Police Officer, Doctor, Businesswoman (Themed Stripper)
Mentor for Younger Stripper/Prostitute/Porn actress
Creative Graphic Consultant (for Erotic Video Games)
Executive Assistant in Charge of Nagging
Chief Financial Spender
Personal Chef (for Husband)
Masseuse (Asian Only)
Minister of Foreign Affairs
(sorry, I meant Minister of affairs with foreigners)
Finish reading Career Opportunities For Women In The GTA Universe
Grand Theft Auto 5 review: Golden Years
With Grand Theft Auto 5, developer Rockstar North aspires to re-establish GTA as the most important video game franchise in the world, to further raise the bar, the budget, the breadth of experience of the big games.
The impact of 2008’s Grand Theft Auto 4 and its predecessors can be seen in practically every AAA release and AAA game studio. The blockbuster game is what it is because of the Grand Theft Auto series’ astonishing financial, critical and cultural success.
It’s a shame that a series that has made so many real strides, in terms of both gameplay and narrative - as the review comprehensively covers - also warrants this:
There are more interesting female characters on Grand Theft Auto 5's disc art than there are in Grand Theft Auto 5; the female cop and female criminal printed onto the disc are never seen in the game’s vast world.
I counted roughly (and generously) six semi-important female characters in the game, maybe a couple more if I include the occasional quest giver or victim of theft. None are playable. All but one are shrill buzzkills; the latter has Stockholm syndrome. And the two grisliest murders in the game happen to women. One side story involves the persistent and unsettling harassment of an absent female character, the purpose of which is to show the cruelty of Trevor, but which goes upsettingly far beyond what feels necessary to the story.
There’s also this:
One scenario asks the player to swap between slowly torturing one Middle Eastern man and racially profiling another.
The script plays it for laughs. I felt nauseated.
Maybe it’s time to start docking games more than half a point for being an egregious example of sexism and racism, Polygon.
A review that asserts that the game has major issues in both departments, only to end with a 9.5 rating, sends the message that you’ve seen these problems and concluded they aren’t that important.
Hello Connie! Check out my newest addition: now in hi-res deluxe hangar edition.
Kagan said that a case involving violent video games prompted some of her fellow justices to try their hands at a few of the titles in question. “It was kind of hilarious,” she recalled.
Oh my goodness can you imagine all the Supreme Court judges getting together at Clarence Thomas’s place and ordering a bunch of pizza and playing Team Fortress and Counterstrike and Call of Duty all night to get perspective on video game violence? And Kagan and Sotomayor have both played for years and everyone else is terrible at it and they’re all just chilling out eating pizza? I want this to happen so badly. (via jakke)
LTMC: This ends with Sotomayor throwing the controller down and screaming “LAWYERED” at everyone while Clarence Thomas bitches at Scalia for eating the last of the wings and getting blue cheese on his Holy Cross hoodie.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s a gamer, but it wasn’t really her scene. Everyone knows RBG loves RPGs.
This is a real game, and it was showcased at a Russian Orthodox youth festival.
"Are we really content to let award shows, The New York Times, and the book-publishing industry act as the gatekeepers of culture? Sure, there’s plenty to admire in these institutions—except award shows, those are awful—but it’s folly to be satisfied with them, unless you believe that the world is both perfect and static.”
Quick Rant About Risk Aversion
Yesterday my copy of Ballistic Publishing’s Massive Black Volume 2 arrived. It’s a great book for concept artists, a lot of great example of exploration and quick and dirty digital painting. Some really great mechs and alien creatures and some really creative projects. Also the huge amount of concepts in this book makes it a solid purchase.
Unfortunately many of the projects they show concepts from are video games, so there is tons and tons and tons of brown-haired stubble face boring-ass dude-bro characters in the book.
From a marketing perspective, I really get why these kind of protagonists seem like a safe bet:
They do not clash with the idealized self-image of perceived main target group. Meaning he is an idealized version of a cis-male, white, able-bodied 20-40 something guy. And they completely lack any hint of personality, so they cannot be disliked as characters.
