Lucky's Cranium Soup
My reaction to the comments in my last blog
Heya fellow Gamespotters.
I deleted some of my old reviews a while ago because they were atrocious. I ended up rewriting my review for Catherine (I am allowed to do that right?) and I think its much better. I also wrote a brand new review for Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, which I finished a while ago. If you feel like it, give 'em a read.
Any kind of feedback or constructive criticism would be appreciated. When I'm done with them, I'll be writing reviews for Tales of the Abyss and Disgaea 4 as well.
Also, did you notice I changed my banner? I really liked my old Neptune banner. But I was tired of people commenting on her chest size. Okay, maybe it was only two people plus the one person that liked the comment. But its still annoying as hell. They acted like my banner negated whatever I was talking about in my blog. Her chest was the very last thing I was focused on. I thought the picture was pretty and it'd be cool to put "Lucky's Blog" between her hands and use it as a banner (the original image looked like this by the way).
Oh well. I like this new one too. Its Katherine from Catherine. I snagged the image from the wiki then added the "cartoon" filter on Gimp. Then I slapped text on it and put it up there. One day I hope to create something fancier. But for now, this is all I can really do. What do you guys think of it?
Anywaaaaay, I'm off to fold clothes and take a shower. Next blog will either be a serious editorial concerning a comment I read in the forum about kids and M rated games or one about dating T-rexs.
Please don't ask.......
Yes that was a serious question. Why is it?
Last week, Jason Schrier from Kotaku published an article where he likened the artist of Vanillaware games, George Kamitani, to a fourteen year old boy. Why? Because of the character pictured above. Kamitani humorously fired back by posting a picture on his personal Facebook of the Dwarf characters from the same game shirtless, winking, and affectionately embracing. The caption under the picture read "It seems that Mr. Jason Schreier of Kotaku is pleased also with neither sorceress nor amazon. The art of the direction which he likes was prepared." Some took it lightly; some took it as an offensive crack at Schrier's sexuality.
Schrier later apologized and explained his reasoning for attacking Kamitani's designs. He said "...its embarrassing. Because I love Japanese games and Japanese RPGs and I don't want them to perpetuate the ugly 'boys' club' mentality that has pervaded gaming for almost three decades now." A lot of apologizing from both sides was made. In an e-mail to Kotaku, Kamitani explained that he found the art in works such as Dungeons and Dragons and in JRR Tolkiens works appealing. However, he decided that the initial character designs wouldn't stand out amongst the flurry of fantasy designs already parading in not just games, but books, movies, and other media as well. So he exaggerated his character designs in a cartoonish fashion. All of the designs are exaggerated, not just the busty sorceress. Kamitani's intent wasn't to be a sexist pig or alienate female gamers. It was just a simple artistic choice. Despite that, today, Gearbox's environmental artist has also put in her (very nasty) two cents about the art and Kamitani.
I am very disappointed by all this. We are nowhere near closer to a more accepting and inclusive gaming industry or community. All that's been done here is the shaming and ridiculing of a very talented artist. I mean, Kamitani has been likened to a teenage boy, a homophobe, a terrible artist, and a sexual deviant. That is completely ridiculous, rude, and uncalled for. People took one character design out of context and then decided to turn it and Dragon's crown into the poster child for what's wrong with the gaming industry.
Never mind the gorgeous trailers that display a wide variety of beautiful and detailed locations. Never mind the interesting beat 'em up style gameplay. Never mind the detailed and gorgeous 2D graphics. Never mind that Atlus finally announced a release date and promised future updates for the game after a long stretch of silence. Once again, never mind the fact that all the character designs, male and female, are exaggerated and cartoonish.
Now, I'm not one of those people that gets offended over people being offended. I know whenever stuff like this happens, multiple tirades against political correctness and people being too sensitive come up. But I believe that everyone has the right to be offended over whatever the heck they want. What's nothing to me might be offensive to someone else. I take no issue with that. Here's what I do take issue with though:
1.) Being offended over something and then trying to get it banned and out of the hands of everyone else who doesn't share your values or sentiments.
2.) Getting offended and then relentlessly and maliciously shaming someone or something when its not even warranted.
The latter is surely what happened here. George Kamitani is a talented man, and his artwork is absolutely gorgeous. Another article on Kotaku celebrated his designs after Schreir decided to mock him. The artist of Skullgirls, Alex Ahad, stated that he was inspired by Kamitani's work. He spoke highly of Kamitani's designs and Vanillaware in general, stating that he has the utmost respect for them. I don't think anyone can deny his talent. His art is celebrated and marveled at on a number of different sites by fans and critics alike. But what happens as soon as he draws one of his character's breasts too big?
"BURN THE WITCH!"
All this, while infuriating, isn't what bothers me the most though. People like Schreir say their justification for screaming "sexism" is to make the industry more inclusive and get it away from this boy's club mentality. That is an admirable goal and I can get behind that. However, I can't get behind spewing vicious insults at a talented artist for one character design, nor do I get behind people who throw around the word sexism at the drop of a hat.
I wrote about this many many moons ago in a blog about sexism. The issue of sexism in the industry is something I take very seriously. But at the same time, I can't help but shake my head at attempts like this to stomp out sexism. Its just not effective and its extremely misguided. Situations like these that get severely blown out of proportion are not helping the problem. Silly things like this usually end up desensitizing people to the real issue.
What about the real world? What about real issues like the pay gap in the gaming industry or online harassment? What about malicious sexism directed at living, breathing, human beings? What is shaming Kamitani going to do for these women in the long run? How is calling Kamitani an immature and creepy sexual deviant making the industry and community more inclusive?
Also, what about the people who are actually making conscious efforts to make the industry and the community more inclusive? A few weeks ago on April 22nd, the #1reasontobe panel was held at the Game Developers Conference. Inspired by the #1reasonwhy hashtag that blew up over twitter late last year, a number of women from the industry spoke about their experiences in the gaming industry. They talked about both the good and the bad of working in the industry, and what could be done to change the industry and make it better and more inclusive for future game developers. I watched it online; though I'm sure it must have been a completely different experience actually being there.
It was a very emotional and moving panel. Afterword, people thanked and praised the women leading the panel, noting that their words and actions today were inspiring to future female game developers.
To me, this is far more productive. Its far more productive when, in response to some guy with his foot in his mouth saying sexual harassment is normal and part of the fighting game culture, a number of players come out and say, thats not true and its not tolerated. I also think Kim Swift's sound and fair advice is far more helpful. I think both Meagan Marie's game industry advice on her website and her encouragement of people to not be afraid to call someone out on their inappropriate behavior and speak up for yourself are far more helpful. I'd like to see more of all of this and less "LOL who hired the teenage boy to do this crappy design."
Now, I don't see anything wrong with a polite, calm, and logical discussion on how women or any other groups are portrayed in games. But while its better and far more polite than what Schreir did, I still think focusing on changing the industry from the inside is more productive. After all, once something is out there its out there. The way I see it, a more inclusive and diverse industry that is willing to take creative risks would definitely make the problem of negative or sparse portrayals of women and minorities in games much better. Mocking George Kamitani will not.
So lets veer our eyes away from the sorceress' chest and focus on the real issues here.
A few weeks ago, I purchased Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. -Sigh- there I go again. I'm beginning to think there's no use putting up that personal game buying embargo, seeing as I still just buy games anyway. Oh well, when I'm done I WILL go back to my backlog. But right now I'm having tons of fun with this game. I'm in chapter 7, with about 30 or so hours clocked in. The party had just gotten their behinds handed to them by Yellow Heart. This was of course in a cutscene AFTER I completley overwhelm her in battle. Don't you just love RPGs and their disrepancies between battle and story? It's similar to when one boss takes you on and claims that they're going to destroy you, despite the fact that you clearly outnumber them. For example, when Takaya and Jin attack you in Persona 3. Gameplay wise its 2 against 4. Storywise its 2 against 9. What made them think they could win? I mean really!
Anyway, the third game is a definite improvement over mk2. Mk2 was already a huge overhaul of the first game, and Victory adds even more onto that. Also, the music is awesome. They do recycle a few tracks (Booo Compile Heart, you cheap asses!) but most of the tracks are new. Apparently the music was done by the legendary Nobuo Uematsu and his band the Earthbound Papas. Keiji Inafune, the creator of Megaman also makes an appearance as a summon once again. Oh and a...rocket...I also spotted a Bakemonogatari reference. And according to the wiki, Kyuubey from Madoka Magica makes a cameo in the game. I'm assuming they're referring to a certain type of monster I've come across in the game. I wonder how they can afford to have all these big names and cameos in the game. I thought Neptunia was a little niche game. Gosh Compile heart, if you can afford Uematsu and Inafune, how about a stable frame rate and some anime cutscenes huh!?
Anyway, I'm aiming for the platinum trophy. Just like mk2, this looks like an easy platinum. Then I'll get back to playing Disgaea 4. I'm almost to the end of that game. I also have the urge to play Portal 2 again. So that's next!
I also did a little messing around with the CSS editor on my anime list. Now it looks like this. Yes, I've Nepped up my anime list, and dabbled in some Steins;gate, Shin Sekai Yori, Ghost in the Shell, and Mushishi (all great anime by the way). AGH! Lemme tell you how much hell I had to go through just to get it to look like that.
I don't know a lick of CSS so I had to get the help of others who had tutorials in their MAL blogs. I had to go to a few different people because the initial blog I used as a reference had some sketchy information. I also had to condense the pictures I used in GIMP and stick text on 'em. Then I had to mess with the programming and...ugh. I started at 12:30 am. Before I knew it, it was 3 am. Luckily, I do have a small sliver of programming knowledge from a class I took my senior year of high school. Although that was C++ and not CSS. My inhumane patience for electronics not doing what I tell them to was also tested daily in that class. The list doesn't look perfect (Maybe if I don't point out the mistakes, no one will notice!!)...I mean, I've seen others with far prettier lists. I will try fixing mine up again when I recover from the trauma I endured last night trying to get that thing to work.
