Tropes vs Women Ep.2

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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 01 Aug 2013, 18:01

Ridiculous.

Couldn't watch past the dog comment. I find all the videos absurd with fact, if I dare to even call it that, picking, but that did it for me.

I'll attempt to watch others to understand what issues are trying to be brought up, but I rather deal with fact than large assumptions.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JackSlack » 01 Aug 2013, 18:08

Why did you find it ridiculous?
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 01 Aug 2013, 18:21

JackSlack wrote:Why did you find it ridiculous?


Specifically for the dog comment?

The game provided motive by having the goal saving the one you love. Give it girl, guy, or pet. Saying having a dog replaceable with a female and that it's some sort of commentary is absurd.

Damsel in Distress isn't a social commentary, it comes from a simpler video game time where you had to express your reason for going on a quest in a line. The best way to do that is through love, one of our strongest emotions, and the possibility of losing it. It why the guy, girl, and dog are all possibilities, and good enough since that will cater to the vast majority of people.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JackSlack » 01 Aug 2013, 18:39

Does not the line of logic you are putting forward emphatically underline that the girl, or dog, is merely an object for your acquirement? Is it not, therefore, objectifying and, furthermore, is not the fact that the strongest tradition of this being a woman problematic?

The 'simpler video game time' you're praising was sexist, and indeed, that's her point.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 01 Aug 2013, 18:54

Risking your life to save the life of someone in need is not objectification. It's love. Any living breathing thing will do. It's your motive to help. Mario isn't saving Peach to get cake in return, he's doing it for the love of the princess and that nothing bad will happen to her. If the damsel could have a viable way to help themselves, they would have done so already, and there wouldn't be a game.

A with earlier video games, the easiest connection to love gamers could feel was through females, since the large majority, and more importantly the target audience was male. You seem to see it as "get girl, win the game" as they are an object. Once you put yourself in the game, as you should, it becomes "my loved one is in danger, I must save her, or it's game over for the both of us". That's the difference.

Is it a strong plot? Absolutely no, but it's a game and they can do it however they want.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby phlip » 01 Aug 2013, 23:48

The thing is, statements like this:
mariomario42 wrote:Mario isn't saving Peach to get cake in return, he's doing it for the love of the princess and that nothing bad will happen to her. If the damsel could have a viable way to help themselves, they would have done so already, and there wouldn't be a game.
tend to miss the point.

Sure, once the protagonist is in a situation where the human macguffin has been stolen, it's entirely reasonable that the protagonist would want to go on a rescue mission. However, painting it as though the only alternative is the protagonist leaving the captive to rot, or the captive escaping on her own, is assuming that the situation where she's captured is set in stone.

But it's not, the writer could easily have not created that situation in the first place. They could have had that situation, but had the genders different, with a female protagonist and/or a male captive. They could have had that situation, but where the captive is female, but is also the protagonist, and thus having her escape on her own will is part of the game, rather than a sarcastic "well there wouldn't be much of a game then lol" quip (this scenario was mentioned in the first TvW video, where it was pointed out that in the vast majority of cases, when there's a female captive they're a damsel, but when there's a male captive they break out on their own, and are often the protagonist).

Having a game emphasise the "macguffin" aspect of the captive by letting you just swap them out for a pet, is just mocking those who think that the "Damsel" plot is a problem.

I said something similar earlier in the thread, with a lot more words, if you want to read me rant in extreme detail.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 02 Aug 2013, 03:07

mariomario42 wrote:Is it a strong plot? Absolutely no, but it's a game and they can do it however they want.


"It's a game" is a cop out argument.

I recently had an argument with a well known internet 'games commentator' who took personal offence to a review of the Leisure Suit Larry remake, because it marked it down for it's unfunny sexist jokes and over all tone. Their opinion was that no legitimate games review should ever include "feminist propaganda" as a reason to mark down a game's score, and that it should only have been reviewed "as a video game". Which was really the stupidest thing I'd heard that day.

Frankly, if you think crap shoddy work and weak-ass plots with disturbing social implications are acceptable because they come labelled as "Video Games", you're part of the reason that there's so much crap shoddy work and weak-ass plots in video games. The idea that you should only be reviewing games based on objective assessment of graphics and game play is dead. The bar has been raised, people are reviewing games to the same standard of critical review given to films and books. Unless it's a totally abstracted game like tetris, there's a plot. And if you want games to be taken as seriously as films and other art forms, then that plot is part of what's going to be critically assessed. And what's more that assessment is inherently subjective, and yes the reviewers may well mark down a game if it's got a anti-feminist plot.

