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So a few months back I attended an event here in the UK called Gadget Show live. During it I got to speak to a load of indie developers and see some of the games that are in some cases still quite a way off. One game which I did play was a game called Ether One and I got to play it using the Oculus Rift 480p model.
It’s at this point I probably should apologise to the developer of Ether One for seemingly bolting quickly from the stand, hopefully my reasons for this might become a bit clearer as this blog goes on.
So I tried the Oculus Rift, how can I describe the experience of the Oculus rift ? Take a piece of fine mesh, place it infront of your eyes and then look around through the mesh for 5 minutes then take it away. Because of the image projection system being used which includes a mesh like element, that mesh is surprisingly very visible while using the rift.
The Rift 480p has problems and no I don’t mean Mark Zuckerberg trying to use it to become the God of cyberspace.
The low resolution initially hurt my eyes and then when it came time to take it off the change and adjustment to back to normal vision was even more jarring. Infact the transition back to seeing the world normally was so jarring to me I felt extremely ill, so ill infact I dashed away from the Ether One stand because I was worried any moment I was going to be physically sick. Yeh that ill. Oh and my eyes hurt like hell too.
While using the Oculus I did initially notice something referred to as simulation sickness, this is a similar thing to motion sickness, the idea is your eyes see movement without your body making said movement. For me the simulation sickness lasted all of 30 seconds before my brain managed to work itself out. I’ve never suffered from motion sickness as such, I did have issues with going backwards in vehicles when younger and I’m really not the person to take on the waltzers (or even the damn teacups for that matter) as me and being dizzy don’t get on too well. The simple thing with being dizzy is initially your body thinks you’ve been poisoned and that’s causes some change in the fluid in the ear, so tries to get you to lie down to stabilise it. I’ve never got sick on busses, coaches, in the car or even on most rides (even after going on a drop tower ride not long after lunch). I’ve also used VR stuff before and had no problem .
Infact a version of that VR system above, (at a science museum) on which I played a game called “escape from the Oil Rig” a very basic experience game you walk on the spot and it move you through the oil rig with a few alternative paths to take if you can find them. The problem is the rift seemed actually worse than that machine I played probably close to 14 years ago.
One such developer who has been exploring the issue of simulation sickness is DjArcas who you may know better as one of the main developers behind one of the top selling XBLIG games Fortresscraft. To explore the idea DjArcas put together a little demo game which as far as I know isn’t publicly available (I will correct this if I learn different). So just for you because I managed to get some really low quality footage, here is a really bad quality video of this concept in action.
I didn’t play it however watching it I think it is the kind of software that could be very useful to educate developers about the rift and about the potential things that could cause simulation sickness and other such issues. (So yeh Oculus Rift Development team get in touch with him he’s made something very useful towards getting VR working and developing in it)
So how does all this relate to my trip to the opticians ?
Well it’s simple, I have no real history of actual motion serious motion sickness but I’d heard from others that people were having problems with the oculus rift if they had vision problems. So as my yearly appointment was due I decided to take the opportunity to find out if my eyesight was a problem stopping me enjoying the Rift. Barely 2 weeks after trying the Oculus Rift I had an optician’s appointment where I was informed my eyesight was “Exceptional” and there was absolutely no need for any prescription such as glasses.
So I’m quite literally stumped by it. Why would taking off the Oculus rift cause have caused my body to react quite so badly ?
Was it the rapid change or could there be far more to this than meets the eye ?
I have no clue but what I can say in I didn’t really enjoy my time with the Oculus rift and it wasn’t due to the game as it had some amazing ideas for using the VR such as allowing 3D examination of objects along with of course spectacular views.
The thing is many of those who I heard initially talking about how good the rift was had only used it for experiences not actual games. I mean simulated rollercoasters , ghost trains even simulations of just sitting on a beach. I’ve not heard a huge amount about people actually playing full games on it hence I decided to tell you the reader about how the first 5 minutes I ever got to try the Rift went.
All I can say is hopefully the 1080p model is better but based on my experience I’m not going to be rushing to buy one and am most likely going to be waiting to see how it fares both in reviews and compared to rival projects before I end up using one in normal play. To me it seems like fictional games like Dot Hack’s “The World” are a long way from becoming a reality.
EDIT: For clarity the verison of the Oculus rift I tried was not the most recent version and is not the release version of the hardware.
Incase you need it spelling out this is my personal experience with one version of the device and as such will not nescesarily reflect the experiences of everyone with this piece of technology esepcially as this is not the release version.
So this was a tough one and came down to two choices. One which most people know or have heard of and one most people haven’t. So I decided to write about the one most people haven’t heart of. So Timesplitters 2 this blog isn’t about you.
Now this is a fairly obscure title and it’s my favourite because it did something very different for it’s time. This was a somewhat open world space adventure game. I say somewhat open world as you slowly gained access to a galaxy to explore star system by star system (look if Mass Effect can call itself a open world Space game this one can).
So what is the game ?
Well I can best describe it as Legend of Zelda meets a little bit of Hitch Hikers guide to the galaxy. The game starts with you picking a name and picking a gender to play as (this has zero impact in the game really and I brought it up because hey hot topic).
So I think the best way to really start talking about what the game is like and for you to get an idea is simply to show the intro to the game.
Advanced warning you may want to turn down your volume as all videos of this game are for some reason very loud
Now as you might have noticed, yes this is a Lucas Arts game, it’s also a Lucas Arts game that’s a sci-fi and not related to Star wars. The story is simple in the future the evil space slug empire has taken over the galaxy, occupying the majority of planets humans have colonised. In reaction to this the human military recruits people to fight, the only problem being due to budget problems the military can only afford a single set of the multifunctional super armour to fight the space slugs. So well done, you’re the lucky one who gets to save humanity from the space slugs.
To do this you slowly acquire an arsenal of additional weapons and suit configurations along with slowly upgrading your ship, the E.S.S. Dire Wolf.
There are three main aspects to gameplay.