Tell me what you think of it. And if you have an anime list as well, feel free to add me if you like. Well, that's about it....I have no witty closing statement so here's a gif of a bratty girl abusing her sweet brother.
"YOU ARE GOING TO PUT ELLIE ON THAT DAMN COVER!"
Well here we go with this topic again. A narrative designer by the name of Tom Abernathy has made a bold declaration: Women are the new core audience in gaming. Shortly after, Gamespots own Carolyn Petit posted an article backing the guy up and adding her own two cents. They both make a very good point, and there is a lot of truth in their words. But there's one thing I think they're both missing here. Or to be fair, one thing they don't emphasize as much as "Women are the new core"
Abernathy claims that women are the new core and that we should be making a more diverse range of games that appeal to this new core. But women are just one part of that new core. Thinking ONLY about women ignores the wide variety of other groups that are also a part of gaming, yet are seen as equally unimportant or even nonexistent. The groups hardly get any games that specifically speak to them because those types of games "aren't profitable." These groups are a wide variety of races, backgrounds, ages, and can be of either gender. They also have a wide variety of things they want more of in gaming, including but not limited to: more complex and diverse gameplay, more interesting tones and worlds, and richer narratives.
Now, there are two reasons why this subject gets people angry and up in arms. One: they think this is secretly a "men vs. women," or "whites vs. minorities issue." Two: They think anyone who dares to suggest that maybe games can be a little better is a nut who wants to get rid of wildly popular games like Call of Duty and God of War. Because "Ew David Cage, I dont want all games to be interactive movies" or "Ew female game designer, I don't want to play girly games." The point of this blog is to debunk both of those beliefs. That, and point to what the real issue is here. And the real issue has nothing to do with race or gender. And the real solution doesn't mean the death of AAA games aimed at teenage boys and young adult men.
It's no secret that games are primarily geared toward 15-25 year old males. Or at least, that's mainly how publishers see it when deciding which kind of games they want to throw their money at. And these publishers are intent on catering to this crowd in the most stereotypical way possible: with big guns, extreme violence, blood, and carnage, all done by the big burly male main character. Oh and breasts. Can't forget the breasts.
The problem isn't that these games exist. After all, movies and literature that contain the exact same content exist. And people love it. They eat it up. But movies and TV shows allow for more than just adrenaline pumping action flicks. They cover a wider variety of themes and genres. That's not to say that video games don't have variety. They do. But no matter how you paint it, the variety in gaming is quite limited when compared to movies, television shows, and literature. Those other mediums cater to wider variety of people of all demographics. And they're rolling in money while doing it.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not out to demonize men and make it seem like games are idiotic and childish because of them. As I stated above, people tend to get all heated about this subject due to gender factoring into the discussions. But here's what I think is the real problem here. And guess what? It has nothing to do with this whole Men vs. Women gender debate:
By pandering to one demographic, you're severely limiting the variety of entertainment that you can put out there. You're stifling potentially creative and innovative new ideas by rejecting anything that doesn't cater to that demographic. You're alienating large groups of people and their piles of cash. This isn't really worrisome if its just a few games. After all, not every game needs to appeal to everyone. But its a problem when it spans across most of an industry. So you see the problem isn't gender. I'd still be making this blog even if I was in a parallel universe where video games catered to mostly 15-25 year old women, or mostly 65 year old grandparents, or mostly 10 year old kids.
Creativity cannot flourish and new ideas cannot spring about when developers are told that they cannot do something that doesn't please this one group of people. Nor can it flourish when they are expected to resort to stereotypes and common tropes to please said group of people. They cannot even gain confidence in their ideas if publishers are going to laugh in their face and say that "You can't do that! No dude wants to see that!"
Also, a lot of people tend to get all bent out of shape when this subject arises because they think people want to get rid of any game that caters to the 15-25 year old male demographic. But really the solution is not to get rid of AAA games like Call of Duty, God of War, Gears of War, or Assassins Creed. And anyone who says that that is the solution is delusional. New and creative games that don't cater to the same demographic can coexist peacefully alongside these games. Why should we need to compromise either? There is room for both. "Variety is the spice of life" after all.
Its just a matter of convincing publishers of this fact. Crap like this should not be happening. Creative new IPs should not be refused just because they don't cater to the same demographic that a million other games are. Creative new games should not be given less advertising than generic and formulaic games that don't do anything new. Of course, businesses are businesses after all. Its hard to ignore that fact.
Even still, it feels as if theres a shift in attitudes coming along in gaming. Sure there are some companies, publishers, and developers intent on churning out the same old boring tripe. But some others are speaking out. They're saying that maybe, just maybe, games could be much more than they are. They're going against the archaic attitudes of the publishers. Which is why when articles like this or this pop up, I feel like the developers aren't even saying that to us gamers (since the collective "DURRR" that always ends up in the comments implies that gamers already know that). I feel like they're saying it to the publishers who rejected them and told them to "take the lady off the cover."
And thankfully, when they decide to branch out to bigger and better things, they have alternatives like steam/psn/xbl and kickstarter to back them up when no publisher wants to. For all peoples talk of nothing new happening in the coming gen, I'm seeing a lot of potential for change. It seems we're witnessing a complete shift in attitudes that's in its very early stages.
Look at this issue from another perspective as well. How long are we going to stereotype every single male as someone who will automatically drool with pleasure over anything that has violence, blood, and breasts? Who's to say that male gamers don't want more variety too? What if a 40 year old male gamer, who's been gaming since he was at the wee age of 10, is also getting just a little bit tired of the same old story of an emotionless man with a gun, devoid of any personality, who's only goal is to mow down aliens or other people? What if there are several male gamers who are about 30 and up and want a game that doesn't have juvenile humor and dialogue that sounds like it was written by someone half his age?
Anyway, that's really what it boils down too. This isn't about sexism, racism, gender roles, or being politically correct, even though people try to make it out to be like it is. Its about a medium we all love growing and maturing into something bigger and better. A medium that expands beyond pandering to the stereotypes of only one demographic. A medium that can satisfy the wide variety of people it attracts. Women aren't the only new core. It's also the wide range of both men and women who don't fall into the "15-25 year old male who won't touch anything that has no explosions, violence, and guns" demographic. They're the ones who want something more from the medium than only blood, violence, gratuitous profanity, and inappropriately placed sex scenes. We are all the new core.
And it'll be interesting to see what kind of games we'll get once this realization finally takes root in all of the industry.
This gif is so irrelevant to the topic at hand
Here's a lighthearted topic to offset all that seriousness and brain munching critical thinking required in my last blog.
I was looking at my games on backloggerry and realized that I've owned much more than 86 games. Some of them are just lost forever, case and all. And it got me to thinking about the ways I've lost many of my video games. 5 cases in particular are just REALLY sad (and somewhat funny). I hope sharing my experiences would get you (yes you, my lovely followers) to share yours too. Or maybe you just came to laugh at my pain.
5.) Sharing is caring
I lent my Disgaea 2 to a friend back in high school. She was two years ahead of me and we were good friends at the time so I thought "Why not?" She ended up keeping it for a while. Around the time she was about to graduate, her brother asked "Oh, do you want your game back? Have we kept it too long?" I said "No its ok, go ahead and keep it for a little while longer! Disgaea is meant to be enjoyed the most once you get to the post game!" Since he was in the same grade as me, I knew I could ask him for it back after she graduated.
All 3 of us have since graduated. Ha...they live near me too. I could go walk to their house and ask for it back. But that'd be weird. Oh well. Even if I got it back I probably wouldn't play it. I've clocked in well over 200 hours in that game.
4.) Final Fantasy X-2 vs My kid sister (or was it my PlayStation?)
Here's a fun fact: I've purchased the game Final Fantasy X-2 three times. One was for my friend's birthday. One was when I first bought it for myself. The last was because my little sister broke it. Or...perhaps it was my PlayStation 2's laser malfunctioning. I believe this was back when I had my first PS2 that ended up breaking. I honestly can't remember. Perhaps it was both, and I ended up buying Final Fantasy X-2 four times. My memory of that is extremely sketchy. Still, I never knew why I didn't just hide my games when I was younger. That wasn't the only game my little sister broke...
3.) The Walking Final Fantasy XII
My first Final Fantasy XII game disappeared out of the blue one day. It was gone for a really long time, and I looked far and wide for it. Under the bed. In the game cases of every single game I owned. In all the anime DVD cases I had in my room. Behind the bed. EVERYWHERE man! Eventually my itch to play Final Fantasy XII got so unbearable that I just bought a new one. Several weeks after repurchasing the game, while looking for something in my older sister's closet, I found the previous game in one of her movie cases. She does not play video games, other than The Sims. And I would have NEVER put it there so I have no flipping idea how it got there. It was this movie by the way..
The last place a final fantasy game should ever be
Luckily I only paid $12 for it the first time and then $10 the second time. Otherwise I'd have been even more pissed off than I already was...
2.) Vacuum crossing
A friend of mine in 5th grade once bought me animal crossing for my birthday. I played it a little and liked it. Too bad it got lost before I could beat it. Sometimes I would go in my mom's room and sleep on the floor near her bed. Once, I took Animal Crossing out of my DS to play Pokemon mystery Dungeon. Instead of putting it in its case where it should have been, I put it on the floor under the bed. I never saw the game after that. I looked all over her room and couldn't find it. She did vacuum around that time, so I suspected that she probably vacuumed up the game by accident. Those DS cartridges are so tiny. This whole thing was just
I felt like such a douche when my friend would ask me if I was enjoying the game and I would lie and say "Yeah its great."