Every other art form, from TV programs to comic books, have had to cope with the raising expectations and standards demanded by their audience. Time for Video Games to start having to meet the raised expectations of an audience that wants better than just Graphics and Game Play.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 02 Aug 2013, 15:20

phlip wrote:
Sure, once the protagonist is in a situation where the human macguffin has been stolen


Kidnapped.

phlip wrote: it's entirely reasonable that the protagonist would want to go on a rescue mission. However, painting it as though the only alternative is the protagonist leaving the captive to rot, or the captive escaping on her own, is assuming that the situation where she's captured is set in stone.


What? There's only two options in talking about Damsel in Distress. You rescue your loved one, or you lose. Like I said, it's the streamlined version of a good plot due to limited ability of the past, there are no other options.

phlip wrote:But it's not, the writer could easily have not created that situation in the first place. They could have had that situation, but had the genders different, with a female protagonist and/or a male captive. They could have had that situation, but where the captive is female, but is also the protagonist, and thus having her escape on her own will is part of the game, rather than a sarcastic "well there wouldn't be much of a game then lol" quip (this scenario was mentioned in the first TvW video, where it was pointed out that in the vast majority of cases, when there's a female captive they're a damsel, but when there's a male captive they break out on their own, and are often the protagonist).


In creating something, there is always alternatives. It's not a discussion of what they could have done, it's about what they have done. The rest of this part, I could discuss the examples that prove this wrong, but that's not helpful. What is helpful is pointing out a major problem with what you are saying. Someone captured that can help themselves is not a Damsel in Distress. And please, that was not a sarcastic quip, it is absolutely true when dealing with this kind of plot.

phlip wrote:Having a game emphasise the "macguffin" aspect of the captive by letting you just swap them out for a pet, is just mocking those who think that the "Damsel" plot is a problem.


I talked about this already. It's not mocking, the loved one in need of help. It is helpful to drive the gameplay by allowing the player to also help something they love, dog, guy, or girl, rather than just the character. I should specify that there is nothing wrong with playing a game where the character's love and what you love are different.

JayBlanc wrote:"It's a game" is a cop out argument.


I'll explain this at the end.

JayBlanc wrote:I recently had an argument with a well known internet 'games commentator' who took personal offence to a review of the Leisure Suit Larry remake, because it marked it down for it's unfunny sexist jokes and over all tone. Their opinion was that no legitimate games review should ever include "feminist propaganda" as a reason to mark down a game's score, and that it should only have been reviewed "as a video game". Which was really the stupidest thing I'd heard that day.


I am not the most familiar with Leisure Suit Larry, so I must ask, is Larry sexist? Assuming he is for the sake of argument, I won't hold the creators responsible for following what the character does, as the same I wouldn't hold the creators of games where soldiers kill civilians. You also say "unfunny sexists jokes", the only thing that applies on rating jokes is the "unfunny". As you state that it's a joke, jokes should not be held to social thought and decisions. They are jokes for a reason.

JayBlanc wrote:Frankly, if you think crap shoddy work and weak-ass plots with disturbing social implications are acceptable because they come labelled as "Video Games", you're part of the reason that there's so much crap shoddy work and weak-ass plots in video games. The idea that you should only be reviewing games based on objective assessment of graphics and game play is dead. The bar has been raised, people are reviewing games to the same standard of critical review given to films and books. Unless it's a totally abstracted game like tetris, there's a plot. And if you want games to be taken as seriously as films and other art forms, then that plot is part of what's going to be critically assessed. And what's more that assessment is inherently subjective, and yes the reviewers may well mark down a game if it's got a anti-feminist plot.

Every other art form, from TV programs to comic books, have had to cope with the raising expectations and standards demanded by their audience. Time for Video Games to start having to meet the raised expectations of an audience that wants better than just Graphics and Game Play.


I'm not saying I like weak plots, I'm saying that they can do what they want being the creators, and it is something we will have to continue playing.

Every other art form? Simply untrue. On top of that, every art form is different and focuses on different things to be considered good. Even within the same artform, things are not held on equal ground. You don't review ballets and Kabuki at the same level, or realism and surreal, or even reality tv and tv dramas. I'm not going to hold racing games, sandbox, or a linear Damsel in Distress at the same either. For Damsel in Distress, the other features and gimmicks are what bring people back to that type of game, not the plot. I don't look at a modern realist painting to see how much realer it is than in the past, no, I look at what scene they painted.