The first of these is the ship based space combat where before even being able to drop to the planet you have to fight off waves of space slug ships to secure the planets “airspace”. One this is done you go into the second gameplay style where you’re dropped onto the planet and have to eliminate all the space slugs occupying the planet. After clearing the planet you can talk to locals on some of the inhabited planets and collect any hidden supplies. Four planets are actually home to the ancient machines that keep the galaxy running and on these levels you often end up in a Zelda style dungeon. These come complete with new upgrades and an end of dungeon boss which requires you to use the new kit to defeat them.
So I said there were three main style of gameplay, the third style is a fairly basic RTS system. As you take planets back from the slugs they can in turn attack and re-occupy planets you’ve previously cleared. The game even has a resource style management system with fighting this. You see you can only travel to either planets connected or close to your present one or use hyperspace to jump to locations with observation probes in orbit. The resource management aspect being initially you have limited probes to deploy. Easy right, you think you just deploy them at the end of where you’ve pushed the space slugs back to, that is until you find out the slugs will shoot down your probes. You can collect the probes back from the planet once you’ve again cleared it but if they manage to hit a critical link you might find yourself in trouble having to trek from the nearest probe you have, all the time giving the slugs more opportunity to take other planets back. So it sounds somewhat unfair right, a bit of a grind having to keep retaking areas you’ve cleared. That is until you get hold of the games equivalent of super weapons, deploy one of these super weapons on a planet and the slugs can’t retake it. The pay off being super weapons are costly and take a lot of resources to make.
The game also has other elements worth discussing such as the fact it has a crafting system of sorts. It’s no minecraft and it’s very basic but once you gain access to factory complexes you can bring components to them and have them to construct items such as:
More ammo to use the super weapon
Remote control smart bombs
An incubator to hatch special spy fly drones to help you explore around with less risk.
A better health drink / upgrade
Oh and unlike Legend of Zelda games simply getting a power up doesn’t mean you can use it. To use a power up you need to wire it in, which means solving a nice tricky slide puzzle minigame which only gets harder when later on when you need to wire in multiple upgrades to work at once and switch out upgrades.
Now I’ve kept mentioning super weapons and they are extremely powerful on many planets (not quite all of time I think) are special areas that allow you to deploy them. Once a landing area is cleared and the signal given they are air dropped from your ship in orbit onto the planet instantly killing any and all space slugs left on the planet. So what is the super weapon ? A Mcdonalds restaurant. No you didn’t read that wrong, the space slugs have two very serious weaknesses they are extremely vulnerable to salt, and advertising is actively harmful to them. Hence McDonalds with it’s then famously salty fries and huge amount of advertising was the idea secret weapon. Now you might think this was some corporate sponsorship deal in action. It wasn’t at no point do they name the restaurant chain the only implication of who the restaurant chain is meant to be is the inclusion of a tell tale M on the food you can buy from them.
The game contains plenty of comical humour and even some mockery of practices such as stupid side quests. One such section involves you being given a simple mission for someone to help you progress, take his credit card and go to his bank then come back with all his money. The very kind of stupid sidequest you’d see in many games. Except when you land you discover there’s a problem you can’t read the bank because someone blocked it off with a large boulder. Suddenly you’re no longer on a simple sidequest and 1-2 hours later you’ve been all round the galaxy fought numerous other enemy fleets all to get an upgrade that gives you giant magnets to use and by this point you’ve almost entirely forgotten why you needed them. In this game even sidequests are their own insane adventures.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of the game however is it’s very much designed to allow back tracking in the meteoroidvania sense. Going back to previous worlds and levels reveals all kinds of new applications for your powers from blowing up walls to using a jetpack to cross gaps to using new weaponry to take on the monsters in strange black holes who hide are the best source of ship upgrades.
If you’re a fan of the top down Legend of Zelda games or simply a fan of the strange imaginative blend of gameplay and humour that Lucas arts used to produce in the past you owe it to yourself to try to play what has to be one of the most overlooked gems in gaming’s history.
So the crap storm’s still swirling so much that I can’t actually touch upon any actual events and can still only talk about themes surrounding it and ideologies. Well ok because for this event the huge background to it and extensive problems all colliding together is something that needs to be discussed at least to allow people to understand why Gamergate is a frame for these discussions.
So it’s time for me to once again address a present problem and for me to rag on Gone Home again.
No don’t click that close button I’m going somewhere with it, this isn’t going to entirely consist of me pointing out how it’s bad. Gone Home just happens to the most obvious stand up example of a problem with the push from the SJW / SJP sides attempt to improve diversity in games and the claims games need to change to be considered art.
Now to understand the problem you first need to understand the idea of implicit vs explicit. With one giving people the information and a push in the right direction and the other sign posting it so you can’t miss it and slapping you in the face with the message.
So what on earth do I mean ?
Well it’s essentially the difference between a GI Joe esc PSA
And someone talking about the hidden messages and meanings in the Xmen or to give a better example I’ve used before Sucker Punch.[part1] [part2] Now the problem I’m noticing a lot is that some of those leading this debate for whatever reason are unable to spot the more subtle messages.
Hell I can’t always spot them until someone actually points them out sometimes and thought of Sucker Punch entirely different to either of these interpretations initially. It’s not binary if message is blatant or very subtle many people probably know of the show, or remember it, Arthur. Arthur was very big on very clear messages without directly telling the audience about them and framing them with a fairly thin story. It’s a kids show and it’s almost themes and messages 101 an introduction to spotting them.
Now as mediums, literature and the intended audience mature then the media can and often does attempt to tackle multiple messages in one thing. Yes there is often a grand message present but there are also additional themes and ideas and other messages within a piece. Yes this is what your English Teacher was trying to get you to appreciate 10 years ago. If you were to come and tell me that Romeo and Juliet was a doomed love story and that was as deep as it went I’d turn round and ask you what made it better than Twilight then ?