1.) Gotta eat 'em all
I had a fun little game called Pokemon Sapphire Version for the gameboy advance SP when I was a kid. I loved it dearly. I also had this cousin who my family would watch over after school while his parents were at work. So we would always play pokemon together on our gameboys. He had ruby version, but for some odd reason, he took my sapphire home with him one day. The next day they came and told me that their dog ATE HIS GAMEBOY AND MY GAME. They said they were sorry and that they would buy me a new one. Instead of getting mad I tried to figure out how that was even possible. How did that dog get that thing into his mouth? How is their dog not dead?
Apparently the dog didn't swallow it, he spit up the gaming console. I also recall my cousin having a gameboy micro as well as an SP, so maybe the dog ate the micro (those things were tiny). Anyway they never ended up getting me a new sapphire, so I took his ruby version and never gave it back. Hm...ruby version isn't on my backloggery. Too bad I can only mark it as "formerly owned" and not the much more sophisticated and comical (in the saddest way possible) "eaten by my cousin's dog."
You know, I like it when the writers of Gamespot voice their opinions and write articles about various issues in the gaming industry. They're usually very interesting reads. However, that doesn't mean I agree with each and every one of them. One article in question is Carolyns recent article on Persona 4. In the article, she voices her disappointment with how Naoto and Kanjis characters are portrayed in the game. She claims that the issues of sexuality and gender identity are handled quite poorly in Persona 4, and that it goes against its themes of accepting ones self. She says that their characterizations "[send] the message that such sexual orientations and gender identities are too scary to accept."
While I respect her opinion, I disagree with it. But before I start, I'll give all you readers a fair warning: Since I'm replying to an article about sexuality and gender identity in gaming, of course I'll be addressing these issues. If you're sick and tired of hearing about this, do yourself a favor and press the back button right now. Also, this blog contains numerous spoilers for Persona 4.
Kanji is put out on the cutting board first. The tough talking, foul mouthed, troubled youth's shadow manifests as a flamboyant man in a loincloth spouting dialogue with some very obvious homosexual undertones. And even before Kanji was kidnapped and thrown in to the TV, this is heavily hinted (as you can infer from his first encounter with Naoto). It turns out that this isn't the case. When he finally accepts his shadow, it turns out that he isn't homosexual, he just deeply dislikes women and how they judged him. It turns out that he's just more comfortable with guys.
Petit's answer to this is: "To me, this is a huge cop-out. It rings psychologically false; the ultimate truth of Kanji's character as someone who was just afraid of rejection because girls had been cruel to him in the past doesn't quite mesh with the imagery of his dungeon and the personality of his shadow self. By clearly raising the idea in the player's mind that Kanji is [homosexual] and then rejecting that idea, Persona 4 sends the message that homosexuality is shameful and should not be accepted."
First of all, the characters personalities and actions do not PERFECTLY match with the personalities of their shadow selves. Its actually said in the game that the shadows are only one facet of the characters personality. Also, the shadows and the dungeons are very extreme manifestations of the characters deepest troubles and fears.
For example, Rise's strip club dungeon was the result of people not seeing the real her. Rise constantly had to be everyone's charming, cute, and most of all, perfect idol for the camera. Fed up with this fake personality she was forced to show, she left show business and went to live a normal life. But of course everyone still approached her, wanting to meet Rise the media darling, not the real her. Therefore, the whole "I'm going to strip and bare it all" was a very extreme way of saying she wanted to shed her generic idol shell and show the world the real her.
Yukiko's dungeon was a castle; her shadow wore princess' clothing, and constantly spoke of "scoring a hot stud." Her shadow, once provoked, manifested as a bird in a cage who summoned a prince to fight for her. This represented Yukiko's feelings of being trapped in a life she didn't want to pursue. She didn't want to inherit the family inn. She wanted someone ("a prince charming") to come and whisk her away. The Void Quest dungeon, manifesting itself as an 8 bit JRPG dungeon, represented Mitsuos idea of his actions all being a game, with him being the hero. The Heaven dungeon manifested from Namatame's view of himself as a God who was saving lives. It could also possibly represent Nanako's desire to be reunited with her dear departed mother.
The disconnect between the exaggerated dungeons and reality is especially evident with Yukiko. She's a reserved, refined, and classy girl (a Yamato Nadeshiko if you will) who's never even had a boyfriend. Yet her shadows words that go something like "I've got my lacy underthings on, now I'm ready to score a hot stud," carry a very obvious sexual connotation.
Okay, now lets bring it back to Kanji and his whole bathhouse bonanza. Remember, these are extreme and exaggerated manifestations. Rise is not an indecent girl who'd strip in front of millions, Yukiko is not promiscuous, Nanako doesn't want to die, and Mitsuo and Namatame are delusional (among other things).
Kanjis character was handled in a very ambiguous and slightly confusing way. And at times, it seems that his confusion about his sexuality is merely played for laughs (as evidenced by the two scenes Petit mentioned. Ill give her that one). But it just doesn't seem like the creators were trying to be disrespectful to homosexuals, or paint homosexuality as dirty or shameful. I think Troy Baker (his voice actor) put it best in this video. All in all, Kanji is a kid struggling with his identity. Conflicted between accepting himself (along with his hobbies that are seen as feminine), or rejecting the world that rejects him. I also thought it was really cool how Baker said that people came up to him and told him that his character kind of gave them the courage to be open about their own sexuality.
And with that we move in to what Petit had to say about Naoto's character. First, she refers to Naoto as a male throughout the article on the basis that Naoto uses the masculine Japanese pronoun boku. I dont know if Petit knows this, but girls who refer to themselves with a masculine pronoun are known as bokuko (boku + ko, which means girl). In the west, we refer to them as tomboys. It does not automatically mean they identify as men. It complements both Naoto's personality and backstory.
Also, Naoto's reason for wanting to craft herself as the hard-boiled detective did not only stem from her attachment to fictional characters. She is descended from a line of famous detectives and she intends to continue the tradition. Her parents dying when she was young forced her to grow up quickly, explaining her mature demeanor and personality despite being a teenager in high school. The detective novels she loved as a kid were only one small piece of the puzzle.
Naoto is young, short (5'0"), and a woman. This doesn't fit her idea of what a detective is. She can't change her height or age (at least not right away), so she chose to change her appearance in order to be taken more seriously by the older detectives. Its enough that she gets treated like a child (something made evident in the game). I doubt she'd want to deal with sexism too. I think Naoto's true intentions were to become a splendid and ideal detective, not a man. Like Kanji, Naoto is struggling with her identity. I also do not think she is transgender. She just doesn't fit the bill. Later in the game, she has no qualms about putting on a girls school uniform and speaking in a more feminine voice for the protagonist. It would seem to me that if she identified as a male, she would have refused, being highly uncomfortable and maybe a bit angered by the request. It seems she would have demanded that the protagonist accept her the way she is: as a man.
Also, in Persona 4 Arena, when an illusion of Akihiko comments on her overdeveloped chest ("its all fat and no muscle"), she blushes and remarks that that's the part of her self-image that she's most sensitive about. From her choice of words, it seems to be embarrassment of a grown man's blunt comment about her developing breasts, not shame or anger of a female body she didn't want. Also, in the epilogue of Persona 4 Golden, we see Naoto comfortably donning feminine clothing and slightly longer hair. Throughout the game and even more so in the social links, the protagonist helps the characters through their troubles and insecurities so they can accept themselves. Naoto accepting herself as a woman who could still be a great detective without pretending to be something she was not adhered to that formula.
There's also a few other things to consider here. Japan is an entirely different country that speaks an entirely different language. Some things get lost in translation. Some subjects just aren't handled in a way that coincides with the way we Westerners would handle the subject. Japans views of gender identity and sexuality are probably much different than they are in the US. Couple that with the fact that video game stories still have a lot of growing to do as a whole. There's a lot to be desired in its budding methods of storytelling. However, in terms of video game stories and characters, I'd say Persona 4 is top notch. Its characters are as well fleshed out as they are dynamic and interesting. I don't think it was Atlus' intention to mock or shame homosexuals and transgender people.
Perhaps in a way, I am a bit biased. I absolutely adore the game and have spent well over 150 hours on it. So of course I'm going to defend it, because I think the game is so brilliant. In no way would I ever defend it if I shared Carolyn's sentiments and thought that the game was even remotely disrespectful and offensive.
Must. Not. Reply....TO TROLL!
So I was reading through Kevin VanOard's latest blog post. It was a pretty interesting read, and I look forward to any other blogs he'll be posting from now on. There's was one particular paragraph that really struck me and got me to thinking. It said:Kevin-V wrote:
In some ways, I tend to be reserved in blogs, at least since I have worked here. It's kind of odd being a public figure, even if it's just "Internet dude that writes about video games" kind of publicness. More words open me up for even more ridicule, as if nasty review comments aren't enough to keep me consistenly humbled and sometimes humiliated.
But not so long ago, something in me changed. I recognize that words have power, obviously--I write for a living. I know that words are more than letters arranged in some semblance of order, but containers of ideas, thoughts, dreams, and emotions. And I will never allow people to disparage the ones I love, and always stand up against those that use words to hurt, demean, and accuse. I have never been very good at letting terrible words bounce off me; I take them to heart quite often, which is why I tend to avoid comment sections. And when I do visit them, I become invariably emotional. Often, that means feeling hollow inside for a while. Sometimes, it means a few tears. Other times, it means becoming defensive, and standing up for my work or that of others. But that thing that changed in me--it was a realization that I must stop giving people power to hurt me.
In a way, I'm the same. For example, I really like this site, for the most part. I like the writers of this site. I really like the mods too. I've been to forums with rude mods who outright disrespect the users and abuse their power. I've also been to forums devoid of mods, thus allowing the users to post as much innapropriate, racist, sexist, and hateful drivel as they please. Thankfully, neither is the case with this site. There are a lot of regular users who...I honestly don't like on this site. But there's far more that I actually do like (including all you lovely people who are following me).
