Standing Silent in the Echo Chamber

This topic is locked from further discussion.

Avatar image for fear_the_booboo
#51 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1100 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: Except that's not the only game she cites as exemple. That you single out just one of the game she cites and try to explain how she is dishonest where she is not (sure, the words she uses might be a little too strong for what is really happening but the thing is, the game still let you kill the woman) is just nitpicking.

I said it before and I'll say it again. We totally can have problems with feminist criticism, but we should welcome it and try to adress it. Not try to shut the discussion. It's fine that you disagree with Sarkeesian, but be happy that we can finally talk about game critically is the only thing I ask for. Just taking one of the arguments of Sarkeesian and then disregarding her whole discourse as dishonest, even if it has problems, is highly problematic.

Avatar image for deactivated-15135
#52 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m said:

She does not cite and academic or scientific studies to validate any of her claims about games' effects on society

This is patently false. With every Tropes vs. Women video, she includes a list a accompanying resources along with a transcript.

She gives lists of resources where she gathers her talking points (most of which are non-academic or scientific articles), but they do not address links between media and real world effects. But its possible I may have missed one she listed on a past video. If she does, show me one and I'll gladly retract my statement. :)

@n1nj4d00m said:

she purposefully misrepresents games in order to make them seem worse than they actually are.

How do you know she is purposefully misrepresenting games? What possible reason could she have given you to think she is being deliberately misleading?

Her footage for Hitman shows the player killing a stripper and dragging around a strippers body for no reason. This is where she claims that players are encouraged to desecrate female bodies. This is not encouraged in the game, in fact as you may or may not know, the Hitman series encourages players to NOT kill anyone except the target.

Avatar image for deactivated-15135
#53 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: Except that's not the only game she cites as exemple. That you single out just one of the game she cites and try to explain how she is dishonest where she is not (sure, the words she uses might be a little too strong for what is really happening but the thing is, the game still let you kill the woman) is just nitpicking.

I said it before and I'll say it again. We totally can have problems with feminist criticism, but we should welcome it and try to adress it. Not try to shut the discussion. It's fine that you disagree with Sarkeesian, but be happy that we can finally talk about game critically is the only thing I ask for. Just taking one of the arguments of Sarkeesian and then disregarding her whole discourse as dishonest, even if it has problems, is highly problematic.

http://youtu.be/4ZPSrwedvsg?t=18m31s

Here is the sequence in the video that I have a problem with. Her claim is that it allows the player to kill females, but she doesn't mention that these games let you kill any NPC. They aren't made for specifically killing women, it is a misrepresentation.

Avatar image for wholefunshow
#54 Posted by WholeFunShow (401 posts) -

@wholefunshow: I'm not exactly sure what you mean so I'll ask you to elaborate on your post a bit.

I actually think Major Nelson and Treehouse live streams are a great point of consideration though. They have the exact same function as "games journalism" but their "news" is more potent and focused. It's directly from the source. This leads to more relevant/current information straight from the biased mouth. Think about what games journalists do with that info. They either post the video on their website or they make bullet points for the important stuff. They reiterate 99% of all the content they are given.

On the whole I think it's a good thing to have them as a source of information separate from the company selling you the product. But they shouldn't call themselves journalists because that requires an ethical standard that they are incapable of holding. They're freelance marketing organizations. They're who publishers call when they want the hardcore audience to know something about a game they're making.

I'm really not certain what I mean either :p Or less theatrically, I'm trying to work out a way for the not quite journalists/not quite marketing/"it's sort of always been corrupt but what are you gonna do, boycot?" grey area to have clear lines about what's what. As E3 developed I really started to wonder why I'd dismissed Nintendo's Treehouse stream early, it was the place that Nintendo was saving it's best nuggets of info for and I'll very likely be looking out for it's equivalents at the next events. And yeah, that's because they're trying to shill for Nintendo... but it WAS Nintendo! So exactly what it said on the tin. Jeff has repeatedly returned to the difficulty of maintaining distance or at the very least being transparent about what could be construed as conflict of interest (Bombcasts after Rab Florence and the Dance Central 2 not review for example) and one answer is make certain that each entity has it's own voice, Giantbomb filters games through Hamburger's and wrestling and earnestly de emphasises the authority of each reviewers review score for example. This is a bizarre note to conclude this on but this isn't my day job.

Avatar image for fear_the_booboo
#55 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (1100 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: Except she does adress this very point in this very video saying that the women NPC reacts differently that the male NPC. The women NPC are sexually objectified (she's a strippers, for fuck sake) while the men aren't. You're accusing her of not using context while doing the same exact thing. At 3.20 she adresses that there is other type of women NPCs and she'll concentrate just on one type. She's clear, you're misinterpreating her for your own sake.

Also, you're using just one of the games she cites. If she made just one mistakes, that doesn't mean all her opinions are misguided. You're nitpicking a lot here.

Avatar image for wolfgame
#56 Posted by Wolfgame (1168 posts) -

@fear_the_booboo said:

@n1nj4d00m: Except that's not the only game she cites as exemple. That you single out just one of the game she cites and try to explain how she is dishonest where she is not (sure, the words she uses might be a little too strong for what is really happening but the thing is, the game still let you kill the woman) is just nitpicking.

I said it before and I'll say it again. We totally can have problems with feminist criticism, but we should welcome it and try to adress it. Not try to shut the discussion. It's fine that you disagree with Sarkeesian, but be happy that we can finally talk about game critically is the only thing I ask for. Just taking one of the arguments of Sarkeesian and then disregarding her whole discourse as dishonest, even if it has problems, is highly problematic.

http://youtu.be/4ZPSrwedvsg?t=18m31s

Here is the sequence in the video that I have a problem with. Her claim is that it allows the player to kill females, but she doesn't mention that these games let you kill any NPC. They aren't made for specifically killing women, it is a misrepresentation.

Excellent point, what we ultimately have is a growing idea that it's actually ok to misrepresent both gamers and the game developers as long as it fits your personal end.

