Gaming Community: We Need to Talk (Again)

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September 22, 2013 by Devin

Warning: the following post contains extreme language and poor examples of humanity.* Your sense of decency and any hope for the human race might be challenged. You have been warned.

Gaming community, you have been bad.

We need to talk about your reactions to reviews, specifically the Grand Theft Auto V review from Gamespot.

It's only going to get worse from here on.

To give some background on this, GTA V, the latest in one of the biggest gaming franchises ever, recently came out. Gamespot, like all the other major gaming outlets, ran a review that came out before the game, and the reviewer, Carolyn Petit, gave it a mostly enormously positive review. She said, “Grand Theft Auto V is an outrageous, exhilarating, sometimes troubling crime epic that pushes open-world game design forward in amazing ways,” and then gave it a 9/10.

Now, honestly, if you are at all familiar with video game reviews, you should know what comes next. If you are not, you might come to the sensible conclusion that people who were looking forward to GTA V would be happy that it got such a high score and that a reviewer sang its praises so emphatically.

That, of course, is not what happened at all.

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No, gamers got pissed. They got pissed because it didn’t get a 10. They got pissed because someone dared talk about the women in a GTA game in a negative way. They got pissed because someone dared talk about how a game made them feel.

In her review, Carolyn Petit spent a little bit of time talking about the female characters in the game and how they were not very good. She even dared use the word “misogynistic”. I want to emphasize here how little this time was. In 8 minute video review, she spends maybe half a minute or so talking about the female characters, and the rest of the time she spent talking about how amazing the game was. Even though this discrepancy did not ruin the game for her and she still enjoyed the game incredibly, people responded like entitled little children who could not fathom why this would be a problem.

Gaming community, I have words to say.

First off, game reviews are not objective

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Do you want an objective review of GTA V? Here it is:

Grand Theft Auto V is a game. In the game, the player can play as three characters. They drive cars. There are graphics. There are sounds. Pressing the right trigger sometimes shoots a gun.

Things that are “objective” are facts that cannot be disputed and exist independently of human experience. Objective facts tell you that art exists, but only through subjective analysis can someone say why that art exists or what benefit it has.

And for the most part, gamers are actually quite fine with subjective analysis. They are fine with someone saying that graphics are beautiful (even though that is subjective). They are fine with saying the mechanics were rewarding (even though that is subjective). They are fine with saying that the storyline was engaging (even though that is subjective).

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So what happened here? It is simple. Gamers want reviewers to talk about graphics, mechanics, and story in a game because they care about those things. If a review did not talk about those things, many gamers would feel like the review missed an important part of the game.

But gamers, at least the ones commenting here, do not want to hear about women in games because they do not care about women in games.

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The whole objectivity point is a mask to hide the fact that gamers simply do not care about how women are portrayed. Whether or not the bloom effects look pretty is vital but whether or not the game thinks women are less beings is “subjective” and doesn’t belong in a review.

Which brings me to my next point:

Sexism absolutely matters

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A lot of people will play GTA V without giving two thoughts to the women characters. They will shoot and kill and steal without ever thinking about the wider implications of the portrayal of the women. So when they look at a review like this, they will think, “Oh, I will not get worked up as much over this issue. Therefore I should not worry about it.”

And that is fine to an extent. If you do not care to analyze the characters at all and are just buying GTA V to blow stuff up, all the power to you.

But sexism does affect people, and it does bother people, and it would be dishonest for the reviewer, who was bothered by it, to just let it slide. Because some of the people playing the game (gasp) might be women or men who care about women, that might be a factor in their decision making process. And leaving that out would be an oversight.

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The problem is that many people do not view sexism as a problem. I want to reiterate that a bit. These commenters cannot comprehend why a person would care that a game treats women badly. They do not understand why it would be an issue. In fact, they seem insulted that anyone would bring that up.

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I am going to have to spell this out as clearly as possible.

Sexism

Is

A

Problem.

Treating half of the human race as people only defined by how annoying they are or only as people in service to others is not good and is furthermore a damaging view of women.**

Now, I want to be clear on something; I am not saying that GTA V is sexist. I have not played the game, much like many of the commenters.

However, through all my comment searching, I never saw anyone actually say, “I do not think GTA V is sexist because the women are portrayed well.” Instead, the outrage was at even thinking that sexism would be a problem. And I am honestly baffled that anyone would use that defense.

Of course it is a problem. If a game treated all black people as unintelligent beasts who are only supposed to help white people, this would be a definite problem. Even if it was under the guise of satire, it would have to be handled incredibly delicately, and I think that most gamers would understand why someone would be offended at that. They might even understand why someone would give a game a lower score because of it.

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Then again, maybe not.

Sex(uality) shouldn’t matter

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In case you hadn’t already gathered from the comments, Carolyn Petit is not only a woman, but a transexual one at that. She’s also been working for Gamespot for the last 5 years and is currently serving as an Editor. Guess which of those descriptions mattered more to gamers.

Everything about this comment baffles me.

Seriously, this is the lowest of the lows that the community could stoop to, and I’m appalled that it went this far and is this prevalent. The comments on her and her sexuality were frequent and brutal, and the fact that people old enough to play GTA V were saying them is absolutely disgusting.

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I do not know if there is anything I can say to convince these people to stop their hate. If I could sit them down and get them to listen, I would implore them to realize that there is a person who receives those comments, someone who probably has been through a lot to actually come out as transgender.

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She probably receives hate on a regular basis for simply being the way she is. I do not have any doubt that this decision was a difficult one for her, and she probably had trouble finding herself and figuring out her place in society. And I doubt that many of the white middle-class kids who play GTA V can relate to that at all.

And if that doesn’t work…

(Mom, Dad, Grandma, old church friends, you might want to skip the next section)

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Then fuck you. I have no tolerance, no sympathy, for people who spread this kind of hate. Take your small-minded intolerance away from where people can actually hear it. You don’t help anyone. The only people who benefit from your words are neanderthal bigots like yourself that want support for their hate-filled tirades. You are making the gaming community a worse place with your presence, and I would love it if you never ever commented on anything ever again. I don’t care if you are 50 or 12, hardcore or casual, PC or console; your place in the gaming community is full of vitriol and poison. And I would love it if you kindly escorted yourself the fuck out.

Why I am writing this

I did not have much enthusiasm for this blog post. I like to write about what I am excited about or what intrigues me more than what angers me. I also believe that the gaming community can be a beautiful community that is accepting people of all types. And so I started and stopped this post several times and procrastinated it as long as I could.

But I cannot let something like this go by without comment.

I cannot let people spew hate without calling them out on it. I have not seen a group of people act this collectively childish, judgmental, and generally dickish in a long time, and when I see this happen in a medium I love, I have to make my stand against it.

It’s not a big stand. This isn’t a well-syndicated blog. I’m not a famous developer or critic.

But I hope that by making this small stand, I am helping spread the word that this is not okay.

And maybe that might make the gaming community a little bit more open, a little bit more accepting, and a little bit better.

A ray of light that was flagged as spam... sigh.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go listen to some Lily Allen.

Update: I would just like to point out that Gamespot gave an excellent view about the backlash in their series, Feedbackula.

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*Some of the comments are from Gamespot’s review page and the others are from the YouTube video review. Gamespot has stricter moderation policies than YouTube and may have deleted some of the examples. I do understand that YouTube’s comments are, as a general rule, awful. These were still exceptionally terrible and worthy of discussion.
**I am not going to say that gaming causes violence against women or any of those straw man arguments that might be thrown at me. I will say that I believe society already has a poor view of women, and I don’t think games should add to that poor view already fostered by movies, music, and even books.

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239 thoughts on “Gaming Community: We Need to Talk (Again)

  1. Shillz says:

    Good blog post, I’m sure you will get lots of sex as a reward for your rabid white-knighting.

    • Or, you know, he did it because it was the right thing to do. Clearly you don’t know what white-knighting is and label any antisexist statement as white-knighting. Surprising as it might be to you, not everything people do is for the sake of getting some tail. Now shoo.

      • hoiuhiuy says:

        this is the internet and i can call you a bitch….now what?

