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Slapped Down

Fri 25 Mar 2011 7:45am GMT / 3:45am EDT / 12:45am PDT
BusinessPublishing

Gearbox' mis-step with Duke Nukem Forever's Capture the Babe mode is likely to raise hell - and rightly so

Every few months, a new survey tells us in no uncertain terms exactly what the past few similar surveys have told us previously - that the majority of people playing videogames are female. Every few months, wise heads in the industry nod sagely at this revelation, and then come up with reasons to ignore - or quietly disbelieve - it. Zynga's games skew the figures, they say. Women are only interested in very specific genres that are outside the core markets. There's no point thinking about catering to a female audience with games like shooters or RPGs - it's just not their thing.

Such nonsensical excuses to continue ignoring a vast segment of the audience are exasperating but unsurprising. After all, it looks okay to shareholders and investors if you're sucking at your teeth and saying, "yes, that's a very exciting market but it's not really relevant to our business plan". It's less okay to confess that you've been catering to nothing but adolescent boys and marginally-less-adolescent adult men for twenty years and that accepting that actually, women want to play your games too and this creates new considerations for the design process puts you so far outside your comfort zone that it's borderline panic-inducing.

For the most part, we muddle through. Sometimes, developers earnestly and with the finest of intentions end up being nothing short of patronising, ignoring the fact that the female audience for videogames actually likes videogames, rather than having bought an Xbox in the vague hope that someone might someday build shopping and make-up modes into their games. Other times, they slip up - "slip up" being the charitable interpretation - and forget entirely that their audience doesn't consist entirely of braying misogynist hordes demanding to have their prejudices pandered to.

This week has been a bad week for examples of the latter, and as such, not a terribly good week for our medium's relationship with its female audience. In Britain, we've had the unfortunate spectacle of games retail chain Gamestation running an advertising campaign featuring the slogan "Cheaper than your girlfriend", and not even having the good grace to admit the mis-step when confronted.

Nonsensical excuses to continue ignoring a vast segment of the audience are exasperating but unsurprising

This, the chain claims, is part of Gamestation's "edgy" image. The claim was made by a PR person apparently oblivious to the fact that this kind of rubbish stopped being "edgy" in media or comedy about twenty years ago, unless you're a knuckle-dragging guffawing idiot who nods along appreciatively to Richard Littlejohn columns and likes saying things like "it's PC gone mad innit", but not in reference to Steam's sales figures. I assume (or at least hope) Gamestation doesn't believe all of its customers to fit this stereotype.

Gamestation's advertisement, at least, has the sense of an isolated mistake, even if it's compounded by failure to acknowledge the problem (and a truly forehead-slap inducing reference to the "traditional male core gamer" as its customer base - a customer base which, on this showing, it has absolutely no interest in expanding). On the other side of the pond, however, we've seen a rather more ugly and much more vociferously defended example of sexism raising its head, from an unlikely source.

Gearbox is a developer for which I have an immense amount of affection. I've only visited their offices in Dallas once, but they were hospitable, pleasant and obviously deeply passionate about what they were doing. Company boss Randy Pitchford is, quite honestly, one of the nicest men in an industry which is (often to the surprise of the mainstream media) stuffed to the gills with softly spoken, intelligent, pleasant people.

All of which makes it all the more mind-boggling that the company's forthcoming Duke Nukem Forever title is set to feature a multiplayer mode called "Capture the Babe", a variant on Capture the Flag in which you'll carry off a squirming young woman who, occasionally on your point-scoring trip back to base, will "freak out", requiring the administration of a slap on the buttocks to calm her down.

Look, I know Duke Nukem's history. I was a teenager when it came out, and I played it and loved it, and even now his various off-colour remarks and the pauses in the carnage to quickly offer some cash to a nearby stripper raise a smile. It's unquestionably the product of a slightly dafter and less intelligent time, but equally, it's easy to class under the heading of "mostly harmless". I don't want to be all right-on over this issue, but the extent of the discomfort I feel at what Gearbox have implemented here is immense.

The defence, already mooted very publicly by hugely popular webcomic and arbitrator of gaming taste Penny-Arcade, is that hey - in Call of Duty you slaughter thousands, so how is slapping a girl to calm her down in Duke Nukem Forever "offensive"?

It's a persuasive argument. It's also stupid and disingenuous. The slaughter of thousands by an improbable super-soldier is pretty blatantly within the realms of utter fantasy. Slapping women? That's something which, sadly, happens every day in countless households around the world. There's no funny, goofy way to give a player - playing as an all-American hero - a button which slaps a woman to calm her down, because there's no way to do it without reinforcing the basic and sadly still widely held view that this is an acceptable thing to do.

We, meaning the media and gamers on the whole, defend this medium from allegations of promoting violence because we know that the distinguishing line between fantasy and reality is clear to all but an extraordinarily tiny minority of people - and those people have psychological and social problems that are bluntly unrelated to their videogame consumption. What Penny-Arcade and other defenders of Gearbox' woman-slapping action button have done is to confuse the false allegation of inspiring violent behaviour with the altogether more likely and insidious action of reinforcing stereotypes and prejudices.

The vast, vast majority of gamers are not murderers. However, a few evenings on Xbox Live or World of Warcraft or any other online environment will show you beyond the shadow of a doubt that at the very least, a significant minority of gamers most certainly are loud-mouthed misogynists. The anecdotal experience of female core gamer friends, many of whom have had to hide their gender in order to have good experiences on Xbox Live or in MMORPGs, backs this up entirely.

Sexism remains part and parcel of interactive entertainment, because by and large the core games industry is still a boys' treehouse to which girls are only grudgingly invited

Should Gearbox, a respected and well-liked company in its field, be debasing itself by pandering those people? Sure, they're the audience - at least, they're part of the audience - but even commercially, will the number of thick-browed cretins who decide to buy Duke Nukem Forever because you can slap women really outnumber the number of people who are utterly repelled from going anywhere near the game as a consequence? And, if those numbers really do fall down on the side of the sexist neanderthals, is Gearbox going to sleep soundly over a job well done?

Sexism remains part and parcel of interactive entertainment, because by and large the core games industry is still a boys' treehouse to which girls are only grudgingly invited. That being said, things have improved immensely - there are more and more prominent females in the industry, and an increasingly wide understanding of the fact that there is a big audience out there to whom a girl in a metal bikini is the basis for rolled eyes rather than opened wallets. Yet I believe that it's still important to challenge the most utterly shameful examples of sexism, and homophobia, and yes, even racism in gaming, because a reminder every now and then that the audience isn't entirely made up of white American 17 year old straight males doesn't go amiss.

Moreover, this isn't about censorship - to which I remain implacably opposed (although not to age ratings, which are an entirely different issue). Rather, it's about game companies, particularly those with excellent reputations and those entrusted with well-known franchises and brands, simply having the maturity to remember that they're part of an ecosystem, part of a wider entertainment medium that's still finding its way in the world - and part of a wider society in which women, and many minority groups, are still discriminated against (sometimes violently) every day. It's important sometimes to stand back from what you're making and ask, is this cheap and slightly uncomfortable laugh really worth it? Does it add so much value that it's worth making light of domestic violence, of misogyny? In this case, the balance is clear. For Gearbox to recognise this and drop the feature wouldn't be censorship, it would be maturity.

102 Comments

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
National offense week? Its a game and I assume you dont beat her up just a little slap on the ass. Was it offensive, sexist and gave the feeling they ignore violence against women when the girls got slaped on the ass in the we dare commercial?

Posted:3 years ago

#1
Cmon. its Duke Nukem. Enough of the ealth and safety coppers and admit that everyone is slightly racist, prejudiced, thinks things and not everyone is from the PC camp.

Its like taking everything interesting, fun and exciting in the world, into one facist monologue monochromic view.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.

235 164 0.7
Penny Arcade's take on the subject here, in case you want to read it in full.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 25th March 2011 9:58am

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Nick Ferguson Senior Producer, Microsoft

49 11 0.2
I wonder if Nintendo will repeat their memorable "Will You Get The Girl... Or Play Like One?" campaign when Zelda OOT gets re-released on 3DS this summer.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nick Ferguson on 25th March 2011 10:02am

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,158 1,221 1.1
Complain about sexism in Duke all you want. In my opinion, sexist treatment of men starts by making them talk about their feelings. Look no further than the Sims to be offended. :p

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Tim Hesse Product Development Executive

22 0 0.0
Classic ;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Hesse on 25th March 2011 11:39am

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Jas Purewal Solicitor, Osborne Clarke

35 0 0.0
+1 Rob.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
Excellent editorial, well said Rob! :3

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Tom Keresztes Programmer

692 348 0.5
I agree with Rob, but i still want Duke Nukem be sexist forever :D

Posted:3 years ago

#9
I agree with Robs take on the taste of the ad, but what I got from the Penny Arcade strip wasn't just that it was saying virtual murder was worse than virtual bottom slaps, therefore blah blah etc. To me it was making the higher point that it's all fantasy - if virtual murder is meaningless in the pursuit of our gaming jollies then it's hard to get upset about mildly ignorant aspects of a fictional character who is supposed to be, well, mildly ignorant.

There's the real world, then there's everything else that exists as an idea. With Duke, why should this complete fantasy have to pretend it exists in the real world, when clearly the whole point in playing (or reading or watching) these fantasy worlds is that they do not? There's always real-world arguments - often emotional - that dismiss the reality gap and insist that fiction play by non-fiction rules and implying we can't tell the real world from the fictional anyway. Yet we can and we do, every day all the time, billions of us - even children. The worlds are separate and we know it, not just in theory but intrinsically. I argue in fact that getting an average human, even a child, to believe a game or movie is the same as the real world is next to impossible. If you don't believe that try steering the next argument you have with your spouse using a dual-shock and you might get a surprise :P

Okay it's an old argument but we need to be comfortable with the idea that a freedom to create and to explore that creation comes at the cost of being occasionally offended, of not having your world view represented, or indeed having it ridiculed. The irony of course is that it's all the most tasteless, hard-to-defend bits of our pop culture that inhabit the edges of our freedoms like manure - stinking and mucking it up yes but undeniably nourishing it for when we need it. And in fact they do a far better job of it than all the mainstream centrist vanilla shite we produce by the ton.

