MuttersomeTaxicab's forum posts

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#1 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 posts) -

Yeah. I'm real on the fence about this. I like the idea of better battery life/larger screen. This won't really be a day-one purchase, but I've enjoyed the holy hell out of my time with my 3DS, so I guess we'll see.

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#2 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 posts) -

My fiancee and I have put a stupendous amount of time into Civ V. It's been a blast. Super excited for Gods and Kings.

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#3 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 posts) -

@Ravenlight said:

I've never head about the studio or game you've mentioned here. I guess it's a space-sim in the same vein as Elite?

I imagine there's a bit of Elite in there (as far as any sort of space game with trading has some Elite in it.)

Soldak's last game was called Din's Curse. It was an ARPG in the vein of Diablo, but had a lot more randomization. Furthermore, the townspeople would go down into the dungeon and sometimes need rescuing. There would be various other plots to attack the town as well, and elite monsters would navigate between levels and spawn more and more powerful monsters if they were not dealt with quickly. Sometimes you'd have to figure out if someone was poisoning the town and generally keep things from spinning wildly out of control (which happened more often than not.) In some cases, townspeople would ask you for money to buy food. If you refused, they'd eventually starve to death or attack other townspeople for food and money.

Drox Operative appears to be a sort of Din's Curse in space, with a wide range of factions all going about their business. Your job appears to be to encourage intergalactic peace by taking out pirates, trading and solving missions while levelling up your ship and paying your crew. Combat is very Diablo-esque and actually feels pretty decent.

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#4 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 posts) -

I sincerely doubt that there's many Soldak fans hanging out here, but considering there's a page for Drox Operative and it appears to be reasonably filled in, I imagine this is pertinent to some. You can now pre-order the game for 25% off and get access to the beta.

Looks pretty interesting. I'm a huge fan of Din's Curse. I really liked the ARPG mechanics mixed with having to generally care for an entire town/find out who's poisoning the well/etc.

I'm a little sceptical about how well they'll pull off space combat in Drox Operative, but the idea of a free-ranging, dynamic universe with rpg mechanics sounds pretty solid. And at $14 to pre-order, consider me sold.

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#5 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab

There is very little reasonable female representation in entertainment media at all, these are industrial endeavors attempting to attract the widest audience possible without inviting commercial or critical controversy, given the storm in a teacup around this game it's not difficult to see why commercial creators would shy away from attempting to depict their vision of a strong female protagonist. When clearly lumbered with the concept that any depiction of a female character is a statement on all women for all time, it must be a revoltingly restrictive prospect for an author in any medium. If creators aren't allowed the freedom to explore the ramifications of gender or race or sexuality on their individual fictional characters without being expected to carry the torch for an entire segment of society then there can be no equality in media representations, there can only be Generic White Males because you can do as you please with that character without fear of controversy or reprisal.

Creators have to be able to try to tell stories with female protagonists without every moment of their attempt being put under some socio-political microscope - more importantly they have to be allowed to fail, perhaps spectacularly, in their attempts otherwise there is no way to learn what sort of approach will be satisfying or interesting or pleasing for their audience. Hell, they have to be allowed to take completely unpopular approaches which don't paint their subject in a positive light, without fear of their efforts being decimated by populist thinking or their careers being harmed by torch & pitchfork mobs. Otherwise we simply have to make do with nondescript white male protagonists fighting nebulous conflicts against generic malevolent forces until the end of time, brought to us by an industry of cowards.

Except in other mediums, there are reasonable female characters. Agreed, they're still not the norm. Neil Gaiman, for example, has expressly said that he prefers writing female characters. "Revoltingly restrictive" seems like an odd word choice, but given Lara Croft's prominence, I imagine this isn't exactly the discussion that Crystal Dynamics wants to have.

At any rate, I'm all for creative freedom on the part of the designers to do what they want, but that doesn't preclude the audience, arguably part of the target demographic from voicing their concerns. Yeah, it's conceivable that this may just give rise to more homogenous nondescript white male protagonists in AAA titles, but consider the business that Tomb Raider did. I think any moneyman worth their salt would probably say it's worth the internet hand wringing if they can pull it off.

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#6 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 posts) -

@Wrighteous86 said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab said:

If it's just the scene you described, then it's indicative of a terribly immature approach to writing the game, and falls into the already well-worn trap of writers using rape as a way to demonize the "enemies" while still showing that, no matter how strong Lara ever gets, she'll always have that looming threat of sexual violence that is absent for pretty much every other male protagonist in a video game.

I get what you're saying, and I agree to an extent. But isn't that just how the world is? I see that less as a form of sexism and more as a reflection of society. Women are more likely to be raped. Men are more likely to be rapists. An older criminal man probably could forcibly have sex with a young woman he has captured, and is probably more inclined to, than if the situations were reversed.

There's a reason that it's somewhat safer for a man to walk through a bad neighborhood or a dark alley than a woman: physical intimidation and sexual/psychological inclinations on the part of criminals (who also tend to be men).

