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Tags anita sarkeesian , anti-feminist sentiments , Brianna Wu , feminism issues , GamerGate , gamers , harassment

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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:45 AM   #1
Abdul Alhazred
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Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart

The only new information is the right wing has noticed.

Subject line is Breitbart's headline not mine.

Free Republic thread linking to Breitbart
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-.../3199512/posts

One commenter opines ...

Quote:
... Eventually though, men will have to step up and be men again. ...
But will such men be video game developers? Or players?

Note: The best game EVAR is totally not sexist.

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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:36 AM   #2
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[...] Eventually though, men will have to step up and be men again. [...]

Blech. I'm the kind of guy who enjoys a lot of the stereotypical guy stuff, but when I hear inane insecure garbage like that, I kinda want to throw up a little.
People will be whatever they damn well please, whether or not it fits with your undoubtedly idiotic and irrational notions of what constitutes "manliness". If that bothers you, I hear Saudi Arabia is lovely this time of year.

(directed at whoever wrote that quote, not the O.P. )
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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:41 AM   #3
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Of course, Breitbart and Co are losing their **** over this bit of news. Anita Sarkeesian bullied some poor, innocent men into sending her death threats.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:57 AM   #4
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It is usually not that simple.

The problem is that you have some (I would not be able to tell if they are the majority, in my experience not, they are very very vocal - think westborough church pitch high and very wrong) which makes threat against a few people, Anita Saakrisan as noted above. That's true. But the problem is that the threat against her has become the SOLE point of discussion, and has become in some circle synonym of "all gamer are sexist" AND "that means Anita was right".

Problem is, the valid critic of her work then gets immediately dismissed simply because apparently the rape threat trump reason. The same with gamer in general, a few are vocal, and suddenly the whole group I would name "gamer" (read people for which it turns as a hobby and involve more than playing game, rather than those which just happen to play game) is qualified as sexist, rapist, irrelevant to present, soon to disappear, irrational etc...

The bottom line is that people making rape threat should get the law book thrown at them, but that does not mean gamer are wrong and that anita/feminist frequency argument are all correct.

ETA: bottom line is that this is a problem of overgeneralization you often see in public media and public at large. A few of a group go way beyond what is permissible => the whole group get flagged.

Last edited by Aepervius; 2nd September 2014 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:19 AM   #5
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A few things. The idiots making threats against Anita Sarkeesian should be prosecuted and dealt with to the full extent of the law. She has every right to say what she wants, and she has every right to be free from harassment.

That said. I believe she is intellectually dishonest and her articles and videos reflect that. She has an agenda that she pushes it hard, and why not? She's been given a massive audience and massive publicity. That does not make her a [insert vulgar insult of choice].

I think she's wrong, and has been demonstrated to make things up out of thin air. If one wishes to refute her arguments and call her out on her misinformation, then that is all one needs to do. Bringing in her gender or calling her names only undermines one's position and provides ammunition for her to use.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of trolls and idiots out there who have no manners and attack her personally. As Aepervius said, this in turn flags the whole group and any legitimate, rational arguments and refutations are drowned out and ignored in the sea of trolls and sociopaths.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:21 AM   #6
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Lifelong gamer and I was uncomfortable with the way women are portrayed in games a long time ago.
Time to step into the new century kids.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
It is usually not that simple.

The problem is that you have some (I would not be able to tell if they are the majority, in my experience not, they are very very vocal - think westborough church pitch high and very wrong) which makes threat against a few people, Anita Saakrisan as noted above. That's true. But the problem is that the threat against her has become the SOLE point of discussion, and has become in some circle synonym of "all gamer are sexist" AND "that means Anita was right".
Nobody's said "all gamers are sexist." Anita is a gamer. But there is a trend of really horrible sexism among gamer communities. Case in point: threats against her life.

I work at a game studio and see it all the time. Some of the comments we see in public forums about our female streamers are really, really disgusting.

Quote:
Problem is, the valid critic of her work
If your summary of her thesis is "all gamers are sexist," then frankly it's not valid criticism, it's a ridiculous strawman.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:32 AM   #8
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Just to clarify, I do agree with Monketey Ghost. There is a problem with how women have been are continue to be portrayed in games, and this should be addressed and discussed.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
Nobody's said "all gamers are sexist." Anita is a gamer. But there is a trend of really horrible sexism among gamer communities. Case in point: threats against her life.

