It Never Ends

MovieBob

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It Never Ends

MovieBob discusses the recent Dragon's Crown controversy, and why we really need more diversity in our videogame characters.

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castlewise

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Jul 18, 2010
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It is unclear to me why Dragon's Crown gets to be star of the show in this latest round of internet drama but a game like Starcraft 2, for instance, gets a free pass on their character design. Why is the Sorceress over the line but Kerrigan with her impractical zerg heels and meticulous non-chitin covered ass is somehow ok?
 

RJ Dalton

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Aug 13, 2009
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Is my primary objective to this representation allowed to be that huge breasts are just a turnoff to me?
 

Fappy

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I think this is your most important point:

The problem isn't, and has never been, that The Sorceress (or Ivy, or Cammy, or Lara, or Daphne, or whomever else) look like they do... it's that everything looks like they do.
A lot of the people on this site in particular have the notion that female gamers are always going to be upset when this kind of thing crops up. As someone who has had lengthy conversations with said female gamers on the subject I can attest to the fact that this is completely untrue... at least for the majority of female gamers. There is always going to be a market for sleazy character designs and that's okay. The reason female gamers are so upset is because, frankly, there aren't many games out their that don't objectify the female form.

Dragon's Crown may turn out to be a pretty cool game and I am not about to mock someone who's a fan of the character design, but is it so wrong for games like this to get criticized? If there isn't any dialogue in this regard we'll never see any progress. This game's just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
 

Lethos

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I'll be honest Bob, I started this article expecting to read how the game in question was a misogynistic piece of filth that is holding gaming back, but I think you did this article in a truly impressively neutral way. Above all I thank you for pointing out the flaws in approaching controversial issues in a polarising manner.

Most of all I think it's great that you pointed out that the solution to the problem with female representation in games isn't to destroy those that we find un-progressive or misogynistic, it's to expand the industry to include representations of women that we can deem progressive. The natural evolution of that would then be to argue that this expansion isn't happening fast enough, if at all, and I'm afraid I can't comment on that. But it's important that we remember that by solving this issue with more varied representations of women, we create a solution where no one loses out, but everyone gains.
 

DrunkenElfMage

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Aug 17, 2011
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In my opinion, the body shape and objectification here crosses the line from sexy to ridiculous and frankly makes it a parody of itself. The character epitomizes the ridiculously high standards that we have set for female characters in video games and if the design wasn't at least a LITTLE tongue in cheek when the artist made it and wanted it to be taken as serious as a character in a Japanese RPG can, then I am frankly saddened by its existence.
 

IamLEAM1983

Neloth's got swag.
Aug 22, 2011
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RJ Dalton said:
Is my primary objective to this representation allowed to be that huge breasts are just a turnoff to me?
Of course. It's entirely subjective.

Whenever a game comes out that somehow offends your sensibilities or someone else's, you *do* have the right not to play it. I didn't care much for Skullgirls, for instance, no matter how many times my fighting game aficionado of a friend yells "AWESOME COMBO SYSTEM!" my way. The design just doesn't appeal to me.

I'm reminded of LilithSlave and of her sheer devotion to Touhou. It's a game, it's also an aesthetic choice and a personal inclination that may or may not be taken - but I don't care for it. No matter how often I've been told the Touhou games are quintessential Bullet Hell titles, the kami-as-borderline-gothic-lolitas design just doesn't appeal to me. Some people get super involved in the lore and backstory, to the point of recreating Gensokyo in Minecraft - but all I ever saw was a gallery of moe-moe types launching into overblown firefights over the slightest disagreement.

Dragon's Crown, like anything else, will be liked or disliked. If anybody parrots anything about awesome fighting mechanics, they'll be missing the point. Sometimes, a game's aesthetics can be reason enough not to play it.

And, well, I personally think the new Lara Croft is far sexier than anything from Team Ninja's female roster, if you catch my drift.
 

Falterfire

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castlewise said:
It is unclear to me why Dragon's Crown gets to be star of the show in this latest round of internet drama but a game like Starcraft 2, for instance, gets a free pass on their character design. Why is the Sorceress over the line but Kerrigan with her impractical zerg heels and meticulous non-chitin covered ass is somehow ok?
Mainly because of just how truly absurd the Sorceress is. I don't know if you've watched the trailer in question, but it goes past sexy or good taste into pure absurdity. Sure, it's intentionally overstylized, but it just looks so ludicrously awkward to see this character in motion. The reason this character is getting more attention than others did is because she is so ludicrously over the top.
 

bandit0802

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RJ Dalton said:
Is my primary objective to this representation allowed to be that huge breasts are just a turnoff to me?
Amen. This idea that "bigger is better" is just...weird. Who started this and how can I put a stop to it?!
 

BrotherRool

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'Pre-reboot Lara Croft' I'm still getting used to how nice it is having that qualifier in front of a Lara Croft boobs reference
 

ToastiestZombie

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Mar 21, 2011
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What irks me is that all the other characters designs are being ignored because of one OTT female character in a game filled with OTT characters. Here's a picture of all the characters:


The other two female characters are a pretty, but relatively un-sexualized archer and a MASSIVE amazonian woman.

