Journalist to Game Biz: Grow Up

On Friday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, journalist Heather Chaplin told the game industry that it’s time to grow up.

Pixel Vixen 707 has an extensive recap of remarks made by Chaplin, co-author of the well-regarded 2005 book Smartbomb (with GameCulture editor Aaron Ruby). Chaplin made her comments while serving on a journalist’s rant panel at GDC:

[Chaplin] reports at NPR among other venues. She says this puts her in the role of a “translator,” trying to tell the mainstream why gaming even matters. This also means explaining a lot of big-name games that feature zombies, and aliens, and girls in metal bikinis wielding axes. And while she’s heard the excuses – it’s “a very new medium” – she’s way past accepting them.

Like Wendy slapping around the lost boys, Chaplin patiently but firmly laid down the line. “It is you guys as game designers who are mired deeply in ‘guy culture,’” Chaplin said. The problem isn’t the medium: “You are a bunch of stunted adolescents.” Games avoid any of the things that separate men from boys: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery. And “when you’re talking about culture-makers, this is a problem.”

MTV Multiplayer’s Stephen Totilo has more:

She knows the big players and has hung out with top designers like Cliff Bleszinski and Will Wright. She singled Bleszinski out in her talk, saying she liked him, but that she was distressed by how juvenile most major games are. She dismissed top games as “power fantasies…”

She said game developers need to stop using the youth of the gaming medium as an excuse. At the same age of their medium, Chaplin said, movies had had Fritz Lang and were on the verge of Citizen Kane. Rock n roll had Bob Dylan and the Beatles…

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  1. lumi says:

    "To me the fact that "Feminist Agenda" was raised in the first point, indicates that video games are pretty immature and male.""

    Treading lightly…

    I will agree that this is often a kneejerk reaction by people (yes, usually guys) who can’t be bothered to see beyond the surface of the argument in question.  But again…I was there.  I heard her whole rant, heard her tone, her delivery, the whole thing.  This was truly misandry at its finest.  So to be quite honest, as misused as the argument often is, I don’t think "Feminist Agenda", as the term was being used here, is inaccurate.

    "Yeah sure there are a couple of great games out there. But come I mean come on MOST games are male power fantasies. Or if not most at least the really popular ones… Halo, GOW etc."

    I would argue that there are more than "a couple".  I would also point out that "the really popular ones" are really popular because they appeal to the lowest common denominator.  They’re just like books, movies, and television – low brow sells, because the masses aren’t really looking for high intellect.  They’re looking to blow the crap out of zombies and aliens.

    "And of course there are lots of similar male power films out there, but thats not the point. She simply said by this stage of the film mediums life it had basically created some genuine masterpieces."

    And as beemoh said, the examples she cited were not immediately recognized as "masterpieces" or "classics".  That came with the benefit of hindsight; I’m sure that in twenty years we’ll be looking back on some of the games today in the same way.  Remember Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.  Just because games aren’t yet old enough to look back and establish the "classics" in the way that movies and literature can now, it doesn’t mean we haven’t produced anything that will stand the test of time.

    "Now when you compare that to games (in terms of plot, themes, setting etc.) their not even close really lets be honest."

    I would quite honestly challenge that there are no games comparable to great movies in terms of plot, themes, setting, etc., or characters.

  2. Grifter_tm says:

    I’m just working off the whole "metal bikini" thing. If I remember correctly, Sialeeds and Isabel from Suikoden 5 wears a pretty skimpy outfit that fits into the "metal bikini" category. It doesn’t serve its purpose as armor during fights. Lulu from FFX, the girls from FFX-2, and Ashe and Fran from FFXII would also falls in the same category. As much as I love JRPGs, the Japanese gaming culture will always draw criticism from Western commentators.

  3. TBoneTony says:

    I agree, this journalist needs to have a look at a few of the Japanese Videogames that don’t always portray to the Aliens, Zombies and Girls in metal Bikinis welding an Axe.

    She needs to do her research allot more and look beyond the Aliens, Zombies and Girls in Bikinis of many major Videogame companies and have a good hard look at games from the Japanese like…oh…NINTENDO!!!!



  4. Im_Blue says:

    To me the fact that "Feminist Agenda" was raised in the first point, indicates that video games are pretty immature and male.

    Yeah sure there are a couple of great games out there. But come I mean come on MOST games are male power fantasies. Or if not most at least the really popular ones… Halo, GOW etc.

    And of course there are lots of similar male power films out there, but thats not the point. She simply said by this stage of the film mediums life it had basically created some genuine masterpieces. Now when you compare that to games (in terms of plot, themes, setting etc.) their not even close really lets be honest. Their are some materpieces out therein terms of tech design, artistic image etc. but lets face it as a general rule of thumb exploring deep issues, characters and themes (or whatever you wanna call that stuff) are not Video games forte.


    Of course they could be….. very easily and interestingly IMO, but thats kinda her point. Why the fuck don’t games just grow up a little. It would be pretty sweet if they did.



    P.S. Im exceptionally tired so that post may have made no sense and I can’t be assed proof reading it.

  5. Untouchable says:

    "I think her most easy targets would be the whole JRPG genre"


    The Suikoden series doesn’t fall into what you categorized and I would probablyt not put some of the Square-Enix RPGs under there either.

  6. mdo7 says:


    OK, that girl reporter has never went to Japan, has she?  Could you tell her there are girls who play video game also.  Could she like maybe look at some Yaoi and Shonen-Ai theme game.  because there are video game for girls out there like Barbie, Hannah Montana, and other girly-type games.  Where did she came up with this idea from?

    "This also means explaining a lot of big-name games that feature zombies, and aliens, and girls in metal bikinis wielding axes. And while she’s heard the excuses – it’s “a very new medium” – she’s way past accepting them."

    Not all of them are like that, ever hear of Super Mario Bros, Viva Pinata, or Littlebigplanet.  What’s wrong with girls in metal bikinis wielding weapons, it’s sexy.

    “It is you guys as game designers who are mired deeply in ‘guy culture,’” Chaplin said. The problem isn’t the medium: “You are a bunch of stunted adolescents.” Games avoid any of the things that separate men from boys: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery. And “when you’re talking about culture-makers, this is a problem.”

    I guess she hasn’t read any Yaoi or Shonen-Ai manga or anime before right.  I bet she hasn’t read any shojo Manga.  I bet she hasn’t seen this game

     but that she was distressed by how juvenile most major games are. She dismissed top games as “power fantasies…”

    So how is Littlebigplanet, Super Mario Bros, Final Fantasy, and most of RPGs from Japanese are "power fantasies".  you’re not showing power, you’re doing it for purpose.  How is Playstation Home and Xi in Home are power fantasies also, you’re solving a mystery.



  7. lumi says:

    Thank you.  Well said.

    The sad fact is that any legitimate point she might have been making in there was swept up in the sensationalist, misandric delivery.  A mistake that both genders make, to be sure (and in pretty much every sphere of interest, not just video games, of course).

    It’s really frustrating to be on the same "side" as someone and watch him/her sink the boat while you’re in it with some idiotic delivery of a potentially valid idea.  That said, I think her idea, as well as her delivery, was misguided at best and downright idiotic and hypocritical at worst.

  8. lumi says:

    I haven’t played it myself, but isn’t Left 4 Dead sort of what you’re talking about?  Nothing but a flat-out legion of zombies that threatens to engulf you if you stop pulling the trigger for more than a couple seconds?

  9. lumi says:

    I don’t see where he claimed to "understand women"…

    He did claim to identify a pattern of behavior common to a particular female personality type, based on observation…which I think would be a reliable result of spending a lot of time around women (in the situation he’s describing, at any rate).

  10. DarkSaber says:

    Made me laugh, finding this little nugget in the middle of all this oh-so-serious discussion!


