Video games Trump hate

Weekly Roundup: In the fallout of a shocking US election, the game industry can rise above and be more inclusionary

This has been one of the most trying weeks in my 15-year career writing about video games. When it feels like your country is in turmoil, it's a bit difficult to focus on something as "meaningless" as games. But if ever there was a time when people needed escapism, now would be it.

Games have the power to transport us to mystical worlds and to do things that are simply impossible in the real world. Importantly, they also have the power to encourage powerful emotions, like love and empathy. Whether you're living through war as a vulnerable bystander (This War of Mine), watching your son suffer from a terminal cancer (That Dragon, Cancer), or acting as an immigration officer who decides which people are let into the country (Papers Please), games can foster deep connections to characters that ultimately (hopefully) lead us to reflect on our own lives and how we treat one another.

Not every game appeals to everyone, and that's okay. But as developer Brie Code pointed out in a hugely popular column for this week, there's unfortunately a huge swathe of the population that doesn't see any game as appealing. And from a business standpoint, if the industry wants to grow, that's a huge hole in the market that needs to be addressed. Developers like Brie should be applauded because they're seeking to actually evolve the medium.

"Young people play games, young people are the future. This industry can and will rise above the hate"

"At my studio we are making games with people who don't like video games because we want to break out of established paradigms. We want to think about ideas from different angles and draw on different references. We want games that aren't gritty, toxic pseudo-realistic pseudo-masculine nonsense nor frustrating time wasters that leave you feeling dead inside. We want games about how each of us could be in the future, how the world could be in the future. We want games built on compassion and respect and fearlessness. This is so much more interesting," she wrote.

Here's the problem, though. There's a segment of the gaming population that takes that sentiment to mean that some developers want to take their games away, that one kind of game is coming at the expense of the traditional AAA shooter. That's just faulty thinking - the Call of Dutys and Battlefields and so on will still be made, and to demand that other types of games for people who aren't "gamers" not be made is flat out exclusionary and wrong.

And that's just it, isn't it? The same undercurrent in society that produced Gamergate, the alt-right movement, Brexit and now a Trump election (bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, religious persecution, fear mongering, etc.) are what led to exclusionary thinking in the game-playing populace. "How dare you change my games?" they'll say. But they aren't "your" games; just because the industry has catered to the 18-34 white male audience over the last two decades doesn't give you some special claim to the medium. Just like movies, books and TV, games are for everyone.

"I'm not remotely interested in shockingly good graphics, in murder simulators, in guns and knives and swords. I'm not that interested in adrenaline. My own life is thrilling enough. There is enough fear and hatred in the world to get my heart pounding. My Facebook feed and Twitter feed are enough for that," Brie said.

In order to enable people like Brie to succeed, we have to get past all that fear and hatred. What saddens me most about the Trump election is that it essentially says to young, impressionable minds that it's okay to say horrible things to women, that it's okay to ban a whole religion, that it's okay to spew hate. In the weeks leading up to this election, one major game conference organizer was called a "bitch" in public for no apparent reason. Then just this week, a fellow game journalist was harassed both in public and on Twitter with comments of "we'll grab you by the pussy." This is NOT okay; it's downright reprehensible.


Here's the good news, however. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, and young people, age 18-25 overwhelmingly voted for her, as pointed out by Eliza Byard of GLSEN. Young people play games, young people are the future. This industry can and will rise above the hate.

At some point, in the not-too-distant-future, games will be as inclusionary as any other art form. Women, minorities, people of all sexual orientations and faiths will feel welcomed by games and an industry that throws its arms wide open to them. I look forward to that day.

Other news on this week

Vivendi increased its stake in Ubisoft to 24%

Machine Zone is teaming up with Square Enix to make a FFXV mobile MMO

EA DICE boss Patrick Bach is leaving the studio

The PS4 Pro launched as reviewers wrangled with 4K and HDR

Call of Duty's player base on Steam is declining

Facebook is eyeing a deeper move into the world of eSports

Steam's new discoverability system is having a big impact on developers

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China introducing real name verification for video games in September

New ID system will be introduced into all titles to prevent children from spending too much time gaming

By James Batchelor

Congress defeats bill to block US military from recruiting via Twitch

US Navy and Army have stated they will continue to stream on popular games site

By James Batchelor

Latest comments (28)

Shehzaan Abdulla Translator/QA 3 years ago
It's all well and good to talk about the merits of reflecting on how we treat each other, but as the video below summarises, one of the reasons Trump won was precisely because those wanting to stop him getting in haven't done exactly that.

Instead, they've won a cultural war (i.e. become the dominant train of visible thought out there) by simply beating people into silence if they offer another opinion or perspective through a witch-hunt mentality that favours vilification over communication.

But guess what? Silencing people doesn't take away their ability to act anonymously or enact aggressions against you and others.

Now, as a non-white man with a muslim name allow me a moment of cathartic vindication that gives me no joy given the circumstances: I told the very people on this site that their hostile attitudes towards others uses was actively turning people off and shutting down discussion.

Did the users here listen? No. They actively made smug, self-satisfied points about how they were beyond having to care about how they propagated their message and anyone who didn't get it was beyond consideration because: 'who cares what anyone but our group of like-minded people think, eh? What's the worse that can happen?'.

Well, as it turns out the most powerful position in the world can go to the person least fit to be in it and the world can become a much scarier place overnight.

I don't want excuses. Enough have been given, and apparently ineffectually if Trump is president-elect. I want a solemn vow that everyone will learn and do better.

