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dsheinem
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by dsheinem Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:52 pm

J T wrote:I want to address point three and ask you all "What would a high quality, feminist friendly game look like?"


It would look the same as any other high quality game, but it wouldn't treat the women characters in it as subordinate to the men characters it portrays. Ideally (but not necessarily), it might also grant the player a wide degree of agency in choosing the characteristics of their avatar/protagonist.

I think there are already a lot of feminist friendly high quality games. I was just reading something about Journey earlier today - that would be an example. I think the newest Dragon Age game is a good example, too. Arguably many of Blizzard's games are good examples of this, also.
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by Erik_Twice Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:01 pm

J T wrote:I think the majority of the backlash against the push for feminism in gaming boils down to three major facets:
1) Good old fashioned sexism
2) Defensiveness for enjoyable games now being critiqued for their sexism
3) A lack of creative vision to imagine what feminist friendly games would look like

In the spirit of constructive critique, I want to address point three and ask you all "What would a high quality, feminist friendly game look like?"

I don't agree with that at all, I think most of the backlash arises from something much simpler:
1) Nobody likes a moral guardian, no matter the kind. Most people do not want to be told they are wrong, much less morally wrong and specially not over such a petty thing as video games.
2) Many of those moral guardians are not the kind people readily accept as bastions of morality. I don't know about you guys, but I don't want to take moral lessons from a game journalist or someone like Moviebob :lol:

J T wrote:In the spirit of constructive critique, I want to address point three and ask you all "What would a high quality, feminist friendly game look like?"

Feminism is not a consistent ideology, but an umbrella term that covers wildy different viewpoints that are often in opposition to each other. For us to define what a "feminist friendly" game is, we would first need to define what feminist means which is impossible.

Bayonetta is a great example. Sarkeesian considers it a sexist, male-pandering game, representing the worst of the industry. Other feminists think it's a great game that gives a powerful picture of feminity which is rare in media.
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by Ack Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:11 pm

dsheinem wrote:
J T wrote:I want to address point three and ask you all "What would a high quality, feminist friendly game look like?"


It would look the same as any other high quality game, but it wouldn't treat the women characters in it as subordinate to the men characters it portrays. Ideally (but not necessarily), it might also grant the player a wide degree of agency in choosing the characteristics of their avatar/protagonist.

I think there are already a lot of feminist friendly high quality games. I was just reading something about Journey earlier today - that would be an example. I think the newest Dragon Age game is a good example, too. Arguably many of Blizzard's games are good examples of this, also.


Or, going back to my earlier point with Tetris, games that don't have any sort of gender-basis or representation at all. I'm not saying that the concept of gender or representations of humans or humanoids should be stripped from games, but there have been many games where it has never been present whatsoever.

The core gameplay of titles like Brix, Plotting, Puzzle Bobble, Baku Baku Animal, Wario's Woods, Snake, Pipe Dreams, Sim City, and so on do not need any gender-related basis for them to still be effective games and to continue to do what they do and to appeal to us. While a few of them would make the tropes list in their current state(for instance, Puzzle Bobble does because it uses gender signifiers like pink bows), such an element isn't necessary for the base game. We might see less of those elements while still getting the same gameplay that we seek.
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by J T Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:32 pm

dsheinem wrote:It would look the same as any other high quality game, but it wouldn't treat the women characters in it as subordinate to the men characters it portrays. Ideally (but not necessarily), it might also grant the player a wide degree of agency in choosing the characteristics of their avatar/protagonist.

I think there are already a lot of feminist friendly high quality games. I was just reading something about Journey earlier today - that would be an example. I think the newest Dragon Age game is a good example, too. Arguably many of Blizzard's games are good examples of this, also.


Would the games look the same though? One could argue that the focus of a game being on conquest and violence is, in itself, a male-oriented activity. Should games attempt to play to female strengths? Or does this just lead to the rise of even more sexist stereotyping, such as games about cooking and fashion with titles written in glittery pink fonts?

I'm not really trying to argue. I think you make good points. I'm just trying to provide some considerations to flesh out the topic.
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by J T Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:40 pm

Despite my initial ribbing, Ack, I do think Tetris is a good example. It is, however, a game that is sexless and genderless (as you pointed out). It's also not the kind of game that would be a modern AAA console title (though it was the top grossing mobile phone game for awhile).

