Quantcast
Community Discussion: Blog by Handy | Handy's ProfileDestructoid
Handy's Profile - Destructoid

DestructoidJapanatorTomopopFlixist





click to hide banner header
About
Welcome to the blog.... you must be bored. anyway im Handy, I'm a student in Ireland and I'm here to talk about whatever may come into my mind....so not much then.

Lets see... I’ve been playing games pretty much my whole life, since my Commodore back in the day to my ps3 now I’ve been hooked. Actually come to think of it I can’t remember a time I wasn’t playing games. Can’t say I have a favourite genre, I like to try a bit of everything, though I will go to town on a good RPG. I’ll have something to fill in this space as soon as my life becomes interesting.

^^^ Seriously, I wrote that like four years ago and still nothing interesting has happened.



Like everyone else on Destructoid I’m at a loss on what to fill this space with so I guess I’ll just catalogue my greatest hits, if you can call a loose collection of lists and borderline pornographic fanart “greatest hits”.



Listmania – Because liking something isn’t as important as liking it in the correct order.

Game plots that are clearly rip-offs: Part two

Gamings Greatest Slinky Invisible Women with Huge Asses

E3 Approaches: The E3 survival guide!

Something about E3: 34 things you’ll have to hear soon

Lost? Lonely? Looking for Love?

Gaming’s worst legal guardians

Gaming DIY

Valentine’s Day, Shmalentine’s.....Shmay

Get a new look at the Gaming Salon!

Hatesgiving

The NPC survival guide

Game lessons that don’t work in real life



Fanart Flops – Because you must suffer.

Fanart Flops: Back by (Un)Popular Demand

Fanart Flops: Eyebleach, I Choose You Edition

Fanart Flops: Octopus Hojo Edition

Fanart Flops: Stop Raping My Childhood Edition

Fanart Flops. (Possibly NSFW)



Wankery – The terrible results of when I pretend I’m smart.

Dear Industry: I Am Not a Psychopath

Final Fantasy Versus Itself

Only Human


The culture Gap



Sargasm – Because I’m kind of a dick.

Darksiders 2 in a nutshell

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

How Dare You, Capcom

Death to Red Shepard!

How to make a sequel

Why FFXIII is the worst one EVAR!

The Scandalous Scam of Samit Sarkar!

In the name of SCIENCE!!!




Front page – When Destructoid has terrible lapses in judgement.


Top 12 Videogame porno parodies (NSFW)

Handy’s X-mas X-travaganza begins now!

Game plots that are clearly rip-offs

Comments of the Week: Busst Stop

Comments of the week: George Michael Warfare 3



Don’t forget Comments of the Week

Comments of the Week: Tinfoil Hat Edition







Just because.
Badges
Following (44)  





WARNING: THERE WILL BE NO MENTION OF ALIENS.


There’s been a lot of talk of demos lately since it was suggested at DICE that demos hurt more than they help in terms of sales, to which we all responded smugly and said “Ha, only the rubbish games”. Well no, not exactly. The problem isn’t about us “finding out” that a game is bad, the problem is that the demo itself can often be a poor representation of the game. Being dropped into a random slice of the game with no context is jarring, there’s no build-up to what’s going on, it’s over by the time you get used to the mechanics, the bigger the game is the more story is left out for fear of spoilers, and it usually cuts off before you have a chance to really get into it and really see what the game is all about.

I hated the demo for Dragon’s Dogma, I thought it was clunky and slow. But after word of mouth spread I gave the game a chance and really enjoyed it. The demo for Ni No Kuni has completely soured me on buying the game, I keep hearing good things, but that segment they chose to represent their game was a bad decision. A game that’s a slow burn like Limbo may only come across as boring to many with just the small chunk they gave us.

But that’s not why we’re here, okay maybe it is a little, I do kind of want to prove my point, but mostly I’m here to have fun and maybe even save you a little money. The following are the exact opposite of what I’ve talked about above, these are bad games with good demos, or at least games that probably aren’t worth your money, not when they offer the best they have to offer for free anyway.



Kane and Lynch: Dead Men.



You may remember Kane and Lynch as the game that got Jeff Gerstmann fired, though some still speculate that it was just so bad it made him quit. But this game has worse offences under its belt, like a sweet talking demo that cons good people out of their hard earned money. You see, Kane and Lynch’s demo takes place exactly at the high point of the game, it’s still not particularly great, but it is the high point of this game. Disguised as window cleaners you’ll abseil down the side of a Tokyo skyrise and attack a bunch a Japanese businessmen for...some reason. Followed by an intense shootout through the luxurious (for a 2007 game) interior, and eventually spilling out into the streets while surrounded by panicking civilians desperately trying to escape the building.