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  11. lumi says:

    Depends on your definition of "know".  Do my co-workers count?  Or just people I go out with after hours or on weekends?

    I’m an active member of the IGDA, I’ve worked in one capacity or another (usually designer) for four development studios in the U.S., and I studied game design in school.  I’d think that compared to the average person, I know a lot of game developers.  It’s kind of a subjective question (unless you want an exact number, in which case I probably couldn’t give you one).

  12. Hannah says:

    Obviously it wouldn’t be the same if he challenged the game industry because he’d be talking about his own gender, and in our society, attacking a group that you’re part of is generally seen as ok. 

    If, however, a man challenged the film industry over the prevalence of horrible chick flicks, soap operas, or woman-oriented reality TV, then yeah, he’d be seen as both out of touch and sexist.  In my opinion, woman-oriented programming usually is inane and aimed at vapid young or middle aged women.  And there’s a lot of it.  Does this mean the tv/film industry needs to grow up?  Maybe, maybe not, but either way, I‘m allowed to say it because I’m female.  A man saying the exact same things would be attacked as sexist, insensitive, and unwilling to acknowldge that such shows actually do have value (spoiler: they don’t) if watched by someone who understands and feels and does other things that women apparently do all the time (spoiler: we don’t).

  13. cmgonzalez says:

    No, the man wouldn’t be seen as out of touch. He’d likely be seen as progressive for challenging the industry a little bit.

    And what is this mysterious "feminist point". People are too quickly to toss around the word "feminist" without being clear exactly what they are interpreting it as, because it’s often misinterpreted.

    Feminism refers to wanting equality in rights, treatment, and opportunities. It’s not a value judgment or some kind of superiority complex.

    This particular person did use derogatory terms and took shots at men unfairly. That’s not feminism; that’s misandry.

    That said, I did say her rant was incredibly shortsighted (and ignorant). Most gamers do play a mix of genres, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to blow things up or take a few zombies down.

    To bring it back to my point, however, is that studios keep making sequels and similar games because they sold. Innovation is a risk, and a lot of businesses are risk-adverse. Especially in gaming where a lot of money needs to be invested up front with little guarantee of return for risky new IP.

  14. cmgonzalez says:

    Being around women doesn’t equal understanding them. Maybe you should be more open minded or hang out with different people.

    It’s patronizing to suggest that you understand women (and can speak to exactly what we do and do not understand, what our values are, and what we like and don’t like) but that we don’t understand you.


  15. chadachada321 says:

    The man would be thought of as out-of-touch, and all of the same points would be made other than the feminist point. She makes her post completely sexist and implies that mindless killing is the only thing that gamers that buy those games are interested in. I like all types of games, and sometimes I just like to relax to blowing shit up!

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  16. cmgonzalez says:

    Her rant is shortsighted, antagonistic, and full of cliches, but there is a little shred of truth to it. The industry is made up of businesses, and businesses stay afloat and grow with a measured amount of innovation on top of a whole lot of what has been proven to work already.

    That is why we see so many sequels, ports, and copycat games. The target audience is young and male for most titles. That said, other markets are being served like never before. All while we can point to many games that do have more artistic merit (and have been mentioned above, like MGS, ICO, Beyond Good & Evil, and Silent Hill series).

    The part where she claims she feels like a translator is quite valid. Even though gaming is more and more a mainstream pursuit, those who understand and care enough to be involved in gaming culture are still a minority. I’ve spoken to some people at journalism-related events and a few didn’t even know that gaming journalism existed.

    Most gaming journalism in mainstream (non-gaming focused) press is filtered and even somewhat dumbed-down. You can’t use jargon without explaining it or delve too much into niche games without alienating your audience. So it has to be made appropriate for that mainstream audience, and what do mainstream audiences buy? These titles keep companies afloat.

    You’re going to have a much better chance at getting something greenlit about Halo for Ye Hometown Newspaper than Fatal Frame.

    Ms. Chaplin’s inflammatory delivery was an extremely poor choice and is mostly going to lead to people not taking several valid points within her argument seriously and glossing it over as some sort of "feminist rant" when that’s not fair at all. A man making the same points wouldn’t be seen this way.


  17. chadachada321 says:

    I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about, there aren’t ENOUGH zombie games out there! And don’t give me the bullcrap about RE5 or Silent Hill, there has never been a very good zombie game, they’ve all been "fight zombies for a little bit, then fight rediculously unrealistic bosses that take hundreds of shots to kill even if they’re just a simple human" (like in Dead Rising) "or some rediculous beast" (ala the old resident evils). I want a real heart-pounding zombie game, with a control and design similar to Condemed 1, but with zombies and even more options. And more scary/realistic.


    Anyways, she seems like a feministic retard (as in, gets pissed off at the idea of a "guy" thing like guns/awesomeness). Yes, there are really fun games that have lots of guns/mayhem, but there are also many many thought-provoking and stimulating games out there. And there are plenty of "girly" games out there too. Watch any DS commercials on tv lately and most revolve around young girls or teenage girls, very few advertise to boys anymore.

    And on another note, like many others have said, there are plenty of games that combine logic and reasoning and decision-making WITH mindless killing and badassery. Fallout 3, Bioshock…most other great games that’ve come out recently…

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  18. G-Dog says:

    I know I’m going to be called a misogynistic jerk for saying this, but this is based on my own observations in life. Granted I’m only 30 years old, but between college and adulthood I’ve spent a good deal of time around women in both

    Women don’t understand men, plain and simple. Women and men are different, and a woman trying to place her values on men doesn’t understand this.

    Rather than go on some long rant, I’ll just reference something I’ve notice time and time and time and time again since I was 13 years old. A woman who drones on and on about the male problem with “responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery” is most likely the first woman in a social situation to start seriously fawning over “Dude Bros” while purging herself of the standards she holds the rest of the male population to.

    Not familiar with the concept of a Dude Bro? Three seconds worth of Google-Fu found the best example I can give.

    A second point I have is about the genre of 1970’s exploitation film. Now regarded as one of the most pure and socially significant eras in the history of film, late 60’s – late 70’s exploitation films are characterized by their lack of responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery.

    I’ll take Petey Wheatstraw over some horrible art house film any day.

  19. Firebird says:

    This also means explaining a lot of big-name games that feature zombies, and aliens, and girls in metal bikinis wielding axes.

    Here your next cash cow, EA…

    You better get right on it!

  20. beemoh says:

     >Chaplin said, movies had had Fritz Lang and were on the verge of Citizen Kane. Rock n roll had Bob Dylan and the Beatles..

    All things that are only really so great with the benefit of hindsight.

    Now, don’t confuse this with nostalgia. These have become ‘classics’ because we’ve been able to look back at them and see what it is that makes them so good, not because we’ve randomly picked something from our childhood and told ourselves it was amazing.

    At the time, Lang, Kane, Dylan and The Beatles were ‘just’ popular, mainstream entertainment. We will only know if Gears, Fallout, Final Fantasy etc can sit alongside them in forty years’ time.



  21. hellfire7885 says:

    If she expects the game industry to grow up, then the critics of the industry need to grow up as well.

    It’s hard for a genre to tackle more mature themes when they get slammed by yellow journalists for doing so.

  22. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Well, if she hasn´t seen anything else from Tomb Raider and Doom, then the videogame industry is very inmature.

    Actually, I don´t think she knew games as Silent Hill, or Mass Effect (I´m supossing she doesn´t consider horror or sex as inmature).

    Her critic is not very fair if she doesn´t know more games others that the ones appearing on media scandals as Grand Theft Auto.

    Maturity is very overrated, anyways.

    The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship):

  23. gamadaya says:

    Isn’t that Army of 2?


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  24. Wimblesaurus says:

    Every medium is this way; the household name titles are adrenaline-pumping and escapist.

    And thought-provoking games do exist.  Of course, you would have to give the medium more than a cursory glance to see this, which most can’t be bothered to do.