When it comes to reviews, even if I don't agree with the scores every game recieves, I think the vast majority of the reviews on this site are quite well written and fair. I can only name 2 reviews that I thought were poorly written, unhelpful, and ridiculously unfair. One of those reviews ended up getting pulled off and rewritten. So, bottom line, I think there is a lot to like about this site.
So considering that, whenever I scroll down to the comment section on reviews, I can't help but roll my eyes at the sheer volume of stupidity that tends to run rampant there. I usually end up cracking my knuckles and replying to these comments that usually regurgitate the same crap I've heard over and over again: "Gamespot hates JRPGs/Nintendo/handhelds/etc." or "OMG gamespot is so biased! This game deserves a score 0.5 points higher than it got! GS reviews are so irrelevant!" or "IGN gave it a ____ (insert higher score here). GS is soooo dumb, I hate their reviews!" or someone ends up personally attacking the reviewer's credibility, face, and skill as a gamer.
Some of the comments and forum posts I've seen end up being far far more offensive and hateful than that. And I'm ashamed to say that at rare times, it DOES get to me. Sometimes its just some idiot trolling and I ignore them. Sadly, a good chunk of these people are dead serious. I've called out another user and called him a baby for calling Carolyn Petit an awful epithet (having to do with her being transgender) and claiming she sucks at games. Why did he insult Petit you ask? ONLY because this douche hated the 7.5 Petit gave paper mario sticker star. I've posted a somewhat lengthy list of JRPGs that got a 7.0 and higher on gamespot when someone spouted that tired old line "Gamespot hates JRPGs" on the Mugen Souls review. I posted a similar but significantly smaller list of games when someone else claimed that Gamespot only gives 9s to FPS. And who knows how many short replies I left smothered in mean spirited sarcasm to some random idiot endlessly whining and crying about God-knows-what. Quite a few of my previous blog posts have come about as a result of douchebags who tend to spout and spread utter nonsense, ignorance, and hate.
I've been wondering about this for a while, but Kevin's blog post made me think about it again. Is it even worth it to reply to these nuts? Should I really be stooping to their level just to try to reason with some ignoramus who isn't even looking to have an intelligent discussion, but instead wants to wave their e-peen around behind the safety of their computer screen? By replying to them, am I simply giving their words power ("feeding the trolls" in other words)?
Perhaps I'd be better of pressing the Flag button and hoping a mod axes the comment. Perhaps instead of arguing with thickskulled fools in the comment, I should post my own positive comment about the review and just leave without reading any of the other comments. Perhaps I should just not click on things that I know are going to piss me off, which is actually something I'm trying to do more nowadays. Its precisely why I avoid System Wars like the plague. Well to be honest, I do go in there from time to time. I read a few of the topics, then leave, usually disgusted.
I believe that some people just need a little sense slapped into them sometimes. I believe sometimes other people should step in and say "Hey, that's not okay!" But on the internet, against trolls, I wonder how well that works.
When someone leaves a malicious comment on reviews/articles/videos/blogs directed straight at the author, I'm often conflicted about what is the right course of action. By replying to this person with an intelligent, well thought out rebuttal, perhaps I really can set this idiot straight, and perhaps positively influence someone else with a viewpoint they'd have never even though of. That, and maybe the author of the article/review/video will see that not all of us regular users are hateful little sh*ts who will smile and nod as long as you tell us what we want to hear, but then insult and attack you whenever you dare disagree with us. In other words, a gesture to say "someone's got your back."
OR if I should just report the malicious comments, then leave my own comment on the review, devoid of any malicious ad hominems, and just leave and be about my business. I know I'd probably be better of doing the latter, but it's so hard to resist replying sometimes. This is something I'll continue to think over...
I didn't expect to be pimp slapped with such good news so early in the morning. Nippon Ichi Software is bringing over The Guided Fate Paradox (aka Kamisama to Unmei Kakumei no Paradox), Disgaea Dimension 2, and Time and Eternity (toki to towa) to both Europe and North America! It's true (oh here's a video if you don't feel like reading)
Yes Nippon Ichi, all of it. All of my nonexistant cash (-SOB-). Now I know these are the kinds of JRPGs that appeal to an extremely narrow audience, and if some of you haven't pressed the back button already, you might have gone "LOL wut?" Well that's cool. We've all got different tastes after all. But as a big fan of obscure and quirky Japanese games like this, I am very excited for this.
Disgaea Dimension 2
Though to be honest, I like Disgaea 2's story the best, you can't beat the appeal of the original characters from the first game. It's good to have them back. I wonder if other characters like Mid Boss, Jennifer, Gordon, and Thursday are gonna show up. So far I've only been checking in on the game here and there but I remember crunchyroll posting something about Laharl's little sister, as well as a female Laharl somewhere in the game (found it). LOL wat? This game may end up being even sillier and crazier than the original.
Guided Fate Paradox
If you recall, I had put this on my most anticipated of 2013 list. I love Nippon Ichi's strategy RPGs so I'm excited for this new IP. However it seems this one is actually a dungeon crawler, not an SRPG like I had initially thought. I'm still pumped but I'm very curious about how it's going to play out. As stated in my other blog as well, music is by Yousei Teikoku (Mirai Nikki fans would recognize the familiar music) and adorable character designs by Noizi Ito (Haruhi and Shakugan no Shana).
There's definetly a supernatural element to the game but notice the "the chosen one-a typical high school student." Ugh. That is typical. I think they definetly could have used less cheesy words to describe the game. Hopefully the story won't be TOO typical. However, NIS's games are usually light hearted and silly so I'm hoping for that same brand of odd humor in this game.
Time and Eternity
The narrator is so weird (Is that Patrick Seitz?). I'm a bit iffy on this one, but what draws me in is it being a "Hi-def animation RPG." I had ommitted it from my most anticipated list only because I wasn't sure it was going to come over to the West. I remember seeing Gamespot's Johnathon Toyad play the game in their "now playing" series of videos. It could turn out to be a decent game that I would enjoy. I like the whole use of time magic thing. I'll have to scout around for more info before I decide to buy. But oh man that animation looks gorgeous.
Well all this is going to be releasing over the year. NIS America is on fire it seems. They are still releasing Hyperdimension Neptunia V in March as well. Someday before the year is over, hopefully I'll have all 4 in my posession. But uh...first I got to go finish those 28 games I never finished...Goshdarnit...
Anyway, I just needed to voice my excitement somewhere. I wouldn't dare post this in System Wars. And I'm not sure too many people in PGD would really care. So anyway, this is good news and I'm looking forward to it. I knew Disgaea was coming over but I wasn't so sure about the other games, due to them being so niche and new. Good to see that companies such as NIS are willing to bring stuff like this over the the West. Now if only they'd localize Gal Gun...ahaha joking....?
OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE!?
Hardly a week after I posted a blog saying "no new games until I beat a good chunk of the 27 games that I never beat" I went out and bought this game:
Yes this. Tales of the Abyss for the 3DS. Bought it brand spankin' new just like I said. Oh gosh, I really have zero self control. Well what's done is done, now that just means there are 28 games I need to beat. And now that I've bought this, I highly doubt I'll be buying anymore games until my annual end of the year psycho game buying binge.
That aside, this is my very first Tales game. I never even paid attention to the series until recently. Which sucks because I love JRPGs and yet there's so many series that I've barely even touched. Until about two years ago I had been too hung up on Square Enix. Anywhoos, I'm only about 3 hours in to the game. I know by now that RPGs usually take a few hours to really pick up. So I'll keep playing before I form a solid opinion on the game. Now I only have impressions.
There's a lot of info about the state of the world that's been presented so far. A lot a lot. There's so many different places and factions. It's nothing too complicated though. And a quick internet search cleared some stuff up. The gameplay is in "simplistic beginning of the game" mode. Meaning it'll probably get more complex and fun once I get farther in the game and start fighting stronger enemies. Its a pretty fun battle system.
The main character, Luke, is a bit of a douche (Hey that rhymed. Coincidence? I THINK NOT). Which is funny because he shares the same voice actor with another main character douche from .hack//GU named Haseo. This guy is going to take some getting used to. The rest of the characters are bearable. I'm hoping for some backstory and character development later on. The voice acting is fairly good. Some of the performances are great and some sound flat and emotionless. Namely Tear.
Right off the bat my ears picked up on Luke and Guy's voice actors being Yuri Lowenthal and Johnny Yong Bosch (lol is there anything these guys aren't in?). Also picked up on Erin Fitzgerald's voice as well as Kirk Thorton and Sandy Fox, who I love for having such a cute high pitched voice that surprisingly isn't grating. Apparently Stephanie Sheh, Liam O' Brien, Jamieson Price, and Michael McConnohie voice characters that appear later. Looking forward to that. I like all of them too. What's funny is, I could have sworn Anise was Melissa Fahn, but apparently its another voice actor who sounds a lot like her. Well that's all for now. I might write a review for this game when I'm done. Ohoho my first Tales game. I am excited for what's to come. Then its back to the 27 games I never beat.
By the way Happy Valentine's Day to you all. I have no valentine...but oh well. At least my Dad still loves me. Have a nice day with your special someone. And if you don't have one, its ok. Go play some video games!
Back to Tales of the Abyss I a go go!
Omg next E3 is gonna have Versus info, I can sense it!!
Can you imagine waiting 10 years for something to come, only for it to never come? Well can you?