If they choose to work with this plot, you should hold them to their innovation in gameplay, music, etc and not the common theme of rescuing someone they love.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Duckay » 02 Aug 2013, 15:38

mariomario42 wrote:In creating something, there is always alternatives. It's not a discussion of what they could have done, it's about what they have done.


I very much disagree. They had a great number of options, and they chose to do this, so given that it is a social trend, it is worth trying to critically evaluate why people continually choose to do this.

mariomario42 wrote:I talked about this already. It's not mocking, the loved one in need of help. It is helpful to drive the gameplay by allowing the player to also help something they love, dog, guy, or girl, rather than just the character.

That proves, however, that the female character in question is not a 'character', if she can be substituted out with something else without changing anything. She is at best an abstract concept, and at worst an object that needs to be saved.

mariomario42 wrote:I'm not saying I like weak plots, I'm saying that they can do what they want being the creators, and it is something we will have to continue playing.

I suppose this is half true. They can do what they want, being the creators, but that does not mean that they are immune from any criticism, nor does it mean that we have to continue playing it. We still have the option to stop and look at it and ask the question, "Why have they done this? Why is this idea so prevalent?" and make a decision whether we want to play it.

mariomario42 wrote:If they choose to work with this plot, you should hold them to their innovation in gameplay, music, etc and not the common theme of rescuing someone they love.

The obvious question remains, why do people continually choose to work with this plot, and why is the 'someone' who needs to be rescued so frequently a woman (which plays off and perpetuates damaging social ideas about women)? Why is that not something else that ought to be innovated?
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 02 Aug 2013, 16:02

Duckay,

It's a category or style. I'm not going to ask why people do pointillism when it takes longer and results in a blurrier image. Yet, people still do it because they want to.

I don't see how you are getting to your next statement. If it something that can easily be swapped, it is not commentary that women are worthless. It is saying the position she is in is not something of significance for why they chose her. She is there for the simplest plot. And for all damsels, guys, dogs, or girls, it is not a statement of "they are weak because they are _____ so I need to grab them and get them home", it is "they are weak and cannot handle the situation themselves and I'm here to rescue them since I love them". That's it. Nothing more. That's what you get from the plot. Having multiple options is for the player to connect to the character.

I just want to add for the next paragraph that I would encourage you to explore more about the games you want, but you must keep an open mind. It is not a "I see this in the game, therefore they think ____", there are many options are you should weigh them all. To me, "we have a guy character let's make it a girl since that's the most common for love" is a lot more probable than "we have a weak character, so it should be a women".

And your next one deals with the above statement. Girls since the character is a guy. Why is that happening? Well, the majority of gamers are still guys, and for a basic plot where your character might not even speak and jumps and runs around the whole time, it's not something of critical importance so go with the average.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Duckay » 02 Aug 2013, 16:21

For a start, pointillism is a poor comparison, because that is an art style that does not carry with it any cultural implications. The popularity of 'damsel in distress' plots (across media, I would note; this is not about a specific genre of video games, but about a story that appears in many different genres of video games, films, television programs, literature, etc) is something quite different. At the end of the day, you may disagree that it is damaging. You may feel that the cultural implications are not of major concern. However, does that automatically mean that there is no merit in stopping to ask the question why it continues to happen?

No one at any point has said "I see this in the game, therefore they think ______". At most, people have said "I see this in a lot of games, which indicates that there is a prevalent view of ______", or "I see this in a game, which has unfortunate implications because _________". I am not at any point saying that any individual holds specific views, so please do not tell me that I am. For the record, my point about the dog was not that "clearly they think women are worthless". It was "this character can be substituted out for anything, so there is no depth to the character".

The subject of most gamers being male is a subject for another day, but to make a point very quickly, I wonder if the percentage of female gamers would increase if the game industry stopped speaking primarily to a male audience.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby phlip » 02 Aug 2013, 18:11

mariomario42 wrote:
phlip wrote:Sure, once the protagonist is in a situation where the human macguffin has been stolen

Kidnapped.

Yes, I chose that word to get a reaction. But convince me that, in a game where the captive is so heavily macguffin-ised that they can be literally swapped out without affecting the plot, that they're an actual character and not just an object.

mariomario42 wrote:What? There's only two options in talking about Damsel in Distress. You rescue your loved one, or you lose. Like I said, it's the streamlined version of a good plot due to limited ability of the past, there are no other options.

mariomario42 wrote:What is helpful is pointing out a major problem with what you are saying. Someone captured that can help themselves is not a Damsel in Distress.