Posted:3 years ago

#10
Duke is culturally iconic for better/worse for his views, attitude and take on everything.
Thus PC cops should just back off and leave Duke to save the world in his own fashion

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Mathias Johansson Co-founder, SkyGoblin

12 0 0.0
Great column, I'm happy to see this issue getting more spotlight. I love Duke 3D and I have played it very much since it was released 15 years ago (!) and like a million fans I've eagerly awaited the legendary "when it's ready"-release.

But like the rest of the fan base I'm now 15 years older and view things differently. Kick-ass action and the Duke character still appeals to me as much as always but the capture-the-girl game mode makes it clear that I no longer belong to Gearbox' target audience. I'd be ashamed to pay for that. As for the rest of you guys (and girls), go nuts I don't mind.

Apart from moral aspects, I think the industry is locked in a misleading stereotypical gender focused paradigm. We're all too slow thinking beyond men playing action games and women playing dressup games. Comparing to the films, it's like we're producing 90% Rambo and Terminator movies while the remaining 10% movies are slapped with a girl/child label. Games as a whole will inevitably evolve beyond this niche simply because originality and inventivness is part and parcel of all cultural expression. When this happens the gender of the "core audience" will be less relevant and obvious, as with music, movies and art today.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Joe Taylor Engineer, Ruffian Games

3 0 0.0
I agree with Rob on this one but not essentially on the ass slap.. I have a problem with the fact that the aim of the game is to "capture" non-consenting women for fun, as though they were nothing more than objects (in this instance, a direct replacement for a FLAG), with their intermittent screams and attempts at escape a minor annoyance that can be dealt with by simply issuing a quick slap.

I'm also a fan of the original and i can see the funny side of the sexist components of that. But this one goes a step (or two) too far. I'm concerned that Gearbox are going to be remembered in bad light for this simple mechanic, rather than for being the ones that brought Duke Nukem into the modern era.

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Tim O'Donoghue Information resources, Crunch

7 0 0.0
Great article.

Posted:3 years ago

#14
Very good article. I'd applaud any move which increases tolerance and treats gamers like adults. Particularly true in RPGs where you're forced to play a hetrosexual male (Mass Effect I'm looking at you).

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Robert Mills Freelance

3 0 0.0
I find this argument very ill-informed and seemingly of the opinion that supporting the position of women in gaming requires a thinly-veiled misandry. My favourite part, however, has to be:

"The slaughter of thousands by an improbable super-soldier is pretty blatantly within the realms of utter fantasy."

That's perfectly true, it would be an utter lie, however, if one replaced "an improbable super-soldier" with simply "soldiers." That happens every day too and is more atrocious than the sort of sexism Duke Nukem has. Penny Arcade's point hasn't been disarmed in the least here.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Johan Burell Programmer

1 0 0.0
Great article Rob. Fully agree.

Posted:3 years ago

#17

Benjamin Seeberger Writer/Translator

28 18 0.6
Why do wear our rose-colored glasses when we talk about Duke Nukem 3D? I remember, even as a kid, being appalled by the amount of sexism in the game and I was 1 sixteen at the time it came out, what should have been the perfect age for that kind of game. Not only that, but most of the media surrounding the game caused extraordinary controversy (putting GTA to shame), to the point where countries actually banned it or released censored versions.

Obviously, this kind of juvenile behavior isn't new with gaming companies. But the new demographic with girls is. We need to get our heads out of the sand or else we'll be buried in it, flailing our arms and saying, "Why! Why?! Why don't you have a sense of humor?!"

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Benjamin Seeberger on 25th March 2011 12:37pm

Posted:3 years ago

#18

Hannah Crosby Character Artist

1 0 0.0
Sally, I think you're mistaking what Rob is saying here. He's not arguing which is "wronger" but which is more likely to be something that the intended demographic actually do in their everyday life - the slaughter of thousands or smacking up their girlfriend when she talks back.
The point Rob seems to be making ( and some of the commenters here have echoed it ) is that with the new generation of female gamers and changing attitudes towards women it seems to be a bit of a step backward to be resurrecting the archaic misogyny of the original Duke Nukem franchise and something that Gearbox might eventually feel they've shot themselves in the foot over.
Heck, the original Duke Nukem was the first game I ever played as a stary-eyed eight-year-old, but we've all kind of grown up since then and it'd be nice if our games could grow up with us.

Posted:3 years ago

#19

Tomas Rawlings Director, auroch digital

6 1 0.2
Well said. I agree we need to consider the content we create. We need to have an industry that welcomes all.

Posted:3 years ago

#20
It's a GAME folks, not reality. As long as things like this aren't encouraged actively in everyday life, I don't see the issue.

Posted:3 years ago

#21

Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde

110 0 0.0
Agreed Sally. While I also agree with Robs point with respect to the industry as a whole, I find that this argument is being aimed at the wrong game.

We want these outdated sexist stereotypes to be eradicated from gaming, if not entertainment altogether. However, while it is rather crass, it works within the confines of Duke Nukems scope. The Duke Nukem games are renowned for being rude and adhering to cultural cliches and stereotypes. It does this with tongue planted firmly against cheek. The majority of people understand who and what Duke Nukem is and understand that the content in question would would be woefully inappropriate if in another game. Whether they find it amusing or offensive in Duke Nukem is up to them. Infinity Ward argued that the 'No Russian' scene was appropriate with respect to the tone of the game and the story they tried to tell - whether you agree with that is another debate entirely. In line with that, silly, crude, sexist jokes in DNF 'fit' with the nature of the universe it takes place in.

Is the furore due to the fact it is more likely for domestic abuse to happen in the home than murder? The same argument could be presented to every FPS in the genre: people are murdered every single day in conflicts as vast as wars in foreign nations, to thugs trying to steal someone's wallet. If murder rates increase in major metropolitan areas do we censor the violence in the next GTA? Again, these actions fit the context of the universe they exist in. If people cannot grasp that despite their context, the actions in these games are inappropriate, then there are clear issues that exist outwith gaming that must be addressed (lads mags, music videos, hollywood, or y'know... parenting?).

Yet despite this, there are far too many examples of women (and men) being objectified in games in a manner that does not fit the context of what is happening, yet still the industry and consumers do not appear concerned. What about the blatant over-sexualisation of characters in the Dead or Alive series, with the ridiculous outfits and breast physics? Or even worse, the beach sport games that only carry those characters. In Bayonetta we have a hyper-sexualised lead character who undresses herself as part of her fighting style, yet many do not see this as an issue. It does not lend itself to the story, it's simply there as it is the default stereotype of many a Japanese hack-and-slash. Lest we forget the female characters from pretty much any JRPG, Metal Gear Solid, Darkstalkers, Resident Evil etc. The list goes on.

Perhaps we should consider more about how both men and women are represented in games before we even broach the issue of how they are treated by the opposite sex?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tommy Thompson on 25th March 2011 1:49pm

Posted:3 years ago

#22

Sharon Price International Co-ordinator, Lightning Fish Games

3 0 0.0
Good article Rob! @Hanna and Sally - I'm in full agreement with you both! (Anything to me that condones "slapping" a woman (or a man) whither in a game or not should not be allowed to pass!) I guess this is a debate that will go on for years to come with both sides having reasonable arguments - but as Hanna pointed out; its time for Games to grow up alongside the changing attitudes of our time.

Posted:3 years ago

#23

Chiara Pasquini Global Submission Manager, 505 Games

10 40 4.0
Excellent article.

Posted:3 years ago

#24

Antonia Cullum Talent Manager, Natural Selection

5 0 0.0
Great article.

I totally agree with Hannah's comments. Unfortunately you don't have to look far to find people who genuinely believe that sometimes a woman needs 'a good slap' and it is very sad that even now they feel it not only okay but also okay to say it publicly. You have to look a lot further to find those that would see the slaughter of thousands as 'okay'. Few, thankfully would ever be in a position to do or justify the latter while most men will find themselves in close proximity to a woman at some stage in their lives.

Posted:3 years ago

#25

Alex Dawson Technical Art director, Firing Pin Games

16 0 0.0
Duke Nukem, Maturity?

It's a shame we can't get Duke's opinion on this!

Personally I was expecting nothing more than unadulterated sexism, violence and toilet humour, hell a little spanking is probably icing on the cake, certainly made me giggle. And there's plenty of ladies that enjoy a little spank now and then in a cheeky way. I don't think he's going all wife beater on her!?

I'm all for being non sexist and what not but I'm finding the idea of doing that with Duke Nukem very surreal, seems a bit political correctness gone mad to me! Maybe she will spank Duke Back, would people be happy then?

Posted:3 years ago

#26

Darius Kazemi Lead Analyst, Blue Fang Games

1 0 0.0
Fantastic editorial, well said!

Posted:3 years ago

#27

Neil Alphonso Lead Designer, Splash Damage Ltd

48 17 0.4
I'll be waiting to see the game mode myself rather than reading somebody's else's impressions before grabbing my pitchfork. Sensationalism-sense tingling...

Posted:3 years ago

#28
Very impressive article Rob, thank you. I disagree about your point wrt the core games industry itself being a "Boys Only Treehouse" - I suspect anyone who's evertried to recruit for the games industry, even at entry levels, can tell you that the gender disparity in games development has little to do with implicit sexism and far more to do with women seemingly not wanting to get into games. That's shifted a lot in the last few years, though, especially in the art and design sectors of the industry, and I'm very glad to see it. Now all we need is the new generation of female gamers to finish their Computer Science degrees and MBAs and thereby fix the still-yawning disparity in coding and management, and we'll be all set.

