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Monday, October 07, 2013

Making it better by ruining it

Tom Hoggins is a harbinger of the scalzification of the game reviewer:
GTAV is a sensational video game and a marvellous feat of technical engineering. However, as always with Grand Theft Auto, controversy has not been far behind the adulation.

The series penchant for carnage and violence is well known, as you may expect from an “open-world” game about criminality that gives players carte blanche to cause havoc in its facsimile of the United States. Set in Los Santos, a twisted vision of Los Angeles, V is Grand Theft Auto at its most barbaric; torture, cannibalism and murder featuring in its nihilistic milieu.
There has also been much discussion about how GTAV treats women. That GTAV is misogynistic is a defensible position. Women in the game are either bit-part players or set dressing: strippers to throw money at, prostitutes to pick up.
There are three lead characters that players can control in the game: all male. The women characters are often leered at or cast as nags. One of the player characters daughters has “skank” tattooed across her back, one mission has you chaperoning a paparazzo as he tries to photograph an aging actress’s “low-hanging muff.”

At one stage during my play-through of the game, I had a barrage of these aspects which made me feel deeply uncomfortable. I commented to a friend that I was concerned about the treatment of women within the game, that there were few female characters drawn with any depth and that it felt a deliberate decision to avoid an attempt to do so.
I was the first second nationally syndicated game reviewer, and it is a little sad to see how grotesquely standards have fallen since I ended my game review column. There are two ridiculous points here as well as a remarkable failure of observation.
  1. Torture, cannibalism, murder, and nihilism all get a pass. But the treatment of women, well, that makes gamma boy feel uncomfortable.
  2. The game has earned over $1 billion already and received a 98/100 critical reception. It is one of the most successful, best-reviewed games in the history of the game industry. Does the reviewer think that removing one of the GTA's most well-known attributes is actually going to improve either its sales or its critical reviews?
  3. The reviewer fails to observe that the deliberate attempt to draw female characters with any depth is done so because that it precisely what its young male audience wants. They are sick of women relentlessly trying to control them. They are sick of women drugging them and punishing them because they don't behave like little girls. And GTA V, like its predecessors, allows them to escape a ruthlessly feminized world in favor of one that, if nothing else, allows them to behave in an unapologetically masculine manner.  
The success of GTA V is because it is misogynistic. It is what games are supposed to be: it is escapist.  The Telegraph reviewer writes: "Games will not be able to take its much coveted place in mainstream culture while these type of people get to dictate anything. Good riddance to them when they are finally cast off."

And the day that happens, the game industry will begin to die. Instead of great games like Doom and World of Warcraft and GTA 5, it will be Spamville, and Mafia Clicks, and Words with Friends, and 50 Shades of Necrobestial Rape Fantasy until the industry collapses amidst general bewilderment. If the McRapies ever replace the likes of Rockstar and Romero and me in the way that this guy has succeeded me in the mainstream media, (and McRapey has been trying to establish himself in the game industry), that's exactly what you're going to get.

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279 Comments:

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Blogger Crude October 07, 2013 3:24 AM  

I saw some woman actually write that GTA was misogynistic precisely because it had no female lead character. And this, by the way, is one of the major drums being beaten by feminist gamers: there should more female lead characters, not just in games, but specifically in the high-budget best-selling games - or else it's misogynistic!

My favorite bit there is how they cite studies showing '50% of the gaming populace is now female so there is NO EXCUSE for the lack of female lead character in the next Battlefield 4'. Not only is that insane, but even the basic, flawed argument falls apart once you realize what population of female gamers are playing, say... Call of Duty as opposed to Farmville and Bejeweled.

Anonymous Peter Garstig October 07, 2013 3:37 AM  

How long before we see the first 'raped by dinosaurs' game out and then women claiming how liberating this is?

Blogger Crude October 07, 2013 3:37 AM  

I'll add - what's particularly obnoxious about these demands for more lead female characters is that we're living in a golden age for indie games. Do you want a game with a female lead character? A lesbian feminist? Great - make your game. Learn some programming (or learn something like Construct 2 or Game Maker Pro), do or assemble an interested team of artists, and make your game. You can put it out. You may even find success, as many, many have at this point. Even if you just cater to a niche, it's possible.

But no, they don't want to do that. Instead they look to the largest companies with the biggest budgets and pout, 'Make the game we want you to make! And don't make the game everyone ELSE wants! That's not fair!'

Blogger Crude October 07, 2013 3:43 AM  

How long before we see the first 'raped by dinosaurs' game out and then women claiming how liberating this is?

Already happened, really. They demanded female marines in the latest (and horribly made) Aliens game. Because if there's one thing that's important, it's getting female soldiers more popularly represented in the one mainstream sci-fi movie that has rape and forced impregnation as a central theme.

Anonymous VryeDenker October 07, 2013 3:48 AM  

How long before we see the first 'raped by dinosaurs' game out and then women claiming how liberating this is?

Oh man, you're gonna be so surprised when you learn that japan has a gaming industry.

Anonymous Peter Garstig October 07, 2013 3:49 AM  

I'm sure there is an 'all-pink' plugin for minecraft, right?

Blogger Shimshon October 07, 2013 4:08 AM  

Vox, you should develop a new game (call it "2033: The Optimistic Scenario"). I don't know what it'd be about, but it should take the misogyny up to 11.

Anonymous Faust October 07, 2013 4:21 AM  

What a lot of people don't realize is that this shit is everywhere in the game reviewing industry. I used to read Kotaku, one of the largest and most popular games sites, but their constant anti-male slant and whining about sexism drove me away. Then I switched to It isn't.)

As far as I know, this crap is completely ubiquitous in the field. There is literally nowhere you can go to get game reviews and news without it being mixed with the same left-wing bullshit you'd hear in a college English course.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus October 07, 2013 4:22 AM  

I'm A Boy; it gets more relevant every decade.

Anonymous Smokey October 07, 2013 4:39 AM  

I still remember the moronic controversy surrounding Batman: Arkham City, where reviewers complained that it was too misogynistic because the inmates kept insulting Catwoman with the word "bitch".

Out of all the things they could torn the game apart for (sucky storyline, pointless side missions and trophies, wasted characters, unnecessary gameplay modifications from Batman: Arkham Asylum), they picked the silliest one possible.

Le sigh.

Anonymous Smokey October 07, 2013 4:39 AM  

*have torn

Anonymous Weak October 07, 2013 5:04 AM  

But Metroid! Isn't Samus enough?

Anonymous DT October 07, 2013 5:13 AM  

...50 Shades of Necrobestial Rape Fantasy...

So in 10 years it will be Zombie Raptor Rapists V: Lizard Passion?

Anonymous Adsignatos D. October 07, 2013 5:16 AM  

But Metroid! Isn't Samus enough?

Nah, Samus takes off her clothes and shows her rack if you beat the games quick enough. Therefore, sexiss.

Blogger Crude October 07, 2013 5:16 AM  

As far as I know, this crap is completely ubiquitous in the field. There is literally nowhere you can go to get game reviews and news without it being mixed with the same left-wing bullshit you'd hear in a college English course.

Does IGN dole out this stuff? Kotaku does, and Rock Paper Shotgun is particularly obnoxious with it, but I imagine there's at least some sites out there that don't bang this particular drum. The problem is the same as it always is - the liberals are loud, shameless, and have no problem savaging any people who disagree with them. Conservative clam up.

Anonymous Smokey October 07, 2013 5:24 AM  

Does IGN dole out this stuff? Kotaku does, and Rock Paper Shotgun is particularly obnoxious with it,

IGN doesn't do it as often last time I checked, but they still join in the fun every now and then.

Anonymous Peter Garstig October 07, 2013 5:27 AM  

The gaming industry is very prone to such feminist attacks as the rate of gamma's is unusually hight among gaming nerds and devs. They just happen to be lucky as of now because very few women actually care about gaming.

But the few who are are wrecking havoc (not only in the gaming industry, but in software engineering as a whole) recently. And with all those gamma's in the field, they are having a blast.

There's hoping that the rate of delta's/omega's is even higher than the gamma's...then it could very well be that the concealed hatred of delta's against women comes out in the open and they will actually try to defend their holy grail, because they simply lack alternatives.

We'll see.

Anonymous VryeDenker October 07, 2013 5:31 AM  

Hey, my favourite character in Final Fantasy Xiii is a sexy feminist (it's a game, it's not meant to be realistic) named Fang who's also the hardest hitter out of the 6 characters. I also particularly like Lightning, another independent grrlpower-type, as a secondary character. I have absolutely no problem with that. In fact, I love how the camera INSISTS on panning through a sequence in such a fashion that you just barely miss seeing panties. But then, it's not a game about running over hookers and taking their money. Because a strong, independent chick running over hookers and stealing their money is an insult to the legacy of feminists everywhere.

Blogger Ron October 07, 2013 5:43 AM  

I liked your point on how the reviewer gives it a pass for murder and torture but gets his panties in a huff when women are mistreated. I cant play GTA games, I think its sick to olay a story where in the stpry I am doing evil. Its not the gore or the violence or the theft that gets to me, its choosing to apply it to people who dont deserve it. I think you have a point about esacpism, but I think you apply it too broadly as a get out of jail free card. We can use games too escape from reality now and then, but even there we have to remember that we are going to be held accountable for what we thought about and how we entertained ourselves.

Blogger Jew613 October 07, 2013 5:46 AM  

Vox, how has Scalzi been establishing himself in the gaming industry? Could he really succeed anyway. The gaming industry demands financial results not just that people have the "right" ideas.

Anonymous dannyfrom504 October 07, 2013 6:10 AM  

"1.Torture, cannibalism, murder, and nihilism all get a pass."

precisely. until i read this line it's exactly what i was thinking.

