Out This Week

The Night Of The Rabbit

The Me Amigos

In this week’s new releases, aid comes from not just your friends but also your replicant self, a giant terrifying bunny aristocrat, and off-brand Teletubbies.

By Drew Toal • May 29, 2013

Out This Week is a look at a few new games that are out this week.

PS3, Xbox 360—May 28

Cooperative multiplayer is difficult for me. I often feel like Ben Stiller in Mystery Men. “Looks like tonight, the lone wolf rides…alone.” In much the same way as Mr. Furious, I’m a ticking time bomb of fury, one that doesn’t play well with others because my only real power is that I get pissed off at my own incompetence. In games like Left 4 Dead or Fuse, if I get tripped up or just outright panic—regular occurrences, in my experience—people end up dead, and it’s all out there for the public record. In no time, I feel like the kid picked last in dodge ball. You know, the one no one wants on their team because he’s just a slow-moving, projectile-attracting target. But hey, if anyone is looking for cannon fodder, I’m your dude.

The Swapper
PC—May 30

If I could make fully functioning replicas of myself—like the main character in The Swapper—the first thing I would do is order Drew Light to get me a Bud Light out of the refrigerator. Next, I would form an impromptu poker night. (I’d clean up, because I know when these handsome jerks are bluffing.) But maybe I should be thinking bigger. This is, after all, an amazing ability, and the possibilities for fun and profit are endless. Better make it two Bud Lights, Drew Light. And a sandwich.

The Night Of The Rabbit
Mac, PC—May 29

The Night Of The Rabbit is a point-and-click adventure game concerned with a top-hatted Oliver Twist reject and a well-heeled six-foot-tall talking Satanic bunny warlock. The thing is, all I can think about are the screams of the thousands of adorable normal-sized rabbits I’ve killed for food in Dont Starve. The killing fields of box-and-stick traps, the generations of extended Cottontail family members destined to become stringy jerky or delicious meatballs. It was them or me, but Watership Down is suddenly the most depressing book on earth.

The Denpa Men 2: Beyond The Waves
Nintendo 3DS—May 30

The original Denpa Men incorporated the Nintendo 3DS’ camera in a way that allowed the player to pick these little Oompa Loompa-looking guys out of the air—they exist on the ephemeral wi-fi plane—and send them into virtual dungeons to do battle. Beyond The Waves expands on the original premise to include towns and fishing, but the idea remains a little unsettling. There is so much unseen shit floating around out there—pollution, germs, cell phone brain cancer death rays—that being reminded of this invisible threat, even in this incredibly harmless looking form, speaks to my inner bubble boy.

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98 Responses to “The Me Amigos”

  1. duwease says:

    Why is it always giant rabbits?  Giant squirrels can be menacing too, people.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Normal squirrels are menacing. Those fools will stare you down to filth.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        Never trust the squirrels…

      • The little red ones are scary enough, but do you have the giant black ones where you live? They run around on power lines in the suburbs of Toronto. Absolutely terrifying.

      • Enkidum says:

        Is being scared of squirrels really a thing? They’re, like, an eighth of a pound.

        True story: I crushed a squirrel’s head with a large rock once. Not for fun, it was flipping around my backyard covered in sweat and moaning and salivating – probably not rabies, but something not unlike it. Seemed like the best thing to do for it. Only mammal I’ve ever deliberately killed. 

        Well, except for all those hoboes. 

        • PaganPoet says:

          Well, it’s not like I’d cross the street or anything, but I do sometimes wonder if you stared down a squirrel for too long if it would try to scratch your face off. I’d rather not have to get an emergency tetanus shot.

        • duwease says:

          Strangely enough, in my playthrough of Scribblenauts, any time anything calls for meat, “tiny hobo” seems to suffice.

      • mizerock says:

        They are way too aggressive in DC. Too many people feed them. I have seen them climb up a chair to grab food off of a plate — while someone was sitting in the chair!

        In places where they are hunted (KY?), they use their acrobatic skills to stay invisible. Moving around a tree slowly and silently as you walk by.

        On the plus side, the local Red Hawk population grows fat on squirrels that have forgotten fear.

        All the black squirrels on the east coast of the US orginated with a group that was released (on purpose!) from the National Zoo in 1923, after being sent there from Rondeau Provincial Park in Ontario.

      • mizerock says:

        My Mom spent her winters in CT trying to keep squirrels out of the bird food. They are so acrobatic and wily! Then my parents moved to Albuquerque, where there are no squirrels (!), and she quickly grew bored with her bird feeder.

    • Chronomage says:

      It’s the ears.  When embiggened, they’re scary like antlers.  Squirrel ears are barely there.  It’s also why the legendary jack a lope, with ears and antlers, will haunt your dreams.

  2. Xyvir says:

    I got the first one. It’s a little bland gameplay wise. It has a quirky feel and theme, and catching denpa men is novel. I give it a medium out of perfect.