But there you go again, assuming that the Damsel in Distress is set in stone, and talking about options after that.

Here, have a ridiculous overblown hyperbolic analogy:
A company wants to have an all-white workforce, so they start discriminating against PoC while hiring. People criticise them for their discriminatory hiring practises, and their response is "There's only two options in making an all-white workforce. You discriminate when hiring, or you fail." "If they weren't discriminating when hiring, we wouldn't be talking about a company trying to make an all-white workforce, so it would be off-topic." And so on.

That is to say, "But if you're going to have a Damsel in Distress plot, you have to be sexist" isn't an argument that we should consider the problem as unavoidable. It's an argument that we should have fewer Damsel in Distress plots.

mariomario42 wrote:I'm not saying I like weak plots, I'm saying that they can do what they want being the creators, and it is something we will have to continue playing.

This is absolutely not the case. Yes, the creators are legally allowed to create whatever they want, but we don't have to continue playing them. The right to free speech is not a right to an audience, and it's not a right to freedom from criticism. They have the right to make the game however they want, but we have a right to point out when a game is problematic.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 03 Aug 2013, 02:49

mariomario42 wrote:I am not the most familiar with Leisure Suit Larry, so I must ask, is Larry sexist? Assuming he is for the sake of argument, I won't hold the creators responsible for following what the character does, as the same I wouldn't hold the creators of games where soldiers kill civilians. You also say "unfunny sexists jokes", the only thing that applies on rating jokes is the "unfunny". As you state that it's a joke, jokes should not be held to social thought and decisions. They are jokes for a reason.


Leisure Suit Larry is a game wherein not only is the main character pretty sexist[1], but every female in the game is portrayed as a sex object and something to be won.

And yes, it actually is fair game to comment about the handling of soldiers killing civilians in video games. And in fact I think you will find there's An Actual Video Game that is holding up a mirror to the genre on these things, it's called "Spec Ops: The Line".

And now onto the defence that "It's okay it's just a joke"... Well, trotting that out obviously means you haven't actually watched Tropes vs Women[2], where this is directly addressed. Being a joke, or being ironic, or being parody isn't an automatic shield from comment. Jokes are still valid targets of critique. Jokes can be and often are the main way of re-enforcing negative stereotypes and harmful attitudes.

Sexist jokes are still sexist. Racist jokes are still racist. Homophobic jokes are still homophobic... And "You PC types just can't take a joke" has been the cry of the bigot for a while now.

I'm not saying I like weak plots, I'm saying that they can do what they want being the creators, and it is something we will have to continue playing.


I don't get your argument. Are you saying that because it's a Video Game we have to consume it if we like the plot or not? You know there are people, vast numbers of people, who are selective in their choice of video games to buy?

Every other art form? Simply untrue. On top of that, every art form is different and focuses on different things to be considered good. Even within the same artform, things are not held on equal ground. You don't review ballets and Kabuki at the same level, or realism and surreal, or even reality tv and tv dramas. I'm not going to hold racing games, sandbox, or a linear Damsel in Distress at the same either. For Damsel in Distress, the other features and gimmicks are what bring people back to that type of game, not the plot. I don't look at a modern realist painting to see how much realer it is than in the past, no, I look at what scene they painted.

If they choose to work with this plot, you should hold them to their innovation in gameplay, music, etc and not the common theme of rescuing someone they love.


The story of any narrative form is always up for critique. There is understanding given to the limits of the medium, but the story is always something that can be questioned. And there is absolutely no limit of the medium that pushes 'Damsel in Distress' to the forefront of story telling in video games, it's just an easy 'well known' plot-in-a-can that fits in the 'pursuit of end goal' that games favour.



[1] Altho it's creators and apologists like to say he's 'not really sexist, just looking for true love'
[2] Seriously, go watch it before you pick arguments about what's in it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjImnqH_KwM
[*] Modern Realist doesn't mean what you seem to think it means, and if you were looking to pick two totally dissimilar art forms you shouldn't have picked Kabuki and Ballet. The Tokyo Ballet occasionally perform Kabuki as well, the difference mainly being in length and structuring of the acts.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Lord Hosk » 03 Aug 2013, 10:04

once again I am disappointed in her dismissal of small change. "sure this exists but it doesn't overturn thousands of years of stereotyping which has been pervasive in all forms of art and story so I will just dismiss it"

"yes you can choose to play as a female rescuing a male and that's not a problem but if in the same game you having the option to play as a male rescuing a female is a affront."

