because the game world is not subject to the rules and ethical obligations of the real world. Video games can use ethical dilemmas and good/evil choices to help define the story and create an interesting world, but at the end of the day it's a fantasy world and player actions do not matter in the same way that real life actions do.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:05 AM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Everyone who patronizes strip clubs.

You leave my grandmother out of this!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on March 22, 2011


Aww man, I'm envisioning the ultimate troll of gamer culture : You first write the most bad ass multiplayer online first person shooter ever. It involves ever so slight roleplaying elements that reward users who play online enough with single player missions that actually carry a compelling plot. Yet, all that plot revolves around a gay man seeking revenge against a homophobic skinhead gang that murdered his lover. ll the gay guys are really buff while all the skinheads are strung out skanks. In fact, you end up seducing one or two secretly gay skinheads to further your progress.

I actually think this is pretty off base. Despite all the 13-year-olds who throw around "fag" because they don't know any better, gamers aren't really that homophobic. I suspect a game with really good gameplay dynamics would do well even the protagonist was a gay guy.
posted by nasreddin at 9:08 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you watching CN or CNN?

What?

What I said was that women are objectified and/or have violence committed against them (be it the PSA standard wife-beating or more insidious forms) more often than people are murdered, and I stand by that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:08 AM on March 22, 2011


As a gamer, this sort of thing makes me angry. It's hard to defend my hobby when there's juvenile shit like this casually being thrown in.

You're right. As it happens, I also think the book business has too much juvvenile shit like this casually being thrown in. Perhaps we should start some sort of newsletter about it?
posted by haqspan at 9:12 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, no endemic, pervasive sexism here, right?

After all, this is just a game, which is just make-believe, and is just trying to be a little funny. Sheesh. All ya femnists are just so humourless. No wonder no one wants to marry you.










You know how you feel about your conservative family members? This is how I feel about sexist apologists among my own peers.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:14 AM on March 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


What I said was that women are objectified and/or have violence committed against them (be it the PSA standard wife-beating or more insidious forms) more often than people are murdered, and I stand by that.

objectified, probably. than murdered(semantics), probably.

than killed maybe. how many wars are raging at present?

than violence, no, violence against women is a subset.

violence = ok ==> violence against any minority/subset = ok
posted by fistynuts at 9:15 AM on March 22, 2011


What is this, Fox News? Judge the game after you've played it.
posted by notmydesk at 9:15 AM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Stagger Lee: "..I miss side scrolling platform games."

Luckily for us, they're making a comeback! On the indie level, anyway.

giraffe: "Spore and Chinese Democracy stopped being jokes once they materialized. Now what do I get to make fun of?"

The del Toro adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness?
posted by brundlefly at 9:15 AM on March 22, 2011


> I don't know what the developers were doing making for the half century we waited for this to be released, but it is now clear that it involved a lot, a lot, of porn.

Fixed.

Also, what yeti said in the comment preceding.
posted by Gelatin at 9:16 AM on March 22, 2011


gamers aren't really that homophobic. I suspect a game with really good gameplay dynamics would do well even the protagonist was a gay guy.

In the Fable games you can get gay married, adopt kids with your same sex spouse. In Fable 2 there is a quest where you play matchmaker for a young gay farmer.

I don't recall any gamers getting bent out of shape.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:16 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


And Red Dead Redemption, which despite some heavy handed morality in the dialogue and plot, left the protagonist shooting every single native american character in the game, with about much sympathy as they received in the now heavily criticized John Wayne movies of that bygone era.

Yeah, but like half the point of Red Dead Redemption was that your character was constantly doing horrible things. This is a game where you're expected to burn what looks like a village full of peasants to the ground because an oppressive government tells you that they're rebels. I'm pretty sure you were supposed to read killing the Native Americans as a bad thing, a bad thing that you did, but still a bad thing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:16 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


(poster of shittily-drawn foot flying in sky)
I WANT TO NOT BELIEVE


Hunh, I was wondering why you had a picture of a mutilated candy-corn on your wall.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:17 AM on March 22, 2011


What is this, Fox News? Judge the game after you've played it.

No one's judging the gameplay or level design. You don't need to play the game to find out whether you disagree with its misogyny when its developers are saying 'PLAY THIS GAME IT HAS AWESOME MISOGYNY'
posted by shakespeherian at 9:17 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Killing in video games is (usually) presented as being justifiable killing. You're not just wantonly killing random people; you're killling Bad Guys—often Very Bad Guys, and sometimes the embodiment of Evil itself

This is where I sheepishly admit that I've just started a new game in The Godfather: Blackhand Edition because I enjoyed it so much the first time through. You basically try to work your way up the ranks of the Corleone family by driving around New York extorting small business owners and blackmailing cops. You also get rewarded with "respect points" for killing people in public with your bare hands rather than shooting them.
posted by Hoopo at 9:19 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yet, all that plot revolves around a gay man seeking revenge against a homophobic skinhead gang that murdered his lover.

There's a really funny Penny Arcade podcast where Gabe and Tycho basically decide that Army of Two could have been amazing if they'd just changed the story. There wasn't anything wrong with the gameplay, but forcing you into the shoes of two of the most repellent douchenozzles ever to grace a console (and that's saying something) sort of killed the fun for a lot of people. If the game had been about two lovers who were kicked out of the Marines for violating DADT and then went on to become guns for hire then players might have been able to muster enough give-a-shit-juice to actually get invested in the characters. What's a more compelling scenario: rushing across the battlefield to rescue your wounded lover or rushing across the battlefield to rescue your wounded bro who will reward you with a fist-bump?

I would have played that game.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:21 AM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wait, Duke Nukem Forever is being previewed?

*Checks hell for frost, and the Cubs for signs of life.*

*whew*

Nevermind.
posted by zarq at 9:22 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, no endemic, pervasive sexism here, right?

After all, this is just a game, which is just make-believe, and is just trying to be a little funny. Sheesh. All ya femnists are just so humourless. No wonder no one wants to marry you.

You know how you feel about your conservative family members? This is how I feel about sexist apologists among my own peers.


Well, if you caricature them like you caricature the commenters in this thread, I expect having a decent conversation would be difficult.
posted by nasreddin at 9:22 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hate to put a turd in the punch bowl, but there's a whole bunch of women who love Duke Nukem.
posted by effugas at 9:23 AM on March 22, 2011


1. Of course it's manufactured controversy right before the release.
2. Of course, the manufactured controversy took the form of chicks as sexy meat toys; if your game is so unexciting that you need to manufacture controversy, then you probably can't come up with a controversy better than Dudes Slapping Around Hos.


Point 1 doesn't really make Point 2 any less puke-inducing.
posted by emjaybee at 9:26 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is unworthy of controversy, it just sounds inane and gauche instead of provocative. Which is true to the spirit of the Duke, and exactly what this game needs. Hail to the king, baby!
posted by Apocryphon at 9:27 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hate to put a turd in the punch bowl, but there's a whole bunch of women who love Duke Nukem.

I've heard black guys laugh at racist jokes, too, so that's okay as well!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:28 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


The release of a Duke Nukem game these days reminds me a little of the way that brands like Care Bears and My Little Pony have been resurrected in order to sell them to '80s-baby parents who remember the stuff from their own childhood.

Nostalgia (or, if you prefer, regression) is a big part of the sales pitch.
posted by box at 9:29 AM on March 22, 2011


To those who say "aw; it's just a bit of fun; games aren't real life", etc.:

Would you feel differently if the group being presented for jokey, haw-haw abuse in this game was black people, rather than women?

If so: what's the difference?
posted by ixohoxi at 9:30 AM on March 22, 2011


You know, if there's one thing that's really simple and has no shades of grey whatsoever, it's gender relations.
posted by effugas at 9:32 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stagger Lee: " ...I miss side scrolling platform games."

Braid changed my life.
posted by Plutor at 9:33 AM on March 22, 2011


Nothing will replace the feeling I got as a 6th grader seeing booby tassels on a computer game for the first time. Don't forget that you could gun down an entire strip club in Duke3D. This is just silly in comparison.
posted by hellslinger at 9:34 AM on March 22, 2011


Spore and Chinese Democracy stopped being jokes once they materialized. Now what do I get to make fun of?

Diablo III?
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:34 AM on March 22, 2011


You leave my grandmother out of this!

Did she get the dollar I tucked in her g-string? She can still bring it!
posted by maxwelton at 9:34 AM on March 22, 2011


Duke Nukem was always juvenile, but games weren't mainstream media when the first ones were released, and they weren't nearly as graphic.

...I miss side scrolling platform games.


I remember when Duke Nukem was a side-scrolling platformer shareware title in 256 color VGA. It seemed fairly innocuous back then, aside from the "butt kicking".
posted by Hoopo at 9:37 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]



Who enjoys such things? Me. The same way I enjoyed Black Dynamite, Kentucky Fried Movie, and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. I also enjoy David Cross' comedy, but hate Larry The Cable Guy and Dane Cook. I really love watching old Looney Tunes cartoons, even the ones with horrific stereotypes by today's standards. Shitty movies like The Human Centipede, Santa's Slay, and 30 Days Of Night are some of my favorite guilty pleasures.

I am also a parent, a youth leader, and a successful engineer in a very left-leaning software company. I monitor what my kids watch, and play, and have raised them to treat others with respect. I get outraged at people acting like douchebags, treating others like shit, and exploiting them for gain. But I also know the difference between offensive and Crossing The Line Twice

It's a video game. There should be zero surprise here, and if you do not like it, that's great. Fine. Wodnerful. Don't play it. But like notmydesk said, you're going to get outraged and judge it before playing it, or seeing it, jsut basing your indignant response of of some text linked in metafilter?

I saw the demos at PAX East, and it's a mid-grade shooter. I'm not going to buy it for the cutting edge graphics and elaborate gameplay mechanics. I'm going to buy it because I can blow shit up and enjoy some puerile satirical farce. I played 3D to death, and since then I have still treated my wife and kids with respect, played a lot of GTA games as well, and never once shot, beat, or otherwise assaulted a hooker, stripper, or random female store clerk. And if I did, odds are it's not because of a game.
posted by Leth at 9:37 AM on March 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


Killing in video games is (usually) presented as being justifiable killing. You're not just wantonly killing random people; you're killling Bad Guys—often Very Bad Guys, and sometimes the embodiment of Evil itself

Often but (as you dutifully qualify) hardly consistently the case. But this goes to something a lot more fundamental to the umbrella genre that is shooter: the basic game mechanic is shooting at stuff. It's an enduring mechanic because it's a strong, simple, accessible framework for engaging the player in a dynamic test of skill.