  3. Somebody needs to get on that great need for a co-op cannon fodder game. See who amongst your friends can sacrifice themselves in the most unnecessary way in the face of moderate opposition!

    • mizerock says:

      That seemed to be the way I played co-op “Left 4 Dead”. Aren’t the Zombies expected to be disposed of quickly? Apparently not THAT quickly, based on the fact that I got tossed from my first two multiplayer matches.

  4. Fluka says:

    New Tropes vs. Women in Video Games video up to argue about with friends and loved ones!  After being taken down once by a massive “flagging” campaign on youtube, naturally.

    Personal thoughts: honestly, I think it’s much more effective than the first video.  Not even for the conclusions that she’s drawing, although it’s interesting that this video on “fridging” and its relationship to a culture of domestic violence came out within a day of Facebook admitting it has not adequately dealt with hate speech towards women.  I think it’s remarkable for the sheer volume of examples.  The repetition of “Your wife is murdered and you have to rescue your daughter” would be utterly hilarious if it also weren’t so depressing.  It’s not that the individual games are sexist (some are, some aren’t).  It’s seeing them lined up next to one another, repeating the same tired pattern over and over.  Though to be honest, most individual instances of “This lady must be fought or mercy-killed while she whispers thank you” are also really fucking creepy.

    No, not every game nor even most games in a single year have this trope.  That’s not the point.  Yes, this particular captured/murdered/mutilated woman was well-developed and not portrayed in a sexist way.  That’s not the point.  Yes, Samus Aran and Faith do exist in the same gaming universe. That’s not the point.  The point is that this narrative happens over and over again, in a way which doesn’t happen to male characters.  And we should probably talk about why.

    Particularly interesting part – discussion of game mechanics at the end, and how violence is the primary “verb” for dealing with problems.  

    • Thank for you for not being Kotaku.  The comments there (what I consider a decently intelligent site otherwise, honest) have so many (well-written!!) arguments to the contrary.

      • TheMidgarian
        Someone got to try and explain to me why we all apparently agree upon the fact that sexual objectification of women in video games (and elsewhere!) is so, so, so wrong.

        Pieces of media with poorly developed characters don’t really favor one gender over the other, be it for what audience it’s intended towards. Yeah, I know they’ll all say that the sexual objectification of men isn’t the same: it’s a power fantasy, –as if it was a real thing– whereas sexual objectification of women typically is not.

        Well, make your own damn female power fantasies, dammit. You can start safe knowing that I won’t whine on the Internet because you wrote a male character with shallow traits reflecting your own desires.

        I’m tired of a world where I can’t enjoy rescuing big-breasted almost naked damsels (while at the same time enjoying interesting characters of all genders with interesting, mind challenging stories in fiction that lend themselves to it, thank you very much) because we have to indulge the idiots who can’t tell the fucking difference between a character and a real person.

        • Fluka says:

          It would make me so happy if @Reposted_Kotaku_Comments:disqus were actually Evan Narcisse blowing off steam.

        • Enkidum says:

          The sad part is there are several almost-valid points in there. I think that objectification gets a unnecessarily bad rap in a lot of cases – if you’re lusting after someone (or having sexytimes with them) and you’re not objectifying them in some respect, you’re doing it wrong. (Or, at least, you’re missing out on some pretty awesome right ways of doing it.)

          Ah well…

    • I always find it weird and deeply problematic when people point out these kinds of tropes (which, really, are hacky cliches with an egregious sexist bent), the response is CENSORSHIP BAAAAAAH YOU STIFLE THE CREATIVE TEAM BAAAAAAAH. Which is so… I don’t know. Why is it when people say, “You know, XYZ is kinda over used,” so many people think it’s some attempt to fringe on the First Amendment?

      It’s not like we’re saying the government needs to step in to stop this. We’re saying that it may be better in for the creative community as a whole to think about making different creative story decisions and try new ideas and dynamics. Can we have something -different- for once? It is -that- hard to try and ask more women and minorities for more creative input?

      • PaganPoet says:

        People in general really use “1st Amendment” as a knee-jerk reaction to any kind of controversy because they really don’t even understand what it means. “OMG SO-AND-SO IS BEING CRITICIZED FOR SAYING SOMETHING HOMOPHOBIC!? SO MUCH FOR THE FIRST AMENDMENT, LIBTARDS!!!”

      • Fluka says:

        The whole “free speech” argument is one of the more insidious tactics used to derail serious conversations out there.  “My right to call her a c*** on YouTube is sacrosanct and protected by the government.  Her right to express her critical opinion on other people’s work is censorship.”  Sigh.  They don’t even want the conversation to happen in the first place.

        I really just want better games.  These tropes aren’t just problematic.  They’re boring.  My hope is that the publicity given to the series (and the backlash against the assholes) will prompt a little bit of self-reflection in game developers.  Which I’m actually fairly optimistic about, given this thoughtful post by Cliff Bleszinski.

