Out This Week

Lollipop Chainsaw

T&A For Effort

Short skirts and pigtails dominate this week’s new releases.

By Steve Heisler • June 12, 2012

Out This Week is a roundup of new games that are out this week. These listings don’t constitute an endorsement or a review of any sort. We also don’t pretend that this is an exhaustive list. If there’s a game on the horizon that interests you, share it in the comments.

Lollipop Chainsaw
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—June 12

I know it’s hard to believe, but there are a whole lot of dudes who make and design video games. It’s true! I was customizing my pawn in Dragon’s Dogma the other day, and there was an option for “bust size”—yet none for the size and shape of my other character’s “man-boobs.” What gives? Hasn’t the level of testosterone risen high enough?! We’re sick of your flagrant attempts to court our fragile masculinity, game people! (P.S. Lollipop Chainsaw involves a buxom cheerleader chainsaw-ing zombies.)

Krater
PC—June 12

Krater is a role-playing game that’s revolutionary in its bold, unapologetic use of people staring at you, dead-eyed, through gas masks—or as the people of Krater might call them, gäs mäsks. Because, surprise! The game also takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Sweden.

Gungnir: Inferno Of The Demon Lance And The War Of Heroes
PSP—June 12

This game is for the PSP, which means it will be heavily played at PlayStation demo events and nowhere else. Bummer, because in the vein of Shining Force and Final Fantasy Tactics, Gungnir is a fantasy strategy game in which you move your forces along a grid to tactically and masterfully take out enemies, sword-and-arrow style. All I’m saying is, it would be nice if this one could also show up on the PlayStation 3 download store— I hear our nation’s legions of younger cousins have abandoned their PSPs and will trade you for a nudie magazine.

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  • http://twitter.com/marlowespade Chris Holly

    Really torn on Krater. The setting and mechanics look great, but I consistently have a hard time investing in Roguelikes, which the site seems to imply that it is. Anyone played the beta and can shed light?

    • dreadguacamole

       Depends on what you don’t like about Roguelikes; this looks to me more like a squad-based Diablo-like, but with enforced perma-death. I love RLs, so her’e's hoping it’s a good one (he said, while waiting for Steam to finish the download.)

      • http://twitter.com/marlowespade Chris Holly

         Yeah, it’s that enforced perma-death that’s probably a dealbreaker for me. The phrase “squad-based Diablo-like” hits all the right buttons, but I’d prefer persistent characters.

        • dreadguacamole

          OK, I’ve played it for a little bit now.
           I’m only a little ways in, so it’s too early to tell if the game’s good; so far I’m finding it a bit too easy/simple, and I don’t really see how it will evolve. It feels a little bit like diablo, but your characters have a degree of autonomy and will attack enemies. It reminds me a little bit of a pared down Dawn of War 2, and even more of those weird russian strategy/RPG games (I’m thinking of Evil Islands, specifically.) It’s also got a wonderful overland map mode, similar to the one in Fallout/Fallout 2 or Arcanum (though the encounters, so far at least, aren’t nearly as varied or interesting)
           Finally, it’s all shades of gorgeous, very tongue-in-cheek, and it’s got a great soundtrack. There’s indication that it’ll get more interesting further on; you have the ability to set defensive positions and spread your party over the map, so we’ll see if that becomes necessary later on.

           As for permadeath (I’m so using that name for my band!): The game is pretty bad at explaining its systems, but it looks like it’s pretty easy to avoid on normal difficulty. Every time you get knocked down an injury meter goes up; you can clear this meter at a doctor (in cities), but if you get knocked down four times, you get a permanent injury that hampers your stats.
           Get four of these injuries, and then your character dies permanently.
           Should that happen, though, you have access to a recruiter at towns, where you can hire extra people to switch in and out of your party at any point. If you spend more money, you can get someone with good enough stats to replace a high-level character (though I think you’ll still lose character advancements – don’t quote me on that, though… I still haven’t figured out the boosts and implants system completely.)
            On a party wipe all that happens is your characters get teleported to the nearest city (this happened to me when I wandered to an area where I had no business.)
           
           There’s a casual mode that gets rid of permadeath altogether – though I don’t know if it also makes the game easier.

            So, I guess I’d give it a cautious recommendation.

        • http://twitter.com/marlowespade Chris Holly

           Thanks dread – I think you’ve convinced me to give it a go!

  • ShitMcFuckensteinAVC

    So is Chainsaw Lollipop secretly some sort of smart satire or are we still really making blatantly gratuitous TNA games?

    • http://twitter.com/GasparLewis Adam

      Little from A, little more from B. However, it’s not by any means as bad as the atrocious ad campaign has been.

    • caspiancomic

       I was hoping a good opportunity to discuss this
      clusterfuck
      would present itself today, so I suppose I do owe
      Lollipop Chainsaw some thanks. I, too, honestly cannot tell if this is a cheeky satire or an original flavour grindfest. I’m sure they think it’s a clever combination of both, but let’s be real here, nothing ever is.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        I swear, sometimes YouTube comment sections make 4chan look like a freakin’ picnic by comparison.

      • ToddG

        Is there really a lot to discuss?  Anyone wanna come down on the “pro-YouTube Comments” side?

        • stakkalee

          It’s an object lesson in how NOT to be a decent person, so at least it has that going for itself.

        • HobbesMkii

          The comments over at The Escapist didn’t want to come down as pro-YouTube, but they did want to come down as anti-feminist Kickstarter documentaries.

          http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.378338-Kickstarter-Video-Project-Attracts-Misogynist-Horde

          First it was hilarious to read how that was happening, and then it was really, really, sad.

