Everyone's a Critic

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Everyone's a Critic

Post by Neo Bahamut on Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:42 pm

For reviews & shit. Full disclosure, I made this to store something that I wrote as a response to someone on another site. I don't really expect this to gain much use here, but if it DOES, I'd be willing to make it into another subforum.

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How to Criticize Anita Sarkeesian Like a Civilized Goddamn Person

Post by Neo Bahamut on Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:49 pm

As some of you might know,I'm a fan of Anita Sarkeesian's "Feminist Frequency," but I've been rather disappointed at the lack of decent debate on the subject. I do not attribute this to her closing comments, but because nobody seems to know how to write a goddamn critical response without resorting to ad hominem, straw man, &/or appeal to ignorance & as their main arguments, no less. So I'M gonna do it for 'em!

Since this is intended as an example, I'm not so concerned about my tone & specific points--though I'm willing to talk about that here on the off-chance that I get a response other than Harley calling me a name--what I think is important is that I'm making a real attempt to understand Anita's claims--I say that instead of "argument" because this is clearly more of a Top 10 list, but I'll get to that at the end--& test our positions against each other, rather than trying to find the easiest way to prove her wrong to conserve my existing opinions.

Video: http://www.feministfrequency.com/2011/12/top-10-best-non-violent-iphone-games/


It’s no secret that the gaming industry is still unfortunately a very male dominated, male centric place (from the developers to the storylines to the in-game characters).

Agreed. There is a growing interest in the inclusion of women & there have always been progressive developers & gamers, but in the general, it is still male-dominated. I think that anyone who denies this need only look at the gender proportions of developers & main protagonists.


So it’s important to note that “realistic-looking” first-person shooters and other games that employ graphic violence and sexist imagery are not the only games out there even though they do tend to get most of the attention when it comes to talk of “serious” gaming.


The term "serious" implies that the gaming is intensive in some way. Perhaps the resources that went into it were intensive, or the hours of the player, or perhaps it's intensive in testing the player's thoughts or skills.

Your argument appears to be using primarily the last definition. I'd argue that this is bordering on equivocation, since you're trying to tackle several different arguments that use the same word, but with different meanings, by focusing only on 1 definition. Also, later on you say something that I think defeats your argument anyway:


These are some of the reasons why I find myself playing games on my phone much more than I do on the more traditional gaming platforms. My iPhone is always there for me when I’m waiting in a long line, riding the subway, or sitting in a boring meetng.


THIS is why people argue that these games "aren't serious." They're either easy, or even if they are difficult, people play them to kill time more than to seriously attempt to clear them. I'm NOT saying any of that is BAD, or that people who do that aren't "real gamers," in fact I agree with you that "real vs. fake gamers" is a false dichotomy, however I don't believe that everyone who plays some sort of computerized game should all be lumped into the same category. There ARE real differences between these gamers, even the ones most people would call "true gamers." Someone who plays a dozen games that are all FPSes has dramatically different experiences & interests from someone who plays a dozen games where each is from a different genre. Other factors that change the meaning of "gamer" include rating, time period or country of origin, subject matter, etc.


Because I’m often frustrated with the male dominated, blood and guts, testosterone driven shoot em up games that seem to dominate the xbox and ps3 platforms, it’s refreshing to see so many games on Apple’s iOS that focuses on puzzle solving and creative storytelling.


Fair enough, I won't criticize this as an expression of personal taste. However, I will say that you talk about "creative storytelling," but then don't support it. And I don't mean that I simply disagree with your definition of "creative storytelling," you just never bring it up again. Whether your goal is to convince people that nonviolent games can have good stories OR to advertise nonviolent games with good stories to interested parties, I'd say you failed, or at least didn't do as well as you could have.


Even with (or perhaps because of) its limited graphics and processor capabilities '''the iOS platform has managed to expand the scope of what gaming can be'''. We’ve seen a flood of highly imaginative and engaging games that borrow from 80’s era classics '''as well as breaking new ground with simple and innovative gameplay'''.

