The Giant Beastcast: Episode 06
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Her Story is a bold and largely successful experiment in interactive crime fiction.
Rocksteady's gorgeous-looking third Arkham game refines its open-world format a bit and lets you drive a whole hell of a lot of Batmobile.
It's squid kids and ink blasting abound in Nintendo's exceptionally fun new online shooter.
BioWare gameplay designer Manveer Heir's talk at GDC this year was "Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia: Where Do Video Games Stand?" We spent a few minutes chatting about why he gave this topic a closer look.
I sure hope Bioware will get better at depicting relationships in games.
Looking forward to reasonable discussions in this comment section!
Remember when video games were just about games
@monkfishesq: They can also be about other things, there are plenty to choose from, people aren't going to ever stop making fun video games.
But yeah, I appreciate the medium going forward into some thoughtful and intelligent stuff, but I tend to play games for games, I normally don't want a point or a lot of contextualization when playing something like burger time.
Remember when video games were just about games
Remember when video games didn't tell stories?
A great listen for sure.
those were tha days
He actually says "social injustice." That's funny.
No. I remember subtext and context always being there, because they always are, but no one ever talked about it, like it didn't really exist.
I love the frequency of these dump trucks. Great job Patrick!
Super interesting! Keep up the good work Patrick
Yep, facing issues is Goddamn terrifying.
Yeah, games would be so much better if narrative had never moved beyond the pacmans etc.
@davec524: Yeah man, gaming is absolutely devoid of any fun at all now that people like Patrick make us think a bit more about the medium. Just like all those other horrible muckrakers of the past, wanting to change things from the awesome way they've always been.In all seriousness, love the work like always Patrick.
(This string of sentences isn't about the interview, but the broader picture)
Would it be a bad thing if more women were lead in video games? Nope. Would it be bad if game devs were forced into changing their own ideas because of the pressure the more extreme members of the LGBT community are outputting? It sure would.
Creating a petition and basically pressuring a CEO of a company to step down because of his own beliefs is utterly ridiculous. You should never want to have change come about with this kind of hateful pressure that you're "fighting" to change.
I'm sure there are very reasonable people within the community that are a reasonable voice of change. Those people should be heard, and likely will be due to reasonable discourse. But let's not be delusional or hypocritical, bullies exist in any community, even the ones who are fighting against bullying.
Did you even listen to the interview?
@kcin: No, because they always did. They just weren't up their own ass.
I'm about to, but my point isn't non-relevant. I wasn't speaking toward the audio itself. Also if you're going to respond to me. Maybe make it about the content of my statement(s).
Remember when people didn't complain about Link being a cisgendered, privileged white male. Those were the days...
Can't say I didn't know that was coming. But sure, again. Jump on that bandwagon of not actually speaking to my point. Instead let's all just talk about how "irrelevant" it is! :D
If you don't want to discuss what I said. Don't respond to it.
Your Response: Then you should have never posted it because I don't care about it!
I hope he says that he's in favor of all three, because for once that would be an original and interesting stance on what by now has become a really worn down topic.
I mean what else is he going to say other than that these are things we need to eliminate from the industry and should strive for equality and tolerance for all? What more is there left to explore other than reiterating those same bullet points. Despite popular belief, just talking about isn't going to magically fix it.
I think diversity behind the scenes would help a lot more than "be more conscious of the racist shit you're doing." My 2 cents.
A very interesting listen. I do think a big part of the problem is that the gaming industry is very top heavy with white men. I don't think there is nefarious intent when a AAA starts out with an idealized white male lead, it's just easier to write what you know. While it would be nice if writers and designers could be more diverse and could start an open dialoge with people of different backgrounds, I think getting the game out on time and on budget take precedence. I also think that the difficult to write about something as sensitive as race or gender is difficult. When I started my blog I really wanted to write about Gone Home, a game that really resonated with me emotionally. The uneasiness I felt going through the house, expecting something horrible to happen around every corner, paralleled the experience of a person hiding their sexuality in a way no other medium could represent. The problem is, as a straight white male I had no way of knowing if this was a good representation or if I was just coding the experience that way because I didn't know any better. I could discuss the game with friends that are lgbt, but it's not an experience that everyone wants to talk about. It's so much easier for me to write abot Dark Souls or MegaMan, so I decided to do that instead. In hindsight, I did take the lazy route but I don't think that experience is a unique one.
Ah, this dude.
I remember playing Dragon Age: Origins and being really excited about a possible sex scene between my burly, male dwarf king and a flamboyant male spanish elve. I told my friends how great this game is because you can do this!
Then I remember playing Dragon Age 2 and thinking "What the FUCK have they done with Anders? Where is the cat? Why can't I be a male friend, and just a friend, without him going batshit insane? This is badly written."
See, I know Manveers talks and blogposts, he always says he got hate for including homosexual content. Which might be partially true, but Anders being gay doesn't make him a good character no matter how badly he is written. Some was just legitimate critizism, but Bioware writers have always brushed it off as homophobic.
(Is it worth listening to this?)
I think the only hope games really have of being diverse is through advanced procedural generation and custom character creation, this industry will never hit the middle ground society is just too broken.
The question Patrick posed about being afraid to write about an experience because you might screw it up was a good one, but the response from Manveer is far from set in reality. There is a group out there that, if you do screw up, they will absolutely destroy you. They will continue to pile on that person until they just give up under the weight. You see it across mediums, and the video game industry is just the next on the list to allow that sort of mob behavior to control it.
