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Old 03-18-13, 06:19 PM   #101
RocShemp
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Of course, if she hadn't completely researched this and said something like "In Donkey Kong, Mario tries to rescue Princess Peach..." her detractors would have seized upon that. Anything to keep from responding to the actual content of her video (which is why such a big deal is being made about having comments turned off).I think he's right...developers ARE lazy, and they use these tropes because it's easy storytelling, especially for a video game. Of course, you have the perfect counter to that, that they do need to think about these things when including them in their games. This appears to be Sarkeesian's point as well...I don't think she's accusing developers of having a hidden sexist agenda.
Right on all counts. And I applaud her for disabling comments since it would just welcome the same asshats that started shit over her previous videos and comments. And her same detractors would then accuse her of leaving comments open so as to bait the same folk that talk trash about her, in some vain attempt for cheap publicity. It's a damned if you, damned if you don't scenario.

On a side note, I love her name. Sarkeesian sounds like a badass Sci-Fi villain and/or anti-hero.

On another side node, she needs to ease up on the makeup. Particularly around the eyes. She has a faint but noticeable raccoon mask going on.
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So there's simultaneously a super secret team of giant robots and a super secret team of technologically enhanced super soldiers, and neither team knows about the other? The governments in these movies must be far more effective than our actual government. Well, damn it, I want some realism and mature adult themes in my giant robot and super soldier movies! - Suprmallet
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Old 03-18-13, 10:46 PM   #102
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Irony!
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Old 03-19-13, 04:26 AM   #103
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

@RockShemp

I only played MGS and VR Missions. I only recall the plot in such detail because last month I watched some of an LP of The Twin Snakes, the MGS remake for GameCube.

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her videos still are incredibly useful in that they can illustrate to the developers that their lazy regurgitation of sexist tropes for cheap/easy dramatic effect are damaging to society, and they should maybe think harder about what they put in their games and do better.
I don't think she really does that, in this video at least. She shows 20 minutes of examples of the trope and then just assumes their widespread use is damaging to society, "normalizing extremely toxic, patronizing and paternalistic attitudes towards women". In fact, the only concrete example we are given of the long term effects of exposure to these tropes is Anita herself, as she makes it a point to establish her classic video game cred. and love of these games.

Personally I find her examples similar to the extreme end of the "video games cause violence" position, which would also include Mario and Zelda as "normalizing the use of violence". My feeling is that in both cases the art/commercial product is much more a reflection of society than a powerful influence on it. However, I also believe there is a feed back loop of sorts, both in the perpetuation of these ideas and in the evolution of both art and society. So, how much influence does the use of these tropes have? That wasn't really addressed in this video, and frankly I'm not hopeful it will be in the future.

Moving to the current state of video games I have to ask, when is it OK to employ these tropes? "Always", which seemed to be the case 20 years ago is not the right answer. "Never", isn't' right either because it would stifle storytelling if you could never have a female disempowered, etc. or even if creators always had to be conscious of "balance" within an individual title. Even though Anita seems to be in the "never" camp, I'm still sympathetic because there is an imbalance in video games on the whole. I think you can create balance by adding games with strong female role models, etc, without calling work that doesn't "crap".
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Old 03-19-13, 08:20 AM   #104
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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I don't think she really does that, in this video at least. She shows 20 minutes of examples of the trope and then just assumes their widespread use is damaging to society, "normalizing extremely toxic, patronizing and paternalistic attitudes towards women"...

So, how much influence does the use of these tropes have? That wasn't really addressed in this video, and frankly I'm not hopeful it will be in the future...
That's a good point. However, if you eliminate the idea of influence from the tropes, they can still be seen as negative portrayals of women, and maybe should be used at a miniumum, or at least not without careful consideration. As the story of the daughter that wanted to play Donkey Kong as Pauline and rescue Mario, there's likely a demand out there from female gamers that want to play games that portray women as more proactive. Simply flipping the script occasionally, or offering both male and female heroes to play as in Mass Effect, could improve things greatly.
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Old 03-19-13, 05:02 PM   #105
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

The game industry doesn't want female heroes

Remember Me is currently in development under the watchful eye of Capcom, but the story of a woman who can "remix" peoples' memories had to do a lot of fighting to exist. According to creative director Jean-Max Morris, the industry at large hated the idea of a female protagonist.