I work at a game studio and see it all the time. Some of the comments we see in public forums about our female streamers are really, really disgusting.



If your summary of her thesis is "all gamers are sexist," then frankly it's not valid criticism, it's a ridiculous strawman.
It might be my english but no I did not say that it was her thesis. I jsut said that criticism of her thesis is welcomed so and the whole group flagged. Not by her.

In fact rather than jumping at strawman you could have asked for clarification (ETA: I note that you skipped the "in some circle")...

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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
It is usually not that simple.

The problem is that you have some (I would not be able to tell if they are the majority, in my experience not, they are very very vocal - think westborough church pitch high and very wrong) which makes threat against a few people, Anita Saakrisan as noted above. That's true. But the problem is that the threat against her has become the SOLE point of discussion, and has become in some circle synonym of "all gamer are sexist" AND "that means Anita was right".

Problem is, the valid critic of her work then gets immediately dismissed simply because apparently the rape threat trump reason. The same with gamer in general, a few are vocal, and suddenly the whole group I would name "gamer" (read people for which it turns as a hobby and involve more than playing game, rather than those which just happen to play game) is qualified as sexist, rapist, irrelevant to present, soon to disappear, irrational etc...

The bottom line is that people making rape threat should get the law book thrown at them, but that does not mean gamer are wrong and that anita/feminist frequency argument are all correct.

ETA: bottom line is that this is a problem of overgeneralization you often see in public media and public at large. A few of a group go way beyond what is permissible => the whole group get flagged.
Exactly. I have problems with some of the things she describes as "sexist" particularly in early video games. For example Ms Pacman gets a bow / lipstick as a gender identifier and that's sexist? In a circular yellow sprite 16 pixels tall you're kinda stuck for choice frankly (Though the advertising was admittedly poor ), and indeed she does have a tendency to do things that most game players would never think to do in order to push the point, which really doesn't help her cause. Somtimes it's so unbalanced that you have to wonder if she's doing it to deliberately provoke an over-the-top response. But to her credit the publicity surrounding her has pushed it forward as a talking point within the industry, as well as in the surrounding culture.

Obviously though backlash to this from some quarters is juvenile and grim, and in some cases actually criminal.

Once the flag waving starts a proper debate becomes difficult.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 08:21 AM   #11
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Fanboyism is what tears the industry apart. Criticize a person's favorite game and the response will be nearly identical as if you told a religious fanatic their god isn't real.

It allows less quality games if a developer just needs to rehash a game or let the name brand sell the game and lets the quality slide.

If someone points out sexism in games a fanboy can't just rationally debate against the points and has to make threats.

Entertainment should be filled with artistic variety. Manly men have their place as do feminine men, manly women, and girly girls.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 08:52 AM   #12
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The gaming industry is basically pandering to the fanatics, who may have lifelong loyalty, but will deny you bigger markets.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 09:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Monketey Ghost View Post
Lifelong gamer and I was uncomfortable with the way women are portrayed in games a long time ago.
Time to step into the new century kids.
If you believe so this seems to be exactly the thread to explain why the portrayal of women in video games makes you uncomfortable and what you suggest could be done to improve that.

But in any case, I think that the portrayal of women is too broad to say it's sexualist. At one end of the spectrum you have women that exist solely to be kidnaped by the antagonist and saved by the protagonist, like princess Toadstool/Peach, and on the other you have the women who are more likely to save themselves, like Samus Aran, with everything in between like princess Zelda becoming a konoichi (Link to the Past, Hyrule Warriors) or a pirate (Windwaker) in one iteration or being a damsel in distress in still others or Midna being both damsel in distress and dark lord in equal measure (Twilight Princess).

In my opinion, this is exactly the way it should be.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 09:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mudcat View Post
If you believe so this seems to be exactly the thread to explain why the portrayal of women in video games makes you uncomfortable and what you suggest could be done to improve that.

But in any case, I think that the portrayal of women is too broad to say it's sexualist. At one end of the spectrum you have women that exist solely to be kidnaped by the antagonist and saved by the protagonist, like princess Toadstool/Peach, and on the other you have the women who are more likely to save themselves, like Samus Aran, with everything in between like princess Zelda becoming a konoichi (Link to the Past, Hyrule Warriors) or a pirate (Windwaker) in one iteration or being a damsel in distress in still others or Midna being both damsel in distress and dark lord in equal measure (Twilight Princess).

