GWJ Conference Call Episode 166

Conference Call

Dante's Inferno, The Saboteur, PixelJunk Shooter, WoW 3.3 Patch, Dicks And Opinions, Your Emails and more!

This week what begins as a perfectly fine conversation about strong opinions turns into a vile ambush on Shawn Andrich by one Sean Sands. What a dick. If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"PodunkStump" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:32:18
"Los Pistoleros" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:50:57

Comments

This forum should implement a Dick meter based off the length of a post. Similar to the password strength meters that you encounter frequently on the web.

It could start out in green reading: "Nice. Concise. You have chosen your words well."

Next would be yellow text: "OK, you might be rambling now. Why not reread what you wrote?"

Last would be red text: "Now you are being dick."

Baaspei wrote:

This forum should implement a Dick meter based off the length of a post. Similar to the password strength meters that you encounter frequently on the web.

It could start out in green reading: "Nice. Concise. You have chosen your words well."

Next would be yellow text: "OK, you might be rambling now. Why not reread what you wrote?"

Last would be red text: "Now you are being dick."

There's no way Elysium would sign off on a feature that would basically call him a dick every time he posted.

Also, based on Pyro's concise, word-limited comment, it would fail to recognize when he's being a dick to.

Too short, did not read!

Stengah wrote:
Arclite wrote:

I wonder why folks have such a hard time with a few breasts but have no problem with killing dozens or hundreds of people in games like MW2, Borderlands, and Dragon Age just to name a few. Why is virtual nudity or sex bad, but killing okay?

It's a cultural thing.

Damn puritans.

I look at it as the killing is pretty much integral to the game as the primary action, and the nudity is only fluff, even if they find a 'good reason' in the context of the story.

Adam.G - Ok, just wondering.

Jaunty wrote:

This has to have been said before but at 49:28

"what makes a good dick, online [pause] what makes a good jerk, what kinds of things will really [i]set us off"

If I could type fast enough to dictate I'd have been writing an entire page of Out Of Context Theater

I think the negative reaction toward Bayonetta comes from the attitude that the developers of the game seem to have toward women. It's not that there is sexual content it's the tone of that content. People are finding that tone to be offensive and disrespectful of women.

That's totally valid and not prudish. I haven't played the demo so I have no personal opinion on it but this seems to be like a manga I had heard about that involved a woman (super heroine) who had a stunningly beautiful vulva. She would stop criminals by flashing it at them. The point of those manga is pretty clear, right? Bayonetta influence you think?

Stengah wrote:
Arclite wrote:

I wonder why folks have such a hard time with a few breasts but have no problem with killing dozens or hundreds of people in games like MW2, Borderlands, and Dragon Age just to name a few. Why is virtual nudity or sex bad, but killing okay?

It's a cultural thing.

Damn puritans.

Agreed. I haven't played the Bayonetta demo myself, but I just watched about 24 minutes of demo gameplay footage (part 1, part 2) and I didn't see anything that I would consider anywhere near sexually offensive/trashy/etc (maybe that footage is missing the "bad" parts?). I almost hate to admit it, but I'm going to have to agree with Certis in his accusation of people that have a problem with this game as being prudish.

Assuming we're all adults here, watch more porn and/or get laid more often. Nudity and sexuality are far more "natural" IMO than murdering other people or human-like lifeforms, digital or real.

Demiurge wrote:
Bullion Cube wrote:
Demiurge wrote:

I don't have a problem with religious imagery in any medium. In fact, some of my favorite pieces of visual art are explicitly religious. There's an exploitation factor in Dante's Inferno that I'm having a problem with, though... as if throwing crosses at demons makes religion into a Mt. Dew commercial. Is it hypocritical of me to feel like this about Dante's and not about God of War?

The first thing that comes to mind here is that Cristianity is YOUR religion, whether you follow it or not, and God of War followed a mythology more thoroughly recognized as fiction.