I sure can't. But you know, it sounds to me like that's what a certain special brand of Final Fantasy fans have been doing. Yeah you know who you are. The ones who constantly like to remind us that "The last great Final Fantasy was ten!" Or they might say that the last great one was nine. Others say that no Final fantasy will ever surpass seven. They're the ones that follow Square Enix religiously despite the fact that they've been disappointed time and time again. They're the ones who endlessly trash all the newer final fantasies in favor of the older ones. The ones who tell anyone who dared to enjoy any final fantasy after nine or ten (it depends) that they are what is wrong with the gaming industry. The ones who say there is no need for new final fantasies, only HD remakes of the old ones. The ones that think that JRPGs are all dead and that good ones dont even exist, because Final fantasy is the be all end all of JRPGs. And if Final Fantasy sucks then that must mean all JRPGs suck right!? And my reaction is something like this:
The so called last great Final Fantasy came out at the end of 2001. It is now February 2013. Have you honestly been waiting 11, almost 12 years, for some godly game that you think will magically renew your undying love for Square Enix? I could understand having this mindset back in 2003 or even as late as 2005. But 11 years!? 12 years if you think the last great Final Fantasy was 9. 13 years if you thought the last great one was 8. A whopping 15 years if you thought the last great one was 7. Lord, do you know how long ago that is? Could you remember what was going on in the world 15 years ago? 15 years ago, Bill Clinton was president of the United States!
Now I know some people are going to stop reading in order to scroll down and bash the hell out of me in the comment section. But before you do that please hear me out. Has there really been some people waiting over a decade for ONE video game company to get their act together and impress them? Don't you think that maybe, just maybe its time to move on?
I've read several accounts of fans getting hyped for a new Final Fantasy, hoping that it's going to be the next seven, or eight, or whatever their favorite was. And lo and behold, it's not! You know why? Because times change thats why! So does the staff at Square Enix. Also, Final Fantasy is a series that historically changes with every installment. I can't count how many times I heard people say "The last great FF was X, but I'm going to buy this new game anyway, in the hopes that Square will get their act together!" Or " ____ (insert final fantasy that has yet to come out) is going to save Square, and itll be way better than that piece of crap _______ (insert final fantasy that already came out here)."
You guys know that old saying? Fool me once (FF XI) shame on you, fool me twice (FF XII) shame on me, fool me three times (compilation of FF VII) what am I doing, fool me four times (FF XIII) no seriously what the hell am I doing, fool me five, six, seven, eight times (Versus, no Type 0 localization, FF all the bravest, shift to mobile gaming) why am even still here? Ok yeah that's not how the saying goes but you get my point right? It baffles me as to why someone who has been disappointed with a company's decisions over the course of a decade would even bother with them anymore.
Now to clarify, I don't think there is anything wrong with preferring the old final fantasies over the new ones. But it is getting tiring seeing over and over on every topic having to do with FF and SE:
"FF 7 REMAKE!" or " Square is crap now. This next game they're putting out better be good though because I'm buying it anyway, its totally going to be the next ff 7!" or "Anybody who enjoys the new FF games has horrible taste!" or "Square Enix sucks now so all gaming and JRPGs must suck too!"
Why cant you just move on? Serious question, why? Does Atlus not exist in your world where JRPGs all suck? Or Monolith Soft? Level 5, Mistwalker, Nippon Ichi Software, or Namco Bandai? Anyone?
And I'll admit, I was once waiting and waiting on SE for Versus and other great games akin to the Final Fantasies that I loved. I waited and waited, missing out on many other JRPGs. Then one day I just said "Forget them." I just didn't see any point to waiting on them anymore. When I picked up other great JRPGs by other companies, this only reinforced my belief. And hey, I still make passing, backhanded comments about how Square can't get anything done in a reasonable amount of time. I'm human too. But I just don't see any point in sticking with them after Ive been disappointed for way too long over their bizarre business decisions. Thats just masochistic. The games I want may possibly never come from SE anymore, so I've accepted it and moved on to other games and gaming companies.
I'll also admit that quality JRPGs are nowhere near as abundant as they were in the PS2 and PS1 era. But they are out there, hidden in the mist. And you sure aren't going to find them by getting hung up on one company and/or one series. And that goes for any genre of gaming. What I just said about Square Enix could go for any company. Series can change or end abruptly. Companies will sell out. The head honchos and leaders leave, which can be good or bad. No matter what, things are going to change over time. Whether you choose to accept it or sit there and suffer through these unwanted changes is up to you.
Not only that, but when I game, I always keep an amusing little adage in mind. Its called Sturgeon's Law, otherwise known as "90% of everything is crap!" Well, it'd be a stretch to say 90% of games are complete trash. It'd be more accurate to say 90% of games are average to crap. Always. And that goes for any form of entertainment.
You'll always have those money hungry corporations looking to nickel and dime their customers. Youll always have guys who have the artistic integrity of a potato and will just copy what the next guy is doing. Great companies will be bought out by bigger companies who will force them to churn out uninspired, dumbed down, rehashed sequels. Great companies may go out of business as well. Some companies will give the finger to their long standing fanbases in favor of a market that will make them more money.
That's just how things are sometimes. The only thing we as gamers can really do is vote with our wallet. We can only sort amongst the steaming piles of human excrement in hopes that we'll find a jewel hidden in there somewhere. Also something else: I think some people get so hung up on review scores, hype, critics, controversies, and what's past, that they forget to have fun. Not every game is going to be a 10/10. Not every game is going to make you shed manly gamer tears of joy and scream "BRAVO!" at the end. That doesn't mean you can't still have fun with them.
I've played several "crappy" games and enjoyed them. I put crappy in quotes because they weren't deemed crappy by me and other fans of the game, but by critics and naysayers. It doesn't matter to me, because I'm still having fun with the game. I don't get hung up on review scores. Sure I'll read them. But I'll be damned if Im going to let a few bad scores stop me from getting a game I think I'll enjoy. And even if I pick up a bad game, or a series ends, or a company begins to suck, I know there's always something else out there. One door closes, but another opens, provided that I open that door and don't just sit there crying.
Gaming is supposed to be fun, first and foremost. And if gaming really causes you enough rage to curse out random teenagers on a net forum, type in all caps about how much you hate it nowadays, or maliciously attack gaming companies, games, or reviewers from behind the comfort of your computer screen, then you've got three options.
You can rejoice over the fact that digital downloading now allows us to download classics from the previous eras of gaming and enjoy them on our modern systems. You can also forget all about the sucky companies that wronged you and go on a hunt for different genres, games, and companies to support. Or you can go find another hobby that doesnt cause you so much pain. Because honestly, I can't help but shake my head when I see people get REALLY mad about gaming. Its good to have passion, sure. But I think some people get a little too heated over pieces of plastic and discs.
In conclusion, there is always something else out there. There's an entire ocean of games out there. But how can you enjoy the ocean if you're standing on the beach, arms crossed, cheeks poked out, complaining about how there's sand in your shorts and the beach is just too darn hot?
I'd encourage anyone who's going through a gaming rut to keep trying! Gaming is a great hobby, and I know sometimes we all go through times where we think "You know, it's just not doing it for me anymore." But don't give up! Gaming has so much variety, and there will always be new uncharted seas out there!
My face when compiling my backlog
I happened upon the site Backloggery.com about an hour ago. Its an interesting and useful little site. I quickly began filling in all the games contained on the bottom shelf of my big wooden bookshelf. When I was done I was just staring at the sceen looking like this:
Here were my stats: I owned 85 games (not including the few that I broke or lost when I was a stupid kid). 41% of the games I own were beaten. Which is 31 games. 57% (43 games) were incomplete. 1% (1 game) I completed 100% and got the platinum trophy for. I can't believe I neglected so many of my games. And I just keep buying more. And I just made a blog about 11 more games I wanted. Oh dear lord, when it comes to video games, sometimes I fear that I've become too greedy.
So I'm giving myself a challenge. No more new games until I beat a good chunk of my unfinished games. I want the complete and incomplete percentage to reverse (at the very least). So the list of games I plan to complete are:
- Final Fantasy VIII
- Spyro the Dragon
- Mana Khemia: Student Alliance (this is going to be painful)
- Persona 2
- Phantom Brave (for the psp)
- Valkyria Chronicles 2
- .hack//GU vol 2
- Final Fantasy XII
- GTA: San Andreas
- GTA: Vice City
- Odin Sphere
- Red Ninja (going to be painful too)
- The Simpsons: Hit and Run
- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days
- Final Fantasy III
- Grand Theft Auto 4
- Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Valkyria Chronicles
- Demon Souls
- Disgaea 4
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Portal 2
- Uncharted 3
- Resident Evil Outbreak file 2
- Code of Princess (wow, had to edit. Can't believe I forgot the only 3DS game I own)
Great googly moogly!
27 games!? My, my where do I even start? I guess I could start with games like Valkyria Chronicles, .hack, and phantom brave where I stopped playing when I was at the final boss. I think I can do this. But I've really got to start finishing my games. When I don't I feel like I wasted money. Or someone else's money which is much worse. Though most of the games I asked my parents for was when I was like...11 and under. After that I started saving up my own money to buy games. And thankfully I used to beat most of the games that other people were generous enough to buy for me. At least kid me had some kind of sense.
Completley irrelevant yet hilarious picture
So I've got a lot to beat. But its okay, I think I can do it. This will be a good way to teach myself discipline, self control, and being more frugal (Er...I think). That and perhaps good time management skills, seeing as I have other obligations that are far far more important than video games. God my time management skills are horrendous. But again this is good practice. Perhaps I should start making schedules or something.
There's another interesting thing I want to share with anyone who hasn't yet pressed the back button. I read that humans love seeing stats and scores that tell us we're doing something good or getting something done. Jane Mcgonigal talks a lot about it in her book "Reality is Broken" (a very good read, I highly reccomend it). That explains why we love video games so much. Getting a higher score gives us something to strive for. And to pat ourselves on the back for once we get it.
And she talked about a really funny online game called Chore Wars. The description of the game is "claim experience points for house work." The whole family can use it and its a fun way to get everyone to get off their butt and do housework. The book talked about a family always cleaning in order to outdo each other and get the highest score. Their house has never been cleaner. Sounds a little silly at first, but hey, it was a nice motivator to get everyone to clean wasn't it?
So how is this relevant? Well, I just thought, maybe seeing my stats and progress in Backloggery will motivate me to finish all my games. Knowing what I stated above, I have a theory that using the website My Anime List also motivated me to finish more anime. Just to see those sweet sweet stats. Sure, it was also because I obtained a renewed interest in anime, but you can't rule out the stats and wanting a high score factor too.