It doesn't really matter what you're shooting; what matters is that something is moving, and you need to put a reticule over it (or over where it will be) and hit the button at the right time, and if you don't it means trouble. Moving object tries to connect with other moving object using third moving object.

Everything else is dressing used to sell a game experience that's something other than "THREE MOVING OBJECTS". The problem is, it's really easy to go from abstract "triangle fires dot at square" to "person fires bullet at other person", because it's a readily accessible metaphor that can be built out with other familiar bits of context. "Soldier in the jungle with an M4 vs. guerrillas" isn't necessarily any better a game than "Floobsnark in the gracknarn with a sonic emitter vs. The Slenborn Bacterium", the mechanics needn't be any different, but the effort required to make the former work as an accessible metaphor is a lot less than for the latter.

So we have men with guns shooting aliens, or bad people, or antagonistic people, or innocent bystander people, because (a) people know people, (b) people know guns can shoot things, and (c) people know aliens and people are things that can be shot at. And people (or demons or aliens) have through their agency the ability to move around and fight back, which makes for a more compelling bit of combat.

There could be, and maybe there will be, a paradigm shift in game subject matter to more creative or abstracted ways to frame OBJECT TRIES TO HIT OTHER OBJECT WITH THIRD OBJECT that does away with the tendency to have shooters involve the player pretending to be someone putting bullets into other people until they die. And I think that'd be great, I've steadily lost my taste for Realistic Manshooting as the realism has ramped up over the years, and there are plenty of games already that go in different directions with it.

But there's a tremendous semiotic convenience to putting a gun in someone's hand and directing nasties at them that need killing, and that convenience is likely to mean manshooting has inertia to spare, and we're all going to be afforded the opportunity to shoot people with increasing nuance and granularity. Not because shooting pretend people is particularly awesome or sufficiently morally justified in the diegesis of a game or even necessary at all to the mechanic being fun. Just because it's an easy and familiar way to frame the game mechanic of trying to hit a moving object. It's a weird trick of circumstance in game design.

Slapping a stripper on the ass has far less going for it even in that sense, all else aside.
posted by cortex at 9:41 AM on March 22, 2011 [20 favorites]


I would like to say that nobody's saying that Duke Nukem makes you kill hookers, but certain people have actually said that... although not in this thread. Jack Thompson probably thinks that, but he's not a lawyer anymore.

In this thread, what I mainly see are people questioning what's wrong with us, that we find it hilarious to see casual misogyny turned into a literal game; how different female stereotypes in video games are from blackface-wearing coons from minstrel shows; how the amount of money this makes, the fact that this sort of thing is an effective marketing tactic, demonstrates the pervasiveness of misogyny in our culture.

I could forgive you for assuming that the conversation has exactly two sides, since that's a simplifying assumption that works in many cases, but we're a hundred and fifty comments deep, now, and if you still think anyone's arguing that games are mind control devices that make you hate women, I don't think you're participating in the conversation honestly.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:46 AM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Apart from stealing all his signature catchphrases from Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead flicks, this is not a surprise nor is it shocking.
posted by mostlymuppet at 9:47 AM on March 22, 2011


Braid changed my life.

How so?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:48 AM on March 22, 2011


I wonder how many people would have enjoyed Custer's Revenge if the gameplay was better.
posted by kmz at 9:51 AM on March 22, 2011


So it this marketing concept. Misogyny in a video game hardly seems like a fresh idea to generate controversy.

[100-odd comments later]

I disagree.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:52 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


if you still think anyone's arguing that games are mind control devices that make you hate women, I don't think you're participating in the conversation honestly.

Then honestly, why the outrage? Why is this even a big deal? Why the discussion at all? I know no one said that, and I closed with that to show it's possible to enjoy such entertainment and be able to take it for what it is, over-the-top farce. I will never understand the thinking that because some form of entertainment shows something that people find objectionable, it's a terrible thing and society sucks and questions like "Who enjoys such things?" and "Why is this sort of crap even made? Give me Minecraft instead!" are asked.

I find this sort of thing amusing. I find many things amusing, however, that are politically incorrect, offensive to some, and respect that others find it objectionable.

(PS Even if they don't come out and say it causes it, when people start throwing around abuse statistics, that's the intent)
posted by Leth at 9:54 AM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why we consider killing and other forms of violence to be acceptable in video games is a really good question.

Maybe it's internally inconsistent that I can enjoy a decent FPS but that I was totally outraged over this latest addition to the DNF franchise, but I think there are several layers of reactions to be peeled apart here. Speaking for myself, personally, I don't enjoy games that perpetrate violence for its own sake. I think most violent video games make at least an attempt at justifying that violence. You're defending your country against invaders, you're defending the earth against aliens, you're a spy who needs to carry out your mission for some nobler purpose, etc. There's some sense of a greater goal beyond just shooting people up for the heck of it, though I imagine that in and of itself constitutes a good portion of the stress release that gamers derive from games.

With DNF, however, there's no reason to replace a totally normal "Capture the Flag" type of multiplayer mode with "Capture the Babe", beyond "lol look at us abusing girls". Whereas violence in video games is usually blind towards its target--i.e. you're fighting against a monolithic "enemy"--in this instance you're specifically targeting a subgroup that has a history of being oppressed, and that is in many ways still being oppressed. The human trafficking connotations alone are blood-curdling. I wasn't familiar with the franchise before, but just because this comes in a long history of misogynism doesn't mean it's okay. There's a difference between crass humour and just being bad human beings.
posted by Phire at 9:57 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, you brave policitally incorrect soul, too strong and independant to care what anyone thinks.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:58 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, Leth, I think you answered your own question. When people are offended by something, they tend to get angry. Some people find female objectification offensive. And they're in this thread. Being angry.

For me, personally, it's not so much the fact that DNF exists that's problematic, but the fact that it's a Big Name, its publisher seems to be trolling for controversy, and all this in an environment where there aren't many good female characters in gaming. Also, while you aren't doing this, there are a lot of people who like the game who are specifically going out of their way to make fun of people who are offended by it. For example, the developers.
posted by LogicalDash at 10:03 AM on March 22, 2011


I will never understand the thinking that because some form of entertainment shows something that people find objectionable, it's a terrible thing and society sucks and questions like "Who enjoys such things?" and "Why is this sort of crap even made? Give me Minecraft instead!" are asked.

Can I ask you a question? I'm being honest. Would you feel the same way about a video game in which you play a Klan member who has to go around shooting black kids? Would your answer change if I said it was a farce? Would your answer change if I said it was propaganda? Would your answer change if I said it was a recruiting tool make by the KKK?

I am really for serious asking these questions. What is the difference between any or all of these and the game now under discussion?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:05 AM on March 22, 2011


OBJECT TRIES TO HIT OTHER OBJECT WITH THIRD OBJECT

I am not a gamer by any means, but aren't a lot of non-shooting, non-abstract games like this? For example, wasn't there a flash game played online that involved throwing a penguin off a cliff onto the ice as far as you could? or something along those lines? What is Angry Birds about?
posted by desjardins at 10:06 AM on March 22, 2011


I was going to make a comment about all the hookers I beat up in GTA 4, all the strip club missions, all the female raiders I killed in Fallout, all the female splicers I electrocuted in bioshock. But there really is no point.

The only answer is that the only games allowed from now on are Braid and Minecraft, we must destroy games in order to save them.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:10 AM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


But like notmydesk said, you're going to get outraged and judge it before playing it, or seeing it, jsut basing your indignant response of of some text linked in metafilter?

This is some pretty loaded language and I'd be into it if we could maybe try to avoid it for a minute. The response I've seen in this thread so far hasn't been either outraged or indignant, on the whole. In fact, the result seems to have been a reasonably level-headed discussion with some interesting offshoots, so far.

This really isn't a hysterical hand-wringing sort of deal - this is an observation of a game mechanic which is playing into some very common and kind of problematic issues our society seems to have with the way women's ownership of their bodies are treated. I haven't yet seen anyone here claim the game should be censored, or any of that.

To be clear, I'm not judging a game. I'm judging - or having an opinion on, depending on which phrasing works best for you - what a game's developer has said about a specific mechanic in that game. Based on what he's said, I don't think it's an apocalyptically bad mechanic; I think it's symptomatic of a bigger problem, not causal. I also think that there's a substantial set of the gamer population who would be made uncomfortable by a CTF mode in which you abduct a woman and spank her if she starts giving you guff on the way back to your base. That set of people exists and a whole lot of them have spent more or less their entire lives being told that they shouldn't speak up if something like this pushes their buttons.

Then honestly, why the outrage? Why is this even a big deal? Why the discussion at all?

Again: The game mechanic as presented makes some people uncomfortable, and seems like an unnecessary addition.

It doesn't seem like a big deal to you because you have never had to deal with being one of the people in that group. If you had then it might strike a nerve, maybe.

(PS Even if they don't come out and say it causes it, when people start throwing around abuse statistics, that's the intent)

This is categorically untrue.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:10 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


The only answer is that the only games allowed from now on are Braid and Minecraft, we must destroy games in order to save them.

Allowed?

What does this mean?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's just make all games socially acceptable to everyone on the planet.
posted by eas98 at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2011


Let's just make all games socially acceptable to everyone on the planet.
Because it's such a tiny, tiny, leap from "Christ, what an asshole" to "ASSHOLES WILL BE PROHIBITED BY LAW!!!!"
posted by Karmakaze at 10:15 AM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Let's just make all games socially acceptable to everyone on the planet.

How about we start by trying not to include in-your-face misogyny in games? Why is that so damn hard, huh?
posted by lydhre at 10:15 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Would you feel the same way about a video game in which you play a Klan member who has to go around shooting black kids?

I would be cool with a video game that had black kids going around shooting Klan members.

Would your answer change if I said it was a farce?

No, but I'd be sad.

What is Angry Birds about?

