You’re missing the point here

Posted on October 20, 2011

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I was going to blog about something totally different and completely relevant, but this has just compelled me to throw all of that out of the nearest window and hammer away at my keyboard with the gusto of someone truly enraged.

Don’t worry. I’ll blog about the other thing soon. Probably. Most likely.

This guy is way cooler than Superman ever was

Anyway. So the much-anticipated game Arkham City has finally been released, which is the most recent instalment in the Batman franchise. The previous game, Arkham Asylum, was hands down one of my all-time favourite games, simply for the pure grit that Batman is known for, the realistic nature of the combat system, the believable characters that remain loyal to the way that I’ve known them for years.

Excuse me while my inner fangirl reboots...

 But since Arkham City has come out, it has been slammed with the accusation of it being sexist. One of my friends and fellow gaming enthusiasts has pointed out this blog to me, in which the blogger posts all in capital letters in the manner reminiscent of the Hulk, refers to himself as thus, and proceeds to rip the game to shreds for it’s sexism, and its excessive use of the word ‘bitch’.

And if this is not a prime example of how a blog accesses the internet community, I don’t know what is. Anyway.

... Okay so there's a bit of boob.

 Now, although I understand where this person is coming from, and he does have a lot of valid points, I have to say that he has missed one incredibly important aspect.

Sorry, dude, but from a game developer’s standpoint, the important thing is getting in the money, and whilst Batman rakes in big bucks, so does this.

Meow

And this.

At least she's wearing clothes!

And this.

She is... wearing panties. I think.

Yes, it’s sexist. And yes it’s unfortunate, but the bottom line is the money. Does this mean I agree with every sexualised thing that appears in a game? Heck no. Does it mean I don’t object? Absolutely not. But the cold, harsh truth of it, is that the game industry is out to get money, and that game sold.

Also, people seem to forget that a game is a product of millions of deliberate decisions of the developers on what to include, and also what not to include. The women are depicted in a sexual manner, but they are depicted in the exact same way in the comics from which they are derived. I mean, you’d be hard pressed not to find a Marvel or DC female that isn’t scantily clad and posing erotically.

The women of DC

 

The women of Marvel... some at least

It doesn’t mean that the game developers are sexist. It doesn’t mean that they don’t open doors for women, help old ladies across the street, or lay their coats on puddles. It doesn’t mean that they don’t feed their dog, or water the plants, or perhaps paint their littlest toe every third Sunday after a full moon.  The games they create are not a reflection on the game developers.

They are a reflection on the gaming audience.

They are a reflection on YOU.

The ole Uncle Sam

Because even though you want to rip the game to shreds, even though you want to tear it down for being sexist, you still paid the money for it. Unless you’re a certain friend of mine who got it for free to review, but HE won’t be complaining, believe you me.

So, in the end, that’s all they care about.

Game industries are forever pushing the line on what is and is not acceptable to the world. They had the Mass Effect sideboob scene, when an alien breast was seen side on, which caused all manner of controversy and media hissy-fits.

Fox News, I am looking at you...

They had the concerning level of violence in games such as GTA IV (Grand Theft Auto), which constitutes stealing cars, shooting cops and beating up random NPC (non player characters) for money.

Floor it! They're gaining!

Then there is the infamous game Manhunt, which is whispered in gaming circles as being one of the few games which possesses enough gratuitous violence to simply get the EFF NO stamp from a lot of governments.

Okay. So this one was kinda bad.

But the bottom line is that in Mass Effect, where a single romantic scene is the reward for successfully romancing a character through the course of a game, in Grand Theft Auto, you play a seedy, criminal gangbanger trying to climb in the ranks, and in Manhunt, the whole purpose of the game is to kill other people to survive. Mostly because they are killing you.

What’s the lesson to be learned here, children?

Every piece of violence, sex, expletives and graphic finger-waving is appropriate to the game’s context.

I mean, you’re not playing Call of Duty to cultivate flowers. You’re not playing Bioshock 2 to facilitate a warm, loving relation with your neighbourhood Splicer. You’re not playing Assassin’s Creed to sit around all day and create lace doilies.

In Call of Duty 4, things blow up goooood.

This is Bioshock 2. She’s going to go stab a corpse now.
 

This is just how they give haircuts in Assassin's Creed...

 

These are violent games, and therefore you will find violence in them.

They are sexist games because people are sexist.

They are what the people expect when you pay the amount of money asked for them. They are what the game designers have made in order to get that money out of those people.

It makes the world go round, square, backwards, forwards, up, down...

The gaming industry is ruled by men. It still gears its games toward men. And even though I am a woman, I still thoroughly enjoy those games. Will it change? Probably. It’ll like get worse before it gets better, but it will change.

Right now though?

I loves me some video gamin’.

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