        • Mookalakai

          @HobbesMkii:disqus I used to frequent the Escapist, but I got sick of how fucking annoying and boring everyone there was, commenters and content posters included. Now I find that the less I read comment threads about gaming, the happier I feel.

        • HobbesMkii

           @Mookalakai:disqus I was really excited about it back when it was like “we’re gonna be the NYTimes Magazine of gaming, and each week we’re going to have 4-5 intelligent, insightful, in-depth articles around one theme.” And then Russ Pitts became Editor-in-Chief and turned it into a repository for video editorials and dull skits with some relation to gaming, maybe, fleshed out by reviews.

          But, man, when it was posting a weekly issue…it was pretty fucking awesome.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        The comments on Kotaku aren’t any better. Even though Kotaku has been posting stories about this kind of stuff lately (bless their lil hearts), the people commenting on there are just as bad as 4chan and reddit.

        I don’t know what it is about videogames that brings out the absolute worst in people. I guess you could chalk it up to these actually being 14 year olds or whatever, and they may be true, but it’s no less horrifying.

        Shit’s fucking absurd. I hate this kinda thing so much. 

        A while ago when I used to post to reddit, I made a thread in the Dota 2 section talking about an article written by a woman who was harassed in game. I argued that “hey, maybe you shouldn’t be a complete racist/sexist/homophobic/shitlord asshole for no reason. Try being nice.” Of course this was met with hostility, people calling me all kinds of slurs, and other people excusing it all away with the weakest arguments known to the internet. There were a few people who agreed, but the responses were overwhelmingly negative. 

        I like videogames. I like playing games online. I hate playing them with the kind of person who plays games online.

        • ToddG

          I am always somehow surprised at the avalanche of extreme and inappropriate reactions to articles like that.  I tend to cut people some slack when actually playing a game online; I believe nobody should be judged when at their most frustrated.  But even then there’s a pretty clear line, and when you’re just tooling around on an internet forum and feel the need to unleash a tirade of whichever-ist slurs?  Well, you’ve just earned about as much contempt as I can muster.  Which is quite a lot, as it turns out.

        • HobbesMkii

           I, and I have no data to back me up on this, it just seems right to me, feel as though the reason is probably the price-point to entry. To play online, you need a computer (and these days, it’s a computer with some decent hardware) or a console. You also need a monthly high-speed internet connection. Plus you need to purchase all the games to go with that. Plus, some of those games (MMOs, XBox Live) require or encourage (F2P) a subscription on top of that.

          I think, given the demographics of wealth and those with time to spend on gaming, that pretty much gives a sizeable advantage to your Average Young White Suburban Male. And (and I do have data for this), unfortunately, AYWSMs in the Millennial generation, as starting to lash out at the concept that they have more privilege than other groups (http://www.thenation.com/blog/167590/race-millennials-and-reverse-discrimination#). So when criticism continues to occur, they behave in a way that, were it not confined to the Internet, everyone around them would find morally reprehensible.

        • stakkalee

          I’m not disagreeing with you but I’d generalize the trend to a lot of different fandoms – I’m thinking particularly of comics, especially whenever those “Hey dudes, this shit is really sexist.” articles come around.  The level of whining, and nitpicking, and straight-up flaming those articles generate is staggering, and it highlights the fact that, frankly, a large percentage of the population is REALLY invested in this idea that “Y’wanna know who really has it bad? White men!”  It’s victimization culture and it’s been promoted for decades now, and we see examples of it every day, especially online.  It’s so bad that it needs to be particularly egregious (like threatening and harassing someone) for us to sit up and take notice.

          And I want to respectfully disagree with @BreakingRad:disqus – high-stress, frustrating situations are where we see a person’s true colors.  I’m not condemning those 14-year-olds shouting ‘ni**er’ and ‘fa**ot’ when they get fragged, but I certainly question whether they’ll gain the maturity and wisdom to behave like a decent person, especially if no one calls them out on that bullshit.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Good call on white male privilege going unchecked. Check out the comments to this Kotaku article trying to explain the concept of privilege. It’s kind of disgusting.
          http://kotaku.com/5910857/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is 

          Before you go online with any game it should ask you a simple series of questions about whether or not it’s ok to call someone slurs and stuff like that, and group those people together and keep them far away from me.

        • Cornell_University

          I think it’s kinda a lousy gotcha to say that someone’s showing their “true colors” when they’re angry or frustrated.  without question there have been incidents of someone blurting something out publicly when they reached breaking point that made people rightfully question some deeper resentment, but plenty of people get overcome with emotion and are shouting “cunt” or whatever and immediately realizing they were out of line.  I have said plenty of things that I later regretted, (most of the Audioslave catalog nyuk nyuk nyuk) it’s part of learning from your mistakes, becoming a better person, and, yknow, growing up.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          It’s the worst kind of irony with all the outrage and protestations elicited when someone dares mention that perhaps people might not want to be such sexist, racist, homophobic malcontents, because all it does is confirm there is a problem.
             That kind of reaction doesn’t exist for something untrue.  No one posts my real address and social security number online if I suggest Roosevelt was in actuality a subterranean lizard person.  But to even suggest that perhaps games aren’t writing female characters as well as they could be…

        • HobbesMkii

           @stakkalee:disqus I’d say it extends into every commercial fandom. There was an article (I can’t find the link) by a female author who criticized the characterization of the women of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and the terrible things that happen to them within.

