Here Are the Formats (Movies, TV, Books, etc) You Prefer Video Games Be Brought To

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There are a lot of different things that are based on or inspired by video games, and I wanted to know which one(s) you preferred.  Continue reading “Here Are the Formats (Movies, TV, Books, etc) You Prefer Video Games Be Brought To”

Creators Who Left Their Greatest Creations Behind Shortly After Creating Them

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There are people who have created – or at least had a major hand in creating – some of the biggest game franchises of all time, only to voluntary walk away from them soon thereafter. Continue reading “Creators Who Left Their Greatest Creations Behind Shortly After Creating Them”

Chi-Coder: Over-Sexualization In Games.

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I like sex just fine.  I’m married, and my wife and I have a completely healthy, normal relationship in the bedroom. Before we were together I watched more than my fair share of porn.  I’m not a prude, and I’m not scared of talking about sex, or sexual things.  I’ve masturbated.  I’m also not in the Anita Sarkeesian, uber-feminism camp.  I don’t agree with most of what Ms. Sarkeesian has to say, nor do I think that it’s all that meaningful to the overall discussion of women’s rights and equality.  All that being said, the hyper-sexualization of women in some video games really bugs me.

I recently played through Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots (you can read all about it here).  If you’ve played that game, the sexualization of female characters in it should be familiar to you.  If you haven’t, here are a an example.

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Upon finishing MGS4 I picked up Bayonetta.  In case you’re unfamiliar with it, here is an example.

My problem with these games is the way sexuality is portrayed has nothing to do with the story.  During one scene early in MGS4, Naomi Hunter, is wearing a lab coat and a button down shirt…with almost all of the buttons undone.  She’s also clearly not wearing a bra.  The thing is, she’s in her lab, not out on the town, or trying to seduce her would-be boyfriend.  She’s just working on some genetics stuff, boobies all hanging out.  Who works like that?  This has absolutely nothing to do with her role in the storyline.  She’s a completely self-serious character, delivering important dialogue while looking like the doctor themed stripper you ordered for your best friend’s bachelor party.  The sexuality adds nothing to the story, nor is it ever addressed.  There is no indication that she’s attempting to seduce Snake, nor is there ever any mention of her sexuality during the rest of the story.  She just likes having her boobs out apparently.

By contrast, the Grand Theft Auto series constantly get slammed for it’s portrayal of women, but to me, at least the sexuality of women in those games is kind of realistic.  There are strippers, but they’re typically in strip clubs, not researching the cure for cancer.  Also, the entire GTA series is one big tongue-in-cheek joke.  There is a certain understanding within GTA games, because of the tone set by them, that this is all just very dark humor.  I’m not necessarily saying that what GTA does in regards to women is ok, and I’m certainly not advocating the violence against women that those games allow, I’m simply saying that what GTA does, it does for a purpose.  There was nudity in The Sopranos for exactly the same reason.  MGS4 seems to have no purpose in portraying it’s female characters like sluts other than to show you some sluts.

Bayonetta is another example of this.  The story of Bayonetta, as far as I’ve gotten at least, seems to have nothing to do with her sexuality.  Bayonetta’s creators choose to dress her that way.  I haven’t gotten to the end of the game yet, so I can’t make a full judgment but thus far, just like in MGS4, there seems to be no indication of why this is; no logical (or even comical) reason explaining why Bayonetta dresses the way she does.  What’s even creepier in Bayonetta is the cinematography during the cut-scenes.  For instance, Bayonetta might kick a guy and then backflip off of his chest and the camera will sweep in between her legs as she flips, Bayonetta’s crotch perfectly framed and in your face.

What I find especially troublesome in a game like Bayonetta is that the sexuality is not only illogical, but it’s also restrictive to an audience that might otherwise appreciate the game.  Let me explain:  I have a nephew who’s a freshman in high school.  He loves video games and he’s very interested in pursuing that career.  Bayonetta is an awesome game, with a lot that’s worth experiencing.  He would be well served by playing it, as there is a lot to be learned about combat design from it.  If I bought him that game though, his mom and dad would be none-to-pleased with Uncle Steve.  Bayonetta doesn’t have to be that way though.  Conceptually it makes sense for Grand Theft Auto to be restrictive, but for a game like Bayonetta, it makes much less sense.  To me it seems like making a rated R Transformers movie.

