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There's Amazonian and Then There's...
April 24, 2013 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Video game character design is frequently questionable, but some designers don't like being questioned. Penny Arcade imagines equal opportunity questionability, while their reporter Ben Kuchera examines the broader issue.
posted by gilrain (177 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I should have mentioned that all of these links are probably NSFW for illustrated, ridiculous sexuality, but no nudity.
posted by gilrain at 3:22 PM on April 24, 2013


If we're going to mention Penny-Arcade's strip, I think we should also mention Tycho's news post, which strikes a very different tone of "this isn't really a problem, if only you people would look at how they've drawn everything else."
posted by Going To Maine at 3:25 PM on April 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


And then the comic points out how the "sorceress" art is different from how they draw everything else, so I guess that's Gabe's influence?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:28 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


That could be, or it could just be that they know the gag that will play.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:35 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


PA don't seem to "get it" when it comes to sexism in the industry (see "dickwolves"), which is unfortunate as they are a big player in the gaming community.
posted by papercake at 3:39 PM on April 24, 2013 [24 favorites]


I tried reading the direct blog associated with the comic, but - jesus - his writing style has become Lovecraftinan in its purple inscrutability.

The main comic, or at least the attached blog post, seems to be making fun of the people complaining about the adolescent artwork, although I could be misreading based on their response to Dickwolfgate, but the (editorially independent, I think) PA Report seems to take a more neutral stance, while slyly insulating criticism of PA's art style via praise of of the bossman's art style.

Like I said, I might be misreading?

Meanwhile, Rock Paper Shotgun has some of the most interesting and insightful commentary on the toxic aspects of gaming culture than anywhere on the internet. Consistently.
posted by absalom at 3:42 PM on April 24, 2013 [14 favorites]


I tried reading the direct blog associated with the comic, but - jesus - his writing style has become Lovecraftinan in its purple inscrutability.

I blame the fact that he's now getting paid to actually write Lovecraftian PA fanfic. Whatever line used to divide his regular writing style from....well, Lovecraftian PA fanfic, is completely gone.

Anyway, I read the comic itself as a pretty straightforward assertion of the problem - the art in question is a ridiculously sexualized woman, and gamers have no problem with it, but an equivalently sexualized man would get weird looks by the truckload (and maybe it bears thinking about why).

And I'm not sure where the PA Report is taking a neutral stance - it's pretty strongly anti-Vanillaware on both the art and their statements supporting it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:47 PM on April 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


his writing style has become Lovecraftinan in its purple inscrutability.

Which is why it's consistently one of my favorite things to read on the internet.
posted by rifflesby at 3:47 PM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Goddamn -- watch the video linked in Kuchera's piece.

How can anyone think that's a good idea? The breasts on that sorceress are so huge, and jiggle to such extreme degrees, that they look like autonomous things that have been somehow attached to her, scary cancerous growths that move of their own will.

How does anyone other than a teenage boy look at a game like that, and think it's okay?
posted by Malor at 3:48 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


So I thought the comic was exaggerating the sorceress. Google image search indicates they were, if anything, taming it down a bit. Crazy.
posted by odinsdream at 3:51 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think we should also mention Tycho's news post, which strikes a very different tone of "this isn't really a problem, if only you people would look at how they've drawn everything else."

Er, where? Or maybe we're reading different posts?
posted by Justinian at 3:52 PM on April 24, 2013


How does anyone other than a teenage boy look at a game like that, and think it's okay?

These people know exactly what they are doing. It's as simple as knowing that boys and some men will in fact sign-up for their shitty fantasy game simply because there's tits and ass in it. I expect these people to do conversation funnel design with this in mind, calculating just how much conversions x amount of nudity creates.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:55 PM on April 24, 2013


Tycho's news post has this to say:

You probably don’t have to guess how I feel about this latest round of compulsory swaying and fainting, so much like an old timey Tent Revival, complete with its hopping devil and its perpetually put upon holy warriors.

...

The only characters here who aren’t fucking mutants are the Elf and the Wizard, who are there to calibrate the player; everybody else is some fun-house exponent of strength or beauty stretched into some haunted sigil. Iconic isn’t even the word - they don’t evoke icons, they are icons. They’re humans as primal symbols.

It’s very weird to pull up a story about a game with frankly visionary art and hear why it shouldn’t exist, or to hear what I supposedly fantasize about, or what kind of power I supposedly revere, and any attempt to defend oneself from these psychotic projections or to assert that creators may create is evidence of a dark seed sprouting in the heart. It’s an incredible state of affairs. They’re not censors, though - oh, no no. You’ll understand it eventually; what you need to do is censor yourself.


So yeah, he's basically saying that the art is crazy so this isn't a problem because EVERYONE in the game is a mutant, and then he proceeds to expound in this in a way that confirms my suspicion that Tycho is a horrible, watery fart of a person.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:57 PM on April 24, 2013 [36 favorites]


Er, where? Or maybe we're reading different posts?

So, maybe I'm misreading, but it seems to me that Tycho's whole argument is that every single piece of text and art in this game is super stylized, so why should we care that they've also made the sorceress super stylized as well. Hence his calling out the fact that the game's logo is written in quite ornate text. To quote:

The only characters here who aren’t fucking mutants are the Elf and the Wizard, who are there to calibrate the player; everybody else is some fun-house exponent of strength or beauty stretched into some haunted sigil. Iconic isn’t even the word - they don’t evoke icons, they are icons. They’re humans as primal symbols.

That is, since all these characters are primal symbols, this isn't a problem.

Just to provide some additional material, here's Leigh Alexander's article on why she thought that Bayonetta was a great game, in part because of its hyper-sexualization of the main character.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:58 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh I see, yeah I got lost somewhere in his weird inscrutable prose.

I don't know how to reconcile that with the comic itself. Unless they're just going for the lulz.
posted by Justinian at 3:59 PM on April 24, 2013


This is bothering me more than it should. The comic says the opposite thing! Than the news post! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS.
posted by Justinian at 4:04 PM on April 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


I know that Mike in particular, and Penny Arcade in general, don't have a great track record on sexism. I read it more as ignorance than malice, but I won't excuse them of it. However, I do think they considered both sides of this, and so the news post and the comic aren't necessarily at odds.

Mike tweeted: "I think the art is DC is beautiful. It also made me think about sexualization of characters and how it effects my choices in games."
posted by gilrain at 4:04 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, have you seen the Amazon character? How the heck is that person supposed to walk, let alone fight?
posted by JDHarper at 4:07 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


My read on the comic is as basically a straw man appeal. I read that last panel with dripping sarcasm, although it didn't make sense to me at all the first time so I read the blog post and that's probably coloring my read.
posted by absalom at 4:07 PM on April 24, 2013


Tycho's always taken a conservative, the-status-quo-is-fine position on these things. Which I sympathize with, honestly. If you personally don't find jokes about rape offensive and consider yourself sensitive to that issue, why should the joke matter? I've wrestled with that myself, and have come out in different spots. Either way, it's a good barometer for where game culture is, since these are the adult players in the room.

Also I don't think PA has very good writing
posted by Going To Maine at 4:09 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would love - just once, ever - to see Tycho think that something, somewhere, wasn't completely and totally ok. Because all I ever see from that corner of the internet is an unending litany of excuses for every individual instance that someone objects to, coupled with the same puerile caricaturing of his opponents (when will those histrionic ladies get their tone right?). I'm sure he'd agree (publicly) that sexism and heteronormativity are problems in the industry and in society at large, but will defend to the death any and every actual concrete example, in part by severing it from its cultural context and looking at it in sterile isolation under a microscope.

Pretty chickenshit, dude.

I feel sorry for the Christian guy from gamasutra, must suck to have one of your favorite devs drop a turd in your front hall.

absalom et al: I think the comic is pretty straightforward. It just doesn't match up with the news post. It's actually surprisingly close to being insightful.
posted by kavasa at 4:10 PM on April 24, 2013 [18 favorites]


That amazon should see an oncologist stat. Because those are some really weird looking bumps and lumps.
posted by Justinian at 4:10 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's definitely some ridiculous t'n'a, and that's sadly more of the same tired bullshit, but can we talk about the other anatomical issues with the sorceress?

Take a moment to try and put your arm in this position without dislocating your shoulder.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:10 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


While I agree with Tycho that the game's logo is so distorted and acts as a "prism" that's later applied to the characters, I disagree with the takeaway.

My takeaway is that it's utterly garbage design and whoever designed BOTH the logo and the characters shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a pencil.

Seriously, that is a terrible, terrible, terrible logo. And that's not even getting into the creepy boob angle of the character.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:14 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Looking at the web site the only logical conclusion is that the next game in this series will have one of the characters be a massive set of disembodied, floating breasts, bereft of a mere human to drag them down.
posted by GuyZero at 4:14 PM on April 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh christ, is this still the level games are stuck at? I can't even muster the energy to be outraged any more. It's just boring.