I disagree with the bolded parts. From the way that you describe them, they sound like pretty basic browser game formulas. I sometimes get confused about specifics, for example whether you're talking about a game like Robot Unicorn Attack or one like Free Rider, but the basic points remain that I can think of common examples & that you didn't describe these very well.

Merely being fun or interesting does not make a game innovative or "changing what gaming can be." As an example of a game that I can think of that has a very good argument for innovation: Portal. To the best of my knowledge, nobody had ever created a puzzle game centered around an FPS mechanic before, & the fact that this game eventually grew to contain a fairly complex story with several developed & interesting characters (& 1 silent protagonist) was even more impressive. I probably SHOULD stop being a lazy piece of crap & actually PLAY these games before judging, but nope. To be fair, ''you'' have the burden of proof.


Having so many creative, simple, intuitive and non-traditional games available right in our pockets has really helped bring gaming to a wider range of people (including to more women) who may never have considered themselves gamers before.

I could nitpick this statement, but I think it's accurate enough.


I want to make absolutely clear that I am in no way saying that games that involve violence are always bad or have no value.

What I am saying is, at their best video games can promote problem solving skills, critical thinking, creative mathematics and confidence building.


And I wouldn't disagree with either of these, but what I--& many others--are skeptical about are the following 2 premises:

1. Nonviolent gameplay can sustain a large story arc. You need conflict to make a story work, a bigger story needs bigger stakes, & things that work in TV won't necessarily work in gameplay. A high school drama probably wouldn't make a great game. Even something like Portal doesn't truly work, because failure results in Chell's death in many cases. You could point out simulators, but:

2. Simulators have a very narrow audience. When you say that you're frustrated with how we put so much focus on violent games, it sounds like you're implying that nonviolent games can compete equally or even take a majority position in the gaming library. Is this really true? Can you really have a nonviolent FPS? A nonviolent dungeon crawl? I can think of a few ways around this one, too--for example, a platformer where falling doesn't lead to death--but trying to meet BOTH of these standards at once really leaves my options limited.

So, as a conclusion:

 I can't comment on your personal taste, & I won't say that these are "bad" or "false" games, but I am not convinced of your premises that they're particularly innovative or that nonviolent gaming is really a viable option on a large scale, due to a combination of narrative & game design limitations. I do agree with your conclusion that "real vs. false gamers" is a false dichotomy, but I believe that it should be ''divided further, rather than compressed''. As always, we both agree that there is consistent misogyny in the gaming industry & culture, as defined in the academic sense of "systemic undermining of women as a subordinate class," & I'd be interested in hearing further, REFINED arguments along these lines, because as a gamer, I do want to see this medium grow & diversify. But other than that, I don't think that anyone who plays a lot of games (even mobile phone games) would find this video particularly informative. You may as well have just given a straight list of your favorite nonviolent mobile phone games & left it at that, because that's all that this is really useful for. Trying to back those up with some kind of framework like "nonviolent mobile phone games are innovative" without really explaining any of that just gives us an awkward mix of a phoned in argument & a Top 10 list pretending to be more than it really is.

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Re: Everyone's a Critic

Post by Astarte on Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:43 pm

who
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Re: Everyone's a Critic

Post by Leafy on Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:44 pm

How's life under the rock.
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Re: Everyone's a Critic

Post by HarleyThomas on Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:28 pm

A sub-forum for what, you're personal soap box?

Why can't you be as apathetic as the rest of us, fuck.
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Re: Everyone's a Critic

Post by Neo Bahamut on Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:54 pm


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Re: Everyone's a Critic

Post by Astarte on Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:03 am

ugly
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Re: Everyone's a Critic

Post by Neo Bahamut on Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:33 am

Don't make me resort to fisticuffs.

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Re: Everyone's a Critic

Post by Neo Bahamut on Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:21 pm

http://www.viralglobalnews.com/technology/jack-thompson-talks-video-game-violence-censorship-anita-sarkeesian/33797/

That awkward moment when GamerGate agrees with Jack Thompson.

I'm pretty sure he's lying that he never tried to ban videogames. And a cursory glance at his Wikipedia article says he's argued that games aren't protected by free speech & that he tried to get stores to refuse to carry a game once.

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Re: Everyone's a Critic

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