Today Polygon posted this piece on their site. It’s an piece about the myths and realities of harassment against women in the video game industry by Brianna Wu. It features the real life experiences of several women in the gaming industry that have faced harassment and threats from gamers and consumers. I’m not going to try and make any witty comments on this one, you should just read the article. Warning: There is some pretty graphic language in the piece.
These are some pretty harrowing experiences that are laid out in this piece. Being a public figure, especially a female public figure, in the gaming industry is still one that carries a lot of hurdles and hardships. The gaming community is slowing shifting and becoming more and more accepting, but we still have a long way ahead of us. We got some real dicks still out there, and we probably always will, but it is how we as a community respond to these types of actions that make us the community we are. Gamers have to hold up those who are being oppressed in our community, and until we do we’re all failing as a community.
NPR’s “All Things Considered” has a new piece on video game diversity that reflects on their experience at this years E3. For those who don’t listen to ATC, it’s a segment show on NPR in which the correspondents go out and explore different things. This week Arun Rath reflects on his experience at E3. Spoiler alert: He didn’t spend his entire time there playing the new Battlefield.
Listen to the piece on their website or read the transcipt, it’s less than 7 minutes and an interesting insight from someone who clearly is a foreigner to the gaming community. He raises some issues we already know about, but are important nonetheless. His major focus in the lack of diversity presented in E3 among presenters and protagonist, which is true and fair. However, using E3 as a temperature for the community as a whole isn’t pragmatic. Despite this, he does an interesting enough job of bringing the issue to his listeners, a populace of people who probably don’t know much In addition, he brings up is the amount of violent video games revealed/shown at this E3 and the amount of sequels at the show. These are fair reflections, but they may not necessarily reflect the entirety of E3. He glances over a lot of the new and unique things coming from specific developers and instead focuses on how the Oculus Rift is the next “revolution” in gaming. EH….I don’t want to comment on what I think about the OR, but I think it’s fair to say that Rath didn’t get the full scope of E3 in the article.
It is fair to say that E3 has become dominated by violent video games. This graph, created by user timetokill on Neogaf, shows the breakdown of reveals of games that focus on shooting:
This generations focus on shooters is interesting, but that’s a subject for another day. E3 has always been about appealing to the console gaming masses, and this year’s was no different. With the gaming demographic expanding, hopefully in future years we’ll see the console population diversify as well. Until then, big shows like E3 are still going to be directed at their main audience: males who love shooters.
At least Nintendo is doing something….not shooting?
Anita Sarkeesian has released a new installment in her Tropes Vs. Women in Gaming video series that explores women as decorative objects in gaming. Her videos tend to be controversial amongst the gaming community, but I think she does great work to exposure a lot of the sexism and bias in the gaming community. Others may say “LOLWHATEVER”, to which I would reply “touche” . Warning, some content in the video can be a little graphic and NSFW. Anyways, here’s a description of the video from The Feminist Frequency website.
“In this episode we explore the Women as Background Decoration trope which is the subset of largely insignificant non-playable female characters whose sexuality or victimhood is exploited as a way to infuse edgy, gritty or racy flavoring into game worlds. These sexually objectified female bodies are designed to function as environmental texture while titillating presumed straight male players. Sometimes they’re created to be glorified furniture but they are frequently programmed as minimally interactive sex objects to be used and abused.
Sexual objectification is the practice of treating or representing a human being as a thing or mere instrument to be used for another’s sexual purposes. Sexually objectified women are valued primarily for their bodies, or body parts, which are presented as existing for the pleasure and gratification of others.”
Let me know what your stance on these videos are. Please no “SHE STUPID. SHE NO NOTHING BOUT VIDAJ GYMES”.
Video games are full of dads. Dads over here, dads over there. And why not? Games reflect society and guess what society has a lot of? Dads. Thus, in honor of father’s day, I thought we’d look at some the best and worst fathers in video gaming history. I’ve decided to break these dads into three categories: Bad dads, Sad dads, and Rad Dads.
