Tropes vs Women Ep.2

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mariomario42
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 03 Aug 2013, 14:18

JayBlanc wrote:
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.


Commentary? What? Games do not have to be commentary. Games do not have to be parodies to be acceptable of something you don't like. Something with such a simple plot, as with Damsels in Distress, are more likely than not to have any substantial comment, since they focus on gameplay and little on plot. Games give you something to do in a virtual world, and the ability to control part of it in some way.

JayBlanc wrote: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.


If people do not wish to listen to such jokes, it is fine due to personal preference. They are not a "hack" or using it for "shock value", they are comedians making jokes. What's happening here is going to a show that you know such jokes are made, then yelling at the comedian half way through to tell jokes you see fit. Since they have no bars as you said, you trying to change their act is completely and utterly pointless.



JayBlanc wrote: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.


I'm glad it's kicking and screaming. As I have already stated, they should not be held to the same standards. If you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, or judge a video game under the wrong standards, all that is, and should, be waiting for you is disappointment. In no way,shape or form is it the fish's fault, rather the unfair judgement you are calling on it. It's not low standards, it's understanding.

You can judge games by your own standards, but there's gonna be a lot of heartbreak waiting for you.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 03 Aug 2013, 14:31

Lord Hosk wrote:
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"


Yeah, and really no one was holding up "Star Trek Into Darkness" as having a particularly good plot, were they? In fact, it's gotten some pretty bad reviews hasn't it?

Describing the Firefly episode "Heart of Gold" as a Damsel In Distress plot is a pretty big stretch! The attempt at kidnapping works out pretty badly and is not the main plot driver, and the retribution for that attempt is at the hands of a woman. It is impossible to describe the female characters in "Heart of Gold" as passive and uninvolved in their fate. The plot driver is actually the 'Seven Samurai' trope. That you had to pick that out "Heart of Gold" as an example, kind of demonstrates my point. Also, dare I point out, that episode aired almost a decade ago?
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Duckay » 03 Aug 2013, 15:50

I'm not sure I entirely agree. These things do still happen in other media quite a lot. It's a lower percentage of the overall material, but you do still see it in other media.

As for video games being held to the same standard, let's keep in mind that "video game" is a big category. You don't (and shouldn't) expect the same standard of storytelling from a browser-based platformer as a AAA RPG. But that does not in any way mean that all video games should be held to that lower standard.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 03 Aug 2013, 15:57

Duckay wrote:I'm not sure I entirely agree. These things do still happen in other media quite a lot. It's a lower percentage of the overall material, but you do still see it in other media.


They still happen... but in a much smaller amount and when it happens it tends to attract comment and criticism, and that's the point.

In games it's still a predominant trope, and people seem to want to keep games protected from critical comment on use of it. That's no longer acceptable, particularly if you also want games to be considered an art form.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JackSlack » 04 Aug 2013, 18:15

mariomario42 wrote:I'm glad it's kicking and screaming. As I have already stated, they should not be held to the same standards. If you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, or judge a video game under the wrong standards, all that is, and should, be waiting for you is disappointment. In no way,shape or form is it the fish's fault, rather the unfair judgement you are calling on it. It's not low standards, it's understanding.

You can judge games by your own standards, but there's gonna be a lot of heartbreak waiting for you.


Fair enough.

mariomario42, can you describe the standards games should be held to? How should we examine artist merit in gaming? How should we discuss the 'isms, and societal issues, etc? Where has someone like Sarkeesian gone wrong?
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 04 Aug 2013, 21:50

JackSlack wrote:mariomario42, can you describe the standards games should be held to? How should we examine artist merit in gaming? How should we discuss the 'isms, and societal issues, etc? Where has someone like Sarkeesian gone wrong?


I should make clear that this is be pretty much all personal opinion of this post. Also, I'm pretty tired while typing this so I apologize for stuff that might not make sense.

For standards, I look at the average. The gaming industry has big problems with what the average is, as seen with a 5 on a 0-10 scale being terrible. The most reoccurring aspects of a genre can help define standards. It can change and even break off into something new, but there are some things that stay the same. When they break away from the average, they should be rated on how well, or badly it works. Now, some break aways will then lead into a completely different type of rating, as in mixing types, but they should be looked at separately. It can get complicated, but we shouldn't overstep judging something that wasn't trying to be more in the first place. The artist merit depends on what new things they are bringing to a certain type of game.

While social issue CAN be discussed in games, I do not see games as their main purpose to bring about discussion on it. Games are for play, to shoot people or building a house, or fighting galactic wars. Unless you heard it from a creator's mouth, I think it's safer to believe something to not have meaning over a deep look into a topic. I will say it's possible to slip by for games where there's a single person, but for teams of any size, there is editing and back and forth. You can look into issues you found in a game, but I think judging the game or industry on something they most likely didn't do on purpose, as with specific reason, isn't beneficial in any way.