Safe bet here means risk aversion. The “qualities” I described above – which are actually qualities the marketers actively and explicitly look for – are all qualities to avoid problems.
These characters are NOT created, because someone though that these characters are interesting or appealing or unique. They are designed that way, because market research suggest that these kind of bland characters are least likely to interfere with sales and marketing.
They are no longer a variable. Like just making ANOTHER Halo game, where the IP is no longer a variable, risk aversion drives this business.
And it shows. What once was a playground for all sorts of ideas and wacky and epic scenarios, is now a “creative” field in which the elimination of variables makes more sense, then the creation of new ideas. How twisted is that?
This is why women are scary for the game industry. They ask for something different. They ask for variables, unproven concepts, risk. You are a threat to their “best practices”, because you demand something else. That’s why they are so reluctant to embrace you, to support you and why they get hostile when you don’t shut up.
Same goes for POC players, LGBT players and other marginalized groups.
With all the great content this book has, the abundance of “tried and true” designs, the abundance of “let’s just not go there” is really depressing.
I mean there is pages and pages and pages of this:
Why video games will never have their “Citizen Kane moment”
By Chad Sapieha
There is always a hope in an author or director or musician’s mind that what they’re creating might stand the test of time, that it may continue to draw audiences for decades – perhaps even centuries – into the future, long after their deaths.
Abbey Road isn’t doomed to obscurity because vinyl records have been largely replaced by digital recordings, Hamlet didn’t disappear when The Globe theatre burned down, and as long as classic movie channels and on demand services exist people will be able to watch Orson Welles as Citizen Kane.
But the specific technological requirements attached to video games – and particularly newer titles – work to erase this possibility in the realm of interactive entertainment. They’re born with an expiry date.
I’d go so far as to suggest that, over time, many games released today will end up sharing more in common with stage productions than books or movies or music. They will be appreciated in the moment, then eventually disappear. People will write about and record their experiences, and those words and videos will continue on to posterity, acting as the primary means by which they are remembered by gamers of the future.
games are for children, episode 492
Yeah, I sure liked it when Alyx was invulnerable and lived only for the player, surely not because she’s there to massage the Evil White Gamer’s cock by going “uguu” in quick time events.
Wait, no, she wasn’t. She was an AI partner who helped you breach and clear rooms and defend critical areas, and leaving her alone didn’t have her come running, screaming to the pasty white nerd player, for help - she stands and fights, and given how thick the enemy resistance is, you’re going to need her help. You helped her, she helped you. She spends a great deal of the game trying to help the resistance and trying to find her kidnapped father. But since male scumbags like you are trying to impress feminists while having a penis, you write her off as a paper doll, worth nothing, because ~any and every attempt at having a female partner is sexist~. Oh, never fucking mind the fact she’s half-Asian and half-Black - SHE’S WHITE, BECAUSE THE PLAYER CHARACTER IS WHITE, AM I RIGHT, GUYS? Get fucked.
Well this is hilarious. Alyx doesn’t “breach and clear rooms” in Half Life 2 because Half Life 2 is a narrow corridor first person shooter. She has one weapon and is utterly invulnerable, which means that she doesn’t even fucking exist in the world as a real person. It’s a game trying to be “gritty” and “realistic” whilst still employing mechanics from the time of arcade games in the style of Contra and Jackal.
This has been a problem for the better part of a decade, if not longer, and it’s something that hasn’t been called out as awful, and it damn well needs to be if games are ever going to be publicly respected as “true art.” If you’re trying to tell a story as heavy as Blade Runner with the mechanics of fucking Area 51 (1995), then yeah, that’s a huge fucking problem. Especially when mainstream games criticism is totally okay with it.
"Trying to impress feminists" yeah okay. Also the fact that I never, ever said she was white. The immediate accusation of anyone trying to call out awful bullshit in videogame as a “white knight" full of “white guilt" just trying to “impress feminists" will never get old when there’s never an ounce of evidence to support any sort of claim from the people throwing that accusation around.