In my opinion, this is exactly the way it should be.

I disagree. The spectrum you describe certainly exists; but I think it would be tough to make a convincing argument that there is equal distribution of games across it - or even a nice centralized bell curve. If it's the case that a majority of females in games are of the damsel motif, a relative handful of titles with strong and independent female leads on the other end doesn't square the see-saw.

But of course, gamer attitudes are a legitimate topic of discussion; I'm not sure why so many are in a hurry to dismiss or minimize that debate.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 09:54 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by NWO Sentryman View Post
The gaming industry is basically pandering to the fanatics, who may have lifelong loyalty, but will deny you bigger markets.
There's been a trend that way in other media too.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 11:56 AM   #16
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The mountainous number of crappy and poorly written games are what tear the industry apart.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 12:01 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
The spectrum you describe certainly exists; but I think it would be tough to make a convincing argument that there is equal distribution of games across it - or even a nice centralized bell curve.
I've never seen convincing evidence either way.

Quote:
If it's the case that a majority of females in games are of the damsel motif, a relative handful of titles with strong and independent female leads on the other end doesn't square the see-saw.
None of the games I play rely on or even feature the damsel-in-distress trope. From my subjective experience, the amount of games that have strong female characters far out number the ones that don't.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 12:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I disagree. The spectrum you describe certainly exists; but I think it would be tough to make a convincing argument that there is equal distribution of games across it - or even a nice centralized bell curve. If it's the case that a majority of females in games are of the damsel motif, a relative handful of titles with strong and independent female leads on the other end doesn't square the see-saw.
Is there any medium where such equal distribution exists? Movies? Absolutely not. Books? Maybe. TV? Probably not. Is it a bad thing that most action movies have male leads? Should we strive for a 50-50 split of male vs. female? In theory, sure why not? But what would be the point?
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Old 2nd September 2014, 12:26 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Monketey Ghost View Post
Lifelong gamer and I was uncomfortable with the way women are portrayed in games a long time ago.
Time to step into the new century kids.
I think that a lot of people in the gaming industry do not grasp how big gaming has become and it no longer has to tailor it's appeal to 16 year old males.

But some things do change. Lara Croft, in the latest Tomb Raider game, actually looks like a Human Being and not a T and A fantasy of a 16 year old.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 12:36 PM   #20
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Oh good, more news for the new Jack Thompson clone.

Calling a game, Hitman, sexist because it includes a mission where you try to stop exploitation of women by killing a mob boss. Yeah, ok, I'll give her all the credibility that deserves.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 12:47 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ehcks View Post
Oh good, more news for the new Jack Thompson clone.
Ah, you must be the fabled "valid critic of her work" that Aepervius was talking about.

Quote:
Calling a game, Hitman, sexist because it includes a mission where you try to stop exploitation of women by killing a mob boss. Yeah, ok, I'll give her all the credibility that deserves.
You know, when dismissing her "credibility", it helps if you don't do it while saying something that bears pretty much zero resemblance to anything she actually said about Hitman.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 12:54 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Vermonter View Post
There is a problem with how women have been are continue to be portrayed in games, and this should be addressed and discussed.
Is there a problem? Video games are, for the most part, targeted at a male audience and as a result have a high number of male characters in the protagonist role while female characters by and large end up in secondary roles. This in itself doesnít suggest itís a larger problem.

Itís not really any different than the move to most games being some variation of a first (or third person over the shoulder) shooter. People like myself may not like whatís being produced but that doesnít make it a problem in any larger sense. Actual problems may exist but this requires a lot more nuance than ďthere are few female characters in lead rolesĒ
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:00 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Is there a problem? Video games are, for the most part, targeted at a male audience and as a result have a high number of male characters in the protagonist role while female characters by and large end up in secondary roles. This in itself doesn’t suggest it’s a larger problem.
And women who complain about that are met with threats of rape and death. Which does indicate a larger problem.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:04 PM   #24
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Speaking as a gamer, I've never understood the collective hair-on-fire freakout over Anita Sarkeesian. As an example, I love the Mario series. Perfect controls, perfect level designs, it's great, and it's clearly true that Princess Peach is a brazen damsel in distress. That's a part of the series. I have no idea why this warrants death threats, rape threats, and supposed skeptics releasing videos full of nothing but red herrings and strawmen (yes, I mean Thunderf00t) about it, when the truth is, we all know it, and it's actually considered a joke.

