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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...

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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).

...

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.

...

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.

...

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.

...

Then again, maybe not.

Sex(uality) shouldn’t matter

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...

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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.

...

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)

...

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.

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

  1. Lilian says:

    As a woman and as a gamer, I thank you for this.

  2. Phil says:

    As a man, and a gamer, I also thank you for this. The day where games themselves can tackle more serious issues without all this hate still seems so far away…

    • Adam says:

      Agreed.
      Many of these comments make me feel ashamed that I could be considered as part of the same community and worse – grouped up with these people. I sincerely hope that it’s known that we are not all idiots who act like bigoted and pre-pubescent boys trying to impress their friends.

  3. whyorick says:

    This is amazing. I feel so bad for the wo(man) who did this review.

    • Veela says:

      If you do, then maybe you should consider not misgendering her?!

      • whyorick says:

        Honestly, I don’t know how to respond to this other than saying I did not mean that in an offensive way.

      • IM BRIAN FITE says:

        *him

        still got a Y chromosome

      • JustSoYouKnow says:

        You call them by their preferred pronoun. If they are a woman you call them a woman if they are a male you call them a male.

      • Devin says:

        She prefers to be called a woman… just so you know.

      • JohJohVL says:

        @IM BRIAN FITE,

        Time for an education lesson.

        Karyotype determines physical sex (and not with 100% accuracy, or for that matter not have mutations or other concerns), but karyotype does not determine gender – it influences it, surely, that’s why 99.5% of people are cis, but it does not dictate it. Being transgender is an intersexed condition where the gender of the person, as coded in the brain (not between the legs), does not match the genitals of the person. This sort of condition does in fact actually happen, and by rejecting it, you’re not being intelligent, you’re being ignorant.

        You are not applying science correctly by saying that XY always means male, because biology is simply far too complex, far too diverse, for that to always be the case. Transsexualism is accepted as a real medical condition by every major medical association, and not just because of an agenda but because there is enough data to justify its actual existence, and is treated by applying hormonal therapies resulting in an equilibrium effect in the person by having their body more closely match the gender coded in their brain.

        So while you may think dick = guy, you are actually wrong. The person reviewing the game is female, and brain scans would confirm that her brain structure closely matches that of any cis woman. So calling her female, despite being born with a dick, is in fact biologically correct – her brain is just as much female as any other female born with a vagina.

        So take your head out of your ass and call her by the appropriate pronouns, and respect her for the women she really is. Transsexualism is a real condition, and one that is easily attacked because it forces fragile insecure sexualities to secure themselves in knowing that a woman can be born with a dick, it does happen, and it doesn’t make them any less of a woman, and if you were to find them attractive it wouldn’t make you any less straight (assuming you’re straight).

      • Devin says:

        Thank you for replying to that with much more information on the subject than I had.

  4. Short and sweet. Dude, you fucking rock. /slowclap

  5. my comment is short and sweet, I mean……damn

  6. ThirteenMD says:

    ❤ Amazing job.

  7. Triacom says:

    Thanks for making really good points, it’s just really unfortunate that anybody who needs to see and read this probably never will.
    Oh well, at least others can try to direct those people to this article.

  8. Rivyn says:

    Its assholes like these people that make me question our progress as a society.

    However that being said I’ve never accredited people that go all fanatical over GTA as being a benefit to society and as the people that responded to Carolyn’s review has proved, they should be steralized and spare us the horror of them breeding.

    Kudos to the Author of this Article and I pray that people dont assume that these morons represent all male gamers, the rest of us actually give a damn and were raised with respect

    • shaedofblue says:

      Eugenics is far more horrible than bigoted assholes on the internet. Also, your parents apparently forgot to raise you to respect people with cognitive disabilities, since you call bigots a slur that refers to people with cognitive disabilities. People with disabilities actually have to worry about governments having them sterilized. It is not cool.

    • anhi says:

      Flippant comment about sterilization while defending a trans person, great. I’m in the process of getting a document proving my sterilization, so I can get the medical procedures I (desperately) need. We are actually required by law to spare the poor bigots the horror of us trans people breeding, all this in a country proud of its gender equality, where all other forms of forced sterilization has been illegal for decades.