The numerous themes and messages in Romeo and Juliet are one thing and are part of the narrative level however then you bring in a visual medium such as film and suddenly along with all the narrative themes and messages there can be visual themes and messages and the way these are represented.
Let’s take a quick look at Romeo and Juliet the 1996 film by Baz Lurhman, literally only the trailer is needed to spot at least one or two little visual thing.
Did you notice Juliet’s outfit at the costume ball ? An angel, now those of you who know even a small amount about Romeo and Juliet will now most likely realise that is actually the film maker referencing two things at once, firstly the idea of innocence and purity the kind that is lost and makes the two families realise the conflict and victims are not simply those directly fighting but those they were trying to fight for. The second is a little nod to the audience who already know how this will end essentially telling the audience the ending before it happens . Also it shows the very briefly the implied power of the law, as the helicopter blasts air down on the scene as Tybalt and Benvolio drop their weapons.
So why is this important, why is looking at this stuff and understanding that there are themes and messages about ?
Well it’s important because it tells you it’s entirely possible and actually probably better to put these kind of themes in and not beat people over the head to care about them. Take the Xmen for example which was meant to represent the civil rights movement. It’s an example of how this can be done in a fairly easy to spot way. Media works best when it has faith in it’s audience and doesn’t feel the need to explain itself and it’s meaning constantly. Yes people won’t always get it. I didn’t get the subtle commentary present in Sucker Punch I very much initially thought the message was one pointing out how sexuality can be empowering. Here’s the thing though, some people will get it. Some people will get it and will talk about it and part of critique of the arts is being able to discuss this and share these ideas and importantly listen to the ideas of others. If you simply pick your view point and don’t allow it to be challenged then the question has to be asked why should anyone listen to your view or allow it to challenge their views.
So how does this relate to Gone Home ?
Well Gone Home follows the story a girl coming back from a year away only to find the house empty and you’re left to try and find out what happened. Throughout the game you gradually discover how your parents marriage is in trouble and how your younger sister has discovered she’s a lesbian and has run that very night run away to be with her lover. There is a sub plot about the Fathers career but the two main plots and the main theme boils down to the rather simplistic, “Hey look it’s OK to be gay” the clear symbolism being the Heterosexual relationship is breaking down while the Homosexual one is seemingly the only one working.
This story line and fairly simplistic hidden object style gameplay caused it to get rave reviews on some websites and score pretty highly.
So now let’s compare that to a game I’ve been playing recently called Defiance, yes a now free to play MMO third person shooter. You wouldn’t believe there are messages in here would you ? Well there are.
Meet Rosa Rodriguez who runs the engineering outpost / supply delivery company Top Notch Toolworks. She is in a lesbian relationship in the game with the Indogene scientist Eren Niden. At no point does anyone explicitly say this is happening at best its implied. At various points in the game people point out that Indogene’s don’t normally live far away from heavily developed areas due to the need to have their cybernetic implants repaired and maintained by people with specialised skills. Eren’s reply to this is pretty much that with help there’s no problems for her and she wants to stay, never giving an exact reason. At another point in the game Eren is kidnapped and Rosa ends up fairly distraught as is evident when she’s talking to you and her desire for you to take revenge on her kidnappers and make them pay. The closest to explicitly telling you they’re a couple is them hugging and one point and at another when there is talk as solidarity they’re seen and standing with those you love they’re seen holding hands.
In the most recent episode based story mission added you have to help save the life of the first person to be a voltan human hybrid born to parents with one being irathient and the other being human. It shows the idea of the stigma potentially being two sided with comments about the objection from the Earth republic and the Voltanis collective. The mission sees you discover that the Earth republic at one point were making a virus to specifically target Voltans and the mission itself sees you fight the zealot group Dark Matter. Dark Matter being the result of members of the Voltanis Collective special forces going rogue to essentially oppose human voltan integration and co-operation and to try to once again push to punish the humans for the actions of a small number of humans.
The whole lore of Defiance is very much pointing out the actions of a small group can be used to justify hate but also to justify acceptance, co-operation and to end hate. The lore points out how insane it is and how ultimately war doesn’t solve things and the actions of a few nut jobs shouldn’t be used to justify a war because you will harm far more people than you help ultimately.
So why is this important ?
Why is me talking about Defiance relevent to this ?
Well this is why
Am I saying Defiance deserves a better score ?
Hell no, not at all the game has a lot of its own issues and honestly it isn’t some great masterpiece of gaming. However I’d argue neither is Gone Home, a barely 2 hour games who’s story sounds so cliché I could probably find it already being pointed out in other mediums as cliche. The game doesn’t seem to have much to warrant the high praise other than discussing what’s seen as adult subject matter. But is it even doing it in a good way ? Is the implication that running away is the only way they can be together a good one ? At no point in Gone Home as far as I know is it ever pointed out that the girls parents wouldn’t be accepting of this. Is it really a good message to run away just incase you aren’t accepted rather than to not see what happens to begin with ? Does Gone Home really deserve the acclaim it has as an effective use of the medium ?
I’m entirely for kids being taught about the birds and the bees, and the birds and the birds and the bees and the bees and the bees who want to be birds because that’s how they feel they are themselves.
Here’s the thing though, I just said kids, because in Gone Home the story is the message, in Defiance the story is a framing device to allow the discussion of these topics. Even in shows like Arthur there is often a story being used as a framing device even if it’s clear the story is merely there to allow these things to be talked about.
In other mediums using it as some ham fisted way to deliver a message is mocked as was done by 2012 film Branded. That isn’t to say pieces of media can’t have a very narrow refined message and do it well such as They Live which delivers much the same kind of message about the dangers of advertising and how it can be used to control people.
Last time I checked I wasn’t a kid and Gone Home doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of game a kid would go out of their way to play. It doesn’t strike me as the kind of game a kid would want to play. So if it’s aimed at teenagers / adults then why is it addressing the issues and it’s messages in the same way you’d see your old school GI Joe PSA do ?