I am absolutely roiling FURIOUS with the majority of everyone here right now for allowing things like this to happen. If not in this election, then on a minor scale on a whole range of issues that have cumulated in the current climate that allowed Trump to win.

This site and the great majority of its userbase can no longer smugly sit back (and you know who you are) and act holier than thou. Not when the consequences come back to bite you (and millions besides) in the arse. NOT when they are this dire and of this monumental a scale.

And yes, I realise the irony of lashing out angrily at people after extolling the virtues of communication, but the majority here have had more than ample chance to express their views (to the utter exclusion of everyone else) and, going by their methods, this is the only type of communication they understand.

And before I see a rush of apologetic (or accusatory) comments allow me to quote the end of the video and pose a question:

"If my mansplaining is triggering you, you can either ****-off to your safe space or you can can engage, and debate me, and tell me what I'm getting wrong, because TRUMP JUST WON THE WHITEHOUSE. Being offended doesn't work anymore!"

What is your goal in any of your 'political engagement'? Is it to effect some hollow moral victory? Or to actually effect change? Because if it's the latter you can no longer afford the complacency of not caring what others (i.e. people not in your political circle) think. Not when you are actively putting people in danger by doing so.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 11th November 2016 2:11pm

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So Trumps in the whitehouse. Way to go authoring a page of text about how right you were. Seems to me you very much fell for the idea that a comments section, or twitter or a Facebook conversation, in any way gives you a broad picture of reality. As such, rather than slag of the imperfection of everyday people, I suggest you admit your membership of it and join the queue.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@Shehzaan Abdulla:

I just want to address a couple of things in your quote from the video, because it uses some terms that people are forever misusing and misunderstanding.

Mansplaining: Everyone gets this one wrong, all over the place. It's not a hugely relevant definition to make, but just because everyone gets it wrong and people are getting called "mansplainers" when they should be called "patronising".

Mansplaining is NOT, as a lot of people say, "When a man explains something in a condescending tone." It's much more specific. Mansplaining is when a man condescendingly explains something to a woman about which he actually knows very little and she knows a great deal.

Obviously, this is possible the other way around, but the phrase was actually coined to express the commonality with which senior professional woman find very junior men - with little to no expertise in their field - slowly and carefully - and incorrectly - explaining to them aspects of their job at which they are an acknowledged expert. And of course, on the internet, there are entire droves of very angry men waiting to explain to women how wrong they are about the amount of harassment and sexism they encounter on a daily basis - something they cannot possibly really know.

Triggering: This is the annoying one. I get a very strong impression that a lot of people, especially from 4chan where the concept of triggers is apparently the world's greatest joke, think "being triggered" means "being a bit (or even very) upset". O noes, the sufferings, right? And I'm willing to bet a fair few people who talk about being triggered are also using it that way.

And they really shouldn't, because that obscures the people who are using it in its original sense - as a term from support groups, where "trigger warnings" are used to give someone a heads up so they can take a deep breath (or a lorazepam) and brace themselves before entering a discussion that will step close to the bone and likely kick off a PTSD flashback.

PTSD is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Also known as shell shock. Certain words, sounds, imagery or certain combinations of those trip off something in the brain that causes the exact memory of some horrific event to replay. Sometimes they'll sit silent and paralysed while it all goes on in their heads. Sometimes they'll act it out, or thrash in half-movements like a seizure. Some describe a kind of double-vision, where past and present are both "really happening" at the same time - a kind of overlay with dream logic making it all simultaneously real. It varies patient by patient.

You know those scenes in the Hellraiser movies, where Pinhead (<3 Doug Bradley) gives a jerk of his chin and chains rush out of nowhere, hooking into someone's belly and slowly, slowly, ripping it open?

It feels like that.

It's not just being "a bit upset".

So some people choose to use trigger warnings in their social groups because they know they have friends with PTSD who might get flashbacks from certain discussions. No-one is saying they should be mandatory everywhere, and even if they were they can't make you. Hell, the whole concept of trigger warnings came about so that people COULD discuss sensitive (or offensive) topics in groups with those affected by them.

Safe Space: If the quotee is genuinely interested in being corrected or explained to, the discussion would BE a safe space. That's what a safe space is: Somewhere you can express your views without being attacked. That's it. It's not a magic field with unicorns and daisies, it's just a civil discussion.

And lastly, a point I've made a couple of times before:

Offence: For most feminists, while assuredly there is stuff we do find offensive, it's not what's important. You offend me, I can ignore you, tell you, call you names, whatever. Big whoop. What I actually want is a fairer, better representation of women in all media, so that over time we will stop being thought of in terms of myths, attributed with bizarre, alien motivations and perceived only in terms of our potential "use" by a larger-than-it-should-be percentage of men.

Don't get me wrong, if you try to offend me I most likely will be annoyed or even angry (almost like a human would), but the reason I speak out and endure all the hate mail and trolls and the creepy hack attacks is because I want a future where answering my door to a man does not end with me calling the cops SEVERAL TIMES A YEAR

(Yeah, bro, I could tell she really wanted it because she stayed indoors wearing a whole house. And when I asked for directions, she told me where to go. Way-hey!)

Oh, almost forgot. Explaining is another problem. Some of this stuff involves a LOT of material - you can't cite just one source and some sources won't be understandable without a lot of background. I am always willing to try to explain, even if I often wind up wishing I'd saved my last post so I could just copy-paste. But it really helps if you do some research on a subject before expounding an opinion on it.

It helps even more if you do some research on it before FORMING the opinion.