    And what’s necessarily wrong with a little escapist fun?  Being serious all the time is unhealthy.

  25. gamadaya says:

    Yeah, even if Cliffy B makes immature games, so what? At least they’re fun. I mean, they may not be as artistic and mature as Heather Chaplins games, but… Oh that’s right, Heather Chaplin hasn’t made any games. All she’s done is complain.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  26. Hannah says:

    A lot of games are aimed at immature males, but… so are a lot of movies, and her description of "zombies, and aliens, and girls in metal bikinis wielding axes" (not to mention that bit about avoiding "any of the things that separate men from boys: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery") makes me immediately think of the very well-stocked sci-fi/fantasy section of any book store or library.  The most popular and wealthy authors today (J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, whoever wrote Twilight, etc.) usually work within this genre, so is it any surprise that many games — which provide a similar sort of escape to a very similar demographic — would touch on many of the same themes and provide an equivalent lack of depth?

    I would like to see different genres, more complex stories, character development, and all that jazz, but I would never want the silly sci-fi/fantasy games to disappear or even become less prevalent.  They serve a purpose, just like their literary counterparts — sometimes it’s nice to just to give my brain a rest, disappear into a fantasy world for a time, and come out feeling all warm and fuzzy and ready to give the real world another shot.

  27. Vinzent says:

    Frankly, I think she’s full of crap just like the rest of the media. Okay, so she hung out with Cliffy B. I guess she can base her opinions on the entire gaming industry with that experience. It’s not like journalists have to be responsible anymore.

    I just want to know, where the hell are the metal bra’d bimbos in Professor Layten? Where’s the juvenile storyline in Mass Effect? For every Fritz Lang in Hollywood, there are a thousand Roger Cormans and Ed Woods. How can she hold up Hollywood as an example when there’s movies like "Gator Bait" and "Glen or Glenda". She’s cherry-picking Hollywood’s best and the videogame industry’s worst.

    Journalists telling the videogame industry to shape up is hypocritical at best.

  28. Grifter_tm says:

    First off, I don’t know, but if I’m reading this right, then she has a pretty narrow view about video games that happens to go along with her "feminist agenda". Off the top of my head there are tons of games that don’t subscribe to "power fantasy" and scantily clad women to get attention. Just a short list:

    1. Fallout 3

    2. Portal

    3. Half-Life 2

    4. The Sims 1 and 2

    5. Mirror’s Edge

    6. City Simulators (SimCity, Caesar, etc.)

    7 Most tactical shooters (Call of Duty Rainbow 6, Ghost Recon)

    8. Liscenced sports games (they’re rehashed year after year, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen a semi-naked girl in one of them)

    9. Most puzzle games (too easy)

    I think her most easy targets would be most fighting games (3D or otherwise), the whole JRPG genre, a lot of action games (GoW 1 & 2, MGS4, DMC4), and some RTS games. Of course her biggest target would be the DOA girls and the GTA series.

    Now the other mediums (TV, music, literature, and film) are a heck of a lot older than video games, so the point she’s trying to raise is moot. There is sexism in the world of entertainment, but trying to fault video games as the most immature is quite wrong.

    Now for her other point the one about, "Games avoid any of the things that separate men from boys: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery". This point is probably something I could agree on to some degree. Thing is, for every life-changing movie you have out there, Schindler’s List, To Kill a Mockingbird, E.T., Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Titanic, etc., there’s a hundred, maybe thousands, summer blockbusters that capitalize on sex and violence. So the odds of you seeing a new "mature film" by her definition, annually, tends to be low. Same thing with music, and its even worse for T.V. Literature is perhaps the most effective way in conveyng the "responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery" message.

    Truth is, we haven’t found a way to translate "responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery" into video games. I don’t see how this could be possible in the near future, and the closest thing I probably have ever seen this happen is in one of the old school RPGs, namely Fallout 1 and 2 and Baldur’s Gate 2.

    Games function on the realm of fantasy, and any life lesson that you want to transmit to your player will get lost as soon as he/she stops playing. Getting a game to have the concepts she mentioned above is going to take a lot of effort, and a heck of a lot more time.

    Sorry for the wall of text.

  29. Erik says:

    So we are supposed to play games where we "get in touch with our sensitive sides"?

    *Hold X to cry on your buddy’s shoulder and push up on the control pad to lean into a hug that is uncomfortably too long*

    Um, no.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  30. black manta says:

    Man, this is almost as bad as what Cooper Lawrence was saying…almost (don’t break out the flamethrowers yet, guys, please).  She may not have had a "feminist agenda," but she certainly seemed biased.  I personally took some degree of offense at it, as I myself could be considered a "stunted adolescent."  Chalk that up to what you wil – I personally think it’s due to an unfilfilled childhood and adolescence myself, but I digress.  I like to think, though, that I’m more intelligent and mature that other so-called "stunted adolescents."  Still, I don’t see anything wrong with that, and I resent what I saw as someone trying to put me on a guilt trip.

    Yes, I like games and movies that feature wanton violence and destruction, but I also appreciate a good nuanced and thought-provoking story as well.  If it happens to have both, well that’s just gravy. (For examples, though they’ve been mentioned before: Fallout 3, BioShock, Mass Effect, KOTOR, Jade Empire, FF VII etc. etc.). 

    I also think holding up Cliff Blezinski as an example was a bit of an unfair target.  How about Warren Spector?  Or Sid Meier?  Or Peter Molyneaux?  Or Ken Levine?  I could go on…

    Also while it may seem apt to compare the gaming industry to the movie industry, it’s been increasingly like comparing apples to oranges lately.  Both have different approaches to telling a story that will only become more apparent as technology advances.

    Like Papa Midnight, I’m going to forget I read this and go back to playing my "power fantasises" as she put it.

  31. DarkSaber says:

    Listing examples that break her rules (and god knows everyone is listing different games now) simply highlights the ignorance this so-called ‘journalist’ has of the field she is meant to cover for the mainstream.

    Instead of picking up on these games as examples of how great the industry can be when it moves away from the ‘shooter by numbers’ and encourage her ‘mainstream’ audience she claims to ‘translate’ for (how pretentious is that statement to all of you, it’s VERY pretentious to me) to check these games out (which in turn would increase their sales and make studios consider trying more games like that instead of stamping ‘hero if the hour’ onto another third or first pserson shooter, with obligatory vehicle section), she instead chooses to go on a rant about how it’s all made by ‘boys’ for ‘boys’, backed up by this MTV jackass who chooses to compare it to the movie industry, but conveniently over-looking the by ‘boys’ for ‘boys’ summer blockbusters the movie industry makes.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  32. Tristram says:

    Yeah, Beyond Good and Evil is a great example of a game that breaks out of traditional limitations.  That having been said, being able to list examples that do not fit her rule only go on to show that the rule exists. 

  33. Tristram says:

    I was not refering to you specifically, but then again, she never actually said that games only delt with "kill ’em all".

  34. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    As long as the primary demographic target of video games are teenage boys and young adult males, what the hell does she expect? She could make the same argument about movies. Almost all the blockbusters are completely juvenile.

    I don’t think there is anything juvenile about Flower, Madden 2009, NHL 09, Race Pro…could go on for quite a bit here.

  35. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Dailog is genreally not my sticking point I rag on gamepaly and equipment issues frist and formsot.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  36. ZippyDSMlee says:

    ME has good dailog thats plauged with it stoping mid conversation, thus why I rag on it(and the witcher and FO3) on dailog.

     BS is heavly under deved its a striped down and rushed to market SS2 wanna be… which would not be so bad if it was finsihed….

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  37. black manta says:

    I’ll disagree wiht you on Citizen Kane, but I felt the same way after having seen The Godfather.