          The comments were absolutely one of the most horrific series of slurs I’ve ever read–by people who had enough time to dedicate themselves to reading thousands of pages of literature. Now, I didn’t agree with her 100% on every point she made, but I also didn’t feel like her points were so outrageous as to warrant ad hominem attacks.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          @stakkalee:disqus    The thing that’s so frustrating about it, is the entitled white male is indeed still at the top of the heap, and they’re not even enjoying it.  I know the days where I receive preferential treatment in all things for no reason other than my lack of melanin or a second x chromosome are numbered.   I’m sure as hell not going to wallow in false oppression, I’m going to enjoy my low-interest car loan to freely drive through all the neighborhoods of my choosing.
          @Douchetoevsky:disqus   What’s so utterly frustrating about the article on white privilege, is that all the dissenting opinions were just guys saying they don’t have jobs, so it’s not true.  It was all purely anecdotal.  Not a single person was thinking about home ownership, graduation rates, incarceration rates, race and sex in positions of political or corporate power or median income.
             It’s not even an inflammatory statement, there are charts and tables and research out the ass to support it on almost every conceivable level. 

        • stakkalee

          @Cornell_University
          I’m not necessarily damning those people for their slur-of-the-moment, and I’m not going to take their initial defensive reaction to being called out as an admission of anything, but you make the point yourself – growth and change are what’s important, and too many times  what you get instead is whining (“but what about this strawman I’ve just built!”) or nitpicking (“Ah, data shows that men only make X% more than women, not Y% like you claimed, so I can disregard everything you just said”) or flaming (“I’m going to rape you in the eyeballs.”)  It’s important to remember that we’re all a bit sexist, all a bit racist; we’ve all grown up in this toxic stew, and it’s been around so long we can’t even see it until it gets egregious; but it’s always there all the same.  All you can do is keep calling it out and hope someone hears you.

        • George_Liquor

          Reminds me of Louis CK’s bit about how time travel would only be fun for white people.

        • BarbleBapkins

           Not too much I encounter on the internet makes me legitimately angry any more, but this kind of thing absolutely drives me crazy because of how common and how abhorrent it is.  I think it does have a lot to do with the feeling that as @HobbesMkii:disqus says, the people who post these opinions have some sort of reaction against being told “others in society actually have more inherent obstacles in place against them than you do.”

          I can only hope that these opinions are A) held by people who are relatively young and therefor might eventually mature out of that mindset or B) brought about solely from the combination of aggression and anonymity that is present in online games and might not really represent their true feelings (which doesn’t really help explain away this behavior on messageboards and comments).

        • Citric

          God I hate Reddit. There’s this intense need by the people there to conform to the popular view – for that is how one gets upvotes, and upvotes are law. So you’ll get a lot of people who are blindly conforming to house causes and rules, and this odd self-congratulatory streak that prevents people from really thinking about what they and others are thinking. So pretty much everyone is stuck in a feedback loop which confirms and inflates old prejudices.

          Also there are a lot of those damn rage comics which make me want to stab everything.

        • caspiancomic

           While I think it might be a bit broad, I believe @HobbesMkii:disqus’s suggestion that the majority of the shit-distributing being done in these circles is being done by young straight white males. Which really eats me up because, you know, these are technically my people, and they’re making me look like an asshole. I especially like the article discussing the history-blindness and victim-complex horseshit that a lot of these kids pull off.

          As @Douchetoevsky:disqus indicated, Kotaku has demonstrated that the false sense of victimhood is particularly pronounced among gamers, for some reason, who get outrageously defensive about any suggestion that life is absurdly easy for white men, or that non-white non-straight non-men get a lot of unfair and inaccurate representations in games. I thought the problem was just that Gawker media commenters are pretty bad across the board (With the possible sole exception of @bakana42:disqus, natch), but between Reddit and the Escapist, it’s pretty clear that it’s a problem in the subculture, not on any one website’s community.

          Finally, apologies to Mr. Douchetoevsky, whose pager is hella blowing up right now thanks to this thread.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          @caspiancomic:disqus: You know, I’ll concede a lot of arguments that these straight white male whiners make. Maybe the child custody system is unfairly biased against men. Maybe the penal system is overly harsh to men. Maybe young men face discrimination from teachers and staff in elementary schools. But I’ve got to ask these guys: what the fuck does any of that have to do with video games?

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          @caspiancomic:disqus  : While I’m not familiar with the whole of the Gawkersphere, I will say that their scifi site, io9, perhaps by virtue of having a female editor-in-chief, a diverse group of writers, and an older, more educated (I presume) readership than Kotaku, has an extremely matter-of-factly progressive, all-embracing editorial voice (that doesn’t come across as trying too hard, like Kotaku’s often does). And generally quite good commenters. The worst you’ll encounter there is the occasional Randian/Libertarian blowhard (kind of a given in a group sci-fi nerds, I guess).

          That site’s the reason I created a Gawker account in the first place (and probably the place that brings me close enough to Kotaku’s event horizon to get sucked into the black hole of their comment boards…).

        • Mookalakai

           I consider myself the epitome of a sex-starved, sheltered video gaming nerd, and as much as that frustrates me, I can’t fathom why people take out their ridiculous anger on the first women they see who makes them think about….anything really.