Avatar image for conmulligan
#57 Edited by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m said:

She gives lists of resources where she gathers her talking points (most of which are non-academic or scientific articles), but they do not address links between media and real world effects. But its possible I may have missed one she listed on a past video. If she does, show me one and I'll gladly retract my statement. :)

Here's a study that examines the cognitive link between playing a sexually-explicit game and real-world sexual objectification. She included in the list of resources for the Women as Background Decoration (Part 1) video. The key takeaway from that study:

Results show that playing a video game with the theme of female “objectification” may prime thoughts related to sex, encourage men to view women as sex objects, and lead to self-reported tendencies to behave inappropriately towards women in social situations.

There's a PDF of the full article summarising the study here if you're interested.

Her footage for Hitman shows the player killing a stripper and dragging around a strippers body for no reason. This is where she claims that players are encouraged to desecrate female bodies. This is not encouraged in the game, in fact as you may or may not know, the Hitman series encourages players to NOT kill anyone except the target.

I think you missed the point she was trying to make. She wasn't saying that players are encouraged to engage in that behaviour, just that designers have to be aware that the interactive nature of games makes such behaviour possible:

…but since video games are an interactive medium, players are allowed to move beyond the traditional role of voyeur or spectator. Because of its essential interactive nature, gaming occupies a unique and potentially more detrimental position vis-a-vis the portrayal and treatment of female characters.

A viewer of non-interactive media is restricted to gazing at what the media makers want them to see. Similar to what we might see in video game cutscenes, the audience is only afforded one fixed perspective. But since we’re talking about interactive gameplay within a three-dimensional environment, we need to consider the fact that players are encouraged to participate directly in the objectification of women through control of the player character, and by extension control of the game camera. In other words, games move the viewer from the position of spectator to that of participant in the media experience.

Avatar image for deactivated-15135
#58 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m: Except she does adress this very point in this very video saying that the women NPC reacts differently that the male NPC. The women NPC are sexually objectified (she's a strippers, for fuck sake) while the men aren't. You're accusing her of not using context while doing the same exact thing. At 3.20 she adresses that there is other type of women NPCs and she'll concentrate just on one type. She's clear, you're misinterpreating her for your own sake.

Also, you're using just one of the games she cites. If she made just one mistakes, that doesn't mean all her opinions are misguided. You're nitpicking a lot here.

At this point http://youtu.be/4ZPSrwedvsg?t=21m3s she uses audio that is not even the main character's voice to misrepresent what's going on. If you've played Deus Ex Human Revolution, you will be able to tell that when you hear "you can't run", it isn't the main character talking. I'm not even sure if that audio is from that game at all.

You can say I'm nitpicking if you want, but she isn't just one game, this is the narrative and it is a misrepresentation of what the games actually are. Yes she shows scenes that can easily be considered sexist, but she then exaggerates other games to try to make a stronger case.

Avatar image for deactivated-15135
#59 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@n1nj4d00m said:

Here's a study that examines the cognitive link between playing a sexually-explicit game and real-world sexual objectification. She included in the list of resources for the Women as Background Decoration (Part 1) video. The key takeaway from that study:

Results show that playing a video game with the theme of female “objectification” may prime thoughts related to sex, encourage men to view women as sex objects, and lead to self-reported tendencies to behave inappropriately towards women in social situations.

Her footage for Hitman shows the player killing a stripper and dragging around a strippers body for no reason. This is where she claims that players are encouraged to desecrate female bodies. This is not encouraged in the game, in fact as you may or may not know, the Hitman series encourages players to NOT kill anyone except the target.

I think you missed the point she was trying to make. She wasn't saying that players are encouraged to engage in that behaviour, just that designers have to be aware that the interactive nature of games makes such behaviour possible:

…but since video games are an interactive medium, players are allowed to move beyond the traditional role of voyeur or spectator. Because of its essential interactive nature, gaming occupies a unique and potentially more detrimental position vis-a-vis the portrayal and treatment of female characters.

A viewer of non-interactive media is restricted to gazing at what the media makers want them to see. Similar to what we might see in video game cutscenes, the audience is only afforded one fixed perspective. But since we’re talking about interactive gameplay within a three-dimensional environment, we need to consider the fact that players are encouraged to participate directly in the objectification of women through control of the player character, and by extension control of the game camera. In other words, games move the viewer from the position of spectator to that of participant in the media experience.

Very well, I retract my original statement concerning her sources. Thank you for directing me to that source.

My second point I stand by: http://youtu.be/4ZPSrwedvsg?t=22m11s

"The player cannot help but treat these female bodies as things"

"Players are meant to derive a perverse pleasure from desecrating the bodies of unsuspecting virtual female characters"

"controlling and punishing representations of female sexuality"

Avatar image for fear_the_booboo
#60 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (1100 posts) -

Good, we agree that there is a problem, that she might have some point even when she can be misguided from times to times is not even relevant. You adressed two citations she got wrong (though, seriously, they're not even that wrong). That Deus Ex thing doesn't change much, really, as is the Hitman thing, and maybe that dialog was from one of the NPC, it does not change what is happening on screen. Her point still stands. We could inspect every point of the fucking video in details, but her basic point still stands.

I've played most of those games and liked them, but I wouldn't say she misrepresents them. Frankly, you'd be insanely insane to not recognize that many of the games she cites objectified women.

At 21:20, she adresses why the games implicitly encourages it and why even small consequence for "bad actions" is not really discouraging the player.

At 26:00, she adresses why it is different for men and women.

Avatar image for crysack
#61 Posted by Crysack (568 posts) -

I think you missed the point she was trying to make. She wasn't saying that players are encouraged to engage in that behaviour, just that designers have to be aware that the interactive nature of games makes such behaviour possible:

…but since video games are an interactive medium, players are allowed to move beyond the traditional role of voyeur or spectator. Because of its essential interactive nature, gaming occupies a unique and potentially more detrimental position vis-a-vis the portrayal and treatment of female characters.

A viewer of non-interactive media is restricted to gazing at what the media makers want them to see. Similar to what we might see in video game cutscenes, the audience is only afforded one fixed perspective. But since we’re talking about interactive gameplay within a three-dimensional environment, we need to consider the fact that players are encouraged to participate directly in the objectification of women through control of the player character, and by extension control of the game camera. In other words, games move the viewer from the position of spectator to that of participant in the media experience.