        • PaganPoet says:

          I just wonder how come the people who are creating these one dimensional female characters in their games don’t imagine the women in their own lives? I don’t believe that all or most of them are misogynistic people who treat women like crap, so surely they must love and appreciate their own mothers and wives and daughters and sisters and friends. Why don’t they think about what kind of people they are, what they struggle with, what their personalities are like, etc.? Why do we get the same boring female characters all the time?

        • Fluka says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus I always raise my eyebrows when people say that it took having a daughter and raising her to make them realize how awful women’s roles in games were.  But…surely if you had a daughter (and you’re not a male gay couple, adopting as a single father, etc.), there’s some wife/female/child-bearing person as well?  Did you never look at them and view them as human, or wonder “why aren’t there games for her”?  I suppose it’s because we like to pass on our interests to our children.  But it’s still striking how socialized people can be, to ignore how we’re presenting half the human race.

        • neodocT says:

           I think what you said about those tropes being boring is very important to this discussion. I agree they’re boring, and their overuse leads to dull, uninspired plotlines. However, I’m guessing the more vocal critics of these discussions aren’t necessarily sexist chauvinists, but mostly people that still enjoy the storylines and have little understanding on why people want changes.

          I remember reading a Film Crit Hulk piece on how people’s emotional connections with movies make  them more vocal on whether they like a given movie or not, even when they may not be able to explain what it is they like or dislike. I think something similar may be going on here with games, where some feel critics are needlessly interfering with products they enjoyed, though, to the critics, those products had huge (if unintentional) sexist connotations.

        • Girard says:

          That post is fantastic. I tend to forget that despite the ‘DudeHuge’ persona and the superficial appearance of his games, that both that dude and his games are actually (reportedly) pretty awesome.

          It is weird how hard it seems to be for so many media creators to empathize with women. Especially because, even if a man never had a daughter, never married a woman, never had sisters, hell, wasn’t raised by a mother…HALF OF ALL THE PEOPLE THERE ARE ARE WOMEN. Unless you live in some insane cloistered theocracy, it is impossible to not encounter someone of the other sex and/or gender. There are parts of this country where you can live and never meet a Jewish person, or someone of South Asian descent, or whatever. There is NOWHERE you can live without having met both men and women.

          Combine this with the fact that both men and women are, you know, the same species and generally have more commonalities than differences with men, and it really shouldn’t be that hard to engage in place-taking and mental co-mapping (i.e. empathy) with someone of a different sex/gender. It’s not like you’re trying to get into the head of some deep-sea cephalopod.

          This really shouldn’t be that hard, game-making dudes. Come on.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Close cousin to the “Free-Speech” defense? The “Everything is so politically correct, y’all” approach.
          Of course one run through the translator reveals that that particular nugget is just a slightly nicer way of saying “My grand-dad got to beat his wife and my dad got to treat women like whores for wearing short skirts, why don’t I get to?”…

      • Girard says:

        Does any other criticism lead to whiny cries of “Censorship!!!!”?
        Wouldn’t it be funny if these same kids flipped their shit and accused, say, the AVClub of ‘censoring’ Seth McFarlane whenever they rake him over the coals for over-reliance on reference humor? “He has a first amendment RIGHT to have Patrick Duffy working the sno-cone booth at the mall! What are you – some kind of COMMUNIST trying to stifle his right to say what he wants with his art!?!”

        • Roswulf says:

          I actually think any criticism of speech grounded in the essential argument “This speech is damaging to society, so I wish it wouldn’t happen” provokes cries of censorship.  I’d refer you to the kerfuffle over the pulled episode of Hannibal as one recent example.

          Now to be clear, I think the cries of censorship are particularly idiotic in this particular instance and particularly loud whenever sexism is at play. But to me these cries are emblematic of a larger problem.

           Many people are uncomfortable with the idea that speech can be harmful, and that it is therefore the responsibility of speakers (insofar as they are not assholes) to weigh their words. Moreover as a consumer of culture, it is hard to hear an argument that a thing that brought you joy probably shouldn’t have been created.

        • Fluka says:

          @Roswulf:disqus I can’t speak to the nationality of the people crying “censorship!!!”, but I feel like the myth of completely unfettered free speech is a very American concept.  My husband is from western Europe, where a bunch of countries have free speech protections which are tempered by fairly hefty exceptions for hate speech and discrimination.  France, Germany, and a bunch of other countries explicitly outlaw Holocaust denial, for instance.  So the American idea that you have the right to say essentially whatever you want, no matter how offensive or damaging, seems very strange to him.

          I grew up American, and I very much believe in the more neutral, blanket protection given to speech here.  What I hate, however, is the attitude that the First Amendment seems to foster, which is that all speech is good speech.  Furthermore, the idea that it guarantees your speech freedom from consequences.  Sure, it means the government won’t clap you in irons for being a dick.  But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to call you a dick.

