don't think you can ever pin down intent &but game maker is still responsible for how their work is interpreted.
these two are kinda sides of the same coin
― dayo, Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:26 (1 year ago) Permalink
bnw, what kind of tone do you think that liberal use of the word 'bitch' achieves?
lego batman's sort of gritty to be honest. i don't think the nolan movies are a bad comparison in that it equally comes off as trash in places where it tries to be gritty (c.f. bale's VOICE)
― Philip Nunez, Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:28 (1 year ago) Permalink
bnw, can you elaborate about the differences you see in tone? i suspect that any differences you'll point out will not invalidate the point that the word isn't necessary in creating the tone of Arkham City
― Mordy, Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:29 (1 year ago) Permalink
you gotta chill on that tact, dayo. i know its funny on the borad but it kills discussion dead.
i think there is more then 1 way to make a gritty batman story. arkham city is clearly not nolan's batman, takes about 5 seconds to grasp that. the judgment of whether it is "necessary" is where I get hung up. its not one I am comfortable with.
― bnw, Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:35 (1 year ago) Permalink
not excusing its use here per se but i have some suspicion that game makers that are shooting for a teen rating but want to make things gritty etc might have taken it into account that "bitch" is one of the few swears that are going to be allowed within those boundaries.
― sfdgafhtehw (jjjusten), Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:37 (1 year ago) Permalink
lol bnw sorry dude, you are hoisting yourself on your own petard most times
― dayo, Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:39 (1 year ago) Permalink
stuff like this tends to be a little more useful discussionwise when peeps dont try to get personal imo
― sfdgafhtehw (jjjusten), Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:41 (1 year ago) Permalink
but yknow ilx and all
mordy - i think you could probably define those differences in tone, but when you get to trying to measure or quantify any of that in such a way that you could add or subtract elements and still have the same outcome - that's where I lose confidence in the judgment.
― bnw, Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:47 (1 year ago) Permalink
i would like to see bnw mount a defense of the use of the word 'bitch' in the game arkham city, particularly as how it pertains to the game successfully transmitting its tone and voice to the gamer (assuming that the tone + voice is not 'sexist'). also, i'd like the defense to go beyond, 'i'm not defending the game's use, but i can see how if they lazily wanted to make it seem edgier, this was a pretty thoughtless way to do it.' or at least an acknowledgement that deferring to artistic choice, or to being non-judgemental (as though ppl never criticize all kinds of art for all kinds of things) is a copout.
― Mordy, Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:48 (1 year ago) Permalink
xp does this hold true for all sorts of art? should i not give my opinion about a movie that includes a scene i think detracted from it? or a book from the 19th century with antiquated views on race (or a book from 2012 with the same)? i can see with some great works of art you might be loathe to start removing stuff (i love gogol and hate his anti-semitism, but i can't imagine excising it from his books), but c'mon, arkham city is not a great work of art, and the use of the word 'bitch' in it does not make it a greater than it would be without it.
― Mordy, Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:50 (1 year ago) Permalink
btw who is the good guy that uses bitch in arkham city, because if thats supposed to be jack ryder or whatever (the reporter dude) i would say he only codes as a good guy because he is not a literal criminal? pretty sure he is never a sympathetic character or meant to be one
― sfdgafhtehw (jjjusten), Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:53 (1 year ago) Permalink
also the fact that arkham city is at best a minor offender when compared to like most other games that arent pokemon level content prob says a lot about this question even given the idea that it is problematic in a sexist sense.
― sfdgafhtehw (jjjusten), Thursday, 5 April 2012 00:56 (1 year ago) Permalink
i think you can argue it improves it or makes it worse. when you talk about removing it entirely, my radar goes up that you aren't giving credit to those ramifications. and then by saying - well nolan didn't need it - my radar really goes up that you are discarding a billion fucking factors that make my experience playing this game far far far far away from sitting and watching the dark knight.
― bnw, Thursday, 5 April 2012 01:34 (1 year ago) Permalink
For me, the problems in tone of AC are both in the sexualization of every single female character(incl. changing Harley Quinn's costume _again_) against either the history of the character or even their continually rebooted current selves, and the vibe/dialogue.
One can only shudder at what would have happened had they included Paul Dini's lifelong fetish, Zatanna.
I have more to say on this later, but there is a very definite difference between AC and Saints Row III(I haven't played SR2 past 10 minutes). SR3 is a deliberate and complete joke/cartoon/farce/parody/pisstake and a shitloada absurdist fun, whereas AC is a mash-up of takes on Batman that don't always work together and with a far darker and un-fun tone. There are bits in AC that read like what would happen if Frank Miller had done TDKR _now_, as opposed to how only slightly crazy he was 25 years ago.
― Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 5 April 2012 02:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
I think it's really sweet (but also, yeah, a little creepy) that Paul Dini has spent his entire career writing about a thinly veiled fictional comic book version of his wife!
― Mordy, Thursday, 5 April 2012 02:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
I think you got that the other way round; Paul Dini has been writing Zatanna for like 20 years now. He married Misty Lee sometime in the last 7-8 years.
here's her back in '06:
God only knows how much Zatanna pr0n he asked Bruce Timm to draw for him.
― Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 5 April 2012 02:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
oooh. 100% weird.
― Mordy, Thursday, 5 April 2012 02:36 (1 year ago) Permalink
Correction: I have no idea what year they got married. I do know he got this own version of Zatanna published at Top Cow some years back, called Madame Mirage:
Based on his wife, natch. What can ya say, dude has deliberately retro tastes.
― Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 5 April 2012 02:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
kinda weird, but kinda makes sense, no?
― Nhex, Thursday, 5 April 2012 02:52 (1 year ago) Permalink
Pretty much. Dude's livin' the dream.
His dream, as it were.
― Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 5 April 2012 03:31 (1 year ago) Permalink
but on the topic: i generally blame the same unfortunate demographic loop that happened with mainstream comic books, that for the most part, it's the young, straight male audience that is catered to with this kind of stuff, who then become the people making the games and so on. i say this as a collaborator, as I was and/or am still very much into modern games "for gamers by gamers" (thanks Interplay), if not necessarily the unfortunately attached sexism and racism that's already become a legacy
(once in a while, my mind gets blown though, like upon realizing that some of the people who composed my favorite soundtracks in the 8- and 16-bit eras were actually, gasp, women! at Capcom and Konami)
(side note: during the end credits of Saints Row 3 there are a load of production photos of the Volition crew - not surprised that there were a few women, but that any women at all were involved in that game lol)
racially it's generally the same kind of thing, add white to male (or Japanese, I guess, but it's not quite the same)
there needs to be more diversity in creators, a larger breadth of content and experiences drawing from more sources, and so on, which is slowly, slowly happening, i just hope it happens faster than it took for the movie and comics industries
but wait a sec - were we talking about the sexism/racism in the gaming "community" (unfortunately overshadowed by 12-year-old online FPS racist brats that don't represent me) or the systematic racism/sexism in-game content, stories, characters etc.? i was assuming the latter
― Nhex, Thursday, 5 April 2012 03:59 (1 year ago) Permalink
i intended to talk about the latter, simply because there isnt any answer other than like electroshock in the controllers that can really fix the former unfortunately
― sfdgafhtehw (jjjusten), Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:01 (1 year ago) Permalink
also, Saints Row 3 vs. Batman is an interesting comparison i think, if only for the fact that they were both big AAA titles that came out at the same time, but tonally are completely different
Batman right off the bat, I felt a little uncomfortable at EVERY single woman in the game being referred to as a bitch, a rape target, or whatever (seriously). something about the misogyny being such omnipresent window dressing, that was never really addressed in the game at all except to say "that chick is hot" or "how hasn't she been raped yet?" or "she's a crazy bitch!" was odd. the Film Crit Hulk posts were pretty on point, I think.
saints row 3 though - the context is a lot lighter and it didn't bother me at all, though the sexism in it is probably much, much worse. one mission requires you to gun down a small army of strippers and prostitutes dressed as hot cops and bikini cowgirls. they have been "inivited" to a celebratory party for the Saints gang taking over a neighborhood. in the middle of one giving a lap dance to one of your gang members, she pulls out a pistol, to which your dude yells "THESE BITCHES ARE PACKING HEAT!" The name of this chapter? Trojan Whores. so, probably worse, but so silly and stupid as to get a pass?
at the same time i feel like i should feel some more outrage as i honestly do hate when people use that excuse "we're offending EVERYBODY!" as a pathetic excuse to use racist/sexist humor, ignoring their privilege
― Nhex, Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:09 (1 year ago) Permalink
heh all too true jj
― Nhex, Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:15 (1 year ago) Permalink
Who was it, even Talia al ghul has the exposed midriff deep hemline and skintight black leather
― Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:24 (1 year ago) Permalink
i really think stuff like this is way more damaging...
― Philip Nunez, Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:30 (1 year ago) Permalink
yes, all that shitty gender essentialist shovelware for girls
― and i don't even care, similar to how a badass would respond (Abbbottt), Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:37 (1 year ago) Permalink
I'm not saying that's "worse" than anything that fedora guy in the odious IGN video would have devised, but it's definitely bullshit.
― and i don't even care, similar to how a badass would respond (Abbbottt), Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
They both stem from the same problem of not really seeing grown women or young teenage girls as people/
― and i don't even care, similar to how a badass would respond (Abbbottt), Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:39 (1 year ago) Permalink
Well more importantly re: the mechanics of this whole thing, as consumers I fear
― sfdgafhtehw (jjjusten), Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:45 (1 year ago) Permalink
I should expand on that a bit, if this stuff is going to change at any point, given that it is pretty much a 100% business/profit driven venture, all the female non-white designers in the world aren't going to make a difference as long as the publishers keep looking at the bottom line and seeing it as sexstarved basement dwelling mysoginist violent high fiving dudes
― sfdgafhtehw (jjjusten), Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:49 (1 year ago) Permalink
most of msntrm games guardedly transgressive misogyny seems less overtly harmful than the deep-seated misogyny of p much all major hollywood films, reality tv &c &c like the degree to which 'women in videogames' are divorced for actual real life women is so great as to render the whole thing sorta disgustingly ludicrous but ultimately less 'problematic' than the fucked up messaging in like 'friends with kids' or w/e
i mean idk i guess i think my problem is with the way the thread qn is posed cuz i dont think casual racism/sexism is so much less accepted w/in video games than that it manifest in different ways and even the baseline assumption that women as exist as things to project yr fantasies onto or w/e is sorta '...'