      • MaxHoliday says:

        Have to say, i don´t give a damn about political correctness/correct proportions/whatsoever in games, so i think talking about it in a review isn´t really necessary. But creating an outrage about a female reviewer “disliking” one fucking thing in a Video Game that managed to get 9/10, is bullsh*t

    • Buzz says:

      lol. It says a lot about you if you think that normal people do things like this with the motivation of a sexual reward. Not everyone is a sex-starved, hateful loser.

    • Ahhh – the old “you’re white knighting!” refrain that betas like to use to try to shut up the stronger alpha voices that do what those types do and protect. You do know that this is a typical beta move – right little boy? You see, strong minds and strong voices aren’t so threatened by others with different views that they need to try as desperately as you are to shut them up before someone hears them. Crazy wingnut evangelical religious nuts do the SAME thing to try to shut down the sane more moderate religious voices who are speaking the truth.

      Keep trying it though – it’ll take a few more years for everyone to finally realize that anyone who ever says “you’re White Knighting” is just a scared little beta making a last dying attempt to be heard at the adult table. We’re on to you – we know you’re just little babies crying out to be heard while the adults are trying to talk over your screeching about adult stuff. Now why don’t you sit down while I get you to eat your freaking peas with this game of airplane. Dear god. Is there anyone over the age of twelve who buys the “white knight” idea anymore?

      • Morrow Wolf says:

        “right little boy?”
        That’s really all I need to say on this subject but I’ll elaborate more. This is not a matter of alpha or beta, the fact that you actually think that way shows how immature you are, not the other guy. Now don’t get me wrong, that other guy is a fucktard as well, but you are something completely different. It’s like you’re trying to show off your muscles or something over the internet.

      • acidic says:

        Is there anyone over the age of twelve who calls men ‘alphas’ and ‘betas’?

        Congratulations on being even more gross and embarrassing than the dude you replied to, and that was an extremely difficult act to follow.

    • ihateyou says:

      I can’t wait for the day your genitals atrophy and rot off from disuse you disgusting pile of shit.

    • gorus says:

      I think it’s telling that you can’t even imagine doing something for another person without a physical reward.

      I’m genuinely sorry you’re so alone.

    • Devin says:

      Oh yes, tons. You wouldn’t believe how the ladies like a good blog post.

    • Way to miss the point, deliberately, and fail to keep it classy. Troll much?

  2. rich says:

    The reason people are so upset about it because the way women are portrayed in the game doesn’t really have anything to do with the gameplay. The reviewer is bringing in views that very few people share as well.

    It’s a shame that she receives so much hate for it.. but it just isn’t acceptable in my opinion to write a review which doesn’t reflect what the general community thinks because that’s what writing a good review is about really, it’s supposed to reflect what the target audience will think about the game but obviously don’t know it until they’ve played it themselves.

    Views on politics, religion or whatever the game is making fun (in this case women) of isn’t interesting to most people buying the game so why downgrade it because of this?

    • Logan says:

      “…but it just isn’t acceptable in my opinion to write a review which doesn’t reflect what the general community thinks because that’s what writing a good review is about really, it’s supposed to reflect what the target audience will think about the game…”

      Granted, I’m probably in the minority on this but I would actually like to know if a game, in particular GTA, had elements of sexism. I’d rather a reviewer be a little open in their review, (which is what a review is: someone explaining their likes and dislikes about a game based on their time with said game), rather than just telling me what I want to hear. Then again, with a game like GTA, it’s practically implied that subject matter is in the game, with or without being brought to one’s attention.

      • mithrandir says:

        When you buy a game like GTA (or Saints Row, of Carmageddon for that matter), you know there is going to be sexualism in it. Just like there will be violence. and quite probably racism. So, why pick out sexualism? If they really downgraded the game for sexualism, they would have to give it a 7/10 max, because of the violence and racism. It just doesn’t work like that.

      • When has a “review” ever been about telling people what the majority wants to hear? Where on earth did any of you get this idea? have you actually read reviews throughout history? And even if this were magically true, does it somehow excuse the absolute horror show of those scathing comments? A simple “geez, I wish you would have stuck to this instead” wouldn’t have sufficed?

        And then really, isn’t it a bizarre entitlement issue when someone 1. thinks they represent the “majority” of a group and 2. that the minority should be silenced? If the majority of the gaming community actually believes that way, we have bigger problems than sexism going on.

      • Logan says:

        Exactly. Thank you!

    • Jerri says:

      As a woman, my experience of a game is affected by how women are portrayed in the game. It is part of the gameplay for women.

      • Sandra says:

        You are speaking for all women here which you should not. How women are portrayed in a game makes no difference to me when I am playing a game. I play for the enjoyment of the game, not how someone might portray someone else. Everyone plays for different reasons. Please do not put all women into your own category.

      • Jerri said “As a woman, **MY** experience of a game is affected by how women are portrayed in the game.” so she is not speaking for all women.

      • Sandra says:

        Danilo – You missed the part at the end where Jerri states “It is part of the gameplay for women” which is not correct and as I have stated trying to speak for all women.

    • Ray says:

      A review is meant to be the reviewers take on the art form. Any reviewer who panders to their target audience is a sorry excuse for a reviewer.

      I suggest gamers who read reviews go and find some movie reviews.

      Find a review of a film that has similar content to GTA V and see if the reviewer doesn’t mention the political or sexual content in their review.

      If a movie reviewer talked endlessly about the cinematography and the technical quality of a movie then no one would read it.

    • Ben says:

      But the review isn’t simply about mechanics. Every review I’ve seen talks about story and atmosphere and tone and characterization. These are all subjective things and can vary between people. If the atmosphere is one that makes me cringe due to a troublesome depiction of women, then I think it’s worth mentioning. It’ll have an impact on the game’s effect for some people.

    • Hkamp says:

      “but it just isn’t acceptable in my opinion to write a review which doesn’t reflect what the general community thinks because that’s what writing a good review is about really, it’s supposed to reflect what the target audience will think about the game but obviously don’t know it until they’ve played it themselves.”

      This is ignoring how reviews work though. The point is reviews are supposed to exist in order to give a person’s opinion on whether or not what they’re reviewing is worth spending money on. One reviewer doesn’t mean that you will or won’t like it, comparing multiple reviews helps inform your decision. If reviews are just going to say what the community believes then there would never be any coverage of games that the wider gaming audience has ignored during development. Why even read a review if you know what it’s going to say because you, as a member, already know what the wider community believes? A person disliking or liking something slightly less than you doesn’t invalidate either of your opinions. To use a cliche, it would be a boring place if everyone liked the same thing. I know we gamers, and nerds/geeks on a wider scale, generally have been targeted and accused of being immature/weird/strange but that doesn’t mean we need to establish a purity shield to protect us from anyone who possibly could pass as “normal”.

    • Mickskitz says:

      It is however part of the story of the game which is a major part of any gaming review. Ifa game has great gagame play but a terrible story, it shouldn’t get a high rank in gaming (especially if they are trying to tell a story). I have heard other reviews of the game talk about the female characters saying how even saints row has a better female cast, but they were not (from what I noticed) torn apart about it because they still gave the game a 10. And even if you disagree with the reviewer, that is no excuse for any one of those comments mentioned. The torture in it gets press and is accepted as a potential criticism of the game, how is this different?

      • Hellspawned says:

        Well, sexism can be depicted in different ways. In a satirical absurdist gangster game like GTA, characters are sexist towards women, which at least I see as obvious commentary on stereotypical and real tendencies in the world. It isn’t endorsing, nor normalizing or reinforcing sexism, it’s bringing it to light. Anyone who’ve read even a single sentence of political theory knows that not talking about a contentious notion, trying to silence it to death, is giving it a free ticket to grow in the shadows.

        Meanwhile, a very good way to fight the problem in question (be it sexism, racism, classism or whatever) is to constantly keep people aware of it without adding any value to it. In this case, by showing characters who are sexist. This way, the casually and ignorantly sexist will have to face their beliefs instead of just casually letting it pass, and most of these will realize that there’s no justification for their views, and change them accordingly. That is the way both the feminist and the civil rights movement reached their goals. Before these movements, it was normalized to the point of ignorance to not let women vote or to not pay them the same as men doing the same job, and to look down on afro-americans as slightly subhuman. People didn’t think about it, and that was the status quo of the time. But then these movements came along and upset the status quo, and look where it has gotten us. Women have suffrage, freedom and (at least near-) equality, and blacks are treated as human beings, for the most part

        Not to say that GTA V will be the tipping point in the war against sexism or anything quite as lofty, but I think it can certainly be a trickle that takes part in forming a river. No one person or entity creates a revolution, it’s all down to many individual entities doing their part to the cause.