Posted:3 years ago

#29
Got to disagree with some of this article unfortunately. I certainly agree with the gender equallity theme but I can't help but think this is just a Daily Mail style attempt to get people riled about something to increase readership. I come to GI.biz to read gaming news not artificially induced controversy.

Gamestation's ad was not sexist. I don't get worked up about adverts aimed at women that portray men as usless burdens because women are by far the largest purchasers of those products and frankly we can be useless and burdensome at times :). Equally, women should not be offended by gamestations advert because black ops will be targeting a mainly male audience and taking your girlfriend out for a meal etc is expensive. Even if adverts say things about men or women that are totally unfounded, if they somehow sell the product and aren't damaging to anyone then why must people get offended?
Certainly women should be the target of game adverts and games themselves as they are a growing part of the gamer community but to deny that particular games can be targeted at a sub demographic is stupid. Whether it be women, men, sports fans, tiddlywink enthusiasts...

As for Duke Nukem, he is supposed to be a sexist, misogynist, anachronistic characature. He's not being portrayed as someone to emulate but to laugh about. Capture the babe is a harmless twist on well know and liked game mode that is entirely in keeping with the theme of the game. Pulling features like this would not be 'maturity' it would be effectively discarding the source material gearbox are working with and making Duke into something it's not.
Drawing parallels between the slap on the bottom in capture the babe and domestic abuse is rediculous.

Posted:3 years ago

#30

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
So nobody who agrees has ever slaped his girlfriend on the ass?

Posted:3 years ago

#31

Jonah Falcon Writer

31 27 0.9
"It's a GAME folks, not reality"

The Turner Diaries and The Bible are just BOOKS, but people take them very seriously. Just ask people in Oklahoma City.

If Duke were kidnapping screaming black guys, and slapped them on the ass to keep them quiet, would you find it funny?

Posted:3 years ago

#32

James Redner president, The Redner Group

3 0 0.0
Ron, you've published a well written article using a gameplay mode as your story's anchor and you've not even seen that particular mode yet. It's as if you've already judged someone guilty based solely on hearsay. See the mode, then judge for yourself. At that point, once you've seen the mode, I can fully respect your usage of the game as a starting point for a larger discussion.

Posted:3 years ago

#33

Laura Roberts Manager

6 0 0.0
Excellent editorial. A good litmus test of offensiveness is to substitute another group for the one in the game. How easily could the creators of the new Duke Nuke'em defend a scenario called "Capture the Jew" or "Capture the Black Guy"? I am sick of the fact that when women are involved, a long debate is still necessary. I understand how tired people have become of "political correctness" but one unfortunate byproduct of the over-adherence to it has been a reactionary attitude that leads some people to condone just about everything. I sometimes wonder if there are people who would rather be called sexist than politically correct? lol.

As far as women's preferences in games go, I don't agree that women have no interest in FPS or other action games. What they do want from games is competition (main motivation to play), not a time-sink, inexpensive, social experiences, or story (which is why more play RPG's or Adventure games). With all of that in mind, my prediction is that the female demographic will dominate freemium MMO's.

P.S. Balls of Steel never fails to make me giggle, even now :)

Posted:3 years ago

#34

Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde

110 0 0.0
@Jonah

As I and other commenters have pointed out, Dukes actions are part of his character and the unrealistic, comical universe he exists in. If it became 'Capture the Ethnic Minority' then not only is it insensitive to anybody not white, but it doesn't fit with the character. So no, people probably wouldn't find it funny since it doesn't make any sense in the context of the defined character such that it becomes comical.

If perhaps Duke was a white supremacist then it becomes understandable as to why he is doing it. Whether you find it funny would depend on your own opinions on race and creed.

It would cause a huge backlash since it is very insensitive. However, it's sad to see that it is still common in the entertainment industry to make jokes at the expense of stereotypes (Michael Bay, I'm looking at you). Whether they are still socially acceptable, well, that's for society to decide.

Posted:3 years ago

#35
I don't really mind sexist GAMES when they are overtly sexual as to cater to the laughable male stereotype. I mean I think it's funny because it depicts men as idiots and certain kinds of women as such too. But when the entire industry is doing it, it gets really old, really fast and I think everyone needs to be aware these are archaic stereotypes that we can laugh and poke fun at, but nothing more. Nice editorial.

Posted:3 years ago

#36

Abraham Tatester Producer

71 53 0.7
Silence is consent, and I'm glad that GamesIndustry.biz has chosen to speak out against sexism in games and the industry as a whole. Thank you for the article and for pursuing this topic.

If you're not part of of the solution, you're part of the problem. Sexism is every bit as wrong as racism and should not be promoted by any responsible person in any form of media. I'm not saying games like Duke Nukem should be censored, rather that studio directors should have the sense and taste not to create game content that reinforces sexist attitudes and practices.

The movers and shakers in the industry really need to remember that their creations are not an island isolated from society at large. Times have changed and just as there's a reason why the humor of Benny Hill (God bless 'em) has left the airwaves, there are also good reasons for Duke Nukem (bless 'em as well) to finally grow up.

Posted:3 years ago

#37

Paul Gheran Scrum Master

123 27 0.2
Revelation:

Playing video games is in fact, way cheaper than having a girl friend. Especially when CounterStrike was still in beta. Theres nothing sexist about factual information.

Posted:3 years ago

#38

Nora Ascencio Audio Designer, MindArk PE AB

1 0 0.0
Excellent editorial, I agree with you Rob. I've played video games since atari and I loved it so much. However, I stopped at some point, I guess because it became hard to find games that didn't involved so much violence/fight/blood and that manly sweat, which is not really interesting for me... I came back to video games some years ago, but still, don't find often stuff that I really really love to play... I agree that the industry is just ignoring this big market: women. It's like they don't understand that is not about loosing what they have now, but just thinking a little bit outside of the box, see what women is looking for in games, and include them. They are just wasting a huge market expansion.

Posted:3 years ago

#39

Tom Keresztes Programmer

692 348 0.5
Surprising, how many people do not get what a satire is...

Posted:3 years ago

#40

Max Brode Videogame Consultant

11 9 0.8
I think this is an important discussion, and I welcome Rob’s editorial on the subject. Nevertheless, from the point of view of someone who hasn’t played the game at all, I think a call for self-censorship is potentially premature. I feel a word of caution, however, is appropriate.

Going by the available information, I think any civilised and mature enough individual should be able to see that the game appears to make an attempt at humour, not at education. As such, this is less about whether we should be allowed tongue-in-cheek, non-PC entertainment once in a while and more about why some perceive degradation, condescension and objectification of women as funny in the first place.

I guess in the end this will have to come down to whether we’ll be invited to laugh at Duke Nukem Forever’s bigoted and sexually repressed protagonist for being just that, or whether it aims to let the player indulge in this warped and antiquated view of the world. To judge that, however, we’ll have to play the game first.

Posted:3 years ago

#41

Amy Woodhouse Digital PR/Print PR/Social Media Communication

1 0 0.0
This was certainly an interesting read and subject matter that always creates a huge amount of healthy discussion and argument! I don't want to get into the rights or wrongs of the ass slapping, it is a game, and I haven't quite figured out myself where I want to draw the line as yet. But as a female games PR I am continually frustrated by the fact that I can't place a game feature/review etc within female consumer press because it's an area that they just don't cover. Whether games are aimed at male 13-35 demographic or not, I know that there are girls out there playing them and I'd like to see the press representing the interests of today's girls and women a little bit more accurately.

Posted:3 years ago

#42

Megan Fox Programmer, NetDevil

7 0 0.0
In principle, I agree - it would be nice if shareholders would stop assuming that female gamers don't exist, or that we have magically different tastes involving makeup and the usage of credit cards by virtue of magical shoe-sensitive hormones or whatever.

... but on the other, I'm forced to disagree on Duke Nukem. This is a game based on an 80's character which I grew up with, which was iconic for, well, doing precisely what he does in this game - being an over-the-top misogynist jack hole who also kicks ass and takes names and chews bubble gum. So here? I'd be upset if Duke started abusing women, that'd be taking it too far, but a sexualized slap on the ass is precisely the sort of humour that fits with Duke's character, for better or worse. I'll probably play it (though through GameFly) and chuckle quietly at it - it is what it is.

All in all, I'd prefer we moved this sort of character more toward games like Bulletstorm - which are similar, but tend to spread the typecasting around, casting everyone in an equally silly and offensive light - but there will always be games like this. It's only really an issue when someone assumes that this is the only kind of game that should be made, that this kind of humour is the only appropriate kind, because the market is entirely teenage boys.

That really isn't a problem right now, there's plenty of Mass Effects and Beyond Good and Evils and Torchlights and Limbos and such that target other portions of the market, so hey, Duke Nukem? He should just keep chewing ass and kicking bubblegum. Or vice versa.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Megan Fox on 25th March 2011 4:14pm

Posted:3 years ago

#43

Max Brode Videogame Consultant

11 9 0.8
@Werner
“So nobody who agrees has ever slaped his girlfriend on the ass?”
Oh, I see – so, is it the Duke’s girlfriend you’re carrying around, or is she the girlfriend of the other team? Is she everyone’s girlfriend? She must be what they call a slapper, then. You’re right – nothing dodgy about that at all…

Posted:3 years ago

#44

Craig Bamford Writer/Consultant

40 54 1.4
So, uh, let me get this straight. Fahey's arguing that the difference between Call of Duty and Duke Nukem is that mass slaughter in warfare is "utter fantasy"?

"Super-soldier" caveat or no, that's utterly ridiculous. War happens. It's happening right now, as a matter of fact. It can get very bloody, and a lot of people can (and are) killed. The whole point of games like CoD is that they're supposed to be relatively accurate depictions of modern or historical conflict. To call it "utter fantasy" in comparison to Duke Nukem, of all things, is absolutely baffling.