Manveer stating that screwing up the story was analogous to screwing up design elements, or streaming, or art is a ridiculous comparison. You screw up (in their eyes) a black character, you'll be labeled a racist. You screw up (in their eyes) an LGBT character, you'll be labeled a bigot. And so on. Manveer passes it off as if "yeah, you'll get called out for it, but it won't be a big deal." It is a big deal and I think most developers stay away from it because if you don't do it exactly how this group wants you to do it, then they will make sure they drag you and your name through the mud.
This should be a good'n.
OK, let me put it this way. I live in Massachusetts, one of the most if not THE most progressive states in the union. In all of my time dealing with the general public, I have never once seen somebody call an African American a "n*****" in public, never seen a homosexual male called a "f**" in public, or a lesbian a "d***" in public, ever. I have also never seen this happen in video games once. I will thus conclude that if this is such a colossal issue in video games today, where and in what games is this occurring? I'm not talking about voice chat over XBOX Live, I'm talking about cut-scenes or dialog in actual games from at least the past decade, not creepy games from Japan or Custard's Revenge from eons ago, but American or western European made games of recent origin that somehow get past the ESRB and put on shelves. The only thing I think is an issue with games today is the oversexualization of female characters (which I think is a fairly big issue, especially to attract females to the medium), and that's about it.
@thefriend: I agree with you. We're even forcing politics into our older games. Double Dragon's kidnapped girlfriend wasn't about misogyny or sexism; it was the plot and motivation of your characters. She was the MacGuffin. You could replace girlfriend with boyfriend, puppy, brief case full of burgers. But the target demographic was young males, so girlfriend made the most motivational sense for the characters. It also played into the machismo of the 80s & 90s.
Shouting slurs at people is literally the only form of racism, sexism or homophobia.
Whenever people say they want to "raise awareness", usually what they end up doing is creating shame. Manveer Heir says there's a ton of female gamers out there, but I can count on one hand the girls I know who are into video games. Everyone lives in a bubble. Game developers on the west coast do, and so do I.
OK, instead of just giving a lazy one sentence response, where exactly does this happen in games?
I think one of the biggest problem with games today is that people care too much about the gender/sexual oriantation/race/whatever and not enugh about what the context is.
For instance, Shepard, yes, its over sexed, and every sexual encounter went off without someone wondering if the other brought the condom. But he was also having sex with ALIENS.
Or Tomb Raider, Yah, she went half shirtless for most of the game, but she also never went to the bathroom, nor did she eat but once. So who cares.
In that context all this sexualization is blown over and beyond what it should be.
Regarding Manveer's prediction - I consider Nilin from Remember Me to be that example. Granted she's an attractive lady, but no more so than the way any actor in a Hollywood movie is an attractive person. She's not egregiously over-sexualized, her gender is not central to the storyline. She's just a good character that happens to be female (and mixed race).
And then pretty much all the people that editorialize about sociopolitical issue in games (Patrick included) basically ignored the game because it got 6/10s from nuts and bolts reviewers that mainly complained that the combat wasn't as good Batman. Well done game critics, well done. Complain about lack of diversity in games and then do absolutely nothing to highlight a pretty good game with a "diverse" character because it had some non-critical mechanical flaws and you couldn't be bothered to play it.
While I agree with the gameplay critiques, Remember Me is one of the most interesting games I played last year and I'm quite glad I played it. However because the industry at large ignored it and it had poor sales, it just reinforces the notion that games without male or over-sexualized female leads don't sell.
@davec524: Look at everything around you look at every movie and video game you own ... ... ok done now tell me how many of these had a lead character who is gay or female or not white.
Edit : also if a game or movie happened to meet one of those three criteria did those characters fall into a stereotype.
Diversity in (fill in the blank) is about the least interesting topic of discussion I can think of. I just don't look at the world in terms of all these separate groups of people. Liberals seem so hyper focused on identity politics. Well we watched Obama gin up this phony war on women nonsense to help himself win in 2012, only to see that the pay gap in his administration is the same as big evil corporations, bathing in their buckets of money/gold/slime/evil/corrupt whatever.
I think the hyper focus on diversity is actually an effort by liberals to divide people. That's just my sense. The war on women sham of 2012 is plenty of evidence what the ultimate goal of this type of stuff is. The war on women bunk that was spewed at Romney was totally baseless, unjust, untrue, and despicably wrong. I think that happens with liberal politicians any time they start talking identity politics, and I think it doesn't help, I think it hurts us all, and I think it amplifies our differences, not bridges them. I don't think they intend for it to be a constructive dialog at all. I think they intend to make people feel shamed, and harmed by the boogie man. They intend for these groups of people to then identify with them not based on good ideas, but on grievances and mistrust of their fellow man.
In that context all this sexualization is blown over and beyond what it should be.
uhhh i'm going to just come out and say it. i like oversexed women in my video games.. there i said it.,
and i like that Shepard gets it on with aliens.
I just don't get why some gamers get so worked up by just discussing the issue. They'd rather roll their eyes and dismiss all this "diversity talk". It feels like they get threatened that all this talk about social issues in games is somehow going to change the games they love for the worse. Suddenly Gordon Freeman will turn into a black lesbian and games won't be catered to them solely. Gamers already have this fear with "casual gamers" and now its the same with "social issues in games".
I think stuff like this is good for games. It means we can see different types of characters, stories, experiences rather than the same old character types/tropes.
Use your keyboard!
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