Thanks for reminding me why I quit reading PA.
posted by arha at 4:14 PM on April 24, 2013


I was browsing Wikipedia during my recent "Oh, yeah, I like comics!" phase, and it immediately becomes apparent that all the female superheroes have a bit about where they ranked on some shlub's "sexiest of all time" list.

It's kind of tiring to get constant reminders that my sex is still totally OK with women as objects.

And yeah, unfortunately PA just isn't very good anymore. Oh well, nothing lasts forever
posted by selfnoise at 4:16 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mike tweeted: "I think the art is DC is beautiful. It also made me think about sexualization of characters and how it effects my choices in games."

It actually looks like he's having a pretty long twitter back-and-forth on the subject, but seems to generally be in line with Tycho's opinion (E.g. even if all the DC art does is create this conversation I'd say it's good art! This is what art should do!)
posted by Going To Maine at 4:17 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The comic was a pleasant surprise. I like Tycho and Gabe in that they're relatably geeky-awkward, which makes me cheer on their success (and good works), so it's a shame that they've been kinda curmudgeonly on this issue.

Tycho's post alludes to having words put in his mouth, and I sort of suspect his difficulty is that he feels he's not an example of the straw man jock dude leering at cosplayers, so what's the problem? I'm sure there is some future world where art like this can exist as purely an interesting style, and I think it genuinely is a lovely looking game, but nothing exists in a vacuum. In this world, I've got a screencap of a banner ad for an online fantasy game that just has a picture of a woman and the slogan "YOU DESERVE AN ORGY."
posted by lucidium at 4:18 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would love - just once, ever - to see Tycho think that something, somewhere, wasn't completely and totally ok.

I get the feel Tycho is one of those alienated youths who never really grew out of their Ayn Rand phase. He does think lots of things aren't ok but mostly collective action. Lots of laws we would mostly agree with him about, for example, which attempt to crack down on things on the internet. But he's all for individuals expressing themselves however they want with little or no repercussions.

A lot of us were alienated youths. Some of us realized the solution wasn't to become a Randite. (Note: I have no idea how he literally feels about Ayn Rand. It's just the vibe he gives off.)
posted by Justinian at 4:20 PM on April 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Holy crap, have you seen the Amazon character? How the heck is that person supposed to walk, let alone fight?

I sometimes try to picture male video game characters designed along the same lines as female video game characters, but since my only frame of reference for such things is Tom Of Finland drawings, I find I'm completely unable to actually conceive of any equivalent.
posted by hippybear at 4:26 PM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I sometimes try to picture male video game characters designed along the same lines as female video game characters, but since my only frame of reference for such things is Tom Of Finland drawings, I find I'm completely unable to actually conceive of any equivalent.

Click on the link in this post attached to the words "imagines equal opportunity questionability".
posted by mr_roboto at 4:35 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let me put it this way - why is a video game different than porn? Or, aren't they really the same thing?
posted by four panels at 4:40 PM on April 24, 2013


But if Anita Sarkeesian announces just that she plans to consider these issues (i.e. long before she has a chance to comment on the issues themselves) she gets an avalanche of death threats. What a world.
posted by ErikaB at 4:43 PM on April 24, 2013 [14 favorites]


Let me put it this way - why is a video game different than porn? Or, aren't they really the same thing?

People who criticise the portrayal of video game characters like this will also criticise the objectification of women in most porn. You are not building much of an argument here.
posted by knapah at 4:43 PM on April 24, 2013


The male equivalent is actually Rob Liefeld characters. Look at all the pouches. Think, just for a second, how much junk those dudes are carrying.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:43 PM on April 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Let me put it this way - why is a video game different than porn? Or, aren't they really the same thing?

Yeah, this point needs some elaboration. I don't think Tetris is like porn at all.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:47 PM on April 24, 2013


Having worked in video games, I can say that they are made for different reasons and for a different audience. Most of the designers and artists I know would be insulted to have their work dismissed as porn. (Not all, perhaps, but definitely most.)
posted by restless_nomad at 4:47 PM on April 24, 2013


Penny arcade has done tons of great stuff. They coordinated the witch hunt when that PR dude was rude to that guy who wanted to buy a controller or something, remember that?

This is a Japanese game right? Will it even be released in the US? Isn't this par for the course? They do this with male characters too check out Cho Aniki. I hate gamers as much as anyone, but I think they are off the hook here.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:48 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't this par for the course?

That's the point.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:53 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd actually be much less annoyed by the whole business if lazy character designers nursing their boners and the development studios that employ them would collectively suck it up and put hardcore pornography in their games. It makes the intended audience a lot more obvious, and conversely makes that kind of thing a lot easier to avoid if you're not into it.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:57 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Th-that art makes me feel uncomfortable."

"Welcome to the background radiation of my life."
posted by Rhaomi at 4:57 PM on April 24, 2013 [29 favorites]


Penny arcade has done tons of great stuff. They coordinated the witch hunt when that PR dude was rude to that guy who wanted to buy a controller or something, remember that?

They also raise lots of money for charity so let's not act like they aren't complicated people. As are most people.
posted by Justinian at 4:59 PM on April 24, 2013 [15 favorites]


The game has an August release date for the US. It is Japanese, so different cultural norms are certainly an issue. But I don't know if that's an excuse. I'ma link to that Bayonetta article again, since it's the most positive take on sexist character design that you're going to see.

Also, remember the whole controversy with the Resident Evil game set in Africa? Only tangentially related, but another case of tone-deaf design.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:59 PM on April 24, 2013


It's impossible for me to take an artist seriously when he tries to shut down criticism of his work. Grow the heck up.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:00 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's the point.

That was poorly said on my part. I meant that aesthetics in certain Japanese art styles may not mean the same thing as it does to us. Where we see something titillating they may read it differently. The motivation may not be to cause puerile enjoyment among 13 year olds but may draw on traditional Japanese symbolism re: mutants. They certainly have a thing with the grotesque, butoh comes to kind.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:02 PM on April 24, 2013


Yes, we shouldn't be quick to assume that there is a history of sexualizing females inappropriately in Japan. Such a thing is unheard of there.
posted by Justinian at 5:04 PM on April 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


And they actually do have a subset of games that have hardcore porn tossed in. It hasn't seemed to improve the overall climate any.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:06 PM on April 24, 2013


That Amazon looks like a Cheech Wizard character.
posted by sourwookie at 5:07 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Who are we to decide for Japan what is appropriate.

I'm not going to buy the game But I'm not going to judge it by the same yardstick I would judge an American game either.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:09 PM on April 24, 2013


Yeah, we should not judge Japanese games like "RapeLay". It's just cultural differences.
posted by Justinian at 5:12 PM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this point needs some elaboration. I don't think Tetris is like porn at all.

All the initial fumbling around, waiting for the right shape to arrive, and when it does, and it is inserted in the proper hole, the feeling of exhilaration, and then the tension melts away and you are, momentarily, wiped clean and feel both emptied and satisfied.

Plus, I assume everyone else also does both to a soundtrack of 8-bit Russian folk tunes.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:12 PM on April 24, 2013 [29 favorites]


"I was hoping for an I-block, but he only had a T."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:19 PM on April 24, 2013


Yeah, this point needs some elaboration. I don't think Tetris is like porn at all.

The real problem with Tetris is that it glorifies the white and straight.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:20 PM on April 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm not going to buy the game But I'm not going to judge it by the same yardstick I would judge an American game either.

That's not necessarily fair. Japanese media makers of all kinds know that the international market will happily take their things and it it put into the planning of the release of many products. They are also not a cultural backwater- they are fully informed about us as we are of them.

Many of the nerdy art we know and love today also comes from Japanese originated games. It's not a case of separate spheres, they are part of a conversation.

Furthermore what makes sexism produced by another culture somehow okay? It's not like it's really governed by sovereignty treaties.
posted by Phalene at 5:21 PM on April 24, 2013


Justinian: "I get the feel Tycho is one of those alienated youths who never really grew out of their Ayn Rand phase."

He's a former Mormon. I figure if he's not ranting about the relationship between Mountain Dew and gaming, progress was made?
posted by pwnguin at 5:23 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, how are we even having this conversation without links to Escher Girls and The Hawkeye Initiative?

The fact that they never seem to have heard of either, which have been part of a huge comic artist discussion online, just confirms to me that PA really still has its head up its ass on this topic.
posted by emjaybee at 5:25 PM on April 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


Yeah, we should not judge Japanese games like "RapeLay". It's just cultural differences.

There is a huge difference here and you know it. Saying maybe we should take cultural context into consideration with art style isn't saying fuck yeah rape sims.

Anyway, are games art or not? Are there subjects art should be prohibited from examining?

Furthermore what makes sexism produced by another culture somehow okay? It's not like it's really governed by sovereignty treaties.

