It Just Never Ends Does It, Misogynist Gamers

It’s no secret that the gaming community isn’t the most friendly place for women and queers. If you ever play online or with other people, you’re more likely to hear misogynistic and anti-gay slurs or rape jokes than a simple hello. Often when a gamer finds out that there is a woman playing, he often demands that she show her boobs and then continues to demean her and insult her the entire time they are playing together. Video game shops and conventions can be just as bad, where women are often treated as outsiders or sexual objects to be leered at. It seems like whenever a woman expresses her opinions on video games or gaming culture, she is lambasted with insults and threats. Men seem to think that the gaming world belongs only to them. However, as more and more women are playing, designing and reviewing video games people are finally seeing how ridiculous and outdated the gaming community sounds when it tries to keep them out.

This past summer at E3, one of the biggest gaming conventions in America, all of the big companies announced the games that they were releasing in the coming year. When Xbox One announced their games, Feminist Frequency blogger Anita Sarkeesian noted that not a single one featured a female lead. This led to a litany of angry and sexist tweets directed at her. Gamers repeatedly called her misogynistic slurs, told her that video games are made for men and asked her questions like, “What did you expect? Cooking and cleaning games?” Another Twitter user sent her the message, “Relax… it’ll all be over soon,” a reference to a rape joke that had been made earlier at E3.

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This pattern of misogyny and anti-queerness reared its ugly head again last week at a the Eurogamer Expo in London when the comedian that had been hired to entertain the attendees at the Xbox One launch (seriously Xbox One, what’s your deal?) started to “joke around” by misgendering and humiliating a trans* woman who was there on stage. Laura Kate Dale, a contributor to the video game website Destructiod, was on stage with comedian Fraser Millward when he started calling Dale “he,” it” and “thing” and insinuated that Dale wasn’t a woman when he asked, “We need a woman on stage. Any women here?” Sadly, this isn’t the only instance of transmisogyny in gaming culture that happened recently.

Video game reviewer Carolyn Petit

Video game reviewer Carolyn Petit

Gamestop reviewer Carolyn Petit’s review of the game Grand Theft Auto V was glowing. She gave it a 9/10. She said it was “beautiful,” “innovative” and said that it “does amazing things no other open-world game has attempted before.” But because she had the gall to call a game that involves having sex with prostitutes right before you murder them and a voice on the radio that talks about using a woman as a urinal misogynistic, the gamer community hated her. The comments on her review were disgusting, saying that she needs to get over it, shut up or worst of all, kill herself. There was even a petition started that aimed to get her fired. Also, due to the fact that Petit is a transgender woman, she also had to face a barrage of angry gamers misgendering her and insulting her for being trans*. While the petition has thankfully been taken down, the comments on her review are still there, showing how much gamers hate her and think that she has no business talking about video games because she is a woman.

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It’s not just the people who play games who act this way, though. Game developers can be just as bad. After the game Dead Island courted controversy by giving one of it’s female characters a special power-up called “feminist whore” in development and coding, the sequel to the game, Dead Island Riptide, dug itself an even deeper hole by releasing a special version of the game that they called the “Zombie Bait Edition.” This version of the game came packaged with a bust of a dismembered bikini-clad woman. Because the best way to win back the favor of a group that you’ve offended is to give them a statue of a bloody torso representing a sexualized version them. Here is a perfect example of objectification. Not only are we focusing on the body and barely-covered breasts of a woman, but that is literally all she is. She has no arms or legs, so she can’t go anywhere or do anything and she has no head so she can’t talk or make her own decisions.

All of this stems from the incredibly misguided idea that video games belong solely to men, which in turn fits into the larger “fake geek girls” phenomenon. This is where men think that geeky or nerdy stuff is only for them and that any women who show interest in video games, comics or science fiction must be doing it so that they can get closer to or go on dates with these “real” male geeks. The fake geek girls have such a hard time fighting off the animal magnetism of the “real” geeks that they just have to invade their comic book shops, conventions and online games. This must be because, as we all know, nothing attracts women like telling us to “go back to the kitchen,” calling us misogynistic slurs and accusing us of lying about the things we like.

Not everything segment of the gaming community is full of misogyny and queer hate, though. When game maker BioWare received a complaint that their game Dragon Age 2 had too much focus on women and queer characters and not enough on “straight male gamers,” they responded by saying:

The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention… The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else…
And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.