I agree with her that the sexism in our culture is a HUGE problem, and I agree that the damsel in distress is a perfect example of this, however dismissing all the evidence that things are slowly changing is rather crummy. I was hoping this episode would be more of a "these are places they got it right" but that was only 10-15% of the episode the rest was her just rerererestating her point in exactly the same way as she did in the previous episodes.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby phlip » 03 Aug 2013, 10:15

Those dismissive lines are less directed at people like you or I, that recognise this as a problem, but are willing to notice things as a step in the right direction... but rather directed at people who'll point out those one or two steps in the right direction as evidence that the problem is fixed forever, and no need to worry about it. Which is, unfortunately, a pretty common argument.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 03 Aug 2013, 10:26

Lord Hosk wrote:"yes you can choose to play as a female rescuing a male and that's not a problem but if in the same game you having the option to play as a male rescuing a female is a affront."


The problem there is that you're basing your argument on the basis that there is equality, when there isn't. It isn't a problem if men get to be prisoners who are the macguffin, because men haven't been systematically oppressed, and it's not re-enforcing existing treatment of men as objects. It is a problem when women are, because that is re-enforcing some nasty stereotypes that have been used to oppress women.

And really if you offer the choice to replace them with a man, or a dog, but still default to a women; that's still problematically demonstrating that women are considered reward items, and ones that you can interchange with practically anything.

It's not progress to keep using "damsel in distress" but do so "ironically" or with an "option to replace her with a dog", or allowing you to play as the girl character (but only after you've completed the game)... It's simply a have-your-cake-and-eat-it attempt to present something as pro-feminist while still keeping the harmful anti-feminist stereotype. It'll be progress when use of "damsel in distress" starts substantially reducing.

And what's more... Anita said all that in the video...
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Lord Hosk » 03 Aug 2013, 12:03

JayBlanc wrote:
Lord Hosk wrote:"yes you can choose to play as a female rescuing a male and that's not a problem but if in the same game you having the option to play as a male rescuing a female is a affront."


The problem there is that you're basing your argument on the basis that there is equality, when there isn't. It isn't a problem if men get to be prisoners who are the macguffin, because men haven't been systematically oppressed, and it's not re-enforcing existing treatment of men as objects. It is a problem when women are, because that is re-enforcing some nasty stereotypes that have been used to oppress women.



Im basing my argument on context. She dismisses a game where you choose the gender of both the protagonist and the one captured because it still perpetuates the myth of women as inferior if the player is given the option of playing a boy rescuing a girl, I disagree.

Im not talking about the spelunking game im talking about she puts in lots of side remarks where she dismisses things its a very common tool in public speaking, if you bring up valid points in a dismissive passing way it makes the listener subconsciously equate that idea with worthlessness even if it has merit.

I feel that while she makes good points her dismissiveness of anything that is taking steps but not fixing the problem are invalid, where as I feel that any problem as massive as this can only be effectively fixed in steps and by dismissing those steps you hinder progress. She says "I dont expect every game to be like this video" but based on the rest of the video that seems to be the only thing that would be valid.

Just like when she is talking about people putting in parodies of the trope as not helping because while they acknowledge the problem and point it out through satire they dont fix it and are perpetuating it. I couldnt disagree more, the first major step to fixing a problem that is as subconscious and ingrained as this is to make people thing about it in any way. Exposing it to satire is just as important as her videos.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 03 Aug 2013, 12:30

Duckay wrote:For a start, pointillism is a poor comparison, because that is an art style that does not carry with it any cultural implications. The popularity of 'damsel in distress' plots (across media, I would note; this is not about a specific genre of video games, but about a story that appears in many different genres of video games, films, television programs, literature, etc) is something quite different. At the end of the day, you may disagree that it is damaging. You may feel that the cultural implications are not of major concern. However, does that automatically mean that there is no merit in stopping to ask the question why it continues to happen?


I do agree that Damsel in Distress is something of more significance in other media, but this is about video games, and I’d like to focus on it since I’m replying to 3 people at once in this very post. You can ask why it happens, but there’s a lot of smaller factors that need to be included. The best way to explore this more would be a youtube series that actually ASKS game developers instead of drawing conclusions from assumptions like we have seen in these videos.

Duckay wrote:For the record, my point about the dog was not that "clearly they think women are worthless". It was "this character can be substituted out for anything, so there is no depth to the character".

