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#201 Posted by Rockdalf (1328 posts) -

@nexas said:

@rockdalf: I can't address the movement's ideals because it doesn't have any. GamerGate is a mishmash of wildly different ideals and goals, hence my Occupy comparison. Some people are worried about "journalistic ethics". Others believe that their identity as "gamers" is under attack. Finally, there are the sexist who started this whole thing, and have been the only faction of GamerGate that has actually accomplished any part of their goals: silencing vocal women in industry. This doesn't even take into account how vague the "ethics" discussion has been.

You say that I should address you and your concerns, but I would like you to look at this from the perspective of the victims and their supporters. As I have previously stated, the GamerGate movement was started by misogynist. Because of a very tenuous relationship between Zoe Quinn and journalist, the movement has become couched in the language of "journalist ethics." Quinn and numerous other woman have been harassed under this guise of "journalist ethics." Then comes the people like you, who genuinely have some issues with the state of games journalism saying you don't condone what has happened, but you would really like to talk about ethics in games journalism. Think about how this looks. You are essentially saying to these people "I'm sorry this happened, but I didn't do it. Lets talk about my problems now." All this is being said while flying the banner of the harassers. This comes off as both insensitive and selfish. You really can't expect to have genuine conversation about ethics in games journalism right now. The wounds are way too raw right now.

Yeah, I am saying that. I'm sorry Jenn Frank was harassed out of a job, I'm sorry Zoe Quinn was doxxed and harrassed and I'm sorry Anita has recieved death threats and felt unsafe in her own home. Also, I did none of that, I've never sported a #GamerGate tag, but I understand the grievances of the legitimate complaints the movement has. I feel these complaints are being dismissed, there is an organized effort to quell discussion about the matter and I would like to discuss it.

From my perspective, why should we allow the discussion of journalistic ethics be quelled by the hateful attacks of a few? Should Anita give up her campaign because someone who follows her movement doxx and harasses someone wishing to talk about journalistic ethics?

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#202 Edited by Slag (8155 posts) -

I don't like to defend Kotaku, but if you actually read the article they only discovered that incident about a week prior to the story. Kinda hard to write a about a story about something if you didn't even know it happened.

The March bomb threat came to my attention last week while I was investigating claims that Sarkeesian had misled the public about measures she'd taken in response to threats she'd allegedly received in August...

http://kotaku.com/bomb-threat-targeted-anita-sarkeesian-gaming-awards-la-1636032301

It's not like it's a routine thing for video game press to ask hobbyist conventions if someone made any bomb threats, and it's not like that's something GDC would go out of their way to volunteer this for obvious reasons.

They ran the story at the appropriate time.

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#203 Posted by nexas (644 posts) -

@tonch: That Kotaku article was in response to GamerGate people accusing Anita of lying about contacting the police over death threats. Kotaku investigated and found out that there was an FBI investigation into a bomb threat at GDC over the award they gave her.

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#204 Posted by teaoverlord (592 posts) -

@rockdalf: What journalistic ethics? I've seen plenty of people claim that the "movement" is all about ethics, but not any actual discussion of ethics.

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#205 Edited by Marokai (3711 posts) -

@conmulligan said:

@spaceinsomniac said:

As for cherry picking, it's one argument that Anita chose herself, and worded herself in a way that completely misrepresents the game that is being talked about. It's also an incredibly brief part of the game, and one of three ways you can accomplish that mission, all of which specifically discourage you from attacking the dancers or any other random citizen. It's ironic that the people criticizing Anita for the way she talked about hitman are being accused of cherry picking her argument. You don't cherry pick specific examples provided by an individual, you cherry pick from thousands of sources. If I find the most man-hating feminist video I can come up with and say "see, this is what feminists are really like!" that is cherry picking, and it's dishonest.

Look, Anita is trying to point out broad trends across a huge number of games. There are going to be some misses. I don't think it means she is deliberately cherry picking when she does. If anything, it points to the strength of her argument that, out of 52 games cited in that particular video, people are only really claiming that one has been unfairly represented.

Her entire series is an exercise in taking a huge list of games and then picking out seconds of them to show with the barest of context, if any at all, with the implication (and in some cases, direct accusation) that the game in question is rife with that particular behavior, under the assumption that that behavior is inherently bad and harms society. That's the entire Tropes vs. Women series in summation.

I just decided to watch her latest video on a whim, and that's exactly what it was. Twenty-nine games on a bullet point list, most of which she shows no more than seconds of, complaining in many cases that the player shockingly encounters strippers in (context-appropriate) strip clubs. How weird. Or in the case of GTA 4 and Kane & Lynch, she shows scenes where the main character beats up a female character. Why is that more shocking than any other of the innumerable scenes in both of those games where the player violently beats up male characters? In both cases the women aren't even sexualized. She includes a scene from The Darkness II, condemning the female characters who are dressed in clothes that reveal their breasts; because they're in formal dress gowns in a fancy restaurant.

She includes Fable 2 on the list for nothing but a scene where a villain kicks a dog that's in his way after he busts out of a building; that's literally it. Mario Galaxy 2 is on the list just to have a few-seconds long clip of Peach yelling for Mario, and then Anita cuts to something completely unrelated. She includes Dead Island to highlight scenes in which women are in bikinis; neglecting to mention the entire crux of the game is that a tropical resort gets overrun by zombies and you encounter lightly dressed characters of both sexes. That's not even the best thing you could actually complain about from Dead Island. She just includes a snapshot of the game to pad out a list that makes her argument look more impressive.

On a shallow surface level, these vignettes seem to contextualize violence against women in a negative light; however, these narratives are never really about the abused women in question. Instead depictions of female pain and victimhood are flippantly summoned to serve as sideshow attractions in storylines about other things altogether.

Anita at this point is literally complaining that random encounters and side missions don't properly give the serious weight to the situation that she alleges that it deserves. Well, yeah, no shit. Basically none of them do, regardless of the subject matter. Hacking side missions in Watch Dogs don't exactly delve into the seriousness of the rising cases of identity theft and how it hurts people, either, do they? These are cheap shots.

The frustrating thing is that there was stuff in that video that actually grossed me out. The God of War 3 bit with the trophy was gross and unnecessary and dumb, and the game is rife with stuff like that. It got me wondering: why doesn't she focus more on deeper critiques of individual games? If misogyny is so rampant in games, why do you have to take tiny bits and pieces, some literally just seconds long, of multi-hour long games to make this point? You could use that same tactic for anything. Is the rampant misogyny in games really best exemplified by a scene where women are in low-cut dresses at a restaurant? Shouldn't there be a little bit more meat on that bone? Why not twenty minutes talking about one or two games as opposed to trying to rack up debate points by saying "Look at this huge list I've compiled! This stuff is everywhere!"?

Then she ends the video by citing a rape statistic, which I have two problems with. First, the one in four number is almost certainly not true, and even for the sake of argument, it's on the highest end of literally all rape surveys ever conducted, so it's a clear choice of what is most convenient. Secondly, why would you bring that up unless you were trying to make the direct connection between violence against women in video games and violence against women in the real world? (Which is doubly bizarre, since nothing actually in that video was rape, anyway, even if you agreed there could be a connection.)

But really, the biggest problem I have with the most recent video is this:

It’s so normalized that when these elements are critiqued, the knee-jerk response I hear most often is that if these stories did not include the exploitation of women, then the game worlds would feel too “unrealistic” or “not historically accurate”.

What does it say about our culture when games routinely bend or break the laws of physics and no one bats an eye? When dragons, ogres and magic are inserted into historically influenced settings without objection. We are perfectly willing to suspend our disbelief when it comes to multiple lives, superpowers, health regeneration and the ability to carry dozens of weapons and items in a massive invisible backpack. But somehow the idea of a world without sexual violence and exploitation is deemed too strange and too bizarre to be believable.

The truth is that objectification and sexual violence are neither normal nor inevitable. We do not have to accept them as some kind of necessary cultural backdrop in our media stories. Contrary to popular belief, the system of patriarchy has not existed for all of history across all time and all cultures. And as such it can be changed. It is possible to imagine fictional worlds, even of the dark, twisted dystopian variety, where the oppression and exploitation of women is not framed as something expected and inevitable.

When we see fictional universes challenging or even transcending systemic gender oppression, it subverts the dominant paradigm within our collective consciousness, and helps make a more just society feel possible, tangible and within reach.