That’s not the only reason for hope though. A whopping 45% of gamers are women, so while the stereotypical gamer may behave the reputation of a misogynistic anti-queer manchild, the majority of people who play video games don’t really fit that description. As is often the case, the most annoying and offensive segment of the population is also the most vocal. Women are making other strides in the gaming world as well. The current executive in charge of Xbox hardware development is a woman, Julie Larson-Green and popular games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider are being written and directed by women. So despite how much the commenters and online players may wish that gaming was a world solely for men, all the evidence points to quite the opposite.

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Mey is a lesbian Latina trans woman living in Idaho. Her areas of expertise include comic books, trans issues and pop culture. She has an English Degree, a cat named Sawyer, a tumblr that she uses a lot and a twitter that she only uses occasionally.

Mey has written 160 articles for us.

43 Comments

  1. Thumb up 8

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    I am a lady gamer and I don’t play to get in men’s pants. I play because it’s fun!

    Both the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series are wonderful by allowing your character to romance male or female party members, and some of them are bisexual. In Mass Effect there is an alien race that is monogendered (though they look female) and can reproduce with any gender or race.

    Also, everyone’s boobs are normal-sized.

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      I totally agree. In fact I only have ever had one problem with Bioware and that was in the recent DLC for ME3 where they put my female Shepard in a slinky dress without any input from me. My shepard never wears dresses and that destroyed all my feelings of agency with this character I’d spent hundreds of hours with. I can’t believe they’d be so heteronormative as to think “Men wear pants, women wear dresses when they party.” Especially since we’re hundreds of years in the future.

      Still Bioware is pretty awesome. At least as awesome as EA will allow them to be. My fondest wish in terms of video games is a new Jade Empire.

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          Jade Empire is just amazing! It came out for the original Xbox and you can still buy and play it on 360. I’m not sure about Playstation cause I’ve never had on. Jade Empire has a few rough edges as you would expect from an older game but it’s still very beautiful and I had no issues with the controls or anything.

          The story is classic Bioware with awesome characters and depth. There is one possible lesbian relationship and one Gay for the guys. I think the game feels a bit like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in a video game.

          I just really, really want that again with todays polish and story telling. And more women to romance. LOL

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            Ah, you’ve totally sold me! I’m unemployed so I can’t buy the new games I want (Diablo 3!!!), but since Jade Empire is old maybe I can find it cheap. :)

      • Thumb up 1

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        I don’t play most modern rpgs, but that sounds needlessly constrictive. Games look pretty enough now that you should just run everything in the engine. It should have let you wear whatever you wanted, even full space marine battle armour, and then had different comments upon your choice of dress. Scenes like that seems to me like either a lack of foresight or pure and simple laziness. If it’s too much to add 8 or 9 extra lines, just don’t bother having a ‘style of dress’ comment tree in the first place. It’s a very easy to avoid situation, yet it constantly trips their writers up.

    • Thumb up 1

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      My only real issue with the Mass Effect series is that I didn’t think their were enough options female-wise for my female Shep and not enough interactions when you finally did romance someone. And I’m sorry but I call total and utter bullshit on Jack being completely straight. I was so pissed off I couldn’t romance her.

      Oh, and I hate the way they did the ending in ME3. I still haven’t played the DLC because of it because I fucked up the ending and don’t feel like playing through it again.

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        I played ME3 and loved it so much I decided to play all three straight through. I haven’t played 2 yet but I know about Jack. I can’t believe she’s straight either! That’s good to know so I can choose a male Shepard.

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        What really bothered me was that I remember Jack -not- being canonically straight – she makes some reference to “boyfriends, girlfriends” or “sleeping with guys, girls” or somesuch – just off handedly. So yeah, she’s not straight – just non-romanceable by FemShep. Which is… ugh. And the only canonically lesbian character (Specialist Traynor) has no significant unique relationship dialogue? It’s a bit nuts. I love Mass Effect, I really do, but they kind of messed up with the queering, somewhat. -And- the MShep/Jack relationship is a bit “I will heal your abuse with the mighty power of my man-ness”. Bahhh.

    • Thumb up 2

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      I love Dragon Age (Origins) SO HARD. That game gave me real life feelings, miles ahead of anything else I have played. Ug, the ending!!

      I must say i thought most of the ladies still had unrealistically large breasts, & i found it irritating that my character’s gender was made note of several times (like when meeting Alistair as a Grey Warden potential), but overall it was of a high standard & streets ahead of the pack for its treatment of gender, and male and female romance options. As you say, bioware is as awesome as ea allow them to be.