The problem is that immediately after the demo ends is where the game introduces it’s “twist” and decides it wants to be a military shooter. Thus becoming a poorly conceived spiritual sequel to Freedom Fighters but with nigh invincible helicopter boss fights and more angry balding men.

Also at one point you fight a dump truck. Seriously, don’t buy this game.


The Club.



If you were to combine elements of racing games, arcade shooters, and a Tony Hawk style point scoring system you would have a beautiful game. If you hit that game with a van you would have The Club. The greatest complement The Club ever received is that it would have been a great game “on the PS2”. Really its only true fault is that I came out in the wrong generation, a few years earlier and it may have been a classic. The problem is that it was the last true “pass the controller” multiplayer game and it came out at a time when everybody was enamoured with online multiplayer.

As it stands, the demo will give you all you could want from that bygone era. DAMN THIS PLASTIC FUTURE!


Just Cause 2.



You have half an hour. Here’s a big slice of the map. Go nuts.

That is the premise behind the Just Cause 2 demo and it really is great. You’ll skydive, parachute, play around with the grapple hook, surf on a plane, and shoot red things till they explode. Thing is, that’s all there is to do in the main game, shoot the red things till they explode. That’s not to say Just Cause 2 is a bad game, but you will squeeze more fun into that half hour than you’ll get out of twenty hours with the real thing. You’ll experiment with the grapple hook before you figure out that it’s not as versatile as you thought, you’ll tie people to various moving objects before you notice that cords disappear after ten seconds and you can only tie one thing at a time, you’ll shoot all of the red things till they explode before you realise that it’s literally the only thing you do in the game.

With Just Cause 2 ignorance isn’t just bliss, it’s free!


Resident Evil 5.



Again, another game that isn’t exactly bad, but it does slightly betray your expectations. The demo is about scrambling for survival in a shantytown gone mad, and it really is a tense experience, even with the lady who heals you and helps shoot the monsters. But the demo is set before Resident Evil decided to jump the shark like a zombie on a dirtbike, soon you’ll be facing zombies with machine guns, blonde Neo, assaulting a rock, minigunning the aforementioned Motocross zombies, and shooting building sized tentacle monsters with space lasers.

Still, in retrospect it’s not so bad compared to 6.

Time Shift.



Okay, I didn’t play Time Shift, you didn’t play Time Shift, most of you probably don’t even remember what Time Shift is. But I think it’s safe to say that the novelty of slowing down time in the rain was about the apex of the experience.


Sonic Unleashed.



The Sonic Unleashed demo is set in that beautiful segment of the Sonic Cycle before we hear about the gimmick that ‘s going to ruin the game, like a happy family portrait taken before anyone knew Uncle Nick was a sex offender. You can see the beginnings of SEGA finally figuring out what to do with Sonic in a 3D world. Of course they had to screw it somehow and decided to make 70% of the game a poorly executed God of War clone starring a cross between a furry and Stretch Armstrong. But man, when you’re running around (at the speed of sound) you can almost trick yourself into believing they actually got it right for a while there, sort of, kinda.


SSX.


What you think you’re getting

Remember the original gritty SSX trailer? Well, make no mistake, that is the game you are getting when you buy SXX, they carried out as much damage control as they could, and lacquered the game in a slightly brighter tone, but it’s clear the foundation was already laid. The demo takes place in a bright and colourful stage (one of about three in the whole game) and provides plenty of opportunities for all sorts of tricks and excitement set to some of that young people’s music I keep hearing about. The full game is a different story...

Most of the game takes place on severe and harsh courses, it’s very clear the game was built on their original mantra of “survive the mountain”, you’ll fall off so many ledges and into so many bottomless pits that they had to add a Prince of Persia time rewinding mechanic. Then there’s the Deadly Descents, where the game throws arbitrary obstacles in your way, trees, rocks, white out, pitch darkness, blacking out the screen from lack of oxygen, the game does everything it can to get in the way of you having fun.