What Anita is saying there is that she wants to ignore reality. When there are throwaway references to women being beaten, or to women working as prostitutes, or wearing revealing clothes out to dinner, they're not done because the games are trying to cheapen or trivialize the weight of the violence or objectification toward women; they're doing so because that stuff exists. The games didn't create it, they're not encouraging it, they're depicting it because these are facts of our society and have been for as long as humanity has been conscious toward keeping records.

Games like The Witcher or Assasins Creed take place in medieval and early Renaissance inspired times, so as part of their world they feature prostitutes, or belittling attitudes toward women as a more realistic means of depicting that world and making it seem more relatable to us because that's how those times really were. What Anita is saying here reminded me of an article denouncing the showing of rape in Game of Thrones. It's wanting these fictional worlds to be whitewashed of bigotry and violence so that they don't risk making people feel uncomfortable, or act out what they see on screen. The Witcher's world would not be the same if you just magicked away all of the sex. Whole fantasy worlds that are predicated on racial violence and bigotry wouldn't be possible in the same way.

I know that you may not see things this way. You may not think that it's inherently objectionable when a game takes place in a world that realistically depicts violence or bigotry or sex the way that it does. But Anita certainly does think this, and so do a lot of people who hide behind the "it's just criticism, we're just trying to be aware of things" excuse whenever the strong passion of their actions doesn't seem to match with those calm and unassuming words. If these things you mention are not inherently bad, and you don't want them to go away, why is every little instance of them worth outrage?

As a gay dude I don't want every gay character from now on to suddenly be Kurt Hummel from Glee; total saint who is right about everything and has an almost entirely sexless persona. This may be a progressive vision, but it's also unrealistic and almost inhuman.

And I'm really sorry for rambling. This is why I don't watch Anita's videos in their entirety anymore.

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#206 Posted by Tonch (118 posts) -

@slag said:

I don't like to defend Kotaku, but if you actually read the article they only discovered that incident about a week prior to the story. Kinda hard to write a about a story about something if you didn't even know it happened.

The March bomb threat came to my attention last week while I was investigating claims that Sarkeesian had misled the public about measures she'd taken in response to threats she'd allegedly received in August...

http://kotaku.com/bomb-threat-targeted-anita-sarkeesian-gaming-awards-la-1636032301

It's not like it's a routine thing for video game press to ask hobbyist conventions if someone made any bomb threats, and it's not like that's something GDC would go out of their way to volunteer this for obvious reasons.

They ran the story at the appropriate time.

@nexas said:

@tonch: That Kotaku article was in response to GamerGate people accusing Anita of lying about contacting the police over death threats. Kotaku investigated and found out that there was an FBI investigation into a bomb threat at GDC over the award they gave her.

I concede that's entirely possible and I'm mixing it up with the myriad threats she gets (it is a lot), though I don't agree that it was right to publish it, because it strikes me as nothing but opportunistic. I'll remove that from my post however, since it was a throwaway observation that doesn't really matter much in terms of what I really think.

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#207 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@teaoverlord: I talked about it but I wasn't even aware of the existence of "GamerGate" until like 4 days ago an I will never use the #Hashttag or even twitter for that matter, intelligent discussions don't happen 140 characters at a time as has been proven over and over and over again.

Still my point about the whole "ethics" question is about the identity of the games press, if they want to be considered journalists then they need to set up rigorous editorial standards and practices, spell them out clearly, and follow them publicly. If they want to just be "enthusiast press" then I doubt people can have much of a legitimate complaint when their editorial standards aren't clear, consistent, or stringent.

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#208 Edited by reverendk (222 posts) -

My main problem was how those sites, used this condescending tone on its readers. Many videogame websites parroted the GAMERS ARE DEAD sentiment. You don't write articles directed at your readers telling them that they're dead, finished and old news. Even internetjournalism has standards, i.e. respecting your readers at all times. In an attempt to bring sexism and misogyny to attention, they insulted their readers. Who the hell has the right to deny my self-perceived identity, whether it be a gamer, (in my case) male or otherwise?

I'm not denying or downplaying sexism/misogyny or racism, in videogames, on the internet or in real life. There are better ways to bring it to attention than what has transpired the last couple of months. It all feels like a surreal war in which the GAMERS ARE DEAD bandwagon was a direct response to the Zoe Quinn conspiracy believers. I don't quite understand the hashtag GamersGate still, is this used by those rebelling against the perceived corruption in videogames journalism?

This. While part of me finds all the "fuck you" or "you're on the wrong side of history" type comments/tweets from game writing people incredibly fascinating it comes off as incredibly petulant and unprofessional with Leigh Alexander leading the charge in that regard.

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#209 Posted by Wolfgame (1168 posts) -

@rockdalf: What journalistic ethics? I've seen plenty of people claim that the "movement" is all about ethics, but not any actual discussion of ethics.

Well you are likely seeing a one-sided discussion, it would take cooperation between both parties to have anything productive.

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#210 Posted by Rockdalf (1328 posts) -

@teaoverlord: Ironically I'd rather not get into it right now. Like a lot of people have already pointed out in this thread, Games companies and games journalists have had a very layered close relationship throughout the past. The Jeff Gerstman controversy that led to the creation of this site is a perfect example. Recently, a google group mail latter between prominent journalists has leaked and it's contained some pretty damning statements. A full discussion I think warrants another thread or perhaps PMs later, I'm about to log off.

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#211 Posted by teaoverlord (592 posts) -
@heyguys said:

@teaoverlord: I talked about it but I wasn't even aware of the existence of "GamerGate" until like 4 days ago an I will never use the #Hashttag or even twitter for that matter, intelligent discussions don't happen 140 characters at a time as has been proven over and over and over again.

Still my point about the whole "ethics" question is about the identity of the games press, if they want to be considered journalists then they need to set up rigorous editorial standards and practices, spell them out clearly, and follow them publicly. If they want to just be "enthusiast press" then I doubt people can have much of a legitimate complaint when their editorial standards aren't clear, consistent, or stringent.

I can understand this, and it makes sense if you didn't know anything about "gamergate", but the lack of rigorous editorial standards in games journalism has been going on for a long time, and people complaining about them now, rallying around a "movement" whose only accomplishment has been to drive women out of games and games press is really shitty. Ignoring the context, ethics in games journalism is an important discussion to have, but in the current climate it just comes across as an excuse to target journalists who have spoken out against the harassment and misogyny in the gaming community.

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#212 Posted by nexas (644 posts) -

@rockdalf said:

@teaoverlord: Ironically I'd rather not get into it right now. Like a lot of people have already pointed out in this thread, Games companies and games journalists have had a very layered close relationship throughout the past. The Jeff Gerstman controversy that led to the creation of this site is a perfect example. Recently, a google group mail latter between prominent journalists has leaked and it's contained some pretty damning statements. A full discussion I think warrants another thread or perhaps PMs later, I'm about to log off.

Jeff's firing from Gamespot is always brought up when the topic of corruption in game journalism rears its head, but people never really consider how the infamy of that case is due it being such a huge outlier. The fact that we now know that it was actually due inexperienced management more than anything else shows how a rare that kind of "corruption" actually is.

That mailing list discussion is hardly "damning." One journalist recommended crafting a support letter for Quinn in the face of all the harassment she was facing. Some other journalist agreed. Others did not. Nothing came of it.

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#213 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@nexas: If it were as bad as people being fired for not reviewing games favorably happening regularly the gaming press wouldn't be unprofessional, it would be dead. Obviously there are issues that are still important but not that crazy.

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#214 Posted by Roadshell (74 posts) -

I think there is a basic conversation to have about the relationship between gaming press and gaming developers/publishers. For me I think it's the big publishers who regularly send the press on trips, to parties, and pay for their food and drinks are much more of a concern. This relationship is already well known and openly talked about but yet I continually see indie developers targeted. It isn't right for indie developers to try to exert any kind of influence on the press but when you allow big publishers/developers to do it, the indie developers should too.

That's where my disconnect comes from. You can't say indie and press should be separate and can't communicate or coordinate when the big developers do it all the time.