The only thing I can think of is people are afraid, afraid others won’t understand the message. This could very well be true, there’s a reason courses exist to study themes in artistic mediums to allow people to be able to identify and discuss them and make media themselves. Even if initially people don’t spot the message if they care about the film or book or game or whatever piece of art they’ll look into it and might find people talking about these messages and suddenly they know and can share this. Here’s the thing people enjoy sharing something if they feel it adds greater depth or meaning to a piece of media they enjoy or changes the whole perception of it. Being so afraid the message will never be found is not a reason to call for games to be like PSAs . Being so afraid people won’t get the message at some point from some piece of media is no reason for every game to need to mean something. Let games tell the message they won't or don't if they don't want to have a grand message.
It is possible to use a game as a framing device to talk about issues the game didn’t intend to talk about but it’s important to make the distinction of using a game as an example to create discussion and claiming the game meant to have that discussion in the first place.
Video games need to be allowed to grow up and to do that people need to stop treating them as something akin to GI Joe whose audience need a clearly spelled out PSA at the end. Yes gaming may look from the outside like GI Joe but don’t make the mistake of thinking it is.
Also I’m not saying there is anything wrong with games that do have messages in them, part of the reason I’ve bought Always sometimes Monsters is because I’ve heard it’s a game very much about messages but it frames them well and provides at least something more than just a message. Hell this is why before I pointed out how Thomas was alone talked about sex.
Next C-Blog, something other than Gamergate at least for one article
This Blog is about Gamergate in part.
This Blog will address Anita Sarkeesian
There is some strong language.
This blog will involve you looking at outside sources and information to be fully informed. At nearly 2,600 words it’s huge as it is and writing out some of the sources in full would make this even longer.
You will need to look at some of the sources to understand this fully. The sources will be in the form of [no.] boxes where relevant if direct links in the text are not appropriate.
The Same rules as before apply, if you want to send abuse or threats I reserve the right to use them as part of future articles.
So with Gamergate going on I kept thinking there was something I was missing. Some key piece of information which would somehow turn this whole thing on its head and suddenly make it all make sense.
So I set to work trying to figure it out until I hit it. I actually found the one critical piece of information which I needed to actually understand the anti gamergate side or at least part of the argument. I mean I’ve heard a lot of the arguments but I never quite got why people against gamergate seemed to hold very specific view points.
Then like a ton of bricks after watching a few web videos the problem hit me, the exact key point I could point to and direct to as the point I disagree with.
Cutting through all the other crap I disagree with to what I would call part of the core claims of those against Gamergate.
After the reason hit me I ended up spending some time in town and sat / walked round an art gallery for nearly an hour to collect my thoughts and try to fit the pieces into place. The Penny dropped and I got it, here’s the problem with me getting it. I also now saw not only what the actual problem I saw was but exactly why I’ve been having a huge problem with some people talking about it (Read that as Anita Sarkeesian). I saw the true scope of the problem.
I’m for equality and diversity in games. My problem is I’m not for the very narrow specific definition of diversity being pushed by some. Now I’m going to talk through this and if the impact of this does to you what it did to me, you’re suddenly going to see why a whole lot of people on the SJW side are with this and probably shouldn’t be.
There are two schools of thought being put forward and seriously butting heads and have been for a long time. One school says that empowered women are allowed to also be sexy and there is nothing wrong with that. The other school says that being sexy undermines the character entirely making it pointless and a shallow token gesture to make the person also powerful. This is what could be boiled down to the idea of “The Fighting fucktoy”. The idea of a conflict about sexualisation undermining empowerment is a theme present in the film sucker punch.  
The sides arguing and the reason you’re seeing people fighting for equality on both sides of the Gamergate “cultural war” is very simple. On the SJW side (Anti Gamergate side) some of the main pushing force actually do believe that looks invalidate any empowerment.
Don’t believe me ?
Well I’ve talked about this picture before
and now I get to talk about this picture.
And this picture.
Here’s the fun part where I get to point out a huge problem now. Previously the defence of He-Man was he was an idealised man not at all meant to appear sexy to women just meant to appear idealised to men. Except of course if this idea of the idealised man was taken up by society from media that first pushed the idea.   That’s right I’ve just pointed out how He-Man is a sexualised character derived from ideas presented in “the Sword and Sandals” age of films designed to provide films for both bored house wives and their sons at the same time.
“But that was a long time ago, it doesn’t apply now so you’re wrong” is the comment someone was about to write and if you hold on till the end then you might see I’m going somewhere with this one.
Now I need to go back and address this properly starting from that first image to hopefully make people understand the problem here and even for an insane moment what could be a damn easy solution.
The first image shows 4 female lead characters and only 1 I’d say was noteworthy as a character.
What do I mean ?
Well we have Chell from Portal who is mute and the same character level of Grodon Freeman.
We have The lead from Gone Home who is mute (unless the voice in the game is meant to be her). As far as I can tell very little is said about her as a character.
So that’s two human tripods being held up as great female characters.
So Faith from Mirrors edge – spent most of her time being somewhat grumpy / gritty angry protagonist because while she worked as a runner outside of the system is happy to be proved right about how evil the system is when her Sister part of the systems law enforcement agency is framed by those higher up in the system for a crime she didn’t commit so Faith sets out to clear her Sister partly out of love for her Sister and partly because she’s pissed off at the system already so this is as good a reason as any to try and take it down.
Jade from Beyond Good and Evil – helper at an orphanage who takes photo journalism and regular journalistic job who ends up finding out about a conspiracy designed to subdue influence and control the populous. Jade is the one person in the end who can reveal this conspiracy and is joined by her rotund slightly clumsy inventor uncle and a knight who’s solutions to most problems and usefulness extends to charging head on through things.
Golly gee I wonder why new age 2nd wave Feminist critic who posted this comic
About how the patriarchy is a secret system of oppression and who is making a web series revealing how this oppression happens would absolutely associate so well with those characters of Faith and Jade..........