      So yeah, please don’t.

  9. Mary says:

    Thank you so much for this.

  10. sweetpea says:

    Some trolling is more entertaining than other, but you, sir, are awesomely funny!

  11. Cody says:

    Thanks Devin, for not only being a decent human being, but a damned brave one at that. I wish I were more like you. I’m glad that there seem to be more and more people who are like you in this way. Perhaps one day I’ll feel encouraged enough to find my voice, to also champion human decency and equality.

  12. Trey says:

    This is incredibly well worded. Thanks for providing another voice to what is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. Sexism in games exists, and will continue to exist in perpetuity. That being said, refusing to acknowledge that it exists or is a problem is much sadder.

  13. Jonathan says:

    I’m not the most enlightened man in the world (I enjoy some pretty messed up stuff for my entertainment) but these responses to the lady’s review are ridiculous. totally uncalled for. I keep thinking we as a country are moving ahead and then this kind of garbage (and what happened with the Miss America of Indian descent) occurs and I wonder if we really have.

  14. Led Lawless says:

    Rivyn. Yes, you’re such a real man. The kind of real man who can only communicate with a woman through threats, denigration, and violence because you’re too terrified of women to treat them as equals. Go cower in your cave.

  15. Devin says:

    Guys (specifically Led Lawless and Nat), Rivyn is cool. His comment was towards a comment that I deleted because it was hate speech. His comment about a real man was in support of me, not against me.

    Can we all play nice now?

  16. Mister Constitution says:

    Well, now. All those “hate speak” commenters on YouTube and game spot have as much of a constitutional right to have their voices heard as the transgender author of the review. That’s how America works. Real red blooded Americans who were raised with classic values will NEVER shut up. Love it or leave it, folks. This is the world you live in. You call our opinion “hate speak” and celebrate the opinion of a social degenerate. The emotional turmoil in your heart at this very moment is what you deserve to feel for the rest of your life or until you realize the error in your ways. You mad bro? Cry about it.

    • Some guy says:

      Uh… I don’t think anyone suggested trying to pass laws to restrict their speech, so constitutional rights aren’t really an issue here.

      But freedom of speech is not freedom from social consequences. If you post something sexist or racist and someone calls you on it, they’re equally exercising their own freedom of speech. Not sure what the point of your comment was, really.

      This seems to happen a lot, when someone criticizes someone’s speech and the person gets defensive and claims freedom of speech. If you said that interracial marriage was a sin and someone called you a racist, they haven’t in any way infringed on your right to say such a thing…

    • Everyone has the right to be an asshole, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit around silently while they do it. The only “social degenerates” are people who think that they can piss on everyone else and they should just take it. That’s not even degenerate, that’s just being self absorbed.

    • Just another guy says:

      That freedom of speech thing, it’s in the First Amendment. By definition this means the Constitution is regularly amended, thus it’s not written in stone and is subject to change. Actually, it’s been done over 20 times. Kind of a lot for an “absolute” law of the land, don’t you think, bro?

      Now, If you just want to one-line the constitution for what YOU think is important and ignore everything it says then go ahead, but it also says that people have the right to be safe in their persons, home and so on.

      So let me paint you a little picture.

      How would you feel if I started talking trash about your mom or your kid. Maybe your dad? Or maybe your spouse? Started talking about how I was fooling around with them behind your back? Told you all the nasty shit I did with them. Cause see by your logic I would not be infringing on your constitutional rights, since I’m just talking. I mean it’s just words right. But my guess is, if we did this like men face-to-face, if I started talking shit about your family and kept it up you would came at me pretty fast, especially with a few drinks in ya. And you would be violating one of my constitutional rights cause I don’t think I would be safe in my persons.

      But as you said, even if I were trash talking the shit out your family or anything you love, maybe your car, I don’t know; either way it is “the emotional turmoil…you deserve to feel…”. But by the constitution you cannot infringe on my right to feel safe in my persons.

      Then we’ll see how thin your belief in the constitution can be stretched when it’s something you care about.

      Later, bro. Oh, and for the record, your complete subjectivity on this issue not backed by anything the Constitution actually means, it made me angry, not cry.

