#1 Edited by JacobForrest (307 posts) -

No, it's not a new subject. We all have opinions on it. But I find that, with the holidays coming up, the ignorance regarding video games being made just to please the male libido (yeah, no one really considers the fact that girls play video games too) and quench primal blood thirst is getting irritating.

I recently read an article entitled "Present Danger" in one of my local newspapers which discusses issues of hyper-sexuality and overall degradation in video games. I thought it was an interesting read but, being a gamer myself, I believe that many parts of the article were just plain false.
 
When we examine, for example, Lara Croft as an image of degradation and sexuality only to please the male libido, we don't analyze who Lara Croft as a character really is.
 
Lara Croft stars in the long-running Tomb Raider video game series. Her role in the game is that of a heroine; she traverses various environments, from jungles to mansions, encountering all sorts of perils along the way (a female counterpart of Indiana Jones, if you will). While her large bust and revealing jean-shorts may portray her as a symbol of sex, in reality she is a symbol of confidence and bravery. You can even interpret her journey as the struggle of a female in a male dominated world. And guess what: Lara wins.
 
The same applies to Grand Theft Auto IV. There's no dispute that GTA has received the most controversy in regards to its themes of serial violence and sex. But we aren't actually looking into the root of the game itself. In GTA IV, the player steps into the shoes of Niko Bellic, an Eastern European immigrant who has just arrived in America. Despite the fact that killing people and hi-jacking cars is a large part of the game, we fail to realize that GTA IV is primarily about the alienation of Niko Bellic in the strange new world of the United States -- a theme that has been used in countless literary classics. The game was regarded by many critics as having an amazing story and an extremely likable and noble protagonist, yet still, sensationalists and video game bashers everywhere still focus on the belief that GTA IV is nothing more than a mindless spree of sex and violence.
 
The "present danger" of mindless violence and women being exploited as sex symbols through video games is a classic example of judging a book by its cover. We fearfully cast a negative light on video games featuring sex and violence without actually thinking about the games themselves. And it's a shame, because gaming is constantly associated with immaturity and shallow thrills, while most of today's gamers are actually normal people with everyday responsibilities.
 
Daniel Floyd, an 'expert' who was quoted many times in the article said that "decades of hyper sexualized heroes, adolescent pandering and cheap thrills have undermined the artistic integrity of this medium." The integrity of video games have not been sullied by being shallow and degrading, but by the fact that they are constantly perceived as such. To me, gaming is an art form which can be just as profound as literature and music. But until we abandon the notion that video games are an agent of social corruption, that is what they will continue to be.

So, what are your thoughts on this issue?

 

#2 Posted by Gameboi (653 posts) -

My thoughts are this: Video games only influence those that are easily influenced in the first place . Show some developing children (or mentally impaired individuals) who soak up everything around them, and I'll say yes -- they can be influenced by games and other media. Show me an adult or young adult who has a firm grasp of reality (and morality), and I'll show you a group that is not being influenced by games.  It's why we have a rating system for games and movies in the the first place.  If used correctly, it works.

#3 Posted by bjorno (1424 posts) -

He is right, I don't care that girls play video-games too.

#4 Posted by JacobForrest (307 posts) -
bjorno said:
"He is right, I don't care that girls play video-games too."
I meant that no one considers the fact that girls play video games. Many seem to think that it's exclusively a male hobby.
#5 Posted by Video_Tycoon (313 posts) -
JacobForrest said:
"No, it's not a new subject. We all have opinions on it. But I find that, with the holidays coming up, the ignorance regarding video games being made just to please the male libido (yeah, no one really considers the fact that girls play video games too) and quench primal blood thirst is getting irritating.  "
Yeah.  I'm a girl and its this stereotype of "How many games do you have for the Wii?"  When my 360 collection is larger.  >_<  BAH
#6 Posted by Coltonio7 (3156 posts) -

Dudes like games. Dudes like women. Put it together.

Though, I can't speak for the women on this subject.