Now if only video gaming had a female character who was say someone who was a well renowned scientist who worked on multiple projects for high profile companies and had also been a female stokebroker along with what’s suggested to be a skilled wrestler.
Oh wait there actually was
Meet Lisa Hamilton from Dead or Alive, a series that has also had female business leaders, Opera Singers, Students, Assassins and MMA champions.
So you might now be seeing part of the problem and here’s the insane thing. I picked up on this problem before but didn't quite realise it and with further investigation I’ve found almost a full on double standard at play here.
You remember how I mentioned two camps fighting this out ? Well one side is essentially saying fine sexualisation is fine to have present while the other is against any sexualisation.
So to give you an example the fairly recently released Mount Your friends  caused a hell of a stir because of it showing sexualisation, that is amongst certain people.
Now another easier to use example is if you’re against sexualisation you’re saying that Jacob, his wolf pack and Edward from the Twilight films should be called out and bad characters because of their looks. Now if only there were a prominent female critic who had talked about why Jacob and Edward were bad characters in Twilight and the reasons for this.
Oh wait there was so will she say anything about the physical appearance of said characters being a problem this entirely showing dedication to no sexualisation of any kind ?
Ouch that was awkward. If you didn’t spot the double standard let me point it out a little more clearly for you. For the male characters the reason to dislike them is given as entirely relating to their personalities while the reason to ignore certain female characters and celebrate others, the same critic, goes entirely for physical appearances and doesn’t mention positive personality elements present in other characters.
Rmember how people were trying to get away from the idea of looks being important ? Well one critic doesn't seem to realise the rather unfortunate double standard on show now.
Anita has literally just shown that she only has a problem when the sexualisation isn’t appealing to her.
Oh but this goes further and funnier still. You know the joke about the 30 something fairly athletic guy with stubble that’s becoming the lead in video gaming more recently ? You Issac Clark to an extent Nathan Drake.
They’re designed to capitalise on the counter culture coming off of “the Muscle bound hunk” idea. They’re designed to capitalise on changes which mean many women consider slightly “safer” “Less threatening” guys attractive. A phenomena which can be observed hugely with teenage girls. Why was Justin Beiber so big ? Why are One Direction ? Why are The Vamps or Lawson ? (Yes I found the last two on google because I researched this topic) Hell why were the Beatles ?
Look at Beiber now back and the Beatles, scary isn't it.
Now look at this and compare to those above particularly the 4th one down.
Now what if I then added in what's apparently a fairly popular show with women
thta's right all of them have some resemblance to Nathan Fillion.
The Male characters being decried because they’re not female are actually the ones designed cynically by gaming companies to try to appeal to women, yet they’re not being decried for this, just for being male characters seemingly the same as the argument that comes round regularly in the UK “Well why can’t Dr who be Female now ?”
The absolutely huge problem is with people such as Anita at the helm of what is acceptable at present it actually creates a very narrow field without diversity to it as characters that don’t fit this very specific mould of being a good female character can be given negative labels such as “Man with Boobs” or “Fighting Fucktoy” to essentially brush them aside and people should be questioning this. Oh and Anita has used these two terms 
People should be questioning Anita about why she has been now been shown to judge Male characters different to female character. This is where I finally come onto the solution as such.
The solution on this aspect is to ask what you want in games. Do you want a truly diverse range of characters being judged on personality and not simply physical appearance or do you see any attempt the change the present status quo as good; even if the true goal of those trying to make the change is an equal lack of diverse character designs or would you rather actually like to have true diversity not simply a reversal of the status quo ?
Oh and this is before I get onto how art has often always tried to celebrate the idea of the perfect human form in the past.
Anita almost looks like a relic of feminisms past in terms of her belief system almost akin to the extremist in the suffragette movement attacking art depicting the female form due to objectification and their apparent part in oppressing women.   Yes I’ve probably just given Anita something she would take as a huge compliment but it isn’t meant as one.
What it boils down to is do you want the female characters to be allowed to look like
and not just like this but more possible diverse characters too in the future spreading out more to have old women, muscle women etc etc
Or do you only want female characters to be allowed to look like
So which is it ?
For me I think I’ll keep defending the Fallen Madonna’s right to big boobies  because while I can appreciate the objections to lack of options and games where each option is almost just “Fanservice” hell I can even understand the calls for more diverse female characters being part of the problem as while
Is or should be an acceptable character in my opinion I can understand why it’s a problem when that’s all that’s present mostly or when it seemingly breaks the theme but if you want to claim the chainmail bikini has no place then you’re condemning the loin cloth too.
If you do want to argue for the elimination of the chainmail bikini you’ve just argued that Kratos is character who shouldn’t exist equally due to his sexualisation............ Just think on that a moment.
So there you have it, it’s a culture clash indeed but between two ideologies one more commonly held in with new age 2nd Wave feminists who are seen as more vocal and include Anita Sarkeesian and 3rd wave “liberal / Sex Positive feminists” feminists which is why you’ll most likely see feminists on both sides. I don’t self identify as a feminist I just happen to believe the idea of sexualisation is fine as long as it’s allowed on equal levels and that a good character is more than a look.
So remember if anyone tells you a female character is sexist for their looks you are allowed to rag just as hard on the characters in Twilight for just that.
I’m happy for that aspect of Twilight to exist just don’t ask me to watch the films as even a cursory knowledge of the plot made my brain hurt with the plot holes I could see and just the general lack of likability in almost all the characters except possibly Jacob who ends up going kind of weird anyway down the line.
So I now have to address the two main criticisms coming my way from this blog.
Firstly the question that would come from one side about “Why don’t all female gamers object to this stuff ?”
Which simply boils down to it not being a problem or being one they can overlook (I’m not female so hopefully someone will confirm this theory) I’ve tried before to do the male version of this as an experiment and was told how flawed my experiment was because firstly it was my choice and secondly I’m not surrounded by it all the time.  The simple answer to that is if I can go out of my way to experience something considered far less common (except in reality it’s not due to Swords and Sandals) and suddenly have the problem no-longer seem present then it’s possible for other people to do the same heck the fact I don’t find He-Man or Conan extremely offensive says I’m doing it right now.