When someone *does* explain, it helps if you actually read the words they say instead of the ones you imagine they will say. ("She's a woman on the internet who's unhappy about something, so she must be saying that sex is bad and all men are rapists! RAGE!" The number of times I've run into that one...)

And finally, when asking questions, it really helps if you don't phrase them like that. After all, the nuclear fallout isn't just going to land on my house.
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Show all comments (28)
Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia3 years ago
Am I the only one who came to this story expecting a list of video games that Donald Trump doesn't like? Not that I expect him to play a lot, or at all.
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Dan Pearson Operations Manager, Purewal Consulting3 years ago
@John Owens: Is it? Is saying that a small percentage of gamers who were engaging in the systematic abuse of women online were being unacceptably antisocial what got Trump elected? Because that seems utterly inconceivable.

Yes, ignoring the marginalised and disenfranchised is dangerously blinkered, but discussion doesn't mean allowing people to be threatened with death or rape.

Either way, I suspect there were larger issues at play in the election of Trump than whether or not people felt their opinions on video games were being heard.
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Ruben Monteiro Engineer 3 years ago
"Here's the good news, however. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote"

Yes, because as we all know, Hillary Clinton is a perfect angel sent from above, a paladin of transparency and a champion for the weak and poor.
Wake up, James.
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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz3 years ago
@Ruben Monteiro: she's certainly a champion for the weak and poor compared to someone like Trump. But I never said she was an angel. I voted for her but wanted Bernie all along. But the point is that Hillary is qualified and not a bigot. You know, the opposite of Trump.
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Martin Klima Executive Producer, Warhorse Studios3 years ago
I would like to register my opinion that this article is inappropriate and unprofessional. I come to to get information about games industry; if I wanted political commentary, I would avail myself of any of the innumerable sites on the Internet devoted to that purpose.

There is a good debate to be had about non-mainstream games, I would love to learn about games used in political campaign (were there any?), but to learn that the games as the good member of the cultural front should support politician X or demean politician Y or further the pursuit of policy goal Z reminds me too much of the life in the worker's paradise.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios3 years ago
Martin - some games developers take an interest in the cultural context of our art. You're welcome not to, if it makes you uncomfortable.

If you really want to avoid politics on a week like this though, get off the internet. Or maybe, just skip the articles with titles featuring the name of a recently-elected fascist. Don't read those articles and then moan that you encountered SURPRISE POLITICS! The clues were there.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@John Owens: The only opinion I have picked up from Gamergate is this: That women shouldn't work in the games industry, that they should be fired (accompanied by aggressive campaigns to make that so), that they should sit down, shut up, stop trying to do man things like work and stop pretending we know anything about what happens to us, why it happens or indeed anything at all.

Well tough luck. After times of financial hardship, you always get racist groups rising in power. It happened in German after the hardships imposed by WWI, it happened in Greece after austerity, it's happening here with UKIP and over in the States now.

It doesn't make it right. Women are more than masturbatory receptacles and brood sows. Our intellects and imagination are every bit as good as mens'. We have the RIGHT to seek employment on equal terms, we have the RIGHT not to be terrorized, intimidated and fenced-out of public debate and we have the right to say that sexist elements in games are sexist and that they shouldn't be there.

We have no guns pointed at anyone's heads to make them comply, but we are fully entitled to say what we do and don't like, what's having a massive negative impact on our lives and comment the ethics of design decisions.

And none of that makes electing a climate-change denier who wants to use first-strike nuclear retort as his chief for of diplomacy, a good idea.

American forced-birth policies have already killed thousands of women who wouldn't have died in shrieking agony over here. If you see sticking Mike Pence in a position to kill even more as justice for Anita Saarkesian making a video saying "Your representation of women is a bit crap", you're really, really off-base.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 12th November 2016 4:15pm

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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@John Owens: No, I haven't. Stating my views is not FORCING anyone to accept them, neither is showing the facts my views are based on.

Nor am I actually endangering anyone's livelihood - the material you state in the first place is what does that. When you say a lot of racist or sexist stuff, your employer doesn't need someone to stand up and say "But that's sexist!" to recognise it. And if it's dangerous to your livelihood to BE sexist or racist or homophobic, well, uh...

Good. Because if those are your beliefs then you're really not fit to work with people of other genders, races or religions.

As to whether it affects your ability to sell games, a bunch of women have told why they don't like your games and what you can do to, essentially, stop telling them to take their money and fuck off. You could just listen to them and sell more games - I suspect it is a very, very small minority of men who won't play a game just because they can't masturbate to all of it. The people who won't buy your games because of sexist content don't need me to tell them it's sexist - they already know why they don't like it.

All women have actually done is looked at something douchey, said "Hey, that's really douchey" and then been threatened, barraged with hate mail, had their employers barraged with hate mail, had fake nudes posted and defamatory material and so on and so forth.

And no, America has never "Allowed people to do what they want" when it is HARMING other people. Otherwise they'd have a much smaller population. Honestly, for someone who complains his opinions aren't listened to, this is the fifth or sixth time I've had to explain this here.

And everybody doesn't want to move to America. Freedom to be crushed under someone's boot isn't freedom.

I'll quote you here: "This is what happens when..." So tell me again how this isn't Gamergate/MRAs saying "Do what I want or else"?

Seriously, electing a man who could end the world is just a tad overkill as a response to being asked to alt-tab for your porn and let us work in your industry.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 12th November 2016 7:58pm

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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
Let's get out of the back-and-forth and I'll try to follow Mr Abdulla's suggestion. Here, pretty much, is what the "SJW's" (for the record, I actually identify as a Social Justice Mage) want:

* Better representation of other races and genders in games overall. Not every game has to have exactly 50% of its characters who are women, 5% who are gay, 20% who are black etc, but just more inclusion and less negative stereotyping. AAA games, as those played by the most people for the most hours, are the main concern.