I sure do like it when some fucking white kid trying to impress tumblrites tries to defend the honor of us Poor Widdle POCs. Hey, guess what? Maybe, you know, we poor, oppressed, must-be-lifted-on-a-pedestal POCs aren’t always going to squeaky clean people? Maybe some of us slip up, some of us are selfish assholes, some of us do something wrong? Maybe Daisy Fitzroy’s rebellion devolved from righteous anger to an excuse to smash, burn, and steal? You and morons like you push this attitude of “never let POCs be anything but always in the right”, which is as toxic as the stereotypes and bigotry you purport to fight against. We do not need your stupid, simpering, “gee but think about them darkies, they do no wrong! also fuck white people haha!” mindset, especially not from a moron who uses his fake ally status to be a snotty, immature, pile of shit who attacks gamer journalists for being bald. I sure do want to be defended against centuries of getting treated like shit by Europe and America, just because I have a different skin color by some guy who spent a chunk of his “attack on racism” randomly savaging some dude for being bald and uses “nerd” as an unironic insult. You’re a great help.
Maybe I covered the fact previously on this blog that Daisy Fitzroy is a fictional character made up by white people to be just as evil as the very real racism and historical bigotry Comstock represented? A Nat Turner esque caricature that completely ignored the very real black resistance that took place at the same time Comstock takes inspiration from?
The point is that in both Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us, it’s an angry straight white dude with a young, defenseless girl reduced to a MacGuffin where they both brutally murder black women in a position of power for the sake of a white person’s character arc. It’s been about being angry that it’s the same shit, over and over again, the normalizing of the angry white guy as the murderer with a heart and a cause, reducing young white women to precious macguffins, and putting black women in a position of power just to kill them off, regardless if they’re unarmed and surrendered.
This blog has never been about trying to advocate for demonizing white people, any sort of “white guilt,” or putting non-white people on a pedestal. When it’s come to videogames, it’s been about calling out stupid shit like the fact that a bunch of white people paraded around a bullshit murderfest of an entirely shallow shooting gallery segmented by entirely noninteractive, “cinematic moments.” Instead of, you know, being a real game that treats it’s characters like real people, not just when they’re cribbing from the artistic medium of cinema, but in gameplay as well.
All these problems essentially center around the fact that it’s a mindset of wanting to tell real, human drama, and not accepting the fact that human drama is not “fun,” yet insisting that the mechanics of the game itself remain “fun.” Even if that means creating invincible AI companions that have zero agency and mechanically, act like bizarre servants. There is a huge divide between games mechanically and “cinematically” that needs to be acknowledged if we’re ever going to get past this idiotic, simplistic state of game design and criticism.
Not only do you grossly oversimplify who Ellie and Elizabeth are, and not only do you think the player can comfort them at any time in some sort of psuedo-sex act, you also… wait for it… accuse the games of being sexist by… making them invulnerable and throwing you items. Holy shit! You reduce two female characters with character development and wants of their own that are separate from the player to virtual dolls with less characterization than a screaming stereotype who had to be protected from angry zombie cultists, simply because some game designer made them invulnerable and in a supporting role. Then you throw in some fucking tangent about Schindler’s List in some desperate attempt to go TRUE ART to elevate you above nerds. Thanks, Mr. Pretentious Graphic Designer, for ignoring any problems in their depiction for blaming it all on being fucking invulnerable in gameplay. Yeah, sure, kid. Decades of being little more than eye candy for perverts apparently are solely due to the inability to get hurt in gameplay, all we need to do now to stick it to the game developers you hate is make them able to get damaged by enemies, not talk about everything else wrong with them. Never mind the fact Elizabeth is unable to do something as simple as activate a switch to move a trolley without a big, strong, white man’s help, never mind how overused the Damsel in Distress plot is, never mind Elizabeth’s breasts spilling out of her corset - LET’S SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING DOWN TO A GAME MECHANIC. Genius.