Anonymous Lithium boy October 07, 2013 6:20 AM  

Vox reviewing the reviewers. Point 3 is spot on. That reviewer is a puss.

Blogger Hacked acctount 2018/19? hcaacked! October 07, 2013 6:48 AM  

Leave GTAV alone, where were the delicate gamma's before? Ah! They've been dosed by estrogen hence have turned hollow or feminist.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 7:12 AM  

Oh come on, let's be fair. The Portal games are my two of the greatest games ever and my favorite games, and you, the protagonist, and the main villain of the first game are female.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 7:19 AM  

I thought sales wasn't a reliable metric of quality?

Anonymous Dr Sheldon Cooper October 07, 2013 7:27 AM  

Those women are prostitutes? Leonard told me they were charity workers raising money for stem cell research!

Blogger Joe A. October 07, 2013 7:28 AM  

Turned hollow? Tell me your're referencing Dark Souls there.

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 7:50 AM  

Re: Portal 2

And so is the antagonist, GladOS.

Do you even hear how many times GladOs calls you fat? Frickin' golden, is what it is.

Anonymous Michael Maier October 07, 2013 7:53 AM  

Easy solution:

Vox, make a Kickstarter for the Strip Club Manager game. Hell, make it so you can be a woman running the joint. But only with the dyke option available. Don't want to be non-inclusive.

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 7:54 AM  

Also, the hero of the first game isn't female, to my knowledge...

Though to be honest, the sex of the protagonist in that game doesn't have any effect on it other than for GladOS to snark you over the intercom. It's a series of puzzles with connecting areas and graphical and audio flavor. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it's well done. But the protagonist being female is like, ok, she never says anything anyway. So maybe that's the best female protagonist?

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 7:55 AM  

"I'm A Boy; it gets more relevant every decade."

Thanks.

Some times I forget that Keith Moon really was one of the 10 most pathetic drummers in the history of professional music.

Blogger Huggums October 07, 2013 7:57 AM  

Is point #3 worded correctly?

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler October 07, 2013 7:57 AM  

GTA is not even escapist art. Under Christendom, this would never see the light of day and it should have never! This is disgusting. Doing criminal acts is NOT escapist art! No Christian would ever pick this up and use it and in a Christian culture and civilization it would be interdicted and destroyed. "Playing evil" is still evil and NOT Christian.

GTA harms the soul. Plato said a man must be centered on the Good and the Beautiful. GTA is none of this. It is a sick and perverted game out of the minds of sick demented people.

In my opinion, people who invented this should be lined up and shot. GTA has NO business in our society. There was plenty of escapist art in Tolkein and Plutarch and in the Westerns of the 50s and 60s. There is no reason, except to pervert and break boundaries, that GTA was invented. No person in is right mind would have created such piece of trash.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 7:58 AM  

"GTA is not even escapist art. Under Christendom, this would never see the light of day and it should have never! This is disgusting."

Shut up Wheeler.

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 8:01 AM  

I agree with Vox, by the way. Of all the problems GTA V has ethically/morally, misogyny is extremely low on the list. I mean, how about GLORIFYING CRIMINALITY?

Anyone who played GTA II knows that in that game, it gave you a special bonus if you ran over enough children in quick succession. Yes, the mobsters will try to shoot you and the cops come after you, but one of the main entertainments is provoking the police and seeing how far you can get.

That review article is like someone complaining that peach pie is unhealthy because it is using non-organic eggs.

Obviously if GTA V could just be non-misogynistic, people could be comfortable having their children play it.

Anonymous Loki Out of Character October 07, 2013 8:06 AM  

((River Cocytus, Shell is a woman in both games. You're thinking of Dr. Gordon Freeman of Half-Life.

((Frickin' annoying women in WoW, though. Real badass right up until they wanted male attention, then suddenly the calls went out for white knights.))

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben October 07, 2013 8:09 AM  

This GTA is the most successful, but I enjoyed Vice City the most. Nothing better than riding around blasting 80's rock while picking up strippers and knocking off enemies with baseball bats.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben October 07, 2013 8:12 AM  

Just to further prove Vox's point that women are running the fantasy genre, I just saw an advertisement for another fantasy show that looked more like romance than actual fantasy.

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 8:13 AM  

Part of the problem here is that conservatives for the most part are against games anyway, so the conservative can't really, um, refute the liberal points. All most can say is, "well, video games are bad and shouldn't be made anyway."

That's not really refuting liberal talking points about the problems in games. That's actually kind of agreeing with liberal talking points.

When I look at GTA V, I wonder if maybe it doesn't signal the outermost limit of mainstream escapism. That it is so criminal, sexualized, and so forth is a troubling thing, IMO. But the same society that drools of Game of Thrones should sit down and take its Grand Theft Auto V. "Fantasy without morality is pornography."

Anyway, the basic mechanic of all of the games is this: You have to steal somebody's car. I think it doesn't sell pageviews to point this out, but there it is.

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 8:19 AM  

@Loki

Really? I guess the sex of the character matters so little (except as fodder for cake jokes) that I didn't notice?

Anyway, GladOs is one of my favorite characters. Especially potato GladOs.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 8:21 AM  

Ugh, I had a nice Portal comment up and it got deleted. I leave you all with this:

Look at you, flying through the air. Like an eagle. Piloting a blimp.

- GLaDOS

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 8:23 AM  

"Anyway, the basic mechanic of all of the games is this: You have to steal somebody's car. I think it doesn't sell pageviews to point this out, but there it is."

I love it when people talk about things they have no idea about.

GTA is not about stealing cars. Now stop talking.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 8:25 AM  

"Really? I guess the sex of the character matters so little (except as fodder for cake jokes) that I didn't notice?"

... How can you play portal and not know you're a chick? The dialog makes no sense if you're a dude.

God you people are clueless.

Anonymous Salt October 07, 2013 8:27 AM  

I'm guessing here that a game where one aims to bake cookies in a Little Suzie oven would be a smashing hit to this guy.

There could be various bonus points to your character, like acquiring a SNAP card to buy the ingredients or being a minority.

Anonymous Eric C October 07, 2013 8:30 AM  

You need to get Wheeler on the ATF show, Nate.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 07, 2013 8:32 AM  

So because a game doesn't feature a female lead character murdering, stealing, and having sex with prostitutes, it's misogynist.

Also, does this reviewer not know how many games out there do feature a female lead character. How about all the games where you can determine the gender of the character you are playing?

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 8:33 AM  

GTA is not even escapist art. Under Christendom, this would never see the light of day and it should have never! This is disgusting. Doing criminal acts is NOT escapist art! No Christian would ever pick this up and use it and in a Christian culture and civilization it would be interdicted and destroyed. "Playing evil" is still evil and NOT Christian.

Wheeler, dude, chill out.

Think of it as a modern version of the life of Sparta. Instead of stealing food, you steal cars, weapons, and valuables. Instead of beating and killing random helots, you bear and kill cops, drug dealers, and innocent bystanders. Instead of ass raping young boys, you have sex with strippers and hookers. And you still get to kill Persians.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn October 07, 2013 8:34 AM  

It's not to do with car theft at all, no. It's to do with "Grand Theft Auto" being more marketable than "Poppin' Caps in Asses, Yo".

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 8:35 AM  

Anyway, the basic mechanic of all of the games is this: You have to steal somebody's car. I think it doesn't sell pageviews to point this out, but there it is.

Those cars aren't going to steal themselves

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn October 07, 2013 8:37 AM  

Meantime, the irony of white men "escaping" into the "urban" culture they claim to abhor does not elude me.

Anonymous Roundtine October 07, 2013 8:40 AM  

Its not the gore or the violence or the theft that gets to me, its choosing to apply it to people who dont deserve it.

I played the game once about a decade ago, and had to stop playing after awhile. It was disturbing to have innocent people realistically begging not to be killed. Killing pimps and hos was cool though.

Anonymous Love's Orphan October 07, 2013 8:40 AM  

The new Metal Gear Solid has attracted the same response thanks to the design of a female character. They say her outfit is too small and provocative for the battlefield. That It is not realistic. SNAKE HAS KEPT 30 TYPES OF WEAPONS AND ACCESSORIES IN HIS POCKETS IN EVERY GAME! THE GAMES ARE NOT MEANT TO BE REALISTIC!

Anonymous Myrddin October 07, 2013 8:40 AM  

Gamasutra has a new article bemoaning sexism every couple of days.

My pet peeve is the "Peach is so sexiss because she's the prototypical damsel in distress." Anyone remember the iconic "I'm sorry Mario, but our princess is in another castle"? With the kidnapped toad you just rescued?

Seven men are kidnapped and rescued, but never mind that: the fact that a woman is kidnapped and rescued is disempowering and sexiss.

Mildly OT, I just finished my first game! It should be up for review on the XBox Developers' Club by the end of today.

I don't expect it to make any actual money because 1) It's a retro-shooter along the lines of Space Invaders, 2) It's on the XBox indie market, and 3) See 1, but it's not a bad game for what it is, and it's my first step. So yay.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 8:42 AM  

"Meantime, the irony of white men "escaping" into the "urban" culture they claim to abhor does not elude me."

Why? It only serves to reinforce every stereotype they have about that urban life. its like a republican reading "See I Told You So".

Blogger Markku October 07, 2013 8:46 AM  

Loki would have a point only if you were the pray in GTA, and not the predator.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 8:47 AM  

"Mildly OT, I just finished my first game! It should be up for review on the XBox Developers' Club by the end of today."

congrats man. keep us posted.

Anonymous Michael Maier October 07, 2013 8:50 AM  

Myrddin: I'll second Nate's sentiment. I've some XBox bucks on my account and I've barely turned the thing on lately.