Sarkeesian goes wrong in thinking it's all commentary. She is over complicating things and looking too deep into things, as with the dog comment that started all this off for the latest video. It seems to her, every female in games must be held under the microscope and every detail picked apart. Creators are seeing a character as their importance in the game, not that the character has some underlying meaning. When there are general things found out between numerous games, it appears as "since it is a general thing, it can be commenting on this outside the realm of gaming". We have such a vast number of games at our disposal, and between inspirations of other games, preferences in character development, general assumptions about people, and poor writing, certain things will appear over again, as with Damsels in Distress.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby phlip » 04 Aug 2013, 22:07

So is it your position that any idea that is particularly prevalent in a medium, to the point of being a defacto standard in that medium, shouldn't be discussed? Just accepted as the default? Regardless of how problematic the idea is, just ignore it unless it's made incontrovertibly clear that some particular instance under discussion is done intentionally as commentary, rather than just by being the default? And certainly no discussion of whether it being the default is itself problematic, even though that is itself a much bigger issue (and what TvW is primarily focused on)?

Because if that is your position... then I disagree wholeheartedly.

In short: your position reads to me as essentially "Damsel in Distress is bad, but a lot of games do it, so it's OK"... while TvW's position is essentially "Damsel in Distress is bad, and a lot of games do it, which makes it worse". Because ultimately, the cultural impact of a single game is usually pretty small, and it using some problematic tropes probably isn't going to have much ultimate effect. But a large library of games all using the same problematic tropes adds up to a big problem with real effects. These tropes being common isn't a reason to dismiss them... it's a reason to examine them even harder.

And yes, sure, it can mean that we shouldn't blame an individual game designer for including an idea that is so prevalent as to be the default in a lot of cases. But blaming individuals was never the point of this whole ordeal. And it being that prevalent is, at the macro level, a problem... which can only be fixed by, at the micro level, less games actually doing it. And hence, things like TvW, which are, to some extent, awareness campaigns.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby AdmiralMemo » 05 Aug 2013, 11:50

I come back from Shore Leave to find this thread? Bravo! I think mariomario42 is probably the most well-crafted troll I've seen in recent history. :D

phlip: You make a good point about the macro and micro levels. 1 ant isn't much of a problem 30,000 ants could be a serious problem. A cup of water doesn't harm much. A tidal wave of water can. It's all about scale.

The key issue is that people want to isolate the problem to a smaller scope to handle it. Making the scope smaller can, in some instances, remove the problem altogether.
"I can't tackle sexism in gaming in general, so let's focus on this game series."
"Well, this is justified due to this person's back-story, and that person's circumstances, and the fact that this other guy is just evil, doing evil things FOR THE EVULZ. Sexism can be expected in evil characters, because they're SUPPOSED to be evil."
You then do that for every game in existence, and it turns out that very few games in existence are part of the problem. Yet the problem still exists.

I congratulate Anita for taking this big-picture view. I still don't like these videos much, as I have plenty of other problems with them. But, as I've said before, she should be, at worst, a footnote on the course of history. Other, better people have said the same things before. But the show's not really hurting anything.

Just in the process of writing that last paragraph, I had a revelation: the issue of scope can not only be applied to the problem, but to the solution, too. In the big picture of things, what's Anita's little "Tropes Vs. Women" show going to do on its own? Not much. However, hopefully, it will be part of a larger wave of things that counteract the bad wave.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Bebop Man » 05 Aug 2013, 13:44

My girlfriend just wrote back to me after finding about Anita for the first time. Says of video #3, "she's just mentioning a bunch of titles she thinks are offensive. disappointed!"

She has her heart in the right place, but she just can't come up with an argument and a compelling way of presenting it.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JackSlack » 05 Aug 2013, 13:58

Bebop Man wrote:My girlfriend just wrote back to me after finding about Anita for the first time. Says of video #3, "she's just mentioning a bunch of titles she thinks are offensive. disappointed!"

She has her heart in the right place, but she just can't come up with an argument and a compelling way of presenting it.


But... but your girlfriend is flatly wrong on video 3. Indeed, that was some of my criticism of the first two videos: Too much history and example showing, not enough analysis. But this time, she did indeed go into some of the analysis I wanted: She explained why just swapping to a dude in distress isn't enough, touched on the importance of female perspective, and did an entire freaking animated section as a pitch for a game that could genuinely break past the sexism issues of the damsel. That's way beyond just mentioning titles.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Bebop Man » 05 Aug 2013, 16:18

JackSlack wrote:
Bebop Man wrote:My girlfriend just wrote back to me after finding about Anita for the first time. Says of video #3, "she's just mentioning a bunch of titles she thinks are offensive. disappointed!"