        • Cornell_University

          I obviously don’t disagree with any of what you said on the whole.  teenagers are the worst, most self centered, myopic, victimizing assholes ever, and that’s if not the majority of video gaming, then the most important demographic.  I just think that we have to take everything with a grain of salt i.e. if a 14 year old calls me a faggot on Xbox Live it’s waaaayyyy less worthy of my dander gettin’ up than the “discussions” that go on on news sites and people that actually put “DON’T RE-NIG” anti-Obama stickers prominently on their cars (yes that is a thing and no I don’t wanna be alive anymore).  

          and that isn’t to say that the blatant sexism and subtler racism and homophobia in videogames doesn’t matter or should be swept under the rug, I’m just saying it’s all about perspective, and with a genre SO overwhelmingly no country for old men (this site notwithstanding obvs) it’s just got to be a little kinder and gentler in the righteous indignation department.  one, because kids will always be stupid and two, kids will always stop listening if you start moralizing too hardline.  there’s always going to be dingdongs making ridiculous get in the kitchen “jokes”, but I don’t really think nailing anybody to the wall for crass (anonymity fueled) hate speech ends up really solving any problems.

        • Cornell_University

          on rereading all the comments that WEREN’T directed at me it now seems like I’m just being argumentative and/or a complete dink.  my overarching idea still stands but I think the articulation part got away from me, on account of I’ve been drinking since Aliens came on Tv when I got home and the Miami Heat being ahead isn’t helping.  also my kitten has been typing for me like 50% of the time (BECAUSE SHE IS VERY TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL AND EVERYONE LOVES HER)

        • Fixda Fernback

          @bakana42:disqus I absolutely agree, io9 is like a refuge of intelligence in the sea of Gawker crazy. Actually, Lifehacker is pretty awesome for the most part; and, I might be crazy, but I thoroughly enjoy some of the conversations I have on Jezebel. There are some incredibly intelligent people that post there, and many of them are absolutely willing to have discussions that are open minded, and have helped me really grasp some things about feminism that, I thought I had understood, but was misinterpreting. And, for the most part, they’re incredibly welcoming to anyone, as long as that person isn’t going to come in acting like a crazy asshole. 

        • ToddG

          @stakkalee:disqus   I feel that, in your second post, you essentially said the same thing I was trying to.  If they don’t immediately apologize and/or feel remorse about their frustrated outbursts, but instead try to defend it as ok, that’s when I start developing a negative impression.  Also, I didn’t really mean to be talking about the 14-year-olds, but more the college age and older crowd.  The adolescent players absolutely need to learn that this isn’t appropriate, but in my experience, there isn’t really a way for me to effect that from my anonymous headset.  Trying to do so just gives them an “authority” to rebel against with impunity, which is usually all they wanted in the first place.

          Embarrassing confession time: when I get really frustrated (at video games in particular), the first thing my brain usually thinks is “That’s gay.”  Obviously, I hate that this is true, but it is.  It’s what I subconsciously learned from my peers in my formative years as an “appropriate” response to something frustrating.  Now, as an adult, I am capable of preventing myself from actually saying that out loud, not only because it is societally offensive, but also because it is not at all an indicator of my personality and values (even my brain in this frustrated state does not relate this ingrained expletive to its real-world identifier at all.)  So if I ever am frustrated to the point that I actually say that audibly, based on my full self-analysis, I do not think it would reflect my true colors, but a rare and temporary inability to control some of the darker of my emotions.  And so I generally try to give others the benefit of this particular doubt.

        • stakkalee

          @BreakingRad:disqus , @Cornell_University:disqus , I agree with both of you, and I think for the most part we’re arguing around the edges.  I know I can sometimes come off as pretty strident on issues like this and I hope you didn’t feel like I was attacking you because that wasn’t my intent.  Of course those momentary lapses are understandable (my embarrasing confession – the word ‘lame’ still occasionally slips my lips despite my best efforts) and the true test of character is how you respond to being corrected.

          And I also agree that there is a time and a place, in the middle of the “battlefield” might not be the best time to call someone out for using gendered or homophobic language; also, @ToddG:disqus makes another important distinction between those hypothetical 14-year-olds who don’t know any better and people closer to our age, who presumably should.

          I think my ultimate point is that it’s our responsibility as fans to not only think critically about how the dominant cultural narrative is presented to us in the games we play, but also to speak up and educate people when they slip up (or condemn them when they deliberately provoke.)

          Finally, sorry @Douchetoevsky:disqus about what we did to your email account.

        • James Bunting

          Are we allowed to have it both ways? I would like to see more video games starring nuanced, fleshed-out female characters (ideally designed and brought to life by artsy female visionaries) and also still be titillated by entertainment starring stripper superheroes who have to fight Freudian symbols.

          I would also like to acknowledge the general trend of white male supremacy while pointing out, where applicable, micro-trends within the sphere that offer unearned advantages to other groups. Is that cool, or do I get kicked out of the club?

          I guess at my heart I am anti-limitation, pro-inclusion, and pro-exploration, maybe a wannabe cenobite with a sentimental streak. I’m bummed when I hear calls for less of something. Why not more of other stuff? And instead of dismissing the blue-collar whiteboy who never caught a break as a mere anomaly, why not welcome him into the hallowed halls of the oppressed?

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          @google-c497d74a90843bcb9d0e6224d21998e3:disqus Because white males are certainly ridiculously privileged. They are seen as the “default.” This is of course only one (well, two) aspects of privilege, but it is a big one. This isn’t accounting for social class and several other factors obviously, but being a white male (at least in the US, and a lot of other places) provide a huge amount of privileges. 

          I didn’t really mean to single this out, but when talking about privilege it’s one of my peeves when people try to downplay it re: white males. Sure the world can suck for everyone. No one is saying that white dudes don’t have problems with anything ever. By and large though their experience is very different than a minority experience.