I’ll say it again, I like sex.  I’m not a prude.  But I don’t watch porn for the story, and I don’t play games for the porn.  I’m simply not interested in this type of sexualization, and what bothers me is that the games in which this stuff is prevalent are games that I really like.  These aren’t fringe games either, these are mainstream titles.  These are triple-a titles that win awards, the Oscar contenders of games.

Not all games are like this, obviously.  I think there are a ton of games that offer more realistic portrayals of women while still maintaining their sexuality.  Ironically, the Tomb Raider reboot is a good example of this.  In that game Lara Croft is a very attractive young woman, but she’s still a real person.  Her figure is proportional to a normal person’s and the game doesn’t go out of it’s way to over-exaggerate her sexuality.  The fact that she’s a woman isn’t even relevant.  To me, that’s a character that makes sense in a way that Bayonetta and Naomi Hunter don’t.

Survey: How Excited Are You For 2015’s Most Anticipated Releases? (CLOSED – See the results!)

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In case you missed it, we chose what we felt were the 20 most anticipated games of the year – or at least the most talked-about – and had our readers choose one of five choices that best fit their feelings on each game. Continue reading “Survey: How Excited Are You For 2015’s Most Anticipated Releases? (CLOSED – See the results!)”

Let’s All Build Our Dream Multi-Company Smash Bros. Games

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With the release of the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. looming ever closer, I thought we could all engage in a fun little exercise.

Continue reading “Let’s All Build Our Dream Multi-Company Smash Bros. Games”

Debate Club: Console Makers Suck.

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To some degree I feel that the issue of exclusivity is maybe a bit of a blameless one.  Developers and publishers make a product and they want it to be successful.  Console makers do the same.  Hell, we would all do the same, right?  If you made something for the purpose of selling it, you’d want it to make the most money possible wouldn’t you?  So again, in a way, no one is really at fault here.  But if we’re going to be mad about it, then I feel that there is at least some blame to lob around, and I think that most of it should be aimed at the console maker.

The main reason that I feel that the console maker is at fault is because the console maker, not the publisher, is typically the one forcing you to buy a piece of hardware you otherwise would not need.  The Xbox One, the PS4, and the PC are all capable of playing basically the same games (we’re leaving Nintendo out of this fight for now because the Wii U hardware is significantly different from the others).  In this case, there is no reason why Tomb Raider Return or Bloodborne couldn’t run on all three platforms.  The console maker simply wants you to have to buy their $400 piece of hardware to play it.

Sigh. Maybe I’ll get to play you one day. Maybe.

The publishers and developers, on the other hand, have no real skin in the console game.  Their only goal is to make money off of their particular game.  If the accountants say that a deal with Microsoft is worth more than the amount of copies they’d have otherwise sold on PS4 and PC, then the publisher is forced to make that deal (especially if it’s a publicly traded company where there is legal obligation to do what’s best for the shareholders).  It doesn’t make the publishers blameless, they’re certainly not.  But their goal isn’t to sell you some ancillary piece of hardware, they just want to sell their game.  If they run the numbers and the exclusive isn’t worth it financially, then they won’t do it.

The console maker is constantly trying to sell you their box.  What’s worse though, is that unlike the game publishers, once you buy the box the console maker deems you irrelevant.  When publisher A makes Super Cool Alien Shooters they want it to be good so that they can sell you Super Cool Alien Shooters 2, and eventually 3 and 4 and 5.  At the very least, the publisher has a continued vested interest in your game choices.  The console maker simply sells you the box, and then stops caring about what you do with it.  Sure, Microsoft and Sony make sequels to their consoles in the same way that publishers do, but the sequel to a console has much less to do with the success of it’s predecessor than an actual game does.  If you buy an Xbox One right now, and you hate it, Microsoft still has something like six years for you to forget that, or for them to change things. 

At least this thing does something novel.

I guess my main point here is that yes, everyone trying to sell anything is kind of screwing you, one way or the other, but if you want to look at who is out to screw you worse, I feel like it’s the console makers.  The game developers and the game publishers aren’t blameless here, but their contribution to this broken system just feels smaller to me.