MuttersomeTaxicab's forum posts

#1 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@Wrighteous86:

1. Film, as a medium, has a much longer history than video games. There is typically a richer background to draw from and a wider array of techniques to communicate subtleties. Video games typically get their point across through game mechanics. The medium still has a long, long way to go to be able to mechanically deal with something like rape in a way that is anywhere near respectful. I'd hoped to go as long as possible before having to talk about "rape culture" and video games, largely because the term seems to be misappropriated a great deal of the time, but while there is a lot of charges laid at Hollywood's feet for phallocentrism, it has nowhere near the same history of sexualized violence being directed at female characters (and players) that the video game industry does, as well.

2. You're quite right, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the films that have even ventured into that territory with male protagonists. On the one hand, it was framed as a deliberate response to the elaborate traps previous Bond villains have used, and while I was actually a little weirded out at the decision to use that sort of sexual violence in what seemed like a joking way, it was still nullified in a way that rape could never be, since nothing actually comes of it. Aside from a throwaway line, they don't have to deal with any of the consequences and Bond's virility is re-established in a few minutes. If it were a female character, that kind of shit would have taken on a completely different tone.

3. Hmm. That's an interesting interpretation. The definition I'd presumed they were using was that psychopaths can form relationships with others, but typically don't value them to any great degree.

#2 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@Wrighteous86 said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab said:

I'm all for taking the series in a grittier direction and hypothetically diverging from its core formulas, but it still blows my mind that to make her "a strong character" they need to first beat the holy hell out of her and still dangle the omnipresent threat of sexual violence over her head, then they've already fucked up.

You must have been similarly outraged with Casino Royale then, where, to explain why James Bond became who we know him as, they first needed to show that he was a broken man, crippled by his love for a woman, emotionally dependent and despondent, in addition to literally having his testicles smashed over and over again after being stripped nude and tied to a chair.

1. Video games aren't movies. Huge difference.

2. Casino Royale is an interesting example, because it went into territory that very few other narratives go with male protagonists. But they also didn't bring rape into the equation, so again, not quite the same.

3. The treatment of Bond's feelings for Vesper in that film was my only complaint. You can't oscillate between strongly hinting that he's actually a coldblooded psychopath AS WELL AS hopelessly in love with Vesper. Super erratic writing.

#3 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab said:

Again, I'm just as curious as anyone else to see the game, but if you're going to even touch on a topic like rape, you'd better fucking be able to do it in a mature, reasonable manner. Given the way Rosenberg has been talking about the game, it's completely reasonable to object to the idea that the developers are in any way equipped to handle that scene responsibly.

Yes, let's not give them the opportunity to present the scene in context and approach it with an open mind, let's judge it based on the executive producer's ability to communicate the idea because that's the important thing. Why are you bothering to attempt to justify your pre-judgement of the game? Let your prejudice speak for itself, the window-dressing around it isn't adding anything to your argument.

On release, this will be a good game or a bad game and all of the pathetic posturing and pointless drama will be exposed as an idiotic waste of time and effort either way. But let's not miss the opportunity to throw a few more insults, slurs and diminishing remarks in the meantime, there's only 8 months left to fill!

1. Look at the title of this thread. See how it's specifically asking if anyone would be this upset if Lara was a man? The main point of what I'm saying is that there is reasonable cause to be concerned with the gender politics in this game. If, in the next 3rd-person action game with a male protagonist with survivalist undertones is basically Deliverance: The Game, replete with rape scene, I'll eat my hat. But it won't. Because, with men, the threat of murder is enough, but not enough for a female protagonist.

2. At no point have I roundly condemned the game itself. My critique has largely been based on the information that Crystal Dynamics is choosing to release about the game, and how the handling of that information isn't just damaging to the reputation of what could be an interesting game, but also makes the games industry itself look like a collective of juvenile asshats.

3. It absolutely blows my mind that you've committed yourself so wholly to defending this game that, even when I'm simply offering a critique of where this thing seems to be going, and how it's evidence of other execrable trends in the industry, you're taking umbrage and presuming that I'm prejudiced against it. Against what? Sexism? Sure. Absolutely. Aren't you?

#4 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab said:

@rebgav said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab said:

The executive producer on this game has already decided that "gamers" will not project themselves into Lara, so they're making her this weak, frightened animal so she'll be sympathetic; something to be looked down upon and protected, not considered an equal.

