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#51 | Back to Top03-01-2013 12:37:05 PM

Syora
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From: Under Northern Lights
Registered: 06-07-2009
Posts: 1866

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

This TED talk features movies, but it it's interesting in the context of this discussion. He mentions using the Bechdel test, and it was like, "Why haven't we done this in video games?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p … eOqYebVhtc

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#52 | Back to Top03-01-2013 02:19:51 PM

Nova
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

I apply the Bechdel Test to games when I want to be in a bad mood.


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#53 | Back to Top03-07-2013 08:18:34 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Nova wrote:

I apply the Bechdel Test to games when I want to be in a bad mood.

Yeah, that would definitely being setting sail for fail. emot-frown

Bayonetta passes. emot-dance

But is that a good thing?


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

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#54 | Back to Top03-08-2013 12:44:33 PM

Kexx
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From: Michigan, USA
Registered: 03-01-2013
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Am I the only one who likes reading really feminist interpretations of of games like Bayonetta and Lollipop Chainsaw?
I mean, Bayonetta having anything of intellectual value feminism-wise(or anything-wise) is pretty debatable, but I'm fairly sure Lollipop chainsaw was written with the way women are treated within society in mind. I know there's an article or something out there with the head writer of the game or someone similar talking about the game within a feminist context, but I haven't read it. However, I have seen a lot of the game(and plan on borrowing it from my friend at some point), and one thing that stuck out to me a lot is the fact that one of the boss battles is literally just a punk rock zombie shouting things like "BITCH" and "FUCKING SLUT" at the main character. Also I've heard that the main character's boyfriend is basically treated as an object throughout the game, to the point where characters will basically ignore anything he's saying if they're having a conversation. Also I know of someone who has a sort of "zombies=drooling men who see women as a piece of meat" idea which makes sense to me.

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#55 | Back to Top03-12-2013 11:41:26 AM

Nova
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Doting father Mike Mika modded an old ROM of Donkey Kong so that the damsel is rescuing Mario at the request of his three year-old daughter:

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2013/03/d … =co6309434

It's an adorable and touching story.

Then a gameplay video is posted on YouTube, and the MRA (men's rights advocates) start posting comments about how the little girl needs to die in a fire, there was nothing wrong with the old game, women need to go back to the kitchen, etc.



(Edit: For those who don't know, MRAs are an online knee-jerk reaction to feminism. They basically want to insist that men are the victimized minority any time that someone tries to do something nice for women for a change. They have confused the erosion of their position of privilege for actual oppression. It would be adorable if it wasn't so utterly sickening, and if their rhetoric and tactics weren't so absolutely appalling and sleazy.)

Last edited by Nova (03-12-2013 11:43:47 AM)


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#56 | Back to Top03-12-2013 10:42:29 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8798
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

I take the existence of MRAs as a good sign that things are progressing in the right direction. A cause or a goal in human rights doesn't feel like it's got enough clout until there's a kneejerk absolutely ridiculous overreaction to it on the part of the privileged it will potentially cut down to normal size. (For example, White Rights, by which I mean people who aren't KKK members or such but are protesting the 'entitlements' of other cultural groups.) Women being equal to men might actually become A Thing in the near future, so there's a nice retarded community of guys going 'HAY BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR RIGHTS????'

You know, the ones they've had all along and no one's suggested they have taken away.

Kexx, I didn't play much of LC, but I see what you mean there. Bayonetta strikes me as more overtly female-positive. Bayonetta's in control, sexual, smart, and takes no bullshit from The Mens. (Or Children. Which I approve of.) The main character in Lollipop Chainsaw is similarly sexual and controls the situations she's in, but she's also unrepentantly dim-witted and aside from being about to kick the shit out of zombies, is kind of your classic stupid cheerleader. Either in progress in that it's a change for there to be a female lead at all (especially with marginalized or mocked love interests) but if I had to point to the better step for women, it'd be Bayonetta.

That said, I don't think it will be women in games that changes the norms and makes the progress, but rather the increase in popularity of games where gender is actually not that relevant, or is treated equally. Things like Journey tear your heart out and shit in the gaping wound and yet no one has any gender at all. It's those games that get to break molds more often, and I think that'll equalize the gender ratio a bit more effectively than whether a developer went with a kickass male lead or a kickass female one.


Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)

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#57 | Back to Top03-12-2013 11:22:11 PM

Nova
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Giovanna wrote:

I take the existence of MRAs as a good sign that things are progressing in the right direction.

Slightly off-topic, but I take a similar solace in the thrashing and gnashing of the religious right with regard to gay rights. They're like a wounded beast, and their screams are a melody to me. By the caterwauling I can hear how wounded and terrified they are.


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#58 | Back to Top03-13-2013 12:19:55 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Honestly, I think the emergence of MRA stuff is predictable, and I mean that in a sympathetic way.  Sexism -- and the kyriarchy more broadly -- hurts everyone.  It doesn't hurt everyone the same way, but pretty much any social oppression against one gender hurts the other symmetrically (though not necessarily "equally;" I don't know how useful it is to argue about who is hurt the most).  Men can be drafted into the military and women are excluded (until recently) from front-line combat, and both of those things take away freedoms.  Women are turned into sex objects and men are turned into consumers of sex objects, and both of those things can be dehumanizing.

Some female feminists make, to my mind, a mistake in focusing exclusively on harms inflicted by men on women when really what we have is a bunch of people oppressing each other.  MRAs make the symmetrical mistake.  We probably need the first group more than we need the second group, but I guess I can't blame a guy for sticking up for his own gender.  (I can blame him for being an asshole, which unfortunately many MRAs are, but I don't think it's because they're MRAs.)  I would prefer for everyone in the dialogue to be able to acknowledge each other's lived experience as legitimate, and give each other a fair hearing when there's a claim of oppression.  This stuff is complicated, much too complicated for me, and it's not going to be solved by excluding men who talk about men's rights from the conversation -- as long as they can listen as well as talk.

Last edited by satyreyes (03-13-2013 12:21:01 AM)

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#59 | Back to Top03-13-2013 12:39:20 AM

Nova
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

satyreyes wrote:

This stuff is complicated, much too complicated for me, and it's not going to be solved by excluding men who talk about men's rights from the conversation -- as long as they can listen as well as talk.

The men who talk about men's rights vis-à-vis the kyriarchy are not the same people as the MRAs by a damned sight.


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#60 | Back to Top03-13-2013 10:33:11 AM

Kexx
Miki Molester
From: Michigan, USA
Registered: 03-01-2013
Posts: 33
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Giovanna wrote:

Kexx, I didn't play much of LC, but I see what you mean there. Bayonetta strikes me as more overtly female-positive. Bayonetta's in control, sexual, smart, and takes no bullshit from The Mens. (Or Children. Which I approve of.) The main character in Lollipop Chainsaw is similarly sexual and controls the situations she's in, but she's also unrepentantly dim-witted and aside from being about to kick the shit out of zombies, is kind of your classic stupid cheerleader. Either in progress in that it's a change for there to be a female lead at all (especially with marginalized or mocked love interests) but if I had to point to the better step for women, it'd be Bayonetta.

That said, I don't think it will be women in games that changes the norms and makes the progress, but rather the increase in popularity of games where gender is actually not that relevant, or is treated equally. Things like Journey tear your heart out and shit in the gaping wound and yet no one has any gender at all. It's those games that get to break molds more often, and I think that'll equalize the gender ratio a bit more effectively than whether a developer went with a kickass male lead or a kickass female one.

Is Juliette really dim-witted? I mean, I haven't played the game much either, but my impression of her was mainly what she just didn't care too much about being surrounded by zombies and enjoys kicking ass, which would make sense seeing as her backstory is that she's a part of a family of zombie hunters. Yah she's super girly but I don't see that as a bad thing I guess? Maybe I'm just way too intrigued by that boss fight I mentioned in that post and am thinking too into it, but I still think that tips it from being maybe sort of subversive to obviously subversive.

And yah more stuff with genderless characters would be really really cool. I remember I got Journey just a week after it's release. Also I'm really hoping that the next Telltale Walking Dead game stars a female character. There's a specific one, but I won't say who she is, because spoilers. But I do know a lot of people really really hope for the same, and that the game itself eludes to it in the last section of it.