Blogger Markku October 07, 2013 8:51 AM  

NB: The only GTA I've ever played is GTA 1. And yes, I do mean 1, and not 3.

Blogger tz October 07, 2013 8:54 AM  

So if there were a woman main character, she could torture cannibalize and murder? And would have to (remembering the Milken variants where men would sometimes stop, but women would all obey)

As to the revirew, Toohey from The Fountainhead pointed it out - ignore, deride, or laugh at true greatness, praise and honor dreck. The only difference is it is feminist directed. Or what C.S. Lewis saw in "The Green Book" in Abolition of Man.

But GTAV is nihilistic (not unlike The Last Witchking). It is a dark dystopia of animals (brutes) who can reason but have no morals.

The old theme was "Rescue the Princess". Even the Id series had some noble cause in the background - save the planet. Something more than your own skin. And the means were limited to nonevil ones. Do so justly and follow the rules. Paladins.

(Perhaps ironically, today is the feast-day of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, AKA Our Lady of Victory celebrating the battle of Le Ponto where with the prayers of Christendom, the Christians defeated the Muslim fleet).

There are no Christian games to my knowledge, but it is hard to get Divine Providence into a story, much less a game. It almost has to be the wide road, the easy, the compromise.

Yet one further word is warranted. Our response on 9/11 was basically GTA. Put aside any good in us, don't pray and do the hard but right thing. Adopt every evil when it seems useful to the process. And there is no real goal, just another level or edition, like Iraq following Afghanistan, and we await the release of "Syria, US Barbarism III". My Father fought a just war in a just manner, but America was still Christian. We've abandoned Christ. Is not Detroit GTAV's setting? Are not the rest of the cities descending into the pit? Look at Mexico where it is a corrupt government v.s. the drug lords.

So now, even Christians have abandoned evangelism, and are pushers of nihilism and brutality because it is popular and sells?

To return to my original point and close the circle, there can be great art, and people will recognize it, but the greatness can be in the service of the Devil - sometimes not even bothering to pretend to be an Angel of light. The dreck merely keeps us asleep, but the great seductions corrode our souls and send us to hell. Yet both are unopposed other than by the partially defaced movies of the great books of the last century. While the internet has provided the alternative channel - and it is working for news - for fiction, it is dry.

I can point to a few authors and works with at least correct Natural Law morality systems - they are not "The green book", but they aren't written for or by Christians so lack something you see in Tolkien.

Anonymous VryeDenker October 07, 2013 8:57 AM  

While I don't much like the game myself, I do think it's moronic that the thing that offends you most is that the protagonists all have wieners. As far as the females characters go, they're pretty realistic, albeit dramatised. Hoochie mama's don't be quotin' no Shakespeare, ya dig?

Anonymous dh October 07, 2013 9:03 AM  

I haven't followed video games or the industry for many years. I was SHOCKED to see that GTAV has grossed over a $1B already. Plus there is ongoing revenue. Plus other tie ins...

...the feminists are LUCKY that the video game industry doesn't use Congress like it's personal legal department like Hollywood or the music industry.

Video gaming must dwarf Hollywood and the Music industry in terms of revenue. Just squash it.

The feminists and whiners are lucky that Jack Valenti or Chris Dodd aren't lobbying for the Video game industry and spreading their money around. If they did, the feminists would be relocated to work and rape camps, bad reviewers would be flayed alive and eaten at board meetings, and retailers who try to muscle them around burned to the ground and salted.

Needling these game studios is like poking a sleeping giant. Ask Japan how well that worked out for them...

Anonymous Alauda October 07, 2013 9:16 AM  

Like right-wingers don't completely dominate wordpress and blogspot.

Blogger James Dixon October 07, 2013 9:20 AM  

Nate, you know I agree with you far more than I disagree, but you think Keith Moon was a lousy drummer and Warren Moon was a great quarterback.

I think that pretty much says it all.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 9:26 AM  

"Nate, you know I agree with you far more than I disagree, but you think Keith Moon was a lousy drummer and Warren Moon was a great quarterback."

I don't think. I know. Warren Moon is in the Hall of Fame... which indicates there are a lot of people that know a lot about the subject that agree with me. As for keith moon... what his hands in the video. He doesn't even know how to hold a drumstick. Literally.

Anonymous RINO October 07, 2013 9:32 AM  

GTA5 is a man's game, that dude can go back to Call of Duty with the rest of the little boys.

Anonymous Myrddin October 07, 2013 9:32 AM  

There are no Christian games to my knowledge, but it is hard to get Divine Providence into a story, much less a game. It almost has to be the wide road, the easy, the compromise.

There are Christian games. They largely suck. I may try to rectify that someday, but I've never been able to tell a religious story with the emphasis on religion. I aspire to Tolkien rather than Lewis.

So now, even Christians have abandoned evangelism, and are pushers of nihilism and brutality because it is popular and sells?

Recognizing the reality is not the same as condoning or pushing the philosophy. Is the Bible pushing or condoning Baal-worship because it acknowledges its existence and popularity?

Blogger James Dixon October 07, 2013 9:34 AM  

> Warren Moon is in the Hall of Fame... which indicates there are a lot of people that know a lot about the subject that agree with me.

So is Joe Montana, and we know what you think of him. Of course, those superbowl rings do have to count for something. How many does Moon have again?

Anonymous Feh October 07, 2013 9:39 AM  

Vox, how has Scalzi been establishing himself in the gaming industry? Could he really succeed anyway. The gaming industry demands financial results not just that people have the "right" ideas.

The science fiction and fantasy publishing "industry" also demands financial results not just that people have the "right" ideas... or it did, before the likes of Scalzi and his fellow eunuchoids got hold of it. So gaming can be ruined too, never doubt it.

Anyway, I have played plenty of shoot-em-ups with female lead characters. Their "femininity" is basically irrelevant, but whatever, the box was checked.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 9:54 AM  

Madden does not have enough female characters, guys! And there's not enough pink or romance!

Anonymous Gx1080 October 07, 2013 9:55 AM  

The huge amount of gammas on videogame industry can bitch and moan, but:

Those games SELL. A LOT. And nobody takes reviewers seriously, most of them are either leftists exposing crimethink or plain suckups to the publishers.

@ Love's Orphan

Metal Gear. Realistic. I'm the only one that didn't miss how fucking stupid is several aspects of the premise? Or that thinks that MGS4 was a bad game?

Overall, this is an industry that never forgot being blamed for Columbine (instead of, you know, being on a public high school) or the oldest "Dungeons and Dragons is Satanic". So, the workers believe themselves inmune to criticism and the producers only see the huge amounts of money.

Also, with all the indie development (now with real budgets thanks to KickStarter), this complaining rings hollow. There's (unfortunately) already several Kickstarters with all the strong, independant and omnisexual women that they want so...

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 9:58 AM  

" Of course, those superbowl rings do have to count for something. "

Actually no. They don't.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 07, 2013 9:58 AM  

I guess Lollipop Chainsaw didn't count. It's the ultimate in girl power where a chick with a chainsaw kills zombies while her undead boyfriend's head is strapped to her belt.

Seriously, it doesn't get less Gamma than that.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 10:03 AM  

I’m not getting the impression any of you have actually played GTA 5. Anyway, I did, got about ½ way through it before I got feed up and sold it. It’s not a great game. LOL, how many run and fetch missions can one endure. The characters are all unlikeable. The story doesn’t draw you in (talk about been there done that). The game play is repetitive and not challenging in the least (well, ok, the racing can be challenging, but other than that it is boring).

1.Torture, cannibalism, murder, and nihilism all get a pass. But the treatment of women, well, that makes gamma boy feel uncomfortable. LOL, spot on, out of all the nasty shit in this game that’s what troubles them.

The Last of Us is three times game GTA5 is.

Curious, Vox, have you played GTA5??

Anonymous cheddarman October 07, 2013 10:05 AM  

I want to start a fantasy vacation company. Basically, men get about 2 days of trining to be pirates, then go out and attack cruise ships and basically loot them and carry off the hotties...Lindsay Wheeler would be a perfect candidate to command the British warship/sailing vessel that would try to capture us/foil the attacks

Nate could give inspiring speeches, and teach concepts of game, weaponry, and hand to hand combat...

Anonymous p-dawg October 07, 2013 10:05 AM  

@Wheeler: "In my opinion, people who invented this should be lined up and shot." Now you're an imaginary murderer, too. Might as well pick up the game.

Anonymous Michael Maier October 07, 2013 10:07 AM  

So does Madden have the October games in a season covered in pink? If not: SEXISSSSSSS!!!!!

Anonymous Porky October 07, 2013 10:08 AM  

It's inevitable that games will become more like Hollywood every single day.

But with that said, I was pleasantly surprised at the gender roles portrayed in Gravity. Clooney is a strong male in every way, and Bullock is an emotional wreck who only survives because of him. Fairly accurate portrayal, imho, with no 'grrl power' moments.

Anonymous Walter Williams Jr October 07, 2013 10:14 AM  

Minn is signing Josh Freeman

Hahahahaahahaahahahaahahahaahahahahahaahahahahaahahahaha

Anonymous Krul October 07, 2013 10:16 AM  

Do you really think it's that big a deal, Vox? If the movie industry is any guide then critics don't have that much impact on an industry's creative direction. I'd expect the game companies to continue producing whatever sells despite the irrelevant complaints of snobbish critics.

For those who have firsthand knowledge of the industry, how does the industry view critics? Do they make creative decisions with critics in mind or is it mainly sales?

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 10:16 AM  

Actually no. They don't.

Punter wins!

Anonymous RINO October 07, 2013 10:17 AM  

Madden does not have enough female characters, guys! And there's not enough pink or romance!