* Less sexualization of female characters. This is actually covered in better representation, but it's worth picking out as it essentially costs the industry half its potential audience. I'm pretty sure most of the male posters here aren't reading this thread at a Chippendale's show and it's the same for most women - if your game says "Come here and look at boobs" they won't. (They already have some). Ditto goes for criminalization of black characters and so forth.

Plus, let's face it, there are a lot of guys who who have learned more of what they "know" about women from PUA forums, games, porn and movies than from actually interacting with them. When you don't have a counter-acting dose of reality from female (or black, asian, gay, trans etc) friends, colleagues etc, people buy into the myths that have been represented to them, and it leads to the literal process of objectification, whereby the brain deals with these people in the same way it does with cups and chairs and hammers: they are there to serve a use and that's it.

Doesn't mean some characters can't be sexy. If there are sexy women involved in a male character's story, cool. It's when the game is plastered in theoretically not naked women for the *sole* purpose of arousing the presumedly-male PLAYER that it's an issue. Especially in games where actual sex doesn't even come up. If it's a playboy mansion game, then bring on the bikinis and trampolines.

Basically, I shouldn't be able to play a game and know which body parts the character modeller fetishises, where every pale vein showing through the skin around the areola is lovingly rendered, but every character's arse crack is apparently eating their testicles/vagina. (Bonus points if you can recognize which game I'm referring to).

* Within the industry, check your hiring practices. If you have a mono-culture in your company, chances are there is some kind of discrimination going on. It might not be deliberate, it might not be conscious, and it might not even be you - maybe your local school system steers some people away from computing so you get no applicants, that kind of thing.

But no, biology does not mean women aren't a) interested in computers b) interested in games c) able to do maths/program.

And maternity pay is covered by insurance (US) or government-reimbursed (UK - you can actually get paid 103% of what you pay out), and not all women a) have children b) want children c) can have children and d) will ever have children so that's no excuse to not pay fairly.

* Who we sleep with (or don't) is not yours to mob-avenge.

* Oh, and maybe stop using "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE" as a victory cry in game chat. That would be nice.

And that's it. Every game doesn't have to have a playable female character. Every game doesn't have to meet a checklist of identities. If you're not selling sex, stop trying to use sex to sell it. But more should do better.

Seriously, what is wrong with that?
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@John Owens:

If I may, I'll address both your post above my summary and the one after here. I'll quote to try and make it clearer which bits I'm replying to.

(To everyone else, I apologise for going off the article's topic, but I for one am finding this conversation very useful and I hope you'll be happy to tolerate or ignore it while we hash this out to at least a point where we at least know exactly what each other want and what we don't understand in each other's "movements".)

"It's the right to make it and discuss it free from the progressive inquisition and groupthink that's important."

This is what I don't understand. Why is it OK for me (or a reviewer) to say "Your storyline is cliched and trite" or "The controls are dreadful and make me very frustrated", but I can't say "Your game's representation of black characters is racist as all hell"?

In particular, why can games review *me* and say "Women don't matter" and "Women are just for sex", but I can't say that's wrong?

Especially as if a game has a bad storyline or controls, I can click the little cross in the right-hand corner or put down the controller and walk away. But when I do, I walk straight into someone who has been wonderfully brainwashed by a lifetime of media propaganda from games, movies, television and newspapers that say "Women are only for sex", and that person and all his brethren make my life a living hell. My real life.

We *know* the cause and effect, and we know that efforts to change the effect after someone's already bathed in what is effectively propaganda all their life aren't effective, while changes to the cause *are*. So why is it wrong for me to say that a certain game, movie (insert media of choice here) adds to that bathtub full of sexist propaganda and fucks up my life?

It's like trying to protect yourself from a typhoid epidemic without mentioning the drinking water.

Edit: Oops, I went off prematurely

The other thing I wanted to mention was your point on maternity/paternity pay/leave.

We *do* have equal maternity/paternity pay. Couples get a pool that they can divide up between them as desired and reimbursement is handled the same way for both. The only difference is a period of a few weeks that a mother is entitled to for physical recovery from the birth process (which isn't applicable in adoption). [Edit to edit: "We" here refers to the UK. I'm unsure how paternity leaves works in much of the US]

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 13th November 2016 8:39am

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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@John Owens: Oh, I missed one:

"I do take issue with the fact that games "shouldn't" have characters that provide titillation. "

Some, sure. In some games. But not *all* female characters in *every* single game (No, we don't literally have that now, but it is ridiculously close). Because then it just keeps reinforcing the same message - "women are for sex" - and while those with rounded social lives can have that message slide off them like water off a duck's back, there *are* a lot of people who *just* play games and never see another side of us and then get ludicrously angry and violent when we won't or can't have sex with them.