Funny, the Lara I saw in the E3 demo was too busy peppering guys with arrows and stabbing dudes in the throat to bat her eyelashes and beg for help.

Did I miss a trailer where she's tied up and left on a railroad line or something?

Leaving aside the awkward moaning, also not appearing in the E3 demo: Dynamic Rape Scene Action! Now with Quick Time Events.

Oh, objecting to things that you haven't even seen? Well don't mind me, I need a moment to prepare so that I can take you absolutely seriously.

G'head. Take all the time you need. There's already been plenty of talk about how the e3 demos were not representative of the actual games that were being made. Plus, if you'd bothered to read any of the previous posts in this thread, part of my ire is coming from the fact that the executive producer of the game is trotting that scene out like a goddamn selling point. Regardless of what's being shown in that video, the idea that people are "only getting up in arms about this because Lara's a woman and that's hypocritical" is fucking insane. Regardless of how badass she's depicted in that five-minute swathe of gameplay, the fact that they're even bothering to bring rape into the equation is so gender-specific that, yeah, of course it's about the fact that she's a woman.

Again, I'm just as curious as anyone else to see the game, but if you're going to even touch on a topic like rape, you'd better fucking be able to do it in a mature, reasonable manner. Given the way Rosenberg has been talking about the game, it's completely reasonable to object to the idea that the developers are in any way equipped to handle that scene responsibly.

#5 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab: But that is the entire point of the game to show how Lara went from Point A to point B and show her growth as a person. If your a 20 something person who wakes up after surviving a horrible plane crash on an island regardless of gender your going to be frightened as all shit if your not used to having to survive like that.

Yep. But a dude going through all that would not be framed as a "damsel in distress" - and far and away, it's particularly telling that there really isn't some easy term for a male character going through those ordeals. The lack of a male-oriented "damsel in distress" trope suggests that such a state would be perceived as "unnatural." So why apply that to Lara? Especially since its origin comes from chivalric romance stories in which women only exist to be rescued. I haven't seen enough of the game to say how they handle fear, but given the inclusion of the rape scene, it's absolutely fair to say that, were it a male protagonist, the tone of the fear expressed by that character (if, indeed, they expressed any fear at all) would be drastically different.

At any rate, that's beside my point. I was responding more to statements like this:

@Kazona said:

That's why I always say that if everyone wants equal treatment, they have to take the good with the bad. Applying equal treatment, such that it only works in one group's favor, is not equal treatment.

And trying to articulate the point that, while an attempt to take the Tomb Raider games in a different/gritty/survivalist direction is laudable, the methods they're using are, at worst, actively harmful to public perception of the video games industry and at best, simply reinscribing the same bullshit box for female characters to be forced into, just with a slightly altered (but maybe more worrying) context.

#6 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab said:

The executive producer on this game has already decided that "gamers" will not project themselves into Lara, so they're making her this weak, frightened animal so she'll be sympathetic; something to be looked down upon and protected, not considered an equal.

Funny, the Lara I saw in the E3 demo was too busy peppering guys with arrows and stabbing dudes in the throat to bat her eyelashes and beg for help.

Did I miss a trailer where she's tied up and left on a railroad line or something?

Leaving aside the awkward moaning, also not appearing in the E3 demo: Dynamic Rape Scene Action! Now with Quick Time Events.

@Demoskinos said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab: And Uncharted has never tried to be like this game they are a bombastic indiana jones thrill ride not a story about human survival. Its like chastising Burnout for not being realistic when thats never what they were fucking going for in the first place. Uncharted and the new Tomb Raider are by far on opposite ends of the spectrum here comparing them is fucking dumb because at this point Lara isn't raiding tombs or setting off on wacky adventures to battle T-Rex she is a human being trying to survive. And for once... once the damsel in distress is going to save herself instead of needing a strong man to come and save her and people are flipping the fuck out about it. At best comparing nathan drake to lara in this is only doable by past games. And if Uncharted 4 puts drake in the same situation thats great and I'm sure it would be a fine game and honestly a more interesting direction for the series but their decision not to do that is motivated by nothing else than the fact that they wanted to make an action game not a survival game.

Valid point, re: Uncharted. I could question why Uncharted also never "needed" to go the survival action route to make the character sympathetic, but point taken.

