Monday, 29 April 2013

The Dragon's Crown Controversy

Another lengthy gap between updates. Sorry about that.

Dragon's Crown is an upcoming action RPG by Vanillaware, as a spiritual successor to a 1997 Atlus game called Princess Crown. The gameplay is reminiscent of old side-scrolling beat-em-ups like Golden Axe and Streets Of Rage and a big part of the game's appeal is that all of the characters and enemies are hand-drawn.

Male characters, top to bottom - Wizard, Fighter, Dwarf. Female characters, top to bottom - Sorceress, Elf, Amazon.

They look phenomenal. In an age where most video game characters are bland, shaved-headed space marines, such exaggerated characters are a very welcome break. You don't often see characters so varied anymore. Muscular female characters extremely rare, for example, and although you can't see it underneath that helmet, the Fighter has more feminine features than we usually associate with such muscular characters, similar to the typical bishounen Japanese hero. Surely, in an age where, I'd say, ninety percent of characters belong to a standard "realistic" archetype with very little variation, everyone would welcome some fun character designs like these.

As if. A big deal was made over the Sorceress (and, to a lesser extent, the Amazon) character for her large breasts. Jason Schreier of Kotaku fired the most significant shot at the character but mainly, it was an insult towards the Art Director of Dragon's Crown, George Kamitani. In a very short piece, Schreier stated, "as you can see, the sorceress was designed by a 14-year-old boy".

Kamitani responded on Twitter by posting a message on Twitter saying, "It seems that Mr. Jason Schreier of Kotaku is pleased also with neither sorceress nor amazon. The art of the direction which he likes was prepared." It accompanied the following image:

It should be pointed out that while Kamitani's message and the above image might seem like a gay joke, that's apparently not what he intended; his message was translated from Japanese using an online translator and, according to Kamitani:
"In regards to the Dwarf image I posted on my Facebook page: This image was never intended to attack Jason. Originally, it was a promotional image that I created for my fan base in Japan, which I posted to the official Vanillaware Twitter account earlier.
We receive many requests from companies to create publicity illustrations for the game, but we never received any requests for the Dwarf. Also, as the game’s street date nears, most retail shops start requesting exclusive art for their retailer-exclusive bonus items. In Japan, these illustration requests can even be as specific as something like female characters in swimwear. In these requests as well, the Dwarf was nowhere to be seen.

So, I decided to unofficially draw a sweaty Dwarf in a bathing suit, with a bit of cynicism towards those retailer requests. I drew 3 of them to show that there are character color variations available."
So the image predated the tweet and, while there may be homosexual undercurrents, it's meant to be a jab at retailers who didn't show enough love for the Dwarf character.

Anyway, following the image being posted but before Kamitani's explanation, Jason Schreier released a follow-up article to explain his position on the Sorceress character more clearly. It was titled "The Real Problem With That Controversial, Sexy Video Game Sorceress".

In this one, Schreier singles out this one character, the Sorceress ... and proceeds to rant illogically about gaming being a "boy's club", about #1ReasonWhy, about women in the gaming industry being mistaken for receptionists at PAX East and how the Sorceress is representative of a much bigger problem. He does apologise for calling George Kamitani a fourteen-year-old boy but goes on to deliver far worse -- and more questionable -- criticism. Also, believe it or not, Schreier does use the phrase "male power fantasy" while writing about the Dwarf:
"Some have pointed out that the dwarf character—a shirtless warrior with disproportionate muscles—is just as sexualized and over-exaggerated as the sorceress. That's true. He's also straight out of a straight male power fantasy, tailored for men just like the sorceress's skimpy clothing and ridiculously jiggly breasts. The design comes across as juvenile, like a hackneyed comic book or a God of War game."
As ridiculous examples of "male power fantasies" go, the Dwarf really takes the cake. This is not an attractive character or, as far as we know, a popular character or a particularly powerful character. It's a short old man with so many muscles that he'd have difficulty moving his limbs in real life. Yet he's a fantasy for men?