If you think there’s no depth in a character, they are still a character and not an object. Characters come in many different depths and types, just like people. And if that’s all you were getting at, how is it being associated with what the video says on women being in the role? You’re commenting on a character, not women in any general sense.
Duckay wrote:The subject of most gamers being male is a subject for another day, but to make a point very quickly, I wonder if the percentage of female gamers would increase if the game industry stopped speaking primarily to a male audience.

Well, that’s simple marketing. You could definitely tap into an undisturbed section of the market by making a product more appealing to them, like men and beauty products. From what I know about companies, it is better to keep a consumer than get new ones. I read a report somewhere that things from cars to coca cola focus on ads to make the people that bought it happier. People already know about cars and drinks and video games, but you want to ask your consumers, as video game companies do, what they want to see next to keep them happy. I can’t blame them for making games based on the majority.
phlip wrote:Yes, I chose that word to get a reaction. But convince me that, in a game where the captive is so heavily macguffin-ised that they can be literally swapped out without affecting the plot, that they're an actual character and not just an object.

The ones we have discussed for swapping have been other things to love. It has not been any old object. You can’t swap it out with a pile of algae, since that’s not a damsel in distress. That’s called the weird adventures of gathering algae. It still falls under the reasons for going on the rescue as said in my previous posts.
phlip wrote:
But there you go again, assuming that the Damsel in Distress is set in stone, and talking about options after that.

I don’t know what to say to explain this basic idea anymore.
phlip wrote:Here, have a ridiculous overblown hyperbolic analogy:
A company wants to have an all-white workforce, so they start discriminating against PoC while hiring. People criticise them for their discriminatory hiring practises, and their response is "There's only two options in making an all-white workforce. You discriminate when hiring, or you fail." "If they weren't discriminating when hiring, we wouldn't be talking about a company trying to make an all-white workforce, so it would be off-topic." And so on.
That is to say, "But if you're going to have a Damsel in Distress plot, you have to be sexist" isn't an argument that we should consider the problem as unavoidable. It's an argument that we should have fewer Damsel in Distress plots.

I thought it was about women in video games? There isn’t a problem with it in the first place, and no excessive need to remove such plot. Plot isn’t about sex or anything.
phlip wrote:This is absolutely not the case. Yes, the creators are legally allowed to create whatever they want, but we don't have to continue playing them. The right to free speech is not a right to an audience, and it's not a right to freedom from criticism. They have the right to make the game however they want, but we have a right to point out when a game is problematic.

You do have the ability to give your opinion to the game makers, yes, but there are plenty of people out there that will continue playing the game, people who care about gameplay more than any attempt at a great plot. I think the opinions I have seen with this have not been valid.
JayBlanc wrote:
Leisure Suit Larry is a game wherein not only is the main character pretty sexist[1], but every female in the game is portrayed as a sex object and something to be won.

And yes, it actually is fair game to comment about the handling of soldiers killing civilians in video games. And in fact I think you will find there's *An Actual Video Game* that is holding up a mirror to the genre on these things, it's called "Spec Ops: The Line".

I think you’re missing the point I was making. If I’m understanding you right, you’re saying having a game with a sexist is wrong because he does sexist things, which is wrong. At the same time, you’re saying a game with a soldier killing civilians, which is also wrong, is just commentary? Playing a sexist character doesn’t make you sexist just as playing the soldier doesn’t make you a terrible person for killing civilians.

JayBlanc wrote:And now onto the defence that "It's okay it's just a joke"... Well, trotting that out obviously means you haven't actually watched Tropes vs Women[2], where this is directly addressed. Being a joke, or being ironic, or being parody isn't an automatic shield from comment. Jokes are still valid targets of critique. Jokes can be and often are the main way of re-enforcing negative stereotypes and harmful attitudes.

Sexist jokes are still sexist. Racist jokes are still racist. Homophobic jokes are still homophobic... And "You PC types just can't take a joke" has been the cry of the bigot for a while now.

There should NEVER be bars on jokes. I’m running out of room/time, so I’m just gonna link this video
JayBlanc wrote:
I don't get your argument. Are you saying that because it's a Video Game we have to consume it if we like the plot or not? You know there are people, vast numbers of people, who are selective in their choice of video games to buy?

Basically the same as I was saying a few quotes up.
JayBlanc wrote:
The story of any narrative form is always up for critique. There is understanding given to the limits of the medium, but the story is always something that can be questioned. And there is absolutely no limit of the medium that pushes 'Damsel in Distress' to the forefront of story telling in video games, it's just an easy 'well known' plot-in-a-can that fits in the 'pursuit of end goal' that games favour.