She has her heart in the right place, but she just can't come up with an argument and a compelling way of presenting it.


But... but your girlfriend is flatly wrong on video 3. Indeed, that was some of my criticism of the first two videos: Too much history and example showing, not enough analysis. But this time, she did indeed go into some of the analysis I wanted: She explained why just swapping to a dude in distress isn't enough, touched on the importance of female perspective, and did an entire freaking animated section as a pitch for a game that could genuinely break past the sexism issues of the damsel. That's way beyond just mentioning titles.


I'm just a messenger here since I haven't seen the video, but I quoted you on Gtalk and her answer is "she took the first ten fifteen minutes just for that [title dropping]! :P pretty lame her idea for breaking away from damseling is pretty simplistic and nothing revolutionary, it's basically just another game with a female character". Not terribly insightful but there you go. If anything her videos are rather overdrawn.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JackSlack » 05 Aug 2013, 16:50

Bebop Man wrote:I'm just a messenger here since I haven't seen the video, but I quoted you on Gtalk and her answer is "she took the first ten fifteen minutes just for that [title dropping]! :P pretty lame her idea for breaking away from damseling is pretty simplistic and nothing revolutionary, it's basically just another game with a female character". Not terribly insightful but there you go. If anything her videos are rather overdrawn.


It's basic, but it's not meant to be a revolutionary game, it's meant to be a proof of concept. Indeed, the plainness of it is kind of the point: This isn't hard to do. But barely anyone does it.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 05 Aug 2013, 16:53

So now the new "We have to shut this woman up" argument going around is that Anita didn't play all the video games she mentions, and used some video and screen grabs that she didn't get herself. Which makes her a FAKE GEEK GIRL so no one should listen to her.

We have to wait for the ideal and perfect feminist, who has played all the video games, and has all the consoles and all arcade machines, and never ever ever makes any mistakes. No one is allowed to critique video games from a feminist viewpoint till then!

(This is a subset of the 'well obviously we need to talk about this, but not the way Anita is doing, so lets dismiss it till someone who is perfect comes along' argument.)
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby AdmiralMemo » 05 Aug 2013, 18:15

Are you kidding? That's more pathetic than the rape threats.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JayBlanc » 05 Aug 2013, 18:26

One of the abhorrent arguments some present is how they "Prove" that Anita didn't play the games.

Because at the end of Twilight Princess, after being rescued Zelda gives link SOME ARROWS.

Therefore Zelda was NOT A DAMSEL.

Therefore Anita could not have played Twilight Princess, and is a liar and WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING!

Remember, turning into an arrow dispenser for the last boss fight of a game is dramatic character development. Not at all something that could also have been replaced with a donkey carrying a satchel.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby korvys » 05 Aug 2013, 18:31

JayBlanc wrote:(This is a subset of the 'well obviously we need to talk about this, but not the way Anita is doing, so lets dismiss it till someone who is perfect comes along' argument.)
I think we all know they mean
well obviously we need to talk about this, but not the way Anita is doing, so lets dismiss it till someone who is perfect comes along we all forget about it, and I can get back to being an objectifying ass without consequences
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JackSlack » 05 Aug 2013, 18:48

JayBlanc wrote:Remember, turning into an arrow dispenser for the last boss fight of a game is dramatic character development. Not at all something that could also have been replaced with a donkey carrying a satchel.


That claim doesn't even pass muster with the argument she presents! Even if we accept the idea that somehow it makes everything better there, it's demonstrably no more empowering than Elaine Marley, who (as Sarkeesian points out) still lacks a viewpoint within the narrative. (Which makes Monkey Island itself pretty cool on this front, but it still fails to challenge the sexism overall.)
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 05 Aug 2013, 22:34

AdmiralMemo wrote:I think mariomario42 is probably the most well-crafted troll I've seen in recent history. :D


Huh. I knew at some point that claim would be made. No, I stand by my opinions and reasoning 100%.

I need to stop checking this right before bed, and I'll fill in the gaps of posts tomorrow, but just want to say the only thing I have seen people complaining about her not playing the games comes down to the fact she used money raised in a kickstarter to buy them. Believe it or not, that pisses people off.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby korvys » 05 Aug 2013, 23:02

mariomario42 wrote:the only thing I have seen people complaining about her not playing the games comes down to the fact she used money raised in a kickstarter to buy them. Believe it or not, that pisses people off.
I believe that pisses people off, but I have no idea why. If the Kickstarter was explicitly for producing these videos, then any material required is fair game. Frankly, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who backed the project in good faith complaining about that.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby mariomario42 » 06 Aug 2013, 11:09

korvys wrote:I believe that pisses people off, but I have no idea why. If the Kickstarter was explicitly for producing these videos, then any material required is fair game. Frankly, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who backed the project in good faith complaining about that.