Either there's a line between fantasy and reality in the minds of adults, or there isn't. If there is, then a slap on the butt won't change anything. If there isn't, then the first thing that needs to go is CoD, considering its tone and presentation. Either way, Fahey's argument is utterly incoherent.

And, yes, Rob, this is about censorship. Not government censorship, obviously, but you're clearly and unambiguously advocating that developers practice self-censorship of content you're uncomfortable with. Considering that the last time an industry engaged in comprehensive self-censorship was the Comics Code, I would have thought that you'd be a bit reluctant to go down that road. I suppose not.

Posted:3 years ago

#45

Rob Fahey Columnist, GamesIndustry.biz

76 190 2.5
I'm not going to respond individually to all of the points raised here, not least because a lot of them repeat themselves, but there are a few things that I think need to be clarified in this discussion.

Firstly, please stop drawing comparisons between playfully slapping your girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever on the backside on one hand, and the action of hitting a woman to calm her down on the other. There is no equivalence here, and it's pretty jaw-dropping to see how many people seem to be willing to try to grasp at this straw. One of those actions is a sexual act between consenting adults. The other is a non-consensual violent act against women which, thanks to countless media portrayals in the not-so-distant past and a strong societal reinforcement, still resonates strongly enough to be a basis for domestic abuse. Moreover, the act of hitting a woman in this way carries absolutely immense historical and societal baggage, and has to be considered in that light.

Secondly, yes, Duke Nukem is absolutely a sexist game with pretty juvenile humour, and that's part of the appeal. I don't want Gearbox to take out the strippers, or his various adolescent appreciative comments about babes, or whatever, any more than I want them to take out the pig-cops or the toilet humour. That stuff's all a part of Duke, and it's childish and stupid - but it takes a pretty serious sense of humour failure to seriously object to it. I'm not writing for The Border House (thank god). What I'm having trouble with - what I'm finding momentously stupid and pointlessly offensive - is the 50's-esque "slap the hysterical woman to calm her down" action. Do I need to clarify, here, that this wasn't in Duke 3D? That what I'm suggesting, at this point, isn't actually removing something - it's just not putting it in in the first place?

Third, I'm not buying the satire argument right now. If the game turns up and it's actually a clever, tongue-in-cheek puncturing of Duke's whole chauvinist, muscle-bound, cigar-chomping schtick, then hats off to Gearbox - I'll apologise for misreading the situation in a heartbeat. But as it stands, Duke is the hero. The hero, the praise-worthy planet-saving hero, is hitting women to calm them down. That's not satire, and I don't think the finest animator on the planet could tweak the keyframes of that sequence to make it sufficiently "goofy" as to rinse it of basic, pointless offensiveness.

Finally - to the commenter who accused me of writing this purely to drive traffic... That would be a bit of an odd approach to take on a site that recently explicitly restricted its readership to those involved in the industry! Moreover, I've been writing these columns every week for six or seven years - if I was going to crack and start hitting up the Daily Mail headline generator in a desperate bid for traffic, I think it would have happened long ago. Feel free to disagree with and debate the opinions herein, but believe me when I tell you that they are absolutely my own.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rob Fahey on 25th March 2011 5:16pm

Posted:3 years ago

#46
Yeah but Gullivers Travels to Brass Eye, satire wallows in filth and loves making us uncomfortable by showing us what we say we like. Me, I really like Duke. Lest we forget: the first line out of Duke's mouth in the game - which is about alien pigs invading the earth, for any socially concerned modern realists out there - is Duke bailing from his flaming spaceship over Hollywood screaming "Those alien bastards are gonna to pay for shooting up my ride". When you meet the final giant boss, Duke shouts "I'm gonna rip off your head and shit down your neck" and in the cutscene after the fight he does just that, blood, bog roll and all.

Trying to inject seriousness into the world described here is being purposely tone deaf. When it came out years ago Duke was a parody of the mindless 80's blockbuster heroes, as well as a celebration of them. And as if 3Drealms couldn't flag up the satire any stronger for the idiots, they called the game Duke Nuke 'Em. I loved it as one giant glorious piss take of the sham of Hollywood and the duuuhness of FPS games and this is the side of the IP they are trying to do justice to in modern times. I know as developers we all want to see games being created to higher and better standards, but we need to be discerning - I despair when I see devs take an inherently ridiculous game idea - such as an FPS about a muscle mary taking on legions of space pigs - and try to stuff gravitas into it. Gritty themes, sex and violence do not make a game infantile any more than they automatically render them 'grown up'. If good satire has a cost of entry for your brain, it's that nothing will be black and white, your own hypocrisy and prejudices will be built into it and you definitely will be offended by something.

Posted:3 years ago

#47

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
We havent seen yet the gameplay for the mode so it should be seen if it is a violent act or not. They could play an audio of the girl saying "that was good" and the issue is gone. There shouldnt be so much asuming based on 2 sentences about the mode. Its like what was after the we dare ad or similar instances where opinions where made without seeing the actual game.

Posted:3 years ago

#48
Thanks a lot Rob for this analysis.
you've got all my support.

Posted:3 years ago

#49

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

185 515 2.8
Hmm... A slap on the arse isn't usually the same thing as domestic violence. It's sexist and patronizing, sure, especially from someone you're not involved with, but it's not remotely in the same ballpark as being hit in the face or punched on the stomach and thighs by your partner so the marks won't show. The fact that it's done to a woman "freaking out" to "calm her down" is where it all goes wrong.

If we're going to be offended by anything about the "Capture the Babe" sequence, shouldn't it be that capturing and carrying off a woman who is "freaking out" sounds more than a little bit rapey? I'll wait to see it before I judge, though.

The Duke is a pastiche of those smarmy B-movie heroes, a digital version of the cheap and cheesy characters Bruce Campbell is usually called on to play. He's a satire and we're called upon to laugh at him, not with him. We shouldn't make the mistake of mistaking depiction for approbation - it's not like the Gamestop marketing campaign, where you really get the feeling that it's an in-joke for "the boys."

But we shouldn't lose sight of the main thrust of the article, which some of the comments here already have. The point is that the "mostly-male core gamer market" is a MYTH. If marketers, developers and PLAYERS would stop making such a concerted effort to keep women out, we would outnumber men significantly. As it stands, in the gaming market as a whole, we already do.

Frankly, some of the comments in this thread and particularly those on the Gamestop article, have been so appallingly misogynistic I felt physically sick. To Paul Gheran and others who agree with Gamestop, maybe there's something you're doing wrong that you have to pay for your love lives.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 25th March 2011 5:50pm

Posted:3 years ago

#50
How about the author feeling the need to stand up for women, i find that pretty sexually biased. Not to mention literally every second sentence labelling male gamers as Neanderthals got a bit grating.
"Oh look a woman is being portrayed in a stereotypical role! Time to stand up for her rights like a proper gent."

I don't particularly support Duke Nukems portrayal of women. Although if it's gotten all of these pro equality people in such a fluster maybe it's worth checking out.

Also he mentioned that his main grievance was with the implications for domestic abuse. I unfortunately can't remember my source so i'll probably be crucified for saying this, but studies have shown that 50% of domestic abuse (not sure if it said physical or otherwise) has been started by the female in the relationship.

Posted:3 years ago

#51

Toby Ross Studying Computer Science, University of Warwick

7 0 0.0
Arguably it's just as sexist to imagine that a man would WANT to 'slap' a woman to calm her down.

Posted:3 years ago

#52

Nicky Rhodes Studying Environment Artist, University of Glamorgan

5 0 0.0
I agree with Rob. It's insulting and the games industry need to realise that girls play with boys toys, i.e., the traditional video game, they don't need to change the genre of game to suit women they just need to stop putting women down and realise women are on the same level as men. Maybe women just get off on different aspects of the game?

I personally have found it very difficult to get my foot in the door of the games industry. I am a 3D Modeller and if anyone would like to give me work experience I would be very grateful: http://www.nickyrhodes.blogspot.com

Posted:3 years ago

#53
@Rob - Ok my Daily Mail/readership comment was out of line and ill thought. I appologise. However, I do feel that this article is rather sensationalist. Though I do agree with the points about the industry needing to accept the female gamer demographic more.

Further comments on Duke should probably be left until we see the game mode but if it is what I am imagining then I think that the comparison to domestic abuse is really flawed.

Posted:3 years ago

#54

Jonathan Davies Studying History, University of St Andrews

4 0 0.0

Here's an idea, how about we make a game in which the protagonist is a mashup of Alf Garnett and Bernard Manning. He'll spend the entire game making quips about various ethnic groups. When the PC brigade start whinging and moaning about "offense" and "racism" we'll just see how far the counter-arguments get us!

Look, this is a modern, dynamic industry that employs some of the most intelligent, highly qualified people on the planet! Why therefore, is it so hard to see that casual misogynism is unnecessary and damaging for the industry’s image?

Posted:3 years ago

#55

Chad Morelock Writer

1 0 0.0
I don't think the Duke Nukem example is the best one. The entire character's persona is based around taking refuge in audacity and being a testosterone-poisoned macho jerk. A slap on the behind does not carry the same connotations as beating someone up. I mean is it really that much more disturbing than BioShock 2's take on the same game mode, where you grab screaming children and stuff them into air vents?

In any case, I wrote an article a while back about how gamers are just as unwelcoming as the industry itself. The industry tends to pander to the immature jerks who will shell out for a new Madden or Call of Duty every year like rats to cheese.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chad Morelock on 25th March 2011 8:53pm

Posted:3 years ago

#56

Zidaya Zenovka Blogger, Writer

41 8 0.2
So, Duke Nukems' satirical take on the stereotypical over the top macho character and blatantly sexist thematic imagery and themes has caused people to open a serious dialogue about sexism-both in games and in the industry-and could possibly cause companies to reevaluate how they market to their demographics, as well as forcing them to see beyond their narrow-minded view of just who makes up those demographics?