I have no particular interest in engaging in this discussion but you should note that she then goes on to make the following statement with reference to the Hitman: Absolution footage:

"So in many of the titles we’ve been discussing, the game makers have set up a series of possible scenarios involving vulnerable, eroticized female characters. Players are then invited to explore and exploit those situations during their play-through.

The player cannot help but treat these female bodies as things to be acted upon,because they were designed, constructed and placed in the environment for that singular purpose. Players are meant to derive a perverse pleasure from desecrating the bodies of unsuspecting virtual female characters.

It’s a rush streaming from a carefully concocted mix of sexual arousal connected to the act of controlling and punishing representations of female sexuality.

In-game consequences for these violations are trivial at best and rarely lead to any sort of “fail state” or “game over”. Sometimes areas may go on high-alert for a few minutes during which players have to lay low or hide before the game and its characters “forget” that you just murdered a sexualized woman in cold blood."

It seems to me that she is, in fact, implying that sexual(ised) violence is encouraged by the developers and readily embraced by male game players.

Avatar image for cagliostro88
#63 Posted by Cagliostro88 (1240 posts) -

@conmulligan: You know you linked to a study of sexually explicit videogames, right? The study talks about games like Custer Revenge and Leisure Suit Larry Magna Cum Laude, not exactly the mainstream games Anita talks about

Avatar image for fear_the_booboo
#64 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (1100 posts) -

She never said that, though, and you're implying her intents. She clearly explains at the end of the videos why she thinks that the violence adressed to women is different to the violence adressed to men. She never says the latter is not problematic, but argue that the former is more insidious in its form.

Anyway, this shouldn't be a thread about Sarkeesian. I guess I'm to blame for that. I'm done here.

Avatar image for deactivated-15135
#65 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@fear_the_booboo: Yeah I just saw that part of the video and deleted my post. I am done too, thanks for talking about it with me though.

Avatar image for stryker1121
#66 Posted by stryker1121 (2172 posts) -

@stryker1121 said:

@wolfgame:

Not to mention the condescending tone she uses to slough off the criticism, i.e. 'hipsters with liberal arts degrees.'

You can groan and roll your eyes at her tone as much as you like but it doesn't refute the point of her statement that these people are completely unqualified to be acting like experts on these topics.

Who says they're acting like experts? Sarkeesian is engaging in the same kind of feminist criticism that other mediums have undergone for ages. I don't agree w/ all her points but neither do I feel like she's pretending to be an authority on the subject.

Avatar image for conmulligan
#67 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@conmulligan: You know you linked to a study of sexually explicit videogames, right? The study talks about games like Custer Revenge and Leisure Suit Larry Magna Cum Laude, not exactly the mainstream games Anita talks about

Yes, I am aware of that and explicitly mentioned it in the original post. It wasn't meant to be taken as a single source for all of Anita's assertions, just one example. There are manymorearticles that support her theory if you want to go down that rabbit hole.

Avatar image for cagliostro88
#68 Edited by Cagliostro88 (1240 posts) -

@conmulligan said:
@cagliostro88 said:

@conmulligan: You know you linked to a study of sexually explicit videogames, right? The study talks about games like Custer Revenge and Leisure Suit Larry Magna Cum Laude, not exactly the mainstream games Anita talks about

Yes, I am aware of that and explicitly mentioned it in the original post. It wasn't meant to be taken as a single source for all of Anita's assertions, just one example. There are manymorearticles that support her theory if you want to go down that rabbit hole.

Two are behind a paywall, the third is an experiment about objectification in humans interaction in a virtual world. A woman is made to wear a virtual outfit (more skimpy/more conservative) and then she has to talk to a male controlled avatar. I can tell you that myself that if you wear a more sexualised outfit (in real world and in virtual reality) you'll feel like you'll get more objectified. Ask a woman if she feels more objectified with a deeper cleavage or more conservatives clothes, but you already know the answer

Still doesn't talk about mainstream games and how that affect people that are playing. Unless it's all in the papers you have to buy to read (and i doubt at this point, honestly) , the research presented still doesn't relate to the major points of Anita about games, it's tangential at the very best

edit: actually one behind the paywall is the experiment i was talking about here. So that leaves only one research, but i'm not gonna spend 36$ to argue here, the burden of proof is not on me (economically in this case :D)

Avatar image for marokai
#69 Edited by Marokai (3711 posts) -

@crysack said:

"So in many of the titles we’ve been discussing, the game makers have set up a series of possible scenarios involving vulnerable, eroticized female characters. Players are then invited to explore and exploit those situations during their play-through.

The player cannot help but treat these female bodies as things to be acted upon,because they were designed, constructed and placed in the environment for that singular purpose. Players are meant to derive a perverse pleasure from desecrating the bodies of unsuspecting virtual female characters.

It’s a rush streaming from a carefully concocted mix of sexual arousal connected to the act of controlling and punishing representations of female sexuality.

In-game consequences for these violations are trivial at best and rarely lead to any sort of “fail state” or “game over”. Sometimes areas may go on high-alert for a few minutes during which players have to lay low or hide before the game and its characters “forget” that you just murdered a sexualized woman in cold blood."

It seems to me that she is, in fact, implying that sexual(ised) violence is encouraged by the developers and readily embraced by male game players.

I don't understand how people could read the bit of the transcript you posted with reference to the Hitman footage and come to any other conclusion, frankly. She's making the direct implication that this is the norm for Hitman: Absolution and not something she happened upon when passing through a particular level wherein you can kill anyone, man or woman, in this fashion, and doesn't mention anywhere that it's not the goal of the game to do so, and the game penalizes you for doing it. Hell, she straight-up says that the players are "meant" to do it, which is outright false.