I think the difference is that people perceive these friendships between indie developers and journalists seem a little more direct and insidious than the relationships between journalists and AAA companies. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't really hear about journalists partying with Dan Houser and Shigeru Miyamoto all that often. What relationships do exists between the press and the AAA developers seem to be through publicists and middle-men, and that feels like a much different thing to a lot of people.

Publicists are hired guns who are explicitly hired to shill for a product, and any journalists who takes his job half seriously should have the common sense to have a bit of a guard up even if they think that publicist is a really cool person, and since they're made by big bad corporations it would seem that the journalists wouldn't feel all that personally invested in helping them along financially even if they know and like the people that make them. What's more, there's a lot of interest built into hotly anticipated AAA games anyway so it's just sort of taken as a given that they'll get a lot of coverage regardless of how close a journalist is to the creator/publicist.

However, when the person you're friends with is the person who personally crafted their work of art and who can tell you stories of the personal sacrifices or financial risks they took to make said game... well, it seems like it would be a lot easier to get sucked into that and make someone give an unfair amount of press time to help that person along. So, when people see something like Depression Quest get what they perceive to be a disproportionate amount of press even though it kind of looks cheap and not very fun, and then they see all these stories about its creator being best friends with half the gaming press... well, rightly or wrongly that's when conspiracy hats get put on.

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#215 Posted by FinalDasa (3170 posts) -

@roadshell: I can totally see how that's a big difference, but I also think when you work so closely to an industry and you see marketing, PR, and developers from the bigger companies over and over at events, you become cordial enough to be friends. Giant Bomb has very much been that way with smaller and bigger developers but they usually force those guys to drink on camera. I'm not saying either relationship is good or bad.

I get what you're saying that indie developers are much more interesting stories because it's often times a handful of people rather than 100's. That's part of the reason I say to develop your own relationship, obviously over the internet, with a reviewer and a site. Get to know the policies and how they handle PR, developer, and reviewer relationships.

I will say you thinking Depression Quest is cheap or not fun is an opinion, and the press are also allowed to have their own opinion. I don't think seeing a game do well in the press means you must search for any connection.

I understand why there is outrage, frustrations, and the call to change the video game press. It should be more funneled into a positive and constructive criticism and solution. When you form all that into conspiracy theories that pop up every week that come from seemingly nothing (I'm referring to the email list mainly) it shuts down the conversation.

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#216 Edited by Roadshell (74 posts) -

@roadshell: I can totally see how that's a big difference, but I also think when you work so closely to an industry and you see marketing, PR, and developers from the bigger companies over and over at events, you become cordial enough to be friends. Giant Bomb has very much been that way with smaller and bigger developers but they usually force those guys to drink on camera. I'm not saying either relationship is good or bad.

I get what you're saying that indie developers are much more interesting stories because it's often times a handful of people rather than 100's. That's part of the reason I say to develop your own relationship, obviously over the internet, with a reviewer and a site. Get to know the policies and how they handle PR, developer, and reviewer relationships.

I will say you thinking Depression Quest is cheap or not fun is an opinion, and the press are also allowed to have their own opinion. I don't think seeing a game do well in the press means you must search for any connection.

I understand why there is outrage, frustrations, and the call to change the video game press. It should be more funneled into a positive and constructive criticism and solution. When you form all that into conspiracy theories that pop up every week that come from seemingly nothing (I'm referring to the email list mainly) it shuts down the conversation.

I'm sort of playing devil's advocate with some of this, but I do think there's a definite kernel of truth to it. I really, really, really wish that there had been some other less... tawdry... scandal that could have emerged and set off a more constructive discussion about how cliqueish the whole indie world has become and how it effects coverage and how it's different than the ethics controversies that have come before.

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#217 Posted by Dan_CiTi (5186 posts) -

Meh, that's nice I guess, but at the end of the day people being harassed and attacked both online and in person is unacceptable and those people need to be reprimanded.

As well, if people want to have discussions and criticisms of any and all games, that's cool. It is what video games deserve.

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#218 Edited by Rorie (5635 posts) -

@dan_citi said:

Meh, that's nice I guess, but at the end of the day people being harassed and attacked both online and in person is unacceptable and those people need to be reprimanded.

As well, if people want to have discussions and criticisms of any and all games, that's cool. It is what video games deserve.

I think that one of the issues is that it's almost impossible to actually curtail that behavior without doing something crazy like asking for people to use their driver's licenses before they're allowed on the internet. It's nice to think that harassment is a problem that can be solved, but it seems somewhat difficult to figure out what could be done to do about it without also affecting the right to anonymous speech on the Internet, which is an incredibly valuable aspect of the technology that we've built. Anonymous communication leads to harassment, yes, but it also leads to things like whistleblowers and people exposing real injustice when they'd otherwise be afraid to do so.

That sounds a bit like "harassment is just something that we have to deal with," and I certainly don't mean to sound that way, but it'd be interesting to hear some ideas as to what could be done. On GB we of course moderate people who engage in that kind of stuff, but it's far more difficult for a company like Twitter to do so.

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#219 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@roadshell: I can totally see how that's a big difference, but I also think when you work so closely to an industry and you see marketing, PR, and developers from the bigger companies over and over at events, you become cordial enough to be friends. Giant Bomb has very much been that way with smaller and bigger developers but they usually force those guys to drink on camera. I'm not saying either relationship is good or bad.

I get what you're saying that indie developers are much more interesting stories because it's often times a handful of people rather than 100's. That's part of the reason I say to develop your own relationship, obviously over the internet, with a reviewer and a site. Get to know the policies and how they handle PR, developer, and reviewer relationships.

I will say you thinking Depression Quest is cheap or not fun is an opinion, and the press are also allowed to have their own opinion. I don't think seeing a game do well in the press means you must search for any connection.

I understand why there is outrage, frustrations, and the call to change the video game press. It should be more funneled into a positive and constructive criticism and solution. When you form all that into conspiracy theories that pop up every week that come from seemingly nothing (I'm referring to the email list mainly) it shuts down the conversation.

While saying Depression Quest looks "cheap" or "not fun" are certainly opinions it is easy to demonstrate that the game made little critical impact, there is currently a single review up for it on Metacritic, a 50 by the way, and resonated very little with the presumptive audience as I've seen almost no one outside of the press talking about the game.

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#220 Posted by FinalDasa (3170 posts) -

@heyguys: So that means it's terrible? I enjoyed it only because I thought it could give someone who has never had depression the idea of what the mental disorder is like. I showed it to a roommate who couldn't wrap his head around depression (saying "just cheer yourself up") and he began to get why it wasn't all that easy.

All in all it's not a full on game. I can't see someone reviewing it but I can see someone mentioning it and showing a friend, which is what I did. That isn't grounds for conspiracy theories imo. And there are plenty of smaller indie games that get talked about but don't get reviews. Especially now that there is early access of games. Rust has no reviews on Metacritic but was talked about by sites, Youtubers, and Twitch streamers alike. Is that evidence of a conspiracy or just a community passing around a game that could be/is awesome?

Honestly I think it's fine for people to question connections and relationships between developers of all kinds and the gaming press. But again, this should be about solutions to the problem we all have admitted is there and not constantly trying to convince one side or the other a conspiracy exists or doesn't.

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#221 Edited by Rorie (5635 posts) -

@finaldasa said:

@heyguys: So that means it's terrible? I enjoyed it only because I thought it could give someone who has never had depression the idea of what the mental disorder is like. I showed it to a roommate who couldn't wrap his head around depression (saying "just cheer yourself up") and he began to get why it wasn't all that easy.

All in all it's not a full on game. I can't see someone reviewing it but I can see someone mentioning it and showing a friend, which is what I did. That isn't grounds for conspiracy theories imo. And there are plenty of smaller indie games that get talked about but don't get reviews. Especially now that there is early access of games. Rust has no reviews on Metacritic but was talked about by sites, Youtubers, and Twitch streamers alike. Is that evidence of a conspiracy or just a community passing around a game that could be/is awesome?

Honestly I think it's fine for people to question connections and relationships between developers of all kinds and the gaming press. But again, this should be about solutions to the problem we all have admitted is there and not constantly trying to convince one side or the other a conspiracy exists or doesn't.

I don't think heyguys' point was that it was terrible; I think he was simply pointing out that a critical darling is not always a successful game or one that makes a huge impact in wider discussions of a medium. Games that critics love will fail; games that critics hate will make hundreds of millions of dollars. This is as true in games as it is in any other medium.