What you're actually getting

Should you enjoy the soundtrack, well that’s too bad, because if you want to accomplish anything in the game you need to keep your Tricky Bar built up, and when your Tricky bar is built up the only song you’ll hear is a dubstep remix of “Tricky” as a spectral Rev. Run chases you down the mountain screeching “yyyyyyyeeeeeeeEEEAAAAAHHHHHHhhhh”, it is terrifying and I’m pretty sure if you could turn the camera around you’d see his face chasing you in an avalanche like The Mummy.

Add on top a story full of pretentious vignettes filled with empty statements like ”I do this because I can. I don’t feel alive unless I push myself to the limit”. And a plot about a team of nine people jetting around the globe just to spite one guy, who by the way, accomplishes everything the team does, first, singlehandedly. Meanwhile Team SSX constantly talk behind his back and split the work between nine people, after a while it starts to feel like you’re playing the world’s first extreme sports bullying simulator.

It’s just...so...just play the demo.
Photo Photo Photo








If you can’t do sex right, don’t do it at all. That’s why I don’t do sex, and that’s why developers shouldn’t either.

I’m no prude, sex is a natural part of life and an unavoidable storytelling device, the thing is I don’t think gaming can handle it well, I don’t think that’s going to change in the foreseeable future, and I don’t really think that’s a problem either. Are sex scenes ever necessary in a game? Can you name one game, just one game, that has done a full on sex scene well, one game where it makes sense in context, adds something meaningful thematically or storywise and is handled tastefully? I can’t.

Heavy Rain was so desperate to seem grown up that it shoved in an unnecessary sex scene while the main character’s son was still in immediate danger. God of War’s Kratos is a on an unstoppable rampage of vengeance fuelled by pure hatred and rage, except when he breaks character to have sex, sex we have to QTE our way through in exchange for red orbs. I’ve only seen one game with sex scenes that are there to actually convey something to the player, The Ballad of Gay Tony, and the only thing those gratuitous scenes are there to say is “Luis definitely isn’t gay, guys” because Rockstar knew GTA’s core audience wouldn’t take kindly to that.




Even with Hot Coffee you at least bought them dinner...


Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying sex should never be addressed, alluded to or implied in a game, I’m just saying there’s nothing to be gained from showing it. The fact that the two characters are going through with the act says all that needs to be said, all you have to do is make sure the player knows what’s happening and fade to black. Developers,fading to black is your best friend when it comes to this sort of thing. Plenty of games include sex without needing to show it, the Persona games only need imply what’s going on, Mass Effect can’t seem to make its mind up but generally fades away before things get too steamy, Catherine – the sexy-sexy sex game about sexy sex – doesn’t have a single sex scene in it. Even Fallout’s encounter with Fisto the sexbot is handled with more tact that Far Cry 3.

Besides, few things are more immersion breaking than seeing uncanny valley faces affect a look of “ecstasy”, and I don’t think using L.A. Noire’s expression capturing technology to replicate the perfect O-face is going to be any less disturbing. Not to mention that games are so bombastic and full of grandiose these days that a sex scene isn’t much more than a drop in the bucket. You want to show that two characters care for each other? You need to show some subtlety, have them sit on a couch and order pizza, a kiss on the forehead can say more than a romp in the bedroom.



But hey, if this screams romance to you who am I to judge?


I’m not saying games shouldn’t be able to have sex scenes. I believe gaming as a medium should have the freedom to tackle anything it wants, but if you were to ask on an individual basis, should this game have a sex scene? I will tell you no. Confusing isn’t it? Some people may think that games need to portray sexual relationships if they ever want to be seen as mature. I think those people need to grow up. Sex is not the be-all, end-all of a mature relationship. Nathan Drake and Elena for example, make a great couple because they have chemistry, they bicker and joke, the second game closes with Elena teasing Drake over crying and his fear of clowns, that’s a real relationship.

And on top of all of that, games are still a relatively new medium, we’re still figuring things out. What applies in other media doesn’t necessarily translate well into ours, in a movie sex is a thing between two characters, with a game you have to consider player agency, choice and consequence, what type of story you’re telling, the creators vision and whether it conflict with the players intentions – it’s already a mess before you throw in a sex scene.




So for now, I think games just need to learn to fade to black.



And for the love of God don’t make it interactive because...no. Just, no.
Photo Photo Photo











Finally, we’ve received the social acceptance we’ve strived so hard for. For years we were the victim of bullying and mean spirited jokes but finally, finally, nerds and gamers are no longer singled out as socially maladjusted manbabies. And it’s thanks to shows like The Big Bang Theory that portray gamers in a positive light, that don’t rely on lazy stereotypes or defamation of our culture, that we’re at last being laughed with, and not at.