However, the main point of Schreier's rant is to portray the Sorceress' design as representative of all the sexism against women in the video game industry. At one point, Schreier goes so far as to say, "hordes of sweaty male attendees trample one another in order to get the best photos of booth babes". So in trying to denounce a fictional female character for being sexist, Schreier uses sexist insults against men in real life.

Let's start with that; Schreier already made it clear that he wasn't above insulting others, including people in the gaming industry like George Kamitani -- which is about as unprofessional as it gets, in my opinion -- and cements this reputation by going on to stereotype male con-goers. Why? To protect the integrity of fictional women. Jason Schreier wants to see a change; he's fed up of the stereotype of the large-chested female video game character. So fed up, in fact, that he's willing to sell everyone down the river for the sake of this principle; original video game art, the artist responsible for them and male gamers.

Schreier's justification for this is "I don't want to look at this game in a vacuum, or laugh off the sorceress as harmless sexual exaggeration, or accept that this is just Vanillaware's style". However, the big question is, why Dragon's Crown? All Schreier has done by complaining about it is give publicity to a game that likely would've slipped under most people's radars before he criticised it. I certainly intend to buy it. Trying to make Dragon's Crown into some kind of anti-martyr -- using the game's art style to rant about the treatment of women in the game industry -- all Schreier has done is shoot himself in the foot. People who weren't going to buy it before still won't and plenty of new people will.

It has to be pointed out that Schreier is not even right; we're used to seeing this response by now. It's reminiscent of Anita Sarkeesian and the idea that "I don't like it so it must be wrong". While female characters in gaming may be stereotyped as simply being large-chested sexualised objects, it's nowhere close to the truth; I'm sure anyone reading this right now could come up with at least ten video game series featuring small-chested and non-sexualised female characters. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, the Final Fantasy series, Half-Life, Portal, Uncharted, the Tomb Raider reboot, Resident Evil, The Sims ... and those are just the high-profile ones I could come up with. Lesser-known series, take your pick; just looking at the small collection of games next to my PC, I spy Freedom Force, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic and Fable.

Going back to Dragon's Crown, the problem with Schreier's reaction -- and he's not the only one -- is that his opinion stops dead in its tracks as soon as he sees that the game has a sexualised female character. It happens often. People see what they want to see, to maintain a victimhood narrative; it's why there was a backlash against Bayonetta, in spite of the fact that the character's sexualisation was meant to be over-the-top to the point of parody. It's why people heard Lara Croft making "orgasm noises" when she got hurt in the Tomb Raider reboot. And now ... Dragon's Crown.

With three male and three female characters, all with varied body types, and all the focus from Jason Schreier is on one of them (or two of them at the most; the Amazon sometimes receives flack, for the same reasons as the Sorceress). It doesn't matter that the men are as exaggerated as the women or that two characters -- the Wizard and the Elf, male and female respectively -- aren't exaggerated at all (and never mentioned by Schreier, incidentally), the mission seems to be "stamp out all examples of sexualised female characters", even if there are non-sexualised examples in the same game and men are treated the same way. I saw a comment on Kotaku that pointed out that the Sorceress would have back problems if she had breasts that large in real life. Nobody pointed out that the Fighter's legs wouldn't even be able to carry his colossal torso. People don't seem to realise that these characters are meant to be exaggerated; that's the point.

Thankfully, in spite of many Kotaku comments agreeing with Schreier, there are plenty of people who disagree with him. Schreier himself said that he likes the art style, just not the Sorceress' and Amazon's character designs. I have two big problems with this; firstly, it's completely sex-negative. In spite of Schreier's insults towards Kamitani about being a fourteen-year-old boy, isn't Schreier's reaction towards a woman with large breasts rather childish? Isn't being unable to handle mildly erotic content in a game a sign of immaturity? If a game developer goes so far as to put pornographic content in their games, I think it'd be fine to complain. I wouldn't consider that sex-negative at all. That's not the case here, however. In this case, the art director for Dragon's Crown created one character with deliberately exaggerated sexual characteristics and several people are now reacting like he should be ashamed for drawing what he wanted instead of what they wanted. After the controversy above, George Kamitani even went on to apologise in an e-mail to Kotaku. That's not right. It leads me to my second point.