The problem is the idea that the "damsel in distress" trope even needs to be applied to Lara. (or to any female protagonist) Especially since this game's primary function, per last year's E3, is to take her in "new and mature directions" and "rehabilitate her image." I'm all for taking the series in a grittier direction and hypothetically diverging from its core formulas, but it still blows my mind that to make her "a strong character" they need to first beat the holy hell out of her and still dangle the omnipresent threat of sexual violence over her head, then they've already fucked up. Again, I haven't seen the final game, so I'm reserving full judgement, but the disparity between what they say the game should do, what one of the people actually working on the game says it should do and what the game itself is doing is absolutely shocking, and continues to underscore the fact that anyone claiming gender equality in video games has lost their goddamn mind.

#7 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab: Fuck Nathan Drake. He has nothing to do with this. And he has never been portrayed like that anyways. He always has a gun ready to be the heroic bad ass and save the day. Secondly, what the producer "thinks" doesn't fucking matter what he "thinks" gamers will do and what they actually do are up to them. The views of one man doesn't mean we should condemn the whole project for being misogynistic.

As a character that is engaged in roughly the same profession as Lara, I think it's reasonable that people have pulled him out as a comparison. The fact that he's never been portrayed like that is exactly my point. And as far as Ron is a dude out there talking to the press about the game, I'd say what he "thinks" about the game carries a fair bit of weight, given his position. Games are never just blank slates - especially a larger title like this. What gamers "actually do" is explicitly limited to what is programmed into the game, so while, yeah, he's making a bit of a leap assuming that players won't "project" themselves into Lara (which kind of baffles me, but he doesn't give a reason why) - it's certainly something that has come up during development, which means design decisions are at least provisionally being made as a result of that dialogue. I'm not saying we should condemn the whole project as misogynistic, but the fact that his comments and attitude were reported and have not been roundly and vocally condemned by the community is troubling as hell.

In actuality, I really hope Tomb Raider is still an excellent game in spite of Ron's comments. I truly do. The idea of a weighty survivalist game that puts some meaning to its violence is interesting to me. It's just disheartening that the guy they're letting speak for the team sounds like exactly the kind of piece of shit that, through his own ignorance, reinforces the perception that the video game industry is still a collection of juvenile manchildren.

#8 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab: Dude, anyone thrown into that situation is going to turn into a cornered animal when your reduced to your basest human element of survive or die.

1. At no point does Lara's male foil, Nathan Drake, come across as a caged animal.

2. You're still missing the point. The executive producer on this game has already decided that "gamers" will not project themselves into Lara, so they're making her this weak, frightened animal so she'll be sympathetic; something to be looked down upon and protected, not considered an equal.

#9 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

Man. Now I just wish Relic would release an ARPG with The Last Stand mechanics.

#10 Edited by MuttersomeTaxicab (676 posts) -

@Kazona said:

That's why I always say that if everyone wants equal treatment, they have to take the good with the bad. Applying equal treatment, such that it only works in one group's favor, is not equal treatment.

This essentialization of feminism to "women want equal treatment but whine when they get it" is so hair-pullingly asinine I don't even know where to begin.

Cultural change is a process, and one that typically is never "done." Especially in video games, where strong characters, regardless of gender, are so rare and strong female characters are mostly nonexistent. Most of the controversy about the new Tomb Raider game isn't necessarily the depictions of Lara (which are still questionable, but pulled from their larger context, it's hard to get a reasonable bead on them.) The larger reason why a lot of people are (rightfully) up in arms about this is not necessarily the depictions of violence against Lara, but rather the statements made by Ron Rosenberg, the executive producer for the game made recently:

"When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character," [...] "They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'"

“The ability to see her as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear,” he said. “She literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building her up and just when she gets confident, we break her down again.”

In the new Tomb Raider, Lara Croft will suffer. Her best friend will be kidnapped. She’ll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape her.”

“She is literally turned into a cornered animal,” Rosenberg said. “It’s a huge step in her evolution: she’s forced to either fight back or die.”

This is not "equal treatment." Not by a long shot. What Ron is articulating here is a very specific reinforcement of already-established power struggles, in which women are perpetually in peril and are literally reduced to non-human status. To make her a sympathetic character they have to reduce her to a cornered animal? It's easier to empathize with something that's rhetorically reduced to non-human than it is to identify with a female character? It boggles my mind that anyone who reads those statements isn't anything but concerned about what the fuck they're trying to do with this game.

Source: http://kotaku.com/5917400/youll-want-to-protect-the-new-less-curvy-lara-croft