The Big Bang Theory, in case you didn’t know, is an incredibility well written show about a couple called Penny and Leonard an autistic man named Sheldon theoretical physicists who somehow can’t afford their own place nerds. In fact the writing is so good that the audience laughs at roughly every sentence and they even came up with a wacky catchphrase. Sometimes the nerds say nerd things, and sometimes they say science things, which is funny because everybody is laughing so it must be good.

The Time They Play a Game.




Oh man, look at them play those videogames, isn’t that funny? You know they’re real games-masters because of how they hard they type their keyboards, none of them even need a mouse. And real gamers use headsets to talk to each other even when they’re in the same room, they’re definitely not wearing them to undermine their image and make them look stupid in the eyes of the viewer. And look how seriously they take it, everybody knows videogames are trivial distractions.

Games Are Better Than Sex



Ha, you idiots, stop enjoying yourselves and objectify those women, those women who came to laugh at you.

Gaming addiction.



It was very brave of Big Bang Theory to broach such a serious topic as addiction in such a tasteful way. It showed how after just minutes of playing an MMO a person can become instantly addicted like it’s turbocrack. It’s also great how they implied that people playing online games are devoid of any real life accomplishments. I hope a lot of parents watched this episode, and remembered to fear gaming all over again. I can’t wait to discuss this down at the “virtual tavern”.


A Girl Plays a Videogame.



This is funny on so many levels. I mean first of all, there’s a girl playing a game, that’s already hilarious in its sheer audacity, but then the idea that she’s actually good at them? That’s just crazytown. But the icing on the cake here is Sheldon’s zinger about how attractive people can’t be good at games, hoo boy, they’ve got our number, keep reading ugly.


Wii Bowling Night.



Oh look, they’re taking games seriously again, isn’t that funny? Wii Sports has appeared in about five episodes of BBT during my research, and it’s always hysterical because they’re not actually doing the thing that it looks like they’re doing, but I chose this clip because it doesn’t just have fun with gamers, it manages to joke with Jewish people, homosexuals, the disabled too! No wonder this show is so popular!


A Girl Plays a Videogame Again.



Now that’s more like it, look at that stupid annoying woman, with her “pew pew” sounds and pink laptop, and her insistence that her boyfriend wear a matching outfit. She didn’t even know how to play the right away on her first time! That’s what it’s really like when a woman plays a game. At least I assume that’s what it’s like, I’ve never seen it happen, I’m just a stupid ugly gamer like the rest of us after all.

Games Are Better Than Sex Again.



Remember when Halo upgraded to Halo 3 and included all those hi-def graphics and enhanced weapons systems? That’s how you know the writers did at least four minutes of research. And of course sex hasn’t been upgraded to include those things, that joke made so much sense it gave me a migraine. But everything turns out okay because only a nerdlinger wouldn’t prioritise sex over everything else, like spending time with your friends, what a loser.


The Time They Name Some Videogames.



Hahahaha, the audience sure loved that one! You can really tell what huge nerds they are what with the massive collection of 24 games they’ve accumulated over the last five console generations. They don’t even have the right consoles to play some of those games, that’s how dedicated they are and how well thought out that skit was. But really the true genius here is how just saying the name of some games is the punchline, it’s almost as if the idea that someone likes the biggest entertainment medium in the world somehow hilarious.


Thank God we have shows like the Big Bang Theory to represent us in the mainstream, people were almost beginning to judge us for themselves there, we sure dodged that bullet. I only hope that someday I can write something as funny and insightful as The Big Bang Theory but for now I guess I’ll just have to rely on these recordings of people laughing and this giant “APPLAUSE” sign to trick people into thinking something funny is happening.

Photo Photo








So this is a thing now. But after searching my name I only found out there’s a lot of sad people out there that share my name and feel the need to self aggrandise on Urban Dictionary. So unless you legitimately believe that on the day of your birth your parents said “This baby is obviously the Rambo of sex. We must think of a fitting name.” “Ronald!” then maybe it’s not the best place to find yourself.



I will however search the name I chose here on Destructoid. Because searching your name and then twisting it to stroke your ego? That’s just masturbation. And there’ll be no stroking or masturbation when searching for Handy!



1. handy 455 up, 264 down

to wrap your hand around a guys cock and vigoriously move up and down until the male begins to cum

I gave my boyfriend a handy and then had to wash my hands because there was cum on them.