The entire argument there just seems to be "there is a problem of violence against women in society, therefore this tiny section of the game where you can kill women is more problematic than the rest of the violence in the game." Not all of Anita's points in her videos are invalid, but it would be dishonest to deny that large parts of some of her videos suffer from serious confirmation-bias; she's approaching almost any incidence of violence against women as being done specifically because of misogyny. She takes offense at random, arbitrary things; she claimed it was "problematic" that "a woman is on par with a dog" in Spelunky, because you can rescue men, women, and dogs from the caves you're spelunking. Nowhere in that game was that the point, only someone trying to find a sexist angle in literally anything she looks at or plays could've come to that conclusion. She makes this point while showing footage of throwing around the unconscious female's body and later talks about how you can fling a woman's body for defensive purposes; why would a person do this except to impress a very specific idea on the viewing audience?

The dramatic seriousness of the language she uses in that excerpt could be interchangeable with Jack Thompson's screeds about Hitman or San Andreas. There's not even any attempt at justifying the weight that she gives her words. "It’s a rush streaming from a carefully concocted mix of sexual arousal connected to the act of controlling and punishing representations of female sexuality." Really? Based on what? How have you come to this conclusion from the ability to kill an innocent bystander like you can do with any other innocent bystander? She makes no effort to back up why it's bad or how it's trying to "punish representations of female sexuality" beyond just repeatedly stating it. This language is on par with Fox News' on-call "psychiatrists."

Avatar image for heyguys
#70 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

Man, I really hate when people pretend like the most reasonable position is inherently located squarely in the middle. "Hmmmmmm both sides have good points it is a shame you aren't a super reasonable person like me who is above it all and does not takes sides oh well." That only makes you approximately 2% more reasonable than the craziest person in the room because your commitment to neutrality coddles angry people making baseless accusations.

The scandal was no scandal at all. All of the rage was targeted at opinionated women and, to a lesser extent, men who agree with them. Nobody whose argument hinges upon rampant speculation derived from "evidence" gathered from invading people's private lives has a reasonable point to make about video games or video games media.

I'm not sure if this is a response to me or not but I'll simply say that I'm not taking a position on the so called "Gamer's Gate" thing at all, I'm just hoping for higher editorial standards from the gaming press. This should have been an issue long before "Gamer's Gate" or whatever it's called, see the Kotaku response to the Max Tempkin news, at any responsible mainstream outlet that would've have absolutely zero chance of being published and it is an actual shame that it was.

Avatar image for peakborn
#71 Posted by Peakborn (101 posts) -

You can groan and roll your eyes at her tone as much as you like but it doesn't refute the point of her statement that these people are completely unqualified to be acting like experts on these topics.

True and while I agree with most of Sommers points in general there isn't really a great foundation to any games criticism at the moment, most are translating critical frameworks from other mediums based on preference and majority of knowledge. The lack of these frameworks for analysis forces a reliance on more established mediums like film or the far more veteran of literature; sometimes combined with philosophical, historical or philosophical angles; to create a understandable point with varying levels of success. I'm guilty of this myself with private attempts mainly relying on film theory.

Video games are still fairly infantile in years when it comes to a critical scene, whether the current attempts and movements are beneficial to the creation of reliable criticism, frameworks and analysis remains to be seen.

Avatar image for professoress
#72 Edited by ProfessorEss (7961 posts) -

@stryker1121 said:

@professoress said:
@stryker1121 said:

@wolfgame:

Not to mention the condescending tone she uses to slough off the criticism, i.e. 'hipsters with liberal arts degrees.'

You can groan and roll your eyes at her tone as much as you like but it doesn't refute the point of her statement that these people are completely unqualified to be acting like experts on these topics.

Who says they're acting like experts? Sarkeesian is engaging in the same kind of feminist criticism that other mediums have undergone for ages. I don't agree w/ all her points but neither do I feel like she's pretending to be an authority on the subject.

Then we disagree on their intentions.

Avatar image for heyguys
#73 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@conmulligan: Are you going to tell me that designers need to restrict players from excercing in game freedom to do bad things? Because that is a doozy of an argument, is Sleeping Dogs immoral from allowing Vinny to engage in violence against women? should games always restrict you, even if they actively discourage you from doing morally wrong things, to doing good?

Avatar image for triplestan
#74 Posted by triplestan (259 posts) -

I feel that there are just too many issues being thrown around at the same time, and it's just blocking any headway anyone on either side can make.

The issue of corruption in the enthusiast press has been raised long before the rise of indie games, and it will be around for years to come. The people who support Gamer Gate but maintain that they aren't part of the "bad ones" are just hurting their own arguments by taking up a banner for a group that has already been written off by those they are trying to convince. The ethical problems will still be considered problems tomorrow, and many of the journalists that Gamer Gate supporters are railing against are well aware of them.

However the issue that remains here and now is the issue of harassment. The fact that a feminist or feminism advocate (or Men's Rights Advocate, or whoever) cannot raise concerns with the media they enjoy without being subjected to threats against their physical and psychological health is a travesty - any medium worth anything must be able to be criticized, and ironically the people who vilify the Anita Sarkeesian's of the world for wanting to "censor their games" are instead censoring any possible discussion from any possible perspective, even their own.

In the end though, it's just as you say - the majority of people who play games either don't know or don't care about it enough to get involved, and any change that does come probably wont matter to them. But thanks to people like them, that change will come, and it will be for the better, because video games are bigger than any hashtag movement or any perceived controversy, and as more people from more diverse backgrounds start playing games and making them - even if it doesn't matter to them - the medium can only evolve.

And now I've spent far too long writing a response that pretty much rephrases what OP said, so I'm going to go outside or something.

Avatar image for conmulligan
#75 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@heyguys said:

@conmulligan: Are you going to tell me that designers need to restrict players from excercing in game freedom to do bad things? Because that is a doozy of an argument, is Sleeping Dogs immoral from allowing Vinny to engage in violence against women? should games always restrict you, even if they actively discourage you from doing morally wrong things, to doing good?

Nobody is saying designers are obligated to restrict players from engaging in problematic behaviour, just that they should be conscious of what they are allowing the player to do. I also don't think it's a bad idea for open-world games to find ways to omit or discourage the worst behaviour — plenty already do by not including children, for example.

Avatar image for jeust
#76 Edited by Jeust (11739 posts) -

And I think we'd all be a lot happier if we'd just go back to playing video games.