You can question it, but the significance is minimal, which is why people are still using it for various reasons. I see the questioning of these types of games of “why is the last boss a giant crow? I wanted something flying and scary” and “why is the damsel female? We had a male playable character” as the same. Straight forward, and a simple answer for a simple plot. And other possibilities once again doesn’t make it bad.

That was a lot of typing.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 03 Aug 2013, 12:33

Lord Hosk wrote:I feel that while she makes good points her dismissiveness of anything that is taking steps but not fixing the problem are invalid, where as I feel that any problem as massive as this can only be effectively fixed in steps and by dismissing those steps you hinder progress. She says "I dont expect every game to be like this video" but based on the rest of the video that seems to be the only thing that would be valid.


Steps that do not actually do anything to help, but give cover for continuing harm, are not helping.

Just like when she is talking about people putting in parodies of the trope as not helping because while they acknowledge the problem and point it out through satire they dont fix it and are perpetuating it. I couldnt disagree more, the first major step to fixing a problem that is as subconscious and ingrained as this is to make people thing about it in any way. Exposing it to satire is just as important as her videos.


Except that as she pointed out, all these "Its Satire" and knowing winks, don't mean anything when the joke is still at the expense of women. Real constructive satire would mean completely and competently subverting the trope, as in Monkey Island. Saying anything presented as "Satire" gets a pass simply results in things like the pretty dire Leisure Suit Larry remake claiming cover because they say it's not being sexist, it's just "satire".

And more important... Monkey Island was released Twenty Three Years Ago, there are adults reading this forum younger than this game, and yet video games have not moved past this. Even if we accept that "making jokes about it" was a progressive step, we've been stalled at this point for over two decades. It's not taking a step forward now to do it, it's not progression at all. So no, even if we accepted it was a progressive step, it was a progressive step in 1990, now it's just a token gesture.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 03 Aug 2013, 12:52

mariomario42 wrote:
JayBlanc wrote:
Leisure Suit Larry is a game wherein not only is the main character pretty sexist[1], but every female in the game is portrayed as a sex object and something to be won.

And yes, it actually is fair game to comment about the handling of soldiers killing civilians in video games. And in fact I think you will find there's *An Actual Video Game* that is holding up a mirror to the genre on these things, it's called "Spec Ops: The Line".

I think you’re missing the point I was making. If I’m understanding you right, you’re saying having a game with a sexist is wrong because he does sexist things, which is wrong. At the same time, you’re saying a game with a soldier killing civilians, which is also wrong, is just commentary? Playing a sexist character doesn’t make you sexist just as playing the soldier doesn’t make you a terrible person for killing civilians.


You very much are not understanding me correctly, having apparently failed to read half of my description of Leisure Suit Larry. Leisure Suit Larry is, despite what it's creators and apologists say, in no way a parody or comment in support of feminism. It's a sad 'adult game!' that has all it's women as sex objects and a juvenile and poor sense of humour at the expense of women not men.

I seriously suggest that your saying Spec Ops: The Line is on the same level of comentary as Leisure Suit Larry is going to get you viewed as ignorant.

There should NEVER be bars on jokes. I’m running out of room/time, so I’m just gonna link this video


If a comedian makes a rape joke at the expense of women, then they deserve to be heckled, and lose income from people cancelling their tickets after they see reviews calling them out on it. No bars, no imposition on "freedom of speech", just the consequences of being a hack who chooses to try and use something for shock value that society does not tolerate.

JayBlanc wrote:
The story of any narrative form is always up for critique. There is understanding given to the limits of the medium, but the story is always something that can be questioned. And there is absolutely no limit of the medium that pushes 'Damsel in Distress' to the forefront of story telling in video games, it's just an easy 'well known' plot-in-a-can that fits in the 'pursuit of end goal' that games favour.

You can question it, but the significance is minimal, which is why people are still using it for various reasons. I see the questioning of these types of games of “why is the last boss a giant crow? I wanted something flying and scary” and “why is the damsel female? We had a male playable character” as the same. Straight forward, and a simple answer for a simple plot. And other possibilities once again doesn’t make it bad.


That is your personal idea about what should be in a game review and critique. You're entirely welcome to only critique games on graphics and game play if you want to.

But this is the important part, the rest of us can and are demanding more from video games. We will not be dictated to by your low expectations. And it is now clear that the distinctive top-tier AAA games are not made distinctive by game play and graphics, because top-tier AAA games are all pretty and playable, but by the narratives and characterisation of those games.