3. Handy 69 up, 38 down

A hand job!

" I was on the rag so I gave him a handy to hold him over"



4. Handy 150 up, 129 down

Safe alternative to oral sex. Eliminates the risk of herpes.

Weinberg: Yo did she bitch suck you off?
Weinshel: Nah son, she just gave me a handy and split.



10. Handy 50 up, 55 down

To give a sexual favour using your hand

Jaydee gives good handys behind the bike shed



11. handy 36 up, 44 down

Slang term for a handjob.

"Handy" Mirandy gave Joel a handy in the back of the bus on the way home from band camp.



13. Handy 18 up, 32 down

Essentially a handjob except for a handy is often quick and on the sly. Ejaculation may or may not occur on the female, depending on the location recieved. In order to have a "sick handy" one must both turn down a BJ or sex in exchange for the handy, and must also bust a load directly onto the female in excess of 3 oz's of manjuice.

[i]Dr D got a sick handy from some bitch with a sideways puntang last night.[/b]



19. handy 6 up, 51 down

small skinny and like to suck on the cock

handy



22. handy 2 up, 63 down

Small Skinny and likes to suck on animals cocks

Handy


So there, I think we’ve all learned a little something about making ourselves feel good, getting in touch with yourself, and how to love yourself at least once a day. NO MASTURBATION WHATSOEVER.
Photo








Yes, that is a combination of impressions and reactions, expect much more wordbining in the spirit of Revengeance.


So, the Metal Gear Rising demo has been in the hands of those who bought the ZOE Collection for quite some time now, and seeing as it’ll soon be in the hands of you handsome people via standalone demo I figured I would share my impractions (repressions?) now rather than rub it in your face two weeks ago.



The demo takes place with post-op Raiden soon after he gets his new body, sporting a new pair of even creepier high heel foot things and familiar bandana/impromptu eye patch – I guess he didn’t bother to get a new eye despite getting everything else, including his other, still working, eye replaced – and we’re introduced to blade mode with a quick tutorial.

Really it’s just a playground for cutting stuff up and to get down the basics of blade mode, one interesting thing is that you don’t need to “swipe” the analogue stick, just choose your angle of approach and let go, they let you do it either way but in my opinion swiping still just feels right. Another thing is that if you don’t want to wiggle your thumb everywhere you can just press Square or triangle for horizontal or vertical slashes, which is a nice touch when you want to just enjoy the spectacle or really go all berserker on something.

There’s also an equipable cardboard box tucked away in the tutorial, to reach it you need to cut down a pillar to make a ramp leading around edge of the area. I unfortunately never realised this and instead cut down both supports and spent ten minutes bouncing the bridge off Raiden’s head and kicking it around until it glitched its way into a makeshift slope for me. It was stutarded.



When the demo begins proper we get our first taste of combat and it’s a bit of a mixed bag. There’s nothing wrong with the combo system itself, it’s just that it’s not really explained to you in the demo beyond square for light attacks, triangle for heavy. The light combo string can go on indefinitely or be switched in to the heavy string at any time, by switching back and forth at different points in the combo strings is where new moves can be found, think Bayonetta but with more “free-form” switching back and forth between heavy and light attacks. It’s actually much harder to explain than it is to figure out for yourself. There’s also a lot more variety opened up by waiting half-second “beats” between attacks, but again without any explanation or movelist in the demo you just have to figure out what does what.

There are also unique attacks used with the analogue stick and either attack button, for example tapping forward twice on the stick and pressing triangle will give you a dashing strike a la Devil May Cry’s Stinger, moving back then forward with the analogue and square will perform a palm strike, and spinning the left stick with triangle will give you sword-foot breakdancing funtimes. I’d prefer a lock-on method for these moves as in DMC since I find that much more comfortable and intuitive, there is lock on system, but there might as well not be for all the good it does.

The parry system is well implemented once you get over your instinct to dodge roll in this sort of game, pushing the left stick and square towards your attacker will block it, time it right just at the last moment and a follow up prompt will appear allowing you to do all sorts of crazy shit, both of you will probably end up in the air, one of you will come down in pieces.



Basically the combat is a nice balance, there’s plenty of depth there to be uncovered for fans of Platinum’s signature action, in fact I know there’s tons of depth there but without a movelist or combat tutorial it’s like playing Street Fighter back in the arcade before you figured out how to throw a hadouken (and keep in mind that this demo is before you start unlocking skills and using secondary weapons). But new players and holdover Metal Gear fans can still have fun and get by with the basics, unless it pulls a Batonetta and things get balls-hard (blard) as soon as the demo ends.