        Bottom line: To me, it feels like the reviewer injected a bit too much rabid gender theory fundamentalism into the comments about the game being sexist, without giving it or Rockstar a fair analysis.

    • Brandy says:

      “but it just isn’t acceptable in my opinion to write a review which doesn’t reflect what the general community thinks because that’s what writing a good review is about really”

      If this were true, then all blockbuster movies would get four-star reviews. If you want to know what the general community thinks, look in places that aggregate ratings and reviews from many users. A review by one reviewer will never be any more nor less than that reviewer’s opinion.

      “Views on politics, religion or whatever the game is making fun (in this case women) of isn’t interesting to most people buying the game so why downgrade it because of this?”

      That is an enormous assumption. They are not interesting to YOU. That does not mean they aren’t interesting to “most people” – fully 40% of games are bought and played by women, and a lot more are bought by men with wives, girlfriends, sisters, and daughters. Any of those people has a very personal reason to find sexism in a game distracting at best, detracting from their enjoyment at worst. If it detracts from the enjoyment of the game, it definitely belongs in a review.

    • Lucy says:

      Socio-political critiques are found in reviews of books, movies, artwork, comics, fashion, TV shows, plays, music videos, and VMA award show performances. If a TV show portrays dark-skinned people as animalistic or savage, cultural commentators will mention it. When a film displays stereotypical portrayals of gay people, these implications will be widely discussed. When ‘Girls,’ an ostensibly feminist TV show, elected to only show one character of any race other than white (and him only for two episodes) the creator was criticized and critiqued and forced to make several public statements about it. Gaming isn’t being singled out to receive special criticism – in fact, it has been privileged up to very recently to receive very little compared to other media. The fact that games are mow being looked at for their political impact is a mark of how mainstream they have become — it’s not just a little boys’ playhouse anymore, it’s becoming a grownup medium. And grownup media gets grownup evaluation and criticism. That means racism, sexism, and homophobia don’t get a free pass anymore.

      You say these criticisms are uninteresting to those buying the game, but that’s your assumption talking. Female gamers are the fastest growing demographic in the industry right now; still outnumbered by male gamers, true, but give it a decade and that may not be the case anymore. And we care quite a bit when the storyline and the gameplay is built to exclude us. And we watch game reviews too.

      This reaction is utterly unsuprising. It’s the kind of tantrum that you see when the privileged look around and find that they are a little bit less privileged than they were before. Time was, you could play horrendously sexist and racist games and nobody noticed because games were such a niche market. Nowadays, games get a bit of respect and a wider audience. This means more money, more development, and more and better games. But it also means that 100% of games aren’t being made for just one kind of person anymore. And when the rest of us play, we’re going to notice when we are reduced to dumb, insulting stereotypes. We might like to know that before we buy a game. Say in the form of a review, perhaps?

    • Furious Teabag says:

      GTA V is supposed to be pretty realistic correct? If everything is realistic while the women of the game are running around as sentient fun bags that kind of ruins that whole realism thing. The women are characters in this game if a character is written poorly that has EVERYTHING to do with gameplay. No one would have enjoyed any action game if the main lead character was a completely uneducated, nympho and tried to solve problems by showing off their junk.

      Just because its a Grand Theft Auto game doesn’t mean it automatically gets a 11.10 rating. Ratings are EARNED for all facets of the game. Personally I’d have given the game an 8. Aiming is still balls (They got it right in Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption why can’t they get it for their flagship?) Navigation is a nightmare, and in complete agreement with the review from some of the characters are just kinda meh or don’t seem to fit right

      • Allen says:

        GTA is supposed to be realistic? Next time I’ve got cops on my tail I’ll just remember to repaint my car, then.

    • Claudia Sill says:

      I’m sorry, but I just had to do a double take on that.

      “Reviews” (which are personal opinions. Emphasis on the PERSONAL) should “reflect the opinion of the target audience”?

      No.

      No. No. No.

      And in case you’re wondering, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

      Reviews are PERSONAL opinions, period. The reviewer has the right to point out what he likes or not in the game. He or she has absolutely no obligation to cater to the “majority” and say what they want to hear. He has the obligation to make a fair review according to his\her true feelings on the matter.

      Let’s face it, the only reason why someone would even want a reviewer would have to cater to the opinions of the majority were if they were whiny, insecure idiots who needed to feel validated by being told by everyone that the game is awesome.

      Newsflash: YOU DON’T NEED OTHER PEOPLE TO VALIDATE YOUR TASTE! If you like a game\book\movie that’s all it matters, screw other people’s opinion. You opinion matters most to you. Trying to get others to confirm your opinion only means you’re insecure and, possibly, needing to be hit on the head with something heavy.

    • Sporkdelis says:

      Are we sure that this is why she downgraded it? Or even that there was downgrading? I know it’s a common complaint about game reviews that the 10/10 is impossible to get. I know when I first started reading game magazines people complained about that all the time. Some reviewers just reserve that 10 for some mythical game that will never exist.

      That would be a valid complaint: there’s no such thing as a 10.

      But things may have changed since I was 12.

      • Devin says:

        That, and the story being inconsistent at times were her only complaints about the game, which is why people say that, but I wish more people realized what you said. The game did not have to get a 10. It was not like a test where the grade starts at 100 and gets points off for each incorrect thing.

  3. seabiscuit says:

    You know what really pissed me off with the review ? Not the fact that sexism was mentioned in a blatantly sexist game. Not the fact that a trans women reviewed the game and not even the fact that it did seem like GS did it on purpose to create a media storm and try to seem like a crusader against sexism. It’s the fact that 2 or 3 weeks earlier, Carolyn gave that piss poor interactive video style “game” (I use the term game loosely here) gone home a 9 as well. I am to believe a game with no replay value, that can be completed in under 3 hours, with absolutely no skill or effort involved is on par with the blockbuster series that is GTA ? The reviewer clearly pushes her own political agendas onto her reviews (one of gone homes main plot points is a lesbian relationship) and scores games based on the content relevant to her personally, and not the game as a whole. Do character inconsistencies and some sexism really degrade the game that much that it doesn’t deserve a 10, but instead deserves a score on par with a fucking 3 hour bullshit indie game ?. This why the GS review is utter bullshit

    • Those are different kinds of games, of course they can have the same score. If peope like playing short games, for stories and a bit of fun, then that game is perfect for them.

      Then there’s GTA, which is for people who like open world and free choice, with unlimited playtime. That cannot be compared. It’s different genres and both games are perfect for the people who like it.

      That’s as if you’re trying to compare a Disney movie to a real one. Of course you could argue that the quality of the real one is better or it took more money/time to make it, but that doesn’t mean that the score in a review will be much worse for the Disney movie.

      Also, 1 point is not much, it means the game could only have been improved a tiny bit, which is true. And the time she talked about the game negatively is minimal at best. She talked a lot about gameplay and all the stuff you guy wanted to hear. It was a good review and talking about it like that is, yup, fucking stupid.

      • Hellspawned says:

        Giving Gone Home the same score as GTA V speaks volumes about the reviewer. As the blog post stated, everything is subjective, and I won’t make the mistake of using Objective and Unbiased interchangeably. But that scoring tells you that she makes little to no effort to keep her bias away from a game, and I think you should try to keep your own preferences and biases out of a review, or it’s not really a review, it’s a political opinion peace which happens to circle a game.

        As the poster above stated, Gone Home is a mildly interactive and very flat game with half-decent graphics, no mechanics to speak of and with little to no replay value – Once you’ve unraveled the story once, there’s no point to the game anymore. The one quality that this game has and that GTA doesn’t is the story presenting a normalized depiction of young love irrespective of sexual norms, which clearly struck a cord with Carolyn Petit.