Actually there's quite a bit of pink. They've incorporated breast cancer awareness month into recent editions.

No, really, I'm serious.

Anonymous daddynichol October 07, 2013 10:27 AM  

Madden should promote "Testicular Cancer Awareness Month" into the game. Just how, I'm not sure, but it would no doubt offend!

Blogger James Dixon October 07, 2013 10:27 AM  

> Actually no. They don't.

From which I can only conclude that in your personal poll Archie Manning beats out Dan Marino as the best quarterback of all time.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn October 07, 2013 10:28 AM  

Loki would have a point only if you were the pray in GTA, and not the predator.

On the contrary. It has long been known that many of you aspire to be browner.

For example...

Blogger Markku October 07, 2013 10:30 AM  

Loki: That is such an odd response that I suspect you somehow misunderstood my argument.

Anonymous The other skeptic October 07, 2013 10:30 AM  

Tom Hoggins looks like he is well out of the demographic that plays GTA V.

I doubt that many gamers listen to him and I doubt that many game designers listen to him.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 07, 2013 10:32 AM  

I suppose Tom Hoggins is more of a Skyrim guy anyway. It has all the torture, murder, cannibalism, and strong female characters you could ever want.

Also dragons. And vampires. And werewolves. But no dinosaur bestiality. In fact, very little bestiality unless you marry an Argonian or a Khajiit. But there is gay marriage. So if you want, you could always play as a gay Argonian and marry a Khajiit male.

Anonymous Andre October 07, 2013 10:33 AM  

If women want more female leads in games, why don't they develop their own fucking games? Aren't they strong and independent? We're witnessing the indie revolution, it's happening right now. Super Meat Boy, Spelunky, Fez, Castle Crashers, Battleblock Theater, Limbo, Braid, Bastion, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery, the list goes on and on and on. There's never been a better time for female developers to use their work to start the female revolution in games.

Of course, it won't help if they start making shit games about Sex and the City (a The Sims ripoff based on relationships, career and shoes, inevitably), as I tend to think female gamers themselves will tend to prefer playing GTA V over some feminist idiocy, but seriously, they're free to prove to the world that Rockstar is short-sighted. Grrrl power, you go girl, etc etc, start developing your own games, ladies!

Seriously, men should start campaigning for all-female game studios. That would be the trolling of the decade.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 10:33 AM  

"Nate could give inspiring speeches, and teach concepts of game, weaponry, and hand to hand combat..."

HOIST THE COLORS!

Anonymous Porky October 07, 2013 10:34 AM  

Warren Moon is in the Hall of Fame... which indicates there are a lot of people that know a lot about the subject that agree with me. As for keith moon...

Also in the Hall of Fame. Derp.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 10:35 AM  

"Also dragons. And vampires. And werewolves."

The whole werewolf thing was actually a lot of fun in that it changed so many of the dynamics. Like the super bad assassin girl kidnaps you and talks down to you... and kills you if you try her.

Unless...

You turn into a werewolf and just totally wreck her. its actually a lot more fun that way. She kidnaps you... you turn into a werewolf and eat her.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn October 07, 2013 10:38 AM  

That is such an odd response that I suspect you somehow misunderstood my argument.

Do explain yourself, and then I shall decide whether to be much more blatant in my mockery.

Anonymous Daniel October 07, 2013 10:40 AM  

Revised Scalzi Quality Ratings (on a five-star system):

Comfort - The level to which an imaginary woman will not be offended by the existence of something.
Difficulty Setting - The level to which pixels depicting white males are excluded.
Squee - The level to which legacy mass-market science fiction (Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy, Little House on the Prairie) is referred.

Thus -

GTA 5
Comfort - 0 - The treatment of women causes extreme discomfort - there are women who are strong, but dependent, or independent but weak, but ZERO that are both strong and independent.
Difficulty Setting - 0.5 - there are white males depicted in this game, but worse, there are white males who developed the game. The only way this could have had a lower rating is if the game portrayed a minority in a wheelchair who was not exceedingly noble in character and hyperintelligent.
Squee - 0 This game acts entirely as if there is a reality completely unaware of the social relevance of Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy, and Little House. In what can only be assumed to be a play for "retro" culture, all this really is is a major step backwards.
Overall: 0.1 stars

Bejeweled
Comfort - 5 - Women's issues, such as the accumulation of jewelry and matching colors, are at the core theme of the game.
Difficulty Setting - 4 - No white males appear, although the voiceover for success is not clearly that of a black lesbian.
Squee - 2.5 - though the backgrounds are clear references to Star Trek backgrounds, they are from the original, pre-evolved episodes. But still: Star Trek!

Overall 3.8 stars

Anonymous Will Best October 07, 2013 10:45 AM  

Its not the gore or the violence or the theft that gets to me, its choosing to apply it to people who dont deserve it.

I feel like I am the nicest thug when I play those games, though I haven't played one since Vice City. I also have problems becoming a Sith/Dark Jedi in games like Kotor because they seem to associate being evil with being an asshole and I just can't kill a woman for offering to pay me 50 credits to rescue her kids so I can rob her.

Really? I guess the sex of the character matters so little (except as fodder for cake jokes) that I didn't notice?

The problem new feminists have isn't with actual equality it is when things don't matter the masculine gets used as default. "he" instead of "she". Basically they have a style problem and they claim that the style demonstrates that real substantive problems still exist.

The problem is we train girls from a young age to demand equality but when we all are equal (save for biological difference) it leaves them confused and they go after perceived injustices.


Video gaming must dwarf Hollywood and the Music industry in terms of revenue. Just squash it.

The US Market for video games is over $30 billion which is about 3 times larger than Hollywood, but it is so much more diversified as the top six companies control less than half the revenue where in Hollywood its something like 90%. That means the gaming industry can't organize nearly as well as Hollywood. It also means that it will be harder to infest it, which is why the rabbits will go the government censorship and control route rather than the herculean effort of taking them one at a time.

Anonymous Vidad October 07, 2013 10:46 AM  

Wheeler: " It is a sick and perverted game out of the minds of sick demented people.

In my opinion, people who invented this should be lined up and shot. GTA has NO business in our society. There was plenty of escapist art in Tolkein and Plutarch and in the Westerns of the 50s and 60s. There is no reason, except to pervert and break boundaries, that GTA was invented. No person in is right mind would have created such piece of trash."

I totally agree.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 10:48 AM  

Recognizing the reality is not the same as condoning or pushing the philosophy. Is the Bible pushing or condoning Baal-worship because it acknowledges its existence and popularity?

There is a difference between acknowledging the evil side of realty and simulating/celebrating it. Vox called GTA5 “escapism”, so when you play GTA5 you escape to murder, torture, prostitution, theft, and what I would call complete nihilism. Sure the bible tells you about Baal worship, but it doesn’t celebrate it, condone it, or invite you to try it out through simulation.

Blogger Markku October 07, 2013 10:49 AM  

Do explain yourself

Well, in unnecessarily explicit form, my argument is that it is indeed escapism because the one wanting to escape isn't really escaping from his surroundings nor the brutality thereof, but from the fact that he is in actuality a helpless victim of said brutality. If he gets to be the brutalizing kingpin, escapism has succeeded in the relevant part.

Anonymous Porky October 07, 2013 10:51 AM  

It also means that it will be harder to infest it, which is why the rabbits will go the government censorship and control route rather than the herculean effort of taking them one at a time.

Ha! Tipper Gore's content warning labels were the best thing to happen to record sales since the 33rpm LP.

Anonymous The other skeptic October 07, 2013 10:53 AM  

OT, but Mish says:

Yet, misguided fools in the state of Washington are currently pushing for a $15 minimum wage. More people will lose than gain by such a move, because prices will rise to make up the difference.

I wonder if they realize that they are trying to keep the illegal immigrants and NAMs out of their fair state?

Anonymous Love's Orphan October 07, 2013 10:55 AM  

@Gx1080
Out of the whole series, 4 is the worst. Too many cutscenes. It seems that they wanted to show off the graphical capabilities of the PS3. Snake is that type of guy who doesnt see the big picture. He is part of the scheme and he doesnt seem to know it; completely oblivious about the fact that he is being manipulated by both sides. He is like an overpowered grey pawn.
Women dont understand that there is no demand for female protagonists. Gaming is what we use to escape reality. Women got Twilight, Hunger Games and 50 Shades for that. Besides, there are several strong female leads already. Every time I see a woman playing a game (i have to be lucky to find one because they are always on facebook/instagram/etc) they are playing candy crush or any other free stuff.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 10:55 AM  

"Also in the Hall of Fame. Derp."

Individual vs Collective. Yet again proving you're to short for this ride. You should be commenting at Red State. Things are a little slower there. Definitely your speed.

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn October 07, 2013 10:59 AM  

If he gets to be the brutalizing kingpin, escapism has succeeded in the relevant part.

And I am pointing out that your "escape" is, in essence, making play at being those things you claim to despise and abhor. You enjoy it. You revel in the dream of being niggers. That life you are taught to find enjoyable and rewarding, a means to "fun", something to which to escape from your boring life as a law-abiding white man (also known as a "chump").

This does not seem to you odd, in the least?

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 11:00 AM  

"I totally agree."

Really? What other products should qualify producers for execution? And who exactly would be granted the power to make that decision?

I mean no one would EVER abuse that power. Right?

Blogger Markku October 07, 2013 11:04 AM  

This does not seem to you odd, in the least?

As I said, even though I'm well aware of the series, GTA1 is the only one I've actually played.

However, if that "you" there is the collective you, not including me, then yes, black people are indeed closer to reality IN SOME ASPECTS than white people. Especially in how they view women. The attraction is not that of being black per se, but some of these things that go along with it.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 11:04 AM  

" You revel in the dream of being niggers."

i can't speak for GTA 5 as I haven't played it. But in Tales from liberty city you're a russian imigrant gangster... a strip club owner's latino body guard... and a white biker.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 11:05 AM  

I totally agree.