(There are a lot of stories out there from women who've had guys get mad at them in games just for revealing that they're female. The worst I've had personally was when I joined a guild, was chatting away quite happily in text, being introduced, finding out where people were from, what they did in the guild. Then I was given Vent details, joined and said "Hey guys". Literally just "Hey guys". And someone started screaming at me - again, literally screaming so loudly that people were complaining about their ears - calling me a bitch etc for "mocking them" by being a woman when "nobody's going to have sex with you". It didn't seem to occur to him that I didn't have another voice to use. After a minute or so of that din I dropped off vent. The Vent admin didn't mute him because he claimed to believe in free speech. A free speech that the mad guy screaming got, but I didn't because I was drowned out. Which is kind of a microcosm of what's been happening to women in gaming for the last couple of years - it's not free speech if only one guy gets to talk.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 13th November 2016 9:53am

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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
Also John, I'd like to thank you for allowing this conversation to be a safe space :)

I really would rather not inflict my views on anyone or call for alteration of anyone's creation (I know I certainly see red when someone tries to mess with my babies ((which are narratives))). But sometimes - like now - when those creations form part of a paradigm that is harming people and damaging their access to other fundamental rights, I have to pick the one most likely to lead to me getting my free life back.

Especially when the content that needs to be changed is mostly there unintentionally rather than a deliberate message. It's just there because a writer didn't ask himself "Wait, would all these people seriously be men, or am I just creating male characters because in every other story the men have been the focus?" Or because it just never occurred to an artist to draw a woman without a jigglybutt.

Because they've all been bathed in exactly the immersive media message of "women are for sex" that we all have, and it influences their creations too. So it seems just polite to let them know it's happening.

Basically, my choices are either stick my oar in and try to raise awareness of the effect the ubiquitous depiction of women as sex objects has, or to abandon any pretence of having a right to an equal, unmolested, unthreatened human life.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
It is easy to justify one's fight, but difficult to resolve it without resorting to battles. For all battles will do, is create more people fighting back whilst believing to be justified.

No matter how angry we get about a lack of raising the lowest common denominator (even from dumb sexist to a somewhat distinguished attractiveness), by using the internet, we are using a medium which has mostly fallen to people reenacting the ubiquitous revenge plots found in movies.

No matter how many times a medium claims to be social, if it cannot provide the simplest of social control mechanisms, then it cannot be called a social medium and should not be considered for social betterment of mankind; nor be expected to lead to it. Facebook hateposts are a powerfantasy, not an interaction. As long as Activision will mine people with CoD powerfantasies, companies will mine people with "speak your mind freely" powerfantasies on their communication platforms.

This is a unique challenge to video games. Previous cultures, be it books, comics, movies, or stamp collecting, had to organize by using social circles in the real word, where social control mechanisms are a real thing; instead of being the bottom line affecting cost driver they are to the big social networks of today. The people who make up the culture of video games shine brightest when they meet in person. They work worst, when restricted to living their culture on communication platforms which are little more than cynical products.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee3 years ago
Apparently bringing up social equality on a video games industry website is a bad thing and if you ask people to listen, you're responsible for closing down discussion (despite precisely the opposite being true).

Half the people on here probably don't care and hence ignore the discussion or actively tell women, BAME and LGBTQ people to stop talking and to change the subject. Many of the same types of people don't really stand to lose anything in a presidency led by someone who is very much closed to discussing these types of issues and addressing them (after all, they tell us to not talk about gender, or race or just to 'act normal').

I'm not really bothered if some people don't like the politics of industry or society being brought up in this article or others, for many of us out there there's no room for ignorance, apathy or status quo, because our lives are not going to get better that way.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises3 years ago
It's easy to blame this election on a coalition of racists, sexists, bigots, and uneducated white people. But you're overlooking something if you do.

Trust. If you look at any recent polls for least trusted professions, you'll see the usual ones like politicians, car salespeople, lawyers. But now journalists are down there too, and their rating goes lower each year. They're all 25% or below. Business executives are a bit higher around 35%.

That's why all the negative Trump stories didn't have any effect, they came from untrustworthy sources. Worse still, he used all of that negative attention as his own free Get Out the Vote campaign. Most of his official responses to scandals were one liners that were too short to be distorted or taken out of context, so they had to be reported as is. Example? The story of him not saying if he would acknowledge the election results, that one was huge in the last days of the campaign and his responses were always "she's corrupt", or "this election is rigged."

It doesn't matter if we think those responses were crazy, we weren't the target audience. Voters in swing states were, and they saw it as a call to action, to go out and vote on election day.
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Guy3 years ago
It seems like the same old story: just as the games media (purposely?) misread and mocked their core audience two something years ago, trying to sweep under the carpet any real allegations, the mainstream media repeated the same mistake when covering these elections.

Because unlike what the media presumes, our audience welcomes different and original ideas for games: This is why Minecraft sprung its way to over 100M owners. This is why "This War of Mine" mentioned in this article received astonishingly positive audience reaction (95% approval rate on Steam, and over 20,000 votes. And "Papers, Please" is not that far behind). The gamers are not afraid that new forces in the industry will "take away their Call of Dutys" (in fact judging by their reaction to the latest installment, many can't wait for CoD to take a yearly hiatus). Saying that gamers are afraid of new ideas is just a straw man argument and logical fallacy.

What gamers are possibly afraid of is on a completely separate vector: authoritative censorship of ideas and games as a form of expression. Be it state censorship (and this article completely missed the opportunity to discuss Donald Trump's and Hilary Clinton's views on games a form of free speech), or peer pressure from social groups leading to self censorship (as in the decision not to publish Dead or Alive Extreme 3 in the west, reported here a year ago), not to mention small indie developers who wouldn't even want to go into possibly controversial subjects simply because they don't have the capacity to deal with the fallout of a hey-your-early-access-alpha-build-does-not-represent-me shitstorm.
I mean, even this article goes in length to vilify Trump... yet it denies even the small possibility that as a president he will try to pass out laws that restrict selling "improper" video games? That is something of actual relevance for the industry.