Secondly “How dare you suggest specific sets of traits are the only things Women find attractive women find a range of things attractive” Also true however it is the public perception / socially ascribed image being used here. A few years ago the V man was considered to height of attractiveness, now with Geek Chic it may simply be geeky guys. With guys looking at women there are two traits that are more hardwired in from pre-historic times. Large breasts and round hips. Why ? Well because prehistoric man believed these were actually signs that a woman would be a better prospective mother better able to both give birth and after care for and provide sustenance for the child. While there isn’t really an equal trade off with men and I know what you’re going to say, the answer is no, sitting on yourself is rather painful and easy to do. There are women who do find different looks attractive and to give an example my Ex had a thing for Solid Snake. I bet somewhere out there part of the love the Gears or war is the quarterback muscled styled Marcus Fenix
Next Gamergate related thing (probably not my next blog right away) Questions vs Anita where I decide to stop being a coward and actually direct criticism towards Anita in blog form, why in blog form ? Well you’ll have to read it to find out
This isn't simply those for diversity and those against. This is not a battle but a war now because one section of Feminism is trying to claim another is entirely invalid and can't call itself feminism anymore. This isn't a battle but a war, and it's a war because a lot of different sides and different views are coming together to oppose one ruling all. To oppose only one view being seen and right or "worthy of being art".
So next time you see a feminist critic called a conservative or people claimining they someone can't be a feminist and for Gamergate. Stop and think why they're doing it. Because chances are it's an uncomfrotable reality that there are two very different branches of feminist theory and people only want you to think of one, the one they want people to accept.
There are people in the SJW crowd who most likely do believe the push against Gamergate will lead to diversity, actual good diversity hence they are against Gamergate because they see a chance to get divsersity, the problem being what they may get in return is simply replacing one set of overused character traits and looks with another set that will be overused.
One last note: would you look at that I’ve managed to criticise Anita without simply disproving the use of one of her sources I’ve pointed out a potential critical flaw in arguments she’s presented.
So I was going to be writing about my experiences with the Oculus Rift but I started writing it and realised it was simply going to be a downer. So as some have suggested I avoid a certain topic for at least one blog more before I jump in two footed and people start calling for my head / balls on a tray.
Why talk about a kids cartoon on Dtoid ? Well I’ve seen people all over the internet talk about Avatar the last Airbender and Avatar Legend of Kora and we did have someone talking about the Rooster Teeth series RWBY here before so I thought why not do something a little different than my normal blogs.
It has to be said I don’t normally watch Kids cartoons, it has to be said, short of a few from my youth I re-watch very occasionally for the most part I’m hugely disconnected from them, I haven’t watched Pokemon since when the 2nd movie came out. I’m pretty disconnected, I’m not a Brony and at best when I hear a series I knew was being remade I might watch an episode or two to see if it’s doing anything better or new so this is the only cartoon series aimed at kids I’ve watched in a while.
Note: I mean kids cartoon series not anime, or series aimed at adults or all ages like Futurama, The Simpsons and American Dad.
I’m also the guy who has in the past defended Star Trek into Darkness as a film, not as a Star Trek film but as a film so what they says for my taste is up to you.
On the the rest of the Article
So Generator Rex, this might have been something you were vaguely aware of, a series that seemingly sprung for no-where with some kind of machine hybrid kid and the hero.
The series itself is actually made by the same guys as Ben 10, ok don’t click that close button, I know I know Ben 10 blew up to be the ultimate kids super want thing and I’m going to say (rather poorly informed here) that it wasn’t exactly that ground breaking only touching upon issues of pacifism vs fighting for rights and the nature of fame. Generator Rex is seemingly the series the animators got to make as a thank you for Ben 10, it’s the series they really got to go to town on and break the mould so much in terms of kids cartoons.
What do I mean break the mould?
Well how about an episode where the “good guys” capture and torture one of the villains to save one of their team. Brutal enough for you ? Ok how about if I then say said captured enemy seemingly commits suicide to prevent being held captive ? You read that right, there is an episode where the people you’re meant to root for capture and torture someone until they kill themselves.
And this is a kids show.
I’m going to warn you I’m going to be treading in kind of mild spoiler territory from now on so if the above piece of information has made you realise this maybe isn’t the same box ticking kids show and made you want to look into it then this is me writing something to give you to chance to get out before I spoil the show for you.
Ok if you’re still reading I’m guessing you want to know more.
So what is Generator Rex about ?
Well it’s about two things. Firstly the story of science gone wrong as a much of Nanites (Nanobots / nanomachines ) accidentally being released into the world after an unfortunate lab accident. The nanites infect everyone and everything, luckily for the most part they remain benign simply sitting inside peoples systems. Except when they don’t, sometimes the nanites trigger and cause genetic mutations causing the unfortunate individual to become what the series calls an EVO (Exponentially Variegated Organism) some people retain part or all of their mind when they are transformed meaning they get to use their new powers others however aren’t so lucky and go insane acting at best on animal instincts.In desperation the worlds governments turn a private organisation for them, that organisation is called Providence essentially a privately owned paramilitary organisation. Their job is to track down, capture and remove any EVO that is a threat by any means needed. Early on this mean capturing any dangerous EVO and incinerating them. That is until they discover an EVO called Rex who has the unique ability to control machinery including being able to reprogram nanites to reverse their effect essentially curing people and unlike many other EVOs Rex has no physical evidence of being an EVO except his powers however he does suffer with severe Amnesia. His main power other than “curing” EVOs is being able to create and command machinery out of nothing by transforming parts of his body essentially.
So we have Mutants and an organisation trying to cure them, all we need now is a villain in the form of a group of rogue mutants called “The Pack” complete with power hungry villain Van Kleiss who for various reasons needs a supply of nanites regularly to control his abilities and maintain some level of stability.