Another thing that irks me is the fact that because of this one character the game hasn't had any other discussion about it, and to be honest it doesn't even look that good anyway.
 

Daaaah Whoosh

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At this point, I really have to ask: if game characters were oversexualized for women instead of for men, then what would they look like? I'd imagine I would still find a woman's idea of a sexy woman attractive, and the men I could probably get over as long as they could wear a shirt.
 

sageoftruth

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Wow, this is a conundrum for me. I've always been a fan of Vanillaware, I mean just look at it. It's usually enough to make me overlook that the gameplay itself is often pretty mediocre. The problem here, is that game's stunning imagery has upped the raunchiness to the point where I can't comfortably play it in front of other people. I guess the only thing to do is check the reviews and see what else the game has to offer.
 

grigjd3

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castlewise said:
It is unclear to me why Dragon's Crown gets to be star of the show in this latest round of internet drama but a game like Starcraft 2, for instance, gets a free pass on their character design. Why is the Sorceress over the line but Kerrigan with her impractical zerg heels and meticulous non-chitin covered ass is somehow ok?
The difference is in quality. Starcraft is generally an excellently made game (if completely lacking in innovation in the sequels). I mean, Skyrim on the PC often gets converted to an effective porn sim and yet no one complains about some of the characterizations done there either (note a certain red-head werewolf in the fighter's guild). The truth is, people don't mind hyper-sexualized characters nearly as much as they may seem to. What people really don't like is mediocre and poor games using hyper-sexualized characters as a crutch to up their sales. This problem would go away if people refused to play bad games. On the other hand, many game developers make bad games before they make good games so sometimes it pays to support even the bad games on the idea that the risk could lead to something really good.
 

ToastiestZombie

Don't worry. Be happy!
Mar 21, 2011
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Daaaah Whoosh said:
At this point, I really have to ask: if game characters were oversexualized for women instead of for men, then what would they look like? I'd imagine I would still find a woman's idea of a sexy woman attractive, and the men I could probably get over as long as they could wear a shirt.
They would look like Skyward Sword Link, Pyramid Head and/or Solid Snake. I've seen legions of women fawn over those three characters. What women find attractive is either not entirely noticeable or seen as a power fantasy for men. But if you really want to see examples of male characters that were definitely made exclusively for the straight teen-young adult demographic to love look at both Fifty Shades of Grey's and Twilight's male leads. We all know how shit those two were, though.
 

Battle Catman

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I'm in total agreement with Bob on this. I dated a feminist for a while and she opened my eyes to a whole bunch of crap (I realized I was a textbook example of a "Nice Guy" towards this other girl). Though I wouldn't call myself a feminist, more like someone who wants true gender equality; I'm against gender stereotypes mainly because I don't "fit" neatly into the "man mold" that society has created, yet I am a mature, responsible adult male.

At the same time, boy do I love looking at boobies. Does that invalidate my previous paragraph? No, of course not. I think the Sorceress design is fun in a goofy sort of way, but I don't expect or demand women in real life model themselves like that.
 

vid87

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Two things:

-As much as I sympathize with the viewpoint against over-sexualization and agree that the Sorceress character is insanely overdone, I feel like the goal of awareness backfired because I've now been introduced to the game and really really want to play it.

-Who wants to bet there are heterosexual women out there who look at the Sorceress and honestly, un-ironically think she's the coolest thing ever?
 

Storm Dragon

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Honestly, I find that her breasts have passed the threshold where their size actually makes her less attractive. She'd look better if they were ~25% smaller.
 

Not Lord Atkin

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Oct 25, 2008
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To be honest, I don't see the problem in sexualization. It's a comical, cartoonish and, above all, non-representative portrayal of a very specific woman in a very specific context. The character has been depicted in such an exaggerated fashion that there is very little sex appeal to be found there - what is there, however, is a certain comical value.

As long as it's consistent with the overall tone of the game (and given the picture of the three bearded guys in thongs, I think it is), I see no issue whatsoever.

Yes, I think I know where the people who are complaining are coming from. Representation of female characters in the medium has been a hot issue lately and I think that the movement toward more realistic female characters is a good thing. Given the context, however, I think that the massive comical boobs of the sorceress are appropriate.
 

NinjaDeathSlap

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Feb 20, 2011
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I don't think that these debates 'need to go away', not be any means. I am however, increasingly skeptical about whether the internet is ever going to provide the right environment in which to have them. It's hardly a new observation that internet forums act as an echo-chamber for the worst parts of our character. So many things you say to others, and that others can say to you, are easily dismissed or misinterpreted when you're interacting with a faceless, opposing avatar rather than a person in the flesh.

If I start a thread that has anything to do with sexism on this site, there will be hundreds of comments, but only three responses, as every comment will fall into one of three categories of response ("Oh my God you're so right, and everyone who disagrees is a fascist!", "You're wrong, eat shit and die you fascist!", or "Oh look, it's THIS thread again!"). I can predict this as surely as I can predict the Sun rising tomorrow, so it begs the question, what's the point of even starting the discussion in the first place?

I don't want these debates to go away, I just want them to be amiable and, I don't know, actually get somewhere, rather than each and every one going round in the same increasingly vitriolic circle. If the internet can't provide that, then we have to start talking about these things somewhere other than the internet.