        • Enkidum says:

          @Fluka:disqus yes, exactly that. 
          I’m, frankly, against hate speech laws – I think people should be allowed to endorse and advocate any position short of very deliberate encouragement of felonies, and even there the onus should very much be on the government to prove that there was a serious threat.

          But free speech in a legal sense does not mean that you can come into my house (or my website) and tell me all about your stupid beliefs if I don’t want you to. 

          And the fact that you are allowed to express stupid and hateful views (and, indeed, your right to do so is enshrined in law) does not mean that you should, or that people telling you to stop being an asshole are somehow repressing you.

      • I think “Freeze Speech” is a more appropriate term for what happens when people invoke the First Amendment to silence dissent. It silences all reasonable discussion.

        Freeze Speech: A Dramatization

        HELEN and EUNICE are in the kitchen of the condo they share.

        HELEN: Let’s have hamburger for supper.

        EUNICE: I’m tired of hamburger. Plus, I’m trying to cut down on the fat I eat.

        HELEN: Are you trying to deny my freedom to eat beef?

        EUNICE: What?

        HELEN: Beef is bad, so no one can eat it anymore, is that what you’re saying?

        EUNICE: No… Beef is fine once in a while, when it’s cooked right. I just want a change.

        HELEN: I won’t stand for this! I demand more beef! Beef! Beef! Beef! Beef!

        EUNICE: Listen, Helen, I just want –

        HELEN: Beef! Beef! Beef! Beef!

        EUNICE: *Sigh* I’ll be in my room.

        • ProfFarnsworth says:

          I feel that this approach is the idea behind the “freedom of speech” arguments. Many of the people I have spirited discussions with use this or another “freedom of [blank]” to completely stop all reasonable conversation.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I 100% agree with her point about developers mistaking brutal violence against women (and to a lesser extent men) as a “mature” thing to insert into their games, when in reality it’s actually very immature.

      I saw a very cool (and respectfully made, I might add) counter-argument video on youtube to her first video by another female gamer. She made a very good point about the Zelda series, that although Link is the protagonist and “hero,” ultimately Zelda is the far more important figure to the story and world of Zelda. If Link were to die on his adventure, some other hero would rise up to attempt to stop Ganon and save Zelda. If Zelda were to die, the entire nation of Hyrule would collapse into chaos, dispair, etc. I’m not sure I actually agree with this sentiment, as it still doesn’t address the fact that Zelda herself acts very passively in her own detainment, but it is a different perspective on the “damsel in distress” that I had never really thought about before.

      • CrabNaga says:

        Hyrule is such a small place that I find it strange why they even have a monarchy. What does the monarchy in Hyrule even do? Everyone pretty much seems to do whatever they want all day, so either it’s a very effective system or a very INeffective system. 

        • Simon Jones says:

           The weird thing is she has a brother and a father around the place. It’s not like Peach. She’s not even that integral to the ruling process.

        • Somehow that enormous castle in Link to the past is paid for by the taxes paid by a single town with ten (at most) houses in it…  Something is rotten in the state of Hyrule!

      • Simon Jones says:

        As the games have gone on, Zelda has become Link’s creepy stalker.

        That’s what Zelda does now.

        Make Link’s life a living hell.

        He can’t even have a nap without her showing up.

    • Simon Jones says:

       I still have an issue with her having a fairly strong streak of gender determinsim to her arguments.

      A lot of her previous stuff, for example, has had a certain amount of ‘Violence is not a thing for ladies’ to it.

      • Fluka says:

        Well, here she explicitly makes the point that she doesn’t have a problem with ladies being involved in violent situations.  The problem is when women exist purely as victims of violence, with little other role in the story.  There’s a world of difference between being the new Lara Croft overcoming hardship to be a badass and being Kratos’ murdered wife.

        • Simon Jones says:

           Yeah. But she’s also previously made arguments that violence in games makes them inherently anti-female cause women don’t work like that. Which is what kind of made me go ehn about her.

          Well, that and the fact and she did a TedX talk. Which is generally a sign you’re an awful human being.

        • Girard says:

          “But she’s also previously made arguments that violence in games makes them inherently anti-female cause women don’t work like that. ”

          @google-aa3d3e69ad6ac05b510b07fa7ce00830:disqus [citation needed]?

    • Enkidum says:

      It’s like was generally argued in the Bechdel Test article here way back when: the point about the test isn’t that it indicates that a given movie (or game) is sexist, but that when less than 10% (or whatever) of a given form of media pass the test, it might be indicative of a problem. 

      But OH NOES YOU’RE CLAMPING DOWN ON MY FREEZE PEACH if you point this out.

    • Girard says:

      I was looking for a chance to post this yesterday, but didn’t get the email about it until after hours when he comments died down. I’m glad someone shared it!