My second point is why did Jason Schreier think he knew better? In fact, why was he given the time of day? It disturbs me to know that game journalists have the power to sway game developers just by throwing a few insults in their direction. It certainly seems that way from Kamitani's e-mail to Kotaku:
"I am not sure if I can implement the critiques from him and others around the internet into my future artistic creations, but I will definitely keep in mind that these opinions are out there and affect people on a personal level."
Those of you who weren't following the Dragon's Crown controversy at the time might find this hard to believe but there was something deeply shameful about the way Kamitani was treated; first as a sexist, then as a homophobe. Although it was Schreier's entitlement that started it all. In spite of the fact that there was at least one other female character without a large chest, Schreier felt that this one also shouldn't ... because he didn't like it. And the sake of all the women in gaming was at stake!

As for the Sorceress? She wasn't necessarily intended to be sexualised anyway. In George Kamitani's own words:
"I exaggerated the silhouettes of all the masculine features in the male characters, the feminine features in female characters, and the monster-like features in the monsters from many different angles until each had a unique feel to them. I apologize to those who were made uncomfortable by the art’s appearance, and did not see the same light-hearted fantasy in my designs."
So there you have it. More than that, however, someone on Kotaku named RPGFan copied a post by a blogger named HokutoAndy that shed a lot of light on Dragon's Crown's character designs. The level of detail is astounding; for both the Dwarf and the Sorceress, HokutoAndy brings up imagery from historical works and other Vanillaware games. An incredible trend that he noticed is that in many of George Kamitani's works -- Odin Sphere, Grim Grimoire and now Dragon's Crown -- several women with something in common have large breasts; the Queen of the Underworld, two professors of necromancy and now, the skeleton-summoning Sorceress. Why? Well in his words; "the functional purpose of breasts in mammals is to provide milk for offspring, they give life. George Kamitani uses this motif for his characters who give life to the dead." He compares them to fertility statues and analyses the poses. It's remarkable. I can say without any fear of contradiction that it gives better counter-arguments to Schreier's complaints than my petty rant.

As for Jason Schreier, and all video game journalists, in fact, I'd like to say this; if you want to change the video game industry, learn to write, draw or code and do it yourself. Just don't use high-profile websites as a soapbox to air your personal issues. You don't speak for everyone. While I was looking for the Sorceress picture above, I came across a lot of fanart for Dragon's Crown, even at this early stage. There were even some Sorceress and Elf cosplayers. There are people, women included, who are mature enough to deal with characters who have large breasts and even -- shock, horror -- like them. Stop insulting your audience. Stop trying to "dumb down" character design.

Edit: Everyone must read this article from Giuseppe Nelva of DualShockers. It's perfect. It encapsulates what an ugly situation Jason Schreier created and I think "when an artist feels compelled to apologize for his art style it’s a clear sign that video game journalism has reached a new low" says it all.

Let's finish with something cheerful; a video of Dragon's Crown! For the love of God, buy this game in August!

Friday, 12 April 2013

My Struggles With Sexualised Males

I've been in two minds about whether to write about this or not because it involves revealing some things about the way I look that I'd rather not. I'm sure there are a few of you out there who are still like me; not keen on uploading your photos to Facebook and other social media sites and reserving them for people you befriend online. So describing my appearance is frustrating but, in this case, I think it's necessary. It's more personal than usual but I promise that this'll be the one and only time I rely on anecdotal evidence.

First of all, I've never considered myself particularly attractive and my teenage years, in particular, weren't the best. Spots were a problem. I don't believe I've ever been fat but I have struggled with my weight. I wear glasses. The thing that bothers me most about my appearance, however, is I have difficulty smiling. It looks awkward, feels awkward and, when combined with an unbearable shyness in my teens, made me a target for comments like "cheer up" from my teachers. That was incredibly annoying and I hated being singled out over it.

It seemed to stop after I finished secondary school and I forgot all about it until last year. My mother began creating a few items to sell at craft fairs and I went with her to help set up the table, take care of the money and things like that. The last time the two of us went to a craft fair, one of her friends came to visit her late in the day. I minded my own business but I caught his eye a few times and, shortly after, he said something like "there's no harm in smiling, you know".