      Also, I so need to play Mass Effect. I am tempted to play as a male Shepard so I can romance Jack, but I will probably play as a fem!Shep and just admire her from afar.

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        Me too with the feelings! I didn’t have as much of a problem with the boobs*, but mine are quite large so maybe that makes my expectations different. And the ending floored me. I played through several times to try out the different ones, and they all made me sad.

        Warning! Spoiler alert, sort of but not really: if you play Mass Effect 3 first (without importing a character) you will be forced to make a couple heartbreaking choices. If you import a character you may have more options due to choices you made in the previous games.

        *with the exception of Anora’s shiny in-your-face ones.

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          I thought they were uniformly well endowed (if not cartoony, they were all large and perky, i guess Morrigan managed her outfit + perkiness with magic ;)), esp my poor little elf.

          I want to see some of the other endings, but i just don’t know if i can. It felt like such a real narrative to me, it would be fake to do any other ending? I am curious to play through some of the other origin and class stories though – and do a different less sad one with them (you can guess what path i took, heh).

          Thanks for the tip!

          p.s sorry everyone for just fangirling instead of discussing the very real issues of misogyny and homophobia in gaming.

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            Yeah, Morrigan’s were pretty gravity-defying but she’s a mage so I guess she’s got some kind of boob lift spell. Play again, by all means! If you use a different character it feels like a different story. I did all 6 origin stories and played three of them through until the end for the different endings. I also wanted to romance everyone. :) Yeah, I guess we are somewhat missing the point if this post, but I f people don’t like the fangirling they don’t have to read our thread.

  2. Thumb up 1

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    Don’t get me started on the sexism in JRPG’s. I love the Mana Khemia series but when you make a gay character the butt of jokes and have the entire freak out that he’s gay, that’s when I tossed my controller down and haven’t played the game since.

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      Yeah, I agree with some of her reviews (and I’ve referred to some of the better ones in my own writings on feminism in media), but she just isn’t as good at analysis or research as a lot of other people doing it are. It started with some of her earlier reviews of movies and TV shows (like the True Grit one), but I’ve heard from people who know games that her “Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games” series really has a lot of facts wrong, and she apparently hasn’t even played all the games she raised money for on her Kickstarter.

      That being said, I really wish misogynistic gamer dudes would stop pretending that they care about the fact that she might be off-base in her analysis, and admit they just don’t want a feminist criticizing the sexist games they like. You don’t make a flash game of punching someone in the face because you think their analysis is factually-inaccurate. Geez.

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        Actually, you do. You do not let liars continue to lie because giving them a pass with lying leads to possibly worse things. You need to go right at them before they can peddle their snake oil to the unknowledgeable, as Jack Thompson did before her. George Bush lied like a rug and got roughly the same treatment, everywhere. The error is not the beat’em-up flash game, but in giving it and her the same amount of gravitas as a war of aggression which killed thousands of innocents. While her school of thought has been responsible for similar numbers, she herself has no pull, and therefore could not give the command to engage in any such scenarios. Heck, she should be honoured, she did literally nothing important and wound up being uplifted to the same level of journalistic pugilism as American heads of state. She even crafted a job out of it. I may find how she got there morally reprehensible, but I have to applaud the deft maneuvering and skillful self-promotion. The CoDdled BoFfer kiddies played right into her hands. Where would she be without the engineered controversy to catapult her to stardom? Likely 5000 views per video and a dead channel. And yet, instead of being blacklisted and shunned as Thompson and Whitehouse and other moral panickers, she cultivated it into a business opportunity by taking full advantage of the cultural quirks of social media and catastrophe-ogling.

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          No, you don’t. There is absolutely zero excuse for making jokes about violence against women. Zero excuse. You can criticize and refute what she SAYS, like an actual ADULT, without being a misogynist baby about it.

          And you really think that making a game about beating up women HELPS your case against people who want to insist that video games make everybody more violent?

          Although, bringing up Jack Thompson identifies the problem: entitled male gamer dudes are so cagey and have such massive persecution complexes that they can’t tell the difference between someone who wants to improve the negative things about gaming culture (and they exist! and pushing them under the rug doesn’t help our case, it just proves the Jack Thompsons of the world right!) and someone who wants to dismantle it. And so they go after people even worse off than them, because they have such massive myopia about it.