      I really enjoy these videos, and how she takes the time to lay out her arguments, clarify what the point of criticism is (i.e. it’s not taking dismissive potshots at games or game culture, it’s examining the problematic elements of games, even ones that you enjoy), and articulate the way pervasive, passive sexism works in society, in addition to actually making her arguments. It not only shuts up the misogynist nerd-bro peanut gallery, but also makes these videos way stronger (and way more important) than her earlier, shorter ‘snarky YouTube video’ style tropes vids (which I enjoyed, but didn’t find as effective, and which definitely wouldn’t have had a chance of winning over someone not already sympathetic to the cause).

      Yet, despite the rigor, they’re not dry. The sadly funny deadpan refrain as she lists then endless repetitive examples of cliched misogynist story tropes (“His wife is killed, and he has to save his daughter…His wife is killed, and he has to save his daughter…”) was great, and there’s an overarching acknowledgment of the hilarious ridiculousness and stupidity of  these tropes as well as the more serious social consequences of them.

      That inherent ridiculousness, as well as the great discussion of the limiting factor that violence (or having ‘kill’ be the only verb available to players) exerts on games, also bring to the fore another great rhetorical strategy on Sarkeesian’s part: even if you’re one of those idiots that think ‘feminist’ is a dirty word, the prevalence of these tropes are hurting the medium, limiting the types of stories and experiences we can have with it, and contributing to its perception by larger culture that it’s a stupid, venial medium not capable of being artful. That seems like a sentiment even someone with an XBox tag like HardCOREZZGamerBro69 could get on board with.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Yessss you pretty much said exactly what I wanted to say about this video. I think I was undercritical of Sarkeesian’s relatively slight first video, mostly to counteract how bone-headedly overcritical everybody else seemed to be. This second instalment is a huge improvement over her first, though. I especially liked what you mentioned- that exploration of how violence is the player’s only meaningful method of interaction with game worlds. A sort of “when all you have is a hammer” problem that is artificially built into the language of gaming.

      Weirdly, the reaction against this video has so far been even more pronounced in its negativity, as far as I’ve seen. Sarkeesian even decided to play nice with the trolls by exploring how these gendered tropes are harmful for men as well as women, but most of the Kotaku knuckledraggers are still dismissing her out of hand or doling out abuse in her direction. Hell, she even makes explicit in her introduction that the presence of sexist or gendered tropes don’t invalidate any specific game artistically, and that it’s perfectly healthy and natural to enjoy even those games with problematic elements, but that it’s important to be aware of the problem and how widespread it is, and work deliberately towards solving it. There’s no fucking pleasing some people.

      • Girard says:

        I actually found the first video pretty substantive, with its laying out of subject-object relations and how fundamental they are to critically approaching bits of culture, especially when discussing gender stuff.

        In both of them, I love how she takes the extra time not only to show more examples of how pervasive the tropes are, but to have asides that address more fundamental, key concepts of criticism, like the subject-object thing, or that you can criticize the problematic aspects of something you like, etc. Her extension into the narrowing, violence-focused spectrum for expression and action in games was also an awesome ‘digression’ from the central conceit.

      • George_Liquor says:

        That whole ‘my free speech rights are violated cuz I can’t cuss Sarkeesian out on her own Youtube channel’ argument is so goddamn stupid, it makes my brain hurt. To me, it’s comparable to someone claiming that he has the constitutional right to stand on her front lawn & hurl insults at her with a bullhorn.

        • Enkidum says:

          Are you saying I don’t have that right? Because you’re oppressing me if you are.

    • George_Liquor says:

      It seems that Anita draws the same conclusion in this video as she did in the first: Imperiled female characters are nothing more than stolen property to be recovered and put back in their place, and the men who play these games will only see these women as such. She goes on to make the rather bald assertion that the use of the damsel/fridged woman trope in these games have directly contributed to an increase in violence against women in real life. I could understand how she came to that conclusion, given the gamer crowd’s troglodytic reaction to her project, but it’s still unsupported.

      • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

         I strongly support feminism’s aims and goals.  I have at times felt, however, that there has been a certain leniency in feminists text when it comes to  over-relying on anecdote and “it only makes sense that . . .” type of quasi-correlation.  I will admit that my reading of feminist texts hasn’t really been up to date for about a decade, so maybe they’ve gotten better.  But that is certainly my impression of classic feminist texts, even the stars like Bell Hooks and Andrea Dworkin.

        And, no, I don’t have any hard numbers to back up that impression.  And yes, I know that makes me a hypocrite.

        • Girard says:

          I think the stuff qualitative feminist theorists do (particularly the earlier ‘classics’ who were laying theoretical groundwork before people thought these were issues worth collecting qualitative data on) is as important as the stuff qualitative researchers of feminist concerns do.

          I mean the quantitative folks collecting numbers wouldn’t be collecting very good numbers if the qualitative social theory folks hadn’t articulated really important, unspoken concepts in a paradigm-shifting way. Rape statistics would be way less veridical, for instance, if our culture still believed (as it not too long ago did) that spousal rape was an impossible contradiction in terms.