I'm just saying we are projecting a motivation in the character design. I'm not willing to say I understand the motivations and the art style's place within the continuum of Japanese iconography.

I'd just like to examine the cultural context here. How is that a bad thing?
posted by Ad hominem at 5:27 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If aspects of a culture are problematic--as certainly true in Japan as it is here in the US--I don't think you get a pass on it just because it's The Way It Is.
posted by maxwelton at 5:32 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, we should not judge Japanese games like "RapeLay". It's just cultural differences.
But what about those Iranian games? Shameful!


One thing that surprises me about PA's "Reality Show for Webcartoonists" Strip Search is that after 5 eliminations, all decided solely by Jerry ("Tycho") and Mike ("Gabe"), the contestants have gone from a 6 male/6 female split to 5 women and 2 men.

They do make a ritual at the eliminations of finding new ways of destroying the paper copy of the losing comic. The last time, they rolled it up and fed it into a blender with juice in it to make a 'comic smoothie' that Jerry drank... he drank it ALL up. That boy just ain't right.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:38 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Anyway, are games art or not? Are there subjects art should be prohibited from examining?

Nobody has said games aren't art. This art is being criticized as sexist in the context of its genre (video games) which has a well understood problem with sexism. The international community of people who enjoy this genre of art is currently undergoing a vigorous period of debate and growth, re the problematic sexism. Japan is a member of the international community of people who create video game art and is thus subject to the same debate.

I'm not sure why you're being so obtuse about this. A knowledgeable American film critic can criticize Japanese films, even if a Japanese film critic might spot nuances they would miss. An American film critic who specialized in Japanese films might even be on somewhat even footing with a Japanese critic, and Japan is such a big player in video games that not a few gamers could claim to be fairly knowledgeable of Japanese games (including myself, including much of this publisher's previous work).

And anyway, the nuances which would require a local or an expert are not really present here.
posted by gilrain at 5:41 PM on April 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Btw, I was just being sarcastic when I said I hated gamers. I also acknowledge PA does some good stuff, and that PR guy really was a dick. I don't want you guys mad at me.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:47 PM on April 24, 2013


And anyway, the nuances which would require a local or an expert are not really present here.

You might not agree this is a problem, but if there's one thing this game is not it's certainly not nuanced.
posted by GuyZero at 5:48 PM on April 24, 2013


Rhaomi: ""Th-that art makes me feel uncomfortable."

"Welcome to the background radiation of my life."
"

i came in here to post this. I think this is an extremely important point that is ignored. The industry seems to say "Yeah we got naked tits for the dudes, but we also got naked swol for the ladies, so it all evens out!" But the truth is that tits and swol are both for the dudes, because (and I know I'm generalizing here) being swol is as much a dude fantasy as seeing tits. So they are both empowering/titillating only 50% of the target population.

I'm replaying mass effect 2 right now and a few things have popped up in my reading about the design of Thane, and how he's supposed to be for women what Miranda is for men. And, yeah, when i look at him, I keep thinking about that ShortPacked! comic.

And, yeah, you know, he's got the lean dexterity. He's got the intense, large eyes, the rosy cheeks,a nd the kissable lips.

I wish that shortpacked strip would get more attention
posted by rebent at 5:50 PM on April 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


I never said to give anything a pass because that is just the way it is in Japan. I am saying what we imagine is done for purely prurient reasons may not be. I don't know enough to judge. I will accept that there are some who do.

I'll STFU now.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:51 PM on April 24, 2013


Are there subjects art should be prohibited from examining?

Of course not. But we're free to judge that art. I don't just shrug my shoulders at Liefeld because, hey, art.
posted by Justinian at 5:56 PM on April 24, 2013


I guess the problem, Ad hominem, is that you're saying we need to take cultural context into account but then not actually attempting to provide any cultural context. Just saying maybe there is some of which we are not aware.

It'd be one thing if you said "Hey, I'm Japanese and..." or "I'm an expert on the subject and..." but you're kinda just saying "who knows?". Which doesn't seem helpful.
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


As ever, the women are male fantasies, but the men, on the other hand, are, uh, male fantasies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:02 PM on April 24, 2013 [10 favorites]



One thing that surprises me about PA's "Reality Show for Webcartoonists" Strip Search is that after 5 eliminations, all decided solely by Jerry ("Tycho") and Mike ("Gabe"), the contestants have gone from a 6 male/6 female split to 5 women and 2 men.


Well, that's just it. The whole problem with the PA guys is not that they're sexist douches, because they aren't. The problem is that because they aren't sexist douches and they don't objectify women, they don't think it's a problem that objectification happens (and they are prone to getting defensive if something they produce is criticized on such a basis, witness Dickwolves et al in which they quite correctly pointed out that the point of the joke was that rape is bad and that games tend to trivialize horrific things, but in which they failed to realize that even if their intent was pure, people could still legitimately be offended).

The knapsack is very, very invisible, you see.
posted by Scattercat at 6:05 PM on April 24, 2013 [26 favorites]


I guess the problem, Ad hominem, is that you're saying we need to take cultural context into account but then not actually attempting to provide any cultural context. Just saying maybe there is some of which we are not aware.

It'd be one thing if you said "Hey, I'm Japanese and..." or "I'm an expert on the subject and..." but you're kinda just saying "who knows?". Which doesn't seem helpful.


Seconding this.

As ever, the women are male fantasies, but the men, on the other hand, are, uh, male fantasies.

And this.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:09 PM on April 24, 2013


Scattercat, I agree with you. I'm a little off-put by some of their decisions for eliminations, most notably on day 3, but I haven't thought that they were sexist in their choices of winners.
posted by rebent at 6:14 PM on April 24, 2013


I think the combo of cartoon (OGODTHATSCROTUM) newspost (reasonably, if obliquely, pointing the finger at implicitly-required artistic self-censorship) and the PA report story (jesus this is weird, maybe artists shouldn't reflexively call their critics gay?) makes a pleasingly three dimensional take on a complicated issue.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:15 PM on April 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I suspect that Tycho's perspective will change as his daughter ages (it's been amusing to see the consciousness raising in my own brother (newly-minted dad with his first child, a girl) who could barely stop himself from rolling his eyes whenever I would talk about anything that vaguely hinted at sexism and how fucking annoying it is as we grew up. Funny how things change when you have skin in the game.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:26 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you are repeatedly unable to understand sexist douchery when you see it (to a ridiculous extreme in PA's case) then at some point your blindness goes from accidental to willfull. And you become an enabler of said douchery. That doesn't prohibit you from doing non-sexist things too, but it does make it clear that you cannot be relied upon to take sexism seriously, and by extension, to take women's demands for just treatment seriously, overall. A justice that only applies to people you like is just favoritism.
posted by emjaybee at 6:28 PM on April 24, 2013 [19 favorites]


A justice that only applies to people you like is just favoritism.

A nice capsule summary of why so many long-time GLBT advocates were frustrated with the recent republican congresscritter who only came around on same-sex marriage once he learned his son was gay.
posted by hippybear at 6:32 PM on April 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


A nice capsule summary of why so many long-time GLBT advocates were frustrated with the recent republican congresscritter who only came around on same-sex marriage once he learned his son was gay.

My favorite line that came out of that was "I can't wait til he notices his daughter's a woman!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:33 PM on April 24, 2013 [18 favorites]


Yeah, mine too.
posted by hippybear at 6:36 PM on April 24, 2013


also criticise the objectification of women in most porn.

Dangit. I hate this game and consider it lazy, but now I have to buy it.
posted by poe at 7:44 PM on April 24, 2013


If you are repeatedly unable to understand sexist douchery when you see it (to a ridiculous extreme in PA's case) then at some point your blindness goes from accidental to willfull. And you become an enabler of said douchery. That doesn't prohibit you from doing non-sexist things too, but it does make it clear that you cannot be relied upon to take sexism seriously, and by extension, to take women's demands for just treatment seriously, overall.

That's quite the "If you're not with us, you're against us" argument.
posted by Amanojaku at 7:48 PM on April 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


I lovelovelove LoadingReadyRun and almost everything they do. (If you'd like particular recommendations: Commodore Hustle has been one of the best ongoing geeky humor series on the web, and if you get a chance to experience it live, Desert Bus is kind of mind-expandingly cool.) Their humor, especially Paul's, is insightful, deliriously silly, original, geeky and downright hilarious, all while being sort of gentle -- they find ways to be funny without being homophobic, misogynist, transphobic, etc.

All of which has made me sad that they're getting involved with PA. (Strip Search is co-produced by the LRR folks, and Check Point has been running on the PA website for a while.) It sometimes feels like the jerkiness of PA is slowly taking over. I hope that's just a passing feeling.
posted by jiawen at 7:58 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never said to give anything a pass because that is just the way it is in Japan. I am saying what we imagine is done for purely prurient reasons may not be. I don't know enough to judge. I will accept that there are some who do.