Also I totes think that the next Team Fortress should have a choice of male/female characters. With the way it's structured, the next one probably won't be out for a few years or not at all, but I'm guessing Valve would basically just keep the free to play model, and that means customization for characters would be a must, ad having both male and female characters for each class would lend to that. I remembered seeing OnlyInThisLight post something about the game here, and so I just figured I'd put this here. If fans can create some pretty good models for the Spy, Medic, and Heavy as women, Valve can.

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#61 | Back to Top03-13-2013 04:19:29 PM

Ragnarok
Caption Captor
From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Nova wrote:

Doting father Mike Mika modded an old ROM of Donkey Kong so that the damsel is rescuing Mario at the request of his three year-old daughter:

TB's coverage of this today brought up another game that I don't think was mentioned here. Saint's Row: The Third has a very dudebro protagonist, well into the point of parody (as is the rest of the setting.) The difference is that the game also has better character customisation than most currently released MMO's, including not only gender but several complete voices to choose from. Unlike a traditional Western RPG, the SR3 protagonist is the same character no matter how you design them; while the voices will have slightly different lines they all deliver the same over the top personality.

For me personally that's exactly the sort of direction I want more story driven games to take. Characters shouldn't need to be a specific gender to play their role, let the player decide that instead. And yet, in this example the protagonist is still cut from the same mold as the tired cliche which is overused in games already; I give it a pass more because it doesn't take itself seriously than because the character can be female.


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#62 | Back to Top03-13-2013 07:39:30 PM

Nova
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

I agree with you. Saints Row 3 is doing it right. I mean, make no mistake, there's a lot of stuff in the game that some could find problematic*, but as far as the protagonist goes, they did well. I don't know about the original Saints Row, but I remember that Saints Row 2 was the same way: a character's sex, body type, appearance, and even voice were all customizable, yet did not change the nature of the story arbitrarily.



(* Particularly people with an impaired sense of humor or proportion. SR3 wallows around in the subject material with extreme self-awareness. They're doing it on purpose.)


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#63 | Back to Top03-17-2013 05:37:21 PM

Syora
Presidential Accoster
From: Under Northern Lights
Registered: 06-07-2009
Posts: 1866

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6p5AZp7 … sing video on how women are portrayed in games, done by the wonderful Anita Sarkeesian.

Also, I got my hands on a copy of Saint's Row 3 as a result of your discussion here.

Time to show them whose town it is.

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#64 | Back to Top03-17-2013 07:10:44 PM

Kexx
Miki Molester
From: Michigan, USA
Registered: 03-01-2013
Posts: 33
Website

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Syora wrote:

A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6p5AZp7 … sing video on how women are portrayed in games, done by the wonderful Anita Sarkeesian.

Also, I got my hands on a copy of Saint's Row 3 as a result of your discussion here.

Time to show them whose town it is.

I personally have some big problems with Anita, mainly that she seems to either lie or not understand material in a way that only works for her, when she really really doesn't have to, to make her point.

EDIT: Should probably mention that I don't think that what's she's doing is bad(hey even if I don't like her videos much in particular it's better then nothing), but just the way that she does it seems underhanded at times? Like in her new video she mentions Snake in a context of never have been saved by a girl, when I've been told that Snake was saved by Myrle(I could be wrong though, I haven't played the game, but my friend is a big fan).

Also, is anyone else bothered by people mentioning the money she made with her kickstarter and acting as if she was begging for the huge amount of money she got? She asked for $6,000, which is reasonable for what she wants to do, and people decided of their own free will to give her that money. Not her fault people wanted to see it happen.

Last edited by Kexx (03-17-2013 08:56:31 PM)

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#65 | Back to Top03-17-2013 07:41:25 PM

Frosty
Everyone's Best Friend
From: United States
Registered: 11-16-2006
Posts: 1269
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Syora wrote:

A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6p5AZp7 … sing video on how women are portrayed in games, done by the wonderful Anita Sarkeesian.

Also, I got my hands on a copy of Saint's Row 3 as a result of your discussion here.

Time to show them whose town it is.

I’m pleasantly surprised – her first official video is much more temperate than usual. She doesn’t immediately refer to people who see things differently as sexist pos, or look at beloved games with a nasty sneer on her face. She did a fair job showing what was out there. It’s just what she views as a negative, I view as a neutral & necessary component to escapist fantasy.