Then there's the inevitable game-dropping, comfortably shoving gamers alongside the alt-right movement, Brexit and Trumpists in that basket of deplorables. Yeah, Because painting your audience that way really paved Hillary's way to a triumphant victory, right? Right!?
It seems that even despite all the happenings the media never learns, never self-reflects on their wrongdoings, never stops with that guilt-by-association hypocrisy. You can keep pretending that gamers at large is just a small core group of whatever "ist" you can make up and use that to completely ignore their main argument, to forgo any discussion on the points and concerns being raised (be they valid or invalid) because you feel uncomfortable with the answers. You can keep pretending that games aren't already the most welcoming form of entertainment ever and that people of all races, genders and sexual orientation have been sticking to games for the past decades exactly because of that. You can keep sticking your head in the sand and speak out against hate while at the same time ignoring the hate being spewed in the other direction... But in the end it is only you who will be shocked and surprised that you've simply lost the race and the discussion - Just like the mainstream media (and the people fed by it) were so shocked and surprised at the aftermath of these elections.

Trump simply understood the same thing Bethesda understood when deciding to skip special treatment of early copies for big media outlets - that the current image of the media is of corruption and nepotism (whether justified or not). There is no point pandering to the media when current social climate not only let's you bypass the media, but also lets you win points and have people jump to your defense when the media speaks up against you.
The publishers and developers are already moving towards other means of communications with their customer and player base: be it either through direct communications in social channels, or via YouTube and Twitch personalities/"influencers" (who ironically garner higher levels of trust from their audience than the traditional media). The only way to make traditional journalism still relevant is if provides added value for the readers and viewers, and to do so it must engage in discussion, and do some self-reflection on why people went and looked elsewhere in the first place.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Guy on 13th November 2016 3:29pm

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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 3 years ago
This is really off-topic, but since it's one of my pet peeves and it came up, allow me to still chime in:

The term mansplaining is itself sexist, if you care about these language things, don't use it. While the sexist behaviour it describes definitely exists and should be called out when encountered, it's not right to give it a name that implies this is a "man" thing to do, as there's doubtlessly many men who don't do this.

Imagine calling emotional blackmail "woman-talking" or somehow inserting the female sex in the term "gold digger". I'm not a native speaker, but while "Sexistically motivated condescension" isn't as catchy as "mansplaining" it helps you avoid implicitly painting a whole gender with that sexism brush.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee3 years ago
@David Canela: Its about the men who DO do it not the ones who DONT. It is specifically gendered as that is how the scenario plays out and is only relevant in that case.

Emotional blackmailing and gold digging are not gendered, whereas men specifically in cases, due to sexism, trying to educate women who know better than them is.

As sexism is a social issue that disproportionately affects women, you can't even say it goes both ways, after all, men's professional capabilities are not in doubt specifically because of their gender presentation.
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@Michael I think it's plain the economy had a lot to do with the vote. Once again the republicans brought their political Judo to the working & middle class, gloriously lying to them that giving all their money to rich blokes is the best chance for some or one of them to do well, maybe some day, perhaps in the distant, unspecified future. Meantime there are immigrants and it's really their fault you have no money or security you see.

The great worry across all Western nations now is that economic instability is prescribed by the system for anyone who isn't rich. Western economies are doing relatively well, if not great, it's just everyone can see who is getting all the benefits. People in 1st world nations have to compete with 2nd or 3rd world workers and it's slowly wrecking society. Meanwhile most of the national wealth is siphoned out of economies by the wealthy before it ever even hits a tax regime - you know, that thing that keeps nations & societies functioning. To say that people who voted Hillary don't see this or aren't suffering is laughable. They voted knowing the system is broken, works against them and that money only flows upwards. It's very likely it was Trump himself who made them vote Hillary. He's so obviously a rotten human being.

The worry with Trump is that many who voted for him or Hillary did so suspecting or knowing his election would cost them down the line, in freedom or something else. The whole idea of a free democracy is now under attack. Many Americans are leaning towards The Strong Man as a better historical solution. Europe has tried that, Americans make a great mistake thinking European dislike of Trump is anything to do with sipping latte's in cafe's. It's much more about bodies in ovens, death camps and the "collateral" deaths of 40m+ people. Donald is no Adolf but Europeans smell fascism in Trump. There was real desperation in his vote. Trump had no platform, all he did was echo a hundred things currently annoying Americans, in other words he tried to be all angry to all men, including racists. He promised no solutions because his solution to everything is "The Rich should run everything, shut your damn mouth". It's not a vote winner. So instead he promised retribution for every hurt his voters had.

He now has to please them all for real and will fail. Trump will do next to nothing for the little man (have you seen his tax cut? Yeah) and once under pressure will turn on Muslim & Latino Americans, because he can and because he knows it will work. It's worked before. Fascism is coming to America and Trump voters asked for it to happen. That's what history will remember. Anyone who voted for him better buckle up.
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I'm for investing in infrastructure, in fact I'm for a lot of the things Bernie & Trump both spoke about that Hillary didn't. Trump & Bernie at least had the gumption to see that since the bank bailout, all bets were off. It's been a long time now since any western election made a lick of difference to a voter. Between gerrymandering and choosing from bloodless party politicians every four years the charade has gone up in smoke. Egged on by Trump, Farage and a toxic and/or utterly idiotic media, voters who should know better have been totally jiu-jitsu'd into thinking all their economic problems are social: immigrants, protestors, whatever. Never the banks. Never the economy. Never the tax regime. Never the system or its odious beneficiaries, vacuums of empathy like Donald Trump. Oh, Trump mentioned these things? Sure he did, he hoovered up resentment votes wherever he could find them. But what did he say when it was pointed out he's dedicated his whole life to benefiting personally from everything he rails about? "That makes me smart". He couldn't care less. He rubs his disdain in our face, he's showing us he's a fake and we vote for him anyway. Goebbels had it right - the scale of what you say bedazzles people into not thinking logically.