It might seem childish or overly-sensitive but whenever I'm faced with a situation like that, from my teachers or my mother's friend, I just want to say "fuck you". What difference does it make to them how I look? How dare they judge me on my appearance? And why should I change what I'm doing to please them? I don't think there's anything wrong with looking unhappy and, for all he knew, I could've had good reason to look unhappy. It's probably a lot ruder to give that "cheer up, might never happen" approach to a complete stranger, since you don't know why they look unhappy, than it is to just let them frown.

Of course, I didn't say "fuck you". That's uncivilised and not something I could've got away with in school. What you really do when faced with comments like those is try to laugh them off and act like you don't care. Like when someone tells an unfunny joke at work but you laugh along anyway because you think it'd be rude not to. It's a pain but it's just what you're supposed to do.

It's not to say that I never smiled or that I was always shy. Naturally, when I was with my friends, we found enough to keep each other entertained and I smiled as much as anyone else. I came out of my shell when I was with them. One of the things we had in common was a love of video games.

This was the tail end of the fifth generation of consoles and the beginning of the sixth. We were all predominately Sony fanboys, so the Playstation 1 and 2 were our main consoles. We tended to argue a lot over different series though. Off the top of my head, the only two series I can remember us all liking were Metal Gear Solid -- teenage boys could earn hours of enjoyment performing impressions of Snake and Colonel Campbell -- and Final Fantasy.

One of my friends was a bigger Final Fantasy fan than I was and it was because of him that I ended up buying Final Fantasy VIII. On his recommendation, I also rented Final Fantasy X, which led to me buying that too. As much as I enjoyed the games, the main characters always irritated me:

The main culprits. Cloud, Squall and Tidus.

It wasn't their looks alone that I took issue with. It was the fact that they could do no wrong. Girls seemed to gravitate towards them. They were always popular, even when it didn't make sense for them to be (Squall was surly and distant, as was Cloud at the start of FFVII). And yes, their looks played a big part of my dislike towards them. They were always the best-looking members of their teams and they were the stars of their games, so I associated popularity with attractiveness for a long time. More importantly, none of the boys in my school looked like they did. From what I remember, they were more feminine-looking than all the girls too ...

For a while, I did relate to Squall though. I mistook his stand-offish attitude for shyness and even his teacher (Quistis) had fun at the expense of his unsocial personality, much like my own teachers enjoyed doing. It was only when replaying FFVIII in later years that I realised Squall was actually an uncaring jerk. Final Fantasy VIII had quite a few moments that unintentionally made me dislike their attractive characters more. For example, there's a character called General Caraway, the father of Rinoa, one of the game's party members. It's strongly implied that Rinoa's mother, Julia, only married Caraway because he was there to comfort her when "her true love went off to war and never came back". Her "true love" was the ultra-feminine Laguna, who was Squall's father and also a playable character in flashbacks:

Armed with a machine gun in battle. And a hair straightener outside of it.

Rinoa, for some unexplained reason, utterly hates having Caraway as her father but he doesn't do anything to warrant it. He's actually very protective of her, although "protective" in his case does mean attempting to lock Rinoa inside her home so she won't put herself in danger by interrupting a military operation (which she does). Rinoa goes so far as to take her mother's maiden name and join a rebel group that opposes her father's army. I know it was unintentional but it does seem like Square made sure to avoid giving credit to anyone outside the attractive, important main characters. There's another case like this involving a very minor character named Nida kind of being undermined as soon as he's introduced that bothered me too. It might sound insignificant but it all adds up.

I don't want to say that the attractive male characters offended me but I did resent them. I certainly felt self-conscious when either I had to deal with crap that they didn't because of the way I looked. I felt the same way about these men as critics of the fashion industry did about size-zero models; "it creates an unrealistic standard of beauty". They were the closest us boys had to Barbie, who faced similar criticisms. I didn't tell my friends this, of course, but I made sure to mention that I disliked the characters. When they asked why, I said I felt like they were portrayed as being able to do no wrong (which was partially true. They rarely screwed up).