At least, that's what I think heyguys was saying; don't want to speak for you. In general, the commercial impact of critics is vastly overestimated; the success of a game or movie or whatever is almost always going to be determined by marketing, with word of mouth a distant second, with critical opinion usually quite a distant third. Or so I perceive things to be.

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#222 Edited by TheHT (15797 posts) -

@theht said:

Awareness of potential behaviour to what end? What's your preferred outcome from developers becoming aware of what players can potentially do in their games? Suppose developers were entirely conscious of what players could do in these games when they released them. Would you accept that? If not, what exactly would you prefer they did?

I would hope that the end result of more developers being better aware of how the scenarios they depict in their games might affect certain players would result in greater, more inclusive experiences across the board.

But you're right, she wasn't singling out Hitman specifically. She was using ridiculous footage of it to support her argument that many of the games she discussed (Red Dead Redemption, Fallout 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Grand Theft Auto V, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, etc.) were meticulously designed to illicit sexual arousal connected to the control and punishment of representations of female sexuality.

Throughout the video she's presuming such malicious and perverse intentions behind the development of these games, as well as the effects these games have on the hapless players forced to act upon those intentions.

She did not say those games were "meticulously designed to illicit sexual arousal connected to the control and punishment of representations of female sexuality", nor did she insinuate that the developers behind them had perverse intentions. Here's what she did say:

I should note that this kind of misogynistic behavior isn’t always mandatory; often it’s player-directed, but it is always implicitly encouraged.

That strikes me at totally fair. Sandbox games, like the Hitman series, are explicitly designed to encourage player experimentation. If your game includes a scenario where the player can harm a sexually objectified woman through the course of normal play, then the developer is ultimately responsible for the development decisions that allow for that scenario.

That's precisely where the argument leads conmulligan. Establishing a causal connection between the media we consume and our individual behaviour; how it influences our thoughts and ultimately our actions. Be it violence, prejudiced mentalities, or sexual violence.

I'm a little surprised that you're suggesting there is absolutely no link between the media we consume and individual behaviour because I thought it was pretty much established that it does, however subtly. That doesn't mean that playing a violent game is going to turn you into a killer, it just means that the media we consume can and does affect us in subtle ways, both positive and negative.

Instead we're here mulling over this crap YouTube video. You get some who don't want to look at the particulars of her arguments, because this is a very important issue that shouldn't be bogged down by her ridiculous arguments and deceitful presentation, but also let's raise her up as a spokesperson for the "movement". You get others who just hate the fact that assholes were being assholes to her, so they're on board for whatever. You get the assholes who are just assholes, and yeah, fuck those people. You get the people who vehemently disagree with everything she says and cover their eyes and ears to there even being a problem of representation and depiction.

I'm not defending Anita because I want her as a spokesperson, or because I think she needs protecting from her abusers; hard as it might be to imagine, it's because I agree with a lot of what she has to say. Anyway, this is where I check out, because there's no point in debating this with you if you're unwilling to acknowledge that concern about these issues comes from a genuine place.

We were never talking about the affection of players, we were talking about the possible behaviour of players. Please don't "change the goal posts", as they say. What would "more inclusive experiences" even mean in the context of being a response to the freedom of action a player can take in a game? A player can drag around undressed male bodies in Hitman or racially profile and selectively murder NPCs in Watch Dogs for example. What actual actions would you want a developer to undertake if they realized a player could do those things? Is removing the disguise system, the profiling, and ability to fire upon civilians the practical side of your conception of "more inclusive experiences"?

I don't really see how Watch Dogs or Hitman would be exclusionary experiences due to the freedom of action a player has in it anyways. Games are typically viewed as exclusionary because of the depiction of certain elements (distasteful character design, offensive story beats, crude mini-games, etc.), but not usually because they have open-ended gameplay. Please answer my actual question about your preferred outcome from developers becoming aware of what players can potentially do in their games. What practical changes, if any, would you want them to respond with?

To the end of more inclusionary games, it would be much better for the medium as a whole, not each and every particular game, to "expand its horizons". That is, it'd be better for the medium to have additional games that explore other perspectives, topics, stories, etc., rather than try to make every single game cater to every potential demographic or taste. Thankfully, video games are already pretty much doing that, and we should continue to encourage it. As many are fond of saying (and for good reason), there's plenty of room for all sorts of games to exist.

"Game developers set up a series of rules, and then within those rules we're invited to test the mechanics to see what we can do and what we can't do. We are encouraged to experiment with how the system will react or respond to our inputs, and discover which of our actions are permitted, and which are not. The play comes from figuring out the boundaries and possibilities within the game space.

So in many of the titles we've been discussing, the game makers have set up a series of possible scenarios involving vulnerable eroticised female characters. Players are then invited to explore and exploit those situations during their playthrough. The player cannot help but treat these 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"

That is her entire summary of video gaming and how those game developers are creating sexual violence playgrounds, all playing over a ridiculous clip of her going out of her way to beat down and drag around two female civilians in Hitman: Absolution (mind you, while her score is depleted for doing so).

She imparts an intent on behalf of the developers to lead the players into sexually brutalizing and exploiting virtual female NPCs that are specifically sexualized and vulnerable. A carefully concocted mixture of sexual arousal she says it is, and one that players are invited to partake in. This is all of course because the point of video games as she sees it is to test the limits of their parameters, where testing the limits somehow also includes becoming sexually aroused by the oppression of female sexuality. That's what you're supposed to do.

Even if you don't do those things, it doesn't change the "fact" that these NPCs were designed to be treated like that. The developers put those NPCs there, dressed them as they did, and gave you the freedom of control that you have, all specifically so that you could extract a perverse pleasure from brutalizing and desecrating their bodies. You're encouraged to do that, she maintains.

"The rudimentary algorithms governing interactions lead the player to interface with these characters in ways that can only be dehumanizing and exploitative"

Do not presume to speak for me. As I said, the argument leads towards a causal connection between the media we consume and our thoughts and behaviour. That's kinda the whole point. These things are bad. Why are they bad? Because they make you a bad person that's likely to do bad things to other people.

It's the same argument used for violent video games causing actual violence. The General Learning Model was formulated to assess the impact of violence in video games, particularly whether it could cause players to become more violent in real life. It was seen as general enough to apply to other potential issues, such as sexism or sexual violence as seen in this case.

Sorry if you took my listing of those particular groups of people personally. I know there are a multitude of various other perspectives to have with regards to her opinions, including your not too difficult to imagine agreement with her, even if you don't seem to actually see the arguments she's making, or the tactics she's employing to make them appear to be more agreeable.

And yes, her Hitman example is completely disingenuous and manipulative. It's more than just a weak or bad example. She went out of her way to brutalize those female civilians, ignoring her mission, ignoring the game's rules of engagement, and ignoring the demerits she was receiving for it. At that point, it's naive to suggest that she accidentally used it as an example, or that it was a simple mistake.

Her whole thing is more than just having different preferences and wanting those preferences to be represented as others are represented, it's about these games being bad, and that this sort of material shouldn't be in them. It's not a call for additional games that appeal to different sensibilities, it's decrying the games that don't fit in with her extreme sensibilities. The former is the direction that video games should be (and indeed are) going: towards variety, more creative freedom, and general open-mindedness. The latter is the attempted vilification of particular elements, and a desire to see them and anything like it become taboo.

That doesn't imply that there aren't any elements we could collectively view as distasteful, and that simple truth similarly doesn't lend any credence to her ridiculous claims.

And at that point it becomes incredibly important to recognize the ridiculousness of her claims compared to the generally sensible movement that she is unfortunately consistently lumped in with. A game that actually tries to promote sexism? Not cool. Having a strip club in a game? Not necessarily sexist. Having a super bad-ass female protagonist that eschews stereotypes? Awesome. Having a female side-character that's a "girly-girl"? Not necessarily sexist.

Recognize the difference between paranoid fear-mongering and a monotonous rut.

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#223 Edited by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@finaldasa said:

@heyguys: So that means it's terrible? I enjoyed it only because I thought it could give someone who has never had depression the idea of what the mental disorder is like. I showed it to a roommate who couldn't wrap his head around depression (saying "just cheer yourself up") and he began to get why it wasn't all that easy.