  38. DarkSaber says:

    What about Beyond Good & Evil hmmm?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  39. DarkSaber says:

    Mass Effect: Great dialogue, marred by the constant ‘land in the Mako, fight the controls AND geth’ sections and copy+paste bases to ‘explore’, not to mention frame rate and loading issues. KOTOR was far superior in everyway but graphically.

    Bioshock was a dumbed down System Shock 2, good but not great.

    And Fallout 3 was way WAY too buggy and rushed to be the GOTY. Sales is no indication quality lumi.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  40. Godkarmachine says:

    All I did in Mirror’s Edge was run and jump. But I get what you’re saying. The same thing can be said about a lot of movies though. "Guy trains hard, goes out and kicks ass", "Guy already trained hard, goes and and kicks ass."

    There’d probably be an improvement in games, when we stop buying those action-packed blockbuster titles. I don’t see that happening for a long time. Nor do I see people itching to buy an interactive novel and pop it into their 360s and PS3s.

    – Stand back! I have an opinion, and I’m not afraid to use it.

  41. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Well her own style of condensation aside….shes right despite herself….


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  42. Tristram says:

    Thats not exactly what she said.  Also, why is it "feminine" side?  Why can’t sensitivity be a masculin trait as well as a feminin one?  I mean, the men in games are almost always tough guys, stand offish enigmas, party boys, etc.  They are cliches.  Of course, so are the women and the animals and the villians… that is the problem.  Games are made of cliches with little thought into the character design beyond the visual.  And the visial does rock. 

    I think one problem is that talented writers turn their noses up at games, so it is hard to get people like that to write for them. 

    Edit: spelling is not my friend.

  43. lumi says:

    Then you’re missing a lot of what she said, but in fairness, you only get a snippet of it from this article.  There was a major tone of misandry in her rant, constant potshots at male developers under the guise of "immature" gaming.

  44. Orelup says:

    While the film is credible for what it did to the film industry, I don’t see it as Great.  Though i also consider great to be synonymous with timeless.  I saw gone with the wind, and while it wasn’t my style of movie, i still thought it was a good film (though i HATE that ending, sorry i hated scarlet’s character and her taking this stuff in stride annoyed me).  Just because you’re the first to do something doesn’t make what you did great, just innovative for it’s time.  Innovative twenty years later though is just the SOP.

    Oh well, i just didn’t like the film i guess.



    edit* guess this isn’t the place to say i’m not a fan of the FF games either (though that has more to do with art direction)

  45. ZippyDSMlee says:



    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  46. jccalhoun says:

    One thing you have to realize with Citizen Kane is to take it in context.  It was really groundbreaking on a lot of technical things.  A lot of the things that are common now were done first (or at least Kane was one of the first) to do them.  So perhaps the story isn’t all that great but technically, especially from a first time director, it was an amazing achievement.



  47. Tristram says:

    Yeah, this is what I mean.  Many games just take generic storylines and situations and turn them into generic dialogue. It is fun, of course, but not "mature." 



  48. Danny Internets says:

    Immature society prefers immature subject matter and presentation? This is a shocking and exciting insight! I’m pretty sure the guy blasting 50-Cent’s new album in his new pimped-out Miata on the way to see The Transporter 7 isn’t too interested in playing the gaming equivalent of a Beethoven symphony. Gaming news and commentary for the socially-adjusted nerd.

  49. lumi says:

    What do you mean by "under-deved"?

    Also, you’re choosing the quality of the dialog to attack in ME?  Really?  The single aspect of the game that’s probably garnered the most praise since its release?  Really?

    I have no idea what you’re talking about with Bioshock.  Again, what does "under-deved" mean?

    The general game development community disagrees with your evaluation of Fallout 3, as it won Game of the Year at the GDCAs.  The general game player community would probably also disagree, considering its sales.

    The development process of the industry is immature, for a variety of business-related reasons I’m not going into.  But the development style of the industry is coming along fine, in my opinion.

  50. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I see more issues with writing than sheer ZOMG FEMIISIM!!!11 …………..


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  51. DarkSaber says:

    It’s a shame she’s more concerned about not enough games having men in touch with their sensitive, feminine sides instead of rushed release dates and lack of quality control.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  52. gamadaya says:

    ME: You are so freaking right about that, but only on the 360. They got a lot of bugs out for the PC version.

    BS: And it seems like they rushed through the last 1/3 of the game.

    FO3: Didn’t think it was a MMO clone, but it is the epitomy of everything that is wrong with the developement process. Morrowind was too until FO3 came along though 😉

    On the whole, you make very good points.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  53. ZippyDSMlee says:


    “Well said but I will add it’s due to the level of quality in games that roll off the product line.”


    Bugs, gaps in design, general unrefinement in development styles(but shine), the lack of polish and coherent standards in feature and control options….


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  54. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Well said but I alway will say its due to the level of qaulity in games that roll off the product line.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  55. DarkSaber says:

    So how does Tetris fit into the power-fantasy?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  56. ZippyDSMlee says:

    ME is under deved and has weak general dialog(some parts of it is good but it has simply to many drop points same for FO3).
    BS is very under deved,bugy and limited by censorship.
    FO3 is a bland MMO clone the only real thing it has ample quality of is level design, the equipment is bland and skill system unfinsihed thus it can not sustain peeked interest through out the whole thing, the dialog has issues not to mention the rushed ending to get it to market. Hell Morrowind had equipment customizing IMO FO3 is a downgrade….

    The development style of the industry is VERY immature.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  57. Tristram says:

    I have loved games for a long time, but I think she is correct.  I mean, for every game with an amazing story, how many "Gears of War" and "Army of 2" type games are out there?   Games are very deeply rooted in guy culture.  They all have the same plots: one or a few brave heros stand up to the forces of evil.  It would be stupid to deny this.  However, do we want games to change?

    I think that there is room for change, but that is just me.  Games don’t have to be anything more tham, as she calls them, power fantasies.  Maybe they can’t even be more than that, due to the physical limitations of a the single person controling the narative.   However, don’t demand respect as more than that while refusing to grow. 

    So many people here are taking what she said and twisting it.   

  58. SimonBob says:

    My local places show a mix of classic stuff with newer but lower-profile shows that aren’t getting picked up by the big theaters.  Maybe that’s not really repertory?  But I don’t know what else I’d call it.  "Independent" makes it sound like they only show things that have been produced on 16mm and screened at SxSW.

    The Mammon Philosophy

  59. SimonBob says:

    Yes, you were.  It’s not the greatest movie of all time as the American Film Institute seems to think it is (Casablanca is far better, for one) but it does great things with plot structure, and nobody’s ever used the deep-focus technique to such incredible effect since.  Of course, it has lost a bit of its mystique ever since its ending became common knowledge — "Rosebud" was the original "Aeris Dies."

    The Mammon Philosophy

  60. gamadaya says:

    I don’t think most repertory cinema’s are considered mainstream. Don’t they usually show old movies?


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  61. lumi says:

    I was present for this panel, and I have to admit, her rant got my blood boiling a bit.  When all is said and done, there was little difference between what she said, and what we’d expect from some sensationalist media outlet (hi, Fox!) that likes to pick choice bits from the whole, and ignore the greater context.

    Someone said "feminist agenda" further up, and I think that that factor is present, but definitely not the entirety of her objections.  The thing is, that was probably the only legitimate angle she may have had.  Games, as an art form, have made a hell of a lot of progress in a comparatively short time, and did so while under the "fanboy stigma".  I think it’s a sign of maturity, integrity, and ambition that thoughtful, adventurous, and truly serious subject matter has managed to make its way into games at all when the lucrative path is clearly "guns and chicks in chainmail weilding axes".  That’s the easy path; fortunately, there are developers out there who have gone beyond the easy buck to make truly great games.