Seems like Gearbox is being pretty ballsy here, and should be lauded instead of criticized. It's fantasy. folks. Funny how a bunch of people who usually spend all their time trying to remind others that games aren't real, that they're fantasy are forgetting all about their own arguments. I'm all for offending people > playing it safe.

Posted:3 years ago

#57

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
Let`s just all wait until we can see the mode before we demand something to get removed. It`s all about the actual gameplay and how the while thing is presented and nobody here has seen it. Sure there are women working on the title and if it would be so bad as some here think it will be they probably would have already left and refused to work on it.

Posted:3 years ago

#58

Julian Cram Project Manager, Appster

50 28 0.6
First of all: have you played the game? Are you absolutely, 100%, positively sure it's a slap on the buttocks?

Now, I'm not saying if it's a slap on the thigh it's any less demeaning to women; but you're doing an editorial and pretending to be a real news source here, so I recommend before mouthing off, get the facts 100% right, then have your say.

Second of all: I'll apologise for misreading the situation in a heartbeat. Will you? Will you do a news item linking to the front page, and in massive letters, saying sorry? Again, if you actually waited until the game came out before criticising it, you wouldn't even need to do this, right or not.

You have sensationalised this story without all the facts in front of you, exactly like the Daily Mail.

It reminds me of the Bully Bullsh*t. So many Parents Groups jumping up and down, but when the game came out, and people played it, no one could see what the fuss was about.

You want to be taken seriously as games journalism, then act responsibly.

Posted:3 years ago

#59

Joe Bognar PR Account Executive / Journalist

99 2 0.0
Nice, long article. While I was reading, I answered with one sentence to every one of yours. It's a game. It's a game. It's a game. Accusations with similar weight were raining down to the new Medal of Honor game for having a multiplayer where the player could play as a Talib soldier. Answer? IT'S A GAME!

I don't believe it's offensive to slap a girl's behind. And no one else who's not mental or uber-posh do either.
I don't want to go into details but I believe we all know that women won't calm down just by being on the receiving end of this "immature(?)/rude,(?)/sexist(?),racist(?)" behaviour. - Let me just extend this thought a little bit further by saying that some women might even like this. Khm... who knows? - We also know that there are no statues of Duke Nukem and he's not a world-known hero, an actual living person and we also 'suspect' that there are no boar-headed alien creatures who "try to take our women"!

What makes me totally jump, scream and shout like a 12 year-old CoD veteran is the fact that everything is accepted (as there's no racism/child abuse.... etc. in the game) but "sexism". Great. Someone had to pick on something...

Also from my point of view, this was just simply an unmissable high ball. They had to do it because it MADE SENSE! Duke Nukem likes women. Aliens KIDNAP (only!) the women. (Where's the angry crowd now, shouting sexism and all that?) And Duke Nukem tries to SAVE them. Simple. No one argues about that.
I'm no producer or scriptwriter or whoever had this idea but to be perfectly honest: It's brilliant! Funny at one point even. The slapping is just the symbolistic married couple on the top of a wedding cake made out of sweet, tasty marzipan. (Some love it but some find it a bit too sweet.) Otherwise what would anyone - who objects now - suggest? Capture the cigar? Capture the boar head from each team's master bedroom?

Just to make sure that we divert our thoughts from the path of "if"s and "maybe"s, I'm sure that even though a lot of 12 year-olds are shouting and srcreaming in agony after a lost Team Deathmatch in CoD, none of them will go and kill someone and I'm sure that no one will slap their girlfriend on her behind without or before her approval presented on a likert scale, stating the socially still acceptable power and angle of the slap. There might be some idiots out there but they were doing these things before these games too, for sure. Believe me when I say, women know their rights, they use them extensively in any matter that they feel the need and they are more than capable of defending themselves in this free and modern society.

I think that this is agian a baloon that'd been blown up and will only inflate when poor Gearbox will kneel down to the will of the posh, humorless - or call it whatever you want - mob of moms and trolls who HATE videogames. (wait, isn't what they are doing now discrimination?)

P.S.: I say don't do it. As a PR response and a very good crisis management tool, I would collect and present data "any way I can" to show the amount of women who will play Duke Nukem after it's release!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joe Bognar on 25th March 2011 11:40pm

Posted:3 years ago

#60

Joe Bognar PR Account Executive / Journalist

99 2 0.0
Addendum: Videogames respect and handle women equal to man: Gears of War 3's female character. But the list is huge!

@Werner
“So nobody who agrees has ever slaped his girlfriend on the ass?”
@Brode "Oh, I see – so, is it the Duke’s girlfriend you’re carrying around, or is she the girlfriend of the other team? Is she everyone’s girlfriend? She must be what they call a slapper, then. You’re right – nothing dodgy about that at all… "

No. Those NPCs are strippers. That's their job. The profession itself is ethically unacceptable. But mainly, they are NPCs! If games like MoH want to show some real life aspects of being a soldier then what's wrong of showing some real life aspects of being a redneck?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joe Bognar on 26th March 2011 2:03am

Posted:3 years ago

#61

Thomas Sigrist

12 0 0.0
Duke > moral sense

We don't have the koran to protect our right to slap women, give us a break man.

Posted:3 years ago

#62

Anthony Gowland Lead Designer, Outplay Entertainment

212 742 3.5
Rob, you don't seem to have replied to the poster asking if you have actually played this mode yet.

Posted:3 years ago

#63

Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology

179 0 0.0
the world needs nuke, a little PC incorrectness is good in this world for now..

bring on the duke!

Posted:3 years ago

#64

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
I have played Fat Princess: Fist full of cake on the PSP, and I have enjoyed it allot.

Even though people will think differently about the title, I really enjoyed the fact that I could carry the princess from the other kingdom and put her in my dungeon while trying to keep my own princess safe from the other army.

Sure, people will think that it is offencive, but I feel even more offended if someone said things about my game that I created or a game that I liked, and yet they had not played it and understood within the contex of what the game was about.

But then again, the main goal for journalism whether it be on TV, newspaper or even online journalism is to trying a tell a story that attracts the attention regardless if it was true or not.

So before you criticise someone, take a think about how others would criticise you before criticising others.

For me, I love games, especilly Japanese games.

I don't care if some people think they are sexist, I just don't see the same way that they do.

I just want to fall in love with a fictional character...and if I can make a game like that and someone else thinks I have created a sexist game? Well I think they would need to make a game and get criticised themselves to know how I feel.

Posted:3 years ago

#65

Tom Keresztes Programmer

692 348 0.5
@Dolly Palton,

Your comment is the first that actually makes sense, ano not just moaning about sexism (which an issue not limited to games).

Anyone remember that?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdm3T67IXdA

Posted:3 years ago

#66

Anthony Hart-Jones Narrative Designer, Freya's Aett

3 0 0.0
It's a tough one. Duke Nukem 3D was a joke, a jab at the politically-correct world it lived in. It was never meant to be taken seriously and I could cope with that. When I played it, I was 17 and I laughed at being able to pee in a videogame. Boobs excited me more than feminism and I was probably slap-bang in their target demographic.

The slapping mode is a little too 'cave-man' for my tastes, but this new Duke Nukem game is designed for a generation of 17 year-old boys who are now 30 year-old and trying to recapture those days before they had a job, a wife and kids. The issue is maybe not the existence of the game, nor really even the content completely; I think the issue is that it is too close to the 'core ideals' of the industry these days.

If we could look at it as an ironic statement about how little we have grown up in the last decade and a half, we could just enjoy it and move on. If it were about a woman slapping impossibly-muscled half naked men, we might be able to laugh at it. The trouble is that it's not; this game is pandering to gamers who are used to being pandered to and the people who are likely to be offended are the ones that are getting too used to being offended.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Anthony Hart-Jones on 26th March 2011 3:17pm

Posted:3 years ago

#67

Abel Oroz Art Director / Artist

16 0 0.0
So apparently the problem is that it's a man slapping a woman to calm her down, is it? I guess it would be different if it was a man slapping another man to keep him quiet. Or if it was the 50s image of the woman slapping the man in the face, in which case it would even be considered a modern image of female success.

In real life, I personally make no difference between types of sexist violence. Violence is terrible in any form, and considering specific kinds of violence as "worse" than others because they imply two specific genders is sexist in itself. Any kind of violence should be despised, no matter who practices it, but know what, that doesn't mean we should remove violence from fiction because it's just fiction.

It's funny how people's morals change so arbitrarily, and you find the same people who tore their hair out against how Jack Thompson mixed games with reality, doing the same when it touches their specific sensibility.

Posted:3 years ago

#68

Anthony Hart-Jones Narrative Designer, Freya's Aett

3 0 0.0
On a tangentially related topic, the team behind The Witcher (another 'gritty' game full of bad language and sex) actually suggested that they had made a mistake with some of the sexist themes (like the cards you got for bedding women) and vowed to do better next time.

Perhaps they noticed that (like so many RPGs) women played The Witcher, but I'd prefer to suggest that they just misjudged their audience and decided to better orient themselves with the market. I suppose we shall see...

Posted:3 years ago

#69

Gemma Suen Concept Artist, 3d artist, 2d artist, Oysterworld Games

8 2 0.3
Haha, I see there are an amazing amount of guys trying their best to defend Duke Nukem. Yes it's a game, and yes girls can just ignore it and play other games. But there's something you forget, there are many games that have this sort of sexism in it. It's not just Duke for crying out loud, in fact it's not just the games- it's the people who play the games that make it more infuriating. You know how annoying it was growing up with my brother's friends shouting annoying obscenities and quotes from a bloody manly game?
It made me want to be a boy, I wanted to beat them up. So good riddance if Duke Nukem gets rid of the Slap action. This article just made me remember all the things I actually hated about video games. Make games that are friendly for all, please. We've got enough Call of Duty, and Male-action already- it's such a virtual sausage fest!