  17. Dr. QB says:

    I really don’t like these sorts of posts. It’s too.. All inclusive? Gamers aren’t a community really– EVERYONE plays games. Does this include like womens’ lacross? Rugby? Jacks? Haha. It’d be better if it would have actual game or system communities– that’s more true to how gamers group. It’s like saying “TV fandom I don’t like you” But some of the shows on TV have really great fandoms. Gotta be specific yo!

    Some people are pieces of shit, but don’t be like “This one dickhole said a thing– YOU’RE ALL HELD ACCOUNTABLE”
    And don’t forget: A lot of these people are probably boys ages 12-15 who are simply in their dumb-as-a-brick stage of life. They WILL grow out of it. But they might become like super bitter and defensive with you… Y’know… Just posting their usernames.

    1. You give them attention they look for and 2. Not every feminist is a good person. Let’s face it: There’s piece of shit feminists too. This coming from a girl who’s dealt with both sides of the extreme spectrum. Form your own community, jot the usernames down privately, put them on ignore, starve them out of your fun.

    • Devin says:

      I guess I should have clarified that I meant the video gaming community, and I understand what you mean about the focus on the individual. However, I have seen this sort of thing regularly pop up in many corners of the internet whenever feminism and gaming get mentioned in the same sentence, and so I felt that it was a problem that went beyond a few individuals and has become a nature of the community, even though I recognize that many people within the community are wonderfully egalitarian.

      I also do recognize that these people really do just want attention. However, even with that in mind, I have heard that many people do not understand that the gaming community in general can oftentimes be sexist and harsh to women, so I feel like pointing out such clear examples like I did here is occasionally necessary. I’m not going to make a habit of it, though.

  18. Honestly, I don’t think GAMES create the culture of Misogyny that seems to exist within gaming culture these days. I think it’s the community itself. The bulk of gamers grew up mostly with games and lacked social interaction, The bulk that they get is in their own communities for gaming. Myself (at one point) included in that.

    That culture fans the flames of course. BUT I think that the games in and of themselves have not created an issue. I can’t speak for everyone but I can play a game with Misogynistic themes and not think anything less of real people. (Let’s be honest, almost all of the games we grew up on in the NES/Sega era were on some level Misogynistic. Save the princess. Get the girl. Ect)

    But I think now that there are many many more online gaming communities, MMOS, and just the general online experience is now pretty much fundamental in gaming. That the companies now have a greater responsibility in creating content and policing their online presences then they did in the earlier eras of gaming,

  19. Leon says:

    Keep on reviewing however you like…its called a review for a reason. Shitty 12 year old gamers should not be allowed to play with all the havoc they reek on people who are just here to have fun and play…..afterall Its just a game , not your entire reason for existence people …Lighten Up.

  20. I just can’t understand why people are like this. Just a single mention of sexism and everyone blows their fuse. She didn’t even give the game a bad score.

  21. Mister Constitution says:

    Some guy, if you can’t understand the meanings of words well enough to decipher the point of my comment, you should go to some kind of educational institution called a “school”.

    The author of the article above, (if you were able to comprehend the meanings of words, you would have noticed) said: “I would love it if you never ever commented on anything ever again.” My earlier comment was directed at this statement. Unfortunately for the author, that just won’t happen.

    Was that clarification good enough, or should I break it down to the kindergarten level?

    • Devin says:

      Maybe you could clarify what you mean by “social degenerate”. I am not aware of who you are talking about when you say that. The closest I could guess is that that phrase refers to me, but I was not aware that I was such. If you have reasons for me being a social degenerate, I would love to hear them. I’m all about self-realization and critique.

      As for the constitutionality of my comments, I would request that you re-evaluate my words. I never requested that their right to free speech be taken away. In fact, I put the responsibility of their words on them, saying that they are the ones that need to “escort themselves the fuck out”. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be allowed to speak, but rather I would love it if they realized, “Oh, nothing I say is helping anyone and is in fact hurting people. I guess I should stop.” Granted, that is not likely to happen, which is why I put it in the section for people who won’t listen.

      For what it’s worth, I feel the same way about a lot of people. I would love it if Westboro Baptist shut up, but I also believe they have every right to keep talking. I am not about taking rights away based on my personal judgment. I am, however, for people understanding the ramifications of what they say, and if what they say is hateful and hurtful, I’d love for them to realize that it shouldn’t be said.