        It’s worth mentioning in the review, I suppose (even though sensationlizing the story because OMG GAY is kind of counterproductive if you really want gay love to be as normalized as straight love), but I do wonder what kind of score this game would’ve gotten from Carolyn if it was the same in every way except that the story was about a heterosexual love affair. I’ve played through the game, and the affair seems to be a pretty cookie-cutter teenage love story, even Hollywood-stereotypical at times. Nothing novel about it, really, other than that it happens to be between two girls.

        As for me, who’ve long since discarded any notion of treating things differently because of gender or sexual preference, I would’ve given the game a 6/10, perhaps a 7 on account of it managing to keep you engaged even though the gameplay is near non-existent and could just as well have been made into a short film with no real loss of experience.

    • Maeve says:

      That’s incredibly silly.

      Giving them the same score doesn’t mean that they necessarily have anything in common. Gone Home may have managed to reach her on an emotional level that GTA simply in no way compared to.

      On the other hand, GTA has a great deal of brilliant design and visuals and thoroughly solid gameplay. So… at the end of the day, she’s limited to giving them 1-10 scores based on how they affected her.

      So, anyway… if it were necessary to give scores deeply related to one another… and were giving bullshit indie games like… Journey a 9/10… GTA V probably would only merit a 7.

    • timbstoke says:

      You know who caused the media storm? The commenters. Not the original article. Everyone got butthurt, but not a single person came up with a valid argument, or even disagreed with the points made about sexism.

      Yes, GTA 5 is sexist and misogynistic. It also involves murder, drugs and torture. It’s not meant as an early learning tool. It is what it is, and for most people, that won’t detract from their enjoyment of it.For those who insist on equal rights for their killing sprees, this is information they can use to influence their buying decision. That’s what a review is for.

      If you disagree with the points made in a review, that’s what the comments are for. They’re not for abusing the author for pointing out an element of the game that does in fact exist.

    • acidic says:

      The fact that people like you hate gone home so much means more to me than any positive review could, I have GOT to check out the source of all this furious entitled brorage.

  4. Max says:

    I agree with you on this one.

  5. FowlBeast says:

    She was a man Baby! Yeah

  6. lucas says:

    What the blog writer does not come to terms with, is that Video Games like GTA V are much like cliche Hollywood movies. There will always be many cliches that are presented which may be taboo or very chauvinistic. This doesn’t mean it actually makes the male players chauvinistic at all. I won’t treat a woman differently, because a video game or a movie star treats them that way. People like the blog writer here and feminist gamers are the root of evil, much like those that say video game causes “violence”. It’s utter bullshit. I won’t look down upon women because a video game makes fun or puts the female gender in a spotlight, nor will I go on a killing spree.

    The sexism will alter, once enough females come into the industry. Right now, while there are many already, there is a huge majority of male users and males in the industry in general. You cannot try to force something like this, you have to await the transition to occur naturally. This is not something that is unique to video gaming, it changes with the worlds political changes. Hollywood has come a long way, but you can still make sexist films without feminists going totally nuts over it.

    How about we for once, stop thinking that everyone is out to hurt us?

    • Actually, the amount of females in movies has gone down. Also, the amount of females playing games is already high.

      People like the OP aren’t the toxic ones. The toxic ones are those that spread hate like that and saying it’s natural or it will change is not an excuse. If the game industry does nothing, it won’t change, and if the people don’t stop it, then the view on women also will not change. As I said, it’s actually getting worse these last two years. How long do you want to wait. I hope not as long as we humans are waiting to do something against the global warming.

    • Ben says:

      But will things eventually change if the biggest game of all time, reaching more people than any game before it, does nothing to change it, and instead super duper reinforces it?

      • Hellspawned says:

        How does it reinforce sexist opinions? I haven’t played the game, but I’ve watched a fair few episodes of playthroughs of it, and even though there’s sexism present in some characters, it’s not even near an endorsement of it. As another poster already said: Rockstar has always taken the piss out of vapid American gangster stereotypes, be it sexism, racism or whatever. It has NEVER glorified any of these things, only brought them to light in a satirical manner.

    • I want to make sure I have this right.
      Women need to just understand that there is misogyny and stop feeling bad about it?
      And if we don’t, we’re going to be abused?
      And you’re not only OK with it but you believe this is good and/ or natural?

      Do you ever wonder if it’s your own inability to not sit with the discomfort of hearing a woman say “this feels crappy” that is a weak little shit sort of thing and you’re trying to change women and the whole world just to keep from, ya know, growing up and becoming men and realizing the whole world doesn’t revolve around you? I’m just asking questions here.

      • Allen says:

        Not what he was saying at all. I’d say “calm your tits” but I have a feeling that would enrage you. Oops.

        He’s saying that games like GTA will always paint everyone with a satirical brush. I’m sure if you looked at the whole game, rather than what only pisses you off, you’d see that the men portrayed are not as men are in real life. Just like they aren’t in every video game. Find me someone who looks like Marcus Fenix or Conan.

        “Misogyny” – a term that is tossed around far too often – is the hatred of women. Making a game that features ridiculously big-breasted women next to overly muscled men is not hatred of women; it’s satire.

        You accuse Lucas here of having an inability to hear women say “this feels crappy.” But how willing are you to hear the same argument from men? How would you react to assertions that you’re displaying a very misandristic attitude? I’m just asking questions here.

    • acidic says:

      “How about we for once, stop thinking that everyone is out to hurt us?”
      Says the dude who *in the same post* called critical analysis the root of all evil! This is just hilarious.

    • Devin says:

      I never said that GTA V made people chauvinistic or that it made people treat women worse. In fact, if you had read my footnotes, you would have seen that I specifically said that was I not saying that in anticipation of comments like this. Having poor female characters is bad because women are people too and they should be treated in the media as such because that’s the right thing to do. And once we start doing that, games will be better off for it too.

      Also, I would furthermore disagree with your latter point. If we look back throughout the equality movements in history, they were never painless transitions. It took people standing up, saying “This needs to change,” and then people fighting for that change. If no one calls this stuff out, then no one will care to change it, and then it will never change.

  7. Paddy says:

    i think people are pissed off because ten percent of available points were deducted for something rockstar did deliberately. GTA lampoons the vacuous nature of american culture and always has. Further more, show me the good men in GTA V. Shit review, and you’re a bit of a douche aswell.

    • Devin says:

      Look, whether or not Rockstar did something deliberately does not make it better. If their entire point was about how stupid women are in general, they could succeed in it and still be worthy of taking points off. If they tried to satire ridiculous stereotypes of women and failed at it (and made something that instead only perpetuated those stereotypes), then that would also be reason for taking points off.

      I mean, if it is supposed to be satirizing portrayals of women, shouldn’t feminists love it? Why don’t they?

      Also, I don’t like how people think that was the whole reason it didn’t get a 10. Gamespot did not need to give GTA V a 10. Even if they couldn’t name one thing wrong with it, for a game to get a 10 means that the game must do something truly excellent that transcends itself. It’s not like a high school paper where you start with a 100 and take points off as you go.

      • thaao says:

        THIS. I don’t understand why people don’t get it. There’s a huge difference between satire and ironic prejudice. Satire is a good thing. If it was done properly, in this example, people would play GTAV, then come out realizing how stupid sexism is, and have a higher esteem for women and women’s issues. I have a strong feeling that is NOT the case with the game, though.

        Making a joke about women is not sexist. Making a joke at women’s expense is sexist. Both are “jokes” but one does a disservice to half of the entire human race.

        Why can’t people realize that just because someone KNOWS they are portraying sexism doesn’t mean it’s somehow good or excusable. Yes, Rockstar parodies a lot of aspects of our culture in their games. That doesn’t mean they’re automatically doing it in a tasteful or harmless or well-written way.

        If the women in the game are poorly-written (satire, btw, needs to be WELL-written!) and perpetuate negativity, they have failed.

        And since this supposed satire is a part of GTA’s appeal, a reviewer has every right, and IMO an obligation as a reviewer, to comment on it.