We can't ignore important issues forever. We should deal with them, and try not to make frivolous problems.

Avatar image for spaceinsomniac
#77 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) -

@conmulligan said:

@heyguys said:

@conmulligan: Are you going to tell me that designers need to restrict players from excercing in game freedom to do bad things? Because that is a doozy of an argument, is Sleeping Dogs immoral from allowing Vinny to engage in violence against women? should games always restrict you, even if they actively discourage you from doing morally wrong things, to doing good?

Nobody is saying designers are obligated to restrict players from engaging in problematic behaviour, just that they should be conscious of what they are allowing the player to do. I also don't think it's a bad idea for open-world games to find ways to omit or discourage the worst behaviour — plenty already do by not including children, for example.

So are you arguing that the ability to attack female civilians in an action-oriented video game is inherently worse than being able to attack male civilians? Are you suggesting that developers should put women in the same group with children and either not include them actions games, or make them completely invincible?

And the game in question--Hitman--already does discourage the worst behavior that you're talking about. It discourages you from attacking any random civilian. That's the whole point.

Avatar image for conmulligan
#78 Edited by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac said:

So are you arguing that the ability to attack female civilians in an action-oriented video game is inherently worse than being able to attack male civilians?

Most of the time, no. I don't think there's a distinction between running down a man or a woman with a car in GTA, for instance. On the other hand, picking up a prostitute and then beating her to death to get your money back plays into a very real danger that sex workers face, and I think it would be to Rockstar's credit to at least discourage players from doing this.

Are you suggesting that developers should put women in the same group with children and either not include them actions games, or make them completely invincible?

Nope! I was just making the point that game developers already place limits on what kinds of people the player can do bad shit to.

Avatar image for theht
#79 Posted by TheHT (15890 posts) -

@heyguys said:

@conmulligan: Are you going to tell me that designers need to restrict players from excercing in game freedom to do bad things? Because that is a doozy of an argument, is Sleeping Dogs immoral from allowing Vinny to engage in violence against women? should games always restrict you, even if they actively discourage you from doing morally wrong things, to doing good?

Nobody is saying designers are obligated to restrict players from engaging in problematic behaviour, just that they should be conscious of what they are allowing the player to do. I also don't think it's a bad idea for open-world games to find ways to omit or discourage the worst behaviour — plenty already do by not including children, for example.

Let's not be underhanded about it now. To what end should they "be conscious of what they are allowing the player to do"?

@conmulligan said:

@n1nj4d00m said:

Here's a study that examines the cognitive link between playing a sexually-explicit game and real-world sexual objectification. She included in the list of resources for the Women as Background Decoration (Part 1) video. The key takeaway from that study:

Results show that playing a video game with the theme of female “objectification” may prime thoughts related to sex, encourage men to view women as sex objects, and lead to self-reported tendencies to behave inappropriately towards women in social situations.

Her footage for Hitman shows the player killing a stripper and dragging around a strippers body for no reason. This is where she claims that players are encouraged to desecrate female bodies. This is not encouraged in the game, in fact as you may or may not know, the Hitman series encourages players to NOT kill anyone except the target.

I think you missed the point she was trying to make. She wasn't saying that players are encouraged to engage in that behaviour, just that designers have to be aware that the interactive nature of games makes such behaviour possible:

…but since video games are an interactive medium, players are allowed to move beyond the traditional role of voyeur or spectator. Because of its essential interactive nature, gaming occupies a unique and potentially more detrimental position vis-a-vis the portrayal and treatment of female characters.

A viewer of non-interactive media is restricted to gazing at what the media makers want them to see. Similar to what we might see in video game cutscenes, the audience is only afforded one fixed perspective. But since we’re talking about interactive gameplay within a three-dimensional environment, we need to consider the fact that players are encouraged to participate directly in the objectification of women through control of the player character, and by extension control of the game camera. In other words, games move the viewer from the position of spectator to that of participant in the media experience.

Very well, I retract my original statement concerning her sources. Thank you for directing me to that source.

My second point I stand by: http://youtu.be/4ZPSrwedvsg?t=22m11s

"The player cannot help but treat these female bodies as things"

"Players are meant to derive a perverse pleasure from desecrating the bodies of unsuspecting virtual female characters"

"controlling and punishing representations of female sexuality"

What in the holy fuck is she talking about? Hitman is meticulously designed to sexually arouse and simultaneously control and punish representations of female sexuality? This completely off-base and paranoid drivel is the stuff that people hold up as "good for the conversation"?

http://i.imgur.com/XcDNk32.gif

Avatar image for paradigm87
#80 Posted by paradigm87 (39 posts) -

@conmulligan: Doesn't pulling out your gun and killing a civilian in GTA play into the real dangers of homicide that we could all face any given day? Should that be discouraged as well?

Avatar image for nmarebfly
#81 Edited by NmareBfly (171 posts) -

@theht said:

What in the holy fuck is she talking about? Hitman is meticulously designed to sexually arouse and simultaneously control and punish representations of female sexuality? This completely off-base and paranoid drivel is the stuff that people hold up as "good for the conversation"?

Not really. This Hitman section is a weak part in the video, and I think she exaggerates the point (or at least it could have been better explained.) I also think she was a bit off base with her criticism of Spelunky. The thing is, the only reason people are talking about the Hitman bit here is because it's a weak link and so it's easy to point a finger to and complain about. Remember, it's perfectly possible to be a fan of a work as a whole while also criticizing or disagreeing with particular aspects of it.

Avatar image for cagliostro88
#82 Posted by Cagliostro88 (1240 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac said:

So are you arguing that the ability to attack female civilians in an action-oriented video game is inherently worse than being able to attack male civilians?

Most of the time, no. I don't think there's a distinction between running down a man or a woman with a car in GTA, for instance. On the other hand, picking up a prostitute and then beating her to death to get your money back plays into a very real danger that sex workers face, and I think it would be to Rockstar's credit to at least discourage players from doing this.