Even more abstract online multiplayer games like TF2 and DOTA2 come with narrative lore, and voice overs that give richness to the characters. Because this stuff all matters.

Video Games are going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the same standards of critique as Cinema, Literature and Television.

And. You. Can't. Stop. It.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Lord Hosk » 03 Aug 2013, 13:24

JayBlanc wrote:
Steps that do not actually do anything to help, but give cover for continuing harm, are not helping.



I disagree that some of the small steps she dismisses aren't doing anything to help. There are generations of men who have been raised that women are inferior to them in every way because they are men. This isnt something that can be solved by "taking the idea out of video games" The only way to fix problems is to keep talking about them and exposing them as being problems. Very few people talked about the inherited racism that exists in America for about 10 years, after 9-11 the hate went behind the curtain because "the terrorists" were a common enemy, but no one would say "the problem was fixed" because no one talked about it.

JayBlanc wrote:Except that as she pointed out, all these "Its Satire" and knowing winks, don't mean anything when the joke is still at the expense of women. Real constructive satire would mean completely and competently subverting the trope, as in Monkey Island. Saying anything presented as "Satire" gets a pass simply results in things like the pretty dire Leisure Suit Larry remake claiming cover because they say it's not being sexist, it's just "satire".

And more important... Monkey Island was released Twenty Three Years Ago, there are adults reading this forum younger than this game, and yet video games have not moved past this. Even if we accept that "making jokes about it" was a progressive step, we've been stalled at this point for over two decades. It's not taking a step forward now to do it, it's not progression at all. So no, even if we accepted it was a progressive step, it was a progressive step in 1990, now it's just a token gesture.


Saying "its a parody" or "its satire" isnt cover for things that are clearly not satire, but dismissing any parody or satire as just trying to give cover is not helpful either. Again I say you cant change things unless people talk about them and not everyone is intellectually or emotionally able to deal with the things they have been taught since birth by just "having a talk about it"

Often times things have to be turned on their head to make the point to some people. There are a lot of men and even women every generation who not only don't see this as a problem but are actually offended that someone would suggest that men are not superior.

Further the Monkey Island was a outlier, a laudable effort but ultimately singular its not like it started a movement of similar ideas that then were squashed by the forces of repression. Margret Thatcher was elected 34 years ago and Britain has not selected another female Prime Minister. There was a 25 year gap between Indira Gandhi and Pratibha Patil in India. Change happens slowly, you cant simply say "we tried parody in that game and it didnt fix the problem so we give up on that angle."

There are boys and girls, young women young men, who were raised by their Fathers and Mothers to think that Women are inferior because of gender. To me anything that will make them question that idea and give pause before passing that idea on is a positive step even if it doesn't immediately fix it. There are generations of white women and men who were raised to believe that "blacks are bad" then they joined the military, served along side those "bad people" and dont teach their kids that same hate. It doesnt fix the problem, it might not do anything for their parents, or siblings or even their nieces and nephews but the hate stopped for one path of children and thats a positive even if its only a small one.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 03 Aug 2013, 13:30

You say that as if Video games come from a totally different culture than ours. Video games don't get a pass for not keeping up with the rest of society.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Lord Hosk » 03 Aug 2013, 13:53

Thats kind of the point, they are keeping up with the rest of society, thats part of the problem. Society as a whole doesnt recognize this as a problem that needs to be fixed or else she wouldnt be getting death threats for talking about it.

They CAN be better, but they arent, that doesnt mean that things arent improving VERY slowly. Dismissing the small improvements discourages the people who tried.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 03 Aug 2013, 13:58

They're really not. "Damsel in distress" hasn't been a strongly common trope in media outside of video games for a very long time. Video Games actually are quite a lot behind the rest of media on positive portrayal of women, minorities, homosexuals et al... In a world where My Little Pony has become beloved across all genders, it's hard to argue that video games are keeping up.

Video Games are the kid who grew up in a sheltered household and doesn't know how to act properly now that they're expected to be a member of society.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Lord Hosk » 03 Aug 2013, 14:15

JayBlanc wrote:They're really not. "Damsel in distress" hasn't been a strongly common trope in media outside of video games for a very long time...


I couldnt disagree more, damsel in distress is pervasive in Movies and TV just as much as it is in video games.

Alice Eve character in Star Trek Into Darkness existed just to be an object. She brought up Buffy so lets look at the firefly episode "Heart of Gold". Those are just off the top of my head and I dont consume much "visual media"
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