I'll STFU now.


Not trying to call you out specifically Ad hominem (I sympathize with what you are trying to express in fact) but I just want to state for the record, living in Japan and being an American male married to a Japanese woman who I have to explain concepts like male gaze to all the time the culture here is absolutely not progressive in many ways in relation to sexism. I mean, it's not all black-and-white--Japanese women aren't anywhere near as stupid or submissive as popular American media seems to portray, or as Japanese media would have you think (if that even needs to be said), but there is a whole discourse that is going on in the U.S. that I don't find has permeated the culture as deeply here (which isn't to say it isn't going on at all, it's entirely possible and probable I'm just ignorant of it).

So when I read the Japanese game designer George Kamitani's response to the original article, I totally could hear where he is coming from (read: absolute groan-worthy cluelessness) and in no way do I think it should get a pass. I've had these kinds of discussions with Japanese men AND women and it's disturbing how clueless people are here. And you know, arguments about cultural relativity can go fuck off, as far as I'm concerned.

Characterizing the Japanese market for this kind of shit as consisting of a bunch of 14-year-olds (emotionally, if not literally) is exactly right. There is a deep-seated, immature sexism very much prevalent in Japanese society that really needs to have more uncomfortable criticism lobbed at it, and if the discussions that are happening in the west start spreading over here, really getting people in gaming culture, especially, to actually think hard about these things would be a really positive development.

I don't expect it will be such a direct interaction, but I can easily see people here starting to be perplexed by the reactions they are getting by westerners, and then that will maybe give them pause, and then maybe a dim lightbulb will go off in the dark attic of their consciousness and then, perhaps, possibly, a very Japanese-style discussion about sexism can begin. Maybe.

But anyways, let's keep the pressure up.

</rant>
posted by dubitable at 8:22 PM on April 24, 2013 [21 favorites]


"A nice capsule summary of why so many long-time GLBT advocates were frustrated with the recent republican congresscritter who only came around on same-sex marriage once he learned his son was gay."

There's a weird transition that happens where the public perception (activists and general public both) goes from an "identity-politics/advocating for their interests" stance to a "this is an injustice that we all oppose" stance. Gay rights has, amazingly, made a huge amount of progress through that progression just in the last ten years. Anti-racism, particularly with regard to African Americans, has been at the end stages of this for a long time (but still hasn't made it over that final hump).

In contrast, women's rights are still stuck mostly in the "this is of special interest only to those affected" stage. From one perspective, this is very surprising. But from another, it isn't and shouldn't be. Because sexism is deeply entrenched. It just isn't taken very seriously in our culture.

I think that there's definitely some correlation between being conservative and Republican and caring primarily about issues that affect one's self or family. It relates to the conservative temperament's fear of strangeness and the corresponding limit of empathy; and other things.

But conservatives are not the only people who think like this; we all do to some degree and many non-conservatives are just as inclined to think this way as the worst conservatives are.

If we hear about someone advocating for justice with regard to a group we're not familiar with and they are not self-evidently a member of, we tend to wonder what their stake in it is. Here, on MetaFilter, and certainly with all threads dealing with sexism but pretty much about everything, when people are very outspoken about injustice committed against a group of which they're not a member, there's always explicitly voiced suspicions about their "true" motives. Always.

What I'd really like to have a good handle on — and I very much don't — is what exactly is happening to change the cultural context from suspicion, on the one hand, to "of course we're all outraged and opposed to this", on the other.

Personally, I think it's pretty sad that with half the population being female and all of we men being children of mothers and many of us being siblings of sisters and many of us being partners with women — that it would take having a female child for there to be "skin in the game" or, indeed, that anyone ever needs "skin in the game" to take these issues seriously in the first place. And it annoys the fuck out of me that we're still such a long, long way from the "of course we're all outraged and opposed to this" side of the progression.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:29 PM on April 24, 2013 [19 favorites]


There's kind of a disconnect between Ben Kuchera's and Jerry Holkins' posts on it; the former has a decent disquisition on some of the issues involved, while the latter seems genuinely offended that someone might criticize not only a game that he enjoys from an artistic viewpoint, but also the sort of gamer that it seems to have been designed for, and can't come around to the idea that you can appreciate a work of art generally while still admitting that elements of it are problematic. This is, in fact, how I feel about the Mass Effect franchise WRT the obvious fanservice aspects such as the character design of Miranda Lawson. (Per rebent's comment above, I think that Thane's character design is much better than Miranda's, and if hers were much less fanservicey and actually a bit closer to her character model (and voice actress), Yvonne Strahovski, I'd be much less embarrassed by her.)

But, then, the whole "dickwolves" thing started when Holkins wrote a strip that makes a legitimate criticism about the morality of quests in World of Warcraft, one that (as others have noted) did not make a rape joke, and responded to criticism... by making rape jokes.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:31 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Amanojaku, I am confused by what you mean. Can you clarify?
posted by emjaybee at 8:47 PM on April 24, 2013


That's quite the "If you're not with us, you're against us" argument.

Eh, there's a difference between complaining when somebody fails to say "this is wrong" and complaining when they say "no, this is fine."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:50 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm replaying mass effect 2 right now and a few things have popped up in my reading about the design of Thane, and how he's supposed to be for women what Miranda is for men.

I guess I could see that. Women are really turned on by Reptilians, right?
posted by mokin at 8:52 PM on April 24, 2013


I was always an Ashley kind of guy, myself.
posted by Justinian at 9:01 PM on April 24, 2013


This is just anecdotal observation, but from seeing the fan communities around ME I get the impression that Garrus and Thane are probably the two most popular romance options (#1 and #2 respectively) for FemShep. Neither of them are what you'd really call classically handsome, considering one looks like a dinosaur and the other looks like a lizard / frog hybrid.
posted by C^3 at 9:03 PM on April 24, 2013


I'm not sure, I'd guess Liara is by far the most popular romance option for FemShep.
posted by Justinian at 9:05 PM on April 24, 2013


I'm not sure, I'd guess Liara is by far the most popular romance option for FemShep.

I maintain that Asari actually look like vaguely humanoid vampire squid, they just hide it really well (with mind control).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 9:57 PM on April 24, 2013


Just like Goldman-Sachs!
posted by Justinian at 10:07 PM on April 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Amanojaku, I am confused by what you mean. Can you clarify?

I mean that you didn't leave much ground for honest disagreement. In that scenario, either one agrees with given claims of sexist douchery, or one is ignorant, to the point of wilfully enabling misogyny, thereby invalidating their position. It's a neat little closed circle, but I don't think it's accurate, fair, or helpful.

Eh, there's a difference between complaining when somebody fails to say "this is wrong" and complaining when they say "no, this is fine."

Only until you give them the opportunity to voice an opinion. Once they do, there are still only two choices.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:39 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure, I'd guess Liara is by far the most popular romance option for FemShep.

I object to the term "FemShep" on the grounds that this implies that the male Commander Shepard is a valid choice.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:48 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: "I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite site on the internet."
posted by rifflesby at 10:52 PM on April 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I object to the term "FemShep" on the grounds that this implies that the male Commander Shepard is a valid choice.

Perhaps you haven't met Chawncy Shepard.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 11:00 PM on April 24, 2013


I mean that you didn't leave much ground for honest disagreement. In that scenario, either one agrees with given claims of sexist douchery, or one is ignorant, to the point of wilfully enabling misogyny, thereby invalidating their position. It's a neat little closed circle, but I don't think it's accurate, fair, or helpful.

"They’re not censors, though - oh, no no. You’ll understand it eventually; what you need to do is censor yourself."
posted by Sebmojo at 11:09 PM on April 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Geh. I remember first finding out about this game via the official PS blog and immediately becoming embarrassingly angry. Angry because I had to once more pass over an otherwise fantastic-looking game due to my (as every single one of my friends says it) absurdly strict sense of morality.
The art design in this game sucks. Horribly. It's idiotic. You'd have to be an idiot to find this tripe attractive, and more of an idiot to say that it's not idiotic and that it has no problems. The game though? The mechanics? The actual play experience?
It looks BRILLIANT. I'm a huge sucker for this genre of action, but I don't get to play it because there's some talentless hack at the steering wheel. This is why I don't do EA. Or 2K. or Konami. Day 1 DLC, on disk DLC, rampantly sexist/abusive corporate culture? The list goes on and on and on, and every day the list of franchises I'm allowed to enjoy gets smaller and smaller.
What started out with a rather benign and innocent "fuck that!" has snowballed into that same utterance at an almost constant pace. It's a yardstick for how shitty the industry is becoming, and the fast rate at which it's doing that.
.
.
.
And also, can we stop pretending this guy's name is "George" and call him "Jouji?" :P
posted by GoingToShopping at 11:18 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not a fan of Penny Arcade, but I have to give them credit: that may actually be the funniest drawing of a dick I've ever seen. I mean Christ, the guy is wearing a mail satchel as a nutsack-bra.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:29 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I... I don't think it's a nutsack bra. I think it's all shaft.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 AM on April 25, 2013


I've been really disappointed by this whole thing unfurling, because, dammit, I love Kamatari and VanillaWare makes some of the best looking games in the business. I should note these are all gameplay, not cutscenes.