Siblings who kept stealing my stuff and the sweet revenge I eventually got.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:15 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can I ask you a question? I'm being honest. Would you feel the same way about a video game in which you play a Klan member who has to go around shooting black kids? Would your answer change if I said it was a farce? Would your answer change if I said it was propaganda? Would your answer change if I said it was a recruiting tool make by the KKK?

I wouldn't object to playing a video game where I'm a Klan member, as long as it was super fun (the premise alone doesn't sound all that fun, but who knows). This is because I'm capable of the elementary action of distinguishing between reality and pixels on a computer screen.
posted by nasreddin at 10:15 AM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


At least we can all thank god they aren't fat as well, am I right?
posted by tittergrrl at 10:16 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am not a gamer by any means, but aren't a lot of non-shooting, non-abstract games like this?

Absolutely! And I think that's a good thing. There's so many possible ways to frame one or another dynamic-interaction mechanic that folks can do and have done all sorts of things in one game or another go after that test-of-skill fun without resorting to Bullet Kills Antagonist as a framework.

The thing with the shooter genre is that it's a genre, and it's one of the most mainstream genres, and so just because there are other ways to go with game design there's some cultural and industry inertia toward More Manshooting that pretty much guarantees that the possibility of doing something else with your THREE OBJECTS doesn't consistently translate to actually doing something else. I just find the sort of incidental marriage between the abstract game mechanic and the incredibly complex social and moral context of Bullets Killing Things fascinating if a bit frustrating, and think it's worth keeping in mind that there is this underlying, non-moral mechanical happenstance at the root of a lot of these higher-level questions about the ethics/morality/etc. of simulated killing.
posted by cortex at 10:17 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Grey Cube versus Grey Cube is the only permissible game.

(It ends in a draw, so as not to imply a victory that would favor one grey cube other the other)
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


How about we start by trying not to include in-your-face misogyny in games? Why is that so damn hard, huh?

Meh, one woman's misogyny is another woman's romance novel. It's a good thing everyone has a choice.
posted by eas98 at 10:18 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think part of it for me is I have worked for many years with a number of stand-up comics, and comedy writers, with my side job as a studio technician. That sort of response (making fun of critics or those who get offended) is the natural response for them. If someone is heckling you, you tear them down. Not like the whole Penny Arcade thing, that went a tad over the line in a not-funny way.

Personally, I might even make fun of people getting all outraged, as a it of a reflex from the hobby/work environment I mentioned. It's the natural side-effect of being a smartass, the same way having very strong feelings of offense will make someone react with an opposite approach. On the other hand, yes, I can understand why that is less-than-ideal as a response for most people. At the same time, for lack of a better phrasing, what do people expect? Not being snide, but really, what do people really expect from a publisher of that kind of game? Apologies? Product recall? I'm asking out of real curiousity because I honestly expect no less of a response from them.



Adise to karmakaze, yes, it's true. I don't care what anyone else thinks. Not a badge I wear or anything, jsut a statement and the reason I fail to fathom why people seem to get so upset about such relatively immaterial things. In the immortal words of Sgt Murtaugh, I'm too old for that shit
posted by Leth at 10:21 AM on March 22, 2011


I'm capable of the elementary action of distinguishing between reality and pixels on a computer screen.

When you belittle the people with whom you disagree, you make it that much harder to have an honest and useful conversation.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:21 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Grey Cube versus Grey Cube is the only permissible game.

Cubist!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:21 AM on March 22, 2011


Meh, one woman's misogyny is another woman's romance novel. It's a good thing everyone has a choice.

When the majority of misogynist videogames are produced by women for women, like romance novels are, then you'll have a point.

My choice, currently, is to play misogynist videogames made by men for men and to be very, very angry about it.
posted by lydhre at 10:22 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


When you belittle the people with whom you disagree, you make it that much harder to have an honest and useful conversation.

Well, your contributions to this thread so far have consisted of acting outraged and then acting outraged that other people aren't outraged too. It's not exactly a productive argument dynamic.
posted by nasreddin at 10:23 AM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


all the female raiders I killed in Fallout, all the female splicers

Were there only female raiders in Fallout and female splicers in Bioshock?
posted by kmz at 10:23 AM on March 22, 2011


I certainly don't think that's true of my participation in this thread. But I also don't think that a good defense of your own rhetorical strategies is to say that my rhetorical strategies need work.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:24 AM on March 22, 2011


I guess the only outrage I can add to this outrage fest is there is no game where a randy female protagonist can bum-pinch scantily clad men toward their team's corral for an endgame of foot massages.

Maybe we should make a mod for it where we toggle Duke with a Dukette, and have an option to replace the woman-flag with a man-flag, and let the player's decide on what combination they'll use.
posted by The Power Nap at 10:27 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can I ask you a question? I'm being honest. Would you feel the same way about a video game in which you play a Klan member who has to go around shooting black kids? Would your answer change if I said it was a farce? Would your answer change if I said it was propaganda? Would your answer change if I said it was a recruiting tool make by the KKK?

I am really for serious asking these questions. What is the difference between any or all of these and the game now under discussion?


Honestly? Yes, I would feel that way. The same way I had no problem with the guys who published that web game where you played a coyote smuggling illegals across the border. Would I play it? Maybe, maybe not. I might enjoy it if it is done as a satire of such behaviors. If I got to play as an Illinois Nazi, in true Blues Brothers fashion, possibly. The behaviors described in DNF are window-dressing to the game, a side thing that goes so far over the top it's ludicrous.

In the case of the KKK, I'd be curious as to how one *could* go that far over the top in a satirical way. But, I would stand behind the right to publish it, and sure my kids might never get to play it while I still live, but If people want to play it, it's still a free country. Vote with your wallet.
posted by Leth at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2011


[X] I say Duke Nukem Whichever hasn't gone too far enough!
posted by atbash at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2011


Adise to karmakaze, yes, it's true. I don't care what anyone else thinks. Not a badge I wear or anything, jsut a statement and the reason I fail to fathom why people seem to get so upset about such relatively immaterial things. In the immortal words of Sgt Murtaugh, I'm too old for that shit.
That must be why it's so terribly important to tell us that you don't care. That you, alone, brave politically incorrect crusader, have the perspective to understand that nobody should care. You care so little that you must remind us again and again of your blithe unconcern, and involve yourself in this conversation that means nothing to you. Carry on, blithe soul, I solute you.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:29 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


all the female raiders I killed in Fallout, all the female splicers I electrocuted in bioshock.

I'm not sure how I feel about this issue in general, especially the violence vs. objectification debate, which I actually am interested in--why is it acceptable to me that I kill pedestrians in general in GTA IV but find other things morally questionable?

But the bit above is actually pretty clear-cut for me. I don't have a problem with people killing women in games. In fact, I was really happy that there were both male and female splicers and raiders, because it placed women as equals and worthy opponents rather than prizes or victims. The reason I see the DNF bit as misogynistic is because it explicitly shows the women as things with no agency rather than people, and the violence against them is the violence of an empowered person versus a disempowered one. As far as I can tell from this, they literally exist only to be slapped and captured.

I don't want women to be seen as a special class who can never be attacked, especially in a first-person shooter game (especially considering that the other class that usually gets this protection is children--it's almost literally infantalizing them.) I just want women to be treated as people with goals and abilities, the way (straight white) men--even the ones you kill--usually are.
posted by Tubalcain at 10:30 AM on March 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


Grey Cube versus Grey Cube is the only permissible game.

Amorphous Grey Blob versus Amorphous Grey Blob is the only permissible game.
posted by ego at 10:30 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can I ask you a question? I'm being honest. Would you feel the same way about a video game in which you play a Klan member who has to go around shooting black kids?

Would you feel differently if the group being presented for jokey, haw-haw abuse in this game was black people, rather than women?

I find it hard to imagine the same response if this game featured similarly offensive treatment of African Americans

I've heard black guys laugh at racist jokes, too, so that's okay as well


Please stop using black people as your rhetorical hammer.
posted by Hoopo at 10:31 AM on March 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


This, and also, to make an earlier point more clearly: Why is it that 'escapist media' seems to cater to awful, dark, terrible notions in people? Why do some people want to escape into violence and hatred and misogyny? And why would that constitute a defense?

Well, people can only safely explore the dark and terrible though outlets like this, so there is that. I don't support hatred or misogyny, but I'd rather haters and misogynists get it out of their systems by playing an escapist game than taking that stuff out to the streets, where they might encounter me or my kids.

My choice, currently, is to play misogynist videogames made by men for men and to be very, very angry about it.

Or you can choose NOT TO GIVE YOUR MONEY TO MISOGYNIST VIDEOGAMES and thus not add to the success and demand for such games.

I play Angry Birds, Words with Friends, Plants vs Zombies and occasionally Half Life 2 or Left 4 Dead 2. All of these games are fun for me, none of them are misogynist, IMO, and I don't feel bad or apologetic about my gaming.
posted by misha at 10:36 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes.

[answering the question in the FPP]
posted by infini at 10:37 AM on March 22, 2011


and you can get off my lawn, officially
posted by infini at 10:37 AM on March 22, 2011


Please stop using black people as your rhetorical hammer.

I'm sorry. There is a tendency for people to allow sexism because they think it's hilarious or tongue-in-cheek or whatever in instances when they would not allow racism for same, and I think that that, and the cultural assumptions that implies, tends to go largely unexamined.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:40 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I play Angry Birds, Words with Friends, Plants vs Zombies and occasionally Half Life 2 or Left 4 Dead 2. All of these games are fun for me, none of them are misogynist, IMO, and I don't feel bad or apologetic about my gaming.

You realize that Angry Birds is about suicide bombing, don't you?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:45 AM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why is it that 'escapist media' seems to cater to awful, dark, terrible notions in people? Why do some people want to escape into violence and hatred and misogyny?