    Mass Effect?  Bioshock?  Fallout 3?  Or would you like to go back further, Miss Chaplin, and examine some of the achievements of the gaming industry when it was even younger?  Ever play Beyond Good & Evil?  You might like that one, it had a strong, intelligent, caring, brave female lead (playable, mind you), who looks pretty Asian to me (certainly not Generic Caucasion Protagonist #28359, which was a complaint of another panelist).  Indigo Prophecy?

    Hell, she wants to compare us to the movie industry?  Has she seen what they’ve done with ANY of our stuff?  Has there BEEN a cinematic adaptation of a game that hasn’t fallen woefuly short of its source material?  (Someone is going to jump in here with Silent Hill, and I would respectfully say that while that’s the best candidate for this debate, it’s a sorely divided subject).

    I’ve worked at a number of different studios, and I will say this about girls in the industry.  If a woman can do this job (art, programming, design, sound, any of the tracks, really), she is WELCOME.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of talented girls, and let me tell you, it’s been pleasant, but not for the "eye candy" aspect that Chaplin or others would so quickly attribute my stance to.  They’re great because they’re a change of pace; even the girls who are "just one of the guys" bring something unique to the table.  It’s not unicorns and stars, it’s just a different shade of what the other members of the team bring.  That said, if girls are upset about the lack of "girl games", then perhaps more of them should be trying to enter the industry.  As I said, as long as they can perform, they will not be turned away by any company that knows its elbow from its ass.

    TLDR version: She has balls to call our industry juvenile by cherry-picking poor examples and ignoring the rest of the medium as a whole, and especially to compare us to the movie industry in the same breath.

  62. SimonBob says:

    I like how everyone on the comments is jumping up and down yelling, "mainstream movies are still crap, therefore she’s wrong!"  When’s the last time any of you lot went to a repertory cinema?

    Not to say I immediately agree with her; games have definitely grown up quite a bit already in various ways.  But it’s nearly impossible to find something that can’t be slotted into that power-fantasy designation, even in a remote way.  No matter how good the plot, level design, or gameplay balance gets, games at their core still consist of either "become more powerful and emerge victorious" or "you already are powerful, so go out and win."  (Even as I say it, I know it’s a stretch.  But think about it in terms of Super Mario Bros.: you’re a superhuman jumping machine who sets out to save the princess.  It’s clearly not trying to embrace the fantasy, but it still plays into it.)

    At some point, somebody’s going to figure out how to design quality games that avoid those dynamics, and then gaming will break through another watershed and grow up a little more.

    The Mammon Philosophy

  63. Orelup says:

    Ok this is only slightly related to the article….but am I the only one who thought citizen kane was a HORRIBLE movie?

    I sat through the entire thing because so many people talked about how great it was, and i felt like i just wasted a good 2 hours of my life (i was gonna say three before i double checked on wikipedia….felt like three hours)

    More related to the article, every time a designer tries to make a game more adult themed (i’m not talking about showing sex, but just featuring sex as a plot point) the designers get attacked for marketing the things to kids.  How are the designers supposed to put out a more mature product when the journalists jump on anything mature they put into the game and attack it.  Sure, postal 2 and other games are juvinelle, but so was loaded weapon and naked gun.

  64. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Yes I would say the game industry needs to grow up but not quite for what she is going on about. I can say they need "improvement" on how  they handle development time and priorities if you are going to pay a premium for gaming(any game over 40$,console over 250) they should not under develop(polish,control options,features like gore,sound,music,voice volume, more varied minor gameplay toggles)/ support(bugs, very poorly built parts, bad manufacturing,bad keys/DRM) and this all befor dealing with core issues of modern game design itself with rushed and simplistic level design that looks great but functions(layout/explore) poorly, safe and bland gameplay implementations that are utterly generic and boring.

    Moving on(ohhhh I wish >>) I can agree to a point with content depth but perhaps me thinks she needs to get away from action based titles and look into RPGs and Strategy games, FF 6 and ZOE fist of mars are good examples of relatively deep and moving games then expand on to more modern counter parts.
    But from my POV as mostly an anime fan ""LULZ plots"" are more frequent when a industry focusing on as much of the mainstream as it possibly can tis going to be contorted and convoluted just because you can not please everyone and tis far easier to please the greater numbers of the witless and slow.



    I forgot to rail on writing/dailog qauilty…


    GP why not updated the article with the poll insted of makign a new article?


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  65. Rocka156 says:

    What she doesn’t understand is that that’s what these games are meant for fantisies.  People know that they can;t do things like that in the real world so they escape into video games as an escape.  Games are not meant to be simulations of actual life.


    "Logic will always prevail. Execpt in politics of course, thats fucked." Darkrider/Rocka

  66. Cerabret100 says:

    I’m sorry, but after rereading the article, i fail to see how the fact that the games i mentioned deal with individuals somehow twists her words

    she says game don’t deal with things like responsibility, One of the main ending points of SH2 and Homecoming was James and alex taking responsibility for what they’ve done.

  67. shihku7 says:

    From Chaplin’s point of view, the game developers are "culture makers." They manipulate human thought and thus are responsible for some of the actions of humans. If you made a movie at the height of the Cold War making it seem "cool" to start a nuclear war with the USSR, you’d be seen as somewhat irresponsible and perhaps insane. Fueling the fire, etc. Similarly, if you make a video game that says various US-led wars in the Middle East are cool, you may be seen as irresponsible, too. Thus the power fantasy fulfillment aspect of games can seem kinda screwed up. Another example… back in the 70s or so, I believe black crime rates in the US skyrocketed. Many whites, particularly conservative ones, became very frustrated and angry with this, demanding something be done about it. Some filmmakers supplied that demand with movies like Death Wish, where the white, middle-class vigilante hero runs around killing largely non-white and poor criminals. Thus, power fantasies were filled. The fantasy involved the murder of black criminals. How ethical is this? Is it totally fine? Is the filmmaker totally free of any blame should a viewer of these films develop racist views after seeing the film? Obviously the filmmaker did not force the viewer to develop racist views, but it would be hard to argue there was no influence going on there.

    For me, I don’t really see games as culture makers, but as culture responders. People have beliefs generated from their real lives, and they demand entertainment media that confirms their beliefs to be true. The highly popular "Left Behind" novels cater to Christian beliefs, for example. People want the same from their games. My view is that games, right now in 2009, primarily supply to people’s demands.. and don’t really alter what is being demanded. In other words, if video games vanished from the world entirely tomorrow, people would be pretty unaffected.

    Of course there’s no huge red line that prevents video games from "making culture." They send out messages just like any person can. But I think they are doing much more responding than "culture making" at this point. They don’t have a significant "voice of authority" to put it one way. Video games are not religious figures, espousing life-altering philosophical viewpoints with any gravitas, claiming that they are speaking for God, etc. Nor are they highly respected Secretaries of State, going in front of the public and saying there are WMDs in Iraq, or what not. Video games don’t pretend to be important.

    This is why I’m not sure I want video games to "grow up" or become important. Is it really a good idea to have video games join in on the culture wars? Even though I vote Democrat and am definitely more liberal than conservative, I’m not comfortable with how many liberal view points are espoused in films. To me, the medium of games and film are just not great places for political discussion. Everything becomes too one-sided. Chaplin never said she wanted more politics or culture war stuff in games, but I think a lot of what she’s asking for will inevitably lead to this stuff…




  68. mituckius says:

    Wait. Why are we comparing the video game industry to the movie industry?

    Gaming IS about power, and since gaming is about escapism in the first place, it’s obvious that gaming is generally about power fantasies. So what? Other games are about power as well, such as sports (cheerleaders would be roughly equivalent to the metal bikini chicks in video games in terms of their purposes: mainly to give males eye candy). It’s about winning and dominating opponents. And a lot of parents, including soccer moms, are engaged in power fantasies by making or getting their children to play sports in the hopes that this child will grow up to be some star, get a scholarship, whatever. Or, in the case of academics, many parents engage in power fantasies through their children by wanting them to grow up to be powerful lawyers, politicians, whatever. Carry on the family name and all that rubbish. Everybody has power fantasies. Gaming just happens to be an easy and harmless way to live out fantasies of conquering people (total war), being some war hero, secret agent, whatever. You know, it allows people to live out fantasies that just aren’t practical or realistic.  