So what does all this have to do with this blog, about men's issues in gaming? Well put it this way; have you ever brought up the unrealistic standards of beauty that male video game characters face and have been hit with the argument "it's a male power fantasy"?


There are no qualities in a Final Fantasy character that I fantasise about having myself. Dismissing the argument that men are portrayed unrealistically because it's a "male power fantasy" makes about as much sense as dismissing arguments against size zero models because being thin is a "female beauty fantasy". It's a way for the critics to have their cake and eat it too; they want to portray unrealistic female body types as a problem but don't want to acknowledge that male characters face the same issue.

It's interesting to note that when advocating for more female protagonists -- which I'm all for -- a line often comes up about there being "enough straight white male" characters, particularly with brown hair. By itself, that's fine but presumably the reason many female gamers want to see more female protagonists is because they identify more with female characters than male ones. However, I hope they aren't thinking that men feel the same way about male characters because that's a mistake.

There's nothing to say that I identify with a straight white male protagonist any more than I identify with every straight white guy I see walking down the street. The experiences he has been through in his life are unlikely to be the same as my experiences. Besides, if I'm playing a game that involves shooting person after person, how can I identify with them anyway? I can't relate to these people and usually, that's fine; it allows me to be unconcerned with playing as a female space marine or a purple dragon or ... the Hulk. In fact, depending on how they're written, I could easily relate more to any of those characters than I could a straight white male protagonist. To think that I identify more with them because we share a sex, skin colour and sexual orientation is very shallow reasoning. In fact, in the case of Final Fantasy characters, I actually relate to them even less than I normally would.

Oh, and on the "male power fantasy" argument ... as much as I enjoy smashing things up as the Hulk, I wouldn't want to be the Hulk. That's no fantasy of mine.

So I really hope people who've made the "male power fantasy" argument before read this and realise that that's not the case. How I felt about feminine-looking male Final Fantasy characters may be the same way another teenage boy feels about muscle-bound male Tekken characters or the plethora of shaved-headed, tough-talking male characters from modern games (just in case anyone's forgotten, here's IGN's take). Don't think that just because female characters are sometimes large-chested or their breasts bounce that women have the monopoly on being offended over appearance.

On the off-chance that there are any young men reading this who are upset about the appearances of men in video games and the media? Don't worry, it gets better. You'll stop caring as much when you get older. One thing I realised is that sometimes video game characters suck. Video games aren't the be-all and end-all of storytelling and you can find yourself disliking characters and stories in otherwise good games. They're not a big deal. I mentioned all the flaws I have at the beginning of this post. Now, I still have some of those flaws, including the inability to smile properly, but I've found quite a few things I like about myself too. I've become more comfortable with the way I look. I'm not saying "you must like yourself immediately!" though because you don't have to. It'll come with time.

One last thing before I go. I came across a link to this Tumblr today, by artist Aaron Diaz, featuring an "Inspired by Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs Women" original concept for a Legend Of Zelda game, with Zelda as the hero:

On its own, it looks kind of cool ... but I also can't help but point out a few things wrong with it. Firstly, a gender-flipped version of a Zelda game, featuring Zelda as the hero and Link as a "noble but naïve" prince ... still features a male villain? Secondly, there's at least one characteristic there that Anita Sarkeesian would actually dislike; she criticised Zelda in the main LoZ series for being kidnapped in several games as soon as she returns to her "stereotypically feminine" form. I can't imagine she'd be too pleased about Zelda spending an entire game dressed in masculine attire.

Thirdly ... the Zelda series has always done a good job of appealing to everyone. Between a heroic (albeit mute) male character, a wise female character (which "Prince Link" isn't) and cutesy visuals, it appeals to men, women and children equally. Because of little touches, I think the artist's "Clockwork Empire" is specifically designed to appeal to feminist critics more than any other group. Not to say that it doesn't look like it could be fun but let's examine a few things:
  • Female hero breaking gender roles.
  • "Naïve" male prince with rather effeminate outfit (the puffy shoulders are reminiscent of the dresses in old cartoons and on Disney princesses like Snow White).
  • Male villain. Still. Just sayin', it kind of stands out.
It is a really interesting concept, so I don't want to talk it down too much. Unfortunately, not much consideration is given to the male characters (or audience).