Partially because awful, dark, terrible notions tend to be subjects that are effective in evoking emotions in people. Do you find things like horror movies to be similarly offensive, or does the player's participation in the events of the game make them somehow complicit in the acts whereas a passive observer of a film wouldn't be?
posted by burnmp3s at 10:47 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Misha, I play Words with Friends, I play Angry Birds, I play Plant vs Zombies, I play L4D 1 and 2. I play SimCity Societies, CIV 3, 4, 5, Wii Sports, Little Big Planet, Portal, Dragon Age, Baldur's Gate, Mass Effect, and many other games that are not sexist. I also play Modern Warfare, Black Ops, World of Warcraft, where either the games themselves are problematic, or the (mostly straight, white) men who play them online are. I like videogames. I try not to give money to videogames that are misogynist or sexist or homophobic or racist, just like I try not to see movies that are any of the above. Sometimes, I find out about the misogyny, the sexism, the racism, the homophobia, after I've already bought the game and am playing it, and I feel like shit.

Games like Duke Nukem are telling me, flat out, that they're not for me, because I am a woman and women in Duke Nukem don't have agency. And I don't think there's anything wrong with getting angry about it, even if there are plenty of other games for me to play, like Words with Friends or Angry Birds. Normalization of sexism is not, actually, okay just as long as we can shoot birds at pigs or play scrabble instead.
posted by lydhre at 10:50 AM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Were there only female raiders in Fallout and female splicers in Bioshock?

So this would be moot if they added a capture the dude mode where you get to slap the guys ass ?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:52 AM on March 22, 2011


Normalization of sexism

If anything, DNF is denormalizing sexism, since in a society where sexism was truly normalized in this sense it wouldn't be possible or funny to pitch an ass-slapping game as outrageous and over-the-top. In fact, the degree of sexism here doesn't seem much different from a typical David Eddings novel, with the crucial difference being that Eddings wouldn't have seen his treatment of women as anything out of the ordinary.
posted by nasreddin at 10:55 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Once the game comes out someone should make a mod to reverse the genders of all of the characters in the game, including Duke.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:55 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


What is Angry Birds about?

Before Angry Birds was Angry Birds, games with the same dynamic existed, but the blobs were usually cannonballs shooting at structures that fall on soldiers, instead of birds and pigs and things. The genius of Angry Birds was not changing the soldier-blob (the usual method) but in fact changing the cannonball-blob to something cute people could root for. So not it was not "you" shooting cannonballs, but rather "you" helping these birds. By switching out the cannonball/inanimate blob, they created an entire new character class that became the basis of the entire game.
posted by mikepop at 10:57 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]



So this would be moot if they added a capture the dude mode where you get to slap the guys ass ?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:52 AM on March 22 [+] [!]


Well it would sure help. Equal opportunity doesn't immediately resolve all gender issues, but that's a bigger, uglier, more complicated issue.

I don't think the "is duke nukem sexist" debate is much of a debate really, it's more like critics versus apologists.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:59 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, from what I recall, the strippers would have to be 12-14 for this to be as sexist as a standard David Eddings book. For Piers Anthony, as low as 4.
posted by bonehead at 10:59 AM on March 22, 2011


So this would be moot if they added a capture the dude mode where you get to slap the guys ass ?

It would at least mitigate some of the issues to me, yes.



I also find it amusing that people are trying to compare this to other games, movies, books, etc, but in fact a lot of those are incredibly sexist as well!
posted by kmz at 10:59 AM on March 22, 2011


In the case of the KKK, I'd be curious as to how one *could* go that far over the top in a satirical way. But, I would stand behind the right to publish it,

I don't see anyone arguing that the publishers of DNF should not be allowed to publish DNF.
posted by LogicalDash at 11:03 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


That straw man is pulled out in every thread like this. As if the only possible choices are approval/silence/banning.
posted by kmz at 11:05 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


That straw man is pulled out in every thread like this. As if the only possible choices are approval/silence/banning.


Well, otherwise the discussion becomes about Whether Right Thinking People Should Be Supporting This Kind Of Thing, and I'm kind of uncomfortable with that framing because of its petty moralism.
posted by nasreddin at 11:08 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Finally, a videogame Roger Ebert can appreciate!
posted by zippy at 11:10 AM on March 22, 2011


I certainly see your point, I agree that it is a sad state of affairs that women exists in the DNF universe only to be strippers or prizes you can slap on the ass. I am all for adding a capture the dude mode, having male strippers, and allowing the player to play as a female Duke or a male duke that captures dudes and slaps them on the ass or any variation thereof.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:11 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've already mentioned my idea for a DNF mod here. And, really, you could imagine mods that would reskin the PC and NPCs anyway you like; you could have an Alyx Vance-like character who hauled off Chippendale dancers, or something.

But that would ruin the game for a lot of people, just knowing that the iconography of the game--a meathead who vaguely resembles a roided-out Jim McMahon--could be subverted. I know someone who was a big fan of Mass Effect, and when Mass Effect 2 came out, he wouldn't play it for a while because, to him, the game was "spoiled" by the knowledge that the female version of Shepard could spark up a romance with Garrus.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2011


Easy answer, don't like it don't buy it.
Art is in the eye of the beholder, and there is no need to attempt to rationalize why people play one particular game over another as there are plenty of individual responses, at the end of the day a video game offers escape from the real world. In a video game societal norms, rules and real life consequences are suspended for entertainment, escape and enjoyment.
I do find the conversation on sexism within our entertainment interesting, yet I believe the majority of nose holders here are hypocrites when it comes to avoiding such behaviors, purchases ect.....,
posted by handbanana at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2011


A franchise reboot that turns Duke hard gay would be :awesomeface.jpg:
posted by LogicalDash at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2011


it's more like critics versus apologists.

Yep.

people are trying to compare this to other games, movies, books, etc, but in fact a lot of those are incredibly sexist as well

Absolutely, and some of them have some other value in terms of art or entertainment that make them worthwhile outside of the sexist elements. I think mostly people are shrugging off the shittier sexist elements in DNF as something in the "minus" column but still want to play it for whatever reason. Personally I have no history with Duke Nukem 3D so this game means nothing to me, and based on the descriptions it seems like trash I don't need. But a lot of people really enjoyed the last one and first-person-shooters in general, so I'm not going to assume they are all condoning the nastier parts of it. They're just playing pew-pew video games like they always have.
posted by Hoopo at 11:13 AM on March 22, 2011


Well, otherwise the discussion becomes about Whether Right Thinking People Should Be Supporting This Kind Of Thing, and I'm kind of uncomfortable with that framing because of its petty moralism.

Really? To you, the fact of objecting to something offensive without calling for it to be banned constitutes "petty moralism"?
posted by LogicalDash at 11:14 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know someone who was a big fan of Mass Effect, and when Mass Effect 2 came out, he wouldn't play it for a while because, to him, the game was "spoiled" by the knowledge that the female version of Shepard could spark up a romance with Garrus.

Spoiled like spoiler-alert-spoiled, or ruined? Because I don't see how more romance options is a bad thing. [Also, my Shepard's first pick for love interest was Garrus.]
posted by ego at 11:15 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading this thread, I couldn't help but feel a bit like we're all suddenly conservatives who don't realize Colbert is putting on a persona. I haven't played the game, but the previews I've read all seem pretty clear that Duke Nukem and the attendant uber-machismo as they stand now are engaging in self-parody.

I think there are tons of popular games, books, and movies out there that are all several times more troubling because it's all being played straight. In fact, I'd go so far as to say most media out there is worse than this game. And I can't help but feel a little like we're so desensitized to the subtle girls-need-saving that's just about everywhere you look, we're left seeing only the Colbert superparodies.
posted by Phyltre at 11:15 AM on March 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


I don't think the "is duke nukem sexist" debate is much of a debate really, it's more like critics versus apologists.

I'd buy that game.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:18 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Easy answer, don't like it don't buy it.

that is indeed an easy answer to a question which was not being asked

I believe the majority of nose holders here are hypocrites when it comes to avoiding such behaviors, purchases ect.....,

cite your fucking source
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:21 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


> LOOK
YOU ARE IN A SMOKE-FILLED STRIP CLUB. THERE IS A STAGE NORTH AND A BAR TO THE WEST.
> GO NORTH
YOU ARE IN FRONT A STAGE. THERE IS A WOMAN DANCING WHILE HOLDING ON TO A POLE
> TAKE POLE
YOU CANNOT TAKE THE POLE
> DANCE
YOU TRY TO CLIMB UP ON THE STAGE, BUT WHEN YOU SEE A GRUFF, BURLY BOUNCER APPROACH, YOU THINK BETTER.
>

posted by zippy at 11:23 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Halloween Jack: I know someone who was a big fan of Mass Effect, and when Mass Effect 2 came out, he wouldn't play it for a while because, to him, the game was "spoiled" by the knowledge that the female version of Shepard could spark up a romance with Garrus.

Wasn't there a male romance option for female characters in Mass Effect 1, as well?
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:27 AM on March 22, 2011


But when a multiplayer mode called "Capture the Babe" requires you to abduct women and lets you give them a "reassuring slap" on their buttocks if they "freak out", have the developers simply gone too far?

Nah, adult entertainment in general is filled with way worse stuff. If you don't like it, don't buy it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:27 AM on March 22, 2011


Sorry but unless you are living off the grid, produce everything you need, you are supporting some form of sexism and female oppression whether you choose to acknowledge that is on you.

Plus I don't have the time or energy to sort through your musings to find out contradictory posts about sexism.
/cite
posted by handbanana at 11:28 AM on March 22, 2011


Wasn't there a male romance option for female characters in Mass Effect 1, as well?

There was. One. Also, while ME2 and ME1 allow you to be a lesbian, you can't be a gay man.
posted by ego at 11:31 AM on March 22, 2011


I'm envious of everyone in this thread who can look at a game like this and not see how it's offensive, because they can distinguish games from reality. You all might want to unpack your invisible backpacks for a moment.

I'm not even outraged. This just makes me really sad, for reasons lydhre said upthread.
posted by girih knot at 11:31 AM on March 22, 2011


So, for all the "don't like it, don't buy it" folks here, y'all never offer opinions on any form of media or entertainment, right?
posted by kmz at 11:32 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Re kmz:
No, I think games/ entertainment such as this allows a dialogue to be had about it. I also think its interesting yet I find it humorous/sad that these are the battles people rather pick instead of lack of equal pay, lack of female representation in governmen, lack of high profile female leaders withn the business realm, and other more pressing issues.
We are talking about a game, a fictional world not confined to the rules of are own shared reality created for entertainment
posted by handbanana at 11:38 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


OBJECT TRIES TO HIT OTHER OBJECT WITH THIRD OBJECT - now I have something that explains my absurd love for Link's Crossbow Training. And actually, I like the segments where you try to hit targets (vs monsters) most of all, although that's probably because I have crap eye-hand coordination.
posted by epersonae at 11:40 AM on March 22, 2011


I also think its interesting yet I find it humorous/sad that these are the battles people rather pick instead of lack of equal pay, lack of female representation in governmen, lack of high profile female leaders withn the business realm, and other more pressing issues.