― Lamp, Thursday, 5 April 2012 04:54 (1 year ago) Permalink
like i guess if im drunk on the internet throwing together an argument like: 'characters' (enh) in games exist to serve as fantasy objects/projections of desire in more personal/direct manner than characters in other media & so theres less purpose in portraying nuanced/humanized characters, most characters are either conduits or roadblocks to pleasure &c &c
― Lamp, Thursday, 5 April 2012 05:00 (1 year ago) Permalink
"...hence, it exploits...people!"
― Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 5 April 2012 07:30 (1 year ago) Permalink
all the female non-white designers in the world aren't going to make a difference as long as the publishers keep looking at the bottom line and seeing it as sexstarved basement dwelling mysoginist violent high fiving dudes
absolutely could not disagree more. the kind of decisions you are talking about are not made at the $$$ level -- there's no cigar-munching guy who doesn't give a shit about games going "WHERE'S THE TITTIES" or something. those hands-off money people want to see 1.) sequels to successful franchises 2) whatever's hot (multiplayer modes, microtransactions, etc.) 3) shit they can write on the back of the box. it's depressing to say but i don't think the sex/racism is cynical. i think i'd be happier if it were. but the bottom line is the people who are making those decisions are at the """creative""" level. writers, artists, designers, producers.
on the comic book point btw isn't it a little unfair to say that that whole industry is a shitpile? i mean maybe i don't know wtf i am talking about because my roommate buys a LOT of comics but they're all like Habibi and Hark a Vagrant and Chris Ware & non Marvel/DC stuff. It seems that there's a lot of that kind of non-creepy-superboobs-type stuff out there?
that's a side note though. TLDR i've worked with & for a few of the bigger companies (EA, Atari) & a couple of smaller ones in the industry & i can tell you that the people who make the shitty unfeminist creative decisions are usually writers, or maaaaaybe producers (who are fyi the second-lowest paid people in the industry on average behind QA!) or maybe artists. Not shareholders and suits.
― smash sbros (Will M.), Thursday, 5 April 2012 08:18 (1 year ago) Permalink
i played an hour each of deus ex and arkham city at a friend's, having already heard the complaints about racism and sexism, and what i was struck by was that the writing was actually offensively stupid on every other level too
― thomp, Thursday, 5 April 2012 09:24 (1 year ago) Permalink
Haha, and to think, the two biggest sexist targets now are Arkham City and DC Comics.
― Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 5 April 2012 12:26 (1 year ago) Permalink
By the way, it seems to me that blog isn't really getting any milage out of the hulk thing. Outside of the caps and occasional reference to self in the third person, there's like no "hulk" to the style.
― s.clover, Thursday, 5 April 2012 13:31 (1 year ago) Permalink
and what i was struck by was that the writing was actually offensively stupid on every other level too
tbf this is a problem with videogames in general
― 1986 tallest hair contest (Z S), Thursday, 5 April 2012 13:39 (1 year ago) Permalink
FCH has said that it's a deliberate affectation that's gotten him far more attention than when he wrote straight. I like his stuff. Yeah, he varies the amount of Hulkness by the post tho
― Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 5 April 2012 14:09 (1 year ago) Permalink
― Nhex, Thursday, 5 April 2012 14:27 (1 year ago) Permalink
For the record, the earlier conversation point from Will has been deleted and the thread is indexed again.Though I think we'd all be interested in seeing that other thread will.
― wrapped sausage stylus (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 5 April 2012 15:13 (1 year ago) Permalink
rip my post
― dayo, Thursday, 5 April 2012 17:12 (1 year ago) Permalink
a lot of this handwringing is over a certain subset of things on any platform that seem to be mainstream exemplars, because that's what the specialty shops showcase, but they are actually a minority of the market. probably stuff like archie, disney comics outsell big-boobed grimace warrior stuff (hark a vagrant is definitely outselling frank miller's latest castatrophe), and the most popular videogames are more like angry birds, and that's only racist against pigs. movies and tv are still bigger offenders, relatively speaking.
― Philip Nunez, Thursday, 5 April 2012 17:23 (1 year ago) Permalink
Do they outsell in general, or just in places like Berkeley?
― polyphonic, Thursday, 5 April 2012 18:16 (1 year ago) Permalink
Angry Birds, just the first version, just on iOS, has done 12 million units, all versions and platforms 700 million downloads. Arkham City across all platforms ~5 million.
Smaller margins, but way bigger audience.
― raw feel vegan (silby), Thursday, 5 April 2012 18:28 (1 year ago) Permalink
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate BeatonAmazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,838 in Books
Holy Terror by Frank MillerAmazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,622 in Books
― Philip Nunez, Thursday, 5 April 2012 18:55 (1 year ago) Permalink
Ha ha, suck it, frank miller. pwned