          Whether you agree with her or not, Anita Sarkeesian isn’t Jack Thompson. She doesn’t want to destroy video games. She wants to criticize the ones that are sexist, but she isn’t even talking about BANNING those games – just being upset that they’re sexist and wishing more games were made that weren’t like that.

          It’s shit like THIS, in fact, that gives gamers a bad name, and fuels the fire of the Jack Thompsons of the world. Not Anita Sarkeesian or anything she has done. It’s immature, misogynist male gamers whose solution to everything is to threaten violence first and discuss later.

        • Thumb up 1

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          Then again, you’re also comparing someone who supposedly lied about video games, and someone who lied about a war that killed countless numbers of people. You’re clearly not someone who is here for an honest argument, so okay, sorry I bothered.

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          “Engineered controversy”? Tons of gamers are hypersensitive about any kind of criticism of their hobby, and seem to think think any kind of critique constitutes outright censorship. Tons of gamers are also misogynistic dudebros who don’t need much of an excuse to attack women online. So of course a ton of people flipped out at her and it caused a controversy.

          Unless you think that there would never be any reason to legitimately criticize games, so doing it at all at all exists purely as engineering a controversy?

  3. Thumb up 14

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    I agree with this article and think the game community REALLY needs to grow up. In addition to being misogynistic, the way they react to anything they dislike is ridiculous. Death threats are outrageous and should somehow be illegal. Threatening someone’s life because you disagree with the rating they gave a game is completely and totally uncalled for. The knee-jerk reaction to shout “not all gamers are like that!” and/or claiming articles like this are bias is also really sad.

    It’s great that you and your group of friends aren’t misogynist douche bags but that doesn’t mean that a very large number of gamers aren’t. Rather than whining about being tired of getting grouped in with the jerks, why not actually help work towards making things better? It’s not articles like this that make gamers look bad, it’s gamers being dicks that make us look bad.

  4. Thumb up 9

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    “All of this stems from the incredibly misguided idea that video games belong solely to men, which in turn fits into the larger “fake geek girls” phenomenon. This is where men think that geeky or nerdy stuff is only for them and that any women who show interest in video games, comics or science fiction must be doing it so that they can get closer to or go on dates with these “real” male geeks. The fake geek girls have such a hard time fighting off the animal magnetism of the “real” geeks that they just have to invade their comic book shops, conventions and online games. This must be because, as we all know, nothing attracts women like telling us to “go back to the kitchen,” calling us misogynistic slurs and accusing us of lying about the things we like.”

    Oh my god, this is stellar.

  5. Thumb up 0

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    While I agree with the article you have to look at both sides.

    Laure Croft has been around forever, Zelda is a woman and Metroid is a woman. Many games have incorporated female characters especially in the last 5-10 years: Resident Evil, Gears of War, Halo, Pokemon, any fighting game, Portal and hell even Ms. Pacman got her own game. Also, many games these days allow you to completely make your character from scratch.

    Yes video games still have a long way to go but hey at least it isn’t 1986 anymore.

    • Thumb up 4

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      Just so you know, you might not want to use Ms. Pacman (1982), Samus (the main character of the Metroid series, 1986), Zelda (1989), and Lara Croft (1996) as your examples of the changing tide of female protagonists. Gears of War’s protagonist is also male, at least for 1 and 2.

      The fighting game community is unfortunately one of the most sexist places I’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing, despite having a better-than-average representation of female characters (and being really fun!)

      • Thumb up 9

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        THANK YOU. Seriously, we’re using “at least it isn’t 1986 anymore” as an argument for “the other side”?? I am sad as hell that in almost thirty years, the video game industry STILL thinks women are a tiny niche market, when almost every woman I know plays video games.

        The developers of Lara Croft’s most recent game had developers saying they were putting attempted rape into her backstory to make the player want to protect her. Commander Shepard’s male counterpart is still the main face of the franchise, while her own official face was determined by a contest offering a bunch of near-identical conventionally attractive wrinkle-free faces with heavy makeup and fussy hair for a thirty-something military leader. Some might argue that Elizabeth of Bioshock Infinite is the true hero of the game, but they still refused to put her on the cover of the game because of marketing. (And in the end, Elizabeth’s voice is completely subsumed as she becomes the plot device for the straight while male protagonist’s story.) Naughty Dog had to fight to include Ellie on the cover of The Last Of Us. Like, I could go on and on, and that’s without getting into the lack of women of colour, queer women, etc.