      I would love to hear your further thoughts on the matter (I am still trying to realize what error in my ways you were specifically referring to), and if anything needs explaining further, let me know.

    • To Mister Constitution (and if that isn’t a totally ironic name for you, I don’t know what is),

      Saying “I’d prefer people not spout sexist shit all over the web,” is not an argument for censorship. It’s a statement of preference (the word “prefer” is your clue there). Now if I’d said, “There should be a law against sexist speech,” then you’d have a reason to bitch on Constitutional grounds.

      As has already been pointed out, freedom of speech does not equal freedom from response to one’s speech.

      I would further point out that freedom of speech is not absolute. The government has, when compelling reasons come up, restricted speech. The classic example, of course, is the right to freedom of speech does not carry with it the right to shout, “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

      Yes, you and the others like you have the right to comment on the lady’s review. No, you and others like you do NOT have the right to threaten her physically or verbally because you disagree with her. And while you DO have the right to be an insulting moron, we all have the right to point and laugh at you when you do.

      Was that kindergarten enough for you?

  22. Dave says:

    Yeah i don’t understand why we need to bring up sexism into the criticism/review of a game. It was made for entertainment not social reform.
    However, that doesn’t make it right for these guys to intensely bash the reviewer. 9/10 is still fair.
    Side note: the author of this article! kudos! you gave trolls a reason to exist, you gave them notoriety for being assholes!

    • Alex says:

      While we don’t NEED to bring up sexism into the criticism/ review of a game, movie, book, etc, we don’t need to avoid it either. We don’t only decide to treat people decently when we decide to make a work of art for social reform – hopefully all forms of entertainment seek to be actually entertaining, and not degrading, when they can be. And you can bet that movies and books and other forms of media would have sexism mentioned. Games are no special category.

    • shaedofblue says:

      Lots of people find sexist stories unentertaining. The sexism of this game makes it less entertaining for some players, particularly those players, such as the reviewer, who directly deal with sexism in their daily lives. For many people, GTA is supposed to be an escapist experience. Constantly reminding players of their real-world hardships makes this less effective.

    • Women make up 47% of the gamer population. A fair few of those women might appreciate the heads up that this game could be offensive to them. It is just as valid as bringing up the fact that a game is extremely violent. For some people these could be determining factors when deciding whether or not to purchase a game. A review is generally intended to help buyers make that decision, so information like this absolutely belongs in a game review.

  23. Alex says:

    These deleted comments are really throwing me off!

    Thanks for writing this article – I know it can be easier to ignore it especially when you’d want to be talking about something else, but it truly means a lot when people speak up in support of others, in support of people not only commenting what they feel, but being what they feel.

    The world would be a better place with more empathy, and with a lot less people feeling entitled to have things catered specifically to how narrowly they view the world.

  24. Led Lawless says:

    Got it. Sorry about my outburst there, Rivyn. The post you were responding to was deleted before I got here.

  25. Gator says:

    Mr. Constitution:
    I think I can help you out here. The reason no one here can understand what you’re saying is because you’re a moron.
    Now here’s why:
    You think that the freedom of speech makes it ok to say whatever you want. The problem with that is that hate speech isn’t ok. While we all have the ability and right as Americans to spout off with any kind of racist, sexist or otherwise hateful bullshit we want, its not necessarily ok. In fact, it isn’t ok at all.
    Now all of that matters to you because you think you can back your argument with a document that we all learned about in 7th grade history class. We already know about the freedom of speech. But saying that hate speech is ok “because freedom of speech” and accepting it as part of the world we live in is probably the LEAST American thing you can do.

    • Devin says:

      But wait, weren’t you arguing earlier that “hate speech” has every right to exist and shouldn’t be cut off etc….

      Okay, now I’m pretty sure you’re just screwing with me.

      • Alex says:

        It has every right to exist. It shouldn’t be cut off. It’s also not “okay” or good.” Just like you have every right to eat 10,000 calories worth of cake, but it’s not okay or good. People can legally shout all kinds of racist stuff, but that’s not okay or good.