#7 Posted by OroJackson (680 posts) -

I hate that video games are simply written off as a child's hobby, and where other mediums can get away with substantially more violence and sexual references video games are chastised.

People really need to wake up and see that video games are just like any other media: If it is too graphic for those not mature enough to handle it, don't play it or let your kids play it. Parents wouldn't let their 10-year old watch some hyper-violent movie, so they shouln't let them play games they can't handle either. 

#8 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

To save a few, you take away from the many... scary thought. The scourge of society is not brought upon by degenerates that play video games. It's the whole of society that plays that part, from beginning to end.

#9 Posted by JacobForrest (307 posts) -
OroJackson said:
"I hate that video games are simply written off as a child's hobby, and where other mediums can get away with substantially more violence and sexual references video games are chastised.

People really need to wake up and see that video games are just like any other media: If it is too graphic for those not mature enough to handle it, don't play it or let your kids play it. Parents wouldn't let their 10-year old watch some hyper-violent movie, so they shouln't let them play games they can't handle either. "
The media feeds parents the notion that video games are dangerous. And many parents eat it up with a spoon. Common sense is never taken into account.
#10 Posted by SmugDarkLoser (4619 posts) -

I don't get it, what exactly is the problem?  You seem to be keying on sexuality to which I respond: What sexuality?

The only things are stuff like strip clubs in GTA which aren't exactly something that doesn't exist.
And so what if Lara Croft is made to look hot?   This is bad because what?
I really think they should be less afraid of sex in games.

And don't say that they're only put into meaningless positions.  Look at rpgs specifically for deep female characters.   None of the Lost Odyssey cast has a hint at sex but all the female leads are rather fleshed out (no pun intended).  I guess you could say Ming, but are we going to pretend that big boobs don't exist? 
And heck, Final Fantasy 13 seems to be more of a female cast.  The main character is (shown as a badass character), then the girl in red hair (innocent and petite) and then the female villain like character. 

#11 Posted by Weltal (2274 posts) -

What's the use of trying to prove games are art? Games feature an entirely different method of presenting itself which movies, music or books don't give the viewer. While the three aforementioned mediums of art are passive, games require an active input from the individual. You stop being a viewer of art and become a participant, something whole above and beyond what can be accomplished in the other mediums but at the same time is the main issue preventing games from being 'art' in the sense of the word as it is now.

What is it to be a participant in this art project if it does not make you interested, to make you feel something thing and what feelings are easier to convey then such superficial feelings such as anger or attraction? Going any deeper is requires much more than what games as a medium has in creativity, more than simple motivations for violence or the unexplainable lack of clothing in females.

Despite this, games aren't hindered by the adherence to their principal ideas. They just stick to what they know because they need to, otherwise games lose their footing and are forced backwards. All we can do is leave games to it's devices and wait for it to come into it's own. Besides video games have barely even started crawling and we're already trying to force them to stand. Give games time and they'll find their role and grow into it.

Anyway, more on point, I guess I disagree with a majority of your post. Video games are deeper than their cover but that doesn't change the actual content. The two examples you provide, GTA and Lara, both these criticisms are pretty much on point. Lara is a pair of breasts, she is a sexual thing created for that reason and the fact that she is successful in her endeavors isn't relevant to this fact. Pretty much the same concept for GTA, it may be a great story and Niko may be a fantastically interesting story but the game allows you to run over, beat down and shoot people.

These facts don't diminish the games, there's no reason to protect them, they are good to go. But to claim we shouldn't take into account the actual content of the game in favor of the artistic presentation doesn't make sense. It's like telling someone they should love A Clockwork Orange when they hate violent movies; absolutely fantastic movie but doesn't mean people shouldn't consider all aspects of the movie.

#12 Posted by Kazona (3079 posts) -

I couldn't care less what other people think about my hobby. They think it's harmful or childish? Fine by me. I know better.

#13 Posted by JacobForrest (307 posts) -
SmugDarkLoser said:
"I don't get it, what exactly is the problem?  You seem to be keying on sexuality to which I respond: What sexuality?