If she is not getting the clips for the video games by herself, it is clear that that materials, that were paid for by the kickstarter money, were not required. You do not have to be a backer to have a problem with this mindset.

I wouldn't trust a movie critic who hasn't watched the movie, I'm not trusting an in depth video game analysis without them even playing it.

I don't know if Anita simplifies things based on time or for her argument, but that's the problem with videos like this. People out there who have played games numerous times will disagree on her sentence summary for the game she played, or worse, didn't play. There's a lot more to many of the arguments she presents, but it is not shown. I'm guessing because it would gravely undermine her point.

See JayBlanc's post about Twilight Princess if you want to see further examples of people taking someone's argument and ignoring everything that doesn't benefit them so they can present it in a certain way.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby korvys » 06 Aug 2013, 14:55

Regarding playing/buying the games, I'll have to give her the benefit of the doubt that she played them if she did buy them. If a movie reviewer says he watched a movie, I don't expect him to use hand-recorded clips when reviewing it, and the lack of one isn't proof that he didn't watch the movie.

In any case, I don't think not playing a game completely invalidates her points. When she is analysing the content, there are plenty of other ways to look at that. There are some (very) vocal people who have played the games she is talking about, and disagree with her analysis, but there are other who have played and agree, so just playing the game isn't the magic answer.

Regardless of whether she is right, this discussion is worth having. I can understand people who say "what she said is wrong because of X", or even "What she said was wrong" (without explaination), but the people who are saying, effectively "It doesn't matter if she's right or wrong, this topic shouldn't be talked about" completely baffle me.

Some people want their games to be nothing but a distraction from the "real world". I want more than that. So do many others.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby JackSlack » 06 Aug 2013, 17:11

If they have a problem with her evidence, they're free to do a close reading and refute or discuss her objections. Watch, I'll give an example... (From PAGE ONE.)

JackSlack wrote:Ico's an intriguing example she offers. I don't disagree with its inclusion, but I feel you could do a whole video on the complicated nature of its gender portrayals. (Spoilers for Ico follow)

The game begins with images of a young boy, in chains, being locked in a stone casket to die. We later see a young girl imprisoned in a cage, suspended high above the ground, from which the boy rescues her. The boy then drags her along, and she in turn opens the doors that trap them both. (There is, however, an annoying decision here: It's portrayed as her doing it on instinct, rather than deliberately. That's flatly misogynist, and it irritates me.) Meanwhile, creatures try to capture her over and over again, which the boy can defeat... most efficiently by bringing her to a door to let her destroy them with magic. At the end, she is captured and in some fashion killed... by a female antagonist who is tremendously empowered... and whom you then kill. At which point the girl comes back from the dead and saves your life.

And then she comes back from the dead completely.


There's plenty there to merit its inclusion, but heck, it's a complicated example.


Now fine, that's a more ambiguous argument than an outright refutation, but that's what to do: Cite evidence, present argument as to what this means, etc. If you're not doing that, you're not helping the discussion, you're just dismissing her out of hand.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby empath » 06 Aug 2013, 18:28

JackSlack wrote:If they have a problem with her evidence, they're free to do a close reading and refute or discuss her objections.

{complicated (and spoilerific) example}

Now fine, that's a more ambiguous argument than an outright refutation, but that's what to do: Cite evidence, present argument as to what this means, etc. If you're not doing that, you're not helping the discussion, you're just dismissing her out of hand.


This is primarily why I haven't participated in this discussion much (despite following it quite closely), because I'm not getting much beyond "I disagree with her" and "she's wrong" to discuss...
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby Bebop Man » 06 Aug 2013, 22:30

I always think Jade from Beyond Good & Evil is the perfect example of an excellent portrayal of female characters. She's the sole PC and spends the game saving both her male sidekicks' butts, a surrogate father figure and some dude who by any other game's standards would have developed into a romantic relationship. She herself is a mother to several adopted children. And she has a job doing what she likes best, which pays handsomely. So we have a highly powerful, highly independent, not-at-all-sexualized woman working a steady job while saving the world and maintaining a family without a strong male presence or romantic interest to boot.

This isn't to discredit Anita. Jade's just one example. But I'm surprised she doesn't get name dropped for often as a great example of what female characters can strive for.
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Re: Tropes vs Women Ep.2

Postby korvys » 07 Aug 2013, 00:48

She's actually brought up a lot, I've found, in discussions of women in gaming. She's usually grouped with Alex from Half-Life, Samus from Metroid, and a couple of others as examples of female characters who aren't sexualised/objectified.

Of course, those same characters get brought up so often, and the response is always "Can you think of any others?" that maybe it's finally sunk in that a handful of characters don't absolve all of the other games, and maybe there is a problem.
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