          Also, I’m all for different types of women in games. I don’t think we’re really singling out Lollipop Chainsaw right now or anything, but with videogames right now, there are only a handful of ways women are portrayed, and most of the time it’s pretty insulting. 

          The only two decently designed and portrayed female game characters I can think of are Jade (Beyond Good & Evil) and Alyx Vance (Half Life 2). Now that I think about Valve usually does alright (Chell from Portal, Rochell and Zoey from L4D). And I do like Saints Row 3′s character creation, which was mentioned elsewhere in this thread. EVERY other female character I can think of is problematic in some way, or represents a very regressive idea of what women are capable of and stuff like that.

          So until we start getting a wide range of well designed female characters, I’ll continue to slag on games that do stuff like this. Sometimes it is fun to play as a sexy lady and kick ass, but mostly games that do it are exploitative/problematic and it prevents me from enjoying it fully.

          Also, you are totally still allowed in the club. I actually love talking about this stuff, just not to the commenting public on places like kotaku et al. Assuming you read all these words I wrote, thank you.

          Also, at everyone else; I turned off the disqus email thing so i only got a shitload of notifications in that little red box. Thanks for the nice discussion! It’s absolutely refreshing to see reasonable stuff like this, and on a gaming site’s comments no less!

        • James Bunting

          Good to know I can still be in the club, and thank you for the response. Honestly, between the troglodyte masses you guys have beentalking about and the progressive absolutists, I feel like my middle-of-the-road POV is dismissed by both sides… so what follows is basically a pent-up rebuttal to a lot of perceived arguments after listening to the ambient discussions taking place for years and years.

          Sorry in advance!

          Whether we are talking about Kotaku racists or lay-Klansmen of the 50s, it’s important for us not only to understand why they are wrong, but how we can change their point of view. I remember reading that early American indentured servants and slaves lived more or less together during the early days, and that the legal and social refinement and reinforcement of racism at that time had the purpose of cementing class structure (with the rich bastards winning most, poor newfound “whites” winning relatively little *at the time*, and blacks suffering immensely for generations.) But let’s not forget who wrote the rules, and why they wrote them. It certainly wasn’t because the 1% wanted to share their privilege with other people that looked somewhat like them.

          I understand that minority groups have experienced the worst, by far, in terms of oppression in the USA. It’s not even up for discussion. But these are macro-level trends, and they don’t translate very well into individual experience. To tell the 20-something white male who works at Kinko’s for minimum wage to support his alcoholic mother that he is the heir to centuries of truly sinister shit, and that what little he has earned is associated, essentially, with theft and murder… I could see that being a big pill to swallow. In fact, I could see myself getting extremely angry and defensive in that situation, and perhaps seeking ways to justify myself by becoming precisely the type of person you guys have been describing. Or even voting republican. I believe that imaginary white guy has a point, but regardless of whether anyone agrees, that’s not really the issue.

          It’s no secret that white people in the country are less poor than they should be, but it’s important to remember that most poor people in the country, those who are suffering and struggling, are still white. That’s a very large group, and if the goal is to bring them into the progressive fold, you need to offer them something more than guilt. They also need validation. Prodding the discussion toward class and putting it in a historical context might help. That doesn’t mean dismissing racism or sexism as major, entrenched aspects of our society; it means being more inclusive and understanding, which, if I remember my liberal indoctrination correctly, is pretty much what we’re all about.

          As to the randian/new wave individualists, however, I have no solution. Mustard gas? Or maybe they can just all move to the moon base that I’m sure they’ll invent soon with their brilliantly thought-out ideas.

          Speaking to the problem of talking pairs of breasts versus real characters in video games, I hear you, but I just don’t think the solution to the problem in situations like these can be to attack stupid titty games (unless in jest), mainly because I believe that repression of our base desires is one of the most dangerous things out there – see Catholicism. Instead we need to popularize and be supportive of games with real women in them. You know Auntie Pixelante’s tagline – “We must make the games we wish to play in the world.” That’s probably the wisest commentary I’ve read about the whole issue, and it ties beautifully into the larger discussion. In fact, it would be kind of neat to see something like that as an occasional feature on Gameological.

          Wow, that’s definitely my longest internet rant ever. Thanks for bringing that out of me. I feel much better.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

         I lost like half a day getting sucked into irresistible arguments with idiots in the comments of that story. Not my proudest moment, though I think I at least tried to make logical arguments and align myself on the Side of Good.

        I began to pull away when I realized I was probably dealing with a bunch of stupid middle school boys posting on Kotaku now that school was out. Then one of boors I was arguing with mentioned in passing that he was 27, and the blood rushed back to my head – How the hell can an almost-30-year-old say (or type) “I hate feminism. Someone tell this c–t to get back in the kitchen” with a straight face?? – and I was sucked back in.

        The reasonable part of me tells me I shouldn’t waste time at a dumb site arguing anonymously with dumb people on the Dumbternet, and this is a sign I should stick to places like Gameological where there are kind and clever people and disagreements can lead to discoveries.

        But the perhaps unreasonable,argumentative, part of me tells me that if people aren’t called out on their flagrant bullshit, then that will confirm their assumptions and entitlement etc. etc. and only make the problem worse.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Do you have the same avatar on Kotaku?  I recall a thoughtful-appearing Cossack who bravely pisses into the winds of ignorance on that site.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus : Hahaha. Yeah, I’m the resident “thoughtful-appearing Cossack” over there.

        • caspiancomic

           For attempting to reason with the homogeneous, gelatinous slime that is the Kotaku commentariat, I salute you. You’re a better man than I.