Posted:3 years ago

#70

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
This is one a those touchy subjects and I know Im gonna get bashed for this.

A slap in the ass wouldnt hurt. Besides its Duke Nukem. Its clearly not a game meant for girls. And with so many other "sexist" things that occure throughout other types of multimedia including movies, television and porn I think this sort of content is ok for this specific game.

Sometimes I wonder what defines a game for girls. if its anything like TV and movies. I wonder what a shooter for girls would look like. Lets use "care bears" and everytime you shoot something the player character shouts 'care" and you shoot a huge rainbow of light from your belly to decimate your enemies. Or how about a Rainbow bright based RPG in the spirit of Zelda.

I think there are enough games out there for differant types of people, it would have been nice to see duke nukem slap a girl in the ass, tell her to shut up and drag her to home base with you, all while you smoke a cigar and beat up anybody who gets close to your girl.

Anyway if you dont like it, if it goes against your morals and ethical values, just dont watch it. And as long as it is not imposed on anyone or used to hurt anyone, I think people should be free to expirience differant things. Gearbox is a developer Im sure is capable of doing differant types of games, and if it chooses it can cater to differant audiences. However this depends what there business model is and what their target audience is. Quite frankly, I think Duke Nukem isnt a game for girls. I think the gaming industry should support all types of people. However I dont think a single game neccesarily has to.

And to any girls reading this, Id simply tell em, to stay away from duke nukem if you arent into Testosterone induced, chauvanist, macho action and big boobs. Plenty of great games out their for you to choose from.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 26th March 2011 6:31pm

Posted:3 years ago

#71

Tom Keresztes Programmer

692 348 0.5
Is it OK complain about games for girls for not being gender inclusive ?

Posted:3 years ago

#72

Kryss Ikari Concept Artist, Storyboarder, 3D Modeling

1 0 0.0
Big fan of the editorials here at GI.biz, and always fascinated by the responses to articles. Felt it was time to add my own two cents to the argument.

Surely, in an industry that's fueled primarily by narritive and characterisation, there are going to be characters that crop up who have cliche's and stereotypes attached to them that others will find mildly disagreeable? Isn't that a sure fire conclusion in any form of media where the character is a primary focus? Take cinema for example. The vast majority of movies have characters who conform to stereotypes, whether they are arch villans, heros, martyrs or chauvanistic pigs, they're one character in a sea of narrative, and generally they are specifically designed for a purpose. It doesn't stop the vast majority of people seeing the movie simply because they disagree with a characters motives or personality and those who do disagree generally just won't watch the movie. It's a simple fact of life that you'll never please everyone, but no matter what the idea or principle behind the character, there will be someone out there who will like and relate to that character.

Duke Nukem is one such character, designed to fit a cliche and make it a somewhat humerous means of playing a game. Sure he's a bit of an ass, but if he were to try and woo these 'babes' he's capturing, surely it'd not only ruin the game mode, but also offend someone? If he were to give them candy and flowers? It'd be like making Kratos quitely slap his mythological nemesis on the wrist and tell him he's been a bad boy... it just doesn't fit the narrative or character archetype.

As for gender issues? If you look at the average girl gamer's game collection, it doesn't sway all that much from your average guy gamer's collection. Gender doesn't define what games people play, Personal preference is all that matters, and if a game is projected to sell millions of copies odds are a high percentage of those will be to women.

Sadly the games industry isn't as black and white as movies and books, where there are certain themes that have primarily male/female audiences. Gamer's are a diverse bunch regardless of gender. Sure there are a few games that scream 'I'm for a young girl, I focus on solely female themes.' but aren't they more offensive for pigeon-holing women into a certain point of interest?

Personally I say make the game how you envision it to be, odds are it'll offend someone but there are millions of people out there who'll share your view and love the game.

Posted:3 years ago

#73

Epona Schweer Game Development Teacher, Academy of Interactive Entertainment

6 0 0.0
Disclaimer: I have boobs.

After reading this article I feel almost a little ashamed that I'm not currently rage faced with indignance. Am I letting my fellow titacular homies down by NOT becoming so insulting by "Capture the Babe" that I refuse the buy the game?

What's worse, I still fully intend to PLAY the game because this WHOLE issue is about Duke being quintessentially Duke. I play Duke Nukem for exactly that kind of ridiculousness. Just as much as I watch Sharktopus to groan "Oh that's bad, that's horrible, how could they...NOT ANOTHER BEACH RESORT!".

It's campy, it's ridiculous and it's fun.

I, as a gamer chick who has been a gamer chick for as long as she can remember, do NOT want my silly campy "boys games" taken away. They have their place and at the end of a long week I'm definitely in the mood for that kind of entertainment.

However, what I DO want is more variety in the games being made. So when I feel like putting down Duke Nukem because I've gotten my ridiculous humour kicks, I want to pick up something different. I most definitely want more interesting, attractive, badass femmes to play as the main protagonist. I enjoy FPS, but I would love to see more games that provide a different take on that genre beyond twitch gameplay (non-linear problem solving anyone?).

Addressing the issue of industry ignoring the hordes of women quite happily prepared to spend oodles of money won't be solved by TAKING AWAY options. It will only be solved by INCREASING the variety of games that are being made and by MAKING MORE GAMES!

We have so few good games being made, especially by big studios, do you REALLY want to take more away?!?

Posted:3 years ago

#74

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
Well there are certainly less female playable characters in games but a good amount of bad ass girls in games like in the next Alice, Heavenly Sword, Beyond Good and Evil, Parasite Eve, Metroid, Mass Effect series if you make a girl or Bayonetta. Heavenly Sword is still one of my favorite games this generation and Nariko was awesome. Not to forget one of the most bad ass villain is a woman our beloved Ms. Kerrigan. I for one will wait for my final judgment once the game is out 10th of June... 2947. Judging the mode before the release based on 2 sentences in a press release isn`t far off from Fox news. One can make his opinion about what he thinks, but shouldn`t judge something by that alone and wanting it to be removed or go to far into assuming how it will be all presented.

Main reason for buying is like no proper game collection is complete without the game that set the record for time in development with more than a decade. If I`m going to like it needs to be seen, but I got really bored of Bulletstorm after a short time because it`s just so dull guess because every second sentence is "***k you". If I would complain about anything being sexist it would be the beat em up games especially DoA, because seriously looking at all those fighters it`s just physically impossible to stand straight unless they have a adamantium spine. And I`m not particularly defending Duke Nukem just in general games and that there is no need for self censoring content because some people getting offended. I was already strongly against removing Taliban from MoH MP and canceling Six days in fallujah. I`m not a fan of self censoring, comics showed how that turns out. Not to forget movies when it became edgy to not have people smoking anymore and every sequel movie shoehorned something in with the characters trying to stop smoking i.e. Ghostbusters or Lethal Weapon.

And arguing with "what if Duke would kidnap black guys and slapping them on the ass" isn`t a valid point unless suddenly Duke becomes either bi-sexual or homosexual, but I somehow don`t think that`s going to happen. And if anybody really want`s to go that way I would say in that case the, he would run around in a pink outfit, Aliens are out there to get all the guys, female strippers are replaced with male strippers and he would make remarks about how hot he thinks guys are and that he likes it from behind. Capture the Babe would be renamed to Capture the Stallion and he probably would have some good reasons why he kidnaps black guys instead of white guys after all he has already a preference for big guns. Would that be racist in that context? Probably not, but surely using lots of stereotypes. :D (The comment was made without the intention of offending anybody who is homosexual, black or wearing a pink outfit)

Unfortunately people will always find something to complain. I could argue Mario games are sexist because he always needs to rescue Peach and she is always portrait as a weak and helpless women that needs to be rescued by a guy. And I don`t even want to talk about the stalker Bowser who always kidnaps her for god knows what reason. :)

With all that talk about sexist media I get the urge to watch a few episodes of two and a half men again and it`s surprising how many women I know who like that show that is probably on the same level as Duke Nukem when it comes to being sexist. It`s Duke living on the beach just without the Aliens and shooting. ^^

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 27th March 2011 3:01am

Posted:3 years ago

#75
@ Werner - on a sidenote of Two and a Half Men, we all (our household of men, & women) love the irrascabile Charlie and true to character, went out burning both bridges as the way charlie can. I see it the same with Duke.

Posted:3 years ago

#76

Cynthia Williams Studying Game Production, Collins College

5 0 0.0
Once they start scooping out some games for us girl gamers, then i'm sure they'll see what monay can dish out, if they stop giving us the blind eye.

Though I dont mind the fun little gender jokes and stuff like that, I think its pure guts to have such fun in games.

Posted:3 years ago

#77

Ryan Duclos Code Monkey, Double Cluepon Software

10 0 0.0
Wow, I can't believe you just grouped up the WHOLE Game industry with the only insight coming from a Duke Nukem Game? I'm extremely disappointed in this article.

The Game Industry has so many parts to it, You have the merchants, Consumers, small and big developers, etc..

Now in the world of developing, sexism most likely exists but in minimal form, but for both sides. A female that shows skills in developing be that programming, Art, Design is welcomed with open arms.

Please do not make such large assessments on a complex industry that you've just proven to me that you know nothing about.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ryan Duclos on 27th March 2011 7:19pm

Posted:3 years ago

#78

Tom Keresztes Programmer

692 348 0.5
@Cynthia,

I think that is already happening. I remember reading an article a couple years back, a study on what attracts genders to a game - males are attracted by story, immersion factor - be able to submerge in the game, while girls are more likely play for the activity itself. This was around the end of 90s, though. But i cant remember what sort of people were questioned.

Posted:3 years ago

#79

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

390 211 0.5
Ohhh come on, I dropped out of Uni after playing the original Duke Nukem during maths lessons (against the tutor) and getting into the games industry instead of finishing my course.