Dads sometimes like to be bad. Could be rebellion against the feelings of being tied down by a family, or pent up anger over their favorite sports team losing the big match (THE DENVER SLIM SLAMS GOT ROBBED, HUH HONEY!?), regardless there’s a lot of bad dads out there in video games.
-Heihachi (Tekken franchise)
Fighting games seem to have a lot of bad dads, but none seem worse than Heihachi from the Tekken franchise. I know the Tekken universe is a little insane, but let’s put that all aside and look at the terrible father that is Heihachi. Let’s look at some of the fatherly things hes done over the span of the series.
Throws his son into a ravine and forces his son to make a deal with the devil.
Throws his son into an active volcano.
Adopts a second child to fight his biological son.
Enters a tournament to beat up his son and adopted son.
Betrays his grandson to experiment on him.
Shoots his grandson into space. INTO SPACE.
So there you have it. His son wants him dead, his adopted son wants him dead, and even his grandson wants him dead. That said, he has a pretty sweet bear that loves the hell out of him.
-The King of the Cosmos (Katamari Series)
Now you may be saying ‘THE KING OF THE COSMO IS THE GREATEST!”, and yes you’d be right. However, The King of The Cosmos is a terrible father. He’s constantly destroying the cosmos on accident on either drunken binges or haphazard tennis games that make black holes and then has the nerve to make his son clean up the mess. That would be all fine and dandy, but he doesn’t give his son the credit he deserves. He constantly talking crap about all of prince’s work making stars and then takes the credit for making the stars. WHAT THE HELL!? Nothing is good enough for this bad dad, not even creating an entire sun. He’s just a lazy, glory hogging, careless, tyrant.
Kratos: Killing your wife and kids, even if being tricked by a God, is still pretty bad.
Let’s face it. There’s an odd amount of sad dads in video games. This could be because video games inherently make dads sad because they remind them of their forgotten youth, or because game developers use childrens’ death as a motive for plot progression and more developed characters more often than Mario saves Peach.
Joel (The Last of Us)
READ NO FURTHER IF DON’T WANT SPOILERS!
Joel is a mix of a sad and rad dad. The game starts with Joel desperately trying to protect his daughter from the onslaught of a mysterious outbreak. He tries hard, and in his attempt you see how much he loves his daughter even as she lays dieing in his arms. 20 years later he’s a sad, hardened dad. Unlike a lot of sad dads who sit around looking at pictures of their children, this sad dad has become the ultimate survivor. Of course, throughout the game he bonds with Ellie, a young girl that is thrust into his life, and shows that he still has the fatherly nature in him. DON’T BE SO SAD, SAD DAD.
Bowser (Super Mario Series)
Bowser isn’t a sad dad in the normal sense of a sad dad; you’ll never see him weep into a swansons tv dinner or grow a slovenly beard over missing his kids, but he is a tragic dad. Why? Because he’s a constant failure to himself and his kid/s. All Bowser ever wants to do is capture Princess Peach so she can be the mother of his kids. He’s desperate for a female role model in his kids life. Unfortunately he’s always foiled by Mario and his goons, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. Time and time again he fails, only to rise up again and again. He’s so tragic that his own kids have disowned him (See the Koopa Kids) and his only remaining son is now deranged in his own right. It’s Okay Bowser… It aint easy being king.
-Doctor Light: Doesn’t have kids, so he build some. They have to save the world and almost die with each step they take.
Some dads are pretty rad. Hopefully your life is filled with Rad dads; dads who go to your ballet lessons and wait in the car listening to talk radio without batting an eye. Dads who give their Sundays up to take you to some kids party you’ll realize you hate years later. These are the rad dads that make up certain video games.
Octodad is a pretty rad dad. Why? It’s not only because he’s an octopus disguising as a human man to live a normal dad life of taking care of a wife and kids, it’s because he’s damn good at it. Contrary to naysayers who say “Octopuses can’t be good human dads!” or “He’d be as good at being a dad as an octopus could possibly be” Octodad blows all presumptions away by being an awesome dad regardless of being an octopus or not. Not only that, he does it while trying not to raise suspicion that he is an octopus; how many dads out there have to do that?