        • Enkidum

          It’s not unreasonable at all. 99% of people who read you attempting to say something sensible about feminism, or whatever, will ignore you. But there’s that tiny minority who may not be affected by your words at present, but who, 5 years down the road or whatever, might say “oh, I was really being a douchebag, I shouldn’t do that anymore”. 

          So keep fighting the good fight, brother (sister? sister-brother? mom?).

      • The_Misanthrope

        Anita:  Is it possible women are not portrayed in the best light in video games?
        Regressive Asshole Mob:  Go in the kitchen and make me a sandwich!

        There are days when I feel such an evil, stupid presence  emanating  from the Internet that I worry that it might coalesce and take corporeal form. 

        As for Lollipop Chainsaw, I would say it’s probably on the side of satire, but it can sometimes be hard to tell with Japanese developers.  Sometimes you get auteurs that can kind of walk that fine line, making games that show an awareness of these tropes while also exploiting them for their lurid nature.  Then you have Team Ninja, who decided that the thing that players liked about  Samus was her total dependance on someone else and that it was easier to ogle women if there wasn’t all that story cluttering up your view.

        • Enkidum

          I’ve never played any of the Metroid games (never owned any Nintendo products, actually), but I did read through a summary of the last few iterations and it was really frigging depressing.

      • alguien_comenta

        Well, it’s a Suda 51 game so a little bit of both and something you shouldn’t miss (so, at least a rental)

    • JReich

      It’s from Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture, who did the awesome Shadows of the Damned and the boring but still awesome No More Heroes. Yes, it’s a lot of gratuitous cleavage and dick jokes but the wall-to-wall camp is what makes it work.  Underneath it all, Shadows of the Damned was a pretty run-of-the-mill shooter but stylistically it was one of the most fun games I’ve played recently.

    • RidleyFGJ

      If anyone is interested in it, Lollipop Chainsaw can be yours for $45 on Amazon right now.

      I’m in, just because I haven’t played a Grasshopper Manufacture game that I didn’t like, and this one was scripted by James Gunn.

    • PugsMalone

      Are there shimapan in this? That’s make-or-break for me.

      • Aaron Riccio

        Given how many costumes there are to purchase for your main character, I’m sure there are. More importantly, the game gives you a 15G achievement for maneuvering the camera angle for an up-skirt shot, so if the game’s being satirical, it’s doing so very lazily. 

        Also, given the games that have preceded it, the camera itself is crazily and inexcusably oversensitive (LIKE A WOMAN, see what I did there?), and the combat suffers from not having a gimmick (like the WiiMote) to distract from how repetitive and cheesy it is. (Batman: Arkham City this is not, though it wants you to think it has a profound combo system, and wants you to compete on its global leaderboard.)

        I’m hoping it gets better — the first boss battle against Zed is at least comically outrageous, a battle like something out of the film version of Scott Pilgrim, with curse words flying out of his mouth and straight at you — but I’m not sure I can stomach the demanding slog of timed events of “Zombie Basketball” or “Don’t let the fire-zombies reach your explosive-filled birthday cake.”

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      I hate it when games like this come out. It’s just a big reminder who the target demographic is and it’s kind of embarrassing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

        All of this. I tried playing No More Heroes, and the OH MY GOD SATIRE levels were so over the top that they weren’t fun or funny, especially for a not-so-great game. And once I found myself holding the Wiimote to my ear to “listen” to a phonecall from some girl who would not stop talking, I turned it off and sent it back to Gamefly post-haste.

        I mean, I get that the whole thing is a campy joke, but Lollipop Chainsaw says nothing about the ridiculousness of genre, unlike Saint’s Row 3. I find it SO weird that when we’re finally coming around to speaking about the problem with women in games (Other M, Tomb Raider), here comes this game that completely undermines it.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Remember when Duke Nukem Forever was about to come out, and people were all “haha, it’s satire that this game is blatantly misogynistic! Don’t you get it??” Because I do. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus  I don’t know what’s sadder: that, or when everyone was saying how “deep” the story to Gears of War was after the 3rd game came out.

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        Yeah, as I understand it Suda 51 is kind of a self-styled “Quentin Tarantino of video games,” employing trash tropes with tongue in cheek while simultaneously celebrating them.

        However, his satire seems to misfire and fall more on the “perpetuating stereotypes” end of things than the “subverting stereotypes” end of things, but that may just be me.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          This is 100-percent right.  Grasshopper is Lovedelic for low culture.

          He really should just cash in on his Fire Pro Wrestling days and create the ultimate wrestling game.  Think about all of his influences.  How phenomenal would it be?

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          I feel like there’s a point where something ironic becomes the very thing it’s mocking. Maybe Lollipop Chainsaw is the Cobra Starship of gaming.

  • PaganPoet

    I will say that I was very grateful that Saints Row: The Third allowed the player to customize their male character’s bulge size. Pictured: equality!

    • dreadguacamole

      For all its attitude, Saint’s Row 3 was amazingly egalitarian. Just one more reason to love it!

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        I’m playing Saints Row 2 right now, and in my dozen hours of play, I’ve shot a surprising number of female gangs members in the face. So, um, yay for equality, I guess…

      • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

        Yeah, in certain ways, amid its over-the-top humor, Saints Row 3 was one of the most socially progressive video games I’ve seen in a long while. A lot of the satire is so clever and smart. There were some thoughtful folks working on that game.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          Great, now you’re making me feel bad for not getting it when it was on sale on Steam a couple of weeks back.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          My favorite bit about the SR games is that gender affects your character model, but does not limit what kinds of clothes you can wear, or even what your voice sounds like. Creating characters is half the fun.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          @Merve2:disqus Dollars to donuts says you’ll have your chance again with the Steam summer sale.  They might even throw in a gender-neutral cock ring harness for your trouble.