All in all it's not a full on game. I can't see someone reviewing it but I can see someone mentioning it and showing a friend, which is what I did. That isn't grounds for conspiracy theories imo. And there are plenty of smaller indie games that get talked about but don't get reviews. Especially now that there is early access of games. Rust has no reviews on Metacritic but was talked about by sites, Youtubers, and Twitch streamers alike. Is that evidence of a conspiracy or just a community passing around a game that could be/is awesome?

Honestly I think it's fine for people to question connections and relationships between developers of all kinds and the gaming press. But again, this should be about solutions to the problem we all have admitted is there and not constantly trying to convince one side or the other a conspiracy exists or doesn't.

I'm not saying it's terrible, I've never tried it, I'm saying I'm not sure how much impact it had, but your point of it being novel (not many games have tried to explore mental disorders, at least not seriously) is a good one. That alone might have created some impact that wouldn't be measurable through those sorts of measures.

Everything else I'm with you all the way on. My only worry left is that is any discussion in the future about any controversial subject going to be able to happen without it being derailed by the worst elements of the gaming community as a whole? Is everything going to be co-opted by what I see as a rouge element?

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#224 Posted by FinalDasa (3170 posts) -

@rorie: Oh oh oh. Whoops, I read that wrong then. I think that's the secret some probably don't talk about much. Though the gaming press can and totally do have an impact they are, sometimes, not a factor. Destiny has sold like crazy but has just a slightly above average Metacritic score.

And just as you point out, it's that way everywhere. Transformers has steadily gone downhill as a franchise (not that it started from such great heights) and yet it makes money anyway.

Moderator
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#225 Posted by Sergio (3625 posts) -

@nexas said:

@rockdalf said:

@teaoverlord: Ironically I'd rather not get into it right now. Like a lot of people have already pointed out in this thread, Games companies and games journalists have had a very layered close relationship throughout the past. The Jeff Gerstman controversy that led to the creation of this site is a perfect example. Recently, a google group mail latter between prominent journalists has leaked and it's contained some pretty damning statements. A full discussion I think warrants another thread or perhaps PMs later, I'm about to log off.

Jeff's firing from Gamespot is always brought up when the topic of corruption in game journalism rears its head, but people never really consider how the infamy of that case is due it being such a huge outlier. The fact that we now know that it was actually due inexperienced management more than anything else shows how a rare that kind of "corruption" actually is.

That mailing list discussion is hardly "damning." One journalist recommended crafting a support letter for Quinn in the face of all the harassment she was facing. Some other journalist agreed. Others did not. Nothing came of it.

I've personally thought that the gaming press had some cronyism, and that they were lazy when they failed to report on some things. Nothing corrupt like the GG crowd claimed until this popped up today. You see that mailing list as benign, but I thought some of it was problematic, especially if these aren't one-time instances.

The idea of writing a letter in support being suggestive of nepotism was not much to worry about. The suggestion of giving extra coverage to her game because of this situation was inappropriate.

I agree that once Kotaku refuted the claims of impropriety between a writer and developer that there was no merit in publishing a story. A developer trading favors of any kind with a writer for favorable coverage, if true, is a story, as it concerns the trustworthiness of that outlet. At that point, I don't care who the developer was. It seemed that they would have been happy to bury the story if it were true. The idea of those in the email thread considering making a decision together whether or not a story is newsworthy is troublesome. I wouldn't be concerned if their decisions were made individually. I would be concerned if they colluded. They didn't this time since that accusation held no truth, but now the idea is there that they could have in the past, or might in the future.

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#226 Posted by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@sergio: I should point out, and it doesn't absolve anyone, but LISTERVs, that is shared mailing software, are a pretty common way for people within industries to communicate. This type of... *ahem* "co-operation" might be too much the norm.

When they get exposed though people almost always get in trouble. I won't say what industry I worked in but we used to have a similar program where members would, or would try to do, things that were down right illegal and acted as if it was the most casual thing in the world.

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#227 Posted by Slag (8155 posts) -

@rockdalf said:

@nexas said:

@rockdalf: I can't address the movement's ideals because it doesn't have any. GamerGate is a mishmash of wildly different ideals and goals, hence my Occupy comparison. Some people are worried about "journalistic ethics". Others believe that their identity as "gamers" is under attack. Finally, there are the sexist who started this whole thing, and have been the only faction of GamerGate that has actually accomplished any part of their goals: silencing vocal women in industry. This doesn't even take into account how vague the "ethics" discussion has been.

You say that I should address you and your concerns, but I would like you to look at this from the perspective of the victims and their supporters. As I have previously stated, the GamerGate movement was started by misogynist. Because of a very tenuous relationship between Zoe Quinn and journalist, the movement has become couched in the language of "journalist ethics." Quinn and numerous other woman have been harassed under this guise of "journalist ethics." Then comes the people like you, who genuinely have some issues with the state of games journalism saying you don't condone what has happened, but you would really like to talk about ethics in games journalism. Think about how this looks. You are essentially saying to these people "I'm sorry this happened, but I didn't do it. Lets talk about my problems now." All this is being said while flying the banner of the harassers. This comes off as both insensitive and selfish. You really can't expect to have genuine conversation about ethics in games journalism right now. The wounds are way too raw right now.

Yeah, I am saying that. I'm sorry Jenn Frank was harassed out of a job, I'm sorry Zoe Quinn was doxxed and harrassed and I'm sorry Anita has recieved death threats and felt unsafe in her own home. Also, I did none of that, I've never sported a #GamerGate tag, but I understand the grievances of the legitimate complaints the movement has. I feel these complaints are being dismissed, there is an organized effort to quell discussion about the matter and I would like to discuss it.

From my perspective, why should we allow the discussion of journalistic ethics be quelled by the hateful attacks of a few? Should Anita give up her campaign because someone who follows her movement doxx and harasses someone wishing to talk about journalistic ethics?

I've been debating for a few days whether to address your initial post OP at all, but I think I'll just answer you here instead.

No one is saying you did those attacks or that any of us here did them@rockdalf. I've read what you've had to say, you seem like a decent person like most people I've met on GB. I'm a NES era oldtimer myself to gaming as you seem to be.

And you are right, your concerns are being ignored, but it isn't cover-up conspiracy but it is frankly because your discussion about ethics doesn't matter that much right now. This is a crisis. Whatever concerns you have or the the well meaning participants in gamergate have about game journalism or the contents of the Tropes vs videos should not dismissed; but they should be tabled until an appropriate time after the crisis has passed. Because what's going right now isn't about most of us, it's about what happening to some of our prominent and outspoken female members.

Your concerns (or mine for that matter) are frankly trivial to the basic safety of the women in our community and industry. Our community/culture/industry on all sides has done virtually zero to publicly unite against this hateful few who assault women horrifically in our name. By our collective inaction and silence we are ceding our identity and reputation to this hateful minority and continuing to allow real harm to befall these women. It isn't any of our faults that these social media platforms don't adequately protect users from these kinds of attacks, but it is our fault if we offer verbal support to the banner the attackers use to conduct these attacks and if we instead change the subject matter off of these attackers to whatever happens to suit or own personal concerns (whether that is game journalism ethics or rebuttals to criticism we don't like or something yet altogether). Those behaviors enable these assaults by implicitly giving the attackers support, perceived credibility and the diversions they need to conduct the acts of hate free from interference.

If we spent that kind of energy uniting to denounce the attacks on female critics instead of aiding the smoke screen it would do a lot more good in making sure these ethical concerns had a real fighting chance of getting discussed in a productive manner. You won't find much sympathy or a receptive audience from an audience whose well being is under assault or from those who empathize with them. And if you want to effect real change, you probably want a receptive audience right?

If you understand this is happening and you don't approve of it, then you have a moral responsibility as a member of this community to act just as we all do instinctively to help a person in need. When you see a person drowning in a lake you don't do nothing do you? You call 911 or look for a long branch or dive into the lake. You don't change the conversation to what your perceive to be the "real" issue of whether a person did not make a smart decision for walking on thin ice on a frozen lake or if someone threw them in. Both those concerns may be 100% accurate assessments, but they are at best secondary concerns in a crisis in the moment.