This is a terrible argument, the idea that people somehow have a finite amount of outrage to spend on issues, and that their feelings on one issue somehow mean that they can't have feelings about other issues at the same time.
posted by Tknophobia at 11:42 AM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I also think its interesting yet I find it humorous/sad that these are the battles people rather pick instead of lack of equal pay, lack of female representation in governmen, lack of high profile female leaders withn the business realm, and other more pressing issues.

Because no feminist in the history of ever has had the time and fortitude to deal with more than one sexist problem at once! Why, given that I care about sexism in videogames, I must not care about sexism anywhere else! My quota's all parceled out.

El-oh-fricking-el.
posted by lydhre at 11:42 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm envious of everyone in this thread who can look at a game like this and not see how it's offensive, because they can distinguish games from reality. You all might want to unpack your invisible backpacks for a moment.


Every time I hear the "invisible backpack" argument, someone patiently explains that it's not meant as an attack on men or as a means of silencing anybody, and then I nod and think "yeah, that sounds plausible." Then someone drags it out as a passive-aggressive way of disagreeing without actually making arguments, and I get a little less convinced.
posted by nasreddin at 11:43 AM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I expect there to be a bunch of articles decrying this in the next week or so - it's exactly what the developers want, and pretty much why the feature even exists, I'd bet.

This isn't sending a message to the developers and/or publishers that this sort of bullshit isn't welcome. If it's sending them any message at all, it's that the gaming-aware press is easily manipulated into marketing your warmed-over 14-year-old turd by a carefully choreographed mention of a feature in an interview.

Quite what would send that message I'm less sure about. I'd love to see some major gaming sites have the courage to mark things the fuck down for featuring this sort of idiocy (Eurogamer did it recently, albeit with an obscure JRPG - I'd love to see the tempest of wailing nerdbros if a big macho game got 2/10 for misogyny), especially since more and more publishers are setting developers target Metacritic scores openly now. Maybe it's worth talking to those sites now, where possible and potentially amenable, about their criteria for scores.
posted by emmtee at 11:43 AM on March 22, 2011


Re tknophobia:
You can have all the outrage you want, but there is a finite resource of time and energy on your part. If you choose to use it at art/videogame, be my guest. I am more of a fan of taking action myself. Outrage with no action is wasted potential.
posted by handbanana at 11:47 AM on March 22, 2011


Sorry but unless you are living off the grid, produce everything you need, you are supporting some form of sexism and female oppression whether you choose to acknowledge that is on you.

No apologies necessary.

Your initial statement was:

I believe the majority of nose holders here are hypocrites when it comes to avoiding such behaviors, purchases ect.....,

It appears you have now amended that statement to mean that all money spent anywhere goes to support some form of sexism. Assuming that I am one of the "nose holders" (what?) in question, just as an example, when you say "such behaviors, purchases, etc.," what does that mean? Behaviors such as those shown by the Capture the Babe mechanic?

If I don't buy the Duke Nukem game because its treatment of women makes me uncomfortable (and I again point out that my decision goes no further than my not buying it and also mentioning on a message board that I think it's kind of a shitty thing to do in a game, but have not yet once said that anyone else shouldn't buy it), what would hypocrisy entail in this regard? Would it mean that I'm vocally against the game but buy it anyway? Would it mean I don't buy this game but do buy other games which treat women similarly?

Would it mean there's no difference between choosing not to support a game engaged in egregious behavior which makes me uncomfortable and living in a society which is overwhelmingly sexist regardless of how much time or energy I spend attempting to minimize or eliminate my indirect support of things I find objectionable?

Or would it mean you just kind of wanted to declare other people hypocrites without thinking it through and now won't back down from it?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


ego, spoiled as in ruined. Also, ME2 does have one ♀♀ option that I know of, but it struck me as a little weird that it's not an option with Jack, who specifically mentions that she's bisexual. (For those not familiar with the game, Jack is a woman.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2011


nasreddin: I don't have any argument to make, but it seems to me that being able to look at a game where all of the female characters are strippers and there's a minigame to "capture" them and slap them on the ass, and thinking of it as harmless parody, can only come from a place of privilege.

What argument can I even make about it? This makes me really sad. I'm not wrong for feeling sad about it, am I? It doesn't bother you because why should it? You don't have to deal with your entire gender being objectified. I can understand why you'd think someone having a problem with this would be overreacting.

There is no argument. No one is wrong about the way they feel. But man, please try to understand that games like this can make people feel bad, and they aren't necessarily being too sensitive: they're just coming from a different place than you are.
posted by girih knot at 11:49 AM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Re lydhre: as if all feminist have a shared idea of equality. Some promote stripping and legal prostitution other wish to abolish even pornography.
Trying to put feminist in some monolithic block is dishonest.
Does media shape culture? Of course, but to what extent and how?
posted by handbanana at 11:51 AM on March 22, 2011


but there is a finite resource of time and energy on your part. If you choose to use it at art/videogame, be my guest. I am more of a fan of taking action myself.

You're still making blanket strawman assumptions about what I do or don't do as the result of my feelings on a particular issue. My actions and feelings on one aspect of a particular issue (misogyny in gaming) do not obviate my actions and feelings on the other aspects of that issue. It's not either/or, and it's disingenuous to keep suggesting that it is.
posted by Tknophobia at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


ego, spoiled as in ruined. Also, ME2 does have one ♀♀ option that I know of, but it struck me as a little weird that it's not an option with Jack, who specifically mentions that she's bisexual. (For those not familiar with the game, Jack is a woman.)

I just don't get your friend, then. It's choice, not required. But oh, well. And there are three female-female options: Samara, Morinth, and Kelly. None of them count for Paramour, however.
posted by ego at 11:54 AM on March 22, 2011


Re lydhre: as if all feminist have a shared idea of equality. Some promote stripping and legal prostitution other wish to abolish even pornography.

handbanana, I made no argument against stripping or prostitution, merely the objectification of strippers and prostitutes, and you'll be ahrd pressed to find a feminist who disagrees with that.

Or do you think "abduct[ing] women and let[ting] you give them a "reassuring slap" on their buttocks if they "freak out"" is a feminist act? I dare say you've painted yourself in a nice rhetorical corner, here.
posted by lydhre at 11:55 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Famous monster:
its not that I am not backing down, I realize I may not have been clear. My point being we all consume media to what degree or another that has some sexism, or female oppression present whether we realize it or not (even commercials for christ sakes) or continue to promote the status quo through our purchasing of goods and services with businesses that continue the status quo
posted by handbanana at 11:56 AM on March 22, 2011


I liked Duke Nukem 3D, but this really turns me off. Am I a hypocrite?

Yes. I am. "Give me a little bit of titillating sexism, but not too much!"

Basically, this game makes me ashamed for ever liking Duke Nukem in the first place.
posted by straight at 11:57 AM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it seems to me that contemporary political discourse is just a race to see who can accuse the other of hypocrisy first, which then decides the winner.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lydhre,
I have gotten myself in a corner, the echo chamber and double teaming when one further presses others to take reflection upon there own behaviors.

I guess I simply see this as entertainment and nothing more, I will take this as my exit.
posted by handbanana at 12:00 PM on March 22, 2011


As for all the people saying, "But what about all the violence?"

If there were an epidemic of gamers running around shooting people they way there is an epidemic of gamers being abusively misogynistic, then I might be as worried about violence in games as I am about sexism in games.
posted by straight at 12:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Msogyony is nothing new, the only difference is the scapegoats and excuses of the causes.
posted by handbanana at 12:07 PM on March 22, 2011


its not that I am not backing down, I realize I may not have been clear. My point being we all consume media to what degree or another that has some sexism, or female oppression present whether we realize it or not (even commercials for christ sakes) or continue to promote the status quo through our purchasing of goods and services with businesses that continue the status quo

No, you explained that more than well enough. What you haven't yet illuminated is how it constitutes hypocrisy to be aware that this is a cost (however unwelcome) of participation in society (again, while doing one's level best to be conscious of it and minimize money given to offenders) while choosing not to give money to companies whose sexism is so distinct and egregious as to make one uncomfortable.

If I'm aware that the company I buy gasoline from probably has unspoken sexist hiring practices (like every other company on Earth), it does not then follow that I am morally obligated to approve of a company which creates a game which rewards the player for commodifying the bodies of women.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:07 PM on March 22, 2011


nasreddin: I don't have any argument to make, but it seems to me that being able to look at a game where all of the female characters are strippers and there's a minigame to "capture" them and slap them on the ass, and thinking of it as harmless parody, can only come from a place of privilege.

What argument can I even make about it? This makes me really sad. I'm not wrong for feeling sad about it, am I? It doesn't bother you because why should it? You don't have to deal with your entire gender being objectified. I can understand why you'd think someone having a problem with this would be overreacting.

There is no argument. No one is wrong about the way they feel. But man, please try to understand that games like this can make people feel bad, and they aren't necessarily being too sensitive: they're just coming from a different place than you are.


I think this is a manipulative and dishonest way to talk to people and in any other context it would be considered pretty offensive. You're accusing people of being blind to their privilege and then saying "Oh, I have no argument, it's just how I feel, what are you, denying me my right to have feelings?" It robs the other person of any ability to respond constructively.
posted by nasreddin at 12:08 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


My point being we all consume media to what degree or another that has some sexism, or female oppression present whether we realize it or not (even commercials for christ sakes) or continue to promote the status quo through our purchasing of goods and services with businesses that continue the status quo

And "we" criticise and challenge that whenever we see it. Well, I do. I've emailed and telephoned the BBC and other UK media outlets, pressure groups, and governmental bodies that several of them now know me by name.