It sucks because most people are only now hearing about his games and art and will dismiss him without looking at the other things he's done or the other art in the game or even the game itself, and that's too bad. I don't know what Kamatari was thinking, if he was trying to go over the top, pulling a weird Suda 51 thing where he's being at least a little satirical or what. I don't get, I don't like it, and it makes me sad.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:15 AM on April 25, 2013


I'm not sure, I'd guess Liara is by far the most popular romance option for FemShep.

I would have guessed Garrus was the most popular romantic partner for lady Shepards, which clearly proves that what woman actually look for in male character design is a spiky metallic cricket-cat-bird who fights crime.
posted by Dim Siawns at 1:24 AM on April 25, 2013


I was always an Ashley kind of guy, myself.

Cute, but too specist. Liara all the way.

I'm not sure, I'd guess Liara is by far the most popular romance option for FemShep.

Well, in ME1 you only have the choice between Kaidan Alenko (the most boring man on the Normandy, save for Jacob), or Liara. Easy one to make. And since you can't have a proper gay or lesbian romance in ME2, other than a quick fling with Kelly or getting frustrated with Samara or killed by Morith, Liara it has to stay.

I object to the term "FemShep" on the grounds that this implies that the male Commander Shepard is a valid choice.

That's why I call him Broshep.

I get the impression that Garrus and Thane are probably the two most popular romance options (#1 and #2 respectively) for FemShep. Neither of them are what you'd really call classically handsome, considering one looks like a dinosaur and the other looks like a lizard / frog hybrid.

With them it's not so much about looks, though Garrus is a handsome devil, as it is personality. They're both walking romance cliches: the noble but hurt soldier and the sensitive killer. Slash has always been full of hurt/comfort stories all the way down to the original Kirk/Spock stories and with both Garrus and Thane there's a lot of potential there.

But whether they really are the most popular? I think the Tali-ban is quite big as well.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:33 AM on April 25, 2013


Only until you give them the opportunity to voice an opinion.

Holy crap.

37 years and I only just now learn this.

I am so totally going to tell all the catcallers and sexism deniers and employers who pay us 10-20% less than men with the equivalent experience and skills and dudes with nekkid chicks on their office PCs and comic book writers with broken-backed women and filmmakers who only hire women under the age of 40, preferably 30, extra-preferably 20, and anthropologists who only interview men, and anthropologists who dismiss women's accounts as "unfounded and unable to be proven", and people who send death threats to women, and rapists, and wife-beaters...

I'm going to tell ALL of them: "I HAVE NOT GIVEN YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOICE AN OPINION."

Woohooooooooo
posted by fraula at 1:43 AM on April 25, 2013 [25 favorites]


Some of us actually do get off on drawings of girls with totally ridiculous boobs. Now that I have been informed that some people think that is Not Okay, I shall repress my desire accordingly.

To me the most interesting aspect of the PA strip was the guy saying he was much more comfortable selecting a very very busty, girly-girl witch as his character rather than some big barbarian dude with an exaggerated cock. The assumption seemed to be that this is the choice any average straight dude would make... which is kind of surprising, when you think about it.

Admittedly the barbarian was so grossly cock-y that very few people of any gender or sexual orientation would want to play a character like that. But one of the things that people often forget in these arguments is that these guys aren't just ogling these mega-bimbo characters... they are choosing these women as their own avatars, they are identifying with and in a sense becoming these crazy-busty cartoon babes. Of course their experience as a video game babe has very little to do with actual womanhood, but my point is that it's not as simple as "busty girl characters only exist for guys to ogle." This goes beyond ogling.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:40 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some of us actually do get off on drawings of girls with totally ridiculous boobs. Now that I have been informed that some people think that is Not Okay, I shall repress my desire accordingly.

Kind of missing the point entirely, which is that it's the default mode, not only for in-game character selection but for the way that these games are marketed--you don't see a buff dude with generous helpings of chestmeat in those "play now, my lord" ads. Ever. One of the great things about the late, lamented City of Heroes was that you could adjust any number of aspects of the character, including chest size, which went from about a B cup up to completely ridiculous (and some people complained that they actually wanted the low end to be completely flat-chested for certain character concepts that they had in mind).
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:43 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


When referring to the PA guys, specifically, I am referring to the Dickwolves thing, in which many many many women wrote to them, directly, explaining in calm and understandable and logical ways how they were doing something hurtful . They responded with hostility and doubling down, alienating a lot of female and male former fans. It was ugly and unpleasant.

Because when a group that has experienced oppression in a way you have not comes to you and sys hey, this thing you're doing, it's making things worse for us, and you don't believe them..it makes you untrustworthy, as an ally.

I mean, if the Escher girls link, the Shortpacked comic, the Sarkeesian thing still aren't enough to convince you that the way women are portrayed in comic books and games has something really off and twisted about it, then that's basically a willfull refusal to see something right in front of you.
posted by emjaybee at 4:44 AM on April 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also, WRT romance options in Mass Effect, I'm still a little bitter that Jack wasn't an option for FemShep as well, given that she describes herself as bisexual. (For the uninitiated: this is Jack.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:47 AM on April 25, 2013


When referring to the PA guys, specifically, I am referring to the Dickwolves thing, in which many many many women wrote to them, directly, explaining in calm and understandable and logical ways how they were doing something hurtful . They responded with hostility and doubling down, alienating a lot of female and male former fans. It was ugly and unpleasant.

Because when a group that has experienced oppression in a way you have not comes to you and sys hey, this thing you're doing, it's making things worse for us, and you don't believe them..it makes you untrustworthy, as an ally.


You appreciate this process is exactly what Tycho is describing? Some combination of 'if you aren't with us you are against us', and 'you must change the way you think'? What if your living literally depends on the way you think, as theirs does?

I think it's important to remember that the initial Dickwolves strip was a joke that turned on how rape is a really bad thing. The second strip suggested, very reasonably, that rape culture was not aided or abetted by the first strip.

I have no excuses for the dickwolf logo, mind, that was tone deaf in the extreme. I think they learned some important lessons from that.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:21 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The original Dickwolves strip used rape as a throwaway joke in the second panel. It was not respectful or thoughtful in the least.

And the second strip was, simply, wrong. Casually joking about rape not only contributes to a culture of treating rape casually, it also establishes an atmosphere in which rapists feel comfortable and take comfort. It reinforces the idea that rapists have that all men rape and that it's not really a big deal. It's not just gross. It's actively harmful.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:25 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we not derail straight to Dickwolfville? This thread has been pretty good about not rehashing that fight thus far.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:32 AM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Since I met Mrs. Machine, I have all but quit playing video games. This is a perfect illustration of why.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:33 AM on April 25, 2013


Sort of off topic, but I stopped reading PA a fewyears ago when I realized I didn't get most of the jokes because I didn't have a next-gen console. Having bought an Xbox last year I might have started reading again, except that in the meantime all this skeevy shit went down with those guys.

Anyhow, someone linked me to a PA comic the other day and I ended up reading about 20 or so of them in a row. I came off with the distinct impression that these guys really don't want to do a comic anymore, but they know they have to. Both the writing and the art seemed like, "well, let's just get this thing done and get back to whatever it is we're really interested in."

Am I just imagining that? When I read the strip years ago it was usually not too bad. Am I just biased because of all the chicanery now associated with the brand?
posted by Legomancer at 5:34 AM on April 25, 2013


Ursula, sigh. Siiiiiiigh.

It's not about how you have to repress anything. It's about how it would be nice if any desires other than yours were the automatic default. It's about how some of us would like to be a part of a hobby that didn't constantly tell us that no one spent half a minute thinking about what we might like to see in a game. They just sat down and said "let's make another game that works very hard to satisfy every conceivable straight male (usually white) desire and if anyone else is interested, that's ok we guess."

And yeah, I haven't played any videogames in a while. This culture isn't 100% of that, but it's part of it, for sure.
posted by kavasa at 5:37 AM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


PA's art has never felt lazy or rushed or whatever to me at all. Mike Krahulik's a pretty good artist. I just wish the ideas he expresses through his art were better thought out.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:42 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree with Leigh Alexander's take on Bayonetta, but only because Bayonetta is, to me, a deeply queer character whose performance of gender and sexuality is extremely deliberate; she is always in uncompromised control of it and uses it for her amusement, and for satisfaction of her personal style. She only ever uses it with either aggressive intimidation or provocative, absolutely unyielding sarcasm when directing it at male characters.