But you have to prove that doing that in GTA would in any way increase that danger to actual, real, sex workers. If you don't have any kind of proof about that, there is nothing inherently wrong with being able to kill sex workers in game (or any civilian) in game. It might be considered bad taste (and i would totally agree), but not actually worrysome. If a game let you kill another random category, let's say chefs for the sake of this silly example, would you be worried about the real life consequences on actual chefs?

@spaceinsomniac said:

Are you suggesting that developers should put women in the same group with children and either not include them actions games, or make them completely invincible?

Nope! I was just making the point that game developers already place limits on what kinds of people the player can do bad shit to.

And it's entirely based on morality/marketing. It's the developer choice to not display violence against minors because it's disturbing to a large part of the audience, not the worry that the audience would actually club/shoot children to death. Or do you suggest that being able to harm children in skyrim or gta would would raise actual violence against children?
Avatar image for conmulligan
#83 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@theht said:

Let's not be underhanded about it now. To what end should they "be conscious of what they are allowing the player to do"?

Dude, no-one's being underhanded. I'm not sure what you're asking, so if you could clarify I'd be happy to respond.

Did you watch the video? That section only makes sense in the wider context of her argument. She was referring to a broader pattern of games with significant player freedom that feature sexualised women, not Hitman specifically. In fact, she immediately followed up using GTA as an example:

Returning to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, you can buy a prostituted woman, use her for sex, gain the health and stat boost, then murder her to get your money back.

If caught by the police, the screen will fade to black, and 5 seconds later your character will be standing outside the police station, minus a few dollars or items, but free to go about your business as if nothing happened. Other popular sandbox games employ similar character revival methods.

In this way these systems work to facilitate male violence against women by turning it into a form of play, something constructed to be amusing and entertaining.

Doesn't pulling out your gun and killing a civilian in GTA play into the real dangers of homicide that we could all face any given day? Should that be discouraged as well?

Those two dangers aren't even in the same league. Getting randomly killed on the street is an extremely unlikely proposition. Prostitutes are at risk of being attacked every day.

Avatar image for spaceinsomniac
#84 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac said:

So are you arguing that the ability to attack female civilians in an action-oriented video game is inherently worse than being able to attack male civilians?

Most of the time, no. I don't think there's a distinction between running down a man or a woman with a car in GTA, for instance. On the other hand, picking up a prostitute and then beating her to death to get your money back plays into a very real danger that sex workers face, and I think it would be to Rockstar's credit to at least discourage players from doing this.

Are you suggesting that developers should put women in the same group with children and either not include them actions games, or make them completely invincible?

Nope! I was just making the point that game developers already place limits on what kinds of people the player can do bad shit to.

So out of all the ridiculous intentionally controversial things that Rockstar lets you do in GTA, and all the killing sprees, and cop killing, and drug use, and torture that you can engage in, you specifically think that the one thing that has to go is being able to kill hookers and get your money back from them. That's the thing that is over the line?

Not that I desperately want to preserve the ability to kill hookers in GTA or anything--and I haven't done so or cared about it since GTA III--but I do think it's an odd concern given everything else you can do in GTA.

picking up a prostitute and then beating her to death to get your money back plays into a very real danger that sex workers face

And shooting cops in the face doesn't play into a very real danger that police officers face? A danger and concern that male and female officers alike face, along with their wives, husbands, and children? Why should Rockstar express concern and empathy for one and not the other?

But we're getting off topic, because we were talking about hitman. Hitman specifically discourages you from killing any civilian. If you don't feel that the game does enough to discourage civilian attacks, what do you think should have been done differently?

Avatar image for defaultprophet
#85 Posted by DefaultProphet (840 posts) -

I find it truly telling that the "Mainstream" champions GamerGate has chosen to fall in line behind are universally far right wing and have never played a game in their lives until this event. Oh I guess maybe Adam Baldwin played ODST when he was shilling it, maybe. Point is they're not gamers, they're not on your side to improve gaming journalism, they're here specifically because of politics and the belief that things are too PC. Think real hard about who you're choosing to promote as on your side.

Avatar image for conmulligan
#86 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

But you have to prove that doing that in GTA would in any way increase that danger to actual, real, sex workers. If you don't have any kind of proof about that, there is nothing inherently wrong with being able to kill sex workers in game (or any civilian) in game. It might be considered bad taste (and i would totally agree), but not actually worrysome. If a game let you kill another random category, let's say chefs for the sake of this silly example, would you be worried about the real life consequences on actual chefs?

I'm not suggesting that the player's ability to assault prostitutes in a game makes it more likely for a sex worker to be attacked, nor is anyone else as far as I can tell.

Again, nobody is saying that violence against women in games increases the risk of violence against women in real life.

Avatar image for nmarebfly
#87 Posted by NmareBfly (171 posts) -

So out of all the ridiculous intentionally controversial things that Rockstar lets you do in GTA, and all the killing sprees, and cop killing, and drug use, and torture that you can engage in, you specifically think that the one thing that has to go is being able to kill hookers and get your money back from them. That's the thing that is over the line?

Anita's series is not about any of the other things. The treatment of prostitutes is mentioned because it is an example of the trope she is in the middle of providing examples for. She makes no judgement about the killing sprees, cop killing and drug use because none of those things are relevant in the context of her point.

Avatar image for defaultprophet
#88 Posted by DefaultProphet (840 posts) -

@conmulligan said:

@spaceinsomniac said:

So are you arguing that the ability to attack female civilians in an action-oriented video game is inherently worse than being able to attack male civilians?

Most of the time, no. I don't think there's a distinction between running down a man or a woman with a car in GTA, for instance. On the other hand, picking up a prostitute and then beating her to death to get your money back plays into a very real danger that sex workers face, and I think it would be to Rockstar's credit to at least discourage players from doing this.

Are you suggesting that developers should put women in the same group with children and either not include them actions games, or make them completely invincible?

Nope! I was just making the point that game developers already place limits on what kinds of people the player can do bad shit to.

So out of all the ridiculous intentionally controversial things that Rockstar lets you do in GTA, and all the killing sprees, and cop killing, and drug use, and torture that you can engage in, you specifically think that the one thing that has to go is being able to kill hookers and get your money back from them. That's the thing that is over the line?