Right. But our current conception of society isn't a constant, and is in constant dialogue with culture and varying forms of representation. Rape, for example, is a thing that certainly happens to men, but it has an utterly different stigma surrounding it. And, yeah, it does happen in the real world. Though part of the complaint levelled at video games for fostering a sort of "rape culture" is that both developers and player communities treat rape as a casual subject, something to be joked about or taken lightly. And, yeah, the film industry does that from time to time and is (usually) raked over the coals for it.

To me, it just feels like a dumb move. These armies of men already apparently want to kill Lara. What does the addition of rape add to the story or the character? She's already physically smaller than them and dishevelled and whatnot. As someone who'd like to see this game be able to pull off its aspirations, this feels like a crazy decision: shock value for the purpose of shock value.

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#7 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab said:

@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?

I have no argument with the idea that this would be a different game if it were a male character's story, hopefully that is the case otherwise what is the point of Lara being a woman? If you could hot-swap her with Nathan Drake then why bother in the first place? That's fine.

I am not committed to defending the game so much as observing that the game doesn't look offensive and that the arguments seem to be about knee-jerk reactions, overstatements of aesthetic concerns and general self-feeding internet drama.

When I used the word "prejudice" I meant in the context of pre-judgement, I feel that I specified that in the previous sentence but I'm sorry if that was not clear, that's on me.

I think that the combination of the torture-porn label, the complaints about Lara vocalizing pain, and the Kotaku interview mentioning the rape scene are a potent concoction which make it easy to craft ugly arguments about this game. I don't think that any of the drama is actually justified based on what has been shown so far. I have no problem with the idea of the developer portraying an attempted rape, I don't see a single convincing reason as to why they should not try to do so. If the game turns out to be a horrible, exploitative, mean-spirited anti-feminist screed I'll be happy to take the developer to task based on first-hand experience of the game itself. I think that all of the chest-beating and posturing from allegedly feminist side of the debate has been unwarranted, unjustified and it's getting to be a little bit embarrassing and disgusting. Smacks of a witch-hunt.

A lot of the feminist critique is borne from the feeling that video games have very few avenues for reasonable female representation. I get the feeling that much of the groundswell of arguments is a result of misgivings that have been building for a long while. This happens to come along at the same time as that FemFreq attack, the GoW/rape culture discussion at Kotaku and the blowup over the Hitman trailer (and other stuff, I'm sure) so you're probably right that some of the upset is not explicitly directed at the game itself as much as the entrenched attitudes of an entire industry that refuses to see women outside of very specifically designed stereotypes. For me, in a lot of ways, the upset is justified, since it's a debate that probably should have been going on for a while. Plus, there's probably some echoes of the back and forth that happened with Metroid: Other M, where Samus was suddenly deflated as one of the few "strong female" leads.

For me, I'm still fascinated to see what comes out. I imagine Crystal Dynamics is watching the general uproar with some interest (or at least I hope so.) My involvement in this thread stemmed initially from seeing one of the most absurd "counter arguments" about gender equality that, yeah, was totally impacted by Rosenberg's comments. I think, also, a lot of people are being critical of this re-launch, because if Crystal Dynamics actually puts together a well-realized female protagonist that doesn't rely on reinforcing the same tired cultural power struggles that have always existed within the industry, well, there's a lot of potential to that. There's a lot of weight behind that concept, and it's probably something that more than a few people would love to see.

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#8 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 posts) -

@Wrighteous86 said:

@MuttersomeTaxicab: Just to be clear, have they shown or said that she will be up against rape in the game? All I noticed in that preview was one scene where a guy holds her against the wall, looks at her lustfully, and is about to touch her thigh.

If that's all it is, I don't think they are really delving very deep into the subject at all, just acknowledging that rape and lust exist, and that in a situation like that, a mercenary would likely have those thoughts running through his head.

Visually, however, it doesn't seem like it's going any deeper than that, from the cutscene. I mean, there's a scene in Alien where Ripley is held against the wall and the dripping Xenomorph almost lustfully sizes her up before sticking out it's phallic tongue-head thing. (Then again, the Alien series is just a metaphor for rape, anyway.)

I'm going from Rosenberg's comments about attempted rape being an important "milestone" for the character. Even if it's the suggestion of groping and then the merc is killed, it's still incongruous as hell, especially if you're going for a "mature" approach. Who in their right mind is going to try to rape someone who, from the looks of things, has spent a good chunk of her time arrowing the hell out of other dudes?

That's kinda the problem. If it's just the scene you described, then it's indicative of a terribly immature approach to writing the game, and falls into the already well-worn trap of writers using rape as a way to demonize the "enemies" while still showing that, no matter how strong Lara ever gets, she'll always have that looming threat of sexual violence that is absent for pretty much every other male protagonist in a video game.

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#9 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 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.

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#10 Posted by MuttersomeTaxicab (823 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.