    I don’t see gaming as a good medium for story telling (gameplay should always take priority over story telling if and when they conflict); I see it as a good medium to play escapist games on. Stories should be a secondary concern. I don’t want video games turning into interactive movies. If I want to escape through some story, I’ll watch a movie or read a book. If I want to ponder the deeper questions of life, I’ll read philosophy. If I want to blow someone’s head off or conquer people I’ll play a game. Not everything I’m entertained by needs to be deep, nor does this mean I’m some stunted adolescent.



  69. Sai says:

     Actually I think the "guy culture" in gaming has gotten worse in modern times, at least in the USA. Back in the day most male gamers wouldn’t be embarassed to be playing the likes of Mario, or Final Fantasy with its cute little characters and various other colorful, cartoony RPGs like it, puzzle games, etc.

    Now that the beer-chugging, backwards-baseball-cap-wearing, overcompensating obnoxious "frat boy" demographic has long since discovered gaming anything colorful or imaginative is labeled "gay" and every other game is constantly compared to the likes of Halo, and constantly tries to emulate the same.


    Just sayin’. 


  70. londinio says:

    Gears of war isn’t an immature game. It’s just simple. Conkers on the otherhand would be immature.


    And besides, the reason why her knowledge of mature titles is so limited is because they tend not to sell as well.


    If she wants games of that nature, she can find them. Why she turns a blind eye to them is beyond me.


    Like she said, there are games that are artistic and games that are simply fun. If she is trying to find games that are complex, why does she only play the stupid ones?


    It’s like saying you want a relationship and can’t find a good guy but you only go to bars and clubs and get drunk hoping a prince charming will kiss you and wake you out of your delusional slumber.


    She obviously hasn’t been watching television for the past twenty years or watching movies or listening to music for that matter. Mixed in with all the crap are a few gems. Games are no different.

    Maybe her harsh words are the only way anyone would listen to her. Because i wouldn’t. She sounds like an idiot. But at least developers will listen and start making games with some more mature themes.


    Eventually games will have a conscious element to them but to what degree is anyone’s guess. Hopefully not to the point that it’s ridiculous and every game has a silly message about life.



  71. Bennett Beeny says:

    But summer blockbusters only tend to appear in the summer.  Summer lasts all year in the game industry.  That’s the whole point of that journalist’s rant.

  72. Icarus_IRL says:

    I must say I wholeheartedly agree.

    Another factor that we must also take into account is that of Gameplay, at the end of the day games that are fun sell well, Gears is fun to play so it sells very well this makes up for it’s admitedly shallow story(though I do think that the universe has potential for a good story and plenty of human drama, the scene with Dom and Maria in 2 is evidence of that) 

    I love a good mature and well developed plot in games, but sometimes it  nice to just forget those things and have some fun to say that there is something wrong with this is ludicrous like people have said we have the summer blockbuster in movies, just like theres space there for films like Bad boys to exist beside films like Heat.

    Indeed we already have this kind of relationship in games already, in Fps’s we have Gears and at the same time half-life 2 HL2 had a serious plot, believeable and compelling characters and at times gave us a glimpse into human nature in the form of the people dealing with oppression.

    And as for "Power fantasies" of course games alllow us to live out our dreams what man has not experienced a desire for some form of "power" well, most politicians have for a start. the desire for power is a fairly standard male trait it’s a form of masculinity that has to be acknowledged and I don’t believe that it should be left behind by developers.


  73. JC says:

    I must say, I applaud at your comment. It is a shame I’m not much for words to continue praising this comment. Great post.

  74. doewnskitty says:

    I’d venture that he’s referring to this bit: “It is you guys as game designers who are mired deeply in ‘guy culture,’” Chaplin said. The problem isn’t the medium: “You are a bunch of stunted adolescents.” Games avoid any of the things that separate men from boys: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery. And “when you’re talking about culture-makers, this is a problem.”

    It’s almost like she’s implicitly saying that women would make more "grown-up" games and implying that the games industry is a "boy’s club" at large.  Plus, sounds very much like she’s saying that there aren’t any/many "women’s games" in the sense of games that are less about juvenile male fantasy and more about mature feminine realism.

    In one sense, she’s right, but it’s also that for a lot of the people working in the games industry today, many of them were growing up at the time NES came about, and back then much the attitude I ever saw across the board was that playing video games was "a stupid boy thing" and especially considered to be a "loser boy nerd" thing for those closer to the junior high/high school age, much in the same way lots of people viewed D&D playing.  Imagine the results 20 years on from that scenario, were the positions and roles reversed completely.

    What bothers me is that this notion of somehow games have to "grow up."  Games are meant to be escapist fantasy at their most base and simplistic.  I will never fully understand the fascination with the Sims because to me, I don’t see a point in playing it.  It is me playing an avatar living a life, and everytime I think of that I can only think of it as the saddest kind of escapism there is, and that’s probably more in line with her thinking of a "grown up" game because it incorporates responsibility (keep people fed, keep the house clean!), introspection (Shall I try to woo that girl?  Should I take the ladder out of the pool?), intimacy (I am watching my avatar rub pixels under a sheet with another avatar oh god yes you naughty little avatars), and intellectual discovery (holy hell what have I done with my life the past two months?!?).  I jest, but that is essentially the other end of the pole of what she’s describing as juvenile male "I am Capt. Awesome and this is my awesome gun shooting everything and now I save the hot chick" end.  I think she might’ve rather have just pointed to that Matt Hazard game, since that’s apparently supposed to be a parody/homage to just that kind of character and game.

    Granted, I’ve only interpreted one way she meant that, but the choice of words certainly looks that way.

    If anything, someone needs to explain to her what the word "genre" means.  The reason why games like Gears are like big spectacles of explosions and muscles is because it’s meant to be an action game, same as you would expect an action movie.  And funnily enough, I can find the same four qualities she mentions in one classic action movie full of big explosions and masculine bravado:  Die Hard.  How so?  John McClane and his desire to reconcile with his wife.  But that’s more the exception than the role, because it’s meant to be about action, not pathos nor dramatic exposition.  She’s sounding more like she’d rather watch a drama movie that is more paced and about dialogue and relationships and so on, as though she’s wanting Terms of Endearment or Steel Magnolias, but as a game.  But to single out only a few names representative of one genre and then say that’s the whole industry’s verve is a bit much, and especially does no service to her argument in light of so many other games, two of which I’ll name here:  Assassin’s Creed and GTA IV.  Both feature much depth of plot, and certainly satisfy those four qualities as both Altair grows in knowledge of the events surrounding him, caused and influenced by him; and Niko learns increasingly just how different life was from what he expected it to be in America, and how much of his past still remains in his present.

    And really, Terms of Endearment just sounds horribly goddamned boring as a game idea.


  75. DarkSaber says:

    I calls ’em like I sees ’em. 


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  76. cmgonzalez says:

    Well,if that’s the case, fine. But I have a hard time believing that since it’s pretty obvious that the only reason the phrase "feminist agenda" (or similar) entered this discussion was because the speaker in question is a woman.

  77. Aprincen says:

    Would you care to explain then why exactly this person is pushing a "feminist agenda"? And what is exactly a "feminist agenda"?

  78. DarkSaber says:

    Then you answered wrongly and it serves you right for putting words in my mouth.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  79. cmgonzalez says:

    It would be highly inappropriate to use the term "feminist agenda". First of all, that’s a pretty empty phrase, considering there are many types of feminism and the term itself is often thrown around without any semblance of real meaning in an effort to demonize women who dare to express an opinion; especially if that opinion is critical of a traditionally male-dominated sphere.