Duke Nukem Forever is a thoughtless bomb thrown into a culture that already has huge problems with violence against women. The people who spent years developing it, and the people at Gearbox responsible for the decision to pick it up and ship it, can all piss off.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2011


I don't actually believe that canny consumer choices are a good way to leverage institutional change.
Although I can certainly see why that idea might be so pervasive in a capitalist economy.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If there were an epidemic of gamers running around shooting people they way there is an epidemic of gamers being abusively misogynistic, then I might be as worried about violence in games as I am about sexism in games.

That's exactly my point, in the opposite direction. Arguably, games have gradually externalized violence in modern American culture into something you don't do "for real." Violent crimes have been in decline for decades if I'm not mistaken.

I wonder if this self-aware, overblown representation of misogyny and sexism in a game might not do the same thing. I mean, think about it -- "Who do you think you are, Duke Nukem?" Nobody who is in any way sensitive to modern feminism wants to be Duke Nukem. So then we're just let with the clueless/obstinate/malicious ones who just don't want to get it in the first place.
posted by Phyltre at 12:12 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I concure stagger lee, but in an option albeit a weak wristed one.
posted by handbanana at 12:13 PM on March 22, 2011


Phyltre, I'm not sure it works that way. I don't find it plausible that video game violence actually causes real-world violence.

But, while I can't prove it, it seems very plausible to me rather that sexist humor in games like Duke Nukem contributes to an environment that makes gamers more likely to say abusive things to women like all the crap documented at that Fat, Ugly, or Slutty website.

I think it really is possible that sexism and misogyny in games can be a significant cause of sexist and misogynist behavior toward real women.
posted by straight at 12:22 PM on March 22, 2011


It would seem this game fervently believes what Bret Easton Ellis said is true: all men want to be Charlie Sheen.

Good luck with that.
posted by kipmanley at 12:25 PM on March 22, 2011


So this would be moot if they added a capture the dude mode where you get to slap the guys ass ?

It certainly wouldn't be a solution to the problem the gaming industry has with female characters, no, but the absence of gender reciprocity is symptomatic of similar illnesses in gaming culture and society in general. So in that way it's just another brick in the wall to women, and irritating on top of being upsetting. Every time a game with this kind of content is released, it's like the boys are getting an extra box of toys that the girls aren't.

Well... I have all major consoles! I have cash to spend! They don't care. Clearly they don't want me to buy this game and haven't made any others that offer me the same experience a man could get with this one. I have literally no idea what it would feel like to play a game like that that was tailored so specifically for my gender that men would be hurt and outraged by its very existence. I can't even imagine that. That sounds like a pretty amazing gaming experience! Even if it was exploitative garbage, I would buy and play the flipside of this game, made for women, just to see what it felt like. But I'll probably never get that opportunity.

Someone upthread was praising Fable for being open-minded, but it always pissed me off because I'm a completionist, I like to play my gender, and I don't want to get married in a video game. I want to save the world, get rich, etc. So there's the one door in the beginning with the (purple) magic warhammer in it, and it won't open for you unless you get married. Men can avoid marriage and get the prize inside by blowing a kiss at the (male) door, yet women can't! The only way a woman can get into that door without getting married (and therefore get the door-opening achievement and reward) is to wait until the end of the game when you have the opportunity to change gender, and by then the weapon is worthless.
posted by heatvision at 12:27 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I for one wouldn't want to be Charlie Sheen and doubt my male friends would want to either.
posted by handbanana at 12:27 PM on March 22, 2011


I think this is a manipulative and dishonest way to talk to people and in any other context it would be considered pretty offensive. You're accusing people of being blind to their privilege and then saying "Oh, I have no argument, it's just how I feel, what are you, denying me my right to have feelings?" It robs the other person of any ability to respond constructively.

I don't know what you want from me. I don't know if people are blind to their privilege, it just seems to me that they certainly have it in this case. I'm not accusing you or anyone else of anything. When I said, "I'm not wrong for feeling sad, am I?" I was genuinely asking: is it wrong for this to make me sad? I'm sure as hell not trying to manipulate anyone and it's not my problem if you don't have a constructive response. I'm not trying to silence anyone or shut down conversation. All I did was state how I feel.

I need to get ready for work now. I wish you the best.
posted by girih knot at 12:29 PM on March 22, 2011


While there are many things within the bounds of free-speech and expression that I believe should be allowed to exist, there are many of them that I will chose not to participate in, or support in any way because they are ugly, vile, insulting, and/or stupid. Society in general draws a line around hate-speech, and I'm ok with that, but I recognize that at the same time, it is a limit on our liberty.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:40 PM on March 22, 2011


I have literally no idea what it would feel like to play a game like that that was tailored so specifically for my gender that men would be hurt and outraged by its very existence.

Someone sort of made one. The internet exploded. Here's RPS on the subject.

and I realise it's not even remotely equivalent, in that Hey Baby is basically a small-scale art project and DNF is a major release with millions of dollars behind it. and you were probably aware of it anyway as it had a mefi post. and it's still not equivalent in that Hey Baby is about fighting back against constant objectification where DNF is about perpetuating it. But still.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:44 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]



@ArmyOfKittens

I missed out on that. Interesting, thanks for bringing it up.

And hey, feminism doesn't just liberate women. It disarms all of these nasty social relationships that lead to so much knee jerk defensiveness and sulkiness from guys. That's a good thing.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's kinda funny to compare DNF and Hey Baby actually. In DNF you kill evil aliens and your reward is women. In Hey Baby you kill Duke Nukems and your reward is to be temporarily free of Duke Nukems.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:55 PM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Stagger--

[cite required]
posted by effugas at 1:01 PM on March 22, 2011


What, you need a cite that feminism is a good thing?
posted by kmz at 1:07 PM on March 22, 2011


It disarms all of these nasty social relationships that lead to so much knee jerk defensiveness and sulkiness from guys.

I'd love to see a cite for this.
posted by effugas at 1:08 PM on March 22, 2011


Okay, well I was applying some fairly stock social theory analysis to the RPS article that ArmyOfKittens posted, so I suppose that's my citation. If you read the article, it'll provide context for my comment. If that still doesn't make sense, feel free to be more specific about what you're asking.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:23 PM on March 22, 2011


Observations on gender relations tend to be anecdotal and difficult to isolate; one of many things that has allowed those invested in the status quo to deny their existence under the guise of sounding rigorous. 1

1 My First Big Totally Not Fake Encyclopedia of Making Things Sound Academic and Legitimate
posted by emmtee at 1:23 PM on March 22, 2011


Strippers and prostitutes are all well and good, but does it have panels?
posted by homunculus at 1:28 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, are there dickwolves?
posted by BigLankyBastard at 1:30 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's one. In a cage. But he's not moving.

Portal (2) is so the anti-Duke Nukem. Smart and creative and funny and Cannot. Wait.
posted by emmtee at 1:34 PM on March 22, 2011


Stagger,

You know, when I think "benefits of feminism", I think of things like "girls staying in school" and "lowered rates of teen pregnancy" and "higher wages for women" and "better benefits around childbirth".

I don't really think, man, there's these sulkish guys. If only they had more feminism.

Perhaps you could connect some dots for me? I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying I'm not comprehending your argument.
posted by effugas at 1:39 PM on March 22, 2011


If women are regular people, then in order to score with them, you have to talk, present yourself, negotiate.

If women are rare and valuable prizes to be won, then in order to score with them, you have to master the art of pick-up lines...or beat down all the men who would take her from you...or kill aliens.

There are probably some people who find the latter approach to be fun, but most of the time it just means you end up fighting a lot and end up with a shallow relationship with a woman you never got to know.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:44 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, while ME2 and ME1 allow you to be a lesbian, you can't be a gay man.

Technically you can't be a lesbian, either. Liara is neither male nor female, she's an alien in a race which doesn't have sexes in the way humans do. That she looks much like a human female and has boobs and such is a coincidence. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

But to be fair to Bioware, in Dragon Age 2 none of the romance options depend on sex. You can have all the freaky gay sex with Anders you want.
posted by Justinian at 1:45 PM on March 22, 2011


Context matters.

I think the problem is not with Duke Nukem but with the industry. Right now, gaming marketing departments (specifically EA, the biggest) are incredibly tone deaf to what their market consists of, confirming every single one of the worst stereotypes about all video gamers being emotionally stunted adolescent boys. (Much of this is taken from this episode of Extra Credits. )

The maturity level of games and gaming in the industry isn't helped when you take, for example, one of the most compelling pieces of literature, Dante's Inferno, turn it into a generic gore and tits-fest, and hire fake protestors to picket outside your corporate offices, belittling people's faith, run a contest seeing who could get their pictures with hot babes, for a prize of a limo ride with two hot women.

Dead Space 2 even went so far as to create an entire ad campaign around "It'll really disgust your mother!"

The problem is that you need to look at the IP here. The character is Duke Nukem - a character who is supposed to be so over-the-top macho and mysogynist that it crosses the line -past- offensive into hilarious. "Capture the babe" is offensive - but "Capture the babe and give her a slap on the buttocks to calm her down" is so offensive as to come right around the other side and be hilarious again.

The problem is that gaming marketing has presented gamers as emotionally stunted young boys who might think that there's nothing offensive about kidnapping and slapping a woman on the butt. They may think it's funny for the wrong reasons - the "get in the kitchen and make me a sammich" sense of humor.

The humor of Duke Nukem is the humor of Borat - so amazingly over the top that it goes right past offensive straight to hilarious.

But if you don't believe that video gamers are capable of appreciating that level of irony - if you believe that this stuff is designed to pander to gamers' purient interests instead of to their sense of irony... then of course you're going to think that it's offensive.
posted by BrianBoyko at 1:45 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


LogicalDash--

It's dating, not interviewing for an assistant manager position.
posted by effugas at 1:49 PM on March 22, 2011


You can have all the freaky gay sex with Anders you want.

Ladylady sex with Merrill, frankly.

BY THE DREAD WOLF
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:51 PM on March 22, 2011


@effugas

This is from the article I was referencing. It's the kind of conflict that our heavily entrenched gender roles and cultural sexism can cause. Other conflicts can be found by reading this thread, and others like it. But here you go:


The game’s rubbish, of course. But the one thing it does well is show how what you may think is an innocuous compliment feels in the context of a woman’s life. You approaching a woman in the street and being what you think is politely flirty is a different thing when, down the street, someone’s suggested that maybe you’d like to suck my dick and you’re a fucking bitch if you don’t.