Kratos beating up Ares has a different feel to our society than Dante beating up Lucifer. One's a lot closer to home. In a way that's exciting, if not a bit more uncomfortable.

I wouldn't call it "exciting." Though I do wonder how I'd view God of War if I worshipped Zeus, and who's to say I shouldn't?

I don't know about that. Remember my Bullet Witch review? I mean, is God of War farther off the track for an Olympian reveller than BW is for a Wiccan?

"What? What? That's right, I'm the asshole! I'm the asshole!"

Elysium wrote:

Also, based on Pyro's concise, word-limited comment, it would fail to recognize when he's being a dick to.

Too short, did not read!

I appreciate that you tried to bring some nuance to explaining what makes for a "dick" post.

The problem with oversexualisation in games is that it's so ubiquitous. Transformers may well feature excessive cleavage shots of Megan Fox, but Schindler's List doesn't. The same spectrum of experiences simply isn't available in games. You can barely move for bikini armour and buttocks.

And there's the problem. Look, I'm a gamer. I know my way around the internet. If I want to look at tits, give me about 15 seconds with a browser, and I could be. I don't need tits in games - I get my fair share of tit-illation as and when I need it, and subsequently, the last thing I'm looking for when I boot up my 360 is a boner.

Elysium wrote:

Also, based on Pyro's concise, word-limited comment, it would fail to recognize when he's being a dick to.

Too short, did not read!

And basically every other post I made would be in the Dick range.

EDIT: Rob, thank you for limiting Certis' use of the world "visceral".

I'm kind of tired of the word limitations, to be honest. Compelling and visceral are words that do convey meaning, and when Rabbit uses them, they are appropriate. The fact they might get thrown around too often is now overshadowed by a weekly, "Oh, don't use that word," pause several times in every show.

It was a cute bit for awhile, but it's gotten old.

Jayhawker wrote:

I'm kind of tired of the word limitations, to be honest. Compelling and visceral are words that do convey meaning, and when Rabbit uses them, they are appropriate. The fact they might get thrown around too often is now overshadowed by a weekly, "Oh, don't use that word," pause several times in every show.

It was a cute bit for awhile, but it's gotten old.

They're overused words, and not just by us. We've turned it into a GWJCC meme of sorts, but we're honestly better off if we can find other ways of expressing our ideas, thoughts and impressions on the games and concepts we cover. Compelling and Visceral don't mean anything anymore in a videogame discussion. We can do better.

You're right, we should stop referring to our use of the terms and just do a better job of talking about what we're talking about. The joke is stale.

Jonman wrote:

The problem with oversexualisation in games is that it's so ubiquitous. Transformers may well feature excessive cleavage shots of Megan Fox, but Schindler's List doesn't. The same spectrum of experiences simply isn't available in games. You can barely move for bikini armour and buttocks.

And there's the problem. Look, I'm a gamer. I know my way around the internet. If I want to look at tits, give me about 15 seconds with a browser, and I could be. I don't need tits in games - I get my fair share of tit-illation as and when I need it, and subsequently, the last thing I'm looking for when I boot up my 360 is a boner.

This could be a sidetrack, can anyone think of predominantly female development teams or any games developed by mostly females? I was going to reply with something more predictable, (I'm sure I'm going to get internet-lynched for this) like how you've got medieval themed games where IIRC in real world history most fighters were male, yet in most games both sexes are equal in all respects and developers have to fill in the gaps. I think the female development team query is more interesting idea, although it tips the scales the other way (from predominantly male development teams, taking a look at Dragon age as one example) and not to a 50:50 balance it would be interesting to see what resulted.

Scratched wrote:

This could be a sidetrack, can anyone think of predominantly female development teams or any games developed by mostly females

As far as lead designers go, Roberta Williams (King's Quest), Brenda Brathwaite (Wizardry series) and Rieko Kodama (Phantasy Star, Skies of Arcadia) are the main ones that come to mind for me. There's also Dani Bunten Berry (M.U.L.E).