As always, feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail me at I don't check it every day but I promise I'll get back to you if you write.

Monday, 1 April 2013

I Hate the Gaming Community

I do, or at the least the members of the community in high-profile positions. Journalists and certain developers. It's been one of those frustrating weeks, so this'll probably be more of a rant than a well thought-out blog and I intend to keep it short. Two things have been bothering me: the refusal to accept any opinion that isn't thoroughly pro-feminist, including Anita Sarkeesian's videos, and the attitude that the industry needs to mature while significant members of it refuse to mature themselves.

Let's start with Cliff Bleszinski, game designer for Epic Games (developer of Gears Of War). Back on March 11th, he posted a blog about Anita Sarkeesian that we've come to expect from individuals in the industry. Endless praise of Anita and the continued dismissal of all of her critics as "trolls". At this point, it's old news, but talking about Feminist Frequency over the last few days on forums, I can't help but take issue with some of Bleszinski's claims.

Basically, it's occurred to me that many of Anita's supporters have a worldview that is so set in stone that it would shatter if they ever acknowledged that there is some genuine criticism of Anita Sarkeesian. Their fingers would leap from their hands and run away from their keyboards rather than type, "you know, the critics might have a point". When it comes to the claims Anita makes, there's a general attitude of "we hold these truths to be self-evident, so criticism can easily be dismissed as nonsensical trolling". It doesn't matter how many points are made about Anita's lack of objectivity, cherry-picked examples, questionable money-making methods and censorship, the critics continue to be included with the abusers.

I was looking through some responses to Anita last night -- either to her Damsels In Distress: Part 1 video or her original Kickstarter -- and it's remarkable how many of them make an effort to point out that they think she's tackling important issues ... but she's just making a hash of it. They want to make it clear that they support the issues, or at the very least are not flinging insults and abuse in her direction, but they just think Anita is handling it badly. The Amazing Atheist spells it out with, "if you're expecting some stupid "pwnage" video, you're going to be disappointed". Kite Tales -- with my new favourite video on the subject -- spends the beginning and end of her video stating how much she respects Anita's opinion and hopes that the two sides of the argument can work together to create a better whole. Even one of her Kickstarter backers, while otherwise praising her, berates her for refusing to answer her criticism.

These people will all be ignored by the mainstream gaming press. It doesn't matter how much work went into their videos, they'll still be dismissed along with the misogynists. All this just makes me wonder what the point is.

For example, take a look at this paragraph from Bleszinski's blog:
"We’re the gamers, the dorks. We’re the ones who were on our computers during prom. We’re the ones that were in the back of the lunch room who were playing D&D instead of tossing a football around on the quad. We were supposed to be the open, friendly ones, the ones who welcomed all into our wonderful geeky circle.

We’re not supposed to be a mob that’s storming the gates with our pitchforks and torches.

We’re not the bullies."
Okay Cliff, fair enough. We're not the bullies. So why are we being treated as if we are? Why is sexism in gaming blamed on "privileged manchildren" and "dudebros", which is bullying in itself? Those of us who are in the back of the lunch room playing D&D, why are we being treated like sexists by publishers who think games won't sell with women on the box? Why do game journalists agree with that?
"More than that, it's kind of creepy to me that so few female leads, if any at all, are actually allowed to be in straight relationships, lest it incur the homophobic insecurity of the male audience."
Yes, it's a Jim Sterling quote. What he's saying here is that basically, female leads in straight relationships would only appeal to female gamers because the straight male gaming audience is too homophobic to enjoy it.