        But I should be grateful because… what? I have a handful more female video game characters to admire today? The issue isn’t that the video game industry has never produced decent female characters — they’ve been showing up since the 80’s, as Karen pointed out, and some of them are pretty awesome. Are there really WAY MORE *new* female video game characters today than there were 10 years ago? How many female characters today get to headline their own games, without being the create-your-own-character alternative to the male default? How many get to show up in an outfit which doesn’t expose most of their skin? How many aren’t subject to complicated boob jiggle physics? How many don’t basically exist to be protected or provide the emotional impetus for the male video game protagonist?

        I’m at the point where my tolerance level for sexist shit in video games is absurdly high because if it wasn’t, I’d never play any games except Pokemon. I mean, I still have fun. I still enjoy games literally every day. But I’m tired of my standards being so low that I can call a game a win if it doesn’t go out of its way to offend me with its portrayals of women.

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          I have to wonder if my low tolerance level for sexist shit is why I’ve never gotten much into gaming, beyond stuff like, well, Pokemon. And Animal Crossing.

          But even Pokemon didn’t let you play as a female character until Pokemon Crystal in 2001.

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          It really feels more like there’s less. Well, I never thought of Lara as anything respectable in the first place, but that’s another topic altogether. Shmups had the barest of stories out there, yet they always included a female in two-player games if the games had even a picture+text intro. Sometimes, she’d even be player one. And of course there were character-based shmups like Parodius, Space Invaders 95, Eight Forces, or Aerofighters that had female pilots available. A few home console single player ones like Arrow Flash had female centric leads. Ditto for action-platformers like Run Saber. Similarly sometimes they would get the lead, like Valis, El Viento, or Alisa Dragoon. FPSes whose stories had multiple characters would have females available, such as Rise of the Triad. Adventure games that lasted long enough to get a sequel train would typically have a fully female-centered title in its ranks, such as Legend of Kyrandia. And there were loads more badass chicks of various shapes and sizes in rpgs. That doesn’t even account for all the quirky Japanese titles that never made it here, like Umihara Kawase or the Nakayoshi series. (my personal favourite was the card battle turn-based srpg Nage Libre) It seems like you can’t even get that much these days, unless the main female character is falling out of her clothes. wears them skintight, or doesn’t have any to begin with. The FMV ‘revolution’ didn’t just kill 3DO and the Sega CD, it was the beginning of the end for agendaless creative content as it opened the door for gaming to ‘be more like hollywood.’ Creating a game should never have involved more thought than “I want this to be fun” and “I believe this element will sell the best.” About the only ‘sexism’ that existed up until the mid-90s was ‘females do not enjoy games that involve blood, and males do not enjoy games where females spill a crapton of blood.’ MK and Samurai Shodown shattered that handily enough.
          Hell, nobody even made a big deal about Dan becoming Dani in any of the mags I read like VG&CE. The most ‘spiteful’ comment I remember one European magazine was lamenting the fact Danielle was five letters longer, and “if we have to write about her again, that’ll cut into our bottom line!”
          (I think because the industry was removed from the mainstream back then, things such as that were simply Not That Big A Deal. In fact all the horror stories I remember from the 90s came from P&P rpg groups.) I believe most of them got ejected by the sensationalism behind the Night Trap debacle, and how the sales from the controversy were misconstrued as ‘sex sells’ and not ‘banned media becomes collectors’ items.’ It took awhile for the industry to heavily push that angle, but you really started to see a big shift in content creation around the PS2’s emergence. (Which is one thing I highly place the blame on Tomb Raider for, it brought in a bunch of the OMG BOOBIES misfits who formerly got into nothing but pc porn games into console gaming. Tifa didn’t help much, either.)

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      I wish it were 1986 again. I remember back when games needed only two criteria, to be enjoyable, and to have replay value of some sort, even if it were as cheap as ‘do the game over again, but harder.’ Then the CD format came out, and Hollywood took notice, and we’ve been wading in the QTE/’interactive movie’ kiddie pool since, barring the occasional surprise retro style hit or rare blessed import from Japan like Monster Hunter and Armored Core. Now it’s barely interactive, and the stories are a mishmash of agenda-driven Clancy-esque faux-realism. Thank goodness the internet and kickstarter and sites like it are beginning to allow the majority gamer, who is no longer catered to, shut out of the process since the first CoD and SoCom went head to head, a place to put their money towards revivals of IPs and mechanics the industry no longer has interest in making. Project Eternity, Caravaneer 2, Mighty No.9, Shantae: Half-genie Hero, Project Lodus, and Shadowrun Returns are just some of those upcoming I am looking forwards to, and not one of them is being pushed around by a Hollywoodised ‘game publishing studio.’
      That doesn’t mean I have shut the major studios off entirely, but I’m definitely no longer buying anything new, and whenever they claim to give you a sandbox world, but it has an agonisingly linear plotline, such as Saint’s (why can’t you nab killbane and THEN save your homies by flying his jet over there? Or any other jet?), or Prototype, I feel a lot less bad about waiting until they’re only $10 and the parent company gets no profit. The last console game I bought completely new in fact, was Red Faction: Guerilla.

