Recently we had an article posted by Hamza which revealed a new alt costume for Zero suit Samus. Needless to say it seems like some people didnít like it and others did and there was a fairly long yet seemingly reasonable discussion. This is something thatís been on my mind for some time so I've finally decided to write about it. †itís a bit long so bear with me
Firstly I would like to state that Iím not all that unreasonable. For those of you who have had large discussions with me I havenít filled them with slander but with perspective and reason and if I feel that I have been wrong, Iíll withdraw and think about it again. On the flip side at the very least we can agree to disagree and go our ways. Iím not a big fan of muck racking and I donít intend to any of that here. I believe everyone deserves a base level of respect, and you do with that as you please. So on to the topic at hand.
My stance on this type of issue has always been diversity over censorship because at the end of the day you canít please everyone. †As Jim Sterling Himself said there is no perfect game just as there is no perfect pasta sauce. There is creamy, chunky, spicy, meaty, etc. The same applies to games.
That being said it isnít wrong to criticize a game ďTHAT YOU LOVEĒ. Much like a food critic cites the problems with the pasta he was served a gamer can cite the issues he/she may have with a game, however there is a limit. You canít beholden your standard of pasta to everyone else simply because youíre a vegan and you donít eat meat. †Likewise a gamerís standard cannot fit every game. Now this is where the love part comes in. Due to the complex nature of games you should have some sort of steak
in the game youíre talking about. It makes no sense for me to talk about Bayonetta if I donít have any interest in the game at all, it caters to a particular group of people and it just isnít for me (note: Iím actually a Bayonetta fan, itís a fantastic game and Iím glad I have a Wii u if only for that and smash). In that instance there is no point in changing what Bayonetta is. It knows who itís selling to and what it wants. I do not believe that the artistic vision of a game should be compromised simply for the sake of an offended group who is not even invested in the game (please continue reading for the exception because I know some of you will jump the gun and comment before you finish reading). I believe the creators of the Stanly parable did it best when they changed some in game images - http://www.destructoid.com/the-stanley-parable-dev-to-remove-offensive-images-264260.phtml - not because outside forces were calling him racist for his work, but because his player base found it to be a bit disturbing. That should be one of the only instances where a ďgoodĒ developer changes something in an existing franchise.
† † † † † † †Now I would like to move to the next point which is context and intent.
I think a lot of people fail to look at context and intent when criticizing a game. The Burden of proof lie on the accuser and in most cases people are ill equipped in that regard. Sex object because big boobs and speculation about a game that wasn't out at the time.
Yes itís the sorcerous from Dragons crown, the source of much debate where it was a big argument on why/why not. At the end of the day nobody died (at least I hope) and to the best of my knowledge nobody was any worse for wear. I can see how some people may have not wanted to play as her, myself included. For me it just personal taste, but I do wonder of all those people who fought during that time how many of them actually played the game. The cynic in me says very few. This is where I would like to bring out intent. Was the game willfully offensive, putting down women for being women and treating them unfairly? I donít believe so. I think the big problem people had was with objectification.
: to treat (someone) as an object rather than as a person
Taken from Merriam Webster.
I think a good portion of people see boobs and a fairly revealing outfit auto-pull this word, but without context, without intent, you cannot call it objectification. You can only assume that some men and women gain a degree of sexual gratification from these images and that much can be true, but that is only part of it. If you want an example of objectification see:
The women are literally treated as objects for duke to save and have sex with. †They have no personality whatsoever. To nail the point even further there is a capture the babe mode.. In stark contrast I feel that the sorceress or better yet someone like Bayonetta (close in terms of their appearance) while being a sexy character isn't an object or treated poorly. Bayonetta is bad ass who owns her sexuality and thatís the key difference. With some good writing and character creation a game can feature a sexy woman without being sexist or hateful. Itís a real shame that Sexy and Sexist seem to be so tied together. Context and intent can make all the difference so I implore you all to take an objective look at these things and be slower to judge something. Simply because a woman gets tight clothing or a sexier outfit doesn't mean sexist or sex object. The Tankini Samus got looks like a womanís MMA suit and people are still getting their nickers in a twist. † †
Exception: willfully malicious games
If a game is willfully malicious and offensive such as the 9/11 flight sim way back or rapelay they are truly and indeed worth every ounce of criticism. No amount of artistic vision is going to protect you from being a plain old arse. I wonít bother defending a game like this because there is a great difference between Rapelayís treatment and portrayal of women versus Bayonetta. †If something in a game is found to be willfully offensive for the developers hate then by all means.
This closes it out. If you agree or disagree let me know below. I would like the communities input on this issue. I'm not against critique, I'm all for it, but before we get up in arms and make mountains out of mole hills we should examine the material at hand. it isn't black and white, there's a sea of grey in between.