-Big Daddy (Bioshock Series)
Not all dads have blood relations to those they’re dads to, and Big Daddy is a great representation of that. What’s there to say that hasn’t been said about these massive, monstrous, creature dads in metal suits whose sole purpose are to protect the hideous and evil little children that dwell in a post apocalyptic underwater city? Regardless of what’s been said, i’ll say it again: these dads are rad. Like mad sports dads who fly off the handle when their kids get fouled in a game, Big Daddies protect their young at all costs, and that’s a damn honorable trait.
Hagger (Final Fight): He’s a the mayor of the city. That doesn’t mean he won’t kick some ass to save his daughter.
There’s some dads for ya. Let me know who your favorite video game dads are and why they deserve the respect of their peers and unsupportive children.
It’s been a fun week of demos, conferences, and mostly announcements for First Person Shooters. Between announcing games in which people shoot each others’ heads off, Ubisoft announced the newest entry into their Assassin’s Creed franchise. The game is the first game in the franchise to offer co-op play, allowing up to 4 players at once. That’s all fine and dandy, but fans are disappointed with Ubisoft for something besides them announcing another AC game; fans are upset that the game will feature no playable female characters. Alright, you may be saying “Hey, dingbat. Lots of games don’t feature female characters”, but it’s pretty silly when other games in the franchise have featured playable female characters. With 4 main protagonists in the game, surely they could have put one in.
So what’s Ubisoft gotta say about this lack of gender choices?
“It’s double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets…Especially because we have customizable assassins. It was really a lot of extra production work.”
DOING THINGS FOR BOTH MEN AND WOMEN IS HARD. I get it, it’s true that having to animate, design, and whatever else a female character would add production time to the game, but really? For a company like Ubisoft, who has been releasing an Assassin’s Creed game almost annually, to play the workload card is a little absurd. How about spacing the games out a little more to add this one customization in? The company went on to explain that designing a female character is increasingly difficult because they don’t have a”female reader for the character” at their disposal, nor do they have “all the animations in place.” A spokemen went on to explain that designing a female character is different from a male one, because they look, act, and walk different. After he said that, the world smallest violin was played for him.
It’s not only fans reacting to the statements of Ubisoft either, as other game developers have added their voice to the subject matter.
Jonathan Cooper of Naught Dog calling them out for being both lazy and…incorrect? This one from Tim Borrelli from 5thcell is in response to female characters looking and acting different.
One last one from industry types (I forget who they are with)
All in all, fans and developers aren’t happy with Ubisofts response and laziness on the matter. Come on Ubi, you’re not an independent developer struggling here; the Assassin’s Creed franchise is a huge one and we expect more out of they. They should probably use some of that Babyz and Dogz money to fix this fiasco, but we probably won’t see that happen. Who knows how this will change future Assassin’s Creed games or ever the upcoming Unity.
For those who subscribe or check in regularly, you may notice the domain has lost the “wordpress” and is not just a .com! Exciting times people. We are now a registered domain! Will the blogs level of terribleness lessen? PROBBBBABBBLLLLYYYY NOOTTTTTTT
Nintendo’s digital event went live this morning, and they showed off an array of games including the first footage of the upcoming Zelda game, Smash Brothers, and Yoshi title.
As we discussed during last year’s E3, Nintendo has really been upping the amount of female protagonists in their recent titles. They are continuing this trend this year by announcing several games with playable protagonists who are female.
-Hyrule Warriors currently features 3 of 4 female characters as protagonists, including Impa, Midna, and Zelda.
-More female characters in Smash brothers than ever before, including new entries such as Palutena, Wii-Fit Trainer, and a female villager.
However, the biggest news seems to be coming out of one of Nintendo’s biggest franchise: The Legend of Zelda. While unconfirmed, it seems as though we may be a Link whose gender is up for customization. I…can’t tell. Link has a ponytail and is certainly looking a lot more feminine than in previous entries. It could honestly go either way: is Link becoming more androgynous, or can you change the character’s gender? With the news of the gaming being more open world, it’s not unlikely that Link will be more changeable than ever before. Guess we’ll find out as more details about the game come out.