By changing the subject to your personal concerns, by attempting to move the conversational goalposts while someone is really suffering you are in a sense unintentionally being extremely selfish. What you are implying to someone undergoing these assaults, is that your concerns about the community's reputation you identify with is worth more of the community's time than the harassment they are being barraged with. I don't think that's your intent, but do you understand how that might feel to the person you might be trying to talk to?

There will be plenty of time to discuss game journalism ethics later, you know as well as I game journalism has had these kinds of issues since basically its' inception from Nintendo Power on up. There's nothing new or special about what's happened to that industry in the last 2-3 years. I think you'll find a lot of people including those perhaps on every side of the current firestorm would all unite saying, we want better. A lot of us are here at Giant Bomb, precisely because of that. We saw what happened to Jeff at Gamespot and we didn't like it and we came here because we like how they do things here better.

But I think you have to recognize the current situation for what it is, a woman made a video criticizing video games and she is undergoing constant attack for it. Any woman who seems to dare agree with her even in part or says anything negative about this community is getting hounded relentlessly, often horribly usually by people self identifying themselves with gamergate. What does that say about us as a community if one critique or even a perceived insult we don't like is enough for us to turn a blind eye to these assaults? Are we that insecure about justifying our passion for a hobby that is now the largest entertainment multimedia industry in the world, that we can't handle a freakin youtube video series that might be flawed or a journalist who might diss the community flippantly?

Whatever you think of Anita Sarkeesian's opinions, her treatment by this community is sending a very clear message to many women in this fandom and industry that this community is tolerant & apologist to misogynists and that this community is not a safe one for them to be in. We may all say that isn't true, but our actions or rather our inaction speaks louder than words. The way we are acting, or rather not, we are clearly showing that stopping harassment is frankly not a priority in this community. If we truly care about this then we need to show it.

If a person can get attacked like this over a Guardian article, or criticizing a website's hiring policy because they didn't give your friend an interview or a self produced kickstarted a controversial youtube video series that no one is forced to watch, or being a designer who wants wishes action sequences had a skip button, or being a physically attractive lead on a AAA action series, or having one ex boyfriend slander you anonymously, you can have your life destroyed over anything. Think about what kind of message that sends to any woman or girl who wants to identify with this community or work in this industry.

There can be no "genuine 2-way discussion" as you put it in your original post while that kind of harassment is ongoing and basic decency is not respected. It just isn't even safe for some people to even participate due to their gender. I heard a podcast last week starring some of the more vocal women in this industry and it was the most awful thing I've heard in years. They're very frightened, the amount and degree of harassment they receive on a daily basis is just off the charts and my god did they sound shaken to the core. They are really really scared that someone is going to stalk them and hurt them. Can you blame them for being worried? Can you blame them for not caring about ethics discussion or snapping when approached by men they don't know who approach them in-artfully? Do you really think your discussion could possibly be that important while this is going on? Can you really blame the media for putting your concerns on the backburner when some of their own peers are being attacked to the point of quitting?

While we don't have the means or the power to completely stop these attacks, we can be stand together as a community that clearly disapproves of them which will help curtail them. We need to make it emphatically clear that these people who do these things are not welcome in the gaming community. But that only works if we make this a priority and are willing to be as concerned about others as we are about ourselves.

If you truly want to have this discussion, please go try to help solve the fundamental issue first. Realize that some people have a more urgent and serious situation than you do and help them, realize what's really important here.

My friend, sometimes life is not always about you or me. Life isn't single player. It's multiplayer co-op in a giant MMO, we all need to work together to make sure the raid succeeds. Not everybody can be the clan leader or the DPS, sometimes you need to be a healer or a tank for the good of the team at least for awhile. Sometimes our problems, feelings and concerns are just not as important as somebody else's.

That's all I've got to say on this. I'm exhausted. I'm sure you are too, but hopefully I was able to articulate why you are not getting the discussion you wanted and frankly why it shouldn't happen right now.

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#228 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (6354 posts) -

@marokai said:

Her entire series is an exercise in taking a huge list of games and then picking out seconds of them to show with the barest of context, if any at all, with the implication (and in some cases, direct accusation) that the game in question is rife with that particular behavior, under the assumption that that behavior is inherently bad and harms society. That's the entire Tropes vs. Women series in summation.

That whole post was a pretty good argument against her video series. I especially liked when you pointed out her listing so many games out of context rather than focusing on some of the truly questionable things that developers have put into games. Just to give another example, the idea of the Witcher 1 collectors cards cataloging your sexual conquests always seemed in poor taste to me. I was glad they dropped it in the sequel.

@rockdalf: What journalistic ethics? I've seen plenty of people claim that the "movement" is all about ethics, but not any actual discussion of ethics.

While I don't care much about the ethics portion of the argument at it relates to who knows who, it's a different line for everyone, and completely subjective where that line is. Ironically, the same is true for the point when someone sees a character's representation as offensive or sexist. It's a matter of subjectivity.

When a Kotaku writer was proven to be essentially advertising her roommate's game, that was over my personal line. That Kotaku's lead editor has claimed that people who are close shouldn't be writing about their friends at all gave that particular revelation even more weight.

What I have an issue with more than anything is the gaming press specifically leaving out the details of a situation, to better serve the story that they're trying to sell. That's the ethical issue that I criticize most. When the situation between Zoe Quinn and TFYC was explained away as a "twitter feud," that's a problem in my opinion. If they would have spoken to her the way she addressed them over twitter, there's no way in hell that would have been brushed over as a "twitter feud."

@heyguys said:

P.S. Totally appreciate the dialogue, this thread as a whole has been one of the most constructive I've seen on the internet in terms of different views coming together about a controversial issue.

Ditto!

Same here. I must say, conmuligan, you do a nice job defending your feelings and opinions regarding this topic. Thanks for keeping it respectful. That goes for just about everyone in this thread.

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#229 Posted by Rorie (5635 posts) -

@spaceinsomniac

@conmulligan said:

@heyguys said:

P.S. Totally appreciate the dialogue, this thread as a whole has been one of the most constructive I've seen on the internet in terms of different views coming together about a controversial issue.

Ditto!

Same here. I must say, conmuligan, you do a nice job defending your feelings and opinions regarding this topic. Thanks for keeping it respectful. That goes for just about everyone in this thread.

Gonna echo this. Naturally not everyone is going to agree with everyone else in hot-topic posts like these, but this thread is a pretty good example of how I'd like to hope threads on topics like this can go. Thanks to everyone for keeping it civil.

Staff
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#230 Edited by Cagliostro88 (1238 posts) -
@pcorb said:

Every time a game shoves a huge pair of tits on the screen or takes a long, lingering shot of a woman's ass before she turns around, I feel embarrassed by my hobby and disappointed that developers are so lacking in confidence in their creative abilities that they appear to think digitised, oversized physical attributes are an acceptable substitute for well thought out characterisation.

Mass Effect 2 is one of the most cherished and celebrated games of the last generation. Characterisation is one of its strong points.

This is how one of the main companions is depicted

No Caption Provided

This is another one

No Caption Provided

Do you truly feel like the "developers are so lacking in confidence in their creative abilities that they appear to think digitised, oversized physical attributes are an acceptable substitute for well thought out characterisation."? And we're talking about past Bioware here

I don't feel embarassed or disappointed by it. For me these elements don't spoil the enjoyment of the game or what i think of it. I can recognize them in the game, even enjoy them, and think of them for just what they are, without projecting on it. I can find them cheap, like a commercial that has a model (male or female) in seducing poses, but that's about it.

Does all this take away my wish and want for different kinds of female characters and ways of depicting them? Not at all

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#231 Edited by Roadshell (74 posts) -

@slag said:

And you are right, your concerns are being ignored, but it isn't cover-up conspiracy but it is frankly because your discussion about ethics doesn't matter that much right now. This is a crisis. Whatever concerns you have or the the well meaning participants in gamergate have about game journalism or the contents of the Tropes vs videos should not dismissed; but they should be tabled until an appropriate time after the crisis has passed. Because what's going right now isn't about most of us, it's about what happening to some of our prominent and outspoken female members.