I can do it!!
All right, I think I'm done ranting. The point of this blog was mostly to just compile a checklist of the games I need to finish. That and I want to know how big your backlog is fellow Gamespotters. Is mine insane? Or is mine nothing compared to yours.
Oh yeah and it was also my goal to feed you subliminal messages through anime pictures. Go watch Bakemongatari
I don't normally take review scores all that seriously. Or I should probably say, bad critic scores won't stop me from buying a game I think I'm going to enjoy. But I still read (or at least skim) through both the good and the bad reviews on Metacritic. I use everything at my disposal to decide whether I want a game or not. That includes critic's reviews, player's reviews, gameplay videos, trailers, and demos.
Even still, I have one gripe with Metacritic. The background color of the score is dictated by whatever score it got. Basically green = superb to good, yellow = so so to not so good, and red = bad bad bad. Or to use metacritic's own terms, green = universal acclaim to generally favorable. Yellow = mixed to average reviews. Red = generally unfavorable to overwhelmingly dislike.
Now here's the funniest part. If you're a movie or a tv show, you can score a 6.3 (or 63) and be in the green, meaning generably favorable reviews (for example: Les Miserable). But if you're a video game and you score a 6.3, then you've recieved mixed to average reviews. Heck, if you score a 70-74, you've recieved average to mixed reviews. Last time I checked, wasn't a 7 good, and a 5 was average or mediocre?
Movies don't start getting considered average until they score in the 50s, but games automatically get bogged down to "average" once they drop below 75. Well this surely isn't helping to stop that completley ridiculous idea plaguing the gaming community that "Any game that scores below an 8 suxs!"
Movies also aren't in the red until they drop somewhere below a 40, while a game is in the red when it scores somewhere below a 50. I wonder why Metacritic gives movies and tv shows more wiggle room. I really wish they'd classify their game reviews just like they classify their movie reviews. If they did that, then maybe we can be rid of this stigma that its a total sin for a game to be a 7, 6, or even a 5. Personally, if I loved the genre, I'd still play a 6 and at rare times even a 5.
After noticing this about Metacritic, this only reinforced my paranoia about buying (or skipping) games based only on review scores. I stick to my belief about playing demos, reading player and critic's reviews, and watching gameplay videos and trailers to decide whether I want a game.
Because apparently we live in a world where a game that scores a 7.4 is only average.
Hmm...you know, all my blog entrys have been really serious editorials where I obsess over grammar, spelling, and conveying my ideas effectively. Well I guess I'll do something different and write some non serious entries as well. So I decided to start with my most anticipated games of 2013. After looking at some others, I wanted to do it too. So here goes...
1.) Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory
Lemme start with an obligatory "haters gonna hate."
I steered clear of the Neptunia series for a long time because of the really bad things said about it. How silly of me. I decided to just go ahead and give the second game a try back in November. It was such a pleasant surprise. I fell in love with the game, it was so funny and cute. And the gameplay was simple yet addictive. I even nabbed the platinum trophy for it, the only platinum I have at the moment. So I'm very hyped for the next game. I was going to preorder the limited edition but I blew all my Christmas money on a 3DS. Haha oh well. I'll still be getting the game. It looks even better then Mk 2. I can't wait to dive back into the world of Gamindustri with Neptune and her eccentric band of weirdos.
Lemme throw out another "haters gonna hate"
When Insomniac changed Overstrike to Fuse, I was dissapointed just like everyone else. But I've been reading around and Insomniac has been listening to the complaints that Fuse looks like another generic shooter. Not only have they added more color to the dark and drab design, but they assured fans that they have not sold out. The gameplay also looks really interesting to me. It seems like they got a few things planned for this interesting new IP. I'm putting my faith in Insomniac and I hope they don't dissapoint. It won't be a day one buy but I'll definetly pick this up this year.
3.) Beyond Two Souls
Heavy Rain is another game I only just recently picked up a few months ago. Oh man what a game. Or it would be more accurate to say "interactive movie." Still, the game made my heart race like no other game could. It was so intense and the story really drew me in. I'm hoping for an even better experience in Beyond Two Souls. I like how Beyond is going to be incorporating a sort of supernatural element to the story. Don't dissapoint Quantic Dreams.
4.) The Witch and the Hundred Knights
I'm a really big fan of the stuff Nippon Ichi develops and this game will be their first action RPG (I think). It was actually announced a while ago but got delayed and now its coming out this year. I'm interested in seeing how it turns out. NIS mostly does strategy RPGs so I wonder how they're going to handle this game. I'm hoping its good.
5.) Tomb Raider
Crystal Dynamics has really been doing a lot to promote and hype this reboot. I'm very interested in seeing how they handle the gameplay and Laura's origin story. Not much else to say about this. Can't wait!
6.) Tales of Xillia
The story for this tales game actually sounds more appealing to me than Tales of Graces f (though that game sounds very good too). I'm really looking to get in to the Tales series so this will probably be my second Tales game after Graces f (I know, I'm very late to this party). However I heard that Namco Bandai passes over localizing a few of the Tales games probably because they don't see them as profitable. Therefore, I will make every effort to buy this, Tales of the Abyss, and Tales of Graces f brand spankin' new.
7.) Shin Megami Tensei 4
I'm a very big fan of Atlus' RPGS, so I'm really looking forward to the newest entry in the SMT series. I'm expecting a lot from them. Not much to say about this one either. Except go Atlus!
8.) Disgaea Dimension 2
A sequel to Disgaea 1 with the updated sprites and gameplay of Disgaea 4? Holy crap, sign me up please! I'm a huge fan of the Disgaea series, so I will be scooping this up as soon as possible. NIS never dissapoints with Disgaea, so I'm looking forward to 300+ hours of gameplay with Laharl and company once again.
9.) Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
The last Sly game I played was the second one, which I got for my 11th birthday. That was many many moons ago. I really like the Sly Cooper series. It filled the hole in my little kid heart that the 4th Spyro the Dragon game left. Sanzaru games looks like they've done a good job with this game so I'm really hyped for this.
10.) Kamisama to Unmei Kakumei no Paradox
A game that it seems like no one else knows of. In fact, there's only 8 people following it on Gamespot! This is a brand new strategy game from Nippon Ichi Software to celebrate their 20th anniversery. It contains character designs by Noizi Ito (Haruhi Suzumiya and Shakugan no Shana) and music by Yousei Teikoku (sp?). The premise of the story sounds quite interesting and its a new IP! It's also a new IP. Did I mention it was a NEW IP!? I'm crossing my fingers and toes for this to be picked up and localized by NIS America. Man, Nippon Ichi is going to be taking all my money this year...
11.) Fire Emblem: Awakening
The whole reason I bought a 3DS was so I could play JRPGs like this. I'll confess that this will actually be my first FE game (I know, and I call myself a JRPG fan!) and I'm really excited for it. I like what I've seen so far, I love strategy RPGs, and I've heard good things about this series. Will be picking this up as well.
Whew. What a long list! Anyways, those are all the games I'm really hyped for. My Gaming New Year's resolution was simple: to stop jumping on bandwagons. In 2012, for the sake of "broadening my horizons", I attempted to play games that I'd normally pass over. Games that everyone else was talking about. In short, it was a waste of money and time. The games I picked up weren't bad, but they didn't hook me nearly as much as the games I was genuinly interested in. Some of them barely hooked me at all, and are collecting dust on the shelves. This year I'm going to stick to what I love: JRPGs, Platformers/Action games, a select few fighters, and Puzzle games.
No more picking up games based on hype and review scores alone. Oddly enough, I don't normally do that. Last year was the first time I picked up so many games that so many other people were hyping up and loving. I'm such a tool...
Well that's all folks. Feel free to leave a comment, agree with my choices to inflate my ego, make fun of my choices to make me cry (just kidding), or just list the games you're hyped for this year.
NOTE: The title and 50% of this blog involve sarcasm and mockery. But I am NOT making light of the Connecticut shooting. I am mocking the ridiculous people who are blaming everything in existence but the shooter for the shooting, as well as their idiotic "evidence".
Clearly we have a problem people. I mean, there's been a bill submitted to Congress people CONGRESS, to evaluate what these crazy video games do to people. These video games are going to be the end of us all, don't you know? They provoke people to commit violent and heinous crimes. These horrible people who play games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto are going to be the death of us all!
In fact, the monster behind the Connecticut shooting, Adam Lanza, was very passionate about two violent video games in particular, Dynasty Warriors and CALL OF FREAKING DUTY! Huh? What did you say? I shouldn't be using a tragic school shooting to push my crazy, fear mongering agenda on the masses? Hush you uniformed fool! This is scary stuff backed up by years of my absolute and accurate studies in my imagination!
These violent video games are marketed at our children, people, small children! We've got to protect the children of the world from these evil gaming companies who want to control our children and turn them in to violent, desensitized, murderers! What did you say? Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty are rated M for mature and not allowed to be sold to anyone under the age of 17? What do you mean the ads aren't broadcast on children's networks or websites? Shut up! You know nothing! You are uniformed and this is scary stuff! We need to think of the children people! Parents don't you want to protect your children? Then get these accursed video games out of their hands and the hands of responsible adults who are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves as well! Responsible adults don't know what's good for them ya nut! We need to decide for them!
Two of the suspected games that spark bloody rampages, Starcraft and Dynasty Warriors are games from South Korea and Japan respectively. Scary scary SCARY stuff people! Japan and Korea makes these violent video games for our children here in America too! And we know how many shootings happen in South Korea and Japan right (spoiler alert)!?