        He’s making a distinction with “legal” and “moral”

  26. Istvan says:

    Maybe it has already been said, but I really want to say this: Thank you. Thank you for posting this.Even though the subject make me very ashamed for being man and it makes me sick just thinking on the fact that I belong to that godforsaken gender, I just want to say that it makes me very happy that someone like you exist and that you with so extremly good precision highlight one of the biggest (if the THE biggest) problem that exist in the gamingcommunity (and the rest of the world for that matter). THank you for this, and pardon me for my bad english, I hope that you understand what I mean!
    Once again, thank you!

  27. Sean says:

    I see some of the commenters are coming from the b channel on 4chan. I think that speaks volumes as to the kind of people they are.

  28. stranger.mpeg says:

    id like to re-say what those fine gentleman said in your rant here

  29. Shear says:

    Here’s the thing – you’re expecting rational arguments, and adult behaviour from a group of people whose favourite thing in life right now is to play a video game where they steal cars, cause what would in normal society be classified as terrorism or mass-murder, which isn’t even mentioning the hookers.

    Secondly, gamers are completely nuts about the importance of ratings. There is a long history of people’s tiny little brains exploding because OMG-THE-MOST-PERFECT-GAME/SEQUEL-IN-THE-WORLD-WAS-GIVEN-99%-NOT-100%. Fanboys don’t go on these websites to find out whether they are going to enjoy the game or not, they go on these websites to find people who reinforce their own world view, and when it doesn’t happen, they lose their mind..

    Now in saying that, I am not trying to justify what they do, did, said or whatever, but it is not a recent phenomenon by any means. People are prepared to say on the internet things that they would never have the cajones to say in real life, because there are no consequences for them. The internet is a great morality-free zone as far as they’re concerned.

    • Devin says:

      I don’t think these problems are new at all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they should still be pointed out. And honestly, I’m not the only one pointing it out, which gives me hope that these problems will be addressed by the gaming community… eventually.

  30. i8pikachu says:

    Didn’t Gamespot give a glowing review of SimCity 5 before it launched??

  31. chris says:

    Gaming and Internet Journalists: We Need to Talk

    How we behave, and I’m using the royal “we” here, as it is apparently now acceptable to assume that everybody in said subculture behaves like you want them to behave in order to validate the existence of what you’re writing, is not your concern.

    You keep doing your jobs and, if you’re lucky, we’ll keep reading your stuff. Sometimes that job is going to involve you commenting on society or perhaps even making controversial statements concerning hot-button topics. When you do those things, don’t pretend to be upset when your readership reacts with hyperbole. And please stop pretending that these people who post these comments somehow represent the “Gamers” market as a whole. We are all actually human beings, not just posters on the internet, and we are complex creatures with varying beliefs and rationales behind those beliefs.

  32. Allen says:

    I do hope people realize that not all gamers (and thus the Gaming Community as a whole) are like these children.

  33. Oh how I wish that the people who actually needed to know this a) would actually read this and b) would get the message and become better people.

    It’s too bad that you’re mostly preaching to the converted.

  34. […] today’s topic is that I believe that harassing anyone for any reason is wrong. My boyfriend brought this article to my attention today, knowing that I would have interest in it. Long story short, this article talks about the ongoing […]

  35. Meredith says:

    Thank you for this post and the analysis. Even one little island of decency in this sea of piss is appreciated.

  36. Lizzie says:

    Well I’m a girl, a gamer, I’m not going to defend this people because they are just trolls because behind the screen they are really brave, they just wanted to hear its a 10! there is no point in this because we all know they are wrong, but what is this double standard of sexism is bad! so violence isn’t? stealing is good, drugs ok and no gun control is just fine…

    Really think a little bit more what you write and what you imply.

  37. com menter says:

    this article was dumb. the fact of the matter is that the gamespot reviewer let her own gender/political ideology influence her review of the game. journalistic integrity dictates that she be unbiased for which she failed to do so. if it was made clear that amongst other review criteria such as gameplay, graphics, sound, etc., the advancement or determent of gender/political ideologies would also influence score then she did a fine job. however, as that was not outlined as a subject for review her scoring of the game is completely discredited.