"We had some [publishers] that said, 'Well, we don't want to publish it because that's not going to succeed. You can't have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that,'" he told Penny Arcade. "We wanted to be able to tease on Nilin's private life, and that means for instance, at one point, we wanted a scene where she was kissing a guy. We had people tell us, 'You can't make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that's going to feel awkward.'

"I'm like, 'If you think like that, there's no way the medium's going to mature.' There's a level of immersion that you need to be at, but it's not like your sexual orientation is being questioned by playing a game. I don't know, that's extremely weird to me."


I've never really thought about the whole kissing thing, but he's right. Women are overtly sexualized in many videogames, but they're rarely allowed to be sexual. Sure, have your female avatar swing massive boobs around in bikini battle armor, but if she dares to show physical interest in somebody? Oh, the scandal!

That, right there, is objectification at work. Having a female character exist for our saucy gratification, but not ever being allowed to reciprocate, initiate or otherwise become an active participant. Outside of games where players can create their own characters, I don't think I've actually seen a playable female protagonist kiss a guy in a game. The closest examples would be Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain, both by Quantic Dream. I'll give them credit there, though if I recall correctly, both those games' sex scenes had players in control of the male lead at the time, not the female one.

As Morris says, it's weird. More than that, it's kind of creepy to me that so few female leads, if any at all, are actually allowed to be in straight relationships, lest it incur the homophobic insecurity of the male audience. This is to say nothing of the base fear of letting a non-sexed-up woman be allowed a leading role in the first place.


I recall one game that was in development a few years ago. Faith and a .45. It was set to be a cooperative shooter starring a man and a woman -- lovers -- who would very much be in a "Bonnie & Clyde" style relationship. Aside from working together in combat, the game was going to have a really cool revival system -- if one player is downed, the other can kiss him or her to get them back up. I joked at the time about it messing with the minds of homophobes, but it was truly an inspired idea -- even outside of any potential statement it could make, it was just a clever new spin on the revival system that worked perfectly in the context of the characters.

Unfortunately, that game never saw the light of day, which is hardly surprising given the climate and the attitudes in the market.

We have some exceptions, of course. Tomb Raider is an obvious example of a successful game with a female lead, but she exists today more thanks to legacy, and one wonders if the more recent Tomb Raider would have gotten anywhere if it were a new IP -- something some fans claim it ought to have been. Back when Tomb Raider was a fresh idea, Lara Croft was a massive-breasted sex object. The Lara we have today likely wouldn't have existed without the Lara back then.


We recently saw BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth relegated to the back cover of the game case, for fear that the presence of a woman would turn consumers away. Naughty Dog also recalled a similar situation, where it had to fight to have a woman appear on the cover of The Last of Us. There's something eminently shuddersome about the message that sends, a message that suggests women have their uses, but are best kept locked away with the rest of the tools until they're required. It's the kind of situation that puts an itchy feeling under the skin.

There are some who argue sexism isn't a problem in the game industry, but I don't know how a rational person could see this kind of stuff and not admit, even grudgingly, that it exists in abundance. When publishers are trying to eradicate female protagonists or hiding the womenfolk away lest an audience be turned off, there's some ill sentiment at play. Whether the fault of the industry itself or the audience, there is a fault, and it's a downright unsettling one at that.

And if you'd be seriously upset by seeing a female lead kiss a guy in a game, you're emotionally broken.


http://www.destructoid.com/the-game-...s-249067.phtml
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Old 03-19-13, 05:18 PM   #106
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Whenever there's a choice to play as a man or a woman in a game, I always choose the woman. I've always been surprised at how many people are genuinely shocked when they see me playing a female character.
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Old 03-19-13, 05:29 PM   #107
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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Whenever there's a choice to play as a man or a woman in a game, I always choose the woman. I've always been surprised at how many people are genuinely shocked when they see me playing a female character.
Ditto.

Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, fighting games, etc. - when there's a gender choice I always pick the female. Maybe because I'm more secure in my own masculinity than the average dude...

But then, when they can, all my female characters are kissing other females (Mass Effect) or married to other females (Skyrim), because dudes are gross.
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Old 03-19-13, 05:35 PM   #108
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

My female characters run the gamut. In the first Mass Effect I seduced Liara, but by the end of the series she ended up with Garrus.

And when people ask me why I always play as a woman, I tell them it's because I spent all of my real life being a man, so why not try something new while gaming?
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Old 03-19-13, 05:41 PM   #109
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Same here. I'm not sure why, but it's always been like that, from Peach in Mario 2 (or Kart) to Gears' Anya or Lilith/Maya in Borderlands. If I have a choice I'm going with the female.

In addition to Lara; Faith (Mirror's Edge), Cortanna (Halo), Nariko (Heavenly Sword), Jade (BG&E), Samus (Metroid), GLaDOS (Portal) are some of my favorite characters this decade. When they're done well, they're really done well. The problem is too many poorly developed female characters which makes the pool look bad for all of them.
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Old 03-19-13, 05:49 PM   #110
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

For me, it goes all the way back to Ms. Pac-Man; even as a kid I was more excited about playing a female character. I was stoked when I first found out Samus was a woman.
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Old 03-19-13, 05:53 PM   #111
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

How could I forget about the Ms.? Of course. It was always Ms. Pac over the Mr.
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Old 03-19-13, 06:00 PM   #112
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

I enjoyed playing the Princess Peach game, but was amazed to see that the game mechanics revolved around how moody she was.
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Old 03-19-13, 06:05 PM   #113
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

The problem is that the console market is overwhelmingly male, and it's tough to break out of that with a female protagonist. And look at it from an early age: Do little boys want to play as girls? If you look in the cartoons and comic books and action figures targeted to boys, the main characters are, except in very rare cases, male-centric. Transformers, GI Joe, He-man, Avengers etc., all dominated by male figures (and in the action figure world, the perception is that female characters don't sell, so they're shortpacked). And on the other side of the aisle MLP, Barbie, She-ra, are all dominated by girls. Lego got a lot of flack for creating a completely separate lineup last year targeted at girls, but you know what, it sold. And I think a lot of it has to do with role play... if a boy's going to play Power Rangers with his friends, he's probably going to want to be Red, not Pink.

The argument is going to be that games should appeal to both sexes, but it's a chicken and the egg thing, and I think gameplay has to change as well as just who the protagonist is. My wife will play some games like Animal Crossing and Mario Party, but hates any game where her character can die, especially if it's gruesome. She's never going to play an FPS. I know there are female gamers out there who love FPS's, but when you look at the stat earlier in the thread that half of all gamers are female, I can almost guarantee that that's because of facebook games and farmville apps and puzzle games.

Do we have any data on how games like Super Princess Peach and, I dunno, Tron Bonne did?
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Old 03-19-13, 06:07 PM   #114
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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I enjoyed playing the Princess Peach game, but was amazed to see that the game mechanics revolved around how moody she was.
Actually, it's the most realistic aspect of the game... bitches be crazy!
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Old 03-19-13, 06:10 PM   #115
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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And look at it from an early age: Do little boys want to play as girls?
Peer pressure aside, we've established that yes, boys do. And playing as a female character in a game is WAY different than playing with a female figure, action or otherwise.
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Old 03-19-13, 10:33 PM   #116
dugan
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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I enjoyed playing the Princess Peach game, but was amazed to see that the game mechanics revolved around how moody she was.
I'm starting to want a game where Samus, Lara, Lightning and other moody emo videogame chicks sit around a living room discussing their feelings. And I'm glad Wreck It Ralph called out the industry for this trope (which is, of course, not limited to female characters).