There are some niggling concerns, I still hope a dodge is unlocked at some point, you can’t exactly parry a rocket or grenade and breaking into a ninja run not only breaks the flow of combat but has a slight delay, basically if you see a rocket coming and you’re not already moving it’s probably going to hit you. The camera can be a pain too, it doesn’t zoom out during combat, making it hard to concentrate on what’s coming at you when fighting people and Gekkos at the same time, meaning something will usually jump in from off-screen and hit you.

But those are all minor complaints when you can grab a Gekko’s head, gymnast swing between its legs and slice it to bits while flying up into the air upside-down, ripping out its heart is then optional if you’re feeling sassy. It’s definitely in line with Bayonetta and Vanquish in that it’s just packed with “holy shit did I just do that” moments, only now it really does feel like you’re doing them instead of just mashing square to make it happen. And precision chopping enemies to regain full health and batteries is an interesting dynamic, your health can end up dangerously low if you don’t pay attention but if you play smart you can instantly be back on top.




Rai-Rai’ goin’ Cray-cray
I won’t get too heavy into spoilers, really there’s not that much to spoil anyway, but there’s definite foreshadowing that Raiden’s starting to go off the deep end, maybe not MGS2 ending level crazy, but he’s definitely enjoying himself a bit too much. There’s been a lot of “guilty-pleasure guilt-trip” games lately, games that have you do something fun and violent but then turn you around and say “look what you just did”, I’d love to see Kojima take a stab at it, he might have even been the first one to do it with the whole Sorrow thing in the first place.


Codec Moments
Optional codec conversations, a personal favourite of mine, are back after being woefully underwhelming in MGS4. There’s actually a bit more banter reminiscent of Snake Eater, from conversations about life after SOP to support members making fun of Raiden’s unwanted nickname - “Mr. Thunderbolt”. It’s just a nice touch I’ve always liked about the series and I’m glad to see it back.


Can love bloom, even on the battlefield?
Metal Gear games have always been cheesier than Liquid Snake at a fondue party, and Rising embraces that and takes it to a whole new level. There’s a certain self awareness to it now, groan worthy lyrics kick in at the end of boss fights, characters sarcastically ask each other the meaning of life, and beyond the demo there’s apparently Ninja Turtle references and awful mariachi disguises that Raiden thinks are impenetrable.


Overall, Metal Gear Rising looks to combine the strengths of Platinum with the more “out there” elements of Metal Gear, so long as you don’t come in with any misconceptions of a focus on stealth or pacifist runs and just embrace the cheese then good times will be had. Really the main problem with the demo is it looks like it was built for the show floor, with a Konami person shoutsplaining the finer points as you play.
Photo Photo Photo







Handy
8:17 PM on 10.20.2012



I’ve always been of the mind that while men and women are (obviously) equal they are not identical, and I’m going to speak really carefully here to get my point across without accidentally offending anyone, what I mean is that speaking on a broad scale men and women tend to be different. If I was born a girl I would be a fundamentally different person than I am now, whether by nature or nurture, I would not be who I am today, either because women are naturally inclined to go certain ways or because my experiences throughout life (school, friends, etc), especially in the developmental stages, would be different.


I always thought this was an important factor for creating a character, men and women aren’t interchangeable, but lately I’ve noticed a lot of games challenge this idea, with varying results, and now I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s more in the world building that lets me buy into a characters opinions, gender or sexual orientation. You can’t just say character X is a strong woman, we have to know what it means to be a strong woman in the context of their world or it means nothing.


A lot of people believe that playing as female Shepard in Mass Effect is a better experience, but FemShep and MaleShep are exactly the same character. Same mo-cap, same combat abilities, same dialogue (barring romance), so what is it that makes FemShep better in some people’s eyes? Being female puts Shepard’s character in a completely different context.




Playing as a girl in Persona 3 can be a very different experience, playing as a girl in Mass Effect is nearly identical to a male. But both pull it off well in different ways.


Firstly, the context of the world. Part of the reason Bioware was able to pull off a protagonist that could be either gender so well is because Mass Effect is set in the future, it’s believable to assume that by this point humanity has achieved true gender equality, everybody treats Shepard the same no matter if they’re a man or woman, and no one bats an eyelid over their commander being a woman. Put this in contrast with something like Dragon Age where somehow humanity has overcome sexism, racism and homophobia which I find jarring in a medieval world where everybody still discriminates against elves or mages or what have you.