        • Enkidum says:

          I believe (someone correct me if I’m wrong) that many modern (younger) feminists are pretty uncomfortable with Dworkin and McKinnon, at least.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I didn’t understand that she said that the games themselves contributed to real world violence against women, just that they were indicative of a larger problem with society as a whole. It’s correlation as opposed to causation and all.

        • George_Liquor says:

          She is indeed treating correlation as causation. It’s at about 19:30. After citing statistics concerning the number of domestic violence incidents against women in the US, and the explanation that male perpetrators give, she goes on to assert that “…it should go without saying that it’s dangerously irresponsible to be creating games in which players are encouraged or even required to perform violence against women in order to save them.” she’s implying that, as the number of “fridged” women in video games increases, the incidences of violence against women in real life will also increase. 

        • PaganPoet says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus I’m interpreting that statement quite differently than you are, I think. In my opinion, she’s saying it’s irresponsible because it contributes negatively to a culture which already exists by feeding the notion that violence against women is okay. I don’t believe that she’s saying that this, in and of itself, would lead to an increase of violence against women in real life.

        • ProfFarnsworth says:

          I may be wrong, but I thought she intentionally stated that there was not a direct correlation, but merely as @PaganPoet:disqus suggests a larger problem with society and such.  I also think that she was not making the statement as a “one to one” correlation, but to show that violence is a serious issue and including violence against women.  With such a systemic problem of domestic violence, including violence or kill only options are a questionable practice at best.

        • Girard says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus : She says absolutely nothing of the sort, and you are completely misreading her. Nowhere, anywhere, in there does she talk about an increase in violence, much less ascribe this ‘increase’ (which she, again, never mentions) to video games.@PaganPoet:disqus ‘s got it. She cites research that notes that men and women cleave to cultural myths that female victims of violence deserve their victimhood on some level, myths that reflect the professed justifications used by real-life abusers (and victims). She indicts games for perpetuating those myths by creating scenarios where male protagonists are obligated fix damaged women by attacking them, but nowhere does she say that games cause violence against women or that they are contributing to a rise in violence against women. (The rates of violence against women are already so horrifically high, the thought of those statistics increasing would be pretty soul-destroying.)

      • Jer Link says:

         I also thought this video seemed to be coming to the same conclusions as the first one, and was hoping that she would spend more time elaborating on games she thought avoided the recurring tendencies. She mentioned to the moon and dear Esther (I have played neither of these games), and I was hoping for a good old compare and contrast analyzation. But I guess she hinted that that will be in the next video.

      • Girard says:

        Nowhere does she assert direct causality in that way, and I don’t recall her ever saying that violence against women had increased. She says that violence against women is prevalent worldwide, a problem endemic across all cultures, (which it is), and shouldn’t be used in a glib, sexist way in video games because that trivializes the problem.

        In fact, she specifically makes a point in this video of saying that there isn’t a facile causal relation, and that playing these games won’t instantly transform you into a wife-beater.

        • George_Liquor says:

          Is it really so glib, though? Is the desire for a male protagonist to rescue a female character beloved to him automatically trite, stereotypical and demeaning to the woman portrayed in the game? Is his failure and/or her self-sacrifice no more meaningful to the male protagonist (and by extension, the player) than a ball lost down a gutter? And finally, if Anita Sarkeesian really believes there is no casual link whatsoever between the subjugation of women in video games and in real life, then why does this series exist at all?

          I get the point that she’s trying to make, moreso now after multiple viewings. Yes, the fridged girlfriend is cheap, overused and at time pretty fucking offensive, and I haven’t played some of these games precisely for that reason. But I do not accept that this trope must always boil down to a macho male possessive power fantasy. Ironically, the Gears Of War series is a pretty good argument against Sarkeesian’s conclusions. Despite being a stereotypical meathead himself, Dom is so wracked with grief and guilt over murdering his wife that he’s practically catatonic at the beginning of the third game, and he commits suicide-by-Locust shortly thereafter. 

          Please, game designers, flip the script. Make a compelling female protagonist driven to avenge the death of her husband or boyfriend. I don’t think I would be any less compelled by her plight if you did.

        • Girard says:

          There are a number of factors at play here, I think. A direct causal social link is not necessary to justify the project, for a few reasons. And ‘not asserting a direct facile causal link’ is not the same as ‘saying that cultural artifacts have no power to shape culture.’

          A causal link isn’t necessary for a critique to be made about a problematic creative choice. If, for example, more than 50% of the games being made for some reason decided to be edgy and compelling by having you be a Nazi killing Jewish people (and somehow doing so “for their own good”), it would be totally valid to say “Uh, you do realize that Jewish people were actually, really subjected to insane horrors by these people, and millions of them were killed, right? How is this trend not insulting, trivializing of that violence, and frankly, disgusting?” without having to somehow assert that contemporary video games caused the holocaust.