(Except, to an extent, the way the mother-role is forced on her by the appearance of a daughter figure. Though some have argued that because the girl is actually herself, she's reclaiming that aspect of femininity as well).

Bayonetta as a character is extravagant and self-confident and transgressive enough for this to hold, and for her to avoid (I think) being one of Beaton's Strong Female Characters or something like the modern incarnation of Starfire -- but it certainly doesn't hold for the female characters in this example, whose expression of gender and sexuality is completely in control of the artist and, by extension, the slavering male audience.
posted by Drexen at 5:54 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually Ursula! This is a good example of the problem! Because what goes on with stuff like this is a variety of people going "we want to be acknowledged as worthy of dev resources too" and your response was "but what about my desires?"

Do you see why that's an issue for those of us on the fringes in one way or another?
posted by kavasa at 5:59 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was always an Ashley kind of guy, myself

If you like horrible racists, sure. The only good thing about Ashley is that you can leave her to nuclear immolation.

I object to the term "FemShep" on the grounds that this implies that the male Commander Shepard is a valid choice

"It's the only way you can make nice-nice with Tali" is a valid reason. No, Tali isn't a horrible racist like Ashley. She was brought up by horrible racists but learns better.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:01 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Comment mostly redacted, because I've literally been awake for like 30 hours and I was more awake I probably would've had the sense to just stay quiet again and not get into this same old argument. (I hope the mods will forgive me, given the circumstances.) I will let this bit stand though:

"It's about how it would be nice if any desires other than yours were the automatic default."

My desires are the default? Honey, you have no freaking idea. (Self link, not for self-promo purposes, but because the idea that my shit is anybody's default literally made me laugh out loud.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:06 AM on April 25, 2013


Ursula, your previous comment strongly implied that at least one of your desires is women with huge breasts ("Some of us actually do get off on drawings of girls with totally ridiculous boobs.") In which case, yes, that particular one of your desires is literally the default in many games.

I hope nobody meant to imply that that is the sum of your sexuality, though.
posted by gilrain at 6:15 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


rebent: "because (and I know I'm generalizing here) being swol is as much a dude fantasy as seeing tits."

Yes, yes, there's a false equivalency and all due to history. However, there are tons of kids who are now growing up with this stuff, and in particular there's a group of young men who are entering adolescence knowing nothing other than the current standard of "let's be completely unrealistic in our portrayals of women and men."

If you don't think that a new generation of men are growing up with the same set of body issues that women face, you aren't looking hard enough.

Yes, there's a false equivalency, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be discussing the men's perspective of this issue.

Also, I read Gabe's post as "This issue might be a big deal, but this particular game is a bad example of it, because the art is completely insane across the board." Then again, I've never been able to get on board with the social justice community's unbridled hate and fury at the guy for his unwillingness to become a martyr for every one of their pet issues.

The dickwolves thing was...less than classy, but it might be time to move past that.

posted by schmod at 6:33 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Being swole is a dude fantasy for sure, but earlier on someone made the comparison to Tom of Finland, and I think that's apt. Not just for the huge hardons, but also the framing of the drawings and visual narrative and way the characters are presented and the fetishized clothing. In the abstract, you could call them muscly dudes in tight clothes, and it would sound a lot like superheroes, but in practice it's undeniably different.

I'd love it if some comic or game suddenly started using the Tom of Finland aesthetic when depicting men, if only for the massive outcry that would come from people who've been insisting all along that men and women in comics and video games are, on the whole, equally idealized.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:45 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"This issue might be a big deal, but this particular game is a bad example of it, because the art is completely insane across the board."

That is his argument, but it misses the point in a big way; the art is super-stylized, but it's stylized - as it always is - in a way that exaggerates the men's muscles and the women's breasts and hips. Even when the art is so outlandish that characters are "ridiculously, freakishly, borderline scarily rendered," it's still the same old song and dance.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:45 AM on April 25, 2013


To me the most interesting aspect of the PA strip was the guy saying he was much more comfortable selecting a very very busty, girly-girl witch as his character rather than some big barbarian dude with an exaggerated cock. The assumption seemed to be that this is the choice any average straight dude would make... which is kind of surprising, when you think about it.
Not particularly. Seeing another man's junk can be a traumatic experience for yer average heterosexual male, especially the sort of fourteen year old boy that is the target audience for extreeeme jiggle physics like this. If you have to stare at somebody wiggling their junk, better it be somebody who gets you hot than somebody who grosses you out.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:49 AM on April 25, 2013


Yeah I responded to the only comment you left in the thread. In that comment you said that people wanted you to repress your desire to see character designs like the one from the OP. I was explaining why that's a really unfortunate statement with regards to the culture we and our shared hobby exist in.

The PA strip would have worked better IMO if the warrior had been drawn as a willing, even seductive, object of male desire.
posted by kavasa at 6:52 AM on April 25, 2013


Some of us actually do get off on drawings of girls with totally ridiculous boobs. Now that I have been informed that some people think that is Not Okay, I shall repress my desire accordingly.

I could care less what y'all find hot or not, but that's not the problem anyway. It's having only one particular depiction of women in comics|games|movies, one that's only about being sexually attractive in a certain, stereotypical way, with little to no room both for non-sexualised women or diffferently sexualised characters, men or women both.

It's the totality of the acceptable range of portrayals of women within computer games, rather than individual examples that is the problem.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:54 AM on April 25, 2013


MartinWisse: " It's having only one particular depiction of women in comics|games|movies"

I know, right?
posted by schmod at 6:58 AM on April 25, 2013


Ehh, there are always some counter examples, but I wouldn't want to google for fan depictions of Samus.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:07 AM on April 25, 2013


I wouldn't want to google for fan depictions of Samus.

(I would say a GIS for "samus aran" is about half reasonable, half cheesecake or worse.)
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:11 AM on April 25, 2013


I guess I'm too late to this particular party to have much of an effect, but do people keep having to insult teenage boys all the time in order to make their points? I'm actually being serious.

Many teenage boys like and respect girls and women. It would be great if we could these discussions without the need to have a scape goat.
posted by Alex404 at 7:13 AM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not just fan depictions. The last game or two with Samus has had her in this outfit for much of the game. Also in Smash Bros.
posted by gilrain at 7:14 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


GoingtoShopping:

Please don't ignore the Elf and the Wizard. They look like normal handsome people, with clothing on their bodies.

You could easily play this game four player with the Wizard, Elf, Dwarf, and Fighter and not have to put up with much nonsense in the objectification department (the trailer seems to suggest that the Sorceress and Amazon are the worst offenders in the game).
posted by Poppa Bear at 7:31 AM on April 25, 2013


> You could easily play this game four player with the Wizard, Elf, Dwarf, and Fighter

Wizard needs food. Badly.
posted by MysticMCJ at 7:34 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re: Samus. The shining example of why sexism is not a problem in the industry.

Metroid came out in 1986. Frankly, the fact that your go to example is a single IP that would now be old enough to smoke, enlist, or drink, if it were a US citizen does not exactly make it work as the argument ending counter example you want it to be.

Not to mention that IP was produced by Nintendo, which is a company known for targeting a younger demographic with an excessively cartoony style: I don't think you can fairly point to characters like Peach, Zelda, et al as somehow "refutation" that this sort of thing is a persistent problem in the industry.

Also, nobody even knew Samus was a female until the very final victory scene when she (wait for it) strips off her armor and stands around planetside in her underwear.

AlsoAlso: The new, sleek, sexy, and breasty Samus' depiction in the last several Metroid games, as mentioned above, also kind of undercuts using her as an argument that gender depictions are somehow not problematic.

In fact, if anything, the example of Samus' trajectory seems to demonstrate that the representation of females in games are getting WORSE and MORE SEXUALIZED. She starts out as a character defined by being a badass first and being a woman only incidentally, and by 2010s she's just another hottie in a skin-tight sexy space suit.
posted by absalom at 8:02 AM on April 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


Yeah. There are of course true examples of women done well in games, but Samus is unfortunately no longer one of them. Beyond Good & Evil is another common example, and a sequel is finally in development thanks to its strong and steady cult following. It's early days, but I'm hopeful they won't pull a Samus on Jade.
posted by gilrain at 8:12 AM on April 25, 2013


The Samus thing was a joke, because, yeah... nobody knew the character was actually female (even though it was a pretty bold and subversive move for Nintendo to make at the time; Samus is pretty BAMF).

I guess you could also say something about Chell (Portal's protagonist). I suppose you could look at this both ways: Chell's character is amazingly progressive because the game literally never mentions her gender. On the other hand, Valve may be trying to undermine women, because the game literally never mentions Chell's gender. (The said, Portal and Metroid barely develop their protagonists' characters, so you probably shouldn't look too deeply into this.)