...well, that's not quite true. I've spent enough time in general voice chat rooms, and been called "the N-word" enough times, to know exactly what all the fuss over her is about - specifically, it's about some male gamers' open hostility to women.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:08 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
And women who complain about that are met with threats of rape and death. Which does indicate a larger problem.
That's some awesome circular reasoning there.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:09 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Is there a problem? Video games are, for the most part, targeted at a male audience and as a result have a high number of male characters in the protagonist role while female characters by and large end up in secondary roles. This in itself doesnít suggest itís a larger problem.
It's a problem because even if you don't believe that this is both reflective of and symptomatic of bigger societal issues vis a vis sex and gender, it still creates a self-restricting feedback loop where the potential playerbase (and therefore potential sales market) gets smaller and smaller because these games are targeted solely at a male audience (and a subset of that, no less), so that gamers outside that audience are less likely to be interested in those games, resulting in the false impression that no one outside that audience plays or buys video games, which drives game makers to make and market their games solely to appeal to that audience, which makes gamers outside that audience less likely to be interested in those games, etc. etc. etc.

It's the same thing that's driving the slow death of the American comic book market, where the Big Two can somehow manage to make movies and TV shows like Guardians of the Galaxy and Teen Titans that appeal to a broad audience that spans genders and ages, but can only seem to make comic books that appeal almost exclusively to a small male audience.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:09 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by ehcks View Post
Oh good, more news for the new Jack Thompson clone.

Calling a game, Hitman, sexist because it includes a mission where you try to stop exploitation of women by killing a mob boss. Yeah, ok, I'll give her all the credibility that deserves.


Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
And women who complain about that are met with threats of rape and death. Which does indicate a larger problem.
Or even reporting on those death threats.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:15 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by A'isha View Post
Ah, you must be the fabled "valid critic of her work" that Aepervius was talking about.


You know, when dismissing her "credibility", it helps if you don't do it while saying something that bears pretty much zero resemblance to anything she actually said about Hitman.
You're right, it's worse than that. The mission involved sneaking through the boss's club. Killing civilians gives massive penalties, so you don't want to kill them. Along the way are two strippers you're supposed to sneak past or they call the guards. Killing them almost guarantees failure from penalties. No video playthrough on YouTube included killing them.

Anita had to record herself killing them while talking about how awful it was that the game made you do that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuRSaLZidWI
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:16 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I disagree. The spectrum you describe certainly exists; but I think it would be tough to make a convincing argument that there is equal distribution of games across it - or even a nice centralized bell curve. If it's the case that a majority of females in games are of the damsel motif, a relative handful of titles with strong and independent female leads on the other end doesn't square the see-saw.
Why does there need to be an equal distribution? There is a degree of self selection at play. Companies will make the games they think people will buy, and this inherently alienates people with different tastes. The fact that a particular entertainment medium is aimed at someone else doesnít mean there is a problem.
Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
But of course, gamer attitudes are a legitimate topic of discussion; I'm not sure why so many are in a hurry to dismiss or minimize that debate.
What makes you think this says anything about core gamers other than the fact they are more likely to be male and more like to relate to a male lead character? Frankly the claim that it somehow says something about their attitude is probably why gamers are upset in the first place.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:16 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by A'isha View Post
It's a problem because even if you don't believe that this is both reflective of and symptomatic of bigger societal issues vis a vis sex and gender, it still creates a self-restricting feedback loop where the potential playerbase (and therefore potential sales market) gets smaller and smaller because these games are targeted solely at a male audience...
Except that is not what we are seeing. The market for video games has grown steadily despite the alleged existence of this problem.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:23 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by A'isha
It's a problem because even if you don't believe that this is both reflective of and symptomatic of bigger societal issues vis a vis sex and gender, it still creates a self-restricting feedback loop where the potential playerbase (and therefore potential sales market) gets smaller and smaller because these games are targeted solely at a male audience...
Originally Posted by Tony View Post
Except that is not what we are seeing. The market for video games has grown steadily despite the alleged existence of this problem.

Sources for either of these claims, please.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:24 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
And women who complain about that are met with threats of rape and death. Which does indicate a larger problem.
This seems more of a case someone throwing grenades to try and evoke a negative response. Some people out of the hundreds of millions with access to the internet will bite. This does not suggest any larger problem.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:31 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by ehcks View Post
You're right, it's worse than that.
No, it's not worse than that, but it's good that you admitted you were making **** up in your first post there.