I've never thought all Trumps voters are racist or bigots. But it is a fact that a decent whack of his voters are and for the other majority of Trump voters racial problems, civil liberties and social cohesion was prioritised down in favour of fixing problems that were faked into emergencies by the media and blowhards like Donald. And that's fine if you're white. Terrible, utterly terrible if you're not. The neo-fascist right who voted Trump to a man are far more energised than other voters, they think their time has come and they will play a far bigger role in the next few years than their numbers deserve. And if terror occurs it will mostly occur thanks to people wishing them away and pretending not to see what's going on in front of their face. This is where you saying "it's not about race" is a complete failure of empathy and imagination. Because of course the election wasn't about race for many white people. How the Hell could it be? They're not getting blamed, they're voting on who to blame. This is terrifying if you're born black or brown.

There is whole lot of hand-waving "don't worry, it's fine" going on about Trump but already it has the stink of a guilty conscience. Trump has just hired an objectively racist zealot to be Chief of Staff, one who has a manifesto to "destroy entirely" the US establishment & it's media. Trump's list of cabinet appointees is a who's who of unstable spectral horrors, every one of them with a chip on their shoulders. Just last night he went on the record saying all US Muslims will be put on a register, and he will arrest & deport 3m immigrant latinos. And if you think he's anti-war, why is he hiring key people like John Bolton, a reprobate know-nothing knee deep in the savagery of the Iraq war, who's main urge is to set the Middle East on fire once again - but with Putin's help? Why is Trumps win celebrated by scum everyone from France's National Front (who have been invited to the White House - classy!) to freaking ISIS?

The call that this is all alarmist, a worst-case view, merely requires us to ignore everything Trump has done, said and encouraged. That call isn't there to calm down Hillary voters but to convince Trump voters they haven't accidentally voted a slicked-up Fascist into Government. Well I'm afraid it looks like they have. The only thing that would disprove that is for Trump to reverse his own platform in almost every way. I look forward to that day. Until then it looks like defending Trump is whistling in the dark and anyone who voted for him expecting a better tomorrow has been completely fooled into voting for their oppressor (unless you're an actual racist, in which case you're good). Trump isn't Hitler but he is the making of a modern Fascist party. It looks from here like America as the founders knew it, built on the enlightenment, is about to be taken out back for a severe beating. We can hope that doesn't happen but if it does, we all better hope it survives.

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

Which candidate herded journalists into a pen at his rallies, specifically so they could be screamed at, threatened and spat upon by crowds he personally put up to it?

There's a train coming John.

That's that.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
I don't think any grand conspiracy is required to see racism in this. All the talk of deporting and/or registering all muslims, building a wall across mexico, "extreme vetting" for refugees and legal immigrants, biometric registration of same and claims that the Chinese made up global warming as a malicious hoax... I think that's probably enough to see racism there.

Ditto for Breitbart. You don't need a conspiracy in the media to condemn the publication when Milo Yiannopoulous was behaving "deplorably" in public and the paper published some of the most ridiculously bigoted screeds I've ever had the displeasure of reading.

Incidentally, harking back to one of Mr Owens' previous posts, the connection between ongoing misrepresentation and non-representation of certain demographics isn't just one we "progressives" came up with in between skipping and making daisy chains and awarding each other trophies for taking part. It is so thoroughly proven that denying it is up there with laying claim to a flat earth or blaming friction on tiny demons pushing back against moving objects.

Doctors have been collecting data on the cognitive functions of different parts of the brain since the 19th century, though thankfully this century has brought about far less invasive means that sticking a barbecure skewer into someone's skull and seeing how their personality changes. Doctors can now point at a scan and show how the brain goes through the full recognition process for a human being, including the firing of empathic neurons, when confronted with a white man, and how it skips all that and goes to a lookup table of "learned properties" for objects like coffee mugs, tables, guns, women and unarmed black teenagers.

They can then plunk the scan subject in front of a television for a couple of weeks and show them films and programs and interviews in which members of "object" demographics are cast in normal human roles, and show how the brain starts to use human recognition on them in response. With proper representation, people become able to recognise those they have previously been "trained" (brainwashed is really a more accurate term) to treat as objects , as people, and to make up their own minds about them as diverse, thinking, feeling beings with their own needs and desires beyond those relevant to what the subject wants.
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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 3 years ago
@Adam Campbell: "Its about the men who DO do it not the ones who DONT. It is specifically gendered as that is how the scenario plays out and is only relevant in that case."

It still drags all the men that DONT into the mess, because it's mansplaining, not misogynistplaining, or sexistplaining or however one would like to call it. And condescension based on irrelevant criteria like sex or race is by no means a male exclusive thing, as rampant as the particular constellation of "mansplaining" might be. Since you bring up social biases about women's competence, I suspect women "mansplain" to other women a lot, too, but we don't get a specific term for that.

It does not matter who is more affected by sexism for each individual instance of sexism to be wrong. This isn't a zero-sum game, men vs. women, it's not a victimhood contest either. Injustices don't neutralize each other, they add up, so "xyz have it worse" is never a good argument.