          Another purpose of critique that doesn’t depend on a causal social link is to strengthen the art form being critiqued. She’s pointing up tropes that are, yes, “trite, stereotypical,” and frankly contrived and dumb. Even without the larger social context, her pointing out these lazy, sexist tropes is pointing out a weak spot in the medium that could be addressed in a more successful way that could help the medium be taken more seriously. If tons of games used doe-eyed precious moments babies who talked with adowable speech impediments in a cheap bid to elicit emotional responses, pointing out how stupid and trite that is would still be valid, even if that choice is simply lazy and stupid and cliched, rather than harmful. These damsel tropes are just as creatively bankrupt and lazily emotionally manipulative.

          Hell, the causal relationship could be inverted, and the project would still have merit. Rather than games making culture sexist, perhaps our sexist culture is what makes our games sexist. In that case, wouldn’t it be useful to point out how these cultural products are tangible artifacts of the ingrained and often-tacit sexism in our culture, to help us realize that, wow, we as a culture, our norms, and the things we take for granted, are still pretty fucking sexist? To indulge in a gross metaphor: If there’s blood in my shit, taking the time to notice that can be a useful step towards recognizing I there is a problem with me that needs attention – even though that is a symptom and not a cause of my ailment.

          That said, I don’t think the fact that she’s not, as you were asserting before, stating that video games are causing some epidemic of violence against women, means that she’s saying there’s no connection between cultural beliefs and cultural artifacts. She asserts that we live in a culture that tends to tacitly justify disempowering and victimizing women and popular culture (not just games, hence her prior video series) tends to tell narratives that perpetuate those beliefs, and does have a broad cultural impact. It’s just not as simple as “video games = increased violence across gender lines.” But even if sexist pop culture somehow doesn’t contribute at all to sexist lived culture (which seems like a ridiculous assertion), that doesn’t invalidate the critique of sexist pop culture at all.

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      Thank you @Fluka:disqus for bringing up such a good topic of discussion.  The tone of discussion in this forum is astounding! I love how scholarly and intellectual everyone is, and how respectful the discussion is.  This is one of the big reasons why I hang around here.

  5. Effigy_Power says:

    Dude, Crusader Kings 2 DLC “The Old Gods”… highly recommended by yours truly.

  6. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    I think I know what I’m playing this weekend!

    It’s The Swapper. Hell, I was interested enough to bring it up last week.

    For the interested, here’s an interesting article I read about the developer’s choice of graphics, the why and how.

  7. Jackbert says:

    So since this is the 2nd most OT article after WAPTW, can we talk about the new Arrested Development? Specifically the fact that so far, through 6 episodes, it kinda seems to stink? Anyone else feel that way?

    • It gets better, but I think we can all agree the general populous got way too overhyped on it and we had somewhat unreasonable expectations. Also, wowzers, it is astoundingly dark.

      • Eco1970 says:

        I just skipped through this whole AD subthread, because of spoilers; I have never seen any of Arrested Development. Not even looked at its wiki page to see what its about. Is it anything like Cheers?

    • Fluka says:

      Hated the first three.  Pacing was all off, too many jokes were dragged out too long, and didn’t laugh much.  But then laughed quite a bit at four and five, as some of the earlier gags have come back for nice payoff (Thanksgiving miracle!!).  So..I don’t know what to think?

      • ToddG says:

        This was exactly my experience.  Hated the first three, but have yet to be disappointed since halfway through ep 4 (I’ve watched through ep 9)

      • Jackbert says:

        Hated the first three. Liked the fourth a bit. Liked the fifth a lot. Didn’t like the sixth. So…I’m not sure, but my impressions aren’t positive overall so far?

        • neodocT says:

           The George Sr. ones are the worst. Somewhere in trying to understand the ownership of the Bluth Company, the bribery of local politicians and a complicated plot to defraud the federal government through a large contract I noticed I seemed to be in the middle of a David Simon show (and not a funny one at that).

        • Sleverin says:

           I agree with @neodocT:disqus  in that the George Sr. ones are misfires.  Everything else seems fine so far and I’ve been enjoying it just fine.  I think part of the problem is though, that at the 11th hour Hurwitz mentioned that his idea for a series of standalone episodes hadn’t actually panned out in the final edit, so we can’t just watch them out fo order or whatever he was planning to do.  I agree with what the AVClub said about it in that this was an interesting experiment in television while also being a first in television as a series was revived six years after cancellation.  I find the attempt interesting and the choice bold, and have few problems with the new season.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       Of course, I feel obligated, like every review, to mention that the inability to get the whole gang together on the same shooting schedule was a huge limitation to work around. The character-focused approach is probably the best possible way to work around it. That said, I’m eight episodes in myself and the laughs are pretty thin on the ground.  Of the few I’ve watched, the one-two punch of Lindsay’s and Tobia’s intro episodes (“Indian Takers” and “A New Start”) were probably the ones I enjoyed most.  “Double Crossers” is the worst one I’ve seen so far; It was so bored with the go-nowhere George Sr. emasculation plotline that it inserted a scene of Micheal and Gob talking to spice things up.