    • Alex says:

      I highly disagree that to note misogyny means you are letting your gender or political ideology influence her review of the game. A male can point out misogyny and sexism, and should – not just females. And I don’t think political ideology does, or maybe I should say should, have anything to do with whether one defends or is offended by sexism. It didn’t say in the review that gameplay, graphics and sound are the only things considered in a review, so there is no reason to believe they should be. And to bring up mysogyny or racism or any other mistreatment of peoples that stands out in a game where it exists does not mean it needs to have a category for it.

    • shaedofblue says:

      Story is an aspect of a game that can be reviewed.

  38. Namaste says:

    Tell you what, GTA V isnt sexist. Here is why, strippers and hookers arent all the women in the game and the named women aren’t portrayed horribly, in fact really well actually. I usually stay away from these god forsaken sections but so many of you all are being dipshits it really forces the hand so lets get down to business.

    Pedestrians alone are fucking everywhere, there are women in suits, there are hookers, there’s the normal people but we’re not gonna talk about them are we since we all tend to mow them down by the thousands like the oreo cookie. So we’ll restrict ourselves to the named, personality driven robots.

    Tracey, Amanda, Patricia, Maude, Tanisha, Denise, Mary Ann, Tonya, Molly, Marnie, and so on. None of those characters are hookers, well maybe Tonya but she’s high on crack along with JB but that’s human unless you don’t think crack addiction is serious shit then just fuck you. Yes there are strippers that can be involved with on the named level and I dont even need to say that there is nothing degrading women about that, do I? I hope i dont have to. Now moving on to a brief discussion of some of the best examples.

    Molly is ultra-successful in her career and has a viciously professional attitude even when dealing with thugs.

    Patricia is one of the scarce examples of a character that is not only utterly fantastic in their writing and acting but presents a deep almost familial connection to a character with much less screen time than say Amanda or Denise. She is a fucking beautiful character and you will recognize her.

    The most sexualized i listed were Tracey and Amanda but it wasn’t degrading women. Amanda for the first two acts is in a disappointment of a marriage with a man that had an affair and effectively ruined their lives to a degree but it gets better and Amanda and Micheal actually grow as characters, shit the whole family does. Now Tracey she’s comfortable with her self and her sexuality, the fuck is wrong with that? Micheal is the doting dad and hyper-protective parent so of course he has conflicts with his daughter on her sexuality and at some point a lot of dads do and he grew to accept she does whatever the fuck she wants to do and he just wants her to be safe.

    This is already a wall of text but i feel I made the point GTA V is hardly fucking sexist. now if the whole sexism hangup is from a main character not being female, i just have a question why does that bother you? When the meat of the game represents women as human how does the lack of a female main character scream sexism? My two cents suggest you’re trying to idealize the gender and not the character.

    Yours truly and forever,
    Na-ma-go-fuck-yourselves,

    PS: i agree with the whole issue with people being dipshits and my argument is solely for the accusation of sexism. Now the lot of you should stop being cunts.

    • com menter says:

      this.

    • al says:

      You’re seriously delusional if you think sexism is only about sexualization.

      • Namaste says:

        Yeah, yeah sexism is discrimination based on sex and misogyny is the hatred for women, meanwhile half the whining is about strippers, hookers, and sexualization. Mind providing a point or even an argument sport? You should probably think about being useful and add something to the discussion or go fuck yourself.

        iFruitfully yours,
        Asshole

  39. AyeKay says:

    What about the racism in the GTA series, not even just GTA V?

    I think if I were to make an argument against the review, it would be that she targeted a single
    “negative” aspect of the game because it suited her cause. If you are going to pick out one part of the game to stand on a soapbox about, talk about those other apparent things as well. Yes sexism is a real thing in the video game industry, so is racism. Basically all sorts of segregation exists in some for within the video game industry, but here is the thing – it’s Grand Theft Auto. The game itself is MEANT to be over the top in every way offensively possible, to the point where it’s actually hilarious. GTA makes us laugh at all the ridiculous things that still exist in society, and I have never once ever been offended – as a black man – by anything that they have put into their games that has to do with my race. The women that are portrayed in the gta series are so far from what an actual woman is that no man in their right mind would treat them like they a treated in that game. I wish all the ignorant creatures who wrote that silly shit about the review actually took the time to be intelligent about it, because there is definitely a counter-argument to be mad against the review.