Not that I desperately want to preserve the ability to kill hookers in GTA or anything--and I haven't done so or cared about it since GTA III--but I do think it's an odd concern given everything else you can do in GTA.

picking up a prostitute and then beating her to death to get your money back plays into a very real danger that sex workers face

And shooting cops in the face doesn't play into a very real danger that police officers face? A danger and concern that male and female officers alike face, along with their wives, husbands, and children? Why should Rockstar express concern and empathy for one and not the other?

But we're getting off topic, because we were talking about hitman. Hitman specifically discourages you from killing any civilian. If you don't feel that the game does enough to discourage civilian attacks, what do you think should have been done differently?

So listen, if I were doing a video series about cop killing in video games and I pulled out GTA5 and said "This mission has you killing cops and you can kill cops whenever" would you then turn around on me and say "Well you can also kill gangsters and soccer moms so whatever why are you bringing that up?"

Of course not.

Avatar image for cagliostro88
#89 Posted by Cagliostro88 (1240 posts) -

@cagliostro88 said:

But you have to prove that doing that in GTA would in any way increase that danger to actual, real, sex workers. If you don't have any kind of proof about that, there is nothing inherently wrong with being able to kill sex workers in game (or any civilian) in game. It might be considered bad taste (and i would totally agree), but not actually worrysome. If a game let you kill another random category, let's say chefs for the sake of this silly example, would you be worried about the real life consequences on actual chefs?

I'm not suggesting that the player's ability to assault prostitutes in a game makes it more likely for a sex worker to be attacked, nor is anyone else as far as I can tell.

Again, nobody is saying that violence against women in games increases the risk of violence against women in real life.

OK so it's just about our own morality. But the point that Anita often raise is that sexism, misoginy and violence against women in this medium would increase these habits in real life.

Listen i agree on some points. Female representation in games is actually shit. I want to play games where i'm a mother. I want to play games where i'm a beyond-phisics-busty witch (yeeee boobiees! :D). I want to play as a girl going through puberty. I want to play as a strong woman, a weak woman, an emotional woman, a cold woman, a stupid woman, a smart woman. An actual, credible woman, and an action heroine that cannot exist in real life. I want developers to take note of that through my money, and through critics. And i can support critics in this.

But the whole "games spread a culture is misoginy" is the same as "games spread actual violence" to me. Adult people who get influenced by work of fiction have truly deep problems inside them, that games cannot and should not concern about. If your relations with females in your life are influenced by the game you played, the movie you saw, the book of fiction you read and not the actual interaction with humans (and animal, i can kill animals in a lot of games but i will fucking break my own arms and legs before i hurt a real animal for sadism) you have you need professional help.

Avatar image for conmulligan
#90 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac said:

So out of all the ridiculous intentionally controversial things that Rockstar lets you do in GTA, and all the killing sprees, and cop killing, and drug use, and torture that you can engage in, you specifically think that the one thing that has to go is being able to kill hookers and get your money back from them. That's the thing that is over the line?

With the possible exception of the torture sequence, the way those other scenarios play out in the GTA games is so absurd and over-the-top that it's hard to take them seriously because they have no connection with reality. The violence against prostitutes is completely plausible, however. That's the distinction. The violence against cops also doesn't play into a larger societal issue like the objectification of women does.

But we're getting off topic, because we were talking about hitman. Hitman specifically discourages you from killing any civilian. If you don't feel that the game does enough to discourage civilian attacks, what do you think should have been done differently?

I think not having almost every woman be an ineffectual sex object would be a start. Giving them some amount of agency would go a long way to making that stuff more palatable. With that said, I do think the Hitman example was a bit of a reach on Anita's part. It's frustrating to see everyone cherry pick that example, though, when the whole point of the Tropes vs. Women series is to point out and foster discussion on broader trends, not specific titles. When we single out one title to argue about we're missing the forrest for the trees.

Avatar image for spaceinsomniac
#91 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) -

So listen, if I were doing a video series about cop killing in video games and I pulled out GTA5 and said "This mission has you killing cops and you can kill cops whenever" would you then turn around on me and say "Well you can also kill gangsters and soccer moms so whatever why are you bringing that up?"

Of course not.

I wasn't talking about Sarkeesian's video with that question. I was asking conmuligan's opinion based on the GTA example that he brought up.

@conmulligan said:

@spaceinsomniac said:

So are you arguing that the ability to attack female civilians in an action-oriented video game is inherently worse than being able to attack male civilians?

Most of the time, no. I don't think there's a distinction between running down a man or a woman with a car in GTA, for instance. On the other hand, picking up a prostitute and then beating her to death to get your money back plays into a very real danger that sex workers face, and I think it would be to Rockstar's credit to at least discourage players from doing this.

Are you suggesting that developers should put women in the same group with children and either not include them actions games, or make them completely invincible?

Nope! I was just making the point that game developers already place limits on what kinds of people the player can do bad shit to.

So out of all the ridiculous intentionally controversial things that Rockstar lets you do in GTA, and all the killing sprees, and cop killing, and drug use, and torture that you can engage in, you specifically think that the one thing that has to go is being able to kill hookers and get your money back from them. That's the thing that is over the line?

Not that I desperately want to preserve the ability to kill hookers in GTA or anything--and I haven't done so or cared about it since GTA III--but I do think it's an odd concern given everything else you can do in GTA.

picking up a prostitute and then beating her to death to get your money back plays into a very real danger that sex workers face

And shooting cops in the face doesn't play into a very real danger that police officers face? A danger and concern that male and female officers alike face, along with their wives, husbands, and children? Why should Rockstar express concern and empathy for one and not the other?

But we're getting off topic, because we were talking about hitman. Hitman specifically discourages you from killing any civilian. If you don't feel that the game does enough to discourage civilian attacks, what do you think should have been done differently?

Avatar image for conmulligan
#92 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@cagliostro88 said:

Adult people who get influenced by work of fiction have truly deep problems inside them, that games cannot and should not concern about.

Whether you like it or not, we are all subtly influenced by works of fiction and pop culture in general. The degree to which is debatable, but it's been pretty well studied. It's not always a negative, either — for instance, the emergence of positive gay role models is widely considered to have played a big part in the remarkably quick uptake in support for gay marriage in the US.