About 90% of the games she references, I have played. And it is worth noting, I was motivated by what motivated the main character – that, “rescue this person” worked on me. I always wanted to do it. Utena wanted to rescue people too. Now whether you do it right, or end up hurting the person more than helping, or stunting their own growth, or even forgetting that in some cases people need to save themselves – the fact seems to be: all humans are attracted to the idea of rescuing someone else and being a hero.

It is a fair point, that in the past, all the people who were to be rescued were females. But now in games, I’ve seen females rescuing other females, rescuing males, rescuing children & animals. So the diversity of “who is getting rescued” is climbing, that’s good.

Also, I caught a sale on steam where the makers of Saint's Row were going out of business, so about 25 games were on sale for 20 bucks (including all the Saint's Rows). I bought the bundle for myself AND my friend's little boy, who is a giant gamer, but he is 11. I wasn't interested in the Saint's Row series at the time, so I never downloaded or installed, but wouldn't you know that game was the kid's FIRST CHOICE! And oooops, every single article I've ever read about "bad video games include horrible things" includes Saints Row 3 in it... Now I can NEVER play it, because I don't want to see what I accidentally dropped into that kid's hands. Bad, bad, auntie decision. =/


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#66 | Back to Top03-17-2013 11:41:11 PM

purplepolecat
Atlantean Singer
From: Vancouver, B.C.
Registered: 03-26-2007
Posts: 570

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

I etc-love my Saints Row 2 avatar. I couldn't even imagine playing that game as a guy now.

Here she is, with a ninja henchman, surveying her empire of Azumanga merch:

http://i161.photobucket.com/albums/t214/purplepolecat/saintsrow2_zps680f46d9.jpg


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#67 | Back to Top03-20-2013 01:14:28 AM

Nova
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

(Source: http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/03/20/remem … male-hero/

(Note from Nova: The original article contains links which are not reproduced here.)

Remember Me developer struggled with securing a publisher over female protagonist

Remember Me is an upcoming action-adventure game combining stealth, parkour, cyberpunk, and the Inception-like concept of memory alteration. An amazing pitch, one sure to woo plenty publishers—oh, wait, the main character is a lady. Pass. That’s essentially what developer Dontnod Entertainment experienced while shopping its game to prospective funders, and in an interview with Penny Arcade, creative director Jean-Maxime Moris says the studio was told more than once that “You can’t have a female character in games.”

“We had some [companies] that said, ‘Well, we don’t want to publish it because that’s not going to succeed,’” Moris recalls. “‘You can’t have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that.’”

Dontnod chose to center Remember Me’s narrative around Nilin, an amnesiac memory-eraser piecing together her own lost memories among the streets of Neo-Paris in the year 2084. Apart from the inherent coolness of controlling Nilin’s agility across the mega-city’s rooftops, her role involves recapturing past snippets of her private life, some of which include tender moments with male acquaintances.

That apparently threw up red flags for publishers. “We wanted to be able to tease on Nilin’s private life, and that means for instance, at one point, we wanted a scene where she was kissing a guy,” Moris explains. “We had people tell us, ‘You can’t make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game. That’s going to feel awkward.’”

Eventually, development reached a point where changing Nilin’s character would turn too costly, and publishers began declining any deals. “I’m like, ‘If you think like that, there’s no way the medium’s going to mature,’” Moris states. “There’s a level of immersion that you need to be at, but it’s not like your sexual orientation is being questioned by playing a game. I don’t know, that’s just extremely weird to me.”

It seems some publishers believe female-led games won’t sell as well. I think there’s a proper image response for this stance. Yep, here it is.

In all seriousness, the issue of protagonist gender isn’t so cut-and-dried as some publishers would believe. Tomb Raider, a foundational female-hero franchise, saw an excellently received reboot, and reviews praised Lara Croft’s younger, more rugged character. Bastion developer Supergiant just announced its next RPG to great reception—Transistor features a female main character.

Luckily, Dontnod found publisher backing with Capcom, and Remember Me is on track for a June 4 release.


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#68 | Back to Top03-20-2013 03:23:42 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

You know, the funny thing about that is that by the time you got to "cyberpunk" I was already thinking "you know, this game sounds like Mirror's Edge."  Mirror's Edge had a female protagonist -- Faith.  Faith, Chell, Lara Croft, and others create ample precedent for female protagonists in action-adventure platformers, especially when weapons are deemphasized or absent.  Any publisher that says you can't have a female main character in this type of game, much less in any game, does not know its own industry very well.