I can’t oversimplify characters that are utterly reduced to plot accessories who lack any sort of presence in the world of the game. Games ARE mechanics. Strip all the window dressing away, the voice acting, the celebrity talent, so on and so on, and what is Bioshock: Infinite? A very simple, by the books, first person shooter. Elizabeth’s powers are not her own, she’s invisible to the enemies of the world for no reason, and the player solves all the world’s problems by just laying waste to hundreds if not thousands of nameless goons.
It’s not fucking pretentious to want to be above a culture that celebrates that sort of mindless, kitsch horseshit. It’s the mindset of preserving shallow mechanics in the name of “fun” while trying to tell “human drama.” There’s a reason I go right to Schindler’s List - because it’s such a basic, low barrier to entry of being a “not fun” film that is about a very real, very human drama and it makes it very easy to respond to this sort of “pretentious” criticism of my character with the fact that if Schindler’s List got a videogame sequel from Naughty Dog or Irrational Games, it’d be this.
You know, when I finished writing the piece in question here, I did have this gnawing though in my head if I hadn’t written just enough. You don’t need to write an eight page thesis about every little detail of how fucked Ellie and Elizabeth are when the entire mindset behind them is summed up by the fact that mechanically there’s no consequence or presence they possess in the world.
Ellie in The Last Of Us can walk right in front of an enemy during a stealth sequence and not raise an alarm. She’s utterly invincible to bullets. You cannot have depth if the very basis of her character is completely irrelevant to the game.
Elizabeth in Bioshock: Infinite is a magical MacGuffin who’s powers are under your control, brings you ammo and powerups, and is invisible to enemies. Yet, Ken fucking Levine goes on record saying “she can take care of herself.” You cannot have depth if the very basis of her character is an immortal servant to the player character’s murder quest.
I was hoping there’d be a takedown of sexism and gender roles in two of the most overrated games of the year, especially when said games got lauded so much for simply having female supporting characters - something that already speaks volumes about just how prevalent sexism is in video games. But, of course, the shitty, egotistical, gloryhound look-at-me-I’m-so-edgy-and-vitriolic white man needed more views by disguising his shitty, egotistical excuse to whine about video games as fighting for minorities, instead. Of course.
P.S.: “Ironically” using Godwin’s Law is still using Godwin’s Law. Hope this helps, kid.
I love how you assault my profession “pretentious graphic designer” yet call me a “kid,” as if you didn’t spend five seconds looking at my fucking portfolio before making such a masturbatory statement.
You can’t do a detailed breakdown to something so broken in such a simplistic manner. If the pinnacle of “high art” in videogames that games criticism comes together to fellate is such a simple, bizarro world of bigoted mindsets at work, you can’t really break out the Judith Butler and the bell hooks literature as we’re not even past 101 level social justice in videogames yet.
It’s also hilariously pathetic to accuse me of “needing more views” when Tumblr doesn’t have a way to track actual views, just likes/reblogs which I have never cared about. I’d have to go to Google Analytics and waste all the time setting up tracking and get nothing out of it, and just the constant accusation up and down these piece that basic empathy is utterly impossible and can only be angry for one’s own personal gain, that my anger is a performance art for the sake of gaining internet popularity and personal gain.
Which makes zero sense, since my profession is far from writing about fucking videogames on the Internet, yet I somehow get something out of spitting hot truth on the side even though there’s been no evidence this is true? If anything, women and PoC in private have thanked me for inspiring them to stand up and speak out on their own, which is my main reason to keep on writing what I do, so what the fuck are you even saaaaaayyyyyiiinngggg.
If you think I possess some sort of “white guilt” or personal desire or believe PoC can do no wrong, then please look at the above and acknowledge how utterly full of shit you are to look at what I’ve written and think I get some sort of personal benefit out of it whilst also expecting a neutered, passive analytical thesis of videogames which solve the world’s problems by brutally killing thousands without consequence.
Videogames are dumb as shit and it’s about time criticism acknowledged how fucking childish the mentality behind Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us are to pretend like you can use realistic, gritty human drama as a backdrop to the same sort of mechanical depth as a 1995 arcade machine about shooting up aliens in a secret government facility.
At least in Area 51 they didn’t attach a defenseless young white demigod girl to make you cry.