Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday afternoon tidbits

Rather than gaming this weekend, I'll be slogging through the cold and damp woods. It's fun, dammit!

-Chris Kohler echoes my thoughts on God of War III exactly: it's well done, and there's nothing wrong with it, but it proves beyond doubt that it's time for God of War to end. Everyone involved can walk away with their heads held high. Will Sony allow this to happen? Considering that God of War III was March's top-selling title across all platforms, I'm guessing it's not likely.

-When I was a kid, they always told me I'd grow out of video games eventually. It still hasn't happened. But, like Elysium, I find it impossible to shake the feeling that, yes, someday I still will grow out of gaming. Will it ever disappear from my life entirely? I hope not. But it's not hard to imagine a time when it doesn't seem like an integral part of my identity.

-Matt Matthews looks at the business of Gamestop. The big takeaways may not be too surprising: the biggest part of their profits comes from used sales, and that's also the part that's growing all the time. No wonder publishers hate them -- they don't see a dime from those sales.

-Now that Gears of War 3 has been officially announced, the Phoenix's Maddy Myers follows up on her post about the inclusion of, presumably, a playable female character. The tenor of the comments both on this new post, and on the original, are all the proof you need that Maddy's making good points.

-Tom Cross defends the story in Just Cause 2 -- or, more accurately, defends Just Cause 2 against its story. He brings up one of the biggest challenges for any reviewer, which is whether you're critiquing a game for what it is actually doing, or what it intends to be doing. This is where subjectivity and objectivity can run up against each other especially hard.

-Kyle Orland this week launched The Game Beat, a new media criticism blog. I'm a fan of Kyle's work going way back, and I know he'll be doing some great stuff with it.


Dennis Scimeca said...

I was one of the responders to the original post, and I don't think I said anything statement was that if Maddy wants to point out the sexism in games there are better ways to do so than some she had employed...for instance not knowing that intelligence officers usually don't serve time as front-line combat troops, and therefore her criticism about Anya "not being allowed to fight" didn't make any sense.

I commented on her second article, as well, because she mentions "rape camps." I'm shocked that a woman would throw that phrase around in so cavalier a fashion without at least providing a link to prove that this is, indeed, a canonical part of the Gears fiction.

If it's true, it's disgusting. If it's not true, then Maddy just sounds like a radical feminist who is never going to be taken seriously by the gamers who desperately DO need to be educated as to the horrible state of sexism in modern video gaming.

Maddy said...

Dennis, I already responded to your comment on my post.

Yes, the game's extended universe includes non-consensual sex. And, yes, that's "disgusting." No, I didn't make it all up, but if I had, I don't think that would make me a "radical feminist" so much as ... I think the word is "liar"?

As for Anya being an intelligence officer, yes. I know she's an intelligence officer. I also know that she started as a COG and trained with Marcus (see: It's fine if she got promoted from being a soldier to wearing a cute skirt and talking on a headset. But the fact is that at one time, she WAS a soldier, and in the new game, she will be wearing armor again, as evidenced by the latest trailer (that could just be a flashback to her early soldiering days, but still).

That means that women CAN be soldiers in this game. I always thought that was cool, though I was sad that these women remained off-screen, and that Anya never seemed to do ANYTHING approaching bad-ass, or even slightly tough. I was satisfied that she was even there at all, though, and never would've written a post on the subject.

THEN, I found out from a GameInformer piece about female characters that the female COGs are even fewer and further between than I realized, because they are only permitted to serve if they're barren. Both Alex Brand and Anya Stroud are incapable of producing offspring.

Hearing about this bothered me enough to write a post about it. Then, I heard about the breeding camps. That bothered me even more, which I'm sure shows through in the follow-up piece that I wrote.

I think that rape as a plot device is contrived, especially in sci-fi. Battlestar Galactica included similar "rape camps," and I thought it was excessive -- but, hey, that's just my opinion, and you're entitled to your own. There was an entire panel at Arisia about how rape (of women ... since it sure doesn't seem to happen to male characters very often) is a contrived plot device in sci-fi, though, so I'm not the only person who's fed up with it. For that reason, I wouldn't classify myself as "radical." Maybe I'm just "radical" about having stories that don't do the same tired drama over and over?

Overall, I'd say that the exclusion of female characters -- even if all they did was wear headsets and cute skirts, perhaps while barefoot and pregnant -- is a misstep. A financial one, at the very least (I am NOT the only female Gears fan in the universe).

Oh, and also, maybe not making the token black dude ("Cole Train") a big honking stereotype would help. Some commenters at Kotaku pointed this out as a bigger problem with the game, and honestly, I agree. I don't feel qualified to write about that issue, but it does bug me. And that's an issue that happens in the actual games and not just the extended universe, so it's a lot harder to ignore the stupid.

Still think the mechanics of the game are great, though. Props to the people in charge of that.

And thanks for linking me, Mitch.

Nathan Grayson said...

Oh no. Mitch's most recent post alluded to a trip involving some sort of natural setting, and now he hasn't posted in a week.

Here's hoping he hasn't fallen down another mountain. Though I highly doubt it could be anything else at this point.

Mitch Krpata said...


SMS said...

Mitch, I'd started thinking you've died, or gotten dysentery. Did you set a grueling pace, with meager rations?

Quiche Poireau said...

where are you???
it s like 2 weeks since your last post!
Your words and input on the games are being missed...

TifaIA said...

Couldn't agree more about God of War 3. It's time to end the series...and then they announced another PSP game. {/sigh} I think the best hope is that they don't start a horrible trend of spin-offs.

Playstation 3 Hacks said...

Yes, im sick of God of war and there clones (aka dante's inferno)

かわやま said...
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