Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.
Drew Toal enjoyed shooting the bejeezus out of space zombie things in Dead Space 3 but found that its central love triangle lacked a certain grace. In the comments, Effigy Power reacted strongly to the love interest’s ample bosom:
And yet another year goes by without a game that turns the table on the love triangle. Unless the game has two female action badasses stomping xenomorphs (we all know that’s what these are) for male or female attention.
Right, dudes get armor, lady get’s incredibly deep space cleavage. Fuck you, Visceral. If you need to know how to make a female character sexy without whoring her up, check in your own EA-owned backyard and take a lesson from FemShep and FemHawke. Then try again.
PS: I realize that my posts have become increasingly bitter about this. I apologize for that, I certainly don’t want to be that person. But when a game doesn’t think that intellect and determination are good enough without big tits, it just gets so old.
In the ensuing discussion, which is worth checking out in its entirety, Nick pushed back on behalf of Dead Space’s scientist character:
Have you played the Dead Space franchise? Because this is Ellie Langford, the girl you’re talking about. When they land on the planet, everyone gets suits (except Buckell, who dies), but before that, only Isaac has one because it’s an engineer suit and he needs it for venturing in space, and Carver and Norton, who have battle armor because they’re soldiers.
Also, she’s a fighter pilot. In case you didn’t watch the YouTube clip, the first time you meet her in the second game, she’s killing an endless horde of necromorphs while cursing everything after being the last survivor of her group. She’s not some cliché sex object. She’s a very well-rounded character. Better in the 2nd game than the 3rd, but still a strong female character in both her appearances.
Elsewhere, Pgoodso brought up Gears Of War as a counter-example to the trend Effigy decried:
You know what’s terrifying? Out of all the A-List games in the last 5 years or so, it’s the Gears Of War series that probably has the most appropriately dressed women in video games: plain administrative wear for administrators, same beefed-up battle armor as the dudes when shit goes down. You didn’t even see any skin until Gears Of War 3. No cleavage to be found. And though saving a character’s wife was a minor plot point in Gears 2, for the most part, the women could take care of themselves and saved the men just as much as the opposite.
For such an appalling (if enjoyable) gruntfest, I think it’s strange that it’s these games out of all of them that treated women as equals, at least comparatively.
Making a case for games that eschew unnecessary voice acting, Anthony John Agnello wrote about the importance of silence in a For Our Consideration op-ed. Vinny Bushes considered The Sims, where characters aren’t silent but don’t use language, either:
I think there’s also something really interesting about the way we perceive characters who speak in gibberish. The original Sims wouldn’t have been nearly as gut-bustingly hilarious if my Sims had been able to speak an actual language. Imagining what my Sim is screaming about after he pees himself and passes out on the lawn just before he was going to propose marriage, is way more fun than hearing pre-canned dialogue. At the same time, if he had been completely silent, I wouldn’t have been able to identify with his strange streak of humanity that made that moment so funny in the first place.
Mattman Begins shared a story about poking through the audio files of Space Quest IV:
My dad and I were poking around on the CD for the speechified Space Quest IV, looking for a read-me about system requirements or some such. (This was back in the DOS days when you had to more seriously worry about such things.)
Dad accidentally ran a sound file that contained THE ENTIRETY of Gary Owens’ narration, and we spent the next…interminable amount of time listening to “A darn cute bunny!” “A battery!” “You can’t DO that!” “…as usual, you’ve been a real pantload!” etc. The non-sequitur nature of disconnected cue after disconnected cue, coupled with the majestically zany voice of Owens, was a riot at first. But after 45 minutes of that, with my father literally passed out in the corner waiting for it all to end, it was the very definition of “too much of a good thing.”
The Cave Of Unforgettable Marshmallows
Our monthly video gabfest The Digest returned, and Gameological editor John Teti was joined by Drew Toal to discuss The Cave. They both found Ron Gilbert’s puzzle adventure enjoyable, but problematic, to which Girard agreed:
The whole thing feels like it’s making design mistakes that Ron had already managed to resolve pretty ably 25 years ago in Maniac Mansion, a game where multiple characters’ different abilities do afford different inventive solutions, do organically access different parts of the game world, do make replays fun rather than repetitive, and do afford access to different win-states/endings that aren’t contingent on a totally bullshit 11th-hour false binary moral choice thing.
Comment Cat can’t resist an illustrated comment. Effigy Power gave Drew’s now-shaven mustache the sendoff that it deserved:
And I’d be remiss not to thank stakkalee for providing homemade marshmallows as this month’s Digestible. They were delicious!
Likening the newest Sly Cooper platformer, Thieves In Time, to its Looney Tunes roots, Anthony John Agnello felt the could have benefited from more slapdash cartoon logic and less bloat. Kevin Johnson had a different take:
I’m not sure if Sly Cooper is strictly adherent to cartoon logic. It’s a bit more personal and… deeper?… than a typical cartoon. Sly Cooper—and indeed, the most apt of the 3D platformers like Ratchet & Clank and Jak And Daxter—mine the idea of the cartoon while delving more into the characters and the situation into something different. Characters can (and do) die. Bently breaks his legs. There’s usually more at stake than the comic sensibilities of the shorts from the ’60s.
You Give Love A Bad Game
In honor of yesterday’s made-up lovey-dovey holiday, we compiled a list of video games’ most woefully unhealthy relationships. As always, the list grew larger in the comments, and Cookie Monster pointed out Double Dragon’s maybe (?) incestous romance:
Also worth mentioning Double Dragon, where two brothers team up to save girl, who seem to be girlfriend of both brothers. Me guess having two boyfriends okay if you can make it work, but not if threesome involve immediate family members. As legendarily creepy commenter once say, “NO INCEST!”
And finally, Destroy Him Robots had a report on a little-known Japanese gem:
I played Assault The Cheating Boyfriend! Caught You Red-Handed, which is a bad adventure-type game with a dumber and uglier version of the Phoenix Wright court room scenes. But as the title implies, the entire premise is that you gather evidence that your boyfriend is cheating on you and confront him. There was no way I could have resisted the lure of using the 3DS’ gyroscope to throw incriminating perfume at these badly drawn, smug, questionable anime bastards. Credit where credit is due: The bad endings where you stay with the guy because you couldn’t find enough evidence do pack an appropriate amount of gut punch.
Well, that’s it, folks. Thanks for reading and commenting, and we’ll see you next week.