Commie

Anonymous Loki Sjalfsainn October 07, 2013 11:10 AM  

The attraction is not that of being black per se, but some of these things that go along with it.

And perhaps those demanding female protagonists also desire not maleness per se, but the "things that go along with it."

But in Tales from liberty city you're a russian imigrant gangster... a strip club owner's latino body guard... and a white biker.

That makes it all right, then, I suppose. At last, you white men are granted a place of regard among the lawless blacks. Are you not proud?

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 11:11 AM  

“Great game”, man do we need to have better standards for what great is.

I hate this tendency in modern games to focus on the graphics and details. Really good solid game play, that is fun, interesting, challenging, that makes you think and/or improve is so rare. That or really good characters and story.

GTA5 and Skyrim both sucked, mediocre stories and terrible game play, yet they are 10s.

LOL, GTA5 doesn’t even do escapism all that well. Get in car, go get masks, get in car, go get jump suit, walk your dog, ride your bike, go running, go take a picture of someone….and on and on and on. Being a murderous psycho, living a dirty trailer, and cooking meth is now “escapism”.

Blogger Markku October 07, 2013 11:14 AM  

And perhaps those demanding female protagonists also desire not maleness per se, but the "things that go along with it."

I'd say that is very likely to be the case. But switching the male to female would create such an unconvincing story that those women should just experience it through a male avatar.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 07, 2013 11:16 AM  

You turn into a werewolf and just totally wreck her. its actually a lot more fun that way. She kidnaps you... you turn into a werewolf and eat her.

Haven't gone with that option yet. I usually joined the Dark Brotherhood, mostly cause you get a free horse.

Blogger Markku October 07, 2013 11:17 AM  

you turn into a werewolf and eat her.

Why would I have to be a were... oh.

Anonymous Krul October 07, 2013 11:20 AM  

rufusdog - I hate this tendency in modern games to focus on the graphics and details. Really good solid game play, that is fun, interesting, challenging, that makes you think and/or improve is so rare. That or really good characters and story.

Seconded. This is why Minecraft was such a huge success despite its simple graphic style. It gave gamers something to play with that was really new and really fun, instead of just putting a fifth coat of paint over the same old concept.

Anonymous Noah B. October 07, 2013 11:22 AM  

"I totally agree."

The game isn't the problem, but its popularity is an indication that our society is already in the advanced stages of decline.

Anonymous Vidad October 07, 2013 11:24 AM  

Nate: "Really? What other products should qualify producers for execution?"

Individually wrapped microwaveable potatoes, styrofoam peanuts, Chinese toys

"And who exactly would be granted the power to make that decision?"

The Spartans.

"I mean no one would EVER abuse that power. Right?"

Your ancestors stood at Thermopylae and saved Western Civilization... then later cemented it at Gaugamela. What are a few crummy anti-civilizational game designers compared to the mass slaughter of Persians? You just gotta do these things sometimes.

Blogger Eric I. Gatera. October 07, 2013 11:25 AM  

OT: VD, i have never read you make comments about modern movies and series. I know your interest is more on 'Fantasy', however i'd like to know what's your take on the 24 series with Jack Bauer. The plot, the moral dilemma found in it, the success of the series, the Game in it (Alpha, Beta, etc.) and so on. Just curious. :)

Blogger Markku October 07, 2013 11:26 AM  

24 series with Jack Bauer.

Hoooo boy, did you throw a grenade there...

Anonymous Krul October 07, 2013 11:30 AM  

24 series with Jack Bauer.

A stupid show whose entertainment value would have exceeded its annoyance level if it weren't for the irritating daughter character.

Anonymous dh October 07, 2013 11:36 AM  

But with that said, I was pleasantly surprised at the gender roles portrayed in Gravity. Clooney is a strong male in every way, and Bullock is an emotional wreck who only survives because of him. Fairly accurate portrayal, imho, with no 'grrl power' moments.

Except the white knighting!!

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 11:38 AM  

Really good solid game play, that is fun, interesting, challenging, that makes you think and/or improve is so rare. That or really good characters and story.

And this is exactly why the Portal games are so damn awesome. Fun, challenging gameplay that makes you think AND killer characters coupled with a pretty good story (the story moreso in Portal 2).

Plus, the original Portal had one of the best boss battles in video game history.

Anonymous dh October 07, 2013 11:40 AM  

Hoooo boy, did you throw a grenade there...

Yeah, no crap. It's like a rorschach test of a TV show. Libertarians will tell you that the show exposes how centralizing power leads to powerful people abusing it under the color of law, and how hte biggest threat is not external enemies but corrupt government actors and officials. Conservatives will tell you how the show exposes scary Muslims who are intent on destroying us, and how muscular policy and government action can protect us. And liberals will tell you.. that they didn't watch the show because feelbad.

Anonymous Sojourner October 07, 2013 11:41 AM  

The above is the beginning of the end...it's Carolyn (formerly something male): http://www.gamespot.com/grand-theft-auto-v/reviews/grand-theft-auto-v-review-6414475/ This is the Gamespot review from the transgender on their staff (and who's brilliant idea do you think it was to have that happen). Once again loves the game BUT " Politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic" Sheesh. PROFOUNDLY misogynistic. What the heck does that even mean?

And the problem here is I have no real desire to defend GTAV because it is smut. It's a game that has very little in redeeming qualities and it glorifies itself in it. Incredibly well made but as a Christian I just don't need to be filling my head with this stuff (and thing that has been slowly becoming more evident to my spirit as of late.) And yet the industry, due to the reviewers and Youtubers who are female and their white knights, is being fragged further down. It's infuriating.

Anonymous Porky October 07, 2013 11:47 AM  

Individual vs Collective.

Warren's most successful collective? The 1982 Eskimos.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 11:50 AM  

In my experience, I've talked to liberals who have watched 24. They just see it purely as entertainment.

I think it's something like 1984. It doesn't matter what end of the political spectrum you're on, you can always accuse the enemy of making the world "like 1984".

Anonymous Red Comet October 07, 2013 11:56 AM  

Feminists and white knights that harass the game scene have a favorite statistic they like to quote of 40-45% of gamers being women, but they mysteriously leave the conversation once it's pointed out that the stat includes women playing facebook and phone games rather than hardcore stuff.

See, video games are very expensive to make at the top tier, AAA level and one of the industry's standard practices these days is a "what have you done for me lately" attitude among employers that generally sees massive layoffs in the face of a single failure or break-even.

This is why industry pros agree with leftoid game journalists in interviews and on twitter, but the next game they make is still gonna star a white space marine fighting for his family or his planet.

One reliable way gaming can (and some games already have) undercut the tumblr whiners is the ability to choose the gender of the protagonist, like in Mass Effect. Stats show that only 10% of the player base, and all the omega journos naturally, played as Femshep, but they can't complain because the option was there. I still remember getting a laugh at the Kotaku article whining about not enough Femshep players. Nothing they could do about it.

Blogger Eric I. Gatera. October 07, 2013 12:03 PM  

"And liberals will tell you.. that they didn't watch the show because feelbad."

Funny! But interesting to notice that everyone might see what they want to see in it. :)

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 12:03 PM  


Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I have to remind myself of the above (often unfortunately). Even now, I will fully admit the reason I didn’t like GTA5 was because it was slow, tedious, and not fun. I probably would have looked past how empty and evil a game it was if it had been more enjoyable.

Once I decided to stop playing it I was tempted to tell myself it was because I am a Christian and it was the right thing to do…when the truth was I stopped mostly because it was a bad game. I suppose if I was standing on high Christian ground I wouldn’t have bought it in the first place.

Anonymous VryeDenker October 07, 2013 12:06 PM  

Well, I'm pretty pissed about Forza Motorsport not having any sexy flag girls.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 12:10 PM  

your take on the 24 series with Jack Bauer.

It did a really good job of reinforcing the paranoia amongst red state fascists that everyone in the world is a potential enemy of the state and should be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Anonymous VryeDenker October 07, 2013 12:16 PM  

24 Did a great job of softening people up to the idea of agents doing what it takes, laws be damned, in the pursuit of terrorists.

Anonymous Porky October 07, 2013 12:18 PM  

dh: "Except the white knighting!!"

Methinks you don't understand what white knighting actually is.

Blogger Hacked acctount 2018/19? hcaacked! October 07, 2013 12:24 PM  

Well, I am referencing more than just our precious Demons Souls and Dark Souls here, far more than just Dark Souls.

Feminists are actually Hollows, just like you see in Bleach or any of those anime or mangas.

Anonymous Eric C October 07, 2013 12:24 PM  

It did a really good job of reinforcing the paranoia amongst red state fascists that everyone in the world is a potential enemy of the state and should be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

And that torture is cool, as long as you're the good guys.

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 October 07, 2013 12:27 PM  

Warren Moon was a great quarterback.
I would rather have him than Montana.
I would rather have Jerry Rice on my team than Warren Moon, though, to be honest.

Blogger CarpeOro October 07, 2013 12:30 PM  

"Madden does not have enough female characters, guys! And there's not enough pink or romance!"

Someone could make a "Replacements" mod. Add cheerleaders whose regular job is exotic dancing....

Anonymous Will Best October 07, 2013 12:34 PM  

One reliable way gaming can (and some games already have) undercut the tumblr whiners is the ability to choose the gender of the protagonist, like in Mass Effect. Stats show that only 10% of the player base, and all the omega journos naturally, played as Femshep, but they can't complain because the option was there.