Avatar image for cagliostro88
#93 Edited by Cagliostro88 (1240 posts) -

@cagliostro88 said:

Adult people who get influenced by work of fiction have truly deep problems inside them, that games cannot and should not concern about.

Whether you like it or not, we are all subtly influenced by works of fiction and pop culture in general. The degree to which is debatable, but it's been pretty well studied. It's not always a negative, either — for instance, the emergence of positive gay role models is widely considered to have played a big part in the remarkably quick uptake in support for gay marriage in the US.

Yeah but that reflects changes in society. Culture is an expression of society. Not the other way around. Look at even something so far related to games as architecture. Like the brutalist movement, and how it was possible in a certain time in history in a certain kind of society. Or something silly as tv. You think a gay couple marrying in a sitcom like in Modern Family would have been possible even 20 years ago?

Even the same feminist movement. The second wave was possible only with the creation of the pill, and what it meant with women gaining control of their own bodies and sexuality. All the feminist culture and media is a result of changes in society

Avatar image for aetheldod
#94 Posted by Aetheldod (3914 posts) -

@wolfgame: Oh yes thank you for that vid ... sure hope @patrickklepek sees it and many other game journos so all this bs can stop.

Avatar image for conmulligan
#95 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@cagliostro88 said:

Yeah but that reflects changes in society. Culture is an expression of society. Not the other way around. Look at even something so far related to games as architecture. Like the brutalist movement, and how it was possible in a certain time in history in a certain kind of society. Or something silly as tv. You think a gay couple marrying in a sitcom like in Modern Family would have been possible even 20 years ago?

I think it's symbiotic. Of course pop culture is an expression of society, but it can also be ahead of the curve, and act as a change agent.

Avatar image for crithon
#96 Posted by crithon (3979 posts) -

I know exactly how you feel, I did have one ex girlfriend who got angry when I'd mention drama on blogs. And recently my sister's husband really is more concerned with price drops on PS3 slims and his own ipad then anything new in tech. This is all a bubble, and we have to find a way to just keep some perspective. Although to be honest, a lot of these blogs and articles are just interesting writing and to see things in different perspective. They don't represent what's really matters to you, in fact I have a grandmother who's more concerned about getting the most out her new HDTV that she's read up on Refresh rates and cable providers with HDMI cables.

Avatar image for cagliostro88
#97 Posted by Cagliostro88 (1240 posts) -

@conmulligan: It can be ahed of the curve but it will get grip on society only if the latter changed to accomodate that. But that is a different discussion anyway, and we can argue for hours. I'll stand by what to me is a fact, that is that games won't increase violence or misoginy. Our society is full of violence and misoginy, and games and culture in general are a symptom to me, not the cause. Look for another silly example at from where the majority of war games come from: one of the more militaristic societes of the modern world, USA. Your soldiers are heroes to you in real life, and that's why are often heroes in games too. You're quite a prude society too (actually i don't know if you're american, sorry if my assumption is wrong), and that's why a nipple shown is often cause of outrage. If you watch a french movie nobody is gonna bat an eye if they see bare female breats

I'll make it as simple as i can. If i'll have a daughter, and she dates some guy who plays sexist videogames, i won't worry. I would actually worry if i know that he lives in a toxic enviroment where his father treat his mother like shit or even beat her

Same if i'll have a son, i will let him play sexist videogames (or violent videogames). But i'll make sure that with my example and my behaviour toward women in real life he won't ever think that this kind of things are accetable to real people. If i succesfuly trasnfer to him a knowledge of empathy (the norm for a functional human being) i won't have to worry about what he reads, play, watch.

Avatar image for deactivated-15135
#98 Posted by deactivated-15135 (89 posts) -

@defaultprophet: Thats not what is happening. The right wingers are picking up on the issue because no one in the left will even admit there is an issue to talk about.

Avatar image for beeftothetaco
#99 Edited by beeftothetaco (437 posts) -

@rockdalf: Agreed.

@chimpchamp: I feel you on this one for sure. I haven't taken any articles written by Patrick seriously for more than a year now because of his biases. He's just another voice in the echo chamber that is mainstream modern game "journalism". I know that it might be hard to remain impartial on issues like GamerGate, but isn't it a journalist's duty to explore as many angles on any given topic as possible? And while hating and harassing people (journalists or otherwise) is not cool, shouldn't people who disagree with opinions like his be allowed to voice their own without being labeled chauvinists and disregarded completely? If anything, journalism like Patrick's/the silencing of opposing opinions has, for gamers who are uninterested or ignorant to this shit, trivialized the opinions that he and many other gaming journalists are preaching.

Avatar image for heyguys
#100 Edited by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@conmulligan said:

@heyguys said:

@conmulligan: Are you going to tell me that designers need to restrict players from excercing in game freedom to do bad things? Because that is a doozy of an argument, is Sleeping Dogs immoral from allowing Vinny to engage in violence against women? should games always restrict you, even if they actively discourage you from doing morally wrong things, to doing good?

Nobody is saying designers are obligated to restrict players from engaging in problematic behaviour, just that they should be conscious of what they are allowing the player to do. I also don't think it's a bad idea for open-world games to find ways to omit or discourage the worst behaviour — plenty already do by not including children, for example.

Could you explain this? I very much doubt the designers aren't "conscious" of what players are allowed to do in the game they designed, programmed, played, ect.

Also as long as we're spit-balling in your head what's the line for "worst-behavior"? Murder seems pretty bad to me if we allow that what do we stop and how do we justify the inclusion of murder but the exclusion of other things based on how morally wrong they are?

Ah I already said that video games have a problem with sexism and getting into the nitty gritty wasn't what I was planning on here, but it's as good a place as any I guess. I'd be more concerned that the insular nature of the gaming press causes undue exposure and publicity to devs connected to the press personally and not for their contributions relative to others in the industry, this is a problem if people expect the gaming press to be "journalists" and hold themselves to rigorous standards. If neither the press nor their audience see them this way then everyone should just go on their way and accept that this is intentional and they have no desire to change because this is just how they see their job.