    Just not in the way the majority of the people have presented it.

  40. qwerty says:

    Nice job on the article. Society is sad sometimes. People like you make it better. Keep up the good work!

  41. ChillOut says:

    First, thanks to the author of this article. Regarding the comments in the article, the review is waaaaay beside the point, they are attacking the reviewer for life choices and using the review as a means to do so.
    Second, I can’t understand what is wrong with people. I mean really. It all comes down to this: Just because you CAN talk shit about someone, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
    Third, so far as the gender pronouns go, if I choose to be addressed as “him” or “her” and you want to be respectful, you’d address me as such. Out of respect, you use the pronoun they’ve chosen. If you are trying to be disrespectful, you use anything else (By doing so, you’re also choosing to be addressed as “Asshole” or “Moron”, FYI).
    Fourth, thanks again. This article needed to be written.

  42. BoTuLoX says:

    I am a man that’s all for equality, I love women, wether they were born women or not. I have a great respect for the LGBT community, and love how most people who belong to it are, after all, roughly half of my friends are not straight. I believe that women deserve the same rights as men, and thinking that this is still an issue for some people makes me feel extremely disappointed in humanity.

    In the same way, I value the lives of people, even the people I despise for good reasons. I believe that everyone should be treated fairly and they should in turn do the same. I believe armies shouldn’t exist, and that war and its causes are the main things that are slowing humanity’s progress.

    I also like dismembering virtual people in games. I love playing Surgeon Simulator and break open people’s ribcages with a plethora of objects. I love playing GTA and running over people who look like they have money. I love roleplaying as a hateful mercenary in Fallout: New Vegas. I played a lot of Chiller on MAME back when I was a kid.

    And this, is why I have no problem with whoever reviews games, but I do have a problem when they try to bring down the game because of things like violence, sexism, racism or religion. Specially when that game is Grand Theft Auto. If it were Sim City, fine, go ahead, there’s no reason to be offensive in such a game. But ffs Gamestop. It’s GTA. It’s Grand motherfucking Theft Auto. THAT IS WHAT THE GAME IS ABOUT. BEING OFFENSIVE. GTA V insults gamers, and we laugh it off. I’m a fat person, and when games insult fat people, I laugh it off. If you don’t like it, don’t play it, but don’t put someone who doesn’t like that kind of games to review it. I don’t like RTS games, for example. I would be a horrible reviewer for a game like Starcraft II. You chose someone who gets easily offended in one of the subjects GTA ridicules. It’s the same thing. You dun goofed, don’t try to cover this up as a white knighting problem, because it isn’t. I know there are a lot of gamers who are quite close to being nazis, but don’t say that because THAT kind of people criticized you, you are right and they’re wrong.

    • shaedofblue says:

      I think if she didn’t like the game she wouldn’t have given it 9/10. Pretty sure she liked it a lot except for one shitty part of the writing that kept breaking immersion for her. That is what the review said. If game reviews were only assigned to people who knew ahead of time that they would give the product 10/10, that would be silly.

      • steven says:

        See the thing that shits me to tears about this review and many like it, is that the only mildly acceptable male character is Franklin… and even then hes still a crook willing to steal his way to the good life. Micheal is a drunk lay about overly aggressive twat, Trevor is a down right sociopath, the FIB agents are all back stabbing conniving fucks and wade is borderline retarded. NONE of the representations of EITHER gender are good, but because sexism is inherently one sided (here comes the fire) all we hear about is the representations of women. Now don’t misconstrue my disapproval of the review as support of sexism, that is missing my point, what I’m saying is there is shitty characters on both sides of the gender divide. The only difference is women are represented poorly in an obvious, sexual way, men on the other hand is in a much subtler damaging way. Because its NOT in your face all the time (e.g huge boobs) it slips under the radar, but if the three main characters in gta are supposed to be an even handed positive representation of what it means to be a man, then its just as bad as the shallow image-centric representations of being a woman. Just my 2 cents, as someone who hates the one sided argument for sexism. It goes both ways, yes you ladies out their may be offended by the female characters in GTA because yes, they are shallow and 2d, but im also not happy that every male lead lately seems to be this hulking mass of emotionless bravado, testosterone and muscle.