These video games influence our society to do awful things! They need to be banned on the double! Global warming? The war in Iraq? Pollution? Our crappy economy? Our school system? Budget cuts? NO PEOPLE! This is where its at! The horrors of video games should be brought to light so every American citizen can be informed! Huh? What did you say? There's no proof that games are linked to violent crimes? Yes there is! According to the nonexistent study in my overactive imagination there is so to a link! Educate yourself fool!
...what....? My imagination isn't a reliable source? There's no link? Humph...well gosh. It must be rap and heavy metal music then! The tasteless, misogynistic, and violent lyrics to those songs must be corrupting the youth! We need to ban them right away! What? Its not that either? Well then it must be reality TV shows! Jersey Shore is causing our teenagers to want to be uneducated fools who drink, fight, and party all day! You kidding me!? It's not that either? It must be violent TV shows like Breaking Bad then! Encouraging kids to sell drugs and giving them ideas on how to kill people! It must be ba-
Huh? You said I should get my head out of my ass? Well sir, its so far up there its kind of stuck.
Ok now that I'm done mocking silly people on TV and their crazy ASSumptions that make little sense, I've only got a few things to say. I could have typed out a whole serious blog that counters these people's terrible points but I know that this is a gaming website and I'd just be preaching to the choir.
It really is a shame that people would use such a tragic shooting as an opportunity to bring up the tired old "Find something to use as a scapegoat and then ban it instead of taking personal responsibility and evaluating what went wrong and what could have been done to prevent it" debate.
But this isn't the first time this has happened. And its probably not the last. People's minds are very vulnerable after a tragedy like this. People are shocked and left wondering what the hell and why. So it's easy to stir up mass fear and hysteria by making outrageous claims such as "Video games are the cause!" Maybe once things calm down a little, people will stop and realize that this whole "Ignore the real reason, then find a scapegoat and ban it" thing is idiotic and unnecessary.
I'm so tired of hearing this "Video games/Rap and Metal music/Television/etc causes people to be violent." It'd be naive to say that they have absolutley no effect on us. Pop culture has large effect on society as a whole whether you want it to or not. But it's infuriating when people say "Oh video games/music/tv MADE me/that person do it."
No sir. Grand Theft Auto did not MAKE you commit the crime you did. That's a sorry cop out to avoid taking responsibility for what you did and ignores whatever mental instability issues you had way before you ever picked up a controller. By blaming the media, we also completely lift the blame off ourselves and don't think about what we did wrong or what we could have done to prevent what happened. Or how we could prevent what's going to happen in the future. Its easy to just blame media, even though its never going to go away, and be done with it. I would say it needs to stop but its probably not going to stop anytime soon.
My heart goes out to the victim's families. And I hope there are at least some people who's heads aren't so far up their asses that they're too busy attacking video games and television to realize that the survivors of the shooting are going to need a lot of help to get past the horrible tragedy they went through. Or that we really need to think about how to prevent future school shootings because this crap's been going on for far too long. Or maybe that we've been clinging to some old outdated ideals for far too long and that things need to change.
But I guess I should try to be more realistic...
The comments in this article and this article to a lesser extent inspired me to write this blog. The subject of women in gaming is a touchy subject that always seems to rustle a lot of jimmies. Frankly, the ignorant dribble in the comments section of the first article just makes me shake my head in disgust.
Sexism in the gaming industry is a serious issue that shouldn't always be brushed off as "A bunch of stupid, entitled, dumb broads whining". Its a very real issue that is still prevalent today. Some of the complaints are legitimate issues that need to be addressed and fixed. And its sad that the issue is brushed off BECAUSE of the few but LOUD misandrists who parade themselves as feminists, or the fake girl gamer who's never experienced real sexism is screaming "Respect me! I have boobs!" There needs to be a clear distinction between what is whining and what is a legitimate issue. There's a line between a whiny girl gamer and a female developer who is actually being discriminated against and disrespected.
I think there should be BALANCE. I dislike both of the more extreme sides of the issues equally. I dislike the misogynistic, immature, little boys who say "oh no girls have cooties, they're going to ruin my gaming, don't let them in the industry!" I also equally dislike the hateful and annoying misandrists posing as feminists who think that women should get special treatment and be put on a pedestal above men. How about we establish some middle ground?
Now why don't we take a look at a few of the issues and sayings and weed out what is whining, what is just pure hate and ignorance, and what is not whining.
"There should be more women in the gaming industry."
Sure why not? I wouldn't mind more Jade Raymonds, Amy Hennigs, Kim Swifts, and Soraya Sagas in the gaming industry. But this issue is so complicated. Some of the extremists would probably suggest a quota system, sort of like affirmative action. While things like affirmative action have good intentions, they tend to cause talented people to be rejected in favor of someone who is supposedly disadvantaged but could be less qualified. This is the "women getting special treatment" thing and I don't agree with it. This would only tip the balance and put men in the disadvantaged position. And I know some people will say "Let them see how it feels for once!" but come on. Don't think like that. Then we're back to square one. What we want is equality. I have another method to suggest: education and reaching out.
Encouraging young girls who have an interest in video games to try to get a job in the industry. Educating them so they make good choices for themselves and women to come. Once we get more women in the industry, it will start to change for the better. The best way to change it is from the inside. And there's no need to tell men to get out just for being men. Men and women can coexist peacfully and make their own games that different people will be happy to spend money on. But again, we shouldn't suggest putting women at an unfair advantage over men. Remember, we want equality, as well as qualified people.
"I have boobs and a controller! Respect me!"
Now this is annoying and has GOT TO STOP. Female gamers, you earn respect by being good at gaming and being a good sport and person. Having boobs does not automatically mean you deserve respect. You also don't need to capitalize the fact that you're a female. You're a GAMER, so just be one and have fun.
But there's always two extreme sides to the issue. The comments like the one you see at Fat, Ugly or Slutty are unnacceptable and should not be tolerated. A girl should be able to game peacefully and not be harrassed by some immature douchebag going "Omg show me yer bewbs!"
Is this whining? A lot of the time it is. But you can see where this is stemming from right? One extreme side sparked up because of another extreme side. Don't expect special handouts for being a girl. But at the same time, harrassment in online gaming is a serious problem that shouldn't be ignored.
"So many female video game characters are sexist/misogynistic and needa go!"
Another complicated issue. The word sexist is thrown around so loosely that its lost most of its severity and venom (as is the word racist). I'm going to copy and paste a comment I posted on the second article:
I hate how the term misogynistic and racist are just thrown around so loosely. I acknowledge that they are still prevalent problems in America today, but when those terms are thrown around so much, it loses its power and gets an eye roll from people instead of a sense of urgency. Now everything from saying the word "black" to a woman in a video game with big boobs is suddenly "racist" and "misogynistic." How are the young 'uns going to know whats genuine racism and misogyny and whats just some guy drawing a girl with big boobs or randomly deciding that he wanted his characters to have blue eyes and blonde hair?
Also, I don't like the idea of shoehorning minorities in just for the sake of diversity. If you're going to put them in there, then good for you, but make them good characters. I liked CJ, Sazh, Barret, Rodin, Faith, Bayonetta, Madison Paige, etc but that's because the creators took time into making them good characters and not capitalizing on their race or gender. I guess my point is, make good characters, don't just throw in a minority for the sake of "diversity." Also, there are bigger issues in the world to deal with than a fictional character's race.
And you really can't fault a guy for creating a woman in his ideal image. I'm sure a lot of artists do that. We are not going to stamp out sexism by complaining about sexy women in video games. Nowadays, games as appalling as Beat 'em and eat 'em and Custer's revenge would never EVER see the light of day. So since we don't have any grossly and blatant sexism and racism such as that, people scrutinize games and cry foul play on games that aren't either of these things. Do you really think the creator's of Bayonetta, Tomb Raider, or Dead or Alive wanted to force some secret subliminal woman hating agenda on us? Do you think Square enix or Rockstar wanted to force some subliminal racist messages on us with Sazh, CJ, and Barret? Doubt it. Tetsuya Nomura stated himself that he likes Sazh even more than Lightning.
My suggestion is again, to get a wider variety of people in the industry. With this, we get more diverse characters, racial, personality, and gender wise. But I don't agree with forcing developers to change their characters just for the sake of diversity. I mean hey, I like Dante, Nathan Drake, and Niko Bellic. I'm not going to say they should dissapear because they are white men. They can coexist alongside female characters and characters of other races too. The most important thing is that they are good characters.
"It's the white man's fault!"
I really didn't want to get racial here but...
NO. This needs to stop too. White men may dominate the industry but we are not going to solve anything by pointing fingers at them and making them all feel like crap. Then we are putting them in the position of disrespect and ridicule, which isn't any better than the men who ridicule and demean women in the gaming industry.
Now if someone is in a position of power and they are abusing it, then forget their race or gender, they need to be kicked to the curb. If a company is adopting and keeping hiring practices that favor one group over another, then that is unfair and needs to change. It's not one gender's fault and its not one race's fault. And pointing fingers and fuming isn't gonna help. We need to take action.
Finally...How do we fix this problem?
I've already listed a few suggestions in this little blog. As you can probably tell, I am someone who believes in balance. I'm in the middle of pessimism and optimism. I've tried to be in the middle of this issue too. I acknowledge that there is a problem. The inbalance of men and women in the gaming industry as well as sexism is a very real issue.
But we can't simply talk, talk, talk about it. How many decades have we been talking about this issue? How many years have we been saying that this needs to change? How many times has the percentage of female gamers shot up each year, while the number of women in the gaming industry has crept up at a snail's pace? Ladies, its not enough to talk, go DO. Unfortunatley, we will never completley stamp out racism and sexism. But that doesn't mean we have to bend over and take it.
It saddens me that some male gamers are acting like 5 year olds and saying "Ew don't come to the game industry, you'll ruin it with your cooties." It also saddens me when some female gamers say "Ew go away, we don't need you! Shutup complaining you stupid feminist! This isn't even an issue!" No one is saying that the current male developers and their respective game should go away and be replaced by female developers. I wouldn't want that. No one wants that.