The folks over at the Nielsen Report (You know, the people who tell you that your favorite show will probably get canceled) have released their 2014 report on video game consumption. The Nielsen report is more of a general observation on video game consumption that other outlets. For a more detailed look, I recommend checking out the ESA’s 2014 report on video game consumption.
So what do these guys named Niels (I assume everyone that compiles this data is named Niel) have to say about video game consumption?
#1: People are spending more time playing video games!
Up from 2012 and 2011, gamers are putting more hours into gaming each week. This would mean that the average gamer puts a little less than an hour of gaming in a day. Neato. That’s an extra hour of Pokeymans than last year! This increase could very well be due to the increase of popularity in mobile games, which enables players to play on the go.
#2: The number of console gamers who also play on mobiles is increasing!
This isn’t that surprising. As smart-phones and tablets become more and more common place so does the amount of gamers playing games on these devices. You’re not going to not playing games on a mobile device you already have, right? I mean that would be insanity…so of course I will devote days of my life to “Candy Crush” like the electronic heroine that it is.
#3: Mobile Games/Tablets are increasingly growing in the amount of gaming time played!
Although the number of hours spent on gaming is increasing, much of the share of the time is being given to mobile and tablet games. However, console games are still the norm and still make up the majority of gaming time spent. Likewise, newer consoles (Wii U/Xbox One/ PS4) are gradually building audiences while last generation consoles still make up the majority. We’ll probably see this percentages shift in the next two years, but as of this year many gamers have yet to make the jump to next gen.
That’s pretty much all the Niels have to say. Not real revelations, but interesting nonetheless. It’s pretty nifty to see in numbers the increase in popularity that video games are having. As these numbers grow, it becomes increasingly more pertinent that we evaluate all the sociological issues around video games. If only someone would do that…instead of what we’re doing here, which only amounts to nonsense.
NOW ONTO E3 WHERE ALL OF OUR DREAMS AND NIGHTMARE WILL COME TRUE!
Remember when your parents told you that violent video games and violent movies would desensitize you to violence? A study coming out of the University of Texas Austin and Michigan State University suggest that your parents were big fat liars….Well, maybe.
The study finds that doing heinous acts in video games increased the players sensitivity towards those acts in normal life. So, you car-jack a car or murder a hooker in GTA and you may be more sensitive about car-jacking and hooker murdering in real life. Super!
“We found that after a subject played a violent video game, they felt guilt and that guilt was associated with greater sensitivity toward the two particular domains they violated — those of care/harm and fairness/reciprocity,”
THAT’S WHAT I JUST SAID LESS INTELLIGENTLY. The study, which will be published in an upcoming “Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking” claims that we should all rethink the effects of violent video games.
I’ll wait to see the actual piece, but this seems like a common thread: Group A will claim negative about violent video games and then weeks later Group B will claim something positive about violent video games. There’s no definitive answer on the violent video game subject (AND THAT MAKES ME RAGE, AS I WAS JUST PLAYING MORTAL KOMBAT)
“Our findings suggest that emotional experiences evoked by media exposure can increase the intuitive foundations upon which human beings make moral judgments… This is particularly relevant for video-game play, where habitual engagement with that media is the norm for a small, but considerably important group of users.”
That, of course, would go against many who claim that violent video games are the downfall of our society and that they caused the second world war. We’ll keep an eye out for the actual research and report back on its methodology, so stay tuned….you 4 readers!
A poll coming out of the magazine “Reason”, a libertarianism magazine, finds that there might be a correlation between libertarian beliefs and playing video games. Should gamers be flocking to the polls for Rand Paul, or is this all just bogus. WHO IS TO KNOW, PROBABLY NOT GOVERNMENT.
I won’t delve to much into the poll itself, but the poll was administrated by the magazine to gamers to get their beliefs about fiances and consumerism. The poll found that gamers had leaning towards libertarian beliefs, despite the majority of gamers classifying themselves as liberal.