This is somewhat surprising to me because in WoW about 75% of the female characters are played by men, and in EQ it was probably 95%

Anonymous darrenl October 07, 2013 12:34 PM  

All you need to do is look at this to find out what gaming communities look like these days:

http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/forum/5

In every game community you look at, there MUST be a "women in gaming" thread of some kind, along with lgbt-cia-abc-what-ever-we-call-ourselves-now threads as well.

I left that community once it was very clear that my favorite hobby has been high jacked by a certain world view.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 12:35 PM  

Mildly OT, I just finished my first game! It should be up for review on the XBox Developers' Club by the end of today.

Congrats Myrddin - that's quite an accomplishment. You have done something that few men have achieved - but all men desire. Good luck.

Anonymous dh October 07, 2013 12:44 PM  

Methinks you don't understand what white knighting actually is.

Hmm.. you might be right. I don't like to post spoilers so maybe we can revisit at a later date. But there was some stuff that happened that I thought was odd given Clooney's character to that point.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 12:50 PM  

PROFOUNDLY misogynistic. What the heck does that even mean?

It means the author went to college.

Anonymous ZhukovG October 07, 2013 12:51 PM  

I tend to prefer games which can be modified by the User. So, I like Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls and Fall Out games for single player RPG. For strategic games I enjoy Paradox Interactive’s Hearts of Iron and Victoria.

I haven’t played GTAV, so I will not pass judgment on it. I don’t consider an actor evil for accepting a role as a villain in a movie or play, so I don’t think that in an RPG it is necessarily wrong to play a villainous role either. It depends, I guess, on the what the in-game consequences of a particular behavior are and how relevant it is to the storyline.

When I played SWTOR, I played a Sith Inquistitor. It was not that I loved evil, but that the story was far more engaging than that of the Jedi Consular. I was fairly moral and upstanding… for a Sith, but a Jedi slaughtering Sith nonetheless.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 12:55 PM  

And the problem here is I have no real desire to defend GTAV because it is smut.

That's the thing: the makers of such games, just like pornographers, are on the same side as the feminists. They might not like each other much, but they have the same goal: tear down the good.

Blogger Nate October 07, 2013 1:00 PM  

"Warren's most successful collective? The 1982 Eskimos."

You're an idiot. Warren was judged to be good enough for the Hall of Fame based on his individual performance.

Keith Moon was judged good enough for the Rock Hall of Fame based on his associations with a group. Not his individual skill.

Anonymous Porky October 07, 2013 1:10 PM  


But there was some stuff that happened that I thought was odd given Clooney's character to that point.

Me too, but I didn't think defending a woman's honor in hopes of bedding her was one of them.

Anonymous Jack Amok October 07, 2013 1:13 PM  

When I look at GTA V, I wonder if maybe it doesn't signal the outermost limit of mainstream escapism.

The Vikings show on History Channel this year is another bit of entertainment that features ruthless barbarians as the protagonists. It also has corrupt, power-hungry politicians and officials as the bad guys.

Its not the gore or the violence or the theft that gets to me, its choosing to apply it to people who dont deserve it.

Pacificist Christian monks slaughtered by the Vikings are treated as neihter good nor bad, but as merely weak. They don't deserve their fate, but the underlying message seems to be they didn't do anything to not deserve it either.


Vikings is also very interesting for it's portrayal of women. For the most part, it's pretty realistic, and even the one unrealistic female character (the badass shield maiden) is utterly realistic in everything other than her fighting ability.

Past as prologue for both the game and the tv series?

BTW, good luck Myrddin. Congrats on finishing, that's a worthy accomplishment in itself.

Anonymous Jack Amok October 07, 2013 1:24 PM  

Anyway, as an official member of the Gaming Industry (I'm sure I have a membership card around here somewhere...) I can say most people in it are far too worried about making money to get caught up in politics. The journalists? Sure, sure, but they're pretty damn irrelevant and getting more so, which might be why the PC crap is turning up. Gotta generate traffic, and if you can't get it from game players, might as well get it from outraged feminists. Good luck with that fellas....

Hollywood centralized the movie industry because it was hideously expensive ot make movies. Games are getting more expensive, especially the quadruple-A games like GTAV and Skyrim. But they're also getting cheaper to make, assuming you're willing to go with a less cinematic experience, or if you're targetting non-console solutions.

So the conundrum for feminists is, the games that are expensive to make and are the easiest to centralize control over are the ones that can least afford to let feminist nonsese damage the revenue stream, while the games that are cheaper to make and can most afford their meddling are the most scattered and hardest to control.

Anonymous Porky October 07, 2013 1:24 PM  

"You're an idiot. Warren was judged to be good enough blah blah blah blah blah...."

Oh good Lord, Drunky, give it a rest. I'm not attacking Warren Moon. I'm making fun of you for appealing to the authority of a bunch of stupid ass sports writers. At least the Rock n Roll HOF has actual musicians voting.

I'll bet dollars to donuts that if there ever was a R&R HOF vote by "music journalists" Keith would be in the top ten easily.

Anonymous David October 07, 2013 1:25 PM  

Is there an archive somewhere where we can read Vox's old computer game reviews? I never read computer gaming magazines back when he was doing it and I am curious to compare it to this blog and his column in WND.

Anonymous VD October 07, 2013 1:27 PM  

Curious, Vox, have you played GTA5??

Nope. Not interested. Didn't play 4 either. Played 2 and 3. I get them, I just don't particularly enjoy them.

Anonymous Christian in hollyweird October 07, 2013 1:33 PM  

what's the non-churchian christian perspective on the morality of playing these kinds of games?

Anonymous Tallen October 07, 2013 1:34 PM  

I watched my brother play GTA 4. It looked boring. Bash CoD all you like, but modern warfare 2 still has the best anti-lag and hitboxes out of any PC shooter. My dream shooter would use that engine with Enemy Territory-style missions.

Anonymous Scintan October 07, 2013 1:34 PM  

An interesting topic is being ruined by some really stupid commentary about football and 24.

I know it's monday, but some of you really need to step up your game.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 1:36 PM  

what's the non-churchian christian perspective on the morality of playing these kinds of games?

If you don't have a problem watching R rated movies or MA rated TV shows, you shouldn't have a problem paying these games. Or vice versa

Anonymous Noah B. October 07, 2013 1:40 PM  

"Me too, but I didn't think defending a woman's honor in hopes of bedding her was one of them."

I haven't seen the movie but that sounds like an accurate description of white knighting.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 1:42 PM  

Feminists bitch constantly about children's toys with clearly defined gender roles, and what do we see every year? For the most part, boys want cars, guns, swords, and killer robots, while girls want dolls, princesses, tea parties, and pink. There's the occasional gender neutral offerings to shut up the yammering Dorito night folks.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 1:49 PM  

While we hear that "45-50% of gamers are women," what's the breakdown of money spent on gaming? A woman playing mafia farmville angry candy with friends isn't remotely as economically important as the man who buys a new game every month and a new console within weeks of the release.

Anonymous dh October 07, 2013 1:50 PM  

Josh--

The worst is that when the kids go out of their comfort zone and play with the feministed version of the toys, they hate those because they suck.

Case in point is lego's. A timeless institution of toys. They are great. Then LEGO gets caught up in the feministed worldview and makes girls legos.

Where you make dollhouses and such. Okay, fine, whatever. But then, those lego sets are substandard. They don't actually work like regular sets. The traditional character is gone. The pieces don't snap as well. They don't look right.

SO MANY engineers have had their start with LEGO. Really good ones. Breaking LEGO to get girls interested isn't going to produce girl engineers, it's going to produce more skanks who just want to wreck shit.

Anonymous Noah B. October 07, 2013 1:55 PM  

Case in point is lego's. A timeless institution of toys. They are great.

Best toys ever, with the possible exception of fireworks and other pyrotechnics.

Blogger James Dixon October 07, 2013 1:56 PM  

> I'll bet dollars to donuts that if there ever was a R&R HOF vote by "music journalists" Keith would be in the top ten easily.

Number four, actually. Assuming it was actually the Rolling Stone that compiled the list and not their readers: http://www.listology.com/blindsider/list/rolling-stone-100-greatest-drummers

On the other hand, Gibson apparently agrees and puts him at number 3: http://www2.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/Drum-Roll--The-Top-10-Rock-Drummers-of-All-Time.aspx

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 1:56 PM  

LEGO today is so much shittier than LEGO when I was a kid. And it's not just feminized LEGO, it's also all the movie franchises and the larger pieces. Sets used to hundreds more bricks that were all color compatible with each other. Now you can build a castle with like ten pieces.

Even with LEGO, boys and girls play much differently. Boys build a set, takethe sset apart and build their own thing. Girls build a set and play house with it.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 1:59 PM  

Best toys ever, with the possible exception of fireworks and other pyrotechnics.

Best LEGO set ever?

I'd have to go with either Galaxy Explorer (classic space), Black Monarch's Castle (classic castle), or Skulls Eye Schooner (classic pirate)

Anonymous Potatocracker October 07, 2013 2:07 PM  

The Lego robots are pretty cool, too.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 2:11 PM  

Ordered the lego death star for my son a week ago. I cannot wait to build it - and anyone who mocks the death star only displays their lack of faith. And we all know how disturbing a lack of faith is.

Anonymous Noah B. October 07, 2013 2:11 PM  

Those were some of the best alright. I wasn't nearly as fond of the construction themed or city-themed sets.

Anonymous Noah B. October 07, 2013 2:13 PM  

The Mindstorms sets are great too and they're a perfect opportunity to introduce kids to simple programming concepts and robotics.

Anonymous Noah B. October 07, 2013 2:16 PM  

Yep, those are the ones Potatocracker. You can do some amazingly sophisticated things with them, especially if you cheat and add non-standard sensors and actuators. We even used the Minstorms sets as the basis for a digital controls project in college.