From her perspective, it’s a culture of harassment she has to either politely deal with or ignore.

From your perspective, you’re just showing how you feel.

posted by Stagger Lee at 2:00 PM on March 22, 2011


Also, while ME2 and ME1 allow you to be a lesbian, you can't be a gay man.

Technically you can't be a lesbian, either. Liara is neither male nor female, she's an alien in a race which doesn't have sexes in the way humans do. That she looks much like a human female and has boobs and such is a coincidence. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!


That's ME1. ME2 lets you seduce the female Normandy yeoman Kelly Chambers, regardless of your gender. You still can't get any man-on-man (or man-on-male-alien) action though.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:03 PM on March 22, 2011


Stagger,

Let me quietly suggest that the guys feeling defensive and sulkish are not the same guys who catcall women.

(Also, "from your perspective" is about as offensive as it gets.)
posted by effugas at 2:03 PM on March 22, 2011


Let me quietly suggest that the guys feeling defensive and sulkish are not the same guys who catcall women.

No, they're not, but there's a similar sense of entitlement that manifests in different ways.

Technically you can't be a lesbian, either. Liara is neither male nor female, she's an alien in a race which doesn't have sexes in the way humans do. That she looks much like a human female and has boobs and such is a coincidence. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

There's a bit in ME2 where three different races are watching an asari dancer and talking about her, and then slowly realizing that each of them is seeing her as resembling their own races for maximal attraction. It's sort of amusing.
posted by Errant at 2:12 PM on March 22, 2011


No, they're not, but there's a similar sense of entitlement that manifests in different ways.

Is there now?

[cite required]
posted by effugas at 2:16 PM on March 22, 2011


The humor of Duke Nukem is the humor of Borat - so amazingly over the top that it goes right past offensive straight to hilarious.

I'd love to see some evidence that the makers of Duke Nukem are doing a Borat-style prank that ultimately serves to shame the sexism of people who embrace it.

I don't think that's what they're doing.
posted by straight at 2:16 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]



Let me quietly suggest that the guys feeling defensive and sulkish are not the same guys who catcall women.


No, they're often not. But you'd be surprised, sometimes people don't always behave in ways that look logical and consistent to a third party.
I think the quote was referring to a women finding offense in a more well meant comment, because of the context it was situated in.

It's not hard to see how much confusion and conflict is created by the way we treat gender. As I suggested earlier, feel free to peruse some threads here and see how heated things can get.


[cite required]


This kind of thing is starting to make this feel less like a discussion and more like trolling though. Apologies if you're legitimately interested in these questions, there's this greater context of internet trolling that puts our hackles up...
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:20 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is that gaming marketing has presented gamers as emotionally stunted young boys who might think that there's nothing offensive about kidnapping and slapping a woman on the butt. (...)
But if you don't believe that video gamers are capable of appreciating that level of irony - if you believe that this stuff is designed to pander to gamers' purient interests instead of to their sense of irony...


I just think, you know, have a glance at the standard of conversation on the GameFAQs boards, or comments or forums on any major games news site, or literally anywhere that isn't aggressively moderated. I agree with you, this should be OTT enough to be ridiculous and clearly non-serious from the word go (whether or not it actually manages to be funny), but if the developers have looked at their audience for even a second, they'd have to be majestically naive to think the majority won't take it at face value, and as encouragement to further turn anything gaming-related into their exclusionist backslapping misogynist meme-repeating geekbro clubhouse.

If they're making a big brash macho balls-out first-person shooter (a Duke Nukem game, at that!) I don't think the developer gets to claim their ironic intent's being misinterpreted. I mean, there can't possibly be a genre with more audience data than that in the last ten years, right?

I think including this stuff with the full knowledge that a huge proportion of your audience will take it seriously (which is to say, seriously enough to be encouraged in harassment and viewing gaming as a space for men) is pretty much the same thing as including it with the intent it be taken seriously. By choosing to develop a gurning bro shooter (or in this case dredge a half-flushed turd), a developer is signing themselves up to either have to assume a degree of immaturity and taking-things-literally on behalf of the audience that's guaranteed to respond to their game, or be at least somewhat culpable for keeping videogaming circles hostile to women.
posted by emmtee at 2:26 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stagger,

I'm basically saying that there's all sorts of ridiculous sexism thrown about as if it were obvious -- some "some fairly stock social theory analysis", as it were -- and at minimum I'm interested if there's a shred of data to back it up. Because, who knows. There might be.

Look, there's some real concrete, measurable goods from feminism. But if you can't tell the difference between the catcalling crew and the sulking crew, I'm not sure you're in any position to speak of the benefits of feminism for either.
posted by effugas at 2:28 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okey-doke. Start here. Then here. Pay attention to the "essentialist" criticism a bit down the page. Compare those essentialist expectations with the observable result of defensiveness and sulkiness. What are they sulking about, and why are they sulking? How does that "why" compare to the "why" of cat-calling? Essays on my desk by this time next week.
posted by Errant at 2:30 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm torn. Misogyny is one of the worst things about gamer culture, and this mode looks horrible. OTOH I'm not a fan of over-serious, grim n gritty manshoots. I guess I like my stupidity at a Serious Sam/Bulletstorm level.
Side scrolling Duke was fun
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:42 PM on March 22, 2011


This will probably be banned over here. It feels like the sort of game that would be banned. Shame, because while the original Duke 3D was one of my favourite games (and the multiplayer was hilarious balls-out fun), the footage I've seen of this puts it squarely in "generic 3D shooter" territory.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:12 PM on March 22, 2011


This will probably be banned over here. It feels like the sort of game that would be banned.

It's coming out on May 6th, and is rated 15+ by the ACB.
posted by Justinian at 3:16 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Offensive game is offensive! Next.
posted by GilloD at 3:37 PM on March 22, 2011


It's coming out on May 6th, and is rated 15+ by the ACB.

Well whaddaya know. I guess it's worth a trade-in, since Two Worlds II isn't coming out here until something stupid like 2012. Dead Space 2 and Bulletstorm, your time is up. (Dead Space 2, while we're all here, is perhaps the most boring game I have ever played.)
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:15 PM on March 22, 2011


I've got my hopes pinned on The Darkness 2, if that makes it through the ACB
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:12 PM on March 22, 2011


Ahhhh Metafilter. You never fail to disappoint
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 5:22 PM on March 22, 2011


I've got my hopes pinned on The Darkness 2

Didn't even know there was one in the works. The first one was pretty enjoyable, but I have to say that I haven't been particularly excited for a game in a very long time. I think Red Dead Redemption is probably one of the better things I've played in years, and I don't see a whole lot of fun-sounding stuff on the horizon. Deus Ex, maybe? Crysis 2? Don't know about that. To be honest, even if they announced System Shock 3 with the original creative team, by this point I'd basically be "Oh good, another 3D shooter". Find a new fucking trumpet to tootle on, game industry.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:41 PM on March 22, 2011


@nasreddin, if I'm making a caricature of anyone, it is those who might find this sort of humour both funny and harmless. It is marginally the first and definitely not the second.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2011


I've been playing through Quake 1 lately, it's great.
posted by Artw at 5:48 PM on March 22, 2011


I was pretty underexcited for Deus Ex 3, but it's actually looking pretty promising. I can't wait for Arkham City, the first one was just stellar. ME3 will probably be pretty fun. Aside from that, though, I'm not sure what else to get excited about. Everyone's going nuts over Skyrim, but it's going to have the Elder Scrolls levelling system and thus be a giant pile of shit to play. God, I hate that system.
posted by Errant at 5:49 PM on March 22, 2011


Oh yeah, Arkham City, forgot about that, the first one was neat. And Skyrim, well, we'll wait and see. Dragon Age II looks awful and samey. Mass Effect 3 is a possibility. Dead Island is another possibility.

I just really miss point and click adventure games. Specifically, Lucasarts and Sierra (was it Sierra, with Gabriel Knight? That was an amazing game, the first one) adventure games. The Telltale stuff we're being bombarded with lately is just really uninspired and I hate the controls.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:09 PM on March 22, 2011


The original Duke 3D was groundbreaking for its multiplayer. Not the gameplay as such, but the fact that you could download and play a new map every night, in the era when 56k was smokin' fast internets. So I suppose its natural successors would be games like Sauerbraten with smokin' fast level editors.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:11 PM on March 22, 2011


tumid dahlia, the hobby scene surrounding point-and-click adventures has been producing a lot of freeware games in the Sierra style, some of which are really frighteningly high quality. Pick your poison.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:15 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Red Dead Redemption is probably one of the better things I've played in years, and I don't see a whole lot of fun-sounding stuff on the horizon.

this is probably the wrong thread to froth about this in but the new brawler by Platinum Games is worth a look on their name alone. best mechanical designers in games. LA Noir, obviously. Arkham City.

Duke 3D was noticeable for its humor, it's random interactive elements and the fact that it was set in something like a real environment. it lead to more offensive games like Shadow Warrior and Redneck Rampage but it was just INTERESTING.
i've stayed away from modern FPSes 'cause the whole Call of Duty thing just looks BORING. Duke Nukem had freeze rays and shrink rays and just random craziness. hopefully the new one will too
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:16 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would seem this game fervently believes what Bret Easton Ellis said is true: all men want to be Charlie Sheen.

This seems apropos: Charlie Sheen playing Call of Duty
posted by P.o.B. at 6:25 PM on March 22, 2011


OBJECT TRIES TO HIT OTHER OBJECT WITH THIRD OBJECT
Point Blank
Geometry Wars clones
Big Bang Mini
posted by LogicalDash at 6:28 PM on March 22, 2011


I wouldn't stray too far from the violence leotrotsky, just make the gay sex subplots unavoidable. You might however claim your initial Teen ESRB by avoiding most sexual themes, gamboling, etc., then add completely benign missions that clarify the character's homosexuality, and finally add romantic missions that avoid all explicit sex, i.e. you force the ESRB into upping your ratting for the homosexual content alone. After they wrongfully up your rating, you provide the adult directors cut that adds a couple extra weapons and gay sex scenes. lol
posted by jeffburdges at 6:31 PM on March 22, 2011


Oh yeah, LA Noir. That could be really good.

tumid dahlia, have you played Time Gentlemen, Please! ? I hear really good things about it, and it's in the old-school adventure games mode. I haven't gotten around to it myself, but RPS really liked it. I'm assuming you've played The Longest Journey and Dreamfall? And Jane Jensen, the main person behind Gabriel Knight, just put out a new game called Gray Matter.
posted by Errant at 6:43 PM on March 22, 2011


Man, really? 12 years for some crappy Phong shading and bullshit figure animation? Not even uncanny-valley, just plain bad. The four flipped frames pole dancer animation from the original was much sexier than what they're trying to pass off as titillating here. As for the monster design, I've seen more original work on the back of a box of Count Chocula.