While taking the sexless and genderless approach to games is one way to steer clear of feminist critique, it still doesn't offer up plot or character development that is female-inclusive. I think the latter is the more difficult challenge.
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by dsheinem Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:45 pm

J T wrote:Would the games look the same though? One could argue that the focus of a game being on conquest and violence is, in itself, a male-oriented activity. Should games attempt to play to female strengths? Or does this just lead to the rise of even more sexist stereotyping, such as games about cooking and fashion with titles written in glittery pink fonts?


I can think of female-made games that feature stereotypically masculine ideas like conquest and violence as the hook and male-made games that emphasize stereotypically feminine ideas like relationships and nurturing as the hook. Here's where Erik's point about different feminists holding to different ideals comes into play. I think, at the end of the day, pretty much any form of feminism is seeking equality and respect across categories of identity. If a game provides that and has high production values, it would fit your bill (in general).

I also don't think all games should need to strive for this particular ideal...I think Sarkeesian and most other feminist critics of games are ultimately looking for a bit more balance and introspection (across the whole spectrum of the industry from hiring/developing to playing/commenting) abut how gender is addressed in games.
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by isiolia Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:48 pm

J T wrote:In the spirit of constructive critique, I want to address point three and ask you all "What would a high quality, feminist friendly game look like?"


Probably a lot like plenty of games already out there. Quite a lot of the issues presented in the video series so far (at least) aren't exactly core concepts for the games shown. Instead, they're character design choices, narrative devices, and so on. Generally reasonable, actionable things for designers to keep in mind.

Some of the big points earlier in the series are already outdated - Peach is playable in Super Mario 3D World (as is Rosalina), for example, instead of being captured yet again. The general setup for Hyrule Warriors (non-main-series as it is) also changes up the dynamic between Link and Zelda.

What may help is if more studios endeavored to make games in a setting that didn't "require" a justification for violence or murder. That seems to be where a fair amount of objectification stems from.
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by Ack Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:49 pm

J T wrote:Despite my initial ribbing, Ack, I do think Tetris is a good example. It is, however, a game that is sexless and genderless (as you pointed out). It's also not the kind of game that would be a modern AAA console title (though it was the top grossing mobile phone game for awhile).

While taking the sexless and genderless approach to games is one way to steer clear of feminist critique, it still doesn't offer up plot or character development that is female-inclusive. I think the latter is the more difficult challenge.


No, but I don't believe all games necessarily have to have a plot. And at one point, some of these games were the AAA titles of their relative machines. I think it is worth taking into account. Now some of these have had elements that were brought in which Sarkeesian would critique, but those elements are often mere window dressing. The core gameplay is not the problem.

And really that could apply to many of the games which were critiqued: the bone structure of the game isn't the problem. So I don't think that games which are more inclusive would necessarily be that different from what we have now. We could still get the core mechanics and styles of what we have now, but it may have different presentation, visuals, plot, etc.
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by ZeroAX Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:51 pm

16 years after it came out, The Longest Journey is sitll the best example of a feminnist game imo.

1) The character feels like a real woman, and not just a man with a female skin.

2) The character is not sexualized at all (on the contrary she's one of the few ugly female game protagonists I've ever seen, too bad they made a pretty girl the protagonist of the sequels)

3) She actually talks about her sexuality without it feeling awkward (unlike again Zoe who talks about how great the sex is....in a way that's annatural, at least to me).
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Re: Kickstarter "Tropes vs Women in Videogames"

by J T Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:11 pm

*There are very few games where birth or child rearing are central to the game.
*There are very few games that are romantic comedies.
*There are very few games that are about managing social relationships.
*There are very few games with a collaborative multiplayer component.

Now, I'm not saying these things are exclusively the domain of women, nor that all women like all of these things, but if we're going to talk about gender stereotypes, you might expect these to be more female oriented features, and these kinds of features are conspicuously absent in the majority of the console gaming market. One of the most all time successful titles on the PC, in terms of units sold, is The Sims series. These games have many of the features I listed above, and they sell a lot to females (males too). Females are a formidable market that the gaming industry should better cater to. In fact, the data suggests that there are just as many female gamers as there are male gamers (if not more), so when a game is actually female inclusive, it sells much better. It's the ability to tap into the female audience that is often credited to the success of casual gaming, from the Wii to mobile games to facebook games, and so on.
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