    And second of all, if this were a man making the same comments, would he too have a "feminist agenda" in your opinion?

    I can answer that question already, and the answer would be no. Such a thought would not even come up. So, yes, it’s incredibly inappropriate.


  80. cmgonzalez says:

    What exactly are you implying?

    The term "feminist" is often misinterpreted and demonized, so that’s why I am asking.

  81. DarkSaber says:

    Well, the original TLHOTL was MEANT to be an explotiation film, and if I remember rightly, was responsible for starting the original Grindhouse movie trend.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  82. black manta says:

    I happened to like THLOTL.  it was a remake, yes, but IMO it was a damned sight better than the original.  At least in this one I cared about the characters and what happened to them, whereas the original was little more than an exploitation film.  Was it what the mainstream would consider a "good" movie?  No.  But I liked it and thought it was a competent and well-made thriller/horror film.

    Oh, and the microwave oven at the end?  That totally made the film for me right there!

  83. gamadaya says:

    I don’t think it would be that innapropriate. What she said isn’t inherrantly feminist, but I would bet money that she is in fact a feminist.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  84. DarkSaber says:

    Exactly. (THLOTL is a remake as well *sigh*)


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  85. Cerabret100 says:

    I don’t really see a "feminist agenda", but yeah, summer blockbusters aren’t that great.  My cousin said she just saw "The Last House on The Left".  that looked like a completely pointless snuff fest, apparently ending with a dude having his head explode by being put in a microwave.

    How is that any better? or the Saw movies, or Hostel, or any other sex and gore movie?

  86. Bennett Beeny says:

    But her point is that whereas other media have their seasons for garbage (i.e. the summer blockbuster), the game industry’s garbage season is year-round.

  87. Soldat_Louis says:

    It reminds me a rant against the (French) comic books industry by critic Thierry Groensteen. In one of his books, he talked about a "treachery of the editors", blasting them for (among other things) catering too much on adolescent fanboys.

    I understand her rant (and I would agree with her to a point), but it’s important to remember that this immaturity concerns not only video games, but also all other popular media.

  88. Bennett Beeny says:

    Hah!  The deeper meanings usually amount to ‘corporations are bad’.  I’ll alert the media back in the ’80s on that one – they may not have seen Robocop yet.

  89. olstar18 says:

    Not as rare as you might think its just that they dont go as mainstream as generic space marine shooter 25. And remember some of these generic shooters also have deeper meanings hidden in them.

  90. Azhrarn says:

    The breadth of choice still exists, however there no longer is a jockeying for first place, FPS have won…, unfortunately.

    If a publisher wants to make more money than they know what to do with, they release an FPS, if they want to make a game that they love the concept of or to tell a story then you’ll see the other genres.
    Not saying there aren’t FPS games made for love of a concept or a nice story, it’s just that making "Generic Space Marine Shooter 25" appears to be a license to print money. something publishers love.

    Personally, I dislike shooters and love RPGs and the like, good examples of those are however getting increasingly rare.



  91. Chaplain99 says:

    I feel the same way.  Sure, I play games more for the plot than the gameplay (most of the time), but I enjoy the occassional "mindless" multiplayer every now and then.  Games relieve stress, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be innovative, too.

    "HEY! LISTEN!"

  92. Bennett Beeny says:

    Yeah, but games like The Sims are pretty rare when compared to the testosterone-fueled games that she’s criticizing.

    I was all fired up to defend games from her ire when I saw the article’s title, but after I read her critique I realised she has a point.  Most games seem to be targeted at adults who haven’t really put their adolescence behind them.  There should be a healthier breadth of genres to choose from.  Recently it has seemed that the adult gaming market is moving towards a ‘shooter event horizon’, where every game produced will be a shooter.  I fondly remember a time when shooters were just one genre jockeying for position among simulation games, adventure games, Sims-style games, RPGs and puzzle games.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have that breadth of choice again?

  93. DarkSaber says:

    ANd our point is that immature guy games exist but they aren’t the only games and there are a lot of other genres of game that make a lot of money as well.

    Sims anyone?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  94. lumi says:

    I’d probably agree, PoP:SoT is the closest to doing time-manipulation like Braid, but Braid did so much more.  It truly is unique, even among time-manipulation games.

  95. Harry Miste says:

    The closest I can think of is Prince of Persia.

    | XBOX LIVE GamerTag: Harry Miste | Steam ID: Harry Miste | PSN ID: HarryMiste |

  96. DarkSaber says:

    Colour me cynical, but that could have been so people think ‘What a nice man, I’ll buy his game because he is so nice to us gamers’.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  97. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I like the indie scene. They are much more experimental when it comes to gameplay. The biggest reason is they are not driven by the publisher’s desire for profitability and huge market share. Publishers want games that will sell millions of units. Indie developers are more concerned about getting their game out. Just read Lonathan Blow’s comments about Braid. He bascally said he could care less about making a profit on the game. His reward was getting the game done and out there. But I am sure that the money he has made from it was a nice bonus.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  98. DarkSaber says:

    So stealing a time-manipulation mechanic that had already been done to death is something to lauded?

    Sorry, I just felt Braid was hideously over-rated by people desperate for an Indie ‘champion’


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  99. Austin_Lewis says:

    I don’t know what kind of retarded PC world you live in, but when someone has a moronic opinion, I call them out on it.  And if anyone here watched slumdog millionaire and didn’t smell the bullshit and oscar grooming from miles away, they need to have their head examined.  The movie is terrible.

  100. Rohin says:

    *Reply meant for Austin, not Sabre*

    People can have their opinions about movies. Just like you can.

    It’s impolite to tell someone they’re flat out wrong about their opinion.

  101. DarkSaber says:

    Yep, a lot of reviews of Slumdog used the term ‘groomed for the Oscars’ which says it all really.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  102. Austin_Lewis says:

    Yeah fucking right.  That movie was such a cheap lie.  Gran Torino was a better movie than slumdog millionaire.  Remember, just because people give it awards, doesn’t mean that its actually a good movie.


  103. DarkSaber says:


    Oh wait, you’re serious….

    (Well, I didn’t like it, anyway.)


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  104. gaspar says:

    She says this puts her in the role of a “translator,” trying to tell the mainstream why gaming even matters.


    games were better when they didnt matter.

  105. Ma2ReeD says:

    Thank you D


    Top games are immature because they are meant to appeal to a wide variety of players. Games that want to make money need to focus on being fun, because everybody likes fun. Take Halo for example. Weither you spend your time playing in a league or greifing your team, the number one thing you will remember is how much fun you’ve had. If you want to make a game centered around the plot, you’re going to appeal to a smaller portion of consumers. (ie mature hardcore gamers) this is because stoners and soccer moms really don’t care about how well written a characters diolauge is, they care about how much fun it is when you use said characters chaingun to destroy an army of approaching aliens.

    The reason mature games arn’t mainstream is because they appeal to less people, and therefore get less attention. If we lived in a world where a good plotline drew more eyes than solid gameplay, you would hear the jocks in your gym class talking about Silent Hill instead of Gears of War.

    tl;dr version

    She sould be blaming the illiterate masses instead of game developers.

  106. PeVo says:

    A few points…


    It’s not up to women to tell guys how to be men; and vica versa of course.


    Games are supposed to be juvenile! That’s the whole point!


    “It is you guys as game designers who are mired deeply in ‘guy culture,’”

    Of course male game designers are going to be producing games relating to this so called ‘guy culture’, it’s why we get in to game development! 


    — Olly

  107. DarkSaber says:

    Stephen Totilo is a woman?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  108. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    It’s called "human error" so no worries, man.


  109. DarkSaber says:

    OK, my bad, I failed hard this time!