I apologize if anybody took offense at my tongue-in-cheek reference. People need to calm down. We're not going to win this fight by shouting or stooping down to the level of the trolls (so, nobody gets to call anybody a "horrible, watery fart of a person," m'kay?)

On re-reading the thread, I wholeheartedly agree with Scattercat's assessment of the situation.
posted by schmod at 9:06 AM on April 25, 2013


And then you have Portal 2, where Chell's gender was referenced near-exclusively by way of fat jokes, while Samus has Other M, which is what trainwrecks talk about when they want to improve their self-esteem.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:11 AM on April 25, 2013


Overthinking It: It's Not For You
Schreier, in writing for Kotaku, is a video game critic. He got some preliminary looks at the art for Dragon’s Crown and expressed frank misgivings, just like Guillaume Apollinaire did of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. He grounded these misgivings in the cultural context (growing number and awareness of female gamers) in which the work of art would be received, just as Roger Ebert did of The Doom Generation. He obviously had an agenda, but so does every critic: the preference of one style over another, a sense of taste cultivated by exposure to a large roster of submissions, a desire to give voice to an Idea, etc.

Holkins writes this off as “compulsory swaying and fainting.” He doesn’t engage with it as criticism. Dragon’s Crown, it seems, is clearly not for critics. Or at least not for some of them.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:24 AM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


PA is such a power player in the Gamer community these days, and as done so much good, that it's a real shame that they've begun to reveal themselves as part of the problem.

What is it with marginalized nerds and freaks that makes a handful of them turn into stalwart defenders of the status quo sometime after 30?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:40 AM on April 25, 2013


My guess is that marginalized people, being marginalized, construct their own social group and social structure independent of the judgement of most of society. It makes them pretty immune to any later criticism that they perceive as coming from outside their social group.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:51 AM on April 25, 2013


Once more, so disappointing.
posted by ersatz at 9:51 AM on April 25, 2013


The really ironic part about the current "conversation" about portrayal of women in video games:

Women say, "I'm so tired of seeing all this male-oriented fan service all over the place when I just want to play some good video games" and the response from some men is that they should just shut up and get over it.

Then those same men say, "I'm so tired of seeing articles criticizing all the male-oriented fan service when all I just want to read about video games" and we're supposed to feel bad that their feelings are hurt and preserve "safe" spaces where they never have to read or hear about sexism.

Women are told, "Don't take it personally, the art isn't meant as demeaning to women," and then those same men say, "hey, when you criticize the art, it makes me feel like you're calling me a bad person for liking it, and that makes me feel bad, even if you didn't mean it that way."
posted by straight at 11:00 AM on April 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


emjaybee: When referring to the PA guys, specifically, I am referring to the Dickwolves thing...

Because when a group that has experienced oppression in a way you have not comes to you and sys hey, this thing you're doing, it's making things worse for us, and you don't believe them..it makes you untrustworthy, as an ally.

I mean, if the Escher girls link, the Shortpacked comic, the Sarkeesian thing still aren't enough to convince you that the way women are portrayed in comic books and games has something really off and twisted about it, then that's basically a willfull refusal to see something right in front of you.


I can see your point: it's more specific than I understood, but I still think it's flawed generally. I mean, it's entirely possible to agree -- in this case -- that the portrayal of women in comics and games can be (and often is) problematic, without also having to agree that a specific instance is a good example of it. (Or even instances, plural.) Your argument seems to be working backwards: if there are enough examples you don't agree with, then you must not agree with the premise, and your disagreement about those examples can be written off.

It's also just not possible to accept that everything someone puts forward as problematic is objectively so, as an ally or otherwise. It's one thing to accept the validity of them feeling that way, but sometimes that's all there is to it. How do women feel about porn? How do African-Americans feel about Django Unchained? Which position within those groups should I be uncritically agreeing with, so that I'm not branded an untrustworthy ally?

(Personall, I can think of numerous problematic examples in gaming, but I also strongly disagree with a number of things people have made hay about, including this one. I consider myself a feminist and an ally. Do I still get to do that, or have I passed some kind of invisible threshold?)

Fraula: I'm going to tell ALL of them: "I HAVE NOT GIVEN YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOICE AN OPINION."

Oh, FFS. Seriously? Context works wonders -- you should try understanding comments within it some time.
posted by Amanojaku at 11:09 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess you could also say something about Chell (Portal's protagonist). I suppose you could look at this both ways: Chell's character is amazingly progressive because the game literally never mentions her gender. On the other hand, Valve may be trying to undermine women, because the game literally never mentions Chell's gender. (The said, Portal and Metroid barely develop their protagonists' characters, so you probably shouldn't look too deeply into this.)

Valve may not have explicitly had a character come out and say "Hey! Over Here! We've got a lady protagonist over here! Everybody looooooook!". But in an game where the only other character is female, and the metaphorically phallic FPS gun is replaced by something that shoots, um, holes, you better believe they were thinking about gender.
posted by figurant at 11:21 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Overthinking It: It's Not For You

Also, that's a ridiculous article. Schreier isn't a critic because he writes for Kotaku any more than writing for the New York Times makes you a journalist. If you want to be treated like a professional, you have to act like one, and Schreier didn't. (Neither did Kamitami in his response to Schreier -- I think that's what the discussion should be concentrating on -- but the article's not defending him.) Basically, you don't get to drop a three-sentence turd and then feel people are doing you a grave disservice when they don't all stroke their chins and respond to it like you're Pauline Kael.

Women are told, "Don't take it personally, the art isn't meant as demeaning to women," and then those same men say, "hey, when you criticize the art, it makes me feel like you're calling me a bad person for liking it, and that makes me feel bad, even if you didn't mean it that way."

I actually completely agree, but let's note that we've seen such sterling comments as "The art design in this game sucks. Horribly. It's idiotic. You'd have to be an idiot to find this tripe attractive, and more of an idiot to say that it's not idiotic and that it has no problems" in this very thread, so complaints that some attacks on the art are also attacks on the people who like it aren't entirely off base.
posted by Amanojaku at 11:31 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are you sure portraying any disadvantaged class as a playable character is OK?

Obeying the player's every command is pretty much the definition of subjugation.

(Okay, so I don't believe this. It seems wrong on an intuitive level. I'm trying to figure out why, though.)
posted by poe at 11:35 AM on April 25, 2013


Maybe their comics just aren't for critics?
posted by pwnguin at 11:41 AM on April 25, 2013


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "And then you have Portal 2, where Chell's gender was referenced near-exclusively by way of fat jokes"

Context is important.

Amanojaku: "I can see your point: it's more specific than I understood, but I still think it's flawed generally. I mean, it's entirely possible to agree -- in this case -- that the portrayal of women in comics and games can be (and often is) problematic, without also having to agree that a specific instance is a good example of it."

I agree with your comment, but I think that some of the others here have made valid points about the PA guys. While they might agree with the premise that the portrayal of women in games is terrible, they have never actually named any specific titles that they found to be particularly offensive. In fact, they have only done the opposite.
posted by schmod at 12:36 PM on April 25, 2013


Legomancer: Anyhow, someone linked me to a PA comic the other day and I ended up reading about 20 or so of them in a row. I came off with the distinct impression that these guys really don't want to do a comic anymore, but they know they have to. Both the writing and the art seemed like, "well, let's just get this thing done and get back to whatever it is we're really interested in."

Am I just imagining that?


I don't think so. They're gaming con moguls, they've floated various high concept ideas for strips (including a sword-and-sorcery version of the Boy Scouts and a noirish detective story featuring a robot) and actually had someone else do a few strips on each, and at one point (and maybe still) supposedly had a movie deal based on a one-panel high concept cartoon, about a kid who's the only human in a school full of aliens. I had much the same impression as you did, both a few years ago and just now. (There's a multi-part story with the intriguing premise that Gabe's son makes up an RPG and it's pretty imbalanced but Tycho has fun playing anyway, and another about the new XBox that actually contains the phrase "cougar pussy.")
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:55 PM on April 25, 2013


There's also a second ongoing comic that they do with Scott Kurtz, and Tycho wrote some video games. To say they're branching out would undersell it quite a lot.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:16 PM on April 25, 2013


I object to the term "FemShep" on the grounds that this implies that the male Commander Shepard is a valid choice

I'm hoping that you're just expressing your preference in a humorously exaggerated way instead of literally thinking that. Either way, the unrelenting smug sense of superiority of male FemShep players never ceases to annoy me. Their tone always reminds me of someone who has successfully defended gender equality to someone for the first time in his life after just recently discovering the whole feminism thing and who is gloating about it to anyone who will listen in hopes of brownie points.

Sure helps the conversation a hell of a lot to belittle the people who choose to play as a male. Good job.
posted by jklaiho at 1:26 PM on April 25, 2013


I've said it before but I played male Shepherd. The default Shepherd skin is the only high-resolution Shepherd texture. And so any custom skins look weird and fake next to the other high resolution character models you can mod in.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 PM on April 25, 2013


I'm hoping that you're just expressing your preference in a humorously exaggerated way instead of literally thinking that.