        • George_Liquor

           @Douchetoevsky:disqus: Cool! Simulated hormone therapy!

        • Citric

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus  My big, fat, bearded cockney mob boss sometimes just liked wearing flowery sun dresses and high heels, and everyone was okay with that.

    • Mookalakai

       I think I gave my character a really small penis in my play through, so it would seem like his mindless violence and chaos was compensating for his inadequate genitalia. Unless I’m just projecting, that is.

      (fun fact, I initially misspelled genitalia, and the second suggestion was Natalia.)

  • Chip Dipson

    It should be noted that Sony is committing a serious breach in their standards and practices by releasing a new original game for the PS Vita this week with Gravity Rush. If it’s as much fun as the demo, I’ll finally have a reason to temporarily squash my buyer’s remorse with that system.

    • Raging Bear

      I’ll be quashing alongside you. Hopefully, it will also keep me from getting random PSP games I was vaguely interested in years ago out of boredom, only to play them for ten minutes and wonder “what THE FUCK was I thinking?”

      Actually, Cladun is pretty cool. The second Untold Legends is not.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    The thing is, even post-apocalypse Sweden has universal health care.

    • dreadguacamole

       They’re milking the Swedish angle for all it’s worth.
       My favorite: they put out a collector’s edition that goes for something like $10000; if you buy it, the game’s designer (I think) flies out to your house, plays the game with you for a few hours, and then cooks you a meal.
       No indication whether he’ll go “bork bork bork!” at any point; I’d feel gypped if he didn’t, though.

      • Electric Dragon

        For $10,000 it’d better be an amazing meal. Definitely not IKEA meatballs and lingonberry juice.

      • Enkidum

        Is this really a thing (the game designer flying out)? Because that’s totally awesome.

        • dreadguacamole

           It’s still available!

           http://store.fatshark.se/games/krater-10-000-victor-edition.html

          ——-

          Krater $10,000 Victor Edition

          Get your Krater delivered personally by Game Designer Victor Magnuson!

          What can really add to your gaming experience? A virtual pet, a golden
          weapon, or an action figure? Well, yes to all, but we wanted to bring
          something even more unforgettable to the table—food and a Swedish chef!

          That’s the 10.000 Dollar Victor Edition of Krater!
          In the superior 10.000 Dollar Krater you will not only get the
          Collector´s Edition of the game delivered to your door—wherever in the
          world it might be—by the Krater Game Designer Victor Magnuson, he will
          also get you going in the World of Krater as your backseat player the
          first few hours. As Victor is a, self-proclaimed, great cook he will
          prepare a feast for the 10.000 Dollar buyer before heading into Krater’s
          Swedish fauna.

          The 10.000 Dollar buyer can either be surprised by Victor’s choice of
          the day, or choose between a few menus such as the Viking Burger,
          Swedish Meatballs, Fisksaetra Pita Burger Special, or Ester Ore Pretto
          Pizza *.

          ——–

           It’s the sort of thing one would expect as a top-tier Kickstarter reward, but it’s so much funnier presented as a collector’s edition…

  • Citric

    I’m beginning to suspect that Suda 51 might be a 14 year old boy.

  • ferrarimanf355

    Just got Lollipop Chainsaw. It’s my first Suda 51 title.

    I hope it’s good.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

    Gungnir!  Who loves Sting games?  People who love arcane tactics games that came into their own durig the Playstation 1 generation.  Feel like you’ve been transported back to to 1996 and own it today!  (It’s very good.)

    • Enkidum

      Eh?

      Are you busier than usual these days? Your comments seem more telegraphic than usual – or maybe I’m just more stressed.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        I am, but I kind of just wanted to talk about Gungnir and no one else was?

        I mean, everything I said was true. Did I type something wrong? (Alternatively, go visit the Rev. reviews.)

    • caspiancomic

       You know, Gungnir, despite bordering on being unpronounceable, actually looks like my kind of game. I’m a big Final Fantasy Tactics fan, and generally speaking enjoy games where most of the challenge comes from properly outfitting and preparing a group of characters for incoming challenges. Turn-based rather than real-time strategy has always been my jam, and it’s an itch that hasn’t been satisfyingly scratched by anything besides Disgaea recently. If I had a PSP, I’d probably check this out.

      • Aaron Riccio

        @GhaleonQ:disqus : Those rare times when I’m able to make it past the lengthy-as-balls tutorials, I find myself enjoying Sting games. But I must emphasize just how rare those times are, and how frustrating I can be when I realize that I’ve missed several characters/scenes from the first several chapters because of techniques I didn’t even realize existed yet. (Seriously, having to smash objects in Knights in the Nightmare created my first-ever slow-burn rage-quit.)
        @caspiancomic:disqus : Turn-based games are great thing, and I’m looking forward to new Fire Emblem games. (Whatever happened to the Battalion Wars IP?) But I’m not entirely with you on preparation: the endless customization of character stats, upgrades, classes, and items in the Disgaea series made me give up — not solely from the time-suck, but because once I’m in the battle, I still want a challenge. 

        For that reason, I miss the good old days of Shining Force, and I wish they could get all three episodes of Shining Force III properly ported to a system that I actually have.