    Although he is still displaying general ignorance of anything outside braindead ‘blockbuster by numbers’ games.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  110. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    I loathe and hate FPSs, just something about them annoys me and in general I don’t play them, but I love Left 4 Dead it’s really fun.


    I also thought FFX-2 was a great plot, but then again I happen to like Romance being one of those Hopelessly romantic women and all that rot.

    This woman talks big and acts like she’s all that, but I don’t think she’s ever actually played any video games. She just doesn’t sound like it to me, specially with that comment about responsibility and stuff….RPGS, Strategy games, Simulations all those aren’t immature (Anyone played Harvest moon, you gotta stay on top of everything or your crops wither, your animals die, and just a lot of bad can happen, I’ve become loads more responsible in my RL life thanks to taking care of my farms for so many years.)

  111. Aprincen says:

    I have to congratulate you on finding a way to put anti-Obama messages in every thread. But besides that, do you really think the writing for FF is brilliant? I’m not just talking about the story, I’m talking about the dialogue. Final Fantasy might have good stories, but those games are a long way from having believable adult dialogue. I can’t really comment on FF IV through VII though (and XI), because I haven’t played those. Do they have better writers? And Left 4 Dead has insanely good gameplay, but not much in the way of story. Ever played Half life 2? Now that is fantastic writing.

    As for brilliant movies, just the other day I watched Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind and a few days before that I saw Gran Torino. Both brilliant.

  112. ZippyDSMlee says:

    so so level design and unfinshed AI..they should have made it MP only…..

    The story and writting is so so as well all in all we gamers would rather have crap story or non and have good gameplay…but now adays we get weak game play and so so writing…


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  113. Austin_Lewis says:

    We have Left 4 Dead.  I don’t care what anyone says, that’s a masterpiece of brilliant level design, teamwork, and balanced gameplay. 

    What about Final Fantasy, every one since IV with the exception of FFX-2?  BRILLIANT story, amazing art, and great gameplay.  How about Silent Hill, Dead Space, Call of Duty, etc.?  When’s the last time you saw a truly brilliant movie?  That’s what I fuckin thought.

    Grow up yourself.  When’s the last time that paper media did anything except fellate Obama?

  114. Aprincen says:

    Are you saying Fahrenheit was a mature game? that game wasn’t mature, it wasn’t even done! They cut out the middle part and instead included the worst sex scene ever. There was nothing intimate about that. Introspection was missing too, with the main characters suddenly bumping uglies for no reason (maybe the woman had a undead fetish?).

  115. chadachada321 says:

    …..I love you.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  116. lumi says:

    I wish I had been able to record Chris Hecker’s "rant".  It was entitled "Please Do Your Job, Well" and it was directed at the panel (i.e. all journalists).  It was great.

  117. gamadaya says:

    Typical of a game "journalist". These people need to shut the hell up. They aren’t actual journalists, they aren’t reviewers, and they aren’t even good bloggers. Basically, they are just pompous douchebags who bitch and complain about shit that really doesn’t need to be criticized or complained about. Who cares if some games are juvenile? Who cares if they don’t all take themselves seriously? Somebody who actually appreciates mature and intellectual games should realize that there is plenty of room in the industry for games that are just about blowing aliens heads off. Not every game is about the story, or deals with complex themes. Some of them are just about fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    And I love how she called herself a translator between the mainstream and the industry. Nothing could be farther for the truth. In reality, she is completely disconected from both parties. It would be a lot more accurate if she had said she was a translator between pretentious assholes and the industry.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  118. Neeneko says:

    Yep, good start.  And the various indy game festivals are another step in the right direction. More big-studio participation in the festivals would probably be a good things. The media love festival type events.

    Putting more advertising dollars into showcasing other games would also really help. When I watch TV I see very little beyond Gears of War, Halo, and a few other games along those lines. The game industry still depends a little too much on word of mouth and gamer hubs for advertising the more intellectual/emotional games.

    Heh. Maybe some studio needs to give dating sims another shot for the US market. Break into the trashy-romance market and high emotional content games are not that far behind.

  119. DarkSaber says:

    OK, but in her comparison with the ‘mature’ movie industry, how do films like Bad Boys 2, Fast and The Furious, Transformers or other such ‘guy’ films fit in?


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  120. lumi says:

    Ironically, two days earlier in that very same room, Ueda Fumito was on a panel (with Suda51 and Emil Pagliarulo), during which Ico and SotC were both praised as beautiful, artistic, medium-advancing games.  Guess she missed that one.

  121. Vash-HT says:

    Ugh, it sounds like she is basing her opinion on games that fit her viewpoint. What about games like ICO or SoTC, these had you play as a pretty weak main character who had to use your brains to get anything done really. She makes it sound like every game out there is a shooter which just isn’t true. She ignores the fact that in movies there was a lot of crap released besides Citizen Kane (at the time it came out), likewise for rock and roll. She just comes off as biased and it doesn’t sound like she’s played very many games based on her opinion.


  122. lumi says:

    The Independent Game Festival Awards were given out in conjunction with the Game Developers Choice Awards last Wednesday Night.

    The way I look at it, that’s like running the Sundance Film Festival in conjunction with the Academy Awards.

    At the very same panel as the one Miss Chaplin spoke on, Clint Hocking basically lambasted AAA developers for not learning from indie developers in recent years, citing particularly successful titles like Braid.  "Not only have we not learned from them in the last year, but they’ve been learning from us.  If we don’t get our shit together, we’re not going to be making AAA titles anymore because they’re going to put us out of business."

    How much "artsy" focus would you like us to have?  You can’t deny that the indie scene has made incredible progress in a relatively short period of time.

  123. DarkSaber says:

    The UK has been giving BAFTAs to games for a couple of years now. A good start.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  124. Neeneko says:

    While I am not sure she stated it very well, I think she has a point.

    As others have pointed out, she focused on the blockbusters. And just like the movie industry the blockbusters are pretty shallow action flicks and such.

    What the movie industry does differntly, as an industry, is it gives more focus (one could say, disproportionate focus) to the more artsy type movies.  The industry gets these movies out, parades them around, gives them big high profile awards, and otherwise tries to bring them attention.

    The game industry is starting to do the same thing which is good, but could probalby stand to do more of it.  There needs to be more awareness outside the industry of games other then the blockbusters.  Advertize them more, have awards, get mainstream press _talking_ about them.

  125. Papa Midnight says:

    "Games avoid any of the things that separate men from boys: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery. And “when you’re talking about culture-makers, this is a problem.”"

    I’m going to forget I saw that. Now I’m going to go back to my Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid and Farenheit (Indigo Prophecy)

    Papa Midnight

  126. DarkSaber says:

    Would it be inappropriate to use the term ‘Feminist Agenda’? Because that’s what it sounds like.

    And yeah, Gears etc aren’t exactly intellectual, but neither are summer blockbuster movies.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  127. Cerabret100 says:

    Games avoid any of the things that separate men from boys: responsibility, introspection, intimacy, and intellectual discovery

    What freaking games have you been playing?  Silent Hill, Final Fantasy, Tales (symphonia and Vesperia were all i played), MGS.  All these games and more deal with higher things than just "let’s kill’em all"

    Hell, Silent Hill alone is all you really need to say.  point out James, Harry, or Heather, even Alex and tell me that doesn’t deal with a higher plane of thinking


    although in her favor, Gears of War and the such really are "guy games" and not exactly the deepest thinking games out there.

  128. grey_poet says:

    How old would you say the games industry is?  Pong came out in 1972.  Space Invaders in 1978.  Using either of those as the starting point would make the games industry either 37 or 31 years old and seemingly comparable to the film industry.

  129. DarkSaber says:

    The first feature film made was in 1906, Citizen Kane was made in 1941. SO by her logic the games industry is at least 35 years old. Not only does she fail at knowing games, she fails at comparative history.


    EDIT: Not her, my mistake. That MTV douche fails in this post.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

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