  43. admiraltuff says:

    Dear author, transgender is not a sexuality.

  44. AR says:

    As a girl who posted on reddit last night about GTA V, most replies I got was that I am an attention whore and more, I am not surprised. You cannot be a girl and a gamer, 2013 and we still have to hide it because we are whores, noob, don’t know shit, a 12 yo boy or fat 40something male trying to pass as female, should be making sandwiches or whatever.

    • BoTuLoX says:

      If you wouldn’t mind providing us with a link of your comment, I’d for one would appreciate it. It would help us to either understand wether it was something provocative you said or if you indeed faced the massive horde of dicks that usually roam things like /r/gaming.

    • Allen says:

      Where are you gaming at? Most of the people I game with are girls, and it’s completely normal/not even thought of as “different” or “weird.”

  45. steven says:

    I find it interesting, while I agree the representation of women in GTA wasn’t fantastic (by no means the worst in the industry, but still fairly shallow) it always gives me a good laugh when i see this argument. Would adding in a overly powerful female character for the sake of pandering not be insulting? If i was a woman i sure as hell would feel insulted if their were archetypally “strong” female characters shoe horned in just to appease the “patriarchal guilt” that we are supposed to feel for having a male driven culture (its changing, but its still majority men playing vidya). End of the day, the problem is that i would assume most of the writers are male, therefore, write well fleshed out strong male characters; as most of you would realize writers write what they know and if a writer is male they would understand the male psyche better than the female. Problem solution? you want to bitch and moan about female representation in games, write a game that addresses the problem, with a female character that is both inherently feminine while not coming across as sexist. Its not as easy as it sounds, especially with all the white knights kicking about the place willing to jump on any female character with more scrutiny than deserved. Flame me if you want, just my opinion.

  46. whiney says:

    Dear GameSpot and haters, let me enlighten things for you: ITS JUST A VIDEOGAME!

  47. Mekia says:

    Hi,

    i never understood why men (seams to be more than women) have problems with women being sexy or trashy in games. Look outside, what do you see? My fellow women run around in short short skirts with her tits falling out of their tops which is mostly see trough as well. How on earth is a game like GTA V being misogynistic when it (sadly) portrays the normal skank that you see outside in the summer?
    You see more teenagers dressed like cheap hookers than normal women with a normal knee high skirt or trousers. They flirt and do nearly everything for a drink or a dick for the night.

    I ask again why should VideoGames of all the media portray women as saints and the “perfect American Wife” when us (most) women run around in hooker outfits and you see girls as young as 14 giving BJ or HJ to boys they just got to know, just because they don’t care or it’s fun. Feminists have no place these days, when you want to fix problems tackle Sharia’s law where women are abused and exploited in real life. But that would be to much work 😉 rather go on and cry about VideoGames?

    The comment’s about her gender are disgusting btw.

    • rowboat says:

      This is just a response to the first paragraph of your comment:

      As a man, I’m sensitive to the fact that women don’t have a lot of good role-models to look up to (neither do boys but that’s not the topic). The reason the women you describe exist is because instead of being told to respect themselves, they’re told that they need to act like sluts to be socially accepted.

      For most games and movies, I expect them to give women good role models, so that hopefully these women you were talking about stop thinking they must show their boobs to everyone in order to be ‘cool’. GTA however is an exception: GTA does not try to give people role models, it tries to criticize the real world and make fun of it. And that’s why in GTA I want to see the lowest forms of humanity portrayed.

      Nobody wants to be like the characters in GTA because it’s obvious they aren’t people to look up to. If they were good people, they wouldn’t be in the game in the first place. But take other games that try to be serious and pretend they’re showing us ‘cool’ characters: if those games feature a female warrior wearing bikini armor, they send the message that this is what girls should be like to be popular.

  48. ReefZA says:

    Quite shocking that people would go on like after the game recieved a good review. I don’t get some of the gamers these days…thanks for bringing this to light!

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The Good Greatsby

Paul Johnson's comedy blog: I didn't get into comedy to be rich or famous. All I've ever wanted was to be loved...by somebody rich and famous.

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