      Part of the problem is that the compressed plots just seem to leave little time for the characters (and the jokes) to breathe.  Sometimes, the splintered plotline pays off as the pieces fall into place while other times, it evinces a half-hearted “huh” from me.

      I do give Hurwitz and his creative team for not taking the easy way out, though.  They could have just made this fanservice-y, loading episodes with inside jokes, but they went for something far more ambitious.  It doesn’t quite work, but the effort was made.

    • neodocT says:

       I’m only missing the last episode. My general impression is that the first third is turdy, the second third is better and the last few episodes are fantastic. In my opinion, the Maeby and Buster episodes are as good, if not better, than the best third season episodes (not a high bar, but still).

      I don’t think the single character structure entirely works, but at least they used this limitation to create different stories. And for whatever faults the season may have, it at the very least doesn’t rely too much on repating old jokes. It does reference old jokes every now and then, but the show always did that, and the new jokes recur just as much.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      I binged all of them in one go Sunday/Monday. I’d say it starts building up steam the first half of the season, then clears the runway on episode 7 (GOB’s first episode) and then we’re off to the races (as many metaphors as I can fit into this sentence) all the way to Grandma’s house we go from there. The first time through.

      That said, and I’m gonna extra stress this next clause, just like Seasons 1-3, it’s better the second time around (and probably the best 3 or 4 times on) when you realize that actually the first few episodes are just as filled with funny gags as the later episodes, you just don’t know that they’re referencing things yet. I think the first one is great now.

      I’m surprised people, especially Arrested Development fans aren’t more cognizant to this. The show has frequently been eulogized in the past few weeks about how it was ahead of its time, and meant for the DVR/GIF age of the internet due to its recursive jokes and utter rewatchability, yet no one seems to have thought that it a Netflix version might be that on steroids. Mitch Hurwitz did explain that he shot for trying to allow you to watch the episodes in whatever order you liked, but that wasn’t quite possible. It’s still not as straight linear storytelling as the FOX version was, though. That initial goal is still deeply embedded into its DNA.

    • Girard says:

      I think it’s stronger than Season 3, but not as strong as Seasons 1 and 2. The concurrent, interlocking narratives thing is pretty interesting, but it’s also a sign that this series exacerbates one of AD’s few weaknesses: a preference for cleverness over funniness.

      Even the original series, while great, tends not to end up on my ‘favorites’ list because it was all brains and no heart, but its clockwork cleverness rarely eschewed actually being hilarious. This series does have some great funny moments, but so far to me seems primarily to be an exercise in showing how many recurring themes/gags, call-backs, call-forwards, etc. they can keep in the air at one time, rather than an exercise in genuinely funny character-based comedy.

      • Merve says:

        You’ve basically summed up my feelings on AD (though I haven’t gotten around to watching the fourth season yet). I like it a lot, but it’s a show that I admire more for its cleverness than its sense of humour. It gets a lot of chuckles out of me, but very few full-throated guffaws.

  8. GhaleonQ says:


    They get so close with their games, but not quite there.  It’s still the best thing they do.  Give ’em a try if you’re bored.

  9. NakedSnake says:

    Question: When Comment Cat Sez that Hotline Miami was his second favorite game of last year, are we to take it that the game was enjoyed by actual felines? Or does Teti just tell the cat what he liked, and then (s)he claims ‘hotline miami was my second favorite game last year’?

  10. Simon Jones says:

    How come we haven’t had a review of Gunslinger? That seriously was a wonderful piece of game and everyone who hasn’t played it should feel bad about themselves. 

  11. Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

    “It was them or me, but Watership Down is suddenly the most depressing book on earth.”

    You’re just realizing this now Drew??

    Then they made an animated film of it, which traumatized me so much that I believe that it made me into the feeble broken man that I am today. Here, look at this (with sound down) and remember that my parents made me watch this when I was an innocent bunny-loving 6 year old:

    Just watching some of those bits triggered the PTSD. Or maybe that was because of the Marilyn Manson blasting over the top, which is why it should be watched on mute.

    • Fluka says:

      FUCK.  That brought back some childhood trauma.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        I, too, am a victim of the animated Watership Down with John Hurt and Zero Mostel.

        All the world will be your enemy,
        Prince with a Thousand Enemies,
        and when they catch you, they will kill you.
        But first they must catch you.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Sweet merciful crap! Good thing I didn’t see this growing up; my 6-year-old self had a hard enough time dealing with Secret of NIMH.

  12. Sleverin says:

    I might just pick up The Night of the Rabbit.  That art style looks impressive and the trailer made me want to buy it instantly.