Your concerns (or mine for that matter) are frankly trivial to the basic safety of the women in our community and industry. Our community/culture/industry on all sides has done virtually zero to publicly unite against this hateful few who assault women horrifically in our name. By our collective inaction and silence we are ceding our identity and reputation to this hateful minority and continuing to allow real harm to befall these women. It isn't any of our faults that these social media platforms don't adequately protect users from these kinds of attacks, but it is our fault if we offer verbal support to the banner the attackers use to conduct these attacks and if we instead change the subject matter off of these attackers to whatever happens to suit or own personal concerns (whether that is game journalism ethics or rebuttals to criticism we don't like or something yet altogether). Those behaviors enable these assaults by implicitly giving the attackers support, perceived credibility and the diversions they need to conduct the acts of hate free from interference.

Dude, what the hell are you talking about? I appreciate your passion and obviously agree with the sentiment that harassment is awful, but do you think you're the first person to write a long winded screed about how awful harassment is? You're not. Every gaming website has posted multiple essays about how bad the harassment is and have condemned it in the loudest possible terms. I could probably link you to fifty different nearly identical published articles that are begging and pleading for people to stop harassing these various women and 90% of the people trying to have discussions about the topic start what they have to say by pointing out that no matter how passionate you are on the topic harassment is in no way acceptable. And you know what? I don't think its done too much to stop harassment. If someone is so far gone, so fucked in the head, that they're going to do something as crazy as send death threats to someone over something this minor I don't think any amount to talking or uniting or blue in the face editorializing is going to stop them. In fact, I think most of them are doing it specifically because they want to get reactions like this and piss people off.

Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian were both said to be getting harassment long before the whole GamerGate thing happened and unfortunately I suspect that they'll still be getting it a year from now and I don't think there's much of anything any of us can do to stop it because no amount of peer pressure is going to shame someone who's anonymous into changing their behavior.

So when is this mythical time "after this crisis has passed?" Are you saying that game journalism ethics and critical responses to Tropes Against Women are supposed to be taboo subjects until there's peace and tranquility accords the internet? That's unfortunately never going to happen, and while I'm happy to condemn harassment I frankly don't want to be told that it's off limits to say a single negative thing about anyone who'd been the victim online harassment. I'm sure ever politician in Washington gets multiple death threats a day, that doesn't mean they're immune from criticism.

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#232 Posted by Tirion (200 posts) -

@heyguys said:

@nexas: If it were as bad as people being fired for not reviewing games favorably happening regularly the gaming press wouldn't be unprofessional, it would be dead. Obviously there are issues that are still important but not that crazy.

This. It might be a bit overshadowed at this moment, but I seem to recall a time quite recently where the game press got critique for being too cynical and at the same time people are starting a campaign about game press being corrupt?

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#233 Posted by pcorb (681 posts) -

@pcorb said:

Every time a game shoves a huge pair of tits on the screen or takes a long, lingering shot of a woman's ass before she turns around, I feel embarrassed by my hobby and disappointed that developers are so lacking in confidence in their creative abilities that they appear to think digitised, oversized physical attributes are an acceptable substitute for well thought out characterisation.

Do you truly feel like the "developers are so lacking in confidence in their creative abilities that they appear to think digitised, oversized physical attributes are an acceptable substitute for well thought out characterisation."?

Yeah.

Avatar image for cagliostro88
#234 Posted by Cagliostro88 (1238 posts) -

@pcorb said:

@cagliostro88 said:
@pcorb said:

Every time a game shoves a huge pair of tits on the screen or takes a long, lingering shot of a woman's ass before she turns around, I feel embarrassed by my hobby and disappointed that developers are so lacking in confidence in their creative abilities that they appear to think digitised, oversized physical attributes are an acceptable substitute for well thought out characterisation.

Do you truly feel like the "developers are so lacking in confidence in their creative abilities that they appear to think digitised, oversized physical attributes are an acceptable substitute for well thought out characterisation."?

Yeah.

So to you Bioware employees lack in confidence in their creative abilities. And have to do this because they need a substitute to characterisation. Got it.

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#235 Edited by Rockdalf (1328 posts) -

@slag: Man that's a hell of a lot of text. I disagree that the entire community has to grind to a halt and focus all their attention on women in gaming. It's simplistic and honestly a little demeaning. I don't fight on twitter for women's rights (hell I don't post on twitter at all), because I don't feel it's my fight. I can't unite behind Anita because I find a lot of flaws in her arguments and I think you'll agree it's literally impossible to get behind this movement if you don't lock heel with Anita. I agree with her goals, I think there is a problem in the industry, I just don't feel she represents it fairly or correctly. Unfortunately, there is no avenue in the media Anita uses to voice your disagreements or grievances. Worst of all, if you try to do so, you'll most likely be met with harassment yourself, which coming from people who support a victim of such harassment is pretty despicable.

The biggest problem I have with what you said is:

There can be no "genuine 2-way discussion" as you put it in your original post while that kind of harassment is ongoing and basic decency is not respected. It just isn't even safe for some people to even participate due to their gender.

That's just weak, because a 2-way discussion is the ONLY way any progress will be made. Gamers aren't going to fall in line with Anita because they're told by some woman they'd never met before that they need to believe what she's about to say without reproach. We aren't going to trust the Games Media validating her position in the community, when we really haven't trusted the games media for a long time and honestly they've represented the other side of the industry so much more than they have the consumer for a long time.

If we sacrifice the ability to have discourse, simply because of the actions of the worst of the community, we will never have change. The harassers, they are the ones who don't want discourse, they don't want this discussion to receive attention, so by saying we should all drop our banners and follow behind Anita and Zoe or become the enemy, you're playing right into their hands. We will never, as a community, unite wholly behind someone who is beyond reproach. And if what you're saying is true, Anita's arguments are beyond reproach for as long as she's being harassed, she will ALWAYS be beyond reproach.

While we don't have the means or the power to completely stop these attacks, we can be stand together as a community that clearly disapproves of them which will help curtail them. We need to make it emphatically clear that these people who do these things are not welcome in the gaming community. But that only works if we make this a priority and are willing to be as concerned about others as we are about ourselves.

I stand with Anita and Zoe against harassment, I stand against them on some of their ideals.

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#236 Posted by pcorb (681 posts) -

@cagliostro88: It definitely seems to me that they lack the confidence necessary to let their creations stand on their own merits. I don't need to constantly be shown a video game woman's t&a to be kept interested in her as a character, and every time I am I'm reminded of how little developers appear to think of their work and/or their audience.

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#237 Posted by Rockdalf (1328 posts) -

@pcorb said:

@cagliostro88: It definitely seems to me that they lack the confidence necessary to let their creations stand on their own merits. I don't need to constantly be shown a video game woman's t&a to be kept interested in her as a character, and every time I am I'm reminded of how little developers appear to think of their work and/or their audience.

I'm right there with you. I felt like I was being pandered to the whole game, especially in the romance sections.

"Dude this chicks a total babe, look how hot she is, and you clicked the right dialogue option to get her to sleep with you! Fuck yeah, high five!"

It's honestly what's put me off playing Mass Effect 3 even though I've had it on the Origin Store for free since that whole Sim City fiasco.

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#238 Posted by cocoonmoon (254 posts) -

On what grounds do you claim that the sexualised depiction of (female) characters is supposed to be a "substitute for well thought out characterisation"? I see no evidence provided that it is more than the person in charge doing it because they find it entertaining. Metal Gear Solid 1, for example, has those "lingering shot of a woman's ass" moments and cameras focusing on boobs, but I never felt that it was there to be a substitute for anything. The characters stand on their own merits. The boob and butt shots are there for entertainment.

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#239 Edited by HeyGuys (566 posts) -

@pcorb said:

Every time a game shoves a huge pair of tits on the screen or takes a long, lingering shot of a woman's ass before she turns around, I feel embarrassed by my hobby and disappointed that developers are so lacking in confidence in their creative abilities that they appear to think digitised, oversized physical attributes are an acceptable substitute for well thought out characterisation.

Mass Effect 2 is one of the most cherished and celebrated games of the last generation. Characterisation is one of its strong points.

This is how one of the main companions is depicted

No Caption Provided

This is another one

No Caption Provided

Do you truly feel like the "developers are so lacking in confidence in their creative abilities that they appear to think digitised, oversized physical attributes are an acceptable substitute for well thought out characterisation."? And we're talking about past Bioware here

I don't feel embarassed or disappointed by it. For me these elements don't spoil the enjoyment of the game or what i think of it. I can recognize them in the game, even enjoy them, and think of them for just what they are, without projecting on it. I can find them cheap, like a commercial that has a model (male or female) in seducing poses, but that's about it.