Well, duh, who would-

Either way, the unrelenting smug sense of superiority of male FemShep players never ceases to annoy me. Their tone always reminds me of someone who has successfully defended gender equality to someone for the first time in his life after just recently discovering the whole feminism thing and who is gloating about it to anyone who will listen in hopes of brownie points.

-ew.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:40 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I ever play ME I'm hacking in asexual robot Shepard.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:42 PM on April 25, 2013


The main reason for playing FemShep is the awesome voice acting of Jennifer Hale.
posted by zompist at 1:48 PM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pope, I've encountered enough sincere "MShep(?) players are fools with no taste" style opinions expressed around the interwebs that I cannot honestly tell when someone is being serious, joking-but-still-kinda-serious or not serious about it.
posted by jklaiho at 1:54 PM on April 25, 2013


The main reason for playing FemShep is the awesome voice acting of Jennifer Hale.

This right here. I got to Mass Effect late (still haven't played 3 for reasons) and watched videos with both and Jennifer Hale was the obvious choice.


Pope, I've encountered enough sincere "MShep(?) players are fools with no taste" style opinions expressed around the interwebs that I cannot honestly tell when someone is being serious, joking-but-still-kinda-serious or not serious about it.

People have really stupidly passionate feelings about the most trivial shit. :(
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:03 PM on April 25, 2013


I came off with the distinct impression that these guys really don't want to do a comic anymore, but they know they have to.

If you're really curious, you can always watch them sitting in their office and making a comic.

Basically they spend an hour surfing the gaming news sites and chatting until they think of something that amuses them, Tycho writes it up, they go to lunch, and then Gabe draws it. If you go back and listen to their audio podcasts, you can see that's been their process for at least the last 7 or 8 years.

Compared with the way a lot of cartoonists talk about pulling their hair out and banging their heads against their desks with frustration over writer's block, they seem to be having a blast. I wish I enjoyed my job that much.
posted by straight at 2:11 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


People have really stupidly passionate feelings about the most trivial shit. :(

You don't say.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:21 PM on April 25, 2013


The arguments are so heated because the stakes are so low.
posted by Justinian at 2:23 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good point.

Also: FemShep is BestShep. To my ears Jennifer Hale is just a vastly better voice actor. De Gustibus etc.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:31 PM on April 25, 2013


MetaFilter: stupidly passionate feelings about the most trivial shit
posted by Gelatin at 4:02 PM on April 25, 2013


I really hope Bioware learned the lessons of DA2 and ME3. And I really, really hope they don't learn the wrong lessons which is always a danger. Because I need some more Bioware game action.
posted by Justinian at 4:22 PM on April 25, 2013


I got to Mass Effect late (still haven't played 3 for reasons) and watched videos with both and Jennifer Hale was the obvious choice.

I always play female characters if I can, even in something like Unreal Tournament, where the only difference is in what grunts your character makes. So I was always going to go for femshep when I finally started Mass Effect a few months ago; Jennifer Hale's amazing voice work was the icing on the cake. So I created my Shepard as a plain looking Black woman (inspired by this post) and set her out to save the galaxy, paragon stylee.

Which is sort of the opposite of having a game where you can only play a woman if you don't mind the oversexed juvenile package she's presented at. But it's not just that, it's also that Femshep is part of a team filled with other strong female characters, each in their own way, as ship doctor, or marine, or slightly naive and clumsy xeno-archaeologist, or alien superhero. And I also like all those side missions that have nothing to do with the main plot but just revolve around helping people out and how ...honest... the game can be about things grief and loss, as e.g. in the Samara loyalty mission.

I only wish they'd been slightly braver with the romance options and just opened up everybody regardless of whether you're playing as broshep or femshep.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:28 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think that had to do with bravery, I think it had to do with time and money to make it happen. That stuff costs money.
posted by Justinian at 4:30 PM on April 25, 2013


Well, scratch that. I'm guessing they would also argue that, realistically, people generally do have sexual preferences and so it wouldn't make sense for every single person you meet to be willing to jump in the sack regardless of your gender. But the time and money thing would also be a problem.
posted by Justinian at 4:31 PM on April 25, 2013


In related news, it was just announced there will be large layoffs at EA. Very large.
posted by Justinian at 5:10 PM on April 25, 2013


Time and money? Perhaps, but there's a lot of unused dialogue for Femship and some of the BroShep romance options that you can get to with some trickery.

I'm guessing they would also argue that, realistically, people generally do have sexual preferences and so it wouldn't make sense for every single person you meet to be willing to jump in the sack regardless of your gender

True, but this isn't real life after all and what's more, it's not that these characters would jump in the sack with both broshep and femshep, rather that they just happen to be attracted to women if the player choses to play femshep and to men if they play broshep. Just another parameter to reset in reaction to the choices you make playing the game.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:42 PM on April 25, 2013


Besides which, ME is almost a harem game anyway, so what's a few more choices for either shep?
posted by MartinWisse at 5:44 PM on April 25, 2013


I'm on board as long as Aria is one of the options.
posted by Justinian at 6:16 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm resisting the impulse to really dive back into this. But...

"I could care less what y'all find hot or not, but that's not the problem anyway. It's having only one particular depiction of women in comics|games|movies, one that's only about being sexually attractive in a certain, stereotypical way"

I would point out that there are many, many depictions of women in comics|games|movies who are not "sexually attractive in a certain, stereotypical way". You can even find a few of them referenced in this thread.

"Seeing another man's junk can be a traumatic experience for yer average heterosexual male, especially the sort of fourteen year old boy that is the target audience for extreeeme jiggle physics like this."

Well, as I said, I don't think many people of any sexual orientation would be thrilled with the monster-dong guy character. But what I meant was, it struck me as odd that the comic assumed that the hetero choice was to play as a busty girly-girl instead of a hyper-masculine male. I'm (definitely!) not saying there's anything wrong with it, but I was pointing out that it's a common but sort of puzzling assumption.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:54 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's not that these characters would jump in the sack with both broshep and femshep, rather that they just happen to be attracted to women if the player choses to play femshep and to men if they play broshep. Just another parameter to reset in reaction to the choices you make playing the game

It would make more sense for the game to allow you to make a pass at anyone, but to have some of them tell you no because they're not into women, or men, or humans. And to have these have some consequences; hitting on some characters establishes a relationship, hitting on others only gets you laid and makes things awkward later, hitting on some gets you turned down but it's no big deal, and hitting on yet others *cough*Ashley*cough* offends them and might cause problems later.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:47 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I honestly found the whole "you can have sex with your crewmates" thing kind of creepy. Might as well play a dating sim if that's what you're after.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:07 AM on April 26, 2013


jklaihi: Sure helps the conversation a hell of a lot to belittle the people who choose to play as a male. Good job.

Just to add to the chorus: oddly, in this case, the argument about Broshep versus Femshep isn't really about gender, although it may look that way.

Rather, the argument has arisen because the natural tendency of men is to choose a male avatar. But, Jennifer Hale is a much better voice actress than Mark Meer, especially going the Renegade route. So the argument is really about quality of voicing. FemShep isn't better because she's female, but because she's Jennifer Hale.

I just used the simple expedient of playing both. My first runthrough was with Big Dumb Paragon Broshep, who had no idea what was going on. My second run was Smart Renegade Femshep, who was eerily prescient in her decision making.

Then, of course, I got to the end with Big Dumb, and was really unhappy about the way things wrapped up. But I attributed that to him being big and dumb. I started on my Femshep playthrough, and was appalled to see how little her prescience actually mattered, and then when I heard that the endings were exactly the same.... I stopped playing right there, and have never picked the game back up again.

Bioware is unlikely to ever sell me another title, after stringing me along for $180, pissing on my head, and sneering at me for being upset.
posted by Malor at 4:35 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I honestly found the whole "you can have sex with your crewmates" thing kind of creepy. Might as well play a dating sim if that's what you're after.

Without the romance and bonding, what you're left with in ME is a not that interesting sci-fi romp. It's about all the feels, as the kids say. The sex is a part of it, but only one part. It's also about earning loyalty, respect, love, etc.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:18 AM on April 26, 2013


I honestly found the whole "you can have sex with your crewmates" thing kind of creepy. Might as well play a dating sim if that's what you're after.

I've always found the "lovemaking scenes" in movies kind of creepy. Might as well just go rent a porno if that's what you're after.
posted by absalom at 6:22 AM on April 26, 2013


Oops, sorry I misspelled your name there, jklaiho.
posted by Malor at 10:40 AM on April 26, 2013


If I ever play ME I'm hacking in asexual robot Shepard.

I want Legion as a main character.
posted by curious nu at 5:40 PM on April 26, 2013


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