Anonymous Andre October 07, 2013 2:17 PM  

I don't get all the hate against GTA V's nihilism. It's pretty clear to me that the game isn't glorifying it, but mocking it relentlessly. In fact, feminism is mocked pretty relentlessly in the game: Franklin's aunt finds a bunch of crazy feminist friends and they walk out of the apartment screaming "I'm a woman, hear me roar", and then Trevor comes up and shouts "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" and they immediately shut up.

The three protagonists are very interesting, as well: Michael is the retired bank robber who thought money would bring him happiness (it didn't) and who thinks violence will solve his problems (it creates more problems). His shrink doesn't help him with his issues, and at one time Michael laments: "Los Santos is a city where everybody is analyzing everybody all the time". His family is highly dysfunctional and he spends most of the game trying to exorcize his demons and fix his family. In fact, he spends the entire game trying to convince his son to find a job.

Franklin is the wannabe gangster who is mentored by Michael. Franklin is Michael's "guardian angel" in the game, and has a relationship with him that's profoundly respectful, even going out with Michael's son and trying to help them get along. Along the game, Franklin achieves success, but becomes increasingly marginalized by his own friends. In own scene, the love of his life and former girlfriend visits him and tells him she's going to marry a hard-working doctor, and that she doesn't care for his big house and wealth.

Trevor is Michael's former partner in crime who comes back to seek revenge (I won't explain why, it would take too long). Trevor is Michael's "devil". He embodies everything that's wrong with GTA V in a caricature that mocks both the game itself and the players that revel in its depravity. Trevor is so over-the-top offensive that it's inevitable that any person with any hint of decency will find his antics disgusting at some point, but he simply embodies every gross thing that players have done in the GTA games for years now. He prides himself in being "authentic", but at some point Michael sees through his bullshit and tells him that being an asshole does not equal being a rebel, it's simply being an asshole.

(continues)

Anonymous Andre October 07, 2013 2:17 PM  

The game also takes shots at the police and government corruption, Facebook, potheads, cultists and even violent games (Michael's son plays videogames in a huge TV and you can watch it if you want. It's hilarious. Sometimes he describes to Michael his internet trolling and Michaels gets extremely annoyed at him).

You get to kill Mark Zuckerberg.

I went through the game without hiring a single prostitute with Michael, and when he went to see his shrink and was asked "how his sex life was", he always responded with "it's all good. I haven't betrayed my wife, I've been great". At another time, Michael kind of makes fun of the player in control of the joystiq to his shrink: "it's weird, I am trying to be better, but it seems like there is a force inside me that guides my actions otherwise".

When you ask your shrink if he believes in good and evil, he answers "I'm a science man. I don't believe in good and evil". And it's pretty clear in the game that the shrink is a HUGE asshole that absolutely despises Michael and is only there to rip him off. Eventually the shrink backstabs Michael HARD and you get to choose if you're gonna let him walk or kill him instead.

Near the end, Michael forgives his serial cheating wife and gets his son to look for jobs like a grown up. Throughout the game, Michael plays the role of a very protective father figure, and he forgives stuff that would be unthinkble to a lot of people.

Anyway, it's not all depravity. I also think the story is actually interesting and the dialogues between Franklin and his friend Lamar, especially towards the end, are the most credible and well-done I've ever seen in a game.

Anonymous Nah October 07, 2013 2:23 PM  

LEGO today is so much shittier than LEGO when I was a kid. And it's not just feminized LEGO, it's also all the movie franchises and the larger pieces. Sets used to hundreds more bricks that were all color compatible with each other. Now you can build a castle with like ten pieces.

I have the opposite feeling. LEGO when I was a kid was pretty lame. Now there is a much greater variety of pieces.

Anonymous Noah B. October 07, 2013 2:26 PM  

"You get to kill Mark Zuckerberg."

OK, maybe it's not such a bad game after all.

Anonymous A. Nonymous October 07, 2013 2:27 PM  

BioWare is a particularly pungent example of feminist infecting gaming. Both my younger brother and sister immediately dropped Dragon Age after the former realised (and pointed out to the latter) that they were essentially playing a medieval fantasy dating sim.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 2:29 PM  

what's the non-churchian christian perspective on the morality of playing these kinds of games?
I’m not sure about “these types” of games, but GTA5 shouldn’t be bought by Christians, you certainly shouldn’t allow your children to play it. I can’t remember the last game I played that was nearly as dark, empty, and nasty as GTA5, it’s a celebration of the worst parts of our culture and humanity. It really is that bad.
Fallout three, Mass Effect, and The Last of Us where all very violent, etc, etc, etc, but didn’t cross the line into pornographic, nihilistic, nastiness that GTA5 did.
GTA5 is the purest expression of Nihilism I’ve seen in a game (and I’ve played a lot of games).

Anonymous A. Nonymous October 07, 2013 2:32 PM  

The new Metal Gear Solid has attracted the same response thanks to the design of a female character. They say her outfit is too small and provocative for the battlefield.

Women, generally speaking, are themselves too small and provocative for the battlefield.

Anonymous Porky October 07, 2013 2:36 PM  

An interesting topic is being ruined by some really stupid commentary about football and 24.

I know it's monday, but some of you really need to step up your game.


True. Your attempt at shaming is much more relevant to the topic of WRE.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 2:42 PM  

I have the opposite feeling. LEGO when I was a kid was pretty lame. Now there is a much greater variety of pieces.

Are you freaking serious?

Anonymous Jack Amok October 07, 2013 2:43 PM  

While we hear that "45-50% of gamers are women," what's the breakdown of money spent on gaming? A woman playing mafia farmville angry candy with friends isn't remotely as economically important as the man who buys a new game every month and a new console within weeks of the release.

Au contraire, mon ami. Those women spend a boatload of money on those games. It's just a different market. Like confusing the market for minivans with the market for trucks. They have wheels, the go from A to B, but different people buy them. .

Blogger Retrenched October 07, 2013 2:47 PM  

It always happens like this...

1. Men create a space for men.

2. The male space becomes popular as more and more men flock to it.

3. Women see this and want in.

4. Men let them in.

5. Women start changing all the rules, basically destroying everything about the male space that made it appeal to men in the first place.

6. Men gradually drop away from the newly feminized, formerly male space.

7. The men then create a new male space that is free from the fem-centric influences that ruined the old one.

8. Repeat 1-7.

Anonymous Daniel October 07, 2013 2:49 PM  

Legos, fire and firecrackers. GTA Prime, me droogs, GTA Prime.

Anonymous Sojourner October 07, 2013 2:53 PM  

Bioware...now there's a company that has me worried. I absolutely LOVED Mass Effect (all of it) but you could see over time how they began to force the issue more and more to a degree that has me thinking the next Mass Effect is going to have some problems in the gay advocacy angle. Heck, I really did enjoy the first Dragon Age but that quickly became something else. I know the founders have moved on and it begs the questions whether they'll deliver the content and creativity they once did (I REALLY want an expansion of the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.)

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 2:54 PM  

@Andre

Think about hipsters and rappers for a moment. They are often as interested in being derided, hated and mocked as they are in being celebrated. A game which relentlessly mocks things is not necessarily a good thing, even if it mocks things worth being mocked. Awhile ago when I was playing organ in the city, I got to experience firsthand the intensity of anti-rap, anti-gangster sentiment among Christian blacks. Then I listened to the song 'F** S*** Stack' and realized it's all a game. The point is to stay in the center, to be the one people are looking at whether they are cheering or jeering. Many black Christians play into the rapper culture by keeping it in focus constantly, just like many white Christians play into our own degenerate offshoots by ineffective railing and mocking.

Even besides this, there are things designed to just garner a reaction; mocking them is difficult and ultimately fruitless. Like, Salon.com for instance. That GTA V mocks many things isn't a boon at all, unless that mockery gives birth to a moment of insight in the player.

One might argue that the GTA series is one of these things, indeed, which based on its central premise (stealing a car) is partly designed to attract outrage.

Given this feminist response, you can count on Rockstar making sure they amp up the misogyny in their next title: it gets a lot of hits in the right places.

---

About your comments on the story. I like to tell people that Serial Experiments: Lain is a touching story about a girl who is not sure if she is real or not, and how to deal with a variety of social problems that go along with being uncertain of your identity.

But whenever I watch it with people they can't get past the first episode! Odd.

Anonymous kh123 October 07, 2013 2:54 PM  

Ye forgaut the shoes, the mooney, and the complimentary mention of your name in The Digger.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 3:05 PM  

One might argue that the GTA series is one of these things, indeed, which based on its central premise (stealing a car) is partly designed to attract outrage.

THAT IS NOT THE CENTRAL PREMISE OF THE GAME

Blogger The Bechtloff October 07, 2013 3:05 PM  

Vox, I'm a little surprised you haven't directly addressed Anita Sarkeesian (Or maybe you have and I missed it) she does seem like the biggest example of this sort of cancer in the gaming industry (and geekdom as a whole)

Anonymous A. Nonymous October 07, 2013 3:09 PM  

I have the opposite feeling. LEGO when I was a kid was pretty lame. Now there is a much greater variety of pieces.

Indeed. Plus, guns. Lots of guns.

Blogger LibertyPortraits October 07, 2013 3:41 PM  

I don't quite understand the "glorifying criminality" objection. When I think about it, criminality has been glorified for a long time in literature and visual media. Why now is it a problem? Because middle-class children have access (which they did to the same mediums as adults have in the past anyway) to a fantasy world in which they can act out their secret evil proclivities? Anyone who has played a GTA game could probably relate to my experience when I say that shooting prostitutes and running over people wantonly gets old pretty fast, as it's all digital, and it never gave me the desire to do so in real life, probably because I lack the derangement such people require to carry out such fantasies in the first place.