      • NatalieKvallyheim says:

        Entirely the issue with numerical-based review systems. They should JUST be the review, no number, no grading, just a solid opinion of the game

  8. Kirk says:

    Good and very much needed post, what I don’t get is why people think they can decide anything at all about a reviewers motives or even utter themselves as to how a review should be designed, go make your own if you disapprove. There is a producer that screens the material and rightfully Carolyns review was posted on the web because she did her job once more to the professionals satisfaction, and who is to argue with them, you? (open question)

  9. Logan says:

    And this is why I don’t read comments on reviews anymore, or anywhere online for that matter. I see a lot of hate-filled comments that I’m not so sure would be said in person.

    Last I checked, a review is someone sharing their experience with something, primarily what they did and did not like. I don’t know why people are letting someone’s opinion and score get their diaper soggy.

    Thank you for calling this out.

    • Something says:

      Agreed… some people feel they’re more powerful… so they decide to use that ‘power’ to troll… and dictate.

    • thaao says:

      I live in an area of the US where the culture is somewhat like the comments there. There’s a dominance of the straight-white-cis-christian-male priveledge, and anyone who tries to deviate will be attacked for it. Usually it’s just a lot of bullying and yelling much like the comments (and I’m talking about working adults here — not kids or even college people). Just recently (actually… yesterday lol) my friend’s boyfriend got out of his car and physically assaulted someone in another vehicle at a stop light because he didn’t like the political message on their bumper sticker. You are NOT allowed to have different opinions here, and if you do, you WILL be prosecuted socially.

      So you’re fortunate to live in a world IRL where people are not reflections of these comments. But for me, these comments are just an illustration of everyday “values” that people express.

  10. iylliana says:

    Thank you for writing this.

  11. Dolfi says:

    http://www.gamespot.com/grand-theft-auto-v/reviews/grand-theft-auto-v-review-6414475/

    Look at the bad ”

    Politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic
    Character behavior is sometimes inconsistent.


    profoundly misogynistic Character


    She clearly say that its misogynistic. I din’t watch the video or play GTA V yet, but she clearly say that its misogynistic. Thing is, i’m pretty sure she is true, and I agree with you, the comment are retarded

  12. Jonathan says:

    First, I want to be clear that I agree with what you’re saying. Women are portrayed poorly in this game, and in many others. But I think that gives way to another side of the coin.

    Recently there’s been lots of buzz about violence in video games. If a video game encourages you to stab, shoot, and steal your way through to victory, won’t that make you do those exact same things in real life? Won’t that portrayal of lifestyle cause negative effects in the real world? The answer, of course, is no. There are no measurable negative effects from the portrayal of things like murder or vandalism in a game.

    So then, how can we turn around and claim that a negative portrayal of women (or anything else really) in video games has real-world consequences?

    I most certainly do not ask to be antagonistic, or for any other combative reason. It really is an honest question. I don’t believe sexism is right in the real world. I am married to a lovely woman and care very much about her. I would welcome a rebuttal, because I know that I may very easily have missed something. Thoughts?

    • Greta says:

      Portrayals of women in media are important because they affect how women are viewed in society. If we were talking about race portrayal it would be a no brainer.

      • Allen says:

        Portrayal of men is also important because it affects how men are viewed in society as well. We’re not all muscle-bound Greek gods with chiseled features that have the confidence and poise to take on any situation. If we’re going to be pushing for more realistic representation so people’s self image doesn’t get damaged by the media, then it needs to be applied to everyone, not just women.

      • Greta says:

        Yes, it’s important that everyone be portrayed as actual people in media, but we live in a society where men have privilege. A feminist perspective is that men and women cannot be defined by their gender.

      • Hellspawned says:

        Isn’t that an argument for changing reality, through for example media training in school, teaching people to look critically at media before taking it to heart, and to keep a healthy distance from fictitious characters and their stated opinions, rather than changing fiction? Fiction and reality are in a feedback loop relationship for sure, but one reflects way more than the other. That is, reality changes fiction, but fiction doesn’t really change reality to any large degree.

      • Allen says:

        We do? Increasingly I find that I can’t even look at a girl, smile and say hello without a myriad of false assumptions and scathing accusations being thrown my way. For pity’s sake, being *polite* is often misconstrued as some form of sexual harassment. “We’re only being nice because we want pussy.”

        You say that a feminist perspective is that we cannot be defined by our gender. Well then, that is simply a false perspective. Our gender IS what defines us in such a manner. It’s why people who feel like women or men yet aren’t get elective surgery to outwardly reflect how they feel inside.

        So far as the media goes, it’s high time it’s simply acknowledged as media. Entertainment. People don’t play video games to be represented or to see how people really are. They play video games to escape reality. If you don’t like how women are portrayed in certain games then don’t play them; it’s as simple as that.

      • Greta says:

        Allen, I love video games. If you are happy with misogyny that’s great! Enjoy your life! I’m not going to stop playing video games or being critical of the content just because overprivileged men don’t agree.

      • Allen says:

        Uh, no. Yet again we see “misogyny” tossed around flippantly. Greta, do you know what that word actually means? It means hatred of women. Not “satirical portrayal of women (alongside men) in a purposefully ridiculous environment.” To point, I actually can’t stand the GTA games. They’re not the games that I enjoy. Likewise I also didn’t enjoy Conan, because I found it very unconvincing that every single woman would run around topless. So don’t accuse me of being some “overprivileged man” who’s unhappy with women not being able to take satire.

        You know that old phrase “If you can’t laugh at yourself”? It should be taken to heart here. In the real world, I don’t know a single guy who picks up actual woman-hating from any video game. When those individuals are found, it’s more likely that they hold those views already, and simply use the games as an excuse for their degeneration.

        Nowhere have I said that people should be “fine” with misogyny. Misandry, either (that’s hatred of men, just so you know.) I simply and firmly believe in a truly even playing field. Women are quick to flame GTA and other games for “sexist” depictions, yet how often do they complain about the muscle bound heroes that they drool over? Much in the same way that a woman will gripe and demean a guy for checking her out shortly after staring long and hard at athletes as they run by without shirts on.

      • Greta says:

        Thank you Allen for explaining those big words to me! Whatever would I do without you around to correct my thinking! You are not intelligent enough or interesting enough to bother arguing with. What the fuck does surgery have to do with it? Video games are art and part of the culture and valid targets for cultural criticism. You seem to feel oppressed as a man which is kind of funny because it flies in the face of things like science and statistics and reality. Just another day talking to another transphobic know it all on the internet. Nothing to see here, move along.

      • Allen says:

        You’re quite welcome, though yes, I do know you were being highly sarcastic and – for lack of a better term – bitchy. Get to know me more, I’m sure you’d find me quite intelligent and able to hold my own in a conversation.

        What does surgery have to do with it? Well, it addressed your statement that we are not defined by our genders. This leads me to believe you’re not genuinely reading what I take time to write to you, which ironically means we’re not even having a true conversation, much less an argument. Arguments at least address – albeit angrily – the opposing points.

        Now, yes, video games are a part of our culture as art. But in so many cultural criticisms, the critics fail to apply their opinions to the people who have created these fantasy takes on reality, and instead see fit to paint with massive brushes. GTA is sexist and racist, very few gamers emulate these traits (causing for demand of the medium,) so therefore all gamers are racist and sexist. But really only the white male games, because we all know they’re the only ones who can be racist and sexist, right? This is a highly inaccurate and toxic method of addressing underlying issues (when present,) and doesn’t help at all.

        And yes, I do feel oppressed as a man. Why is this so funny? Are you so misandric that you think men can’t be objectified, falsely accused of intentions, or put down? I’d almost bet that you believe men can’t be raped either, wouldn’t you? But please, do continue to play the victim and blame society for thus seeing you as a victim. I much prefer women who can fight for themselves, rather than blame male society for all their woes.

        (And by the by, I never really said anything negative against transgendered individuals, rather I stood up for their altering of appearance to reflect their inner being, which your “feminist perspective” seems to want to white wash, so I’m not sure where you’re getting that I would be transphobic from.)