Don't mind me, I'll just fire up Boxer... I knew there was a reason for that post.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:19 PM on March 22, 2011


I don't see a whole lot of fun-sounding stuff on the horizon.

Portal 2 is out in a couple weeks. That'll be my second game purchase this year (first was Dead Space 2.)
posted by the_artificer at 7:36 PM on March 22, 2011




Those Cho Aniki games are pretty good (maybe not, like, Ikaruga good, but way above average), and you've heard what people say about 'em.
posted by box at 8:41 PM on March 22, 2011


Okay, maybe not way above average, but above average. Then again, there are some pretty bad shmups.
posted by box at 8:43 PM on March 22, 2011


is GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony about what it says its about?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:03 PM on March 22, 2011


Yo, Errant,

I heartily invite you to reconcile these two quotes:

"Well, colour us as unreasonably demanding, but women do tend to want a little bit more than a guy who simply refrains from being nasty like it’s some great sacrifice..."

"...disarms all of these nasty social relationships that lead to so much knee jerk defensiveness and sulkiness from guys."
posted by effugas at 11:55 PM on March 22, 2011


straight-- that's glorious!
posted by effugas at 12:33 AM on March 23, 2011


is GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony about what it says its about?

Yes, although you don't play as Gay Tony; the perspective character is his business partner. Like all Rockstar stuff it's not without its flaws, but it's fun, funny, and probably a better game overall than the main GTA4 story.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:34 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


You got it.

"Well, color us as unreasonably demanding"

This is sarcasm.

"a guy who refrains from nasty like it's some great sacrifice"

It is not a great sacrifice to refrain from being nasty. There are people who believe that being nasty is the default condition, and so they should get credit for being better than the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately for them, the people from whom they want credit are not inclined to hand out favors for being better than the least reconstructed. This variance of expectation leads the barely-better to:

"defensiveness and sulkiness"

You act like other people are responsible people of agency because that is what they are. Acting so only in the pursuit of social reward, and abandoning that act in favor of petulance as soon as the reward is not forthcoming, is the hallmark of entitlement. This entitled desire, which overrides the sovereign agency of another, is also the catalyst for more overt and inappropriate behavior such as cat-calling.

One of the objectives of feminism is to normalize gendered relationships, such that the presumptive entitlement endowed by institutional patriarchy is replaced with a more equitable arrangement which acknowledges the sovereignty of each without sublimating the other to an oppressive discourse.

I knew this would end with me doing someone else's homework. ' Twas ever thus.
posted by Errant at 2:42 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Re: adventure games, I recently played and quite enjoyed Gemeni Rue.
posted by rifflesby at 6:45 AM on March 23, 2011


Acting so only in the pursuit of social reward, and abandoning that act in favor of petulance as soon as the reward is not forthcoming, is the hallmark of entitlement.

Just out of curiosity...what is the 'right' reward to expect for one's actions if not social approval?
posted by silentpundit at 7:48 AM on March 23, 2011


Well, Errant's link from earlier sort of elaborates on that.

It's short and easy to read, don't worry.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:14 AM on March 23, 2011


Just out of curiosity...what is the 'right' reward to expect for one's actions if not social approval?

I guess some people are kind and descent and respectful to others because they think they'll get a "reward" somehow.

Other people are kind and descent and respectful to others because those others are human beings who deserve your kindness, decency, and respect.

Feminism means women deserve your respect even if you aren't going to get something from them.

Now how many favorites am I gonna get for this comment?
posted by straight at 9:54 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


How much are you going to whine if you don't get any?
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:03 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think talking about killing vs. sexism in DNF are missing the point. In DNF you're killing aliens.
posted by delmoi at 10:06 AM on March 23, 2011


I think talking about killing vs. sexism in DNF are missing the point. In DNF you're killing aliens.

Well, them and mutated humans. Or humans (females) in the process of being mutated. At least that was the case in the last iteration.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:17 AM on March 23, 2011


On citations: to reference another recent video games controversy, Courtney Stanton did a data viz exercise of responses to her blog during the recent Penny Arcade controversy for Ignite.

That's a decent-sized data set. Sulky and defensive might be ways to describe quite a few of those contributions, as might entitled - although entitled to what, I'm not sure. To order T-shirts from the Internet, I guess?
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:29 AM on March 23, 2011


[citations link should go here sorry sorry]
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:34 AM on March 23, 2011


Errant,

Step 1: Point out problems of males feeling entitled and behaving inappropriately
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Normalize gender relations

You've got a logical leap there. Pointing out error does not at all necessarily imply the capability to effect useful or positive change. Let me put this very simply:
"Well, colour us as unreasonably demanding, but women do tend to want a little bit more than a guy who simply refrains from being nasty like it’s some great sacrifice..."
Is it your mental model that a guy who hears this, will feel disarmed? Better? Less defensive, less sulky?
posted by effugas at 11:51 AM on March 23, 2011


(To immediately clarify, there's no question that feminism has effected useful and positive change. Just probably not here.)
posted by effugas at 12:05 PM on March 23, 2011


Effugas, I think that, properly done, feminism gets men to think about the inherent worth of women as human beings rather than thinking about themselves and getting all, "Surely, I'm not sexist am I?"

If your only response to stories about some of the crappy ways our culture treats women is to worry about whether you personally should feel guilty or not, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by straight at 12:18 PM on March 23, 2011


Step 2: Think about those problems and how one's actions may be contributing, explicitly or implicitly, to the breadth and depth of those problems. Adjust behavior according to one's findings.

I really want to emphasize the "think" part. These things exist so one can think about them, but one has to do the legwork; equality out from under institutional injustice doesn't just happen.

It is my mental model that a guy who hears that women are not responding to his perceived affect may choose to consider that affect and its motivations. That guy may also choose not to. But it is possible that said guy has never before considered that he might be appearing to disrespect others, so it's worth pointing out.

People who cat-call, to bring it back to your original point, are disrespecting others explicitly. People who get sullen and sulky are doing so from a place of implicit disrespect, much of the time, but those two things share a root objectification. In the case of the latter, though, it's much more likely that the person in question will listen to that criticism and consider the previously unexamined notion, which is why so much feminist literature is targeted to those people. The hope is that they'll get it. It's just a hope.
posted by Errant at 12:28 PM on March 23, 2011


This "Step 2" seems to be the call for explicit change.

Personally, I've always hoped that empowering women politically and economically will help create an environment where they can demand respect culturally. We're not there yet.

(To immediately clarify, there's no question that feminism has effected useful and positive change. Just probably not here.)

I'll give you that not very many metafilter threads lead to concrete changes, or resolve world hunger, women's rights, or anything else. But that's an awfully high bar, hey? I was happy just having a discussion.

Snarkiness aside, I do think that discussions can eventually affect change. Ideas are rarely born out of a vacuum, and this isn't an issue that always gets very good publicity.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:36 PM on March 23, 2011


effugas, I you are kind of derailing the thread. I don't think the point of feminism is to beg asshole guys not to be assholes, raising awareness of it so that women can socially sanction men who do it (by not dating them, by teaching their sons not to act that way, whatever)
posted by delmoi at 12:42 PM on March 23, 2011


What really matters here is that the greatest piece of near-vaporware is finally out. Geeks rejoice!
posted by ironbob at 3:25 PM on March 23, 2011


What really matters here is that the greatest piece of near-vaporware is finally out. Geeks rejoice!

Are you kidding? They've manage to take the vaporware legend that was DNF and turn it into some crappy game.

Meh.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:35 PM on March 23, 2011


leotrotsky writes "Oh, and the latter are the most difficult achievements, meaning the most gung-ho completionists will be devoting hours to balancing their virtual checkbooks"

So it'd be like Eve without the spaceships?
posted by Mitheral at 6:49 PM on March 23, 2011


As long as there are laser trip mines in multiplayer, I'll be happy. I'm tempted to dig out the old Duke Nukem 3D disc and see how ridiculously bad it holds up over time. The amount of time we spent deathmatching in DN3D in my first year residence floor, god, I could have been on the dean's list 100 times over.
posted by antifuse at 9:19 AM on March 24, 2011


And of course, the Penny Arcade guys have a response. The newspost to go along with it also reminds me of some of the amazing features that DN3D brought to the table, so many of which have just not been seen since.
posted by antifuse at 9:54 AM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Delayed again. (For a month, announcement is funny)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:57 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


And of course, the Penny Arcade guys have a response.

Which is exactly the sort of shallow, "common sense" observation I've come to expect from them. Way to fail to look outside your own life experience again, guys.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:27 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh.

Dungeon Siege 3 Redresses Huge Imbalance ...Because the latest trailer for Dungeon Siege 3 introduces both a sexy lady and guns to the upcoming action RPG in a single playable character, and about time too. I for one have had it with the video game industry neglecting the public’s palpable hunger for both firearms and optimistic takes on the female form. The games industry will never know the loss they suffered when development of my own game, Boobgun, was ended due to financial inconsistencies, but this is at least a step in the right direction.
posted by Artw at 12:40 PM on March 25, 2011




Which is exactly the sort of shallow, "common sense" observation I've come to expect from them. Way to fail to look outside your own life experience again, guys.

I think that's the joke. Witness (a) Tycho's "I am disappoint" face in the last panel and (b) the first line of the newspost:

Duke Nukem is no doubt, and no argument, an organism which is guaranteed (indeed, engineered) to be offensive. So, if we get offended... does he win, somehow? Is that how it works?
posted by LogicalDash at 7:25 AM on March 26, 2011


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