Quote:
The mission involved sneaking through the boss's club. Killing civilians gives massive penalties, so you don't want to kill them. Along the way are two strippers you're supposed to sneak past or they call the guards. Killing them almost guarantees failure from penalties.
No, her point was (as indicated by the title of that particular installment) that the women there were "background decoration", obstacles whose entire and sole method of interaction with the player is as potential murder victims.

Quote:
No video playthrough on YouTube included killing them.
I've played the Hitman games (though not Absolution, because the ad campaign pretty much killed my interest in the franchise), and it was a pretty rare and triumphant occasion when I managed to successfully complete without killing anyone at all.

And again, I see that the reaction to Sarkeesian's comments about Hitman: Absolution is not "that thing she focused on isn't as problematic as the many, many other problematic things in the game, so she made a mistake by calling out that one when she should have called out one of the others" (because there sure as **** are a lot of other problematic aspects about that game), but ******** like "she's a Jack Thompson clone".
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:41 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by A'isha View Post
No, her point was (as indicated by the title of that particular installment) that the women there were "background decoration", obstacles whose entire and sole method of interaction with the player is as potential murder victims.
Exactly.

I've never seen men characters used in the same way in games, but even then, her point would stand. In this case, the women are basically objects, and not actors.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:41 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by IDB87 View Post
Sources for either of these claims, please.
http://www.omdc.on.ca/industry_profiles/idmeng_5.html
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:43 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
I've never seen men characters used in the same way in games, but even then, her point would stand. In this case, the women are basically objects, and not actors.
You're never seen men characters used as background NPCs? You haven't played many games...
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:46 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
This seems more of a case someone throwing grenades to try and evoke a negative response. Some people out of the hundreds of millions with access to the internet will bite. This does not suggest any larger problem.
You're really going to blame her for the death/rape threats she received?

What about the death threats sent to David Futrelle? Were those his fault, or hers? I mean, since clearly they're not the fault of the people sending them.

I guess whether there's a problem or not depends on whether you see threats of bodily harm as a problem, or the "problem" of women speaking out.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:47 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by A'isha View Post
It's a problem because even if you don't believe that this is both reflective of and symptomatic of bigger societal issues vis a vis sex and gender, it still creates a self-restricting feedback loop where the potential playerbase (and therefore potential sales market) gets smaller and smaller because these games are targeted solely at a male audience (and a subset of that, no less), so that gamers outside that audience are less likely to be interested in those games
This is commonplace in entertainment. Most genres ultimately end up self selecting. In most cases people just vote with their feet and move on to what they do like rather than claiming itís a personal affront that the genre is targeting someone else.

Originally Posted by A'isha View Post
It's the same thing that's driving the slow death of the American comic book market, where the Big Two can somehow manage to make movies and TV shows like Guardians of the Galaxy and Teen Titans that appeal to a broad audience that spans genders and ages, but can only seem to make comic books that appeal almost exclusively to a small male audience.
The US comic book market has been mostly male since the 60ís. While I have no doubt that similar forces played a role in this, I donít think you can attribute the current VERY niche focus on just male/female audience.

I collected and read comics avidly for nearly 20 years. My own personal experience is that they started to change in the 90ís and became less appealing to my tastes. IMO they have evolved more towards being like a film storyboard than an actual stand alone medium. The current thinking among Marvel/DC comic fans is that written narrative of any type is bad, and everything except maybe some dialog needs to be told via the pictures.

This doesnít appeal to me as I find it removes pacing and nuance and I liked the effect the mixed medium gave. Regardless, the books I would like to read would not end up selling well. While I personally may not like this situation, it doesnít mean itís wrong of needs to change. I can and do go out and find things I do enjoy instead.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:54 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
Exactly.

I've never seen men characters used in the same way in games, but even then, her point would stand. In this case, the women are basically objects, and not actors.
Secondary characters both male and female are commonly used this way. They exist either as background or as MacGuffins to move the protagonistís story forward. The only difference in this case is that the protagonist is generally male, or designed to appeal to a male audience.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 01:55 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by IDB87 View Post
Sources for either of these claims, please.
Console video game software sales have been mostly declining for a while now, even the AAA shooter titles like Battlefield and Call of Duty.
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