      • Greta says:

        Allen,

        I don’t have time to reply to you at length, but you are way off about gender and feminism. Surgery is only one aspect of transgenderism. Not everyone who is transgender is a transsexual. I happen to be a transsexual woman, that is, I used to be a man, but I am now pretty much accepted as a woman everywhere I go. I understand why feminism makes a lot of men uncomfortable but believe me, most feminists are not misandrists. The fact that I am more comfortable with a feminine gender presentation does not reinforce gender stereotypes. It reinforces that I am free to express my gender however is most comfortable for me. Regarding male privilege, it is real. Trans women and men are pretty much the only people in our society that get to live both sides of it. Anyhow, your argument that you feel oppressed as a man lacks substance. The branches of government are dominated by men. My department where I work is twenty seven men and three women. You denying the existence of male privilege is what is pissing me off. There is no intellectual basis for this assertion. As far as you feeling “oppressed” , having your feelings hurt is not the same as being oppressed. Who exactly do you imagine is oppressing you?

        Greta

      • Allen says:

        You’ll pardon me for not knowing everything about you but a name, I’m sure. On the point of transgenderism, it should go without saying that simply because I don’t know everything about it does not by any lengths mean that I am “transphobic.” You were wrong to cast that accusation.

        To counter your claims on male privilege, in what way is it still real? I don’t doubt that in the past it was there, but I have yet to observe this privilege. Understand, this isn’t me getting my “feelings hurt.” It’s more being accused of harassing women and promoting some “rape society” for doing the exact same thing that women do. People check out the people that they’re sexually attracted to. That’s a fact of life, and it doesn’t mean that they’re going to try and rape them.

        So tell me, where’s the male privilege when I about go to jail for glancing at a woman I find attractive, and women are able to stare at shirtless men for several moments without a second thought? Where’s the privilege when a woman can scathingly criticize and emasculate me, yet if I so much as call her a bitch the entirety of society crashes accusations of misogyny on my head?

        What exactly is this “male privilege” that I am supposedly enjoying?

      • Doone W. says:

        @allen

        If you don’t understand what male privilege is or how it works, you should be a bit more humble in arguing that it doesn’t exist. Thankfully, there are troves of great research on this very topic by people who have spent their entire lives learning about it.

        As you are a gamer or interested in games, I will link you to an article below which perfectly explains privilege in terms gamers can understand. If you’re honest in your intent here, you will read it. If you still don’t understand how it works and how you are privileged after reading it, give up the comments and pick up some books. It’s no ones job here to educate you. But you also have no credibility to deny the existence of your own privilege; the very nature of privilege is that it’s invisible to those who have it.

        http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

      • Allen says:

        “If you don’t understand what male privilege is or how it works, you should be a bit more humble in arguing that it doesn’t exist.”

        That’s not what I said or asked, now is it?

        To the article, I genuinely fail to see how being “Straight White Male” (of which you greatly assume I am all three, don’t you) is the “Easy” setting in life, where “Gay Minority Woman” is “Hardcore.” How easy is life when one must constantly check and re-check the slightest of comments and criticisms to make sure they don’t offend anyone and get slammed with accusations of racism or sexism? I would imagine it’s not easy at all.

        Whereas to the contrary, women and “minorities” are able to say damn near everything to hailing choruses of “You go! More power to you!” Hardcore mode? Try Godmode.

        Your article mentions that “SWM” levels up faster, and gains perks faster. Absolute hogwash, says I. I have personally witnessed white males struggle to gain foodstamps and jobs to make ends meet, while meanwhile Miss Latino Mother-of-three comes out of the SRS building with a brand new Vision card, talking on her iPhone as she climbs into a very expensive looking SUV. Show the privilege there, please.

      • Doone W. says:

        @Allen: Listen, you have to be willing to actually inspect your beliefs in these debates. In this case, the evidence is everywhere against you — not opinions, facts. And we’re all entitled to our opinions, but at a great cost to ourselves and others. I’m asking you actually think about the ways in which the OP and other commenters might be right about privilege.

        You’re relating your class struggles which are authentic. You’re ignoring that SWMs are a class all their own which are at the very top of the prosperity chain. You’re focusing far too much on the trees (you and your friends) and ignoring the wider forest (greater society). That you and other SWMs, including myself, have struggles DOES NOT explain away the data which shows that despite our individual troubles, we are far and away doing better than any other group. By leaps and bounds, not just a little better. So much so that the issue is understood to be SYSTEMIC, meaning you were born into this. SWMs as a group represent easy-mode in this context. You are part of that group. Don’t let your anger about your own troubles blind you to the wider picture here. Try to understand what privilege is. Like I stated before, the very nature of it is that it’s invisible to those who have it. Think about that. You don’t see it, because you have it but also because you’re narrowing the field of what privilege actually entails, shrinking the context to try to prove that we’re all equally struggling. We’re not all equally struggling. We don’t all face the same struggles. Some groups face far fewer struggles than others. You are part of the group we call SWMs and they have the fewest social struggles of any other group. Fact, says the data.

        Now if you want to continue believing what you do, I ask you to explain these:

        Wealth by Race: http://goo.gl/g9w2J6 (are you saying white men are just better than everyone else naturally?)

        Wealth by Sex: http://money.howstuffworks.com/gender-gap.htm (are you saying women are less competent than men?)

        Incarceration Rates: http://www.nij.gov/journals/270/criminal-records-figure2.htm (are you saying blacks are more criminal than other races?)

        Recent anecdotes:

        White Rapist Gets 30 Days in Prison: http://goo.gl/k30KkG

        Black Woman Gets 20 years for Warning Shot: http://goo.gl/ZAvmqm

        You’ve got to be so blinded by anger that you’ve become blind to context in which you live to defend these numbers as a lack of evidence that being a SWM has no advantages.

        I implore you to give me your explanation of these numbers if it’s true that being a SWM has no privileges.

        If you’ve made up your mind you may fearlessly walk away knowing that it’s all hogwash and that you know better.

      • Allen says:

        Food for thought, as a media example where a white man is not exempt from brutality: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Boyd_(animator)#Illness_and_death

      • Allen says:

        I get what you’re driving at Doone, I really do. I still firmly reject it as inaccurate based on what I deal with on a daily basis every single day of my life. Everywhere I have ever lived, I *have* been a minority either for my race, gender, or sexual preference. I reject this view that the “average” of a demographic outweighs the experiences of the individual, and as such I absolutely refuse to bend the knee in guilt or fault for any “privileges” I do not enjoy. This is not me being angry at my problems; I deal with those. This is me standing up for myself as an individual and a human being, of which I have every right.

        I have never been wealthy because I am white.
        I have never been wealthy because I am a man (and still make absolute crap – the exact same rate as my female coworkers.)

        So there’s two supposed privileges that I don’t enjoy.

        The demographics on crime? I don’t get passed over by the law because of my race, and have even been on the opposite end of racist cops trying to pull trumped up charges. Imagine that; black cops can abuse the system too.

        All the stories of racism and sexism in the world can be brought to this argument, and I will still reject them all based on my experiences. And if that makes me [insert generic negative], then I suppose that’s just one more negative title trying to keep me down.

      • Doone W. says:

        Actually, you’re not really getting it. You DO enjoy privileges. I’ll take the fact that you haven’t even attempted to explain the data pointed out to you as an admission of that.

        Based on your statements I can reject that there are planets other than earth simply because I don’t have to deal with them day to day. I can reject that people exist in other countries, because they aren’t part of my experience. Unfortunately for you, that’s not how truth works. That’s part of what we learn as we mature into adults — that things outside of ourselves exist regardless of whether we know about them. Denying them is no different than continuing to believe the earth is flat, because hey, that’s what it looks like to you.

        What you’re doing is “defending” yourself. It’s shouting to the world that you believe the Earth to be flat and damn those astronomers for pointing it out to you.

      • Allen says:

        Like what? What privileges do **I** enjoy? Don’t assume to tell me my life, Doone.

      • Doone W. says:

        @Allen: I’m pretty sure I’ve not mentioned anything about your life, but only about the group you are part of: SWM. I’ve given as much information as can be given in a comments section. The rest is really up to you, but I think you’ve made up your mind. I’m not sure there’s much more I can explain. You’d have to be willing to actually think about these things. It’s not the kind of thing you “convince” some one of. You have to understand what it is and that’s completely up to you.