        • caspiancomic

           To each his own, I suppose. I’m certainly prepared to admit I’m probably in the minority: I think most people probably find equipping new socks on all your characters and tweaking everyone’s skillsets to be complementary to be extremely tedious, but I’ll be damned if I don’t spend hours min/maxing my every generic in FFT. It’ll come as no surprise that I’m no fun at parties.

          Although I fully endorse any praise going Shining Force’s way. Shining Force II is still one of my favourite games of all time, and I replay that shit all the time. It’s definitely a good example of a game where pure strategy (or at least cheesing the AI) takes priority over grinding stats and making sure everyone’s wearing the newest town’s socks of +3 wisdom. It’s a shame the Shining series went down such a strange road in its later years, the Shining Force games were excellent. And yeah, getting the rest of Shining Force III would’ve been a treat.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          As much as I would love for Sting to garner big hits, your points are too true for that to happen.  It’s not like From, who just abandons you to figure it out.  It seems like purposeful frustration.

          I’m with Caspian, otherwise.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        As I’ve said elsewhere, Nippon Inchi and SystemPrisma are doing great work in the genre.

        I can’t more highly recommend the one in English known as Z.H.P..  It’s a moderately difficult dungeon crawler with a phenomenal sense of humor and game design that’s mixed with tactics-like movement strategy.

        Sting games are also great if (and it sounds like you are) you’re a role-playing collectathon nerd.  There are enough unique items, characters, and aesthetics to fall into the collect-them-all trap.

        And I believe that Shining Force III has a full English patch, even for the bonus disc.  As you guessed, it IS 1 of the best games in the genre ever (it might make my top 30 games of all-time).

        • Aaron Riccio

          Yeah, I saw the notes on the English patch’s progress, but don’t you still need to burn ISOs of the game and have a modded Saturn that’ll run ‘em? I’ve complained about this before, but if it were easy enough to get a Saturn, I’d have played Panzer Dragoon Saga by now.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          @google-19efbd0104cbaffa5782aef5b7104019:disqus I think that’s old news?  Or maybe it requires a PSP?  I swear there was a breakthrough 2 years ago or so.  I don’t think physical .isos are necessary anymore.  If they are, check the Saturn emulator on PSP.

  • Aaron Riccio

    Here’s a game I’ve been enjoying so far: Splice. There’s hardly any instruction, no story, and the game just throws you into its structural logic puzzles — but with such aesthetic finesse that it sucks you in. It’s also got an amazing Braid-like rewind feature that begs for you to experiment with possible solutions, and then to go back and try again.

  • James Bunting

    Good to
    know I can still be in the club, and thank you for the response. Honestly,
    between the troglodyte masses you guys have been deriding and the progressive
    absolutists, I feel like my middle-of-the-road POV is dismissed by both
    sides… so what follows is basically a pent-up rebuttal to a lot of perceived
    arguments after listening to the ambient discussions taking place for years and years.

    Sorry in advance!

    Whether we
    are talking about Kotaku racists or lay-Klansmen of the 50s, it’s important for
    us not only to understand why they are wrong, but how we can change their point
    of view. I remember reading that early American indentured servants and slaves
    lived more or less together during the early days, and that the legal and
    social refinement and reinforcement of racism at that time had the purpose of
    cementing class structure (with the rich bastards winning most, poor newfound
    “whites” winning relatively little *at the time*, and blacks suffering immensely for generations.) But let’s not forget who wrote the
    rules, and why they wrote them. It certainly wasn’t because the 1% wanted to
    share their privilege with other people that looked somewhat like them.

    I understand
    that minority groups have experienced the worst, by far, in terms of oppression
    in the USA. But these are macro-level trends, and they don’t translate very
    well into individual experience. To tell the 20-something white male who works
    at Kinko’s for minimum wage to support his alcoholic mother that he is the heir
    to centuries of truly sinister shit, and that what little he has earned is associated, essentially, with theft… I could see that being a big pill to swallow. In fact, I
    could see myself getting extremely angry and defensive in that situation, and
    perhaps seeking ways to justify myself by becoming precisely the type of person
    you guys have been describing. Or even voting republican. And frankly, that imaginary white guy has a point.

    It’s no
    secret that white people in the country are less poor than they should be, but
    it’s important to remember that most poor people in the country, those who are
    suffering and struggling, are still white. That’s a very large group, and if
    the goal is to bring them into the progressive fold, you need to offer them
    something more than guilt. They also need validation. Prodding the discussion
    toward class and putting it in a historical context might help. That doesn’t
    mean dismissing racism or sexism as major, entrenched aspects of our society; it means being more inclusive and
    understanding, which, if I remember my liberal indoctrination correctly, is
    pretty much what we’re all about.

    As to the
    randian/new wave individualists, however, I have no solution. Mustard gas? Or maybe they can just all move to the moon base that I’m sure they’ll
    invent soon with their brilliantly thought-out ideas.

    Speaking to
    the problem of talking pairs of breasts versus real characters in video games,
    I hear you, but I just don’t think the solution to the problem in situations
    like these can be to attack stupid titty games (unless in jest), mainly because I believe that
    repression of our base desires is one of the most dangerous things out there - see Catholicism. Instead
    we need to popularize and be supportive of games with real women in them. You
    know Auntie Pixelante’s tagline – “We must make the games we wish to play
    in the world.” That’s probably the wisest commentary I’ve read about the
    whole issue, and it ties beautifully into the larger discussion. In fact, it
    would be kind of neat to see something like that as an occasional feature on
    Gameological.

    Wow, that’s
    definitely my longest internet rant ever. Thanks for bringing that out of me. I feel much better.