A lot of adults like to lambast violent games, only to sit zombie-like to watch their favorite tv shows: NCIS, CIS, NYPD Blue, Breaking Bad, Dexter, and all the rest. I think being able to carry out murderous intent to digital characters, the action itself, is what is so abhorrent to the older people who object. The problem is, most people who play games these days know that it is fake and fantasy just as a child who plays with G.I. Joe dolls, excuse me-action figures, knows that the Barbie Doll his G.I. Joe "shoots" and "kills" is never "dead." When you "shoot" a "prostitute" (I put prostitute in quotes here because it is just a piece of code, there was no life or moral decisions that brought that digital construct to that destitution) it doesn't die, it simply carries out an action for the sake of the game. GTA is no more inherently violent than a game of chess, it is just detailed that way to appeal to our empirical sense of realism to make sales.

Anonymous Athor Pel October 07, 2013 3:43 PM  

"Will Best October 07, 2013 12:34 PM

One reliable way gaming can (and some games already have) undercut the tumblr whiners is the ability to choose the gender of the protagonist, like in Mass Effect. Stats show that only 10% of the player base, and all the omega journos naturally, played as Femshep, but they can't complain because the option was there.

This is somewhat surprising to me because in WoW about 75% of the female characters are played by men, and in EQ it was probably 95%"




Mass Effect is a single player game, which means you will only play until you reach the end of the story. This means a finite number of play hours. Less than a hundred hours for one play through.

WoW and EQ are both MMOs, meaning you will play them for many many many more hours than you will a game like Mass Effect, assuming you get hooked. This kind of game-as-job leads to character choice decisions that rarely happen in a short single player game.

You will play an MMO for thousands of hours. This fact alone is responsible for some guys making female characters. They've done everything in the game at least once, seen every zone, run every dungeon, played as every race. Making a female character is kind of a last ditch effort to get over their growing indifference for the game.

Lastly it has to do with choice and what I call the Pokemon effect. In Mass Effect you choose the sex of Shepard and then mess with Shepard's skin, Shepard's hair and Shepard's face and then you're done, with Shepard. You then start playing the game, as Shepard. Not much choice there really.

But in a game like WoW you have lots of choice in regards to your character(s). I mean, Lots. 13 races with two sexes each and 11 total classes and even with some races restricted from playing some classes you still end up with 108 unique combinations of race and class, 216 combos with sex included.

So you will end up playing at least one female character if you are halfway serious about the game, if for no other reason than sheer novelty if not the OCD inspired reason of a desired completeness in your stable of characters.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 3:48 PM  

A woman playing mafia farmville angry candy with friends isn't remotely as economically important as the man who buys a new game every month and a new console within weeks of the release.

I wonder. Those games aren't charities, and from what I've read, it sounds like they're making so much money that even traditional publishers are leaning that way. Some of them are designed around the same lose-lose-win rhythms that slot machines use, so they get the player habituated to planting that one more field or whatever, and then the turns run out and the game says, "But wait, you can have more turns for $2.99!" You can play them for free, but I wonder how many people (most of them women) are doing the equivalent of feeding tokens into those games at the rate of at least a few bucks a day.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 4:04 PM  

A lot of adults like to lambast violent games, only to sit zombie-like to watch their favorite tv shows: NCIS, CIS, NYPD Blue, Breaking Bad, Dexter, and all the rest.

This. Also, how many of the drooling idiot boomers decrying GTA V consider The Godfather to be one of the greatest films ever made?

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 4:06 PM  

@Josh

Oh, but it is.

@LibertyPortraits

Moral equivalency aside, the only point I'd like to make is that all fantasies which are not either moral because they entail a moral vision (as real faerie tales invariably do) or are realistic in a 'hard' way are immoral fantasies. When dealing with both serials and video games, especially a very open-world game like GTA, it is possible that they are in fact piecemeal. I've observed that some TV series are like this, some episodes are strong in their realism or moral vision while others are sensational trash. You have to make a personal judgment at some point as to which outweighs the other (this is the virtue of discretion) or you can choose to forgo the whole thing (this is the virtue of chastity.)

What intrigues me about a lot of games is how to deal with the proposition of a game in which you may create either a moral or an immoral fantasy? This is aside from having to make hard choices in the game - being forced to choose who will have to die is not necessarily an immoral fantasy; in that case the quality of the storytelling will determine whether or not the experience of making that choice will generate an insight into its futility.

It's obvious that some people can play GTA V and have something of a 'moral' experience in the game. But this may simply be because they are so inured to all of the violent and depraved aspects of the game, like I was inured to the constant, droning, gripping dread of Serial Experiments: Lain.

But then this doesn't argue *for* the game, then. It only is capable of deflecting criticisms. It establishes nothing to recommend the game, other than perhaps to confirm what you already are.

Personally, I liked Bully better, since the mechanic for 'dying' (getting beat up and knocked unconscious) felt more coherent.

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 4:13 PM  

@cailcorishev

As I understand, it is not a viable business model in general. If you have an enormous volume you'll get enough suckers (remember, unlike the slot machine, Farmville has no possible actual monetary payoff) to support it. But for small developers to try to support themselves that way is suicide.

In a sense, it is merely a gambling-as-gaming style of business, attracting and fostering weak personalities who are willing to drop money for minor prestige. The model ends up working out that the majority of the cash coming in comes from the top '5%' of players (this varies I think from game to game, but is generally the trend) -- most players spending no more than is either necessary (which may be 'nothing'!) or just some minimum package of goodies.

That is the case for pay-to-win (which is what Farmville is.) I don't know as much about Pay-for-Flair models or Gated Subscription (like WoW) models.

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 4:14 PM  

Those games aren't charities, and from what I've read, it sounds like they're making so much money that even traditional publishers are leaning that way.

I'm not an expert at all, and would defer to Jack Amok and Vox, but Zynga is losing hundreds of millions of dollars right now (after making hundreds of millions over the past few years).

It seems that the focus of the social gaming companies is maximizing revenue per user or creating an addictive feedback loop for in game purchases, not creating better games.

Anonymous Nah October 07, 2013 4:16 PM  

I have the opposite feeling. LEGO when I was a kid was pretty lame. Now there is a much greater variety of pieces.

Are you freaking serious?


Yeah. I started buying LEGO for my son, and everything he has is waaaaay better than anything I ever had. They didn't sell kits, as such, back in my day - basically, they said, "here's a bag of LEGO, kid, now go make a house or something."

My other reaction is "goddamn this stuff is expensive!" You can easily spend $300-$400 on the high-end kits -- which, of course, would mean my son would never be allowed to play with them...

Anonymous Josh October 07, 2013 4:19 PM  

They didn't sell kits, as such, back in my day - basically, they said, "here's a bag of LEGO, kid, now go make a house or something."

Okay, I understand now. You're obviously considerably older than I am. I was comparing Lego of today with Lego of 1979-1995, which was a golden age.

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 4:26 PM  

Yeah, Lego was good when they had developed a variety of parts, but before the more-recent wave of 'multi part plastic assembly model' nonsense.

The castle that we had did have some non-standard parts, but they were not so odd as to be 'castle only'. It even had a hinge so you could open it up and stage Macbeth or whatever inside

Blogger RobertT October 07, 2013 4:26 PM  

188 comments. That's a lot. But I'm going to weigh in here at the end.

When people start a business, there is only one goal. It is never to make people feel better or advance the cause of whales. If they say that, it's just for publicity. The goal is always to make money. But some reviewers, perhaps even all of them, feel differently about it and may even harbor grudges because other people are making way more money than them. After all, journalism is way more important than a simple game..It's a much higher calling.

Anonymous Noah B. October 07, 2013 4:29 PM  

"But I'm going to weigh in here at the end."

The end? Ann hasn't even showed up to crap all over the thread yet.

Blogger James Dixon October 07, 2013 4:32 PM  

> The end? Ann hasn't even showed up to crap all over the thread yet.

Give her time.

Anonymous Anonymous October 07, 2013 4:35 PM  

GTA is no more inherently violent than a game of chess

LOL, and checkers, don’t forget about checkers, or Hungry Hungry Hippos…talk about “inherently violent”, that game, phew, crazy violence.

Probably why GTA never bothered me, after chess, checkers, and Hungry Hungry Hippos, I was already inoculated to violence…LOL

empirical sense of realism

Anonymous JoeyWheels October 07, 2013 4:36 PM  

I "out-grew" legos when the Technic sets first started appearing. Too many other things going like sports and stuff in high school. I had many, many, many sets of legos growing up. I mostly had the large brick number sets. I had a few of the initial space mini-fig sets. The computer terminal bricks, radar domes, hinge pieces and right-angle pieces were GOLD.
The early sets forced the builder to come up with inventive ways to solve structural problems with limited resources. The newest sets provide specialized parts to get to the same end.
As I got older, I contemplated buying a few of the fancier sets just to build the model.
I really appreciated honing my creative problem solving on the original more primitive, non-Technic sets. Those skills serve me well to this day.

Blogger Ephrem Antony Gray October 07, 2013 4:36 PM  

@RobertT

Not really true, exactly. That a business must make money is a given. Just as a scientist must get grants and a journalist must get readers. Whether they wish to do any more than that is part of the whole point, I think, and is where the battle for the soul of gaming is happening. Those who never had any higher purpose besides will easily fall in line, once it becomes clear that not complying with the feminist line will be very unprofitable.

Blogger James Dixon October 07, 2013 4:41 PM  

> That a business must make money is a given.

Tell that to Borders and Circuit City, to use just two examples. They must if the wish to stay in business, but it's definitely not a given.

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