Since I tend to think that publishers actually do know about Faith and Chell and Lara Croft, I kind of suspect that their objection had more to do with the game's romantic elements in conjunction with its female protagonist, as the middle of the article suggests.  I'm glad Capcom agreed to publish it, because it might be groundbreaking: I actually can't think of a game where you must play as a woman and she has significant romance in her plot.  Final Fantasy X-2 is the best example I can think of, and it's not a very good one.  Games with real romance have either male or player-selectable protagonists.  Can anyone think of exceptions?

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#69 | Back to Top03-20-2013 03:40:35 PM

Ragnarok
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From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Hmmm.

The thing about that article is it's a different spin on what Moris said back in November.

Despite the perceived commercial risk attached to Remember Me's lead character, Moris claims that several publishers were keen to sign the project when it was revealed at Gamescom 2011. Initially the game was signed by Sony but the deal fell through after the PlayStation business had to reign in its spending.

"We just stopped pitching it to studios," Moris said.

"The deal with Sony ended early 2011, so that year I went to Gamescom with a teaser [trailer], concept art and a speech. The idea was to create some excitement amongst journalists, which creates a feedback loop and catches the attention of publishers.

"Our goal was to get a publishing deal by the end of the year, and by the time we signed with Capcom we had four publishing deals on the table."

He also says this, about making a protagonist that stands out:

"I think these sort of issues become self-fulfilling prophesies; people saying that only white males sell so then everyone only does white males.

"If you start believing these things you get your head inside this cold marketing strategy that you cannot get your head around. It becomes a pretty fucking racist and misogynistic way of thinking about lead characters."

Earlier in the same month he had an interview which went over some of the same lines.

To play devil's advocate, why challenge gamers with a story that makes players ask questions? The biggest games in the world are just 'man with gun and a load of targets'.

Why not? Videogames have become such a formatted medium, but it's the most powerful medium in the world and it has the most potential in the future. Yet everything is formatted. We just wanted to do things differently. You said man with gun, but you forgot to say white man.

Straight white man, even.

Really. How f**king stupid is this industry to only bet on those stereotypes? It's the only thing you give people, they get accustomed to it and don't want anything else. So yes, our character, Nilin, is mixed race, she is female, her sexual orientation is her private life, so I won't go there.

It seems kind of like he wants Nilin to be a bigger deal than she necessarily is. Is she mixed race and female because the character naturally evolved as that, or because it's specifically not white male? If the game currently retains a scene of Nilan kissing a man then her sexual orientation isn't her private life and he did go there.

It sounds to me like he might be doing the right things for the wrong reasons, which is itself still very good if it's done well. But it may also be why he'll say that there was trouble finding a publisher, or that Nilin is a groundbreaking character for reasons x, y and z while ignoring that there are already characters who meet those criteria. If Remember Me doesn't do well I'm sure he'll place (some of) the blame upon such an 'unconventional' protagonist. But I don't recall Jade being blamed for Beyond Good & Evil's lackluster sales.

And all that said, it's also true that having the protagonist kiss a man is going to feel awkward for some players. So I have no doubt that Remember Me got complaints from companies concerned with producing a commercial success. Comparatively, Mass Effect already has homosexual relationships. And on the subject of awkward moments in video games, the naked bath scene in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is pretty high up there, regardless of the main character's gender.


http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r9/RagnarokIII/spyschool.jpg

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#70 | Back to Top12-22-2013 01:19:25 PM

Cheerie132
Wakaba Wrangler
From: Slovakia
Registered: 11-24-2013
Posts: 12

Re: (Video games) Look, it's another male protagonist. Whee.

Honey Bear wrote:

To be honest I've no problem with being a girl and playing male characters, so long as they're done well. Gender isn't a barrier for identification for me. *shrugs*

What is more irking is when female characters in skimpy dress and no personality are added in for the gratification factor.

I gotta agree with that. *High five* For example, you know what the point of armor is? To protect your body, not to show off your fabulous curves and cleavage. But for example Mirror's edge (a gem in gaming for me) is done well. But a well written male character isn't a problem for me.


The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust -

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