The only things are stuff like strip clubs in GTA which aren't exactly something that doesn't exist.
And so what if Lara Croft is made to look hot?   This is bad because what?
I really think they should be less afraid of sex in games.

And don't say that they're only put into meaningless positions.  Look at rpgs specifically for deep female characters.   None of the Lost Odyssey cast has a hint at sex but all the female leads are rather fleshed out (no pun intended).  I guess you could say Ming, but are we going to pretend that big boobs don't exist? 
And heck, Final Fantasy 13 seems to be more of a female cast.  The main character is (shown as a badass character), then the girl in red hair (innocent and petite) and then the female villain like character. "

Well... yeah, that's basically what I was saying.

Weltal said:
"What's the use of trying to prove games are art? Games feature an entirely different method of presenting itself which movies, music or books don't give the viewer. While the three aforementioned mediums of art are passive, games require an active input from the individual. You stop being a viewer of art and become a participant, something whole above and beyond what can be accomplished in the other mediums but at the same time is the main issue preventing games from being 'art' in the sense of the word as it is now.

What is it to be a participant in this art project if it does not make you interested, to make you feel something thing and what feelings are easier to convey then such superficial feelings such as anger or attraction? Going any deeper is requires much more than what games as a medium has in creativity, more than simple motivations for violence or the unexplainable lack of clothing in females.

Despite this, games aren't hindered by the adherence to their principal ideas. They just stick to what they know because they need to, otherwise games lose their footing and are forced backwards. All we can do is leave games to it's devices and wait for it to come into it's own. Besides video games have barely even started crawling and we're already trying to force them to stand. Give games time and they'll find their role and grow into it.

Anyway, more on point, I guess I disagree with a majority of your post. Video games are deeper than their cover but that doesn't change the actual content. The two examples you provide, GTA and Lara, both these criticisms are pretty much on point. Lara is a pair of breasts, she is a sexual thing created for that reason and the fact that she is successful in her endeavors isn't relevant to this fact. Pretty much the same concept for GTA, it may be a great story and Niko may be a fantastically interesting story but the game allows you to run over, beat down and shoot people.

These facts don't diminish the games, there's no reason to protect them, they are good to go. But to claim we shouldn't take into account the actual content of the game in favor of the artistic presentation doesn't make sense. It's like telling someone they should love A Clockwork Orange when they hate violent movies; absolutely fantastic movie but doesn't mean people shouldn't consider all aspects of the movie."
I disagree that games present themselves in an entirely different way than movies and literature. I understand that you aren't actively participating in stories or movies, but you may as well be. If you're willing to suspend your disbelief enough, you can feel like you're the main character in a book or movie. Games use the same device; they allow you to become the character that you're playing. Sure, games give you lenience on the path you choose and where you go, while books and movies are filmed and written already. But video games also, like books and movies, exploit your emotions and draw you into its worlds. And no, not just superficial motivations like anger and attraction. Games have made me feel guilt, sadness, happiness, hope, and fear. That seems like art to me, and although it isn't quite refined yet, it's close to it.

I also disagree that the depth of a video game doesn't change the actual content. To use your example, it's like saying A Clockwork Orange is of the same quality and artistic merit to that of a porn video, because they both feature nudity. That makes no sense. And that was my main argument all along; why should Mass Effect, an engaging and epic game, get slapped with the taboo label because it features a sex scene? In turn, should A Clockwork Orange be labeled as smut because some of the content is mature? No; they are both works of art and should be treated as such.

Anyways, if you don't want to play a game or watch a movie or read a book because you don't like the nudity and violence in it, I'm not saying you should. But I am saying that the silly misconception that games are just senseless violence and porn should end.

#14 Posted by punkxblaze (2990 posts) -

People talk about the degradation of Video Games and how harmful they are to society, but seem entirely unfazed by hyper sexuality in movies, music, books, et al. It's just an excuse for people to shit talk on the industry without having any actual argument to stand on.