Look, I'm obviously nitpicking, I'm definitely not going to lose any sleep over that term, I'm just baffled and sometimes irritated at how perceptive some groups can be about things like microaggressions and non-discriminatory language and then they resort to that sort of language themselves and lose all the sensitivity they previously had the moment it's not about them.

Bottom line: if somebody is being condescending because they're talking to somebody who's a woman / homosexual / of a specific race etc., call them out for that specifically, don't give their behaviour funny names that are based on their gender/race/age etc.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
The monkeysphere is a theory from linguistics that deals with the number of individuals we can influence - we can only groom as many individuals we can pick fleas off on a regular basis, so language (and other contagious behaviours such as laughter) were developed to extend that influence over a larger group.

It is not a limit on the number of individuals we can individually identify.

It's nice to know you've read "This Book is Full of Spiders" though. I do love David Wong.

While Dunbar's number could well impact racism and sexism, it is highly unlikely to be the cause given that everyone living in the same society seems to have the same prejudices, i.e. everyone in the west with western TV, books, newspapers, movies and games goes through full recognition and empathy for white men, regardless of their own race or gender.

And yes, I understand that asking a group to go from having all of the power, historically, to only having most of the power, currently and then expecting them to make their majority of the power share slightly smaller and let some of the "lesser" people (for they were seen as lesser in their father's or grandfather's generation, and quite often in the present) have a share, is going to cause resentment.

That doesn't make other people's human rights less-than-rights and it doesn't make taking it quietly the solution.

And given that the only special treatment these "lesser" people receive is especially crappy treatment, I think it comes down to this.

These are people. You are going to have to learn to share your toys, and the fact that you're not used to sharing them is not an excuse. Especially when all these people who've been kicked onto life's Black Diamond Slope actually have some toys of their own they've been trying to share with us for years.

And finally: I'm not arguing against more diversity in games.

You really don't give that impression.

I'm arguing it should be a free choice for people to make once they have listened to the arguments. I'm also arguing that it's not 1960 but thanks to people like yourself that feel you have the right to force people rather than convince people we are heading back to then.

So by making the arguments, I am in fact forcing people?

Give it a rest, won't you? Me saying things you don't want to hear is not forcing you to do anything. The impact on you, if people choose not to listen, is zero. If they do choose to listen, then the impact on you is something you keep claiming you are not against. I've been incredibly patient with your frequent insults along these lines and this time you can't get away with claiming you are using the term "you" generally.

So make up your mind what you actually want and then be honest about it rather than constantly backbiting your own points.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 24th November 2016 12:59am

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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@John Owens: In any conversation where you start telling someone else what they think, you are going to insult them. And you do that a lot.

I am not a progressive. I am not a group-think. I am not a trope. I am me so deal with me. What I am is a bloody survivor. I want your (collective) boot off my neck, and I have enough empathy for others in the same situation to want the same for them.

And I fight for that want in the fairest, least forceful way I know how - by education.

You overlook that the current criticism of poor representation in games and other media (and in the games and other industries) is itself a backlash - a backlash against 2,000 years of misogyny, racism, homophobia and discrimination from those who sincerely believe that what they're doing isn't discriminatory but simply normal. In fact, such behaviours were - and still are - "normal". So I will criticise them. And I will point out the causes, and the means by which those causes can be overcome.

So I say again, how exactly am I forcing anyone to do anything by stating the arguments you yourself say they should hear? What "special treatment" am I demanding? Telling someone punching you that punching you is bad is not demanding special treatment.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 3 years ago
@John Owens: Oh, dude... It's not about revenge, it's never been about revenge. It's about surviving. It's about escaping things that make our lives miserable, or kill us. It's about having a fair shot at the kind of life you take for granted.

When Mitt Romney ran for president and announced his stance on abortion, what he might as well have done was stand up and say this:

"I am going to kill thousands of women. Painfully. For befalling a circumstance that you cannot guarantee won't happen to you, and that I will do my utmost to deny you the tools you use to reduce the risk of happening. For those that don't die, some of you will be forced to stay in abusive or merely unsuitable relationships, end your careers, live in poverty. And none of you have any say in this."

And they didn't know anything about us. They had made-up biology, made-up psychology, attributed us bizarre alien motives that no actual sane person could ever hold. They didn't even consider it worth mention that pregnancy is painful, that both pregnancy and birth are dangerous, that most women have no choice about loving and protecting their children after birth because of the massive oxytocin release that forces bonding. A wanted child is a blessing, but they ignored the mental illness and suicides of those who had children forced upon them.

Romney didn't win, but many of his policies did, and thousands of women are already dead because of it. Women who wouldn't have died under, as an example, the UK's abortion laws.

Pregnancy is something that can happen to almost any woman. If you don't have sex, you can still be raped. If you use contraception, it can fail. Even advanced age or sterilization can still pop a surprise on you. And the USA had the maternal mortality rate of a third-world country even before they started closing and moving clinics and making it harder and harder to access contraception. Even if you want children, it may not be safe for you to bear and birth them.

No-one can guarantee that they will be safe. But access to safe abortion facilities when necessary massively reduce the risks of death or just the ruination of an existing life.

You can't defend yourself against such views. In many cases they are backed up by a bitterness against women for denying what they felt were their rightful sexual entitlements or escaping their control through employment, divorce or abortion. Every effort to show them the facts, the science, the genuine motivations of human people makes them dig in harder, because they already know the truth, they've seen it every day of their lives...

on TV, in newspapers, films, books and in video games. And maybe not everyone who creates media is bitter. Maybe some of them will listen.

It's really that simple.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 24th November 2016 11:05pm

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