For lead programmers, Carol Shaw (River Raid) is the only one I can think of right now.

What's her name produced Assassin's Creed.

Scratched wrote:

This could be a sidetrack, can anyone think of predominantly female development teams or any games developed by mostly females?

How about a whole company - HER Interactive; they make the Nancy Drew games for PC. Their staff used to be entirely female from the ground up, but I think they got in trouble for that. The girls still run the place, though.

momgamer wrote:
Scratched wrote:

This could be a sidetrack, can anyone think of predominantly female development teams or any games developed by mostly females?

How about a whole company - HER Interactive; they make the Nancy Drew games for PC. Their staff used to be entirely female from the ground up, but I think they got in trouble for that. The girls still run the place, though.

How sexy is Nancy Drew in those?

But it is an interesting thought that when women take the lead, the games aren't so obnoxiously sexualized.

Has someone linked to Tom Cross' recent Gamasutra article on Sexualization in Games?

I love this podcast, and this episode has sparked my interest to get into the community. And I'm gonna go out in deep waters with my first question:

To the person who said "I'm not a feminist" in this episode, do you even know what it means to be a feminist?

I consider myself feminist, so I'm just curios as to what the GWJ podcasters, and the community, has to say about this "term". I've read all the comments to this episode, and it's a very good discussion going on here. I think I'll enjoy my stay here.

Thanks for an awesome podcast!

To the person who said "I'm not a feminist" in this episode, do you even know what it means to be a feminist?

That was Rob.

*dives into bunker*

Certis wrote:
To the person who said "I'm not a feminist" in this episode, do you even know what it means to be a feminist?

That was Rob.

*dives into bunker*

Thanks.

Ok, Rob. Well, it doesn't really matter who it was, but as a non-american, I feel it to be deeply rooted in american culture to be anti-feminist. I'm sorry, but it just strikes me when I observe and internalize your culture. To me, feminism stands for gender equality. So, Rob, are you against gender equality? I assume you aren't, but consider the term "feminist" next time you use it.

But then again, we all live in a world of globalization and maybe I should consider me to be as much as an American as I consider myself to be a Swede.

The connotation of the word feminist generally goes beyond your very reasonable definition of the word xper. Perhaps this is a north american phenomenon. Often times "Feminist" is used to describe someone who views things solely in terms of womens issues, and rather than standing for Gender Equality, stands for the advancement of women in every issue, whether there is a problem of equality or not.

When I heard Rob say he's "not a feminist" what I understood from that comment is that he's trying to be objective in his critique, and that because he does not always focus on women's issues, the fact that he thinks this game went over the line objectifying women should carry more weight.

xper wrote:
Certis wrote:
To the person who said "I'm not a feminist" in this episode, do you even know what it means to be a feminist?

That was Rob.

*dives into bunker*

Thanks.

Ok, Rob. Well, it doesn't really matter who it was, but as a non-american, I feel it to be deeply rooted in american culture to be anti-feminist. I'm sorry, but it just strikes me when I observe and internalize your culture. To me, feminism stands for gender equality. So, Rob, are you against gender equality? I assume you aren't, but consider the term "feminist" next time you use it.

But then again, we all live in a world of globalization and maybe I should consider me to be as much as an American as I consider myself to be a Swede.

If I recall correctly, Rob's Canadian.

Regardless, I don't think opinions regarding gender equality can be laid entirely at the feet of one's nationality; there are many Americans who have sentiments that are distinctly pro third-wave feminism and wholly support the notion of gender equality. There are always going to be a selection of people who don't support this in any culture, of course, but as a whole I think there are more people supportive of this idea in American countries than you may be aware. However, as an woman living in a large city on the west coast of the US, my perspective may also be skewed.

Frankly, though, I don't think our cultural knee-jerk reaction to feminism is deeply-rooted negativity. I think a cultural subset exists that isn't up to date on it's most current definitions, but I think as a whole most people just aren't aware yet of the subtle differences in distinction between the various stages of feminism's evolution.