“If there’s any one trend to take away from a poll looking at gamers it’s that gamers don’t like to be told what to do with their lives,…Again, they may describe themselves as liberal, but they do not like government policies that control individual life choices, like what products they can purchase or consume. Video games are all about making choices, right? That’s one mentality that does carry over in real life.”
Hey, ok. Having not seen the actual poll questions, I can’t comment on how slanted the questions were, but certainly one has to take a poll from a libertarian magazine making claims about libertarianism with a major grain of salt. Saying that this poll may have a political slant is a huge understatement. That said, the claims of “not liking being told what to do” as an indicative of libertarian beliefs in gamers is a little hard to chew. Even the most liberal individual probably won’t say they “like being told what to do” in regards to their consumer habits. That statement is about as libertarian as donkeys (Get it, because…they’re…democratic).
Some of the “libertarian beliefs” gamers have are:
A significantly larger percentage of gamers than non-gamers believed that they should be allowed to buy caffeinated energy drinks, play violent video games, and gamble in online poker games. They also supported legalizing marijuana and 3D printed guns in greater numbers. The biggest difference was gamers’ support for using Bitcoin as a currency. 55 percent of gamers were in favor compared to 30 percent among non-gamers.
I…don’t even know where to pick this apart. It’s pretty silly trying to relate most of these beliefs to a political philosophy , but of course that is what this magazine is trying to do. It would only be more absurd if the claims were “Libertarians drink mountain dew and so do COD gamers! REVELATION!?” Again, having not seen the actual poll itself, I’m only commenting on the purposed results of the poll, but it seems that the magazine is drawing correlation where there isn’t really much. It’s our job as good sociologist and gamers to question these sorts of pieces, as having the backing of gamers is something many groups may want; They want to play with power.
That’s all for now. Silly poll, silly conclusions. I should have probably put that up front to save you time from reading this articles. TRICKED YA SUCKER.
Last year Nintendo responded to a glitch found in their popular Japanese 3ds Title “Tomodachi Collection” that allowed players to enter into same-sex relationships with a patch. We discussed the issue a bit on here and it was admittedly a strange case, as the glitch enabled occurrences such as male Miis becoming pregnant and only allowing for same-sex male relationships. After the patch was released the response to Nintendo’s action seemed to die down, however the argument has since resurfaced upon Nintendo announcing the game (Tomodachi Life) for North America and Europe. Since then an online petition and miiverse community movement called “Miiquality” have been created to move Nintendo to allow for same-sex relationships in the NA/EU versions of the game. Community members have taken to Miiverse, twitter, facebook and most social media outlets to let Nintendo know of their desires. This week, a representative of Nintendo responded with this statement:
“Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life…The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation ….We hope that all of our fans will see that Tomodachi Life was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary.”
TLDR: “We’re not trying to be progressive here”. Unfortunately this is just another strike in Nintendo’s list of things they’re behind the times on. This could have been a momentous move for Nintendo to show that they are progressive, but instead they chose to show that they are behind the times once again. With other family oriented companies like Disney making strides in representing the LBGT community, it’s unfortunate that Nintendo isn’t following suit. Even from a financial standpoint, the publicity and buzz Nintendo could have created by responding to requests positively could have extremely helped sales of the upcoming. Instead, they’ve only served to anger and disappoint a growing population of their community. They’ve handled this situation like they’ve handled to Wii U (HAHAHAHAH GET IT. BADLY)
Then again…Maybe a bizarre, strange experience like Tomodachi life isn’t the best place for Nintendo to make such a stance….or any statement. Regardless, Nintendo needs to step into the modern day.
We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game’s design, and such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch. At Nintendo, dedication has always meant going beyond the games to promote a sense of community, and to share a spirit of fun and joy. We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone. We pledge that if we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players.
Meh. Seems reasonable enough. To be fair, the original patch that Nintendo released for the Japanese version wasn’t removing the ability to have same sex relationships, it was a patch released to fix a glitch that occurred when players brought over a Mii from another 3ds that inadvertently marks those miis as the wrong gender. They were REALLY trying to not take a stance either way. Perhaps this movement may see the fruits of its labor in future installments of the game.