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    Argh. there is one thing annoying me about this and that’s that the eurogamer thing didn’t happen and was all one massive misunderstanding, as became clear approx. 3 hours after i saw the story break. Also this joint statement was issued:
    ‘Laura Kate Dale and Fraser Millward have come to agree that the situation which took place at the Xbox stand at Eurogamer on Sunday 29th September was an unfortunate misunderstanding on both sides. It has now been made clear that Fraser did not refer to Laura as an ‘it’ or a ‘thing’ or a ‘he’, and these claims have now been fully retracted by Laura and she is sorry for the hurt this caused. Fraser caused offence to Laura on stage when he publicly misgendered her by addressing her as ‘this person’. Laura was also upset by statements which she saw as suggesting that she was not female. Fraser is sorry he said this, and for the pain he inadvertently caused Laura. Both parties wish to put the situation behind them and consider this matter now resolved.’

    I mean the reaction to laura on the internet was horrific, but i’m getting annoyed seeing that tweet parroted as if it happened just because a trans person said so.

  7. Thumb up 0

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    I used to play World of Warcraft and the guild I was in had several women playing daily. In fact we couldn’t raid usually without us women because most were healers. :) Generally I would say the experience was good and friendly but of course there are jerks now and then in any place you go to and games are no different.

  8. Thumb up 1

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    It would be interesting to see percentage of women protagonists in games compared the percentage of protagonists in films of the same rough genre. Seems like its exactly the same problem in that industry where companies assume they are making games for young straight men and as this has so far been a successful strategy financially they don’t care to change it.

    I mean it may be true that women make up a significant proportion of gamers, but when Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto still make the mega bucks most companies just won’t care about making games that have the potential to alienate this market.

    Seems like we basically need a developer like Bioware who actively don’t care about pandering to this market or we need to focus on independent games, much like we do with cinema if we ever want to see good LGBTQ representation.

  9. Thumb up 1

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    I play Uncharted, and I’ve always appreciated that Elena dresses appropriately for the missions they’re on, and has a normally proportioned body instead of a huge-breasted caricature. (This is probably in part because of it being motion capture, and Elena being played by the lovely Emily Rose, who has an attractive, regular person body type.)

    Also shout-out to the dudes at EB Games in Adelaide, who have never greeted me with anything less than enthusiastic gamer talk, and have never once suggested I can’t play or shouldn’t be playing because I’m female.

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    Ugh the comments on this are reminding me why I shouldn’t read video game article/website comments ever. They are only ever filled with angry straight (usually) white boys/”men” who use circuitous, contradictory arguments and anecdotal evidence to somehow “disprove” not only the there is sexism or lack of female representation in games, but also that sexism ever existed ever. And then sane people for some reason decide to sympathize with them/defend their arguments because they don’t want to be seen as that angry feminist/unknowledgeable gamer. Well let me say I am a queer woman who plays video games regularly and has studied feminist theory and I stand behind Anita Sarkeesian. It’s not because she is a woman or claims to be a feminist. It’s because she is intelligent and critically analyzes the media she consumes, backing it up with evidence. Does she sometimes make a mistake in a video or make a weak argument? Sure, like every other flawed human being on the planet. She’s analyzing hundreds of games in a relatively short amount of time. That doesn’t mean she isn’t making valid critiques of the video game industry. If you came here (to autostraddle) just to bitch about her, which it seems like some of you did, maybe you should spend less energy searching for Anita Sarkeesian articles and more time thinking critically/being an actual compassionate human being with empathy.

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    Another thing that always bugs me is how, in games where you have the option to play man or woman, they often feel the need do say that a female character is just as strong/smart/capable as a male. They may mean well but it still perpetuates the stereotype in a backhanded way.

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