      • Allen says:

        And I tell you again that I am a part of no group. I am my own man, defined by my actions and my life; not broad-brush demographics that do not reflect my – and others – daily lives in the slightest. And due to this “apples-to-oranges” match to a social demographic, I yet again reject any guilt or shame that society thinks I should feel for privileges that I do not hold.

      • Doone W. says:

        That’s privilege: being able to ignore other groups and assert your point of view as all that matters.

      • Allen says:

        No, it is not. Privilege is defined as “A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people” No one grants me this, nor is it available to me. I fight to maintain this view, when the rest of society (like you try to do here) would hang me with the rest of “Straight White Males.” Are you so desperate to prove that I enjoy privileges that you would say what I struggle to make of my life is just handed to me? When have privileges every been had through blood, sweat and determination?

    • Devin says:

      I’m going to sidestep the usual and well-trodden point about it being hurtful to women and taking another position: it’s hurtful to games.

      Simply put, games are worse off because they don’t include women in a significant manner. Look at Game of Thrones. What I love about that series is that the women’s perspectives are given as much time and nuance as the men’s. They are not all the same person, and the women come from a broad palette of characterization, which enhances the show and allows it to tell stories that would not been told otherwise.

      So when gamers see a game that treats women badly, it sucks not only because it does not reflect the depth and nuance of women in real life but also limits itself to a male perspective that we have seen over and over again.

      • NatalieKvallyheim says:

        That’s really what this should be about. Having not seen the review, I don’t know if she said people will act sexist as a reaction to this, but I doubt it. But it’s important to bring it up not because of the effect it’ll have on players, but because it detriments the story quality of the game.

  13. Sergio says:

    While the way some of these comments read is morally reprehensible, bigoted and hateful, there are certain points that need to be made.

    1. It is obvious to anyone that GameSpot chose Ms. Petit to review the game because of her political and social views.
    2. The reasons for doing so are obvious as well.
    3. This type of attention being given to ‘delicate’ social and political subjects in reviews was nowhere to be seen pre 2012.
    4. One could easily argue that this type of review is a response and part of the mid-2012 attackon gaming culture started by Ms. Sarkeesian with her “Tropes vs Women” series.
    5. One could also easily argue that the attention and Especially the sum of Money Ms. Sarkeesian received from her Kickstarter project attracted the attention of certain monetary interests which own these gaming journalism sites.

    The point i’m trying to make here is simple: This is something new, unprecedented, and it had a clear start, in the summer of 2012. This is not about women and their representation in video games, or this would have started a long, looong, looooooong time ago.

    About point no.3: Everyone knows that the GTA series is filled with cliche’s and especially Hollywood cliche’s. This has been evident since the first games came out. This is the reason why everyone who watched Ms. Petit’s review chocked on whatever they were drinking or eating at the time. The GTA series is a caricature. It makes fun and gives Everyone, be it minorities, women, men, jews, psychopaths, whites, etc, the same treatment.

    Which is why her mentioning that GTA treats women badly and is misogynistic could be called, and rightfully so, baiting.

    Everybody knows that out there are homophobic, trans-phobic people. And we know that they are on the wrong side of history, but, by chosing Ms. Petit and using her and exploiting her political and social views, her sexual identity to bait these trans-phobes into commenting with hateful messages, GameSpot are truly as bad as the scum commenting.

    And by defending this practice, you, Mr. Devin, are part of the problem.

    This is sad.

    • Hellspawned says:

      Nothing to comment on really, just fully agreeing.

    • That’s ridiculous – you can’t possibly know the intentions of any of these people. You’re assuming (and THAT’s part of the problem) and this writer is obviously defending the right of this person to her own opinion and its publication without having to stand up to violent abusive language. The fact that you can’t see this is the saddest thing here as you otherwise seem well reasoned. One thing that strikes me though is that you’re so easy to dismiss and accept that Hollywood tropes of sexism and homophobia will be used by companies developing games, but not at all accepting of media using the equally historic shock tactics in what you believe are the original article’s intention. How do you accept one and not the other? Why is one just the way it is but the other evil and a problem? Because one affects you and the other doesn’t directly?

    • gorus says:

      i love how you conclude that increased attention to issues of gender is ‘part of the problem’

      it’s like how a child concludes that decreased access to candy is an issue that needs resolved

    • Devin says:

      I would just like to point out that she spent longer talking about the torture scene than the misogynistic tendencies. Is there some trend about being super anti-torture that’s also hot? because I could write a blog post about that if that’s the case.

  14. Anonymous says:

    People should be allowed to spew hate, just as you spew hate at them. Stop trying to make yourself look big.

  15. Tommy_Taylor says:

    I’m getting the sense that there’s a lot of silent people in this debate, people who see these types of comments and immediately ignore them. People like myself. We don’t endorse this sort of thing, we just don’t find it particularly valuable to waste our time on condemning it. Time after time, the “gaming community” gets scolded by writers like yourself, not just on personal blogs, but also on major outlets for issues very similar to this.

    I, Tommy_Taylor consider myself a member of the gaming community. I have not played GTA V, so I can not comment on the nature of it’s female characters. I do not agree with the comments highlighted in the above article. I do believe that comments like that are extremely low in value, and very few people take them seriously. Gamespot and YouTube are, in my opinion, two of the worst places on the internet for any kind of discussion.

    • Devin says:

      Hey, I get that. I understand why people want to be silent. Some of the comments on this blog post have made me wonder how easy it would be to avoid the subject.

      But that doesn’t stop the comments from happening, from reaching the people who dared criticize a game for its female characters, and keeping silent only makes the problem seem like it is not actually a problem. I can understand why people don’t want to take it on, but I felt like I had to say something in response.

    • Doone W. says:

      Your silence is more damaging than the hateful comments we get to read. Silence, however benign it is intended to be, is de facto endorsement. This reminds me of some famous words from Dr. Martin L. King.

      “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
      “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” – Letter from a Birmingham Jail

      I’m definitely not trying to call you out, but to rather point out the problems with this kind of thinking, which I think is very popular. This is what is meant when people fighting for change say that it’s exhausting. We have to be prepared to speak up whenever we see bad things happening or risk becoming part of the problem.

      • Tommy_Taylor says:

        I guess where we differ is that I don’t see “bad things happening.” I see some shitty internet comments that I don’t care to waste my time on. This sort of thing is much less serious than what Dr. King was speaking about.

      • Doone W. says:

        Well, I can see why you think that but it’s not really true. Just so I can be clear about the tone here — I’m on your side and I’m not trying to talk *at* you :) It can be hard to infer tone from comments.

        This behavior is the same thing Dr. King spoke about. Speech in any form, especially hate speech, was part and parcel of the Civil Rights struggle and something he spoke about directly in his writings. That some of us think that overt racism/sexism/etc is worse than it’s subtler forms — say, internet commenting — doesn’t change what he fought for nor the wrongness of our silence in the face of it. I’m not saying there aren’t trolls, people who bait arguments and anger. I’m saying we have to speak up when we see something wrong happening. The use of hate speech or slurs should never be over-looked or hand waved as “harmless”. In this specific case, you’ll have a hard time proving any of that drivel was not “bad things happening”. What part of that did you really thing wasn’t a bad thing?

        Think of the writing on walls, floors, and protest boards outside of schools done by groups of racists in the 1960s. Suppose supporters of civil rights just walked on by saying “I don’t see anything bad happening.” Suppose no one said a word and wrote them off as shitty commenters that no one should waste time on.

        My point: if you’re an ally of treating people humanely and with dignity, you and I have a duty to be vocal. In this specific case, I’m not sure what you think was not “bad things happening”.

  16. Wow, a racist, homophobic murder-promoting game series is MEAN to WOMEN? jesus christ stop the presses, ban the game, put Rockstar on trial, someone offended a woman so regardless of context it has to go! God forbid any of the women who have aneurysms over this kind of thing ever have to deal with a real problem in their life.

    • h00pla says:

      Wow, a hyperbolic reply full misrepresentations allowing you not actually think about this? Color me shocked.

    • Boo says:

      So anyone who mentions it misogyny in a Rockstar game, even in a context which somewhat demands it such as a game review, is automatically overreacting? You realize that game reviews are for people who want to see if a game is worth buying, right? They’re not for pandering to fanboys by agreeing with their super important opinions.