Bullion Cube wrote:

When I heard Rob say he's "not a feminist" what I understood from that comment is that he's trying to be objective in his critique, and that because he does not always focus on women's issues, the fact that he thinks this game went over the line objectifying women should carry more weight.

This was my understanding as well.

Bullion Cube:

Not necessarily. The objectification of women goes both ways. There is the view of women as sexual objects, and the other view of women as non-sexual ideals - the classic madonna/whore dichotomy in the development of male sexual maturity.

Just because a man objects to a woman being portrayed in an oversexualized manner doesn't mean that he's not objectifying women - it may mean that he's objectifying them the other way. Majority-women sources are also not above objectifying men as sexual objects, either, though the objectification is, understandably, not particularly similar.

This phenomenon occurs the most obviously in date movies designed to appeal to female demographics, where the male lead is often so idealized that men have a difficult time believing in the character as a person or as a man - which is because he isn't really a person, but an idealized romantic object.

Manga and anime have a tradition of both oversexualized fanservice, and understated satire. My interpretation of Bayonetta as satirical isn't without reference to genre material. Japanese games and similar material in general typically features generous amounts of fanservice in between more serious content and sometimes overwrought plots. I get the impression that the fanservice in Bayonetta is not only incredibly over-the-top, but also constant and unchanging. That goes above the level of source fanservice, but not enough to be classified as an eroge, or erotic game.

Combined with dialogue that's obviously ridiculous, it gives one the impression of being distinctly tongue-in-cheek. That is not to say that Bayonetta isn't actually providing fanservice. That is one of its goals, naturally, but that is not the only thing that's happening there.

This has to have been said before but at 49:28

"what makes a good dick, online [pause] what makes a good jerk, what kinds of things will really set us off"

Amoebic wrote:
Bullion Cube wrote:

When I heard Rob say he's "not a feminist" what I understood from that comment is that he's trying to be objective in his critique, and that because he does not always focus on women's issues, the fact that he thinks this game went over the line objectifying women should carry more weight.

This was my understanding as well.

Yes.

Jonman wrote:

The problem with oversexualisation in games is that it's so ubiquitous. Transformers may well feature excessive cleavage shots of Megan Fox, but Schindler's List doesn't. The same spectrum of experiences simply isn't available in games. You can barely move for bikini armour and buttocks.

And there's the problem. Look, I'm a gamer. I know my way around the internet. If I want to look at tits, give me about 15 seconds with a browser, and I could be. I don't need tits in games - I get my fair share of tit-illation as and when I need it, and subsequently, the last thing I'm looking for when I boot up my 360 is a boner.

This.

I tend not to buy games rated M for nudity for precisely this reason. If you can't sell your game without pandering to people who are too lazy to head to Google Images with safesearch off and type in any random word, then you can't sell your game to me.

The connotation of the word feminist generally goes beyond your very reasonable definition of the word xper. Perhaps this is a north american phenomenon. Often times "Feminist" is used to describe someone who views things solely in terms of womens issues, and rather than standing for Gender Equality, stands for the advancement of women in every issue, whether there is a problem of equality or not.

When I heard Rob say he's "not a feminist" what I understood from that comment is that he's trying to be objective in his critique, and that because he does not always focus on women's issues, the fact that he thinks this game went over the line objectifying women should carry more weight.

I don't know if you are trying to argue with me or not, but this is exactly what I was trying to say. The word feminist has different connotations for different people. I, frankly, can't see how you would not want to consider yourself a feminist. I think we all do.
But I should clarify that this, i my view, misrepresenting connotation of the word is apparent in Sweden as well. I'm sorry if I pointed my finger at any specific country. Perhaps I believe too strongly in Herman and Chomsky's propaganda model. Maybe we can talk about westernization instead of americanization.

Thanks again to all of you who replied!

And I have to say that this is a great community where we can discuss stuff like this.

And I can't seem to quote comments.