Duke was sexist then and he needs to be sexist now. It isn't as if you are beating the women. If it offends then don't buy it and go play Farmville or something but leave the games I want to play alone, I'm betting that not one person who finds they need to share their dislike of such a game mode would never have bought a Duke Nukem game anyway. Oddly enough I didn't grow up to be sexist after playing the original Duke, video games affect the way we see the world... Guess not.

Posted:3 years ago

#80

Tom Keresztes Programmer

692 348 0.5
I was just looking at the DNF trailer on youtube, and according to the ESRB Rating it is rated as MATURE 17+ for

Blood and gore
Intense violence
Strong language
Mature humor
Nudity
Strong sexual content
Use of drugs and alcohol

So this is a strictly adults only title.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVuuyRGB_BA

Posted:3 years ago

#81
How did you go from "slap on the ass" to domestic violence? Quite a tempest in a tea pot you're making of all this.

Furthermore, and let me be blunt, its Duke freakin' Nukem. This is a character built on being an offensive, hedonistic, one-liner spewing badass. If you really going get on your soapbox about gaming needed to change to appeal to the audience with the breasts, you literally picked the worst example to do it with. There's a certain demographic Duke Nukem is going after, it isn't trying to appeal to everybody. If it did, it wouldn't be Duke Nukem anymore.

And after 13 years of waiting, I think we're entitled to some Duke Nukem again.

Posted:3 years ago

#82
Furthermore, why does CoD get a magical handwave of "It's all fantasy!" when Duke Nukem does not? Duke Nukem's universe has locations such as The Fellatio, where every woman is gorgeous and wants to sex up Duke, where aliens are pigs dressed as cops, and Duke Nukem shrinks down onto an RC Car and rides along a giant statue of himself?

Surely you haven't mistaken this for reality, yes? Surely you realize this is a completely fabricated and far-fetched view of the world(aka fantasy), yes? Or did you just forget that so you can hammer home your point? It's bad enough you had to go on Twitter and stoop to personal insults about Eurogamer, but when people point flaws out in your premise, sometimes you gotta take a step back and realize, "Hey, maybe I'm not as right as I think I am".

Posted:3 years ago

#83

Tomas Lidström Lighting Artist, People Can Fly

9 0 0.0
I want gaming to mature and be more serious but I think you are a bit ridiculous to point fingers at Gearbox for keeping true to the essence of a game that makes it a point to make fun of both male and female stereotypes.

Posted:3 years ago

#84

Jeffrey Kesselman CTO, Nphos

112 0 0.0
Um. Did you ever actually PLAY DukeNukem 3D??

This is pretty mild compared to the content of the original game, which was purposefully over the top and offensive, to the point of satire and humor. It was the "south park" of video games.

This is hard to do right. I'll wait and see if gear box does or not.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 29th March 2011 5:38pm

Posted:3 years ago

#85

Mark Androvich Manager, PlayStation Network Advertising, Sony Computer Entertainment America

4 0 0.0
Rob:

Before I proceed to vehemently disagree, I’d best confirm that I understand your point, right? So, it seems to me that your point is: Since the majority of videogame players are female, publishers ought to eliminate sexist and/or misogynist game content—such as Duke Nukem’s “Capture the Babe” mode—which might offend the majority of our audience and which makes our industry look bad by stoking the flames lit by the uninformed mainstream media. Is that a fair assessment?

Okay, so now the disagreement part.

I am one of those who does not accept the assertion that the majority of videogame players are female. That’s because I disagree with the definition of “videogame” being used by such studies, which count the free Windows game Solitaire as the most popular videogame of all time. The ESA itself claims that 60% of gamers are male and 40% are female. Surveys also show that the primary owners of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles are 72-73% male. Even the Wii, the most popular console among females, is still owned by more males (51%) than females. Yes, more women and girls are playing games than ever before, but do they constitute the majority? I don’t think so.

For the sake of argument, even if I believed that I am now in the minority (Where are all of the “Men in Gaming” seminars?), I don’t automatically accept the premise that there is no place for sexist or misogynist content in games. Why not let the market decide? If enough people find the content offensive, they won’t buy it. This doesn’t just apply to perceived sexism, by the way, but also racism, homophobia, and all other potentially offensive content. You’re saying we ought to be mature enough as an industry to not produce games such as this, but who are you to judge what some might consider acceptable entertainment…and how do you know where to draw the line of “offense”? I say let the purchasers decide, and let the detractors protest.

Personally, I could get offended when I look for a greeting card from a man to a woman, and they are all filled with flowery praise of her and self-deprecation of him ("I can't believe you love an idiot like me!"). I could get offended when I see a Lifetime cable TV movie where the men are rapists, child molesters, adulterers, or slovenly loudmouths while the women are beautiful, admired, intelligent, selfless and loving professionals. I might be offended that the men on the cover of Harlequin novels have six pack abs, huge pecs and biceps and pose shirtless, smiling with perfect teeth…looking like no one I know. Do I pontificate that this sexist treatment should not be tolerated? Or do I realize that these forms of entertainment/culture are not targeted towards me, but are primarily intended for women?

Likewise, when it comes to comic books, summer blockbuster movies, and, yes, videogames, the target audience is still largely male. So it does not bother me if they contain elements that cater to male fantasies… however unrealistic and "sexist" they may be. Smart publishers will try to cater to both female and male audiences anyway. Once you start down the path of deciding what to eliminate in order to prevent offense and “protect” the minds of those playing the games, you might as well fast-forward to a world where the only games we can play are Farmville and Flower (which I liked, by the way). There is always going to be some content which offends someone out there.

And by the way, the uninformed media is going to get it wrong no matter what. Fox News, for example, has already reported that Duke Nukem requires players to abduct women…as if that is the only objective of the entire game, instead of one minor mode of the multiplayer option. I admit that games such as God of War and Grand Theft Auto don’t help our public image, especially when content is taken out of context by the media, but those games succeeded because they were fun to play, not because of the controversial part. (If it were all about the sexist content, Leisure Suit Larry would be a million-seller). So, we cannot make decisions based upon what the press might say. After all, the press once declared the waltz (!), paperback books, comic books, Elvis, The Beatles, pinball and rock and roll to be dangerous to youth. Videogames are just the most recent target.

A clearly understood rating system and enforcement of such is fine for me, thanks.

[Any statements above reflect my personal opinion alone, and have nothing to do with my employer]

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Mark Androvich on 29th March 2011 12:01am

Posted:3 years ago

#86

Gregory Hommel writer

91 53 0.6
It is perfectly alright for any woman to be offended by this or any other form of sexism or stereotyping in videogames. It is just feminine for it to offend any man. We have given women the opportunity to be equals in almost every facet of life, and they have proven that they are deserving of such consideration. Although the thought that men must treat women as equals in our minds and in our quips is hopeless. Women and men are NOT equals. In no way are we anything even close to equal. Our creator went to great lengths to seperate us physically and mentally and He or She did a very good job. If you are not a dumb blonde that is little more than a sexual object, that's fine. But don't demand that the dumb blonde that some developer created explicitly for the purpose of being a dumb blonde can't exist. This is the feminization of the world in full swing. The thought that chest-beating testosterone-fueled behavior is from a less intellectual time or somehow passe couldn't be further from the truth. It always has been and always will be for some of the actual men in this world. We may as well find a way to embrace our differences because they EXIST and are UNDENIABLE. So when all the ladies grow up and become game developers, there will be gender sensitive material out there for the ladies. Material that will be packed to the brim with themes of "girl power" and "big dumb knuckle dragging men." The difference? You won't find any men whining about or being offended by it. Save for the few whining now.

Posted:3 years ago

#87

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
Oh, brother. It's a game, kids... a GAME. Yeah, yeah, times have changed and PC overkill is in vogue, but the point of Duke Nukem is that he's a throwback kinda dude.

I find it a bit amusing that some folks completely miss the point of Duke and get crazed here when they might want to hit the rewind button on the Wayback Machine. He's not going to change for this generation at all and Gearbox shouldn't cave under pressure from anyone to drop anything from a game that's supposed to be as rude, lewd and crude as the originals.

Anyway, go look at Duke Nukem 3D on PC and consoles and how the Nintendo 64 version of that game turned things like the adult mag shop into a gun emporium and how most of the "sexist" stuff was replaced with more violent imagery (all approved by Nintendo of America). That's not a "compromise" as much as it is an insult in my book. If I had the choice, I'm all for the Mark Twain route here in wanting MY Duke untouched (and exactly the mucho macho chauvinist pig-cop, alien bastard killer he always was, is and will be).

Comedy is not pretty, and parody often jumps up, down and across the border of offensive... usually aiming for the balls, at that (ouch).

Anyway, I say we see what the fuss is about, get a laugh (and get the hell over it) if we're wrong. Or get that cranky, frowny "See, I toldya so!" face if we're right (which will only be the case when we all see people running around en masse slapping bottoms and snatching real gals for fun).

I somehow think there are MORE urgent things to fret about in the real world than some real-life jerks pretending they're Duke in some real mall somewhere after too much time overplaying a one-trick game mode in a game that's going to have a ton more hilarious stuff packed onto that disc. But of course, you all KNOW Fox News is a-waitin' for the first bottom slappin' nitwit to get tasered on camera so they can blame it on the game...

Feh.

@ Epona: You had me at that Sharktopus reference. I hate the Sci Fi Channel with hearty, well bred furor (I refuse to use the illiterate re-branding they now have, for one reason), but I just HAD to see that damn movie because the title made my eyes roll so far back in my head, i could see myself thinking "WTF?" for an hour and a half while I was watching.

Posted:3 years ago

#88

Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts

146 71 0.5
I've never hit a girl in my life.

Plenty of guys (not something I'm overly proud of), but I've never raised my fist to a woman ever.

Does that make me sexist? I suppose it does, in a way.

Am I going to change and start beating up women just so I'm not discriminating? No. Instead I decided that I was going to avoid getting into physical confrontations at all where possible.