Does all this take away my wish and want for different kinds of female characters and ways of depicting them? Not at all

I'll come at this from a different angle actually, I'm really bothered by these things because they are consistently breaking the 4th wall and making immersion, one of the most important aspects in a game to me, much more difficult. These outfits make little sense within the universe, and these camera angles constantly remind me that Bioware thinks it's giving me a nice wink and nod when I'm not even interested. Sexuality is part of our human experience and is a significant part of life, characters should be able to express themselves sexually but in this case they're not pursuing their sexual interests they're posing for me, the player when I'm not part of their story.

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#240 Posted by Rockdalf (1328 posts) -

@heyguys: I think that's closer to how I feel. I have no problem with them being sexy characters, I just feel scummy when I feel like I'm being pandered to.

On the other hand, I have zero problems with how the Witcher handles their romance sections, because I really don't feel like it's doing that. It feels more like they're telling Geralt's story, and a lot of that is sexing up every barmaid and villager on the way.

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#241 Edited by Cagliostro88 (1238 posts) -

@pcorb said:

@cagliostro88: It definitely seems to me that they lack the confidence necessary to let their creations stand on their own merits. I don't need to constantly be shown a video game woman's t&a to be kept interested in her as a character, and every time I am I'm reminded of how little developers appear to think of their work and/or their audience

I repeat, we're talking about Bioware. A company that had a track record for more than a decade of games with absolutely great and memorable characters (male, female, humans, fantasy creatures, aliens, robots). They know very well if their creations stands on their own merits. The people that made characters like HK-47 or Mordin, that knows how to make great characters that don't even have sexual tratis, for you thinks "yeah if we don't give more sexual appeal to this character they are gonna notice that we're incabable to flesh it out properly!".

And by the way, you say "how little developers appear to think of their work and/or their audience" about the same developer that keep putting same-sex romance options even while it's not required of them and they get a truckload of flak for that. I feel they absolutely think about their work, and knows if something is a wrong designer choice related to social issues. And I honestly agree with them that having sexual elements in their game is not wrong.

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#242 Edited by Cagliostro88 (1238 posts) -

@heyguys: I understand you completely, even if i didn't have the same reaction, and in fact i compared to them to commercials that uses something like sexualised models in a winky way. I used the word "cheap" to describe them. But the problem you found is "this break my immersion", not "this is done because the developer wants to present me with pieces of "pixel" meat to keep me interested because otherwise i wouldn't care". It actually had the opposite effect on you. If you remove the "sexy" elements from ME2 it doesn't suddenly become a skeleton of a game because the appeal was in the character appereances.

By the way we can discuss about these outfits, but i would actually discuss why asari have massive mammary glands even if i don't think they are mammals and mating with species from all over the galaxy there is little need to have them if only humans find that feature aestetically and sexually interesting (i doubt Krogans find breasts arousing :D). The rabbit hole can go as deep as we want if we wish to discuss this kind of things :)

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#243 Posted by spraynardtatum (4384 posts) -

Sex is not a bad thing. Sexuality isn't a bad thing. Attraction isn't a bad thing.

More female representation is a good thing. More women in game development would be a great thing. More well rounded characters all around would be a good thing.

We don't need to get rid of tropes. We need more representation in games. Period.

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#244 Posted by Cagliostro88 (1238 posts) -

Sex is not a bad thing. Sexuality isn't a bad thing. Attraction isn't a bad thing.

More female representation is a good thing. More women in game development would be a great thing. More well rounded characters all around would be a good thing.

We don't need to get rid of tropes. We need more representation in games. Period.

I agree with you 100%. Thank you for saying that in a simple way :)

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#245 Edited by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

@rorie said:

I think that one of the issues is that it's almost impossible to actually curtail that behavior without doing something crazy like asking for people to use their driver's licenses before they're allowed on the internet.

I live in Korea where you do have to use your national ID number to post anything anywhere.

Back in 05, the "netizens" - as they call them round here - spread around a video of some young woman not cleaning up her dog's poop on the subway. She was labelled "dog poop girl" and not only her, but her entire family ended up getting strung through the mud as her personal information was uncovered and spread around the blogging circuit to shame her. She ended up dropping out of university.

There are openly racist groups (rightfully recognized as so by most Koreans) who regularly post non-anonymously about the evils of foreigners in Korea.

Clearly even removing anonymity won't stop people from being assholes. Some people simply crave attention, and will take any they can get whether it be good or bad. The Joker doesn't simply want to watch the world burn, he wants the recognition that he burned it down.

Stop giving these people the time of day! Yes, it's terrible that so-and-so received death/rape/bomb threats from someone. That should be between so-and-so, someone and the authorities. Not plastered all over blogs, forums and news sites. That's exactly what they want!

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#246 Posted by planetfunksquad (1543 posts) -

@spraynardtatum: Yes. God I wish people spent less time arguing over the specifics of the other sides argument and more time discussing how better representation could be achieved.

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#247 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

@spraynardtatum: Yes. God I wish people spent less time arguing over the specifics of the other sides argument and more time discussing how better representation could be achieved.

Better representation will be achieved when more of the people who need better representation are making games.

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#248 Edited by spraynardtatum (4384 posts) -

@sinusoidal said:

@rorie said:

I think that one of the issues is that it's almost impossible to actually curtail that behavior without doing something crazy like asking for people to use their driver's licenses before they're allowed on the internet.

I live in Korea where you do have to use your national ID number to post anything anywhere.

Back in 05, the "netizens" - as they call them round here - spread around a video of some young woman not cleaning up her dog's poop on the subway. She was labelled "dog poop girl" and not only her, but her entire family ended up getting strung through the mud as her personal information was uncovered and spread around the blogging circuit to shame her. She ended up dropping out of university.

There are openly racist groups (rightfully recognized as so by most Koreans) who regularly post non-anonymously about the evils of foreigners in Korea.

Clearly even removing anonymity won't stop people from being assholes. Some people simply crave attention, and will take any they can get whether it be good or bad. The Joker doesn't simply want to watch the world burn, he wants the recognition that he burned it down.

Stop giving these people the time of day! Yes, it's terrible that so-and-so received death/rape/bomb threats from someone. That should be between so-and-so, someone and the authorities. Not plastered all over blogs, forums and news sites. That's exactly what they want!

That is an absolutely terrifying story about "dog poop girl". Can you imagine being famous for that?

It blows my mind when people think removing anonymity would bring anything good to the table. No offense here, I'm sure Korea has many very beautiful and respectful qualities, but lets not follow Koreas lead on the open flow of information over the internet. Having to officially verify who you are online is ABSOLUTELY NOT the way to go about curtailing anything. Screen names are good and they can even protect you.

Like you said, manage harassment away from the spotlight. Not because people shouldn't know about it. but because as soon as you say "hey this person is getting harassed" some weird subsection of people say "Cool, now I have something to do this weekend!".

I'm going to break down the harassment that has befallen gamers like Anita and Zoe in a way that isn't related to misogyny. They are becoming gaming cultures Kardashians. They're Miley Cyrus. They're Amanda Bynes. They're Brittany Spears. They're Justin Bieber. It's manufactured hate that is 100% real and 100% unnecessary. But when you frame everything/most of what you output in an aggressive manner towards people that are known to also be aggressive you get this. You get death threats. People love to hate the Kardashians. It's more socially acceptable to hate them than it is to like them or even not care about them. It's what they've become known for and I would be amazed if it ever went away. They'll be receiving death threats for the rest of their lives.

If you go into a bar and shout "Kim Kardashian is a piece of shit" you're going to get a few cold stares from people that have fucking sense, and you're going to get roaring applause from everyone else.

We can't keep reveling in the idea that it's misogyny because that's not the reason for the harassment. It's fame.

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#249 Posted by planetfunksquad (1543 posts) -

@sinusoidal: And how does that happen if they're put off joining the industry by all the death threats and bullshit that goes on?

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#250 Posted by nexas (644 posts) -

@cagliostro88: Simply saying "Bioware" over and over again is not an argument. The fact that they have written well realized female characters in past does not mean that they are above criticism of how they represent female characters in their current games. Some one who has strong feminist leanings can still rely on tired sexist tropes. You can have well-realized female characters and creepy fanservice in the same game. It is not a zero-sum game.