Now you might be thinking this sounds vaguely familiar, I have to say yes, this does. If you think about it this sounds very much like the X-men except we’re you’re not being asked to root for the X-Men you’re being asked to root for essentially the sentinels and mutant registration act.
In Generator Rex there are no Xmen not really the rogue EVO group pretty much exists in the same way the Brotherhood did in Xmen, to get power and claim that being an EVO is a gift making them so much more than humanity.
Now I won’t try to pretend that like many kids shows Generator Rex doesn’t have a very formulaic element to it. Many episodes essentially boil down to the formula : EVO shows up and starts wrecking stuff, Rex tries to cure it, there’s some catch, episode goes on Rex finally cures the EVO having made or used some new creation and finally a fairly happy ending, except when it doesn’t. The great thing about Generator Rex having this formula is when it breaks it. Not all episodes follow this simplistic structure, the series regularly breaks away from this structure with the EVO conflict actually acting only and a backdrop to character based stories.
Many times Generator Rex breaks entirely away from this simplistic pattern to tackle sci-fi tropes like genocidal rogue AI’s, Utopia societies and other topics such as the potentially dangers of placing faith in vigilantes and people working outside of the system and the dangers of public hero worship. Even when it is sticking to the formula the show can throw in one very nasty curve ball. Not all EVOs can be cured.
The show does even have it’s lighter episodes such as a giant rabbit evo causing trouble for Rex when he’s meant to be going to a prom and an adventure in a haunted house rigged to cause scares which inevitably turns out to have more to it.
Now the show manages plenty of twists because Rex is essentially part of a team. Along with Rex there are regulars such as his Providence minder Agent Six, his EVO ally Bobo Haha a talking chimp with an affinity for guns and poker and Doc holiday the female scientist that Rex has somewhat of an infatuation for. Yes you read that right this has very minor shades of the idea of teenage infatuations but not going quite so far as The Graduate. Everyone essentially has a story even the seeming Zordon esc White Knight who acts as the head of Providence and the worlds last resort if needed. Throw in a love interest who’s sided with the villain and well you have plenty of potential interesting characters. Rex being a teenage means the series gets to try and address standard teenage problem very similar to the Xmen such as trying to fit in, finding yourself and even the idea of romance and friendship.
^Seriously what is it with animals being interested in guns and weapons ?
The series has an interesting art style to it giving both a polished and yet hand drawn feel to it with the very occasional use of 3D animation and art. The animation style seemingly blending more traditional western animation with elements from Anime shows to create more intense spectacular battle scenes even using some slow motion style techniques to add a sense of weight to the fights or to better showcase what would otherwise be extremely fast actions.
The coolest part about Generator Rex though is although it’s most definitely science fiction it’s science fiction with a fair basis in science fact. The idea of Nanites, small nanoscopic machines capable of working on a genetic level is something science has been looking into. At present it’s only reached the level of so called designer particles, being able to make nanoparticles for simple uses such and paint and hair dye. However the idea of essentially nanobots is a way off. The series also touches on concepts such as artificial intelligence and even the idea of creating a space lift to the international space station. Along with the rather obvious dangers of science message and dangers of forcing progress before being aware of the dangers it addresses scientific idea such as what is really better, destruction, control or curing something and just what is moral to do or immoral in the name of science and progress or even simply saving another human being.
The science themes are joined later in the shows run with ones about the dangers of corporate interests over public interest as providence is a private organisation not a public one.
For a kids show this is one show that goes a lot deeper, it’s pretty easy to see it’s influences but it’s not merely a collection of pop culture references and for a kids show deals with some pretty dark subject matter sometimes such as the previously mentioned suicide, the idea of self doubt and the morality of killing a villain.
This is kids show where the reality is very little is black and white, very few of the villains are ever actually inherently evil or truly power mad and the good guys often have their own hidden motivations behind their actions. Yes it may have some formulaic episodes and tropes such as the idea of transformation sequences and even some loose plot ends it forgets about quite often but underneath it there’s a lot more depth to Generator Rex if you give it a try. It takes about 8 episodes to really get going but if you keep with it, the series starts to really demonstrate set itself apart. That’s not saying the first 8 episodes are bad or slow it’s just they’re mostly setting things up in the background around each of the short story arcs present.
Here, if just because I think it's easier to show than tell, have a look at a little clip.
So yeh for those of you who do watch Avatar you might want to give this show a try. It may not have been renewed and has reached an end point after a 3 season run so you won't be having to juggle this and other things, unless somehow it gets brought back again.
Sending people death threats or abuseive messages is bad OK........... seriously the fact I had to say such a damn obvious thing to begin with should tell you how insane this has started to get.
I speak for myself not gamergate, If you want to discuss this further with me there are the comments here, the PM system and even my twitter or even my Tumblr
Any truly entertaining abuse I get because of this article I will be publishing potentially as a separate blog, you have been warned.
If you are going to send me any kind of threats or abuse, be original and entertainning, I'm a Dota 2 player so being told to go kill myself is a weekly occurence.
OK so I was trying to hold back on writing about this, I really was. I wanted to wait till the nuclear fallout settled and there was a clear idea of what the hell had happened. I'm done with silence now. I'm done with waiting because other's aren't waiting they're casting they're hats in.
This was not the blog I wanted to publish today, I wanted to talk about my experiences with the Oculus Rift, but looks like it's coming full force into the C blogs so being silent only lets ignorance win.
On To the Article
It looks like I won’t get to because the balloons gone up. Some idiot out there has declared this a war. “There is no neutral on a moving train” or “your Either with us or against us” I was trying to remain somewhat neutral or more correctly in the 3rd faction of “It looks like some people have done some real messed up crap why is anyone defending them ?”
So lets start with the obvious myths and see if I can clear some stuff up.
Here’s a simple thing.