Last edited by dugan; 03-19-13 at 11:21 PM..
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Old 03-20-13, 04:38 PM   #117
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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I enjoyed playing the Princess Peach game, but was amazed to see that the game mechanics revolved around how moody she was.
It's not amazing. It's just typical Japanese bullshit. The only Mario game that got it right was Super Mario Bros. 2, and as she said for a later game with four characters they just changed the role of Peach to a Toad palette swap.

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Do we have any data on how games like Super Princess Peach and, I dunno, Tron Bonne did?
Well, they didn't get sequels, so I'm guessing not great.
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Old 03-20-13, 07:17 PM   #118
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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I'm starting to want a game where Samus, Lara, Lightning and other moody emo videogame chicks sit around a living room discussing their feelings. And I'm glad Wreck It Ralph called out the industry for this trope (which is, of course, not limited to female characters).
I've seen Wreck-It Ralph a few times and have no idea what the hell you're talking about.
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So there's simultaneously a super secret team of giant robots and a super secret team of technologically enhanced super soldiers, and neither team knows about the other? The governments in these movies must be far more effective than our actual government. Well, damn it, I want some realism and mature adult themes in my giant robot and super soldier movies! - Suprmallet
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Old 03-21-13, 05:14 PM   #119
dugan
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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I've seen Wreck-It Ralph a few times and have no idea what the hell you're talking about.
"You can't blame her. She was programmed with the most tragic backstory ever!"

Okay never mind.

And more relevant news:

Publishers Initially Turned Down "Remember Me" Due to Woman Protagonist
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Old 03-22-13, 09:00 AM   #120
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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"You can't blame her. She was programmed with the most tragic backstory ever!"

Okay never mind.
Ah, I remember that line. It was funny but I never took it as any attempt at poking fun at a trope specific to female characters. A good deal of heroic and player characters, regardless of gender, have a defining element of tragedy in their background.

Unless you mean they were mocking modern games reliance on the "tragic backstory" trope. In which case, yeah, they did poke fun at it with that throwaway line (and subsequent scenes).

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This news was covered a few posts back.
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So there's simultaneously a super secret team of giant robots and a super secret team of technologically enhanced super soldiers, and neither team knows about the other? The governments in these movies must be far more effective than our actual government. Well, damn it, I want some realism and mature adult themes in my giant robot and super soldier movies! - Suprmallet
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Old 04-08-13, 09:51 AM   #121
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

I would love to hear Sarkeesian's take on Bioshock Infinite. On one hand, it definitely employs the "damsel in distress" trope. On the other, Elizabeth is a fully developed, three dimensional character with a powerful arc.
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Old 04-08-13, 11:53 AM   #122
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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I would love to hear Sarkeesian's take on Bioshock Infinite. On one hand, it definitely employs the "damsel in distress" trope. On the other, Elizabeth is a fully developed, three dimensional character with a powerful arc.
I don't think it's that big a deal either way since
[Bioshock Infinite spoiler]
Spoiler:
Elizabeth turns out to be your daughter
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Old 04-08-13, 01:03 PM   #123
dugan
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Or the new Tomb Raider, which subverts the trope by having the damsel's rescuer be a strong woman.
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Old 04-08-13, 01:04 PM   #124
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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Or the new Tomb Raider, which subverts the trope by having the damsel's rescuer be a strong woman.
And one of the "damsels" in the game is a huge Samoan guy.
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Old 04-08-13, 02:42 PM   #125
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Re: Kickstarter: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

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And one of the "damsels" in the game is a huge Samoan guy.
I just finished that game this weekend and it cracked me up when
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Lara is struggling to carry the Japanese girl back to the boat (after fighting off a giant undead samurai and soldiers and everything else) and the Samoan guy ("Hey, there's Lara!") waits until they're about ten feet away before going to lend her a hand.
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