But there's no harm in changing hiring practices that favor men. There's no harm in more variety. And I don't mean diversity for the sake of diversity, I mean leveling the playing field to allow talented and qualified women to enter the industry without having to jump through hoops and endure constant harrassment and ridicule. And I know there are a myriad of other issues in the gaming industry. I could write blogs on that too. But because of those articles above and their subsequent comments, I decided to focus on this issue. You can roll your eyes, facepalm, and go "not this again" all you want, but this issue isn't going to go away anytime soon. Its here to stay until people get up and start doing something about it.
There is no need for such extreme hatred on either sides of the spectrum. And despite the hate and negativity surrounding the issue, I'm sure the video game industry will change. Because, although we still have a long way to go and could still do more, as we speak talented women are working in the industry or working their way to it. And I doubt annoying, sexist, trash on the internet is going to stop them.
Because most of those idiots don't run anything but their mouths.
The Great Circuit of Life
Around the late 1960s/early 1970s, we were graced with the world's first video game console. Since then, we've made significant and amazing leaps in pretty much all aspects of video games: gameplay, graphics, art, storytelling, you name it. In turn, the quality and depth of games given to us consumers has increased exponentially. We went from games where you push a ball back and forth across the screen to games with breathtaking graphics, sophisticated storytelling, and compelling and complex gameplay. The PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii allowed for superior gaming experiences than last gen (though that answer differs depending on who you talk to).
But is it going to be the same this time around in the 8th generation? With rumors flying about and certain companies claiming that the limitations of the seventh generation consoles are holding them back, its safe to say that its high time for the big 3 companies to develop new hardware. The big question here is: Is it worth it?
Its possible to create an enormous, detailed world and fit it all on to one shiny blu ray disc. You have the most realistic graphics in video game history. You have sophisticated gameplay and storytelling, backed up by its graphics. Consoles also allow you to play online, go on the internet, watch movies on Netflix and Hulu, store music, make purchases, and watch DVDs and Blu Rays. What more could you ask for? A console that makes you a sandwich?
The so called Leap and Do Graphics Matter?
So far, its a guarantee that new hardware will mean new graphics. That's all well and good. Who doesn't like nice graphics? But if that is the only thing that's going to be improved then I see no point in investing in new hardware. The way I see it, we have (some not all) developers whining that the PS3 and 360 aren't strong enough and that they need new hardware for better graphics. I have yet to hear anyone say "we can't implement this particular gameplay element because the hardware is holding us back." Gameplay, music, story, and art wise, you can do pretty much anything on current consoles.
You've got companies like Square Enix flashing next gen graphics but where's the next gen gameplay? Is it going to be better than current games? Are you just luring me to that seemingly delicious cake with only its gorgeous icing because the inside is burnt, hastily done, and disgusting? Graphics are important but they can't be the only thing holding the game up. Imagine a game that looked like Uncharted 3 but played like Superman 64? Oh the horror...
Good graphics are a definite plus and no one can deny that they do add to the overall experience. But better graphics won't make a gamer stay. Nor will it convince gamers to fork over hundreds of dollars for a new console. In the end, the combination of gameplay, story, and graphics should draw the player in. I don't play games to look at pretty graphics, I play for the gaming experience. I want to interact with the game. This is what sets video games apart from other entertainment mediums: interactivity. If I ONLY wanted to see detailed sweat, hair, realistic facial expressions and amazingly realistic body movements, I would go watch a movie with real people.
Could new consoles improve the current services?
Maybe. But is it necessary to create an entirely new consoles just to improve on current services such as PSN or Xbox Live? I think the companies are doing just fine with updating the console's features through download. To me, this isn't the best reason to want a new console.
Earlier this month in an article here on Gamespot, Take Two's CEO also said that next gen may be easier to develop for. His exact words from the article are "In many instances we believe that it may be somewhat easier to make titles for next-gen, depending on how the technology comes together."
He also says in the article that next gen might not be a whole lot more expensive than the current gen. Of course, you can tell by his wording that its speculation. Whether its harder or easier depends on the hardware given to them by Microsoft and Sony. So the jury's still out on that one, we can't tell if development will be easier or harder at this point.
Using resources wisely
Judging by what developers have said and showed us so far, a new console won't change much. Developers have showed us this gen that they are already capable of amazing things with the hardware they have now. I think we need more (as well as a wider variety of) talented writers, coders, artists, designers, directors, composers, etc way more than we need a new console. Great games are great because of the overall performance and quality, not just for its strength in one lone area.
More than likely, the games you remember and love from years ago had great everything: gameplay, story, music, graphics, everything. And if you choose to hide behind great graphics, then a new console will do almost nothing for you. It won't change the fact that you have piss poor gameplay, an incoherent plot, and grating music. But hey, its ok, because its got way better graphics than any game from last gen riiiiight? I mean look at the details on the man's face! You can practically see his pores! At least the game is pretty!! (Yes this is all sarcasm)
Do we need a new console?
Well do YOU need a new console? Think about it. I can't speak for every gamer out there but I can tell you my personal opinion.
I forked over $700+ of my own saved up birthday and Christmas money when I was younger to purchase a PSP, a Nintendo DS, and a PS3, because I knew without a doubt that I would get a vastly superior gaming experience than I did on my Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, and my PS2.
Am I going to do this again in a few years when a shiny new PS4 comes out? Will I shell out $430 for a new console again? Nooooo. I'll probably stick with my current consoles for a while, even after the PS4 and NextBox are released.
The seventh gen consoles still have a lot of life left in them, and I can tell at least some developers are still willing to churn out new and creative ideas with the use of 5-7 year old hardware. Until developers can convince me that there's more to new gen consoles than just beautiful graphics, I'll be stuck behind the times in the seventh generation for a while.
And honestly, I think I'll live.
Play like a girl!
The topic of females in gaming is quite a hot one. Whether we're debating about the disproportionate ratio of women to men in the gaming industry or the size of Laura Croft's chest, we are inevitably going to go into many deeper questions. For example: What effect does the portrayl of women in gaming have on all of us? Do female gamers need more respect or do they already have it? Why do so many games only appeal to males and not females, even though we make up almost half the fanbase? I present to you my opinion of these questions and more...
How Female Gamers are Treated
I've been one of the lucky female gamers to never have any blatant and/or offensive sexism hurled my way. I don't really play online, so I've never encountered the wrath of some pissed off immature kid who wants to throw insults at me. I discuss games with my male and female friends alike, and have been fortunate enough to have never been taunted for playing "girly jrpgs" or something equally ridiculous.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that most male gamers aren't going to disrespect and demean a female gamer simply because she is a girl. You gotta earn respect, and a skilled female gamer could probably get as much praise and respect as any skilled guy. Its unfortunate that we occassionally run across an annoying, immature, albeit very loud, minority that will be so butthurt at having lost that they throw a sexist remark your way. Its also unfortunate that a few, again, minority of guys are stuck in the 1800s and think women can't be equals with them at anything, much less video games.
We women make up almost half of the gaming community. That's half of the mic we control, half of the purchasing power. We have power. So why are many games still primarily catered to men? What can we female gamers do? I'll get to that in a minute. Right now I want to talk about how women are portrayed in video games and if and how we should combat misogyny and sexism in games.
Bodacious Babes and Bumbling Bimbos
I am all for calling out games that are blantly sexist or misogynistic.
But the term sexist is thrown around about as loosley as the word racist. How can we really know if something is sexist and therefore offensive and harmful to female gamers when the term is used to describe anything from games like Dead or alive to Laura Croft's figure? What is sexist? What is misogynistic?
Personally, when I think of sexist, I think of the men who taunted the women suffragists and told them they couldn't vote. I think of some choice words made by Rush Limbaugh. I think of the term "keep 'em barefoot and pregnant." I think of the scientist that used faulty and innaccurate research to prove that women's brains were smaller, and therefore were inferior to men's bigger brains.
I don't think of Hyperdimension Neptunia, Dead or Alive (at least not the main fighting games), or Lollipop Chainsaw. Nor do I think of Laura Croft's or the girls of Devil Survivor's figures. Yet some people would define these characters or games as "sexist." I guess its all up to what you believe personally, but I don't see it this way. I don't think you can fault a guy for creating a female character in his ideal image, nor can we call him sexist. A big breasted female character does not automatically mean its sexist. Same goes for skimpy outfits. Some men are always going to have well endowed female characters in their games. No amount of screaming and "THAT'S SEXIST!" is gonna stop that.
We've come a long way from the days of Beat 'em and eat 'em and Custer's Revenge. And very rarely do games as appalling as Rapelay casually slip under the radar. However, I won't deny that some developers shamelessley exploit female characters to cater to the immature, horny, pubescent male. I can play games like Lollipop Chainsaw and Neptunia and enjoy them, but no doubt I'm gonna roll my eyes at the blatant fanservice that's thrust into my face.
Again, what can female gamers do?
Rise up thats what!
We women already make up almost half of the gaming community. So why isn't it the same in the gaming industry?
I say we need more Jane McGonigals, Jade Raymonds, Kim Swifts, Soraya Sagas, and Amy Hennigs in the gaming industry. Many games appeal mostly to males because they are made by males. With more women making the stories and calling the shots, we can actually get a greater variety of games and stories to be told. More women are slowly making their way into the gaming industry, but why stop where we are now? If you're a woman and you're passionate and serious about a career in the gaming industry, I say go for it.
Female gamers should also know that you have a voice and a wallet. Vote with your money and speak your mind if you think a game is a unnacceptable and offensive. Don't be discouraged by the immature minority that thinks women suck at games and only choose "safe" and "cute" girly games. These people are trolls and idiots. One thing I just want to say to anyone, male or female, is to be careful about how we use the terms "sexist" and "misogynistic" (those are serious accusations).
Again we've come a long way from the day's of Custer's Revenge, but I say we still got a looooong ways to go.