Infidelity shaming =/= slut shaming
Infidelity shaming is pointing out someone screwed up and broke the trust of another person. It would be slut shaming if Eron and Zoe had an open relationship and both were clear on this. They didn’t therefore it was infidelity.
So if you still want to get mad, yes how dare people be slightly annoyed that one person cheated on another repeatedly and allegedly almost caused them to have a nervous breakdown because of trying to cover it up.
Here’s the thing though Zoe Quinn and her actions are part of a separate thing which turned into gamergate and is to an extent still going on at the same time. This was Zoe Gate or the Quinnspiracy and it is still going on. It’s a whole muddled affair of DMCA abuse against multiple websites. It does however have a connection to Gamergate via the issues surrounding coverage of The Fine Young Capitalists campaign to help women make a video game and press coverage round that.
In reality Zoe is a far smaller part of Gamergate than people would have you believe.
Again for clarity, Do not send abuse to Zoe Quinn and Do not send death threats OK
Well yes and no, the extent Anita is part of this are actions surrounding her such as having a critic of hers banned from twitter and the numerous articles blaming gamers for the death threats she received because it conveniently fitted the media message of gamers being super evil monsters.
Oh and Anita is also an advisor for a media think thank that’s been funding a some journalists and game designers work via patreon and some writers. Also with links to a promotion system called critical discussion known for promoting the work of certain writers.
Oh and Anita’s boyfriend is one of the main staff at the think tank.
Anita is just another side branch off the insane chaos of Gamergame.
As for the death threats.
"I want to bite the side of your neck and drink your blood"
"but instead I'll drink the blood out of you [word removed on taste grounds] after I rip it open"
Well I’d say that sound more like a person who loves vampire related things and is angry at Anita, I mean it’s not like she’s made a video about True Blood or anything right ?
Yep gamers did it..................... couldn’t have been an insane True Blood fan................ Gamers am I right guys what basement dwelling neckbeards they all are.
Here’s the thing, I wasn’t scared of that. I’ve not been scared of that because as I keep saying there is room in gaming for diversity. Now I’m not too happy with the self proclaim gate keepers of diversity who seem to only want to accept a very rigid acceptable portrayal of characters rather than you know actually a diverse range of people. “The fighting Fuck toy” “the Damsel in distress” “The Man With boobs” “The white guy who happens to be black”................ seriously what the hell is wrong with some of these people, the same people who produced this suggesting one of the best female characters in recent years were character less mutes.
Apparently having games with women who are business leaders or world leading geneticist s don’t count because the women have big boobs.
You know what I’m presently playing ? Defiance the video game, You know what that has in it as part of the main cast ? A lesbian couple, one of which is a brilliant doctor and the other is a skilled mechanic. Oh and did I mention one of them is also an alien ?
Here’s the thing when I’m hearing quotes like “Oh video games need to change to be considered art” or “Oh people obviously don’t want video games to be considered art, why won’t you let us make games into an artform” or even crap like this.
I just have to say what is wrong with people, if you don’t want people to think you’re taking their games away or changing them to something unrecognisable then don’t tell them you’re killing games or they need to change, how simple is that you fucking morons ?
As I keep asking and no-one can yet answer, why do games need to change to be considered art ?
Oh and before anyone says "but won't someone think of the children because of that nudity" I was recently trainning to become a teacher. I was told by my mentor while taking a PSHE (Personal Social and Health education lesson) ,which also talks about social and cultureal issues, to include art depicting nudity to allow the students to develop an appreciation of art and show artistic renderings to prevent the idea of body shame. So yeh, if you wish to state an objection please do but bear in mind I've had qualified teachers tell me to include similar work in lessons to 12 year olds to foster an understanding of art. If you want to object then you are asking me to treat you are more sensitive and than a class of 12 year olds. got it ?
Who says what is art and what isn't ?
What arbitrary things need to be hit for something to be art ?
Is there a line between art and "proper" art or is a childs drawing just as much a piece of art as something in a gallery, sure there are quality differences but both are still art right ?
Here’s the thing, what’s coming out of that list is a co-ordinated selection of articles.
All those appeared within 3 hours of the video they relate to going live. If you don’t want people to suggest there’s some serious collusion and a PR agency having heavy influence then it seems rather insane to do something like that.
“Gamergate will kill diversity in games”
Well no, I think people can vote with their wallets as they always have done. Here’s part of the problem though. As much as some people seem to want it, people don’t seem to want to play the games certain people think are important and should be played because um......... Socially progressive symbolism ?
Where as gamergate or at least plenty in it pretty much simply want artists to be allowed to do whatever crazy crap they want and not feel like they have make some super progressive pseudo intellectual nonsense. I’m sorry but Gone Home was a huge cliche’d story and minimalistic gameplay the only reason people have heard of that while Dinner Date is less well heard of is the socially progressive “Edgy” story of having a lesbian characters.
I’m fine with different kinds of games existing just don’t try to vilify those who don’t enjoy the very specific brand you want to be the popular one, let people vote with their wallets.
"But you're harming peoples careers here"
Well yes both sides are.
Here's the funny thing it had to happen at some point.
The Boycott list and actually forcing a reaction is happening because individuals haven't been taking responsibility.
I mean how dare people be asked to behave professionally eh ?
The funny thing is I've not yet called for anyone to be fired, yes people have done in the gamergate movement, I have constantly said they should have a chance to say sorry and then see what they do next and if that apology holds weight or if it becomes a cycle of perpetual apology ,
No I don't, i write blogs some people read on here and run a tiny review website with traffic of all of 100 people a day if that. I'm small fry and I know it.
The problem is I'm but one drip in an Ocean at present and so many little people acting together can do big things. A drop of water does no harm but the Ocean in a storm can cause serious damage.
The funny thing is simply looking at the gamergate side and trying to understand it and can be a huge thing.
I know plenty of people will ask about separating the artist from their art and I have to say it's up to the individual person if they want to do this or feel they should.
If you've made it this far and still want to know about gamergate
Oh and remember