Game journalists and supporters of Anita Sarkeesian have this idea that the only reasons anyone could possibly oppose their brand of "equality" in gaming is because they oppose equality. Not because they oppose their arguments or methods of doing things. As Bleszinski said:
"Heaven forbid a woman actually take a magnifying glass to our beloved hobby and actually try to unravel and figure out why things are the way they are in the effort that somehow she might change things?"
And from Rock, Paper, Shotgun:
"All this talk of sexism isn’t going away, nor should it. The gaming industry’s sick, and the symptoms are plain as day. Mystifyingly often, however, the immediate reaction to even the faintest hint of that suggestion is “No, nuh-uh! You just want to censor expression! Give me one good reason we actually need to change.”* Well, if you really want to move beyond “Because jeez, it’s basic human decency to treat someone else the way you’d like to be treated,” Dragon Age III lead writer David Gaider’s got a laundry list of practical reasons for you.

*This can also be translated as “I’m a blathering numbskull. Gobble gobble gobble ptttthrtppt” I’m sorry. I tried to be mature. Instead I just made you read more of the article."
It's clear that journalists don't want to listen. They want to blame. There are plenty of places they could go to online if they want reasonable feedback about sexism in gaming but they've instead adopted an "us vs. them" mentality, even though it makes no sense. They've invented a mythical oppressor; a white teenager who shouts sexist slurs into his microphone while playing online multiplayer. This is the person they wish to blame everything on and it's a stereotype they force everyone who disagrees with the popular opinion into, especially if they're a straight white male.

However, let's take a look at some of the well-reasoned arguments against Anita Sarkeesian, from both her Kickstarter and her Damsels In Distress: Part 1 video. InuitInua, for example, who is female. Kite Tales, who made this video after Anita's Kickstarter video (as well as the one linked to above), is female too. This comment from a woman named "Elsa" has also been doing the rounds. And that's before we get to male examples such as The Amazing Atheist above, Thunderf00t, Instig8ive Journalism and J.J. McCullough. All of whom are doomed to be ignored by mainstream gaming journalism.

As I said, all of this makes me wonder what the point is. How long can gaming journalists and developers go without acknowledging that Anita Sarkeesian may not have all the answers? That men may face issues in games too? That putting Elizabeth on the back of the Bioshock Infinite box wasn't a big deal because she was only a supporting character?

It wasn't the first and it won't be the last but it was the only one singled out. As someone who has played Bioshock Infinite from beginning to end, the critics made a mountain out of a molehill. There was nothing so special about Elizabeth that she deserved a spot on the front cover any more than Emily in Dishonored, Kai in Heavenly Sword or Ashley Graham in Resident Evil 4.

I was going to write about controversy over the IGDA hosting a party with "inappropriate" dancers but ... I can't be bothered, so I'll keep it short. All I'll say is this is what they looked like:

Sounds to me like the IGDA just wanted to create a party atmosphere by putting on some entertainment that happened to feature dancing women. From the way it's been treated -- two people resigned (although one was leaving anyway) over the "inappropriate" "objectified" women -- people have been acting like strippers were giving lapdances. I've read people making the claim that it didn't belong in a professional setting, which sounds like an excuse to me. I can understand that being said about the ridiculous Adria Richards debacle (which I'm not explaining. Just Google "Donglegate") but this was entertainment put on by the International Game Developers Association. It was done by the professionals so the other professionals could enjoy themselves.

In a link to Eurogamer I posted above, in an article about Remember Me -- Capcom's upcoming sci-fi game starring a female protagonist -- they write about how the gaming industry won't mature if it isn't more accepting of female protagonists, which I agree with. Cliff Bleszinski also echoed David Cage's sentiment about the industry needing to "grow up". However, how on earth is our industry ever going to grow up if we take such an immature attitude towards (A) other people's opinions and (B) inoffensive entertainment at the Game Developers Conference? The games industry has much more basic and fundamental strides it needs to take if it wants to mature, never mind the ones where money is involved.

Rant over.

By the way, I'm not too pleased with any of my articles about Anita Sarkeesian. I feel like I've given a decent argument about her work but it's spread out over three blog posts. I'm not happy with it and I think all of the others I've linked to in this post have given better arguments than me. Particularly Kite Tales. As I said, it's my new favourite video on the subject. I still have more to say about Anita though ... and I hope her Damsels In Distress: Part 2 video gives me the material to write a better blog. I know I can do better.

As always, leave a comment below or write to me at