Then there’s the context of the characters actions. Even though male and female Shepard do exactly the same things, it says something different about the character depending on their gender. For example, in Mass Effect 2 there’s a renegade option to headbutt a Krogan to shut him up and establish dominance, when MaleShep does this (aside from being hilarious) it says “Ha, Shepard is so alpha that he headbutted a Krogan!”, but seeing FemShep loaf a Krogan says something completely different. To be honest, I don’t know what that something is, but it’s different and it’s interesting and I like it. Or hell, maybe it does say the exact same thing as MaleShep, but then it’s still different, it’s a member of the “fairer sex”, and a fairer species no less, establishing herself as the alpha male of these hulking space monsters.





It always surprised me to hear the Metal Gear games praised for Vamp being bisexual, I thought he was a rather poor representation, mincing around the battlefield, licking his knives, and just generally being a creeper, I though he fit perfectly into the trope of the Depraved Bisexual. But then I remembered, Vamp was originally intended to be a woman, but when a boss with water based powers was scrapped and Fortune was introduced, Vamp was changed to a man. Aside from gender and inheriting the now defunct bosses’ water abilities nothing else changed, including his relationship with Scott Dolph.




I wonder, would I have found Vamp as offensive if he remained a woman? Dancing around, licking blood off her lips and acting like the classic sexually charged vampire, you know, everything Vamp still does as a man? Was it my own perceptions or eagerness to hop on my high horse? Or should changing a characters gender mean more than swapping out their character model and voice actor. Honestly, I don’t have an answer to that question, I don’t know if there is an answer to that question, at best all I can say is judge it on a case by case basis.


While we’re on sexual orientation, Fallout: New Vegas also included lots of gay characters, including two of your possible followers. As characters, I thought they were great, to have gay characters whose entire being isn’t based around their sexuality was refreshing, it was just a part of the whole. But I find it impossible to believe how nonchalant they were about it, they live in a fairly uncivilised post-apocalyptic land, and if that wasn’t bad enough it’s in the ruins of a society based on Fifties values. The only way this world could be worse for gay people is if the super mutants were religious fundamentalists.




And then there’s the logical inconsistencies.


I get what the creators were trying to do, just like with Dragon Age, the developers were trying to allow for more player choice and to be as inclusive as possible, that’s great, I totally encourage that, but the worlds these games take place in aren’t that inclusive. Thedas and The Wasteland are so harsh and discriminatory that it’s jarring when characters drop the fact that they’re gay so casually. You can’t just transplant our modern values into these bleak and often malicious settings, not without some kind of justification at least, have someone say that differences like that stopped mattering once the bombs fell, that people kill each other for food, not whether they like boys or girls.


I’m not trying to say that the default for any fictional world is that homophobia should be present or assumed until we learn otherwise, maybe these things were just never an issue in these worlds, but the sad fact is that these issues do exist in our world, and the player will still notice them.


In Borderlands 2 people offhandedly talk about same-sex spouses and exes all the time and I can buy it because that game is off the wall and doesn’t take itself so seriously, and no, I’m not saying homosexuality isn’t serious and shouldn’t be portrayed that way, just that the setting isn’t as heavy as the other examples. Even though Pandora is basically Planet Texas, because Borderlands 2 is so flippant about everything it doesn’t break my suspension of disbelief when Sir Hammerlock mentions his ex boyfriend or when Axton comments on Salvador’s well toned ass. Kanji in Persona 4 is probably the most realistic take on the subject but that could, and has, fill an entire blog on its own.




Playing Uncharted as Doughnut Drake completely changes the context of why everything collapses under his weight and makes the game a story about Drake’s struggle with obesity.


We need to understand how these worlds work in relation to ours, if being gay or a strong woman isn’t a big deal in your world then you need to paradoxically give us a nudge and wink to let us know it’s not a big deal. You need to give us context, or let the player create their own. I’ve gone over this blog again and again and I’m still afraid people may misinterpret it so let me just be clear, I’m all for more diversity in games, I want them to be more inclusive, I’m just saying that giving the player more freedom can be a double-edged sword, doing so can sometimes lead to incongruity with the setting, and other times it can lead to us creating our own story, and that I’d like to see more of the latter and less of the former.
Photo Photo Photo