      Unlike foul language and violence, racism and misogynist themes is not something that is warned for in ESRB ratings. It might be something that a potential buyer wants to look out for.

  17. While valid, this is our world. The internet-hate machine is fueled by cat-videos and racism, oiled by the tears if angry white knights, and spits out sexism and bigotry. I’m not condoning what they said, however I am pointing out the fact that you don’t seem to understand: this isn’t new. This is one of the commonest trends of the internet and human nature. We’ve been xenophobic, hateful, violent, bigoted creatures since we could tell that “you’re not like me and that makes me afraid or angry”. Does that make it right? No. But its daft to think going onto a place known for its violent, temperamental outbursts and deciding to bring up a well known hot button topic (and using misogyny as the highlight) on a game like this is just poking the badger. We gamers are the ones who go online and rant. We rage quit. We spend hours hunting down every killable character in a village of peaceful woodland creatures. We love strife, violence, conflict,destruction. So to act surprised, shocked, and offended that these people acted PRECISELY HOW THEY ALWAYS ACT seems fairly daft. She presented the target, and now you scream “foul!” because someone took the shot. This is just lacking in common sense, and “making a stand” won’t change us. Sexism is wrong? Duh. But the internet, while a good place stand up for a cause, is also a cesspool filled with purple who enjoy nothing more than pissing people like you off. So, be wary, because your high-minded ideologies are a beacon to trolls.

    • Devin says:

      Maybe I am daft, but I think that if games are ever going to be treated as art, then critics should be able to critique them as art. And it bugs me to no end that doing so is still offensive to people.

      I understand that this is not a new problem, but that doesn’t fix it. I hate to use this example because it sounds like I have my head up my ass, but it’s the best one I can think of: racism was an old problem in the 60s. People did things to incite violence then, yes, like sitting on a bus or in a restaurant. These were deliberate attempts to hold up a target (unlike this review), and the message was clear: we should be able to do this. And I think that people should be able to critique a popular game without getting abuse.

  18. Sean Ciaschi says:

    Personally, The game didn’t even deserve a 9.0. Plus who cares if it was a woman? that doesn’t make her any less knowledgeable about the game.

  19. Diane says:

    Thank you SO very much for writing this response.

  20. This was a well-intentioned post on a rough topic. I don’t envy the fire you’re going to take for it, but props to you for the attempt. Step in the right direction.

  21. Poot says:

    Its a videogame. You’re all getting bent out of shape over a videogame. You’re all idiots. Every single one of you.

  22. I would also like to thank you for writing this response. It is sad to see some individuals feel it is alright to attack others with ridiculous malice. It is quite possible to have legitimate disagreements while not engaging solely in personal attacks on gender, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, hair color, clothing, dimples, or whatever else you can come up with.

  23. bblackmoor says:

    I am curious (but not curious enough or masochistic enough to put on my mental hazmat suit and look for myself) whether Yahtzee’s occasional complaints about how first-person shooter games are so often about killing brown people or making the US look like a nation of psychotic vigilantes evokes the same “RAWR! YOU RUINED THE REVIEW! I HATE ALL THE THINGS!” responses. Yahtzee’s comments like that are, after all, not really any different from Carolyn Petit’s comments about the misogyny in Grand Theft Auto.

    Also… reviews are bunk. Getting anything more than mildly annoyed at one is just… senseless. It’s like getting worked up over what sandwich the person in line in front of you orders at McDonald’s.

    People are weird.

  24. Daniel says:

    cherry picking… straw man building.

  25. Stan Polson says:

    Great post. Is this a comment section, though, or some kind of art installation?

  26. madamemina says:

    I get so sick of games where the male avatars are fully clothes muscle bound meat heads and the females are basically warrior hookers.. I mean if we must have just shy of nudity why not make it fair and have the option of having scantily clad males too? why not offer full clothing options for the females? The games are sexist and I do have a hard time playing some of them. Many people are just mad because reality as been intruded into their fantasy realm.

  27. Great post. I’m really not a gamer and I’m appalled by those comments. I also really don’t see how all of these non-privileged commenters can defend comments which say that a “tranny beast” or even a “woman” shouldn’t write game reviews.

    Don’t think “political” issues have a place in a review? Fine (in a “we can agree to disagree” way). Personal attacks using slurs against the reviewer just for including 30 seconds of things you find irrelevant in an 8-minute review? Problem.

    Anyway, great post, and don’t let the negative comments get to you.

  28. […] to the litany of women caught by the deluge of threats and bigotry, GameSpot editor and critic Carolyn Petit has been attacked by online commenters because she gave Grand Theft Auto V a near perfect review. A 9/10 was her verdict; however, some […]

  29. ts my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. iiPhone Service

  30. Reblogged this on Running the Asylum and commented:
    More relevant thoughts on sexism in gaming. Seriously, this shit needs to stop. The sex of a reviewer doesn’t matter, nor should race, gender identity, or anything else.

  31. Doone W. says:

    Reblogged this on T.R. Red Skies Gaming Blog and commented:
    GTA V, inspiring it’s fans to behave exemplary when faced with criticism. What should we expect? This is an excellent piece dissecting the problems of the games commenting community.

  32. […] post that garnered more views than I would have ever imagined. I am so happy that people thought this was something that needed to be shared, and based on numbers alone, that was most readers’ […]

  33. gosurori says:

    Thank you for your great post. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I knew there was lots of controversy around GTA V reviews but seeing those comments really gave me an idea of how people can fail so hard.

  34. […] (but then, that’s also how women are treated just for existing in the public eye). Also, we can’t review for shit – even commenting on geek culture can earn us rape threats – and if you happen to be a WOC, […]

  35. LeMat says:

    Okay… forgive me if I sound like I’m MASSIVELY under-thinking this whole thing, but…

    This woman (previously a man – not that that has any relevance to the argument, but just included to make sure I’ve got all the points down) wrote a review about a game where she expressed an opinion. An opinion that people either didn’t agree with or agreed with so much that they didn’t see why it should be mentioned at all….

    Am I right so far?

    And then, because of this, she received all kinds of hate and bile, from people so angry they were probably trying to bite chunks out of their keyboard as they typed their fury into their online comments?

    Can I just check: this woman didn’t shoot anyone, did she? She didn’t murder a small child and drink its blood in a quest for eternal youth? Start up a sinister cult and encourage the members to pillage underprivileged communities? Detonate a bomb in a public place? No?

    She really, truly, only EXPRESSED AN OPINION? In a REVIEW of a game?

    See, I’m probably being WAY too simplistic here, but I have this strange feeling in the back of my brain that the kind of outraged and highly personal venom she received was, like, way out of proportion for the ‘crime’ she committed? Which is, kind of like – y’know, a bad thing?

    And that maybe THAT was the point of this original Blog post? Not WHAT she said or WHY she said it – or even which of these million-and-ninety-one points of view about GTA V, men vs. women and computer games in general are right or wrong?

    Person have opinion. People not agree with opinion, get big hate for her and say nasty things. Other people not like nasty people, give big hate back. Everybody hate everybody and all get nasty in big gangs.

    *Sad face for the world.*

    • Evan Waters says:

      The worst part? She gave the game what is, by any reasonable standard, a VERY positive review. 9 out of 10 is near greatness, well worth your time, Joe Bob says check it out.

      She says there is sexism in the game but it’s good anyway. THAT is enough to trigger the kneejerk “How dare she say something is sexist” reaction. Because the gaming community is just horrible.

  36. […] an excellent review of the game, and the gamer-cum-comment culture responded with what’s become a predictably sexist response. Some say it needed a female character, and, by the way, it did. Some play it as a […]

  37. […] it is Samantha Allen, Mattie Brice, or Carolyn Petit receiving outlandish online hatred for their feminist video game criticism, or transphobic radical […]

  38. Fawn says:

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment
    but after I clicked submit my commenbt didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… welll I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just
    wanted to say wonderful blog!

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Lethe & Eunoe

Thoughts on Religion, Theology and Philosophy

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Wesley E. Spears-Newsome

The Good Greatsby

The humor blog of Paul Johnson: He doesn't do it for the money. But he wouldn't object if you gave him some.

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