How's that for equal rights?

I hope all the 'right on' folks on here are equally outraged at Iceland's "that's why mums go to Iceland" ads, or the Fairy ads that always always show a woman with her daughter washing up, because of course no real man takes an interest in his family or is maybe a single parent or house-husband who does the shopping and the washing up, but hey, reverse sexism is ironic and therefore OK right?

Right...?

Posted:3 years ago

#89

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

270 618 2.3
91 comments, Excellent PR move by Gearbox.

It was inevitable that someone would complain about this mode (justified or not) and I pretty much guess that is the reaction that they hoped for. The 91 posters before me just go to prove that this mode has got people talking and some of that will translate into curiosity sales.

I don't condone violence against any gender, but I do look forward to chewing bubble gum and kicking ass purely for the entertainment value.

Posted:3 years ago

#90

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
@Darren: Great point, although I'm pretty immune to marketing tricks after playing games since 1972 (or 1968, according to my mother)...

Still, I wonder how all of these folks wanting to G-string up Gearbox can recall those Tomb Raider ads where Lara's boobs were the star (or referred to in a tag line) or the Fear Effect 2 ads that featured butt shots of the two female characters ("They put the Ass in Assassin...") or the FE2 ad that slyly referred to the two leads having a lesbian relationship as a way to lure in stupid guys who have those hazy Skinemax imaginations about such things?.

Hell, what about the "sex" mini-game in God of War games? That's actually boring stuff these days because people got the hell over it (while getting a good laugh in the process). Kratos, you're a BEAST in the sack, man! No one bats and eyeball and if they do about that stuff, I say go play Hyperdimension Neptunia or Ar tonelico Quoga and prepare to have your jaw break your toes when it hits your shoes.

Anyway, I've seen plenty of other stuff that makes this stunt seem snore-inducing, some that included Sir Duke! Like every other "controversy" (anyone remember GodGames' Duke Nukem Forever tent with the "real" Duke, plenty of models is short schoolgirl outfits or futuristic sexy gear and little people from er, was it 1999 or 2000? I forget where I put that asset disc with all the bikini-clad models!), any furor will roll over and die.

Until the next stunt, that is...

Posted:3 years ago

#91

Tom Keresztes Programmer

692 348 0.5
Balls of steel....

Posted:3 years ago

#92

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
The game has been given a rating by the USK, so all is fine. If anybody has a problem with violence it`s Germany and the USK. So they gave a rating so no problem at all their in that part. Now let`s move along there is nothing to see here.

Now that we got behind that, let`s all bash on movies and TV shows that still have people slapping other people right in the face to calm them down.

Posted:3 years ago

#93

Epona Schweer Game Development Teacher, Academy of Interactive Entertainment

6 0 0.0
"We have given women the opportunity to be equals in almost every facet of life, and they have proven that they are deserving of such consideration. Although the thought that men must treat women as equals in our minds and in our quips is hopeless. Women and men are NOT equals. In no way are we anything even close to equal. Our creator went to great lengths to seperate us physically and mentally"

Gregory Hommel, you make me LOL

I don't remember ever being "given" an opportunity by a generous and benevolent male benefactor.

Like all my male friends in this industry I saw something I wanted to do...so I did it. At some point people turned around and said - hey, how did you do that?. But I never stopped and waited for permission or allowance.

I didn't climb up to the boys club treehouse and say "hai, can I mak gams too?!?"

I just showed up one day and it turns out that all the people playing and making games (women AND men) are pretty damn cool and I'm still meeting more amazing people from all walks of life!

This industry is rich and diverse with a wide variety of intriguing personalities. The LACK of variety in games probably has more to do with a restrictive publishing model making its knee-jerk distribution decisions based on blockbuster hits. Now that we have alternative channels and developers can go straight to customer we're ALREADY seeing more a wider variety of gaming experiences!!

If your image of this industry is still a fond remembrance of the boys club tree house then I think you need to go outside mate 8P.

Otherwise you'll be eating the digital dust of some ambitious indie dev chicka!

Posted:3 years ago

#94

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
You stay away from my tree house :P Just kidding. All for equal rights, but a friend of mine is getting mad at me when I hold the door open and say ladies first to her and that`s just ridiculous. And some countries enforce laws on how many women have to be in a leading position in a company and that`s not equal rights for me if say X amount have to be male or female and that`s enforced by women in politics. If someone gets a job it should be because of the qualification not of the gender in any way because you need to have a specific rate.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 29th March 2011 11:37pm

Posted:3 years ago

#95

Chris Bryan McGuyver, 3d artist and prop builder

5 0 0.0
This is all a publicity stunt by people who want to look like they stand for a cause and are doing something about it.
Sexism? Unhealthy objectification of women and a bad influence on both young men and women? Sorry, Duke Nukem is not your fish. Go after the porn industry. I'm sure they cause more harm to women than any video game could ever try to do.
Oh wait, that's right, that fish is too big for your little hook.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Bryan on 30th March 2011 3:56am

Posted:3 years ago

#96

Joe Bognar PR Account Executive / Journalist

99 2 0.0
@Chris: Like! :)

Posted:3 years ago

#97

Tyler Minarik Contributing Editor

9 0 0.0
@Mark Androvich - My thoughts exactly. People will vote with their dollars - if it offends you, don't buy it.

@Rob - This article seems a bit self contradicting. It talks about being able to define the line of fantasy and reality, but then slams a developer for doing the very thing that a some one in a respected industry can and should be able to do - release controversial material in a fantasy setting to entertain their target audience. The movie industry does it all the time, and just about every other form of media can, but when video games touch it we get the hot end of a torch. That goes for sexism, politics, religion, or even the "war on terrorism". It's okay to make porn movies and gangster movies where women get beaten and raped, but we can't have a game where you rescue women from evil aliens and call them babes (cause that's the actual context of the game, by the way)? God no. It's okay to make war movies, say support the troops, support the war on terrorism, but then Medal of Honor has us fighting the Taliban and all of a sudden it's a whole new issue? If the video game industry had the respect other mediums do, hardly any one would make a big deal out of this - they just simply wouldn't buy it. But it's okay for Call of Duty or other FPS games to have you shoot people, it's not encouraging violence because it's clearly fantasy? Yet in a clearly fiction Sci-fi game where the exact same things are occurring, a slap on the ass is encouraging misogyny? If that's not self contradicting, I don't know what is.

Dropping "Capture the Babe" mode wouldn't be mature, it would be pandering to the media - something I was incredibly disappointed about when I saw EA/DICE drop the Taliban name in favor of "Opposing Forces". I still bought the game, and I'll still buy Duke Nukem Forever either way, but I'll have a lot more respect for Gearbox if they stand their ground and release the product they wanted to produce. I don't even think the mode is very funny, to me this is just about the principal of whether or not we truly have freedom in this medium, or if we're restrained to producing content that won't offend anyone who's going to get loud about it - which is virtually impossible with humor and violence of any kind. I hope some one releases a game after this full of male bashing humor that caters to female gamers. I'll buy it, and if it insults me left and right for my stereotypical macho behavior, I'll probably laugh at it.

It's one thing when it's a completely public advertisement shoved in your face and you have virtually no choice about reading it. It's an entirely different matter when it's contained within a product that must be purchased with the acknowledgment of it being intended for a 17+ audience, while already having a franchise reputation for this sort of humor, and you willingly fork over money to play the game. Vote with your money, not your mouth. The rest will take care of itself.

Posted:3 years ago

#98

Rob Evans CEO & Lead Developer, Isogenic Engine

5 2 0.4
Totally disagree that there is anything wrong with this. Games are meant to be fun, not designed to cower behind the PC police. My wife used to be TERRIBLE at FPS & RPG games but now she's running around as Ezio Auditore assassinating elaborately dressed nobles like a pro. That doesn't stop me poking fun at her whenever I get the chance to remind her that her first few weeks playing Halo involved walking around with either Master Chief looking all the way up or all the way down (admit it... you all know what I'm talking about). Dual-stick controls are not natural for my wife... or dare I say it... women in general? I think it's in that part of the brain where they store the definition of left and right. Or maybe us blokes have just been doing it so long that it's second nature to us?

All I know is that 3 weeks ago, if given the choice between the Sims and Assassins Creed, she'd choose the former all the time... now as I write this she's looking over my shoulder and I quote, "The Sims is for girls, it's pointless, you can't win. Assassins Creed is way more fun!". "For girls"!! Not me, my wife said that!

So there you go. AC is filled with call girls and sexism but it doesn't bother my wife, she's too busy climbing the nearest tower and sword-fighting to care! Chill out everyone!

Posted:3 years ago

#99

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
Sims is a great murder simulation if you know how to use it. :D

Btw. the bubble box is to small for 3 numbers and the last one is getting truncated ;)

Posted:3 years ago

#100

Pierre Vandenbroucke Assistant de production, Gorgone Productions

47 0 0.0
Werner, about the cut off text: That is some Loc QA tester devotion!

I won't take part is the debate since I haven't seen footage of that game mode.
But I'm a Duke 3D fan, and I fully understand where they anted to go, and I'd say that's no sexism, it' just.. Dukism ;-)

Posted:3 years ago

#101

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
The comment amount number is actually displayed fine on my phone and well it`s hard to ignore those things that`s why I never play games in German outside of work. ^^

Just to add one final thing because it`s such an entertaining topic.

"OXM US last month revealed that Capture The Babe sees players grabbing a scantily clad woman, then carrying her off in a rescue attempt.". Observe the rescue attempt, no kidnapping and nobody going to get raped.

and in a response to Fox News complaining

"Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford later clarified: "It's a love pat on the ass - more about sexual innuendo. Not at ALL about violence towards women.". Also Gearbox responded to Fox by releasing more pictures of the barely clothed girls in the MP like a Maid, Nurse and so on